Long-term unemployment, long-time mess

Just got a call from a man named Joe Brooks about my story on the long-term unemployed in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. "I'm scared to death," he said. His unemployment benefits have expired. "I do not take advantage of the system. I'm looking for a job every day," he said, describing an effort that includes going business to business and talking to friends. "Some people are always going to take advantage of the system."

What he sees is the effect of long-term unemployment on the underlying stability of our economic system, which is the next thing I'm going to write about. But, Brooks predicts our attention will be short-lived. "I call us the 60-second society," he said. "It's news for 60 seconds and then they move onto the next thing and that's it."

Tell me where you guys think this is all leading. Frankly, I get very upset writing these pieces, because I do not see where or how we're going to get out of this mess.

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