Monday, December 27, 2010

Recovery is spelled J.O.B.S.

Yet another piece on the debate over cyclical versus structural unemployment in The New Yorker. I don't have any deep insights on why the recovery remains so stubbornly jobless. Seems to me it's probably a little of both, but it strikes me that the obvious solution to either is -- create some jobs dammit.

I mean even if it's structural, the demo affected is largely older workers who will age out of the employment pool anyway so what they need are jobs for the next ten years or so. If it's cyclical, the way to create more demand is to give people jobs so they have money to spend.

Obviously, either way, the private sector simply isn't going to do it. But the government could, just as they did during the Great Depression and they could sell it as a means to get those "lazy" people off the dole and into the tax pool again. I'm willing to bet it would work a whole lot better than tax cuts.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jobs are created when an employer sees an opportunity to increase their profits by hiring a new employee. Right now we have a President who has created uncertainty via his health care bill, his constant vilifying of business, his desire to steal wealth and redistribute it and his constant class warfare rhetoric. We may see some improvement in the business environment now that the Democrat's total control over both the legislative and executive branches has been partially negated.

For the first time in a long time, you have actually got it right. Jobs should have been the priority of both congress and the president. In that regard, both are failures.

1:44:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"Jobs are created when an employer sees an opportunity to increase their profits by hiring a new employee."

That may be true, but like most simplifications and other arguments by assertion, it can also be a distraction. There are many reasons to expand a business by hiring and many reasons not to. There are many reasons to hire abroad as well.

The hidden question begging here is why the only acceptable road to boosting employment is that of top bracket tax cuts. It's a question we must answer before proceeding since this tactic has never been shown to work after a century of attempts and has been shown to produce bubbles and busts of disastrous size along with a heavy redistribution of wealth toward the top 1%. In fact the past decode or so has given us the largest redistribution of wealth in our history, I believe. Unless you're one of my billionaire neighbors, I can't understand why you support something that lowers your opportunities while the folks down the road from me build 50 million dollar "homes."

The Democrats have not had total control thanks to the Senate rules which effectively require far more than the majority they enjoy. The filibuster has been used to an unprecedented degree in a program to oppose every last thing the congress has attempted and the majority of voters has supported, so it's hard to see why you feel justified in saying otherwise.

Of course from your initial point onward, you're making it up as you go along. A middle class tax cut is not 'stealing' wealth and redistributing it. Restoring the top bracket to where it was at the most prosperous point in our history is not stealing. The class war rhetoric you see as class war rhetoric isn't there but as a defense of the war of words coming out of the GOP - yours today amongst them - and the uncertainty about health care reform is an artifact of the same maker. In fact the Screwball right which is now left of the mainstream GOP seems to telling us that everything from science and history are uncertain and mythology should underlie civil law.

Of course the main point I'd like to get back to here is that you can't simply address employment without seeing it as a symptom of other illnesses and the result of long standing policies. It's a bit like saying "never mind about that cancer, we need to keep excising those tumors.

9:31:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

A sad fact is that the US generated almost a million and a half jobs overseas in 2010. 40% more than were created here.

A sadder fact is that we're obsessing about Mexicans taking jobs like fruit picking and dish washing while we send good technical jobs abroad: tech support, skilled manufacturing, software development. . . That's right well more than half of the new jobs of 2010 were elsewhere - and corporate profits are soaring and those profits aren't going into employing Americans.

And why can't we change that trend of the last few decades? Because we rant and rave in defense of a system that's screwing us while professional agitators become millionaires and the millionaires become billionaires and here's a sad fact binkey - it ain't gonna happen to you if they can help it.

So why didn't they scream and yell when we had the same unemployment rate under St. Ronald the Reagan? What, you didn't know that?

11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the H1B visa program. Replace highly skilled, well paid technology workers with lower paid foreign scab labor, right here in their own country. We'll (the government) agree with big business that we have a shortage of technically skilled labor (even though we have tens of thousands if programmers unemployed).

3:53:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I won't forget. I have several friends who were sacked after many years on the job when their departments were exported to India or staffed with imported workers. None have been able to find anything equivalent so far.

I can't help remembering H. Ross Perot and that "giant sucking sound"

He was right literally and metaphorically. It sucks.

9:55:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

This is your government as ruled by the Corporatocracy... which our anon will defend to his dying breath even while they pick his pocket, purely because "libruls" criticize them.

11:16:00 AM  

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