From the Wall Street Journal, a reminder that recessions hit men the hardest. (H/T Tom)
]Gross domestic product in the second quarter was down more than 7% from a year before, amid government spending cuts and tax increases that, combined, will add up to about 20% of GDP. Unemployment is over 16%. Crime, homelessness, emigration and personal bankruptcies are on the rise.The most dramatic sign of Greece’s pain, however, is a surge in suicides.
Recorded suicides have roughly doubled since before the crisis to about six per 100,000 residents annually, according to the Greek health ministry and a charitable organization called Klimaka.
[…]Suicide has also risen in much of the rest of Europe since the financial crisis began, according to a recent study published in the British medical journal The Lancet, which said Greece is among the hardest hit.Suicide has also risen in much of the rest of Europe since the financial crisis began, according to a recent study published in the British medical journal The Lancet, which said Greece is among the hardest hit.
[…]A suicide help line at Klimaka, the charitable group, used to get four to 10 calls a day, but “now there are days when we have up to 100,” says a psychologist there, Aris Violatzis.
The caller often fits a certain profile: male, age 35 to 60 and financially ruined. “He has also lost his core identity as a husband and provider, and he cannot be a man any more according to our cultural standards,” Mr. Violatzis says.
Heraklion, commercial center of the island of Crete, has had a spate of such deaths.
[…]Victims once were typically adolescent males or old people facing severe illness, and in normal times suicide cases often involve a mixture of factors including mental illness, says local psychiatrist Eva Maria Tsapaki.
But the economic crash has created a “new phenomenon of entrepreneurs with no prior history of mental illness who are found dead every other week,” she says. “It’s very unusual.”
Hans Bader had a recent post about Obama’s stimulus bill that is relevant.
Excerpt: (links removed)
A logical place to have financed road and bridge repairs would have been Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package. But the stimulus package was purged of most investments in roads and bridges, and filled instead with welfare and social spending, out of political correctness, after feminist leaders complained that building and repairing roads and bridges would put unemployed blue-collar men to work, rather than women.
Christina Hoff Sommers points out that “of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men,” because men “predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007.” But when some administration officials floated the concept of “an ambitious . . . stimulus program to modernize roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, public transportation, and dams” as a way of “reinvigorating the hardest-hit sectors of the economy,” “Women’s groups were appalled,” asking “Where are the New Jobs for Women?” and denouncing what they called “The Macho Stimulus Plan.”
As Sommers notes, the Obama administration quickly knuckled under to this pressure, replacing its recovery package with an $800 billion stimulus package that instead “skews job creation somewhat towards women” by spending money instead on social services like welfare that are administered mostly by female employees.
As a 2009 Associated Press story reported, “Stimulus Funds Go to Social Programs Over ‘Shovel-ready’ Projects.” A team of six AP reporters who have been tracking the funds find that the $300 billion sent to the states is being used mainly for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other social services.” Or, as another AP report put it, “Stimulus Aid Favors Welfare, Not Work, Programs.”
The stimulus package also repealed welfare reform, as Slate’s Mickey Kaus and the Heritage Foundation have noted. (In 2008, Obama ran campaign ads claiming to support welfare reform, even though he had sought to undermine welfare reform as an Illinois legislator. The stimulus package largely repealed the 1996 welfare-reform law.)
Men: don’t vote for this man in 2012.