Today's initial estimate of 5.7% annual rate of growth in the GDP for the last quarter of 2009 sure beats a kick in the teeth. And if we sustain this rate of growth, we will have a robust recovery and come near full employment.
But we won't sustain this growth unless Congress acts and passes a real jobs bill.
As Paul Krugman notes, today's number may end up being just a "blip." The economic consensus is much of today's growth number is an "inventory bounce" in which, per the , "businesses that were emptying their warehouses a year ago are now buying enough goods to keep stockpiles steady." Dean Baker concludes: "There is no reason to believe that this will presage a burst of hiring."
The stimulus continues to mitigate the effects of the recession and unquestionably helped avert a Great Depression. But it's not large enough or comprehensive enough in scope to fully solve the jobs crisis.
The White House acknowledges this, in a blog post from economic adviser Christina Romer: "There will surely be bumps in the road ahead, and we will need to continue to take responsible actions to ensure that the recovery is as smooth and robust as possible."
We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.
Now, the House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same...
...But the truth is, these steps won't make up for the seven million jobs that we've lost over the last two years. The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth, and finally address the problems that America's families have confronted for years.
But what's has been the Senate response? To prepare a jobs bill that is smaller than the House bill. That's inane.
Yesterday, we at Campaign for America's Future launched a grassroots effort to press the Senate to both pass the House jobs bill and embark on a comprehensive long-term jobs strategy, including these key goals:
Rebuild America's schools, roads and energy systems. Close state budget gaps to prevent mass layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters. Direct public sector hiring to expand services that strengthen our communities. Using our taxpayer dollars to "Buy American" and revitalize our manufacturing industry.
The solution is big because the problem is big.
The stimulus wasn't big enough to stop all job losses from the recession, but it was big enough to lead us to this point where we can be thankful for a strong GDP growth number. And the results would have been even better if chronically timid right-leaning Democratic and not-insanely-right-wing Republican senators hadn't insisted on diluting the stimulus in the first place.
The time for timidity is long past.
Senators: if you like looking at GDP numbers as big as this, I suggest you get to work on a bigger jobs bill.