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Recovery? What recovery?

Today’s jobs figures should dispel any notion that slamming the brakes on government fiscal stimulus is a good idea. The private sector created a measly 41,000 new jobs last month -- a rate that would have us returning to the pre-recession level of joblessness some time in the middle of the century. Looking at the figures sector-by-sector: construction, retail and state and local government all lost jobs last month. The only bright spot in the news was the creation of 411,000 temp jobs by the Census Bureau. Unless we decide to change census-taking from a decennial to a continuous activity, we look to be in a world of trouble, and millions of Americans, in a world of pain.

But go back just a week or two and you’ll find the Washington air fouled by members of Congress -- Republicans and center-right Democrats -- declaring that we should stop extending unemployment benefits, and that any aid to local governments to keep teachers, cops and fire-fighters on the job would only deepen the deficit. Freshman Pennsylvania Democrat Kathy Dahlkamper suggested that the extension of benefits may be preventing businesses in her district from hiring as many people as they want to hire. Well, let’s do some math. Forty-one thousand new private sector jobs divided by 435 congressional districts comes to about 94 new jobs per congressional district. Assume Dahlkamper comes from such a district: Does she really think there aren’t more than 94 job-seekers among her constituents?

Anyone who argues that the federal government should abandon all attempts at stimulating the economy at a time when the private sector seems unable to create jobs itself should answer a question: Where, exactly, will the jobs come from? And if they can’t answer that, maybe they should recognize that now is not the time for fiscal hawkery.

By Harold Meyerson  | June 4, 2010; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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Comments

The 431,000 jobs included 411,000 temporary census jobs yielding 20,000 non-census jobs.

At what point to you admit that adding 10% GDP in the form of deficit spending is not stimulating the economy but instead, is propping up the economy?

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 4, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey! This is amazing! That's the same question I was asking!

Posted by: georges2 | June 4, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Atlas is shrugging?

Posted by: ClementsinUrbana | June 4, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The census shows what can be done if the government actually has its head glued on straight: if it simply hires people and gives them jobs, jobs will be created. The problem with the census is not that jobs were created; it's that the jobs were temporary. So, the next task for government: create LONG-TERM jobs! (And, yes, that means hiring directly. The private sector is not trustworthy in and of itself those days.)

Posted by: rickyrab | June 4, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Meyerson: "Today’s jobs figures should dispel any notion that slamming the brakes on government fiscal stimulus is a good idea."

Translation: More cowbell!!!

Whatever it is you're smoking, dude, can I have some?

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 4, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Kathy Dahlkamper is definitedly a maverick at the game. To suggest that Federal benefits be denied across the board clearly displays her tunnel vision. Isn't she at all concerned about the rest of the country besides her teeny weeny little piece of turf? There are millions of unemployed across the land and all she can see is her locality? Wake up Dahlkamper! We know you are a beginner at the game so the best thing you can do instead of looking dumb is to keep your mouth shut until you learn the game!

Posted by: theoldiesguy | June 4, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What perverse logic. Let's see.... the government sucks money out of the private sector (because the government doesn't have any money of its own) and then hires temporary workers and that's a good thing??? Holy smokes. This economy wants to get up and go on its own accord if the gov't would just get the heck out of everyone's lives the economy would be smoking hot by now. Instead, gov't has scared the daylights out of the private sector as well as the individual citizens with taxes for healthcare and the prospect for more. Fear is keeping the economy down. Fear of taxes and the crazy socialistic tendencies of this administration and congress. Those folks live in a different world than the rest of us. The shame is that they control us.

Posted by: archco | June 4, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

On the question of what should or should not be done, I urge everyone to take a look at the views of Anna Schwartz. She correctly predicted that the federal governments actions would not work. She is right. She did offer a prescription on how to get out of this mess, but as is too often the case, the political elites did not listen to someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

Posted by: jeffreed | June 4, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Ask private employers what's holding them back from hiring, and they'll tell you it's the uncertainity emanating from Washington.
Among their worries: the 'cost of doing business' as a result of evolving health care policies, and the certain increase in business taxes and fees. The only question is by how much? And that won't be known until starting next year.
Also unknown is the Obama's response to the towering national debt. Again, businesses knows that their taxes are bound to go up, but they don't know by how much. The refusal of Congressional dems to provide a budget blueprint is only adding to that angst.
Meanwhile, the financial services sector is nervously awaiting the results of the conference committee deliberations on the 1500-page financial regulation legislation. This may not be known for another month.
All of these unknowns mean that a business manager can't make cash flow projections, and therein is reluctant to risk the costs of making additional job hires.
In terms of additional stimulus outlays, these would only prop up government jobs temporarily, which most agree is not the real solution for economic recovery.
The answer is the private sector, and it's time for the Obama administration to address their concerns.

