I do not normally purchase books on economics - a bit out of my comfort zone that leans heavily to fiction.
But after seeing Paul Krugman on the Ed Show tonight, I will be getting a copy of this book.
My parents grew up in the depression of the 1930's. FDR's programs built the Hoover Dam, put artists to work, and generally used the power of the federal government to put people to work at jobs that earned them money.
My father worked in the WPA building roads in Montana. He told us stories of him falling in a pit at night one time, which was designed to catch bears that roamed the area, seeking leftovers or any other food they could scrounge from the supply trailers.
Dad in Hawaii - 1942
He was rescued before a bear fell in with him, but this was some introduction to "Big Sky" country to a kid from Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn (pretty rural at that time, but no bears to be found in the county of Kings).
Fast forward to now. My son is finishing his second year at Queens College (part of the CUNY system, where tuition was once free - I got 58 credits at Brooklyn College before free tuition was ended) and will enter the work force in two years. Millions of graduates around the country are entering the job market NOW (to echo the capitalization of Krugman's book), and need that starter job - maybe even more than a "starter job," since they will now have to start paying back their student loans.
According to Krugman, a heavy "investment" in schoolteachers, and hiring by the Federal government (this next part in caps is my take) ON A SCALE NOT SEEN SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION, would make a difference in people entering the job market NOW!
From a book review on a web site that supports ALEC.
Krugman makes points that are by turns frightening, accurate, and frustrating. Pointing out the similarities to the Great Depression is a bit frightening as we linger in the fourth year of our current economic malaise. Some may argue that hypothesis as there are certainly bright spots to our economy, but if you were to read the newspapers and histories of the 1930s you'd see the same thing occurring then. It's clear that now as then we're fumbling our way through a crisis with halfhearted measures, avoiding some of the clear mistakes of the 1930s but sadly repeating others. Readers may agree or disagree with Krugman, but at least he's consistent in his beliefs and able to articulate them in a way that is approachable and understandable. Clearly Krugman is pitching this idea with an eye on the 2012 elections. Whether his ideas resonate with voters and more importantly politicians remains to be seen. I cannot help of the Rooseveltian idea of at least trying SOMETHING to end our malaise.UPDATE - video from Democracy Now - hat tip to Artisan