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America Can Attain Full Employment With A Bold Approach To The Jobs Emergency

Economy Memo Pad Politics

America Can Attain Full Employment With A Bold Approach To The Jobs Emergency


A new report from the Rediscovering Government Initiative lays out 15 ways the government can create more and better jobs starting right now.

After five long years, the economy has at last produced enough new jobs to compensate for the 8 million lost in the Great Recession of 2009. But in that same period some 7 million more Americans reached employment age, and we have only produced about half the jobs we need to keep up with population growth. To make matters worse, the jobs created during the recovery pay on average much less than those lost. Yet rather than pulling out all the stops to create more and better jobs, too many politicians and economists tell us we can’t move too quickly. They cite limitation after limitation: inflation fears, budget deficits, skills mismatches, and so on. Americans deserve better than this defeatism. We deserve bold action.

In a new report, A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency, the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative offers 15 ideas that could get us back to true full employment and at the same time build a foundation for rapid economic growth in the future. We are demanding a full-court press to recreate the economic opportunity that America once offered. We emphasize some ideas that have been heard before, but many that are forced to the back seat or are hardly talked about at all.

There are taboos among policymakers that are holding us back. Above all, we must take fiscal stimulus seriously again. Today’s economy operates far below its growth potential. The fiscal stimulus we need should not only make the social safety net whole but also be tied to aggressive investment in transportation, communications, and clean technologies that have been badly neglected.

The federal government can itself create useful, good-paying jobs in transportation, teaching, and health care. A carefully crafted federal job creation program, as was successfully enacted under FDR, can work today. Fifty billion dollars‘ worth of new jobs could go a long way toward helping Americans.

The repressive effect on jobs and wages that results from aggressive Wall Street practices is all but invisible in Washington. Academic economists are almost as bad as the Washington think tanks in paying too little attention to how Big Finance can undermine both jobs and wages. Our report highlights the findings of researchers such as Eileen Appelbaum, formerly of Rutgers, and Rosemary Batt of Cornell, who show that the leveraged buyout and privatization crazes have on average led to many lost jobs and significantly less spending on R&D. It also showcases the work of William Lazonick of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has long called attention to how massive corporate stock buybacks may help shareholders in the short run but hurt the American economy by diverting investment.

Poor wages are also part and parcel of America’s economic failure. Today’s typical household earns no more after inflation than it did almost 20 years ago. Only 44 percent of Americans think they are middle class, the lowest level recorded. However, until fairly recently, raising the minimum wage has also been taboo. The bill before Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 may still not pass, but intelligently designed studies suggest such a hike could lift not just 1 million, as the Congressional Budget Office has too conservatively estimated, but 6 million people out of poverty and provide raises for about 25 million people. Similarly, we need an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit to childless adults, which the president supports.

Most tragically, we neglect our young. Six million or so Americans ages 16 to 24 are neither in school nor have a job. Dozens of local agencies have been created to place these “opportunity youth” on a middle-class track. But they badly need to be scaled up, and federal support is the only way to do so.


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  1. charleo1 April 11, 2014