Posted by: mtpeaks | June 4, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

As a general rule, I am not a fan of government stimuli to boost the economy. However during times of recession/ depression, that is the proper role of government. This is done through tax cuts and increased spending (fiscal policy) coupled with low interest rates (monetary policy). This leads to large deficits. The problem we face is that flip-side of this is also true. During "good times", times of stable and better economic growth the government must also step in. Taxes must be raised and spending cut (fiscal policy) at the same time that interest rates are also raised (monetary policy). This keeps the economy from overheating and/or creating bubbles. During these times debt that is accrued during lean times is also paid off. Had we done this during the mid-to-late 1990's, and again during the early-middle 2000's we would not be in the predicament we are in today. Bottom line: The government (also known as ALL OF US) is doing what it is supposed to right now. The sad part is the government (read ALL OF US) are not willing to do what we are supposed to do during good times.

Posted by: lolson1 | June 4, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it is too much to expect folks like Mr Meyerson to ever understand that Government spending without a robust private economy does not, will not, and cannot ever result in anything more than a temporary shoring up in a down spiraling economy.
Every dollar hijacked and used (wasted) by the Government is one less dollar which could be used by the private economy to create jobs and products to produce wealth. Without wealth there is no source for investment in new products, services, and new hires.
No Administration ever before has removed so much money from the wealth producers as this one.
Even liberal economists are beginning to see that Obama has turned a bad economy into a doomed economy unless something is done and quickly. Fortunately that something can be accomplished by voters in November.
Meyerson will never acknowlege that.Perhaps he should take a remedial economics 101 course somewhere.

Posted by: fparker2 | June 4, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"This economy wants to get up and go on its own accord if the gov't would just get the heck out of everyone's lives the economy would be smoking hot by now."

Posted by: archco

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************

You obviously must be just another, typical conservatard who either has a memory of a dung fly or live in delusional denial, because it was precisely the under-regulated, if not unregulated, financial market that was bloating with hot air and smoking hot until it burst, splashing the financial misery of Great Recession. Moron!

Posted by: TalkingHead1 | June 4, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rickyrab
The census shows what can be done if the government actually has its head glued on straight: if it simply hires people and gives them jobs, jobs will be created. The problem with the census is not that jobs were created; it's that the jobs were temporary. So, the next task for government: create LONG-TERM jobs! (And, yes, that means hiring directly. The private sector is not trustworthy in and of itself those days.)
*****************************************

Is it possible for a person to be as clueless as the above poster? If this is typical of the type of person Obama has left supporting him, then he is screwed.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | June 4, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I say we start eating the slowest and the fattest.

Posted by: veerle1 | June 4, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the time for the stimulus solution has come and gone. Our economy cannot sustain its current debt, let alone add any more.
We're in new territory now, and the contraction that the stimulus put off must now be faced. For starters, our government expenditures must begin to be adjusted closer to our revenues. The current imbalance cannot continue.
New economic theory is needed,including introducing 'sustainability' into the economic lexicon. Growing our way out of this mess is not going to happen anytime soon. Adjust.

Posted by: mtpeaks | June 4, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see some WP readers can see through this sort of twisted logic. Mr. Meyerson, may I suggest you enroll in a basic economics class? Government doesn't create wealth - capitalists in the private sector create wealth and are then forced to give it to the government at the point of a gun to finance government activities.
Let our people go! We'll produce and create the wealth again and then you can steal it back again to pay for your prolifagate spending programs.

Posted by: alanVAFairfax | June 4, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TalkingHead1
You obviously must be just another, typical conservatard who either has a memory of a dung fly or live in delusional denial, because it was precisely the under-regulated, if not unregulated, financial market that was bloating with hot air and smoking hot until it burst, splashing the financial misery of Great Recession. Moron!
*******************************************

If you were any more clueless of how the real world works, then your brain wouldn't be able to to run your basic bodily functions. The only supporters Obama has left is the muck at the bottom of the libtard barrel.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | June 4, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Ask private employers what's holding them back from hiring, and they'll tell you it's the uncertainity emanating from Washington. Posted by: mtpeaks |

BINGO!! Right on the money. If Washington would get out of the way and quit playing politics, this economy could start to grow legs. Unfortunately, I think it is probably going to drag through the Summer until November.

