Are you speaking of "discouraged workers?" Those would be people who've given up looking for work in the current economic conditions. Before trying to discuss the topic, I think that it'd be a good idea to be sure that we're trying to talk about the same group of people.
If we are in fact talking about these people, what do we know about them before we start talking about obligation the nation has in relation to them? I would think that the information we have about them would have a lot to do with the sense of obligation the nation or any significant portion of the nation might have, wouldn't you?
And then ó beyond that, John ó there might be different political points of view that would apply to the basic question that I think you are proposing: What should a right or left wing notion of the American Community ask of and require from its members?
discouraged worker ††
Person who wants, and is available for, a job (and has looked for it in the past 12 months) but is not looking now because (he or she feels) either no jobs are available or there is none for which he or she qualifies. Discouraged workers, by definition, are not included in the computation of unemployment
I found the article below, explaining discouraged workers as a portion of the total employment picture of some interest because I saw it as fairly straightforward economic reportage. I remain open to a contradictory explanation of the data, but tend to believe that the data seems well presented simply because it doesnít seem to be trying to pound home any particular political agenda, Republican or Democratic:
I would like to pair the above article with the article below, which tries to take some of the same information and tries to put a pro-Republican spin on it without any of the background data the above article supplies. Information that is put in appropriate context in the first article and that the first article makes plain is the least significant element in the statistics; and, in effect, doesnít have any noticeable effect on the economy at all, is, in the second article, hidden. The charts that would make the significance of the vital information, shown clearly in article one, arenít even hinted at in article two, while the misleading fact that the numbers of discouraged workers had doubled was given significant play. The two articles really deserve to be read side by side.
I offer these thoughts and references as a way of thinking about the questions you seem to be suggesting worth exploring, and Iíd be interested in hearing your response, or anybodyís response to these opening thoughts. Should you find them useful, of course.