On the one side there are millions of people needing jobs and millions more "underemployed," the economy is still mired in a very, very slow recovery that is a recovery only in the technical sense, an increasing wave of foreclosures that has reached into the "prime" loans and 1 out of every 7 mortgages has at least missed a payment and has at worst stopped paying.
Businesses are not hiring. People need jobs that only government programs can provide. The reason only government can is because of the spending gap created by the economic crisis.
The Spending Gap
This chart from Brad DeLong explains why and by how much government needs to make up the difference:
Deficit Hawks Following The Plan
On the other side are the "deficit hawks," driven by anti-government ideology, following The Plan of the Reagan Revolution:
- Step 1: Cut taxes to "cut the allowance" of government so that it can't function on the side of We, the People. Intentionally force the government into greater and greater debt.
- Step 2: Use the debt as a reason to cut the things government does for We, the People.. When the resulting deficits pile up scare people that the government is "going bankrupt" so they'll let you sell off the people's assets and "privatize" the functions of government. Of course, insist that putting taxes back where they were will "harm the economy."
- Step 3: Blame liberals for the disastrous effects of spending cutbacks.
Now, true to the plan, Bush leaves behind a $1.4 trillion deficit and the corporate/conservative opinion-shapers are saturating us with warnings that the government is going to go bankrupt if we don't cut back. Typical of the debate, Jobs Bill Funded by Higher Buyout Tax Faces Friction on Deficit
A jobs bill containing a proposal to more than double taxes on managers of buyout firms is running into resistance from House and Senate lawmakers worried that the legislation will widen the U.S. budget deficit.
Facing A Lost Decade
Paul Krugman warns that we face a "Lost Decade" if we listen to the deficit cutters now,
But the truth is that policy makers aren't doing too much; they're doing too little. Recent data don't suggest that America is heading for a Greece-style collapse of investor confidence. Instead, they suggest that we may be heading for a Japan-style lost decade, trapped in a prolonged era of high unemployment and slow growth.
Don't Fall For It
President Obama has talked about a bold, large scale vision for a new direction for the country. But Congress and the President are getting trapped in austerity budget thinking that won't allow them to go in direction of stimulus and helping regular people. If there is to be no money because of an austerity budget then American competitiveness, the economy and the mood of the public can only get worse. Do the DC elites actually believe the public is going to reward this with votes?
The corporate conservatives know darn well that government job-creating programs will help and that is why they are trying to block them. See what one of the top anti-government, anti-spending conservatives has to say in Gingrich: Obama a One-Term President Because Team Can't Create Jobs. From the video: "No ability to craft positive programs that work. ... You don't have anything like an appropriate level of focus on job creation in this administration."
The only way to realistically cut the deficit is to invest in our economic future.
This means maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure, increasing educational opportunities for our people, investing in the new Green Manufacturing Revolution and government programs to create jobs now. Common-sense changes in taxes can help pay for jobs programs. For example, what about getting rid of the amazing tax break for hedge fund managers? At the same time it makes sense to bring taxes on the wealthy and corporations back to pre-Reagan/pre-borrowing levels to fight the deficits (that the tax cuts created in the first place) and decrease the concentration of wealth that is killing our democracy.
WEEK OF ACTION
The Jobs For America NOW coalition is organizing a Week Of Action next week, around the country. Please see Week Of Action Events. Also, see the resources on the Jobs for America now site including the click to call feature at Finish the Job on State Aid, Unemployment insurance and COBRA Health Subsidies NOW
More JOBS resources:
Citizens for Tax Justice has a report on The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.
The American Federation of Teachers is organizing a "Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips" campaign. "Schools throughout America are facing devastating cuts. Our children's future hangs in the balance."
Our government didn't walk away from Wall Street. We should demand no less from them when it comes to saving our children's future. We must voice our support for federal legislation that will provide $23 billion to help school districts avoid layoffs and cuts in vital services for children. Help us preserve the education lifeline our students deserve.
NOTE: Part of the America's Future Now conference in Washington D.C. from June 7-9 will be devoted to strategy on how the progressive movement can fight the deficit cutters. Speakers such as Van Jones, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, AFL CIO President Richard Trumka, Arianna Huffington will offer a build vision for how the progressive movement can rebuild America's economy and put people back to work. Click here to attend.