Fresh Echoes of a Distant Famine

In an op-ed published on The Huffington Post, IAM Communications Director Rick Sloan reminds America to think responsibly this St. Patrick’s Day: remember the unemployed.

Sloan recounts for readers “the worst chapter in the history of the Emerald Isle” – the Irish Famine of 1846 to 1850. “How horrific was the famine?” writes Sloan. “In the decade before 1851, the population density in Ireland dropped from 335 to 231 inhabitants per square mile. Almost one-third of the population perished, or moved away — one million peasants died.”

Sloan says, like the British government’s delayed response to the famine, the present-day White House and Congress are slow to address America’s own 21 st century calamity – nearly 30 million unemployed Americans. “On a smaller but no less depressing scale, American workers today are reliving the hard times that laid waste to an entire island. As the toasts of ‘Erin Go Bragh’ echo across Washington today, the complete indifference of politicians is, once again, on display for an entire continent to see.

“President Obama keeps searching for ‘solutions on the cheap,’ according to one adviser quoted in the New York Times Magazine. And Congress seems intent on deep spending cuts even for programs that assist the unemployed,” said Sloan. “Will history judge our government as cruel and callous as Her Majesty’s in the 19th Century? I suppose so.”

For a look at the complete article, click here.

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