Posted by: VaBroker | June 4, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd LOVE to hear what the Tea Party people think now that the FREE MARKET has proven that it needs Government intervention to survive!

I'm sure any Teajadist out there who lost his/her job would cry for government help.

Kinda like the Senator Bachman's of the world who claim they want less government, but when a crisis pops up due to de-regulation, they cry cry cry for the government to come save them (see the BP Oil Spill)

Posted by: jgarrisn | June 4, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Must be new math or voodoo economics, 31,000 jobs were given by census this month, another 85,000 from the gov't and 80,000 from the oil spill. Looks like the private sector created over 200,000 jobs hardly enough to call it anything but a weak recovery. Over 150,000 are needed just for population growth.

Posted by: jameschirico | June 4, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jgarrisn
Kinda like the Senator Bachman's of the world who claim they want less government, but when a crisis pops up due to de-regulation, they cry cry cry for the government to come save them (see the BP Oil Spill)
*******************************************

You are a living example of why we can't take advice from liberals. You claim to have all the answers but don't even know that Michele Bachman is not a Senator. She is a Representative. I suggest you take some courses in basic government, economics and human nature. While doing this read more websites than the liberals water carriers for Obama like the WaPo. After a year, you might be qualified to make a comment that has some validity.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | June 4, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

That's right. Everything is still wrong in America. Life sucks. Things are terrible. The economy is bad. The wars are bad. Unemployment is bad. All these issues are the result of prior Republican leadership decisions for 8 years and the American people are still having to pay the price for those decisions. What we need to do is to continue to give in to fear and feelings of despair and just hold on until November rolls around, then elect an overwhelming number of Republicans to the House and Senate so that they can fix all of these problems. Come November, the streets of America will look just like they do in the Middle East: all the Tea Party folks will be out in the streets firing their weapons in the air to celebrate their victories and America will be on the road to recovery again.

Posted by: mawheelz | June 4, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

You have to remember, Republicans have been fighting against unemployment benefits since they were first started in the 1930s, so this is nothing new.

As Republicans see it, a starving working class will work harder for less pay than a secure middle class. And if there are too many workers for the jobs, well, a little malnutrition can go a long way.

Posted by: tboyer33 | June 4, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse


Now for something totaly different, the big machine shop I retired from 4 years ago, also lost many others to retirement, and more to follow this month. 28 jobs open for skilled machinist, with excellent benefits. Why then are most of those jobs still unfilled, they spend a lot of money advertising , posting with the state etc
Oh people still come in for jobs, but hey you cant smoke in there (or on the grounds). its hot as hell in the summer (no a/c there). you have to pass a drug test, have a very stable work record, and get this you must show up for work everyday, and work the hours needed for production ( long and required). They pay great money for your skills, but no one wants to get dirty, work long hours in a hard job, and swelter . You cant smoke and you have to show up everyday, naw, I think I will just collect another 6 months or so.
those jobs are outsourced now, mass. jobs sent to ohio to be done.

Posted by: davidtrottier2002 | June 4, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Ask private employers what's holding them back from hiring, and they'll tell you it's the uncertainity emanating from Washington.
______________

I don't doubt you could find someone to say the above. I do think though that this concept of government is bad and if they just got otta the way everything would be fine is comical. First, in case you were asleep for the last three years government letting the fox guard the henhouse is the cause of the crisis we are now in. But more importantly, the government is for better or worse the engine which generates the bulk of our economy. Don't think that's true do you? Imagine for a moment if we cut out, oh I don't know, defense spending. What are you going to replace 20% of our GDP with overnight? I know: American self relience and know how. Except that never really happened. It never happened because the government actually is effcient at increasing the velocity of money -it all gets spent and it all gets pushed back into our economy only to be taxes and washed through again. I know Bush almost succeded at staving the beast which has been a conservative mision during the entirety of my lifetime, but what we know now is this: The beast is us - be careful before you wish for its demise. Oh and keep your goverment hands off my medicare!

Posted by: bob29 | June 4, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to figure out how paying people unemployment creates jobs.

