Left Behind

A short, powerful video on one family suffering from long-term unemployment:

But Obama can’t do much about it without help from Congress:

In his Tuesday address, Obama is expected to mention a White House pledge not to discriminate against the long-term unemployed, which major corporations like AT&T, Procter & Gamble, and Xerox have signed onto. It’s a depressingly real problem: research has shown that employers are extremely reluctant to call back job applicants who’ve been out of the labor force for more than six months, no matter their industry, education, or work experience.

It’s a far more modest initiative than the extension of federal unemployment aid that’s now stalled in Congress, despite a vigorous White House lobbying effort.

Chait explains Obama’s intention:

What Obama is trying to do in the State of the Union speech is to create a new kind of social norm in hiring. He’s arguing that employers should not let themselves use this kind of shortcut, and that more careful consideration can actually open up a wider pool of available talent.