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Where is the anti-Jamie Dimon?

"Long-term joblessness is one of the unfortunate legacies of the recession. Earlier this year, the Labor Department started tracking longer periods of unemployment. According to that data, there are now more than 2 million people who have been jobless for at least two years, and 700,000 of those have been looking for work for at least three years," NPR reports this morning.  

In total, there are more than 14 million Americans officially counted as unemployed right now, but that doesn't include the so called under-employed (those working part time, but only because they can't find full time work) or those no longer counted at all because they are classified as having given up looking after fruitlessly doing so for so many years. 

The human, social, economic and cultural costs of these levels of unemployment are in many ways incalculable and will undoubtedly ripple through our country for many years to come. 

A lost decade or a lost generation are not just phrases.  They are very real possibilities facing our country.  Japan was a feared juggernaut just a few years ago and it has now not only suffered from a lost decade.  It is now facing the risk of yet another lost decade.  It can happen here and it will, unless and until real leaders not visible today step up, bring together people from all sides, and bridge the divides currently ripping our country apart. 

I'm not just talking about political leaders.  We need leaders from all walks of life.  We need people to act against interest and against type offering genuine solutions and reaching across the divisions that they have helped create, even if they aren't responsible for them.  Waiting for Godot is simply not an acceptable way to act. 

Where is the anti-Jamie Dimon?  Where is a leader of a major financial institution who has dirt on his or her hands from the financial crisis and who has walked lockstep since then in continuing to be part of the problem, but who looks at these unemployment numbers, looks at what is happening to our country and says "It's time to step up and step out.  It won't be popular with my peers, friends, neighbors and even colleagues, but it's the right thing to do."

Frankly, if it was easy, it wouldn't be needed or meaningful.  Standing up when it doesn't make a difference doesn't count.  Now is the time.  Where are the leaders?  Who is going to step up?  How long does the country have to wait?



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