Posted by: JimmyZ3 | June 4, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh no a double dip recession on the horizon. Crap where are we going to get more money to stimulate the economy and not force our bond rating down the drain? I suggest we don't need to add new types of funding or programs we just need to make the unemployed work. If you are unemployment you need to work for that check, not full time but at least two days a week. Roosevelt didn't give it away and neither should we. I'm not saying make work, go back to your old job and work it for two days a week. If that company is gone we can find you another place to work.

This work requirement should add dignity to getting an unemployment check and add production to the economy that will cause a multiplier effect and blah blah blah the economy may grow. As the economy grows phase the program out and force these newly productive businesses to hire again. Ahh the circle is complete and hopefully a double dip recession is avoided and our bond rating is still intact.

Posted by: mirebay | June 4, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

And the 'teachers, cops, and firefighters' argument is getting old. Many local jurisdictions got fat, dumb, and happy in many departments during the good times and need to trim back in several departments. Stop using the examples to get everyone all excited.

Posted by: JimmyZ3 | June 4, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to figure out how paying people unemployment creates jobs.

Posted by: JimmyZ3 | June 4, 2010 5:57 PM
==============================

Still trying to figure out why anyone would want to listen to the Chicago School supply-siders who got us into this mess.

$12 Trillion of Republican debt and a busted economy thanks to tax cuts for tycoons and deregulation? Cure it with more tax cuts for tycoons and deregulation!

You folks are insane.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | June 4, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Repeal Prohibition on Marijuana, take it off the drug list and watch millions of jobs and tax dollars appear...however, the rich folks running the drug cartels will lose out and no big corporate control set up for that yet so it would benefit the common citizens WAY too much.

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | June 4, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it is too much to expect folks like Mr Meyerson to ever understand that Government spending without a robust private economy does not, will not, and cannot ever result in anything more than a temporary shoring up in a down spiraling economy.
---------------------------------
You are absolutely correct; begging the question, where is the robust private economy?

There isn't one; it was gambled away on Wall Street and/or sent to China, Mexico, etc! Why is that?

Bush II, ethically challenged Tom Delay, and the rest of the GOP thieves, spent the first budget surplus in decades on massive, unfunded tax cuts for those who didn't need it, advocated outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to destroy the unions that produced and protected the US middle class and maintained the purchasing power of working people.

Thanks to GOP policies, honest, working Americans are losing their livelihoods, homes, and no longer have the purchasing power to sustain a market economy. All the wealth and purchasing power has been redistributed to the top.

Perhaps the GOP ought be asking why the lazy, unproductive rich, who have benefited so much from the GOP's economic policies aren't spending their billion dollar bonuses to support our economy in these troubled times?

Posted by: risejugger | June 4, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, President Obama needs to stop trying to compromise with the America-hating Republicants and just RAM a bill thru with a straight majority with the sitting VP as tiebreaker.

We've done it before.

Let's do it again.

You only need 50 votes.

PERIOD.

Posted by: WillSeattle | June 4, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

By Mr. Meyerson's logic we can rebuild the economy by simply paying people to dig holes and fill them back up again.

The Stimulus works like welfare. It gives people money but does nothing to help the actual economy.

Posted by: BradG | June 4, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Same Old Shiit Comrade Meyerson - Trace it back to the ill-conceived stimulus characterized by Soviet style top down spending. It won't work.

Posted by: hz9604 | June 4, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The more likely reality is that government stimulus cannot fix the problem. The only way to fix the problem is through a lengthy process where the bad debt gets resolved and many people find new jobs providing some kind of service that those with money to spend are willing to pay for. Some amount of government support is needed to help people get through this process. But government handouts or make work that nobody really wants to pay for also retard the process. Unfortunately there is no easy path through this process. Different people and different national economies have conflicting real interests, conflicting ideologies, and often a poor conscious understanding of what their real interests are. So we could possibly be in a very long period of trying to regain a better economic equilibrium. But bad government decisions to over stimulate growth and particularly to over stimulate home ownership played a very large part in the severity of our current dislocation. Excessive government stimulus will just add to the problem.

Posted by: dnjake | June 4, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

maybe the right wingers should read what John McCains economic advisor Mark Zandi, from his presidential campaign has to say...

