What with the Obama-GOP dilly-dallying dance over spending cuts, I feel I'm sort of off-topic in bringing up the more basic problem of US joblessness. I feel a bit like the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who upended the course of Western philosophy by bringing up the very basic problem of our existence (he also screwed Hannah Arendt's considerable brains out, and praised Hitler, but those stories are way off-topic here). Heidegger had a word for our existence: Dasein. This has been mistranslated as Being, a snotnosed Brit coinage not nearly as down-to-earth as Heidegger's German. A better translation would be There-ness. We are here, the universe is here, we have There-ness. Our There-ness is the basic philosophical question. However, having now upended Heideggerian scholarship of the last eighty years, I will get on with the basic American problem:
The non-there-ness of millions of US jobs.
Here are my six common-sense solutions to our unemployment crisis. Of course, because they're down-to-earth and commonsensical, nobody — including Obama — will think of applying them; you'll find more sense in a flea's sphincter muscles than in the cerebellums of our government.
1. Shorten the work week. Start with a four-day work week. That means we can get 20% more people into the job market. With around 20% people currently out of work, or working part-time, that solves our jobless problem in one stroke. If that's too big a wrench, cut down daily work hours at firms instead of firing people. That's what they do in Germany, where they don't have our job loss (they do everything better in Europe, but don't get me started).
2. Launch a program of job-sharing. That means you're allowed to share your job with someone else. They do something similar in Germany, too. So if you have a friend out of work, you can have her come in one or two days a week to share your job. Of course, you're also putting her on your salary, so you will be earning less, but at least your friend will be earning something.