    “The repressive effect on jobs and wages that results from aggressive Wall Street practices is all but invisible in Washington.” Well, that may or may not be true. But,
    there’s no doubt the obstructive, pig headed approach to the economy by the
    Republican Party in Washington, has rewarded an aggressive WallStreet. While
    main-street has been forced to largely fend for itself. And it doesn’t matter how
    much the Republicans have maligned the stimulus package, passed in early ’09.
    The facts say, due to the severity of the economic condition, the size of the hole,
    if you will, it should have been at least half again, or even twice the size it was.
    And hindsight is 20-20. But, the Administration should have made clear to the
    public, calming fears, and boosting confidence, that more would be provided as
    needed. But other than a series of helpful boosters, the stimulus was it. Then,
    the House was lost to the T-Party, and with that, any hope of a robust, recovery
    building on the momentum of turning the catastrophy around, got shot to Hell.
    Now, here’s the beauty of this maniacal plot. As the new Republican House took
    their seats, general economic activity was improving, albeit slowly. The business
    community at large, was uncertain in a lot of things. But, the one certainty they
    had, was they had seen the last bit of government help coming out of Washington
    they were going to see for at least two years. They hunkered down, the economy
    slowed, then the T-Party threatened the world economy in the summer of 2011.
    Now, the economy which had been making modest gains, threatened to follow
    Europe back into recession. Government intervention was clearly needed, and
    just as clearly not coming. So in steps the Fed. Some of the agency’s responsiblities
    are to insure full employment, and economic growth. So, unlike Republican
    Congressmen, it just can’t sit on it’s ass, while things fall apart. But neither can it
    print billions in cash, and give it to the President, or Treasury Secretary to directly
    inject into the cash starved economy. So, it dumps boatloads of cash into the
    banking system, in hopes they’ll lend it to Americans, and that will spur activity,
    create jobs, then private investors seeing ground floor opportunities, start turning
    lose of all that money they’ve been holding on to for just such as time, and
    bada boom, bada bang! We’ve got ourselves a recovery. Wall Street loves it! The
    Stocks go crazy, and….wait a minute. The banks decided the smart money was
    in emerging markets in South-East Asia. But, Wall Street’s still happy. The bankers
    are riding high. And the GOP still gets to whine, Mr. President, where are the jobs?

    1. Independent1 April 12, 2014

      Charle, nice recap!! Although as you pointed out: the stimulus should have been probably twice as big as it was; and the GOP put up 24/7 opposition to everything the Dems wanted to do (which included more than 420 uses of the fake filibuster and the House sitting for more than 3 years on 2 of Obama’s jobs bills); and Obama could maybe have pushed a bit harder to get some legislation passed; yet he managed the nation during the passed 5 plus years such that more jobs were created (latest estimate was 8.8 million) over those 5 plus years than George Bush and the irresponsible GOP Congresses in session during his disasterous 8 years could create with all their excessive spending (barely 8 million jobs generated with more than 7 trillion in spending) which included starting two wars and passing a slew of unfunded legislation some of which are adding to our debt even today.

      1. charleo1 April 12, 2014

        Well, thank you kind Sir! Exactly what I was trying to get at, (whether I did or not,is another question,) was by the GOP winning the House, and therefore, able, and willing to block any stimulative measures coming from the Federal Gov.
        They were able to force the Federal Reserve to act. And there was really no question, if they were able to do this,
        what the Fed would do. As interest rates, a favorite lever
        of the Fed were already at zero. Wall Street already knew
        the next option was Quantitive Easing. Basically, a method of adding liquidity to the U.S. economy, and eventually, it was extended to foreign banks as well. Using several methods, to add huge sums of capital to the balance sheets of these banks, by essentially by buying from them, at full value, anything they had on their books they wanted to get rid of. Going back for a second. When Hank Paulson negociated the nearly one trillion loan to those institutions
        holding billions of dollars of the collateralized debt obligations, (toxic assets) things were so screwed up, no one had any idea of what these instruments, (CDOs) were
        worth. Now that everything about the scam was fully known. And, some of these players had invested 40X their company’s net worth. So the deal was, they were going to
        set all these, “toxic assets,” aside, until such future time a
        marketplace could be established, their value determined,
        and be eventually sold off at a yet to be determined market
        price, The loans were originally for operating money. So,
        they would all be running 2 sets of books, for a while. Well,
        none of this came to pass. No marketplace was established, the toxic assets of unknown value sat on one set of books, While Wall Street concentrated on rebuilding
        it’s cash reserves, closed it’s credit window to the U.S., even as it enjoyed zero interest rates from the Fed. It’s
        investments, and loans, flowing to markets overseas. The U.S. economy continued to struggle, even as the European Union, teetered on bankruptcy, chaffing from austerity demands imposed upon them by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the German Gov. and
        of course, Wall Street. Bernanki however was not convinced
        to embark on Quantitive Easing. First, it’s outrageously
        expensive. And a piss poor way to effect liquidity. So, the
        GOP initiated plan B. Called scare the crap out of the U.S.
        economy. By threatening to refuse to increase the debt
        limit, possibly leading to a technical default. With some
        entities possibly receiving IOUs from the Federal Gov. there was no doubt as to the reaction of a market already plagued by a herd mentality, and nervously watching Europe, brewing revolution in the Mid-East, and a cooling
        Asian economy, and Bernanki relented. Now, Wall Street
        could finally dispose of all those toxic assets, foist them on
        the Federal Government. The marketplace they had refused
        to set up, was now set. They would realize a dollar to dollar
        mark to market price for their CDOs, the markets across the
        world cheered, stocks gained, and economies got a little
        relief. However, as was reported, 95% of the gains went to
        the top one percent, and the very top, one half of that one
        percent, got the lion’s share of the gains. But, Republicans
        say, they would never want the Gov. to be picking winners, and losers! Overly involved in a “free market economy.”
        Just cut our taxes, get the Federal Gov. out of our lives, make the welfare moochers work for a living, and ObamaCare has got to go! Pure baloney, lots of cheese!

