Mitt Romney Is Not Unemployed

Tone deafness aside, when Mitt Romney tries to say that he feels the pain of the jobless because he’s “also unemployed” it’s worth pointing out that he actually isn’t unemployed. He’s just not working. It’s not really the same thing.

An unemployed person is a person who’s looking for a job and not finding one. Many people also just happen to not be in the labor force. And the longer an economy lingers with inadequate aggregate demand, the more people end up dropping out of the labor force. Now if you’re a multi-millionaire like Romney, there’s nothing wrong with being out of the labor force and living on your investment income. But for lots of people dropping out of the labor force means trying to subsist on disability benefits, or relying on family for support, or living on the rather meager Social Security early retirement benefit. It represents not only a big drop in national output, but a big fall in people’s living standards.