Skip to main content

View Diary: The Day America Stopped Hiring (214 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Jared Bernstein addresses that point in a superb (75+ / 0-)

    NYT op-ed today:

    While the high jobless numbers are partly a legacy of the Great Recession, the fact is that our economy has generated too few jobs for most of the last 30 years and is likely to continue to do so. The only viable response is a return to an idea that once animated domestic policy making: full employment, the notion that everyone who wants to work should be able to find a job, and if the market isn’t up to the task, then the government must fill the gap.

    For decades in postwar America, the maintenance of full employment, defined as an unemployment rate below 5 percent, was enshrined in law, beginning with the Employment Act of 1946 and revisited in 1978 in the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. It was a central goal of the Democratic Party, labor unions and advocates of social and racial justice.

    And it usually worked. While conservatives and businesses pushed back — tight labor markets meant more worker bargaining power, higher wages and less profitability — between 1949 and 1979 the market was at full employment over two-thirds of the time. Since then, it has been at that level just a third of the time.

    Bernstein attributes this shift to the following developments:
    Politically, as union power declined, the concerns of Democratic policy makers shifted from working-class issues like jobs and toward the concerns of upper-income constituents, like inflation, taxes and budget balancing.

    Economically, a number of trends have created persistent, upward pressure on the jobless rate. Since 2000 — the last time the market was at full employment — productivity is up about 30 percent, while employment has been flat. And that’s not just because of the recession; the same pattern prevailed during the 2000s expansion.

    He recommends the following steps:
    For one thing, in the near term, do no harm. Austerity, including sequestration, is the economic version of medieval leeching. The Federal Reserve continues to apply high doses of monetary stimulus, and that’s supporting low interest rates, which in turn are linked to the improving housing market. But it can’t do it alone, and Congress is counteracting such tailwinds with fiscal headwinds.

    We also need a significant, permanent program to absorb excess labor (an explicit part of the Humphrey-Hawkins law). We should consider restarting and rescaling a subsidized jobs program from the 2009 Recovery Act that, though relatively small, made jobs possible for hundreds of thousands of workers.

    And we have to reassess our manufacturing policy, including reducing the trade deficit. That means both reshaping our dollar policy — going after competitors who suppress their currencies’ value to get an edge on net exports — and public investments in areas where clean energy intersects with production.

    Helping state and local govts not continue to slash payrolls (arguably the main achievement of the Stim) just might help, too.  As has become the new normal, yesterday's BLS stats showed:
    This push-and-pull dynamic was evident in data released Friday by the Labor Department, as private employers added 176,000 people to their payrolls even as the public sector shed an additional 11,000 workers.
    The cuts to state & local govt payrolls are to people who provide direct services that voters want.  Maybe voters, in the abstract, like the idea of govt payrolls steadily shrinking.  All available evidence, however, shows that people like having cops, firefighters, and teachers.  People, presumably, also like having roads and bridges that are safe to drive upon and water and sewer systems that function properly.  They might understand the need to do something about our yawning infrastructure gap of $3.2 TRILLION.

    Bernstein closes as follows:

    Finally, financial deregulation has become the enemy of full employment: it funnels capital to unproductive parts of the economy, and plays a key role in the “shampoo cycle” of bubble, bust, repeat. Less volatile capital markets mean fewer shocks to the job market.

    If that is too interventionist, there’s another approach. Like many European countries, we could ask less of our people in terms of work, and hold them harmless by broadly redistributing our productivity gains. But I don’t see that in our future. What I do see is a growing disconnection between growth and jobs. Setting a path to full employment is the best way to alter that dark vision.

    In my youth, this column would have been considered unremarkable in Dem circles, as it stated  party core values accepted by a broad consensus.  Today, it puts him visibly on the left of the party's bell curve.  While I wish that this view would, once again, be at the middle of the Dem bell curve, I'm not expecting it to happen any time in the forseeable future.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:50:56 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  In the spirit of your username (6+ / 0-)

      we should as a matter of policy and principle look at things as they are and ask "Why not?"

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:43:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When Democrats stopped acting like Democrats... (14+ / 0-)

      ...it totally fucked up the neocon's political operations causing them to achieve beyond what even they thought was possible or ever right for the country.

      The father of the neocons, Fukuyama, in disassociating himself with neoconservativsm which he now proclaims as dead, actually lamented once that they'd defined their positions by counting on competent and historical Democratic behavior and when that didn't happen all hell broke loose - Bush/Cheney. Basically he blamed the DLC for dropping the ball and handing over the keys of the asylum to the lunatics.

      •  Hmm. So in spite of this ... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johanus, kck, skyounkin, antirove, Laconic Lib
        Fukuyama... actually lamented once that they'd defined their positions by counting on competent and historical Democratic behavior and when that didn't happen all hell broke loose - Bush/Cheney. Basically he blamed the DLC for dropping the ball and handing over the keys of the asylum to the lunatics.
        ... our loudest voices clamor for the election of a DLC leader to POTUS in '16?? That's not just dropping the ball and handing over the keys, it's joining them in cognitive dissonance.

        Being an atheist, prayer is not a choice. I've returned to an attitude adopted in 11/7/2000. Only now I'm living in a very unique era in human history, not just American. Little hope we will be able to stop the train from going off a bridge.

        It's been a fascinating journey for six decades, the last years may be the most staggering. If the pot laws go fully legal, it is likely to be a combination of fascinating and stupefying.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:45:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Honestly, I don't hear this... (0+ / 0-)
          ...our loudest voices clamor for the election of a DLC leader to POTUS in '16??
          The Villagers clamor, they get paid to set up races, raise expectations and drama, propose inevitability...but who or what they speak for is business...they feed on the horse racing but the breeders offer the field and the investors pick the runners.  
    •  Superb comment. Should be a diary. Pls consider (10+ / 0-)

      doing that -- it's already written!

      •  Yes, except the quotes from the original (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKSinSA, jbsoul

        article exceed fair limit of ~ 3 paragraphs. Especially for a site that limits the number of free articles per month. It is not a very long opinion piece.

        Bernstein didn't add one other factor that has significantly and steadily increased the workforce - with women since the 70's. On top of all the other factors, automation, robotics, union busting, computers, tech, outsourcing and later retirement from less physically demanding jobs; the increase in foreign workers making money to buy the cheap goods more than compensated for lost receipts in America. In Ford's era, business profit was clearly linked to the worker making enough to afford the product.

        Mass sales lower price as much as mass production.

        With the ability to make the profits at global heights, the fun of safely gambling with them on unregulated Wall Street leads to derivatives crashing world markets in '08 and now:

        While there’s no way of knowing for sure, estimates of the face value of all derivatives outstanding tops a quadrillion (1,000 trillion) dollars, or more than 14 times the entire world’s annual GDP.

        Read more: http://business.time.com/...

        The state of the economy by '16 will drastically change that election. Sure doesn't look like we will maintain until '17. Also too long for the ~84 year repeat history. We may not even keep from crashing by '14.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:04:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site