        1. 4sanity4all April 12, 2014

          That was an amazing summary, Charlie. It explains the mess we are in in more detail than I knew about, and I found it very interesting and enlightening. Now, if someone would implement the ideas in this article, I hope these ideas get a lot of airing, so that people begin to demand action by the government. Government action is the only thing that will get us moving at anything faster than a snail’s pace. I know there is a lot of dark money behind getting people to mistrust their government, and getting people to think they want a smaller government, but those ideas are in the interest of no one but the 1%, who are spending the money to propagate those ideas. I am encouraged by the Republicans who are finally calling out the right wing looneys, and admitting that we will get nowhere until Republicans start working cooperatively with Democrats to fix the mess we are in.

          1. charleo1 April 13, 2014

            Thank you for reading it. Understandably, long wordy comments don’t have a lot of readers. This was a very general description of some of the elements, and events that took place during, and shortly after the crisis, at the heart of our very ill financial system. And, a defeated Republican Party’s decision to attempt to rebuild their broken political organization, by using this very dangerous crisis, instead of trying to fix it. Then, working in collusion with the perpetrators of the crisis, against the best interests of the Country, and those most impacted. To insure the wealthy elite, who obviously own them, heart, and soul, not only realized maximum profits for their malfeasance, but worked
            tirelessly to insure their benefactor’s privileged place at the head of the financial table, was protected above all else. Personally, it was a pivotal moment.To see treason, actually carried out by a morally bankrupt, and completely corrupted political cabal, against my Country. To witness this, and know this is no foolish mistake, that can be explained as a matter of Left vs. Right. These are intentional acts, committed by traitors, who’s loyalty has been purchased. If indeed, they ever had any loyalty to begin with. I should qualify this by saying, this is Republican Party leadership. There is another assortment of fools, dullards, bigots, and nitwits, who support these treacherous liars, against their own best interests, and for their own misguided reasons. These Americans are entitled to their opinions, and our pity. And the firm belief, held in the hearts of all charitable persons. That there but for the grace of God, go I.

  2. Mark Forsyth April 12, 2014

    Any plan that takes job creation out of the hands of condition setting Wall Street bankers and corporate fatcats has got to be an improvement.Time for those bastards to stop holding the economy hostage.

  3. paulyz April 12, 2014

    Let’s see, where shall we start? Obama has been President for 5 1/2 years, with his 1st. 2 years having “complete” control of Congress. The Democrats also had “complete” control of Congress during Bush’s last 2 years. The Senate under Harry Reid refuses to deal with “anything” the GOP proposes, spends record amounts of money, increased our debt in record numbers, raised taxes, and what does he have to show for it? Nothing.
    And with 25 Million Americans unemployed, (at least) why do Democrats and you Liberals want another Amnesty, increase guest workers, Oppose mandatory E-verify, and ignore completing the approved, 700 mile 2-layer border fence. Why is nothing done to shore up S.S. & Medicare? Why is Obamacare costing everyone tremendous amounts of money and going to get much worse? Why did Obama take $716 BILLION from Medicare?

