Making jobs Job One

Daniel Akst | August 3, 2010

On The Daily Beast, Levy senior scholar James K. Galbraith urges action to get people working again, and smites deficit hawks who might oppose it. In the debate over stimulus versus austerity, he warns of two traps:

The first is the idea that we need another “stimulus package.” How I hate that phrase! The message it conveys—of something fast, temporary, quickly withdrawn—is wrong. We’re not in an ordinary postwar recession. We’ve suffered a major collapse of the financial system. Repairing this, and working off household debt loads and the housing glut, will take years. Yes, the economy can recover without strong private credit, but the recovery will be slow and unemployment will not be cured.

The second trap is the idea that we should undo it all later on. Even worse, many argue that we must make cuts today, effective at a later time, to offset the “stimulus.” Since the major programs which are authorized today for later effect are Social Security and Medicare, this translates to “cutting entitlements” in order to bring “long-term budget deficits under control.”

Hogwash, says Galbraith, who advocates freeing up jobs by making it easier for older workers to retire. You can read the rest here.

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