He's also Moodys chief economist, someone who actually knows something about economics as opposed to some of the commentators here.
READ THE WHOLE DOCUMENT...I DARE YOU.

http://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/Senate-Finance-Committee-Unemployment%20Insurance-041410.pdf

Posted by: mikeryd | June 4, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Meyerson:
Thank you for your remarks.
I keep wondering what planet these hateful partisans live on.
All of our recovery efforts have been swept aside by the enormous effect of the destruction of the eastern Gulf Coast.
The jobs of thousands of people down here have been effectively annihilated affecting at least 4 states.
Unemployment figures will soar to horrible heights this summer down here.
Collecting on this mess will be a legal nightmare.
Forget cleanup.
The Gulf Coast is ruined for generations in many areas.
The frustration of those who love the Gulf Coast knows no bounds.
Yet, if you read the comments, Tea Partiers could care less.
Well, I have news for them and for their cutsy candidate, Rand Paul.
It's OUR country too and we want our country back also, but we don't define that statement the same way they do.
We're not a bunch of selfish, spoiled rotten members of the "ME Generation."
Eventually, the effect of this mess will affect jobs all over this country.
Just wait until the fallout hits our retirement savings.
This country has been struck a blow that makes 9/11 look like a cakewalk.
If we don't stand together and support each other, we will fall together.
They better reconsider priorities.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 4, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

So the way out is to enable people with stimulus money to sustain a lifestyle they can't afford?! And when that money runs out, then what? The long overdue correction, that's what, and maybe a path to real recovery. And for everyone clamoring to cut the Defense budget, isn't that really the kind of stimulus that works. Pouring money into spending that's not really necessary but creates good jobs? Might not be liberally correct but it feeds a lot of families.

Posted by: PghGuy | June 4, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

mikeryd:
Thank you for the link to the paper by Mark Zandi.
Fortunately, some of us do have an economic background and will appreciate it.
I printed it out so as to sit quietly and read it carefully.
It looks interesting and instructive.
Thanks!
Judy in Beaumont, TX (next door to Louisiana)

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 4, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, President Obama needs to stop trying to compromise with the America-hating Republicants and just RAM a bill thru with a straight majority with the sitting VP as tiebreaker.
==========================
Well, the good news is that Speaker Pelosi tried just that before the holiday break, and her fellow dems objected.
For they know that their voters back home have had it with this spend-free leadership. And these very same voters know that ultimately they, their children, and their children's children will be stuck with the tab.
So get used to it, the government's credit card has maxed out.

Posted by: mtpeaks | June 4, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Judy in Texas has some real news and it's very bad. Our balance sheet is wrecked, and the conservative posters have correctly noted that government jobs are not a move forward to address that problem. The only way this get fixed is through a national austerity that no one on the political spectrum will like. So, I guess that the fiddling will continue...

Posted by: drc231 | June 4, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Meyerson:
Thank you for your remarks.
I keep wondering what planet these hateful partisans live on.
All of our recovery efforts have been swept aside by the enormous effect of the destruction of the eastern Gulf Coast.
The jobs of thousands of people down here have been effectively annihilated affecting at least 4 states.
===============================
Dear Judy,
You're confusing two issues here. Yes, the coastal gulf is in dire straights, and needs all the help it can get.
Though I haven't heard it, hopefully the feds have declared it a disaster zone, and are mobilizing the needed help for the affected citizens.
Meanwhile, Harold and company are advocating something entirely different.
They want the $23 billion in federal aid to state and local union workers, which was stopped by House dems, to be reconsidered.
It's perplexing problem, for the initial stimulus gave funds for this purpose. And now they want it extended for another year.
But here's the problem: the federal government can't even afford to fund its own costs, so how can it possibly borrow even more money to fund union workers that are not even on its payroll?
We wish it wasn't true, but at the end of the day, everyone has to live within their means. Even union workers.

Posted by: mtpeaks | June 4, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

We don't need a stimulus, we need to stop outsourcing jobs! Look, outsourcing is accelerating. In India it costs an average $0.91 an hour for the average worker -- that's EVERYTHING, wages, benefits, taxes, the works. That is 3.1% of what it costs to employ their U.S. counterpart. The differential is similar with CHinese workers. It is even greater with workers from the "emerging" economies in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and elsewhere throughout Asia. And don't hold your breath for worker wages to climb in any of those countries any time soon. Those governments are ensuring that costs stay low to attract jobs from Europe, Canada, the West.