    1. Independent1 April 13, 2014

      Nice that you would think about where to start with your lies!!

      Everything in your post is a lie!! You are nothing more than a pathological liar!!

      I generally don’t like responding to worthless pathological liars but I haven’t had much to post about tonight, so I let’s just bust your lies!!!

      The Democrats did not have full control of Congress during Bush’s last two years. They did not gain filibuster proof control of the Senate until 1/20/09 and when Ted Kennedy died on 8/15/09 they lost filibuster proof control for a time until a replacement for him was selected, and then they lost filibuster proof control again on 1/20/10 when Scott Brown was elected to replace Ted.

      The Democrats have only had filibuster proof control of Congress for less than 1 year over the past 19 years!!! And during that sparse year, they managed to get something accomplished that no president has ever been able to – universal insurance for all Americans called ACA!! Outside of that year, the GOP has used the fake filibuster more than 420 times to prevent the Dems from accomplishing ANYTHING!!

      Spending money!! What utter garbage. it’s virtually impossible to be responsible for spending money when you’ve been the smallest spending president since Eisenhower with a sparse 1.4%/yr increase average over his 1st 5 years in office. Comparing that to the last 3 drunken sailor spending GOP presidents named Reagan, Bush and Bush – the 3 of which are responsible for more than 90% of America’s current 17 trillion in debt. Bush Sr. being the smallest of the drunken-sailor spending presidents only averaged 5.6%/yr budget increases while Reagan and Bush Jr averaged 8% and over/year increases.

      There are not 25 million EMPLOYABLE Americans that are out of work. And ALL THE AMERICANS OUT OF WORK ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE IRRESPONSIBLE GOP!!

      It’s the GOP that’s been sitting on 2 of Obama’s jobs bills that the CBO projected would create millions of jobs. it was George Bush and his irresponsible administration that allowed the Great Recession to happen which resulted in hundreds of companies going belly up, including numerous large financial companies that had been in business for as long as 100 years – the collapse of which resulted in 14 million workers losing their jobs.

      Under Obama, there have been more than 51 straight months of jobs growth with more than 8.18 million jobs created in 5.5 years – which is more jobs than the disastrous Bush Administration which created barely 8 million jobs over 8 full years!! The Obama administration has created almost twice as many jobs/month as Bush was ever able to create.

      And you know full well that you’re lying about those 716 Billion being taken from Medicare. You’ve been told numerous times that those 716 Billion were SAVINGS!! And were NOT TAKEN FROM MEDICARE!! But what do pathological liars care about the truth, right??? And you’ve been told that by passing ACA, Medicare has been strengthened to ensure its viability for years.

      And you also know that nothing has been done about immigration reform because of obstructionism from the GOP!! Despite the stalling from the GOP, the Obama administration has rounded up and deported more troublesome illegal aliens than any previous president. And Obama followed through with strengthening the Mexican border fencing and adding more agents which has reduced illegals crossing the border to the lowest levels in decades.

      And with respect to “what does he have to show for it?” The Obama administration has accomplished more over the past 5 1/2 hears for the benefit of America, than Reagan and the 2 bushes accomplished in their 20 years in office.


      !) ending two unnecessary/unwarranted wars, to

      2) saving the Auto Industry, to

      3) keeping America from falling into the GOP’s 2nd created world-wide depression, to

      4) following through and getting bin Laden, to

      5) keeping Americans overseas the safest they’ve been in 40 years with only 1 deadly overseas attack – unlike the many under the last 3 GOP presidents, to

      6) managing America’s energy sector such that the time is not far off when America will overtake Russia as the planet’s largest producer of energy, while

      7) at the same time adding protections for America’s national parks for the enjoyment of the American people, to

      8) the many more accomplishments that are outlined at the website accessed via the following link:


    2. Rob_Chapman May 12, 2014

      The conservative fixation on establishing a dictatorship in America is well reflected in paulyz emphasis on complete control.

