Krugman’s Right, It Is time For Labor Ready

March 24, 2014 at 3:41 am Leave a comment

Paul Krugman writes

“The most important paper at the Brookings Panel was probably Krueger et al on the long-term unemployed, which basically confirmed what we’re learning from a number of sources: it’s really hard to get employers to look at people who have been out of work for an extended period, so any sustained increase in long-term unemployment tends to become permanent.

The best way to avoid this outcome, then, is to avoid prolonged periods of high unemployment.

So let me make the obvious point, just in case anyone missed it: the “pivot” of 2010 — when all the Very Serious People decided that the danger from debt trumped any and all concern for job creation — was an utter disaster, economic and human. It was even a disaster in fiscal terms, because a permanently depressed economy will cost far more in revenue than was saved by slashing the deficit by a few percent of GDP in the short term.

Now, you might think that this post should be titled The Mistake of 2010 — but that would only be appropriate if it were truly an honest error. It wasn’t. Some of the austerians were self-consciously exploiting deficit panic to promote a conservative agenda; some were slipping into deficit-scolding rather than dealing with our actual problems because it felt comfortable; some were just going along for the ride, saying what everyone else was saying. Hardly anyone in the deficit-scold camp engaged in hard thinking and careful assessment of the evidence.

And millions of people will still be paying the price for that casual irresponsibility for many years to come.

That is precisely the reason why I have to line for Labor Ready tommorow.

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