EDITORIAL: Age of anxiety

Saying that the 130 million workers in the U.S. are worried about the economy is like saying Barry Bonds can hit home runs or Peyton Manning can throw a football.

The stock market gyrations have grabbed headlines, but the worry among working families, which helped propel Democrats into Congress last fall, is the canary in the mine, sounding a warning. Even business reporters in the corporate media are hesitating in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis and the dramatic decline in home buying.

For the first time since 2003, the Labor Department reported a net job loss in August. They put the number at 4,000. It doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s serious because our economy needs to add 120,000-140,000 new jobs each month to absorb the new workers looking for work.

The mortgage crisis got the attention of the Bush administration, which moved swiftly to pump taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars into financial institutions to stave off their collapse, with crumbs for some borrowers. Many Americans wonder when the government will step in to help working families. Just ask folks from New Orleans. Working families create all the wealth that is the hallmark of this country, yet when they are in trouble, the federal vaults are locked.

While economic gurus debate whether a recession is on the horizon, one thing is clear: Bush’s “ownership society” is phony through and through. Some say the Bush far-right program is really a “you’re on your own” society — with working people, the poor, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, women and youth all “on our own” at the mercy of uncontrolled capitalist scavengers.

Rugged individualism is not the answer. Our solutions lie in unity and collective action.

The first steps are reaching out to help neighbors facing foreclosure, and joining with co-workers to see how working together can organize a union or dump the local Republicans.

And lets bury, deep beneath our pile of bills, the worn out cliché that the “government can’t do anything.” Only a government elected and pushed by the people to serve all the people can deliver solutions to capitalism run amok.