You mean this didn't start with Obama?

In case you want to be cheered up after the battering from back-to-back blizzards...don't read this blog post! The Atlantic has a fascinating look at the now deeply rooted jobless problem in America -- fascinating but depressing. The long-term prospect for recovery is not good, and the article looks at the troubling social pathologies that are caused by unemployment and that are hindering new job creation. It's hardly a classically liberal piece, by the way -- there's a sharp (and effective) shot at self-esteem parenting, which is a bugaboo of conservatives...who clearly have a point on that front. The article also effectively takes you way past Bush and Obama, D's and R's, and who's up and who's down politics.

Here's one excerpt.

I talked to Errol a few days later. He is 28 and has a gentle, straightforward manner. He graduated from high school in 1999 and has lived with his parents since then. He worked in a machine shop for a couple of years after school, and has also held jobs at a battery factory, a sandpaper manufacturer, and a restaurant, where he was a cook. The restaurant closed in June 2008, and apart from a few days of work through temp agencies, he hasn’t had a job since.

He calls in to a few temp agencies each week to let them know he’s interested in working, and checks the newspaper for job listings every Sunday. Sometimes he goes into CareerLink, the local unemployment office, to see if it has any new listings. He does work around the house, or in the small machine shop he’s set up in the garage, just to fill his days, and to try to keep his skills up.

Read the whole thing.