Friday, July 29, 2011

Do we have a Jobs Crisis? Or a Debt Crisis?

Could He AlsoBe Talking About The Debt Crisis?

Campaign for America's Future's co-director Robert Borosage issued the following statement on the current Congressional budget standoff:

Get out the togas; Congress is fiddling while Rome burns. As the grim economic numbers show, this economy is barely moving, crippled by government cutbacks that once more cost jobs. 25 million people are in need of full time work, a number that is growing as the economy is failing to generate enough jobs even to employ those coming into the labor market for the first time.
Pell Grants

And while this is happening, conservatives in Washington are intent on exacting even more cruelty on the vulnerable. It is simply beyond shame that Tea Party Republicans suggest that the Boehner plan isn't harsh enough, demanding that deep cuts in Pell Grants that allow deserving low income children a chance to afford college. The notion that Pell grants that help low income kids go to college is a way to sweeten legislation to make it more attractive to right wing extremists is unspeakable. The Tea Party right in Congress offends not only the majority of Americans, but the majority of their own supporters.

Every plan before Congress will make the economy worse. Every plan tramples the priorities of the vast majorities of Americans.

This week, hundreds of Americans crowded into, phoned or emailed Congressional offices at home and in Washington to make their displeasure known. We need to keep the pressure on and continue to demand that Congress listen to the vast majority of Americans, who want Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid protected, and millionaires and billionaires and corporations to pay their fair share. We will continue to build a movement to defend an American dream that is increasingly being shattered by corrupted policy and perverted values.

The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities - for good jobs and a sustainable economy, and for strengthening the safety net.
Fund Libraries, Places where the homeless go

The best stimulus policy would be simpler and more generous help for the unemployed. On paper, direct government purchases of goods or services with high domestic content ought to give the economy a bigger push per dollar—infrastructure spending, or accelerated replenishment of run-down military inventories, for instance. But the discretionary element in initiatives like these has been a problem. Actually getting the money spent is hard. In the same way, aid for state and local governments ought to pack a lot of punch as well, but it hasn’t. States have applied a lot of the aid they received not to maintaining jobs and services, as intended, but to improving their financial balances. Just as consumers can save a tax cut, states can save their federal aid—and they have.

Spending last of his benefits
The unemployed, especially those with limited savings, will spend all or most of their benefits. And they just happen to be the principal victims of the recession, so calculations of equity and stimulus power point the same way. Access to benefits is too complicated. The rules reduce take-up; the goal should be to increase it. Numerous ad hoc changes in eligibility and duration, like those seen of late, make matters worse. Unemployment insurance needs to be simplified and codified in a settled way, so that people understand the system and more of them can get the help they need when they need it. A well-designed system provides timely help and effective stimulus automatically, with no need for political intervention—a big advantage so long as Congress remains a broken institution.

Aid for the unemployed needs to be extended in other ways. Generous support for retraining and relocation should be part of the package. A template exists in the Trade Adjustment and Assistance program, which the Obama administration wants to enlarge (as part of efforts to establish new free-trade agreements). Republicans resist the idea. The administration is right, but needs to be more ambitious. TAA confines its help to those who are unemployed because of imports, which narrows take-up and piles on the complications. From an equity point of view, this restriction is absurd. Unless it was your own fault, it should not matter why you became unemployed. TAA-like assistance needs to be scaled up so that it is available for every victim of the recession.

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