Workers fighting senseless layoffs is something real to be excited about.

Here’s what’s not real: "Stocks open higher after jobless claims report."

It says a lot about our society when 550,000 Americans file new unemployment claims — and traders celebrate.

The AP report continues that "the market’s gains…are somewhat muted"  – nonetheless — because of  "sluggish" sales.

Are our troubles over? The Obama team are right: we’re seeing the results of that $787 billion fiscal stimulus. Fewer people are losing their jobs and the economy’s shrinkage has shrunk….

But we’re not out of the woods — not yet. Remember those "sluggish" consumer sales numbers? Get used to them. The US consumer market didn’t just temporarily dry up. Over several decades of misguided economic and industrial policy — it was dredged.

From an economy based on workers with wages buying things, we became one based on workers in trouble and speculators getting rich trading on their debt.

Divert investment from manufacturing to gambling paper long enough — and this is where you end up.

Suppressing wages, shutting plants, expanding credit, and inflating assets…. It was a good way to blow up a bubble. But that bubble is burst and now Main Street America is jobless and broke.

Workers around the globe are taking matters into their own hands — and putting their bodies on the line to stop the madness. From England to Italy and South Korea, they are occupying their plants to stop them from closing.  Their message should not be muted: the only thing that’s going to save most people and most economies, is living wages and productive work.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at and Follow GRITtv or GritLaura on

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted “The Laura Flanders Show” for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning “Your Call” weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.