      We might recall that the main thrust of Obama’s 2008 campaign was restoring bipartisanship. The Dems actively sought GOP assistance in drafting all the major bills which became laws during the period that Paulyz says they were in complete control.

      The GOP response was “no, no, HELL no,” as Boehner famously stated from the well of the House chamber earning a rebuke for his lack of comity.

      One party cannot govern effectively in peaceful prosperous times. In times of war and recession, the conditions we have experienced far too much in the 21st century, both parties need to step up and work together.

      The GOP attitude of “no, no, HELL no,” is simply destroying our country.

  4. joe schmo April 12, 2014

    LOL, another stellar article that says absolutely nothing whatsoever.

    “There are taboos among policymakers that are holding us back. Above all, we must take fiscal stimulus seriously again. Today’s economy operates far below its growth potential. The fiscal stimulus we need should not only make the social safety net whole but also be tied to aggressive investment in transportation, communications, and clean technologies that have been badly neglected.”(BY POLICYMAKERS YOU CERTAINLY MUST MEAN CONSERVATIVES? OH NO NOT ANOTHER WASTEFUL STIMULUS. WHERE SHOULD THE MONEY COME FROM…THE MIDDLE CLASS, AGAIN. TRANSPORTATION – DOES THAT MEAN WE WILL SOON HAVE A NEW MILEAGE TAX, COMMUNICATIONS?, AND CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES….GEE WIZ NOT ANOTHER SOLYNDRA?

    “The federal government can itself create useful, good-paying jobs in transportation, teaching, and health care. A carefully crafted federal job creation program, as was successfully enacted under FDR, can work today.” (WHY ALWAYS GOVERNMENT JOBS. THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS PART OF THIS COUNTRY TO.)

    “Poor wages are also part and parcel of America’s economic failure. Today’s typical household earns no more after inflation than it did almost 20 years ago. Only 44 percent of Americans think they are middle class, the lowest level recorded.” (IN A WORD ‘OUTSOURCING AND LARGE CORPS’ I’M FINDING THIS IS SOMETHING THAT BOTH CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS HAVE IN COMMON)

    “Most tragically, we neglect our young. Six million or so Americans ages 16 to 24 are neither in school nor have a job.”(GEE, COULD IT BE THAT LIBERAL EDUCATION SYSTEM HARD AT WORK.)

    “If America wants a strong future, it had also better invest more in technological research.” (HOW’S THAT? ESPECIALLY SINCE WE ARE BEING OUTSOURCED RIGHT AND LEFT.)

    Great ideas alright. Not! This article has not said one thing about resolving the lack of jobs issue. Aside from that I think the Government is cooking the books with regard to those people working. Give me a break.

    1. Sand_Cat April 13, 2014

      Why the government? Well, the private sector is sitting on tons of cash, but won’t use it to start the economy, so there’s no one left.

      1. joe schmo April 15, 2014

        You think? Gee I wonder why. Why would anyone feel safe spending money with our Spender-in-Cheif in office. Can’t blame them. At the moment our country is in deep economical doo doo.

        Hold on to what you can with that devaluating dollar. If you haven’t already. Buy some gold and sliver. Invest in foreign annuities. Invest in property. Russia has just abandoned the dollar and China is not far behind. Stay clear of the stock market it’s a loser…. that is unless you invest in long term stocks.

        Business people are learning how to save. That’s a good thing. The typical appetite for Americans is spend spend spend. It’s good they are learning to hold back. Doesn’t stimulate the economy but when they feel comfortable and someone else comes into office businesses may be released from their tax burdens, become more confident and then our country can start moving once again.

        A great Jewish businessman once told me, save your pennies and they will soon become dollars:)

  5. Rob_Chapman May 12, 2014

    You had me when you wrote “We need jobs,” then all you put up was a blame game scree about what the current policy makers are doing wrong.

    Do you have a fifteen point jobs program or not?


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