It’s been a long year

Life hasn’t been easy for a lot of Americans this year.

The New York Times, Kaiser Family Foundation, and CBS News recently polled thousands of Americans who are unemployed. But instead of focusing only on those who meet the government’s official definition of unemployment, this survey looks at all adults who are not working — regardless of desire for employment.

Their findings are incredibly detailed — and paints a picture of Americans who are frustrated and nervous about their economic future.

First, unemployment is on the rise. Since 1960, the amount of unemployed men age 25-64 has tripled to 16 percent.  In some areas, the unemployment rate for these men is as high as 40%. The share of unemployed women has risen as well, but at a rate more recent and less extreme.

This decline at home has put America in a lower standing abroad, too. In 2000, the United States had one of the highest employment rates among developed nation. Now? We’ve fallen to the bottom of the list.

Over the last 15 years — not to mention the last 50 — the economy has gone through booms and busts, but the long-term rise of nonemployment has outlasted every cycle. It’s a central reason that we now live in a country where most people are disappointed with the economy and with the standard of living. – New York Times

Secondly, for those that are employed, wages are at a standstill. In 81 percent of America’s counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago.

The average two-parent American family earned 23 percent more in 2009 than it did in 1973, after adjusting for inflation. That’s because people in those families are working more hours — 26 percent more than in 1973 on average. Take away the extra time on the job and wages haven’t gone up at all for the median family in more than 40 years, even though workers have grown more productive.

House Republicans know there are solutions to reverse this trend.

Through projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline, we can plug thousands of Americans back into the jobs they lost — good paying, middle class jobs. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) resource projects are being tied up in red tape — House Republicans want to slash unnecessary regulations and put Americans back to work (and as an added bonus, lower energy costs). And while many of the jobs lost were the byproduct of prime American innovation bills like the American Research and Competitiveness Act will not only stimulate job growth, but reinvigorate that creative American spirit  of which we were once so proud.

We have the ability to change the trajectory of our economy and improve the lives of millions of Americans and their families — however that requires action, and quickly. House Republicans have the solutions, and we’ve watched enough time pass by already. We are ready to act. We are ready to return the middle class back to it’s first place standing among the world, and for everyone to find a better life at home.