Now, no one in this country can survive on the wages paid those Asian workers or,even, ten times them. Even considering the differential of food and housing prices, the taxes that support our infrastructure amount to more than the total hourly cost. Imagine a U.S. without sewer systems, a highway system, schools, and never mind unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, police, fire, etc. But we ARE on that road and it's well past the time people started pointing it out. Long before we get to the end of that road, though, this country is going to simply explode in a rash of strikes, riots, violence, political and corporate leader assassinations, anarchy, revolution, government crackdowns and repressive measures, stuff that will end this country, this democracy, and take down with it our businesses, and likely spiral out of control when someone offers to make us #1, again, if we will just give them total control. Replace Hitler with that someone, and substitute corporate executives, Wall Street traders, Indian and Chinese guest workers, and illegal immigrants for the Jews and you might just get the picture.

The only way out of this is to end outsourcing and that can only be accomplished by the use of trade tariffs, high trade tariffs that make the cost of offshore produced goods and services so high that companies wont even think of outsourcing, will, in fact, reverse that and bring a significant number of those jobs and factories back here.

This is something Mr. Samuelson and the Post needs to get across to Obama and Geithner and Summers, to every member of Congress and to our business leaders. Think long and hard about this, because your lives depend upon it. Believe it! We are on the precipice of repeating the historic models of pre-revolutionary France and Weimar Germany.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 4, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The difference between 'this time' and previous times where monetary policy pulled us out is that we had a large manufacturing base that produced things of value. That in turn allowed real savings and consumption to return. We have no such base today. And we've already spent all our money. The only thing left is to print more dollars, and everybody knows that will likely spark a severe round of hyper-inflation that will leave most people poorer than they are now.

Posted by: infuse | June 4, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

The Federal stimulus is a joke...much of it did not create the kinds of things that would increase long term GDP growth or job growth. What it did create though is a fear of future debt payments and this is weighing in on 2/3rds of the world's economies. In case you have not noticed, the big fear is debt and the U.S. will certainly have a Greek moment if we continue to spend beyond our means. Long term unemployment payments needs to end as well. Why look for a job if you can collect benefits for years? Some (especially urban) people fail to realize that there are many that can live comfortably on unemployment. Many work under the table as well as they collect, a fact that the press seems to ignore as they simply tout the expanded unemployment rate.

Posted by: luvmtains | June 5, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

So if only our Federal Government would hire half of our 15 million unemployed to to go out and dig holes, and the other half to follow behind filling them up, all our problems would be solved.

Brilliant Meyerson.

Posted by: Bjartur | June 5, 2010 3:48 AM | Report abuse

According to the Washington Post on July 3, 2009: 'The nation now has the same number of jobs it did in 2000, meaning that nine years of employment gains have disappeared.'

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the net jobs lost since December, 2007 is nearly 7.8 million with 4.7 million jobs lost in 2009 alone. Since 2000, we have added over 11 million legal immigrants and now tolerate more than 7 million illegal workers in non-farm jobs. According to DHS reports, less than 12% of legal immigrants initiate their own immigration. The vast majority are either brought in under family reunification, including extended family, or by employers. As most of these immigrants have no better skills than our own unemployed workers, why do you think the US continues to allow their entry with so many of our own workers unemployed?

The White House claims that as of October 2009, its stimulus efforts had produced or saved 990,000 jobs; however, it added 750,000 new foreign workers to the US at the same time. What this effectively means is that the federal government spent billions of taxes dollars or borrowed the money from abroad to employ more new foreign workers than US workers. Why do you think they did this? How does this help our own unemployed workers?

Why doesn't the government, which says that jobs, jobs, jobs is its primary concern do the following?

* Make the E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. employers to begin opening up the 7 million jobs currently held by illegal aliens and allow all employers to voluntarily run their entire workforce through E-Verify.
* Provide full funding so that DHS can quickly train as many local and state police forces as desire to enter into the 287(g) program.
* Suspend issuing Green Cards to visa lottery winners and suspend the chain migration categories of adult siblings, parents, and adult children of anchor immigrants.
* Dramatically reduce permanent work permits issued through employment-based categories to take jobs that Americans want and need.

We don't need another budget-busting stimulus. We need to enforce our immigration laws!

Posted by: dflinchum | June 5, 2010 6:00 AM | Report abuse

What if instead of 'digging holes and filling them up' people were hired to build a first rate 'fast rail' system that connected towns, cities and metropolises across the USA? Jobs for the highly educated, skilled workers and unskilled laborers ... and, of course, jobs for people later to work the rail system and and and ...

oh, bother. Let China do it (ooops they have!)

