Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 6:53 am
By Ari Berman
Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute.
After a year of embracing austerity economics—emphasizing cutting spending and government over creating new jobs—Barack Obama belatedly tried to change the conversation with his big jobs speech Thursday night.
In the 2012 election cycle, "Job No. 1" for any political candidate will be to lay out persuasive plans for generating more middle-income jobs.
In the more than two years since the Great Recession ended, job growth has been exceptionally slow. Today, 14 million U.S. workers cannot find jobs and the unemployment rate hovers at 9.1 percent. That's nearly twice the level that would reflect a healthy labor market.
The road to Sept. 11 began here on Highway 15 in Al Baha, Saudi Arabia, which stretches from Mecca into a barren desert landscape and up into the winding, rocky passes of the Asir province bordering Yemen.
Osama bin Laden's father, a Saudi construction magnate, built this highway in the 1960s connecting the kingdom to his ancestral homeland of Yemen, and it was along this same stretch of asphalt that Osama bin Laden recruited 12 of the 15 Saudi youths who were among the 19 hijackers to carry out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.