Depression News: It's Still the Economy Stupid!

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-10-03 08:50:04 -0400. -- GH

Getting a strong healthcare bill is still top on my agenda, but let's not forget the latest on the jobs front. The idea that the "recession" had more or less reversed has always seemed to me to be nonsensical given the economic circumstances that the majority of Americans are now facing or realistically fear. Now we learn that job losses are escalating while unemployment benefits are running out for people who can't find new ones. Throwing money and more money at financial institutions is proving to be a chimerical solution--hich of course we all knew anyway.

All the talk about the danger of an escalating debt misses the point. as Robert Reich points out. The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants To Tell You.

 Let me say this as clearly and forcefully as I can: The federal government should be spending even more than it already is on roads and bridges and schools and parks and everything else we need. It should make up for cutbacks at the state level, and then some. This is the only way to put Americans back to work. We did it during the Depression. It was called the WPA.

Yes, I know. Our government is already deep in debt. But let me tell you something: When one out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, this is no time to worry about the debt.

When I was a small boy my father told me that I and my kids and my grand-kids would be paying down the debt created by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Depression and World War II. I didn’t even know what a debt was, but it kept me up at night.

My father was right about a lot of things, but he was wrong about this. America paid down FDR’s debt in the 1950s, when Americans went back to work, when the economy was growing again, and when our incomes grew, too. We paid taxes, and in a few years that FDR debt had shrunk to almost nothing.

You see? The most important thing right now is getting the jobs back, and getting the economy growing again.

You can read the entire piece  here posted with his permission. In an addendum, The Job Numbers for September written yesterday, he had this to say:

This morning's job numbers are bad enough -- 263,000 more jobs lost in September, and unemployment now at 9.8 percent -- but look behind them and the news is even grimmer. The only reason the numbers don't look worse is that 571,000 workers dropped out of the labor force. Remember, too, that the economy needs about 125,000 new jobs every month just to keep up with a growing population. So we're even further behind.

The numbers would be even worse but for the stimulus package. According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the stimulus is saving or creating between 200,000 and 250,000 jobs a month. Without it, job losses in September would have been nearly twice what they actually were.

State governments, meanwhile, continue to shed employees. Here's one of the most depressing statistics I've seen (if you need any additional ones): Some 15,600 teachers didn't return to work in September. They were laid off. So our classrooms are bigger, we have fewer teachers, and our students are presumably learning less -- at the very time when they need to be learning more than ever.



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