I bet there are other jobs that would help this country in the short and long terms ... even digging holes and filling them (repairing the aging sewer system in your locale?)

Posted by: freddiano | June 5, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The stimulus money has, with few exceptions, not been spent wisely. It has been spent to expand federal jobs and save public service jobs at the state and local level. Private sector hiring has been suppressed both by the economy and the anti business legislation passed (Obamacare) and pending (cap and trade). To "stimulate" the private sector we need to reduce the worlds highest business taxes we have in US plus encourage capital investment by liberalizing depreciation schedules. We also need to repeal Obamacare and kill cap and trade which is a huge new energy tax and wealth transfer from the US to the third world. We also should stop the insanity of paying unemployment compensation in perpetuity. Close the border and put the unemployed to work building infrastructure.

Posted by: jkk1943 | June 5, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

How can I believe anything that Harold says when he should know that employment is a lagging indicator? He just wants to talk things down.

He and Mr. Toles ought to go into a show together. "Gloom and Doom Forever" might work.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 5, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

OK, Harold, I'll bite. Why don't we just keep those 400,000 census workers on the federal payroll, then? That'll "stimulate" our economy further, right?

We'll just have them take another census next month. And the month after that. And the month after that...ad infinitum. No doubt a real contributor to our GDP.

In fact, let's just have the federal government hire ALL the unemployed and give them various sinecures. That'll solve the problem, won't it?

Let me know when you figure out what's wrong with this fuzzy logic. Alright?

Posted by: cynicalidealist | June 5, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to figure out how paying people unemployment creates jobs.

Posted by: JimmyZ3 | June 4, 2010 5:57 PM |

The purpose of unemployment benefits is not to create jobs but to prevent workers from being homeless or going hungry while they are looking for work. People on unemployment do not save their unemployment checks but pass that money on to landlords and grocery stores so not only do the unemployed benefit but also the people who they buy from. I doubt that there are a lot of jobs going unfilled because there are people who would rather get an unemployment check rather than a paycheck. Unemployment benefits are not that generous and and COBRA is expensive. If you want to see homelessness, hunger, and crime go up get rid of unemployment benefits.

Posted by: exbrown | June 5, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

If I can answer that question, can I have your job? (Actually, I can answer that question, it is rather easy for someone who does understand the simple basics of Economics.) If a Democrat is saying that it is withholding jobs from being offered and needs to end, well, then certainly it must be time. (And that is Politics.) (Just you might need clarification on the 2, yes she wants it to end for Economic reasons, but is stating for Political!)

Posted by: SpawningThought | June 7, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

The private sector will not begin hiring until the Muslim Regime stops "playing" the role of good daddy. The old saying Lead, Follow or Get-out-of-Way seems more true now than ever. The private sector has no idea which way the regime is going so they are waiting and seeing. Since the regime is doing such a poor job of leading, and can't follow, let it get the HELL OUT OF THE WAY!!!! When this happens, private business will get on with the business of creating jobs.

Posted by: dehowejr | June 7, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

For decades we have watched Europe with bloated governments, bloated social programs, and over compensated public employees suffer long term unemployment rates of 10% of higher.

Now, that we have grown the government, bloated our social programs and let the union thugs working as public employees get totally out of control we are suffering long term unemployment of about 10%.

The progressive solution, so well voiced by Harold, is more bloat and more money to the union thug public employees.

Every dollar that spent by government is a dollar that CANNOT be invested in the public sector. Until a whole bunch of people like Harold figure that out, unemployment is going to stay high and the economy in the tank.

I am just guessing but I would think after another 4 or 5 years of 10% unemployment that will find it more difficult to explain as BUSH'S FAULT. They will try. But it will be more difficult.

Posted by: TECWRITE | June 7, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

The President's first priority should have been putting Americans back to work. He has consigned millions of Americans to the miseries of unemployment because he spent far too much on a stimulus package that simply gave money to banks who didn't change their ways; and too much on a healthcare bill that provides access to health insurance, but not to decent healthcare. And because his elitist inner circle has no idea what working for a living on real jobs is like. The academic Ivy League elite that dominates his Administration is out of touch with working people, a strange thing for a Democratic Administration. And now, more people are going to be unemployed because the state, the counties, the cities and town are all laying off teachers, police, firefighters, public works, librarians et al. FDR, Obama isn't.

Posted by: sailhardy | June 7, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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