The alarm bells should be ringing at the White House and in the halls of Congress at the latest economic numbers in the painful prolonged battle to restore prosperity to America. We are now a full two years since the economic growth numbers turned positive and the apparent first leg of the great slump bottomed out in the summer of 2009. For the fourth consecutive month job creation has been very disappointing and so small as to have no positive effect on lowering the very high unemployment rate. This past month partly because of continued layoffs in the public sector at both the federal and state and local level and because of an on-going labour dispute in the private sector there were exactly zero net additions to the labour force. Well over 250,000 net new hires are needed each month to bring down the unemployment rate but the economy with respect to new hiring is moving in exactly the opposite direction. The time for action is now.
President Obama is apparently about to propose a package of tax and spending measures which need to focus on direct job creation and reinvestment in infrastructure,the environment, storm reconstruction, aid to states and local authorities, education and income support for the unemployed, perhaps additional mortgage relief as well as special tax incentives for business to hire new employees. These ought to be substantial programs in the many 100s of billions of dollars. The Republicans and Democrats should put aside their partisan objections for another day and recognize the urgency of the situation. The lower the unemployment rate the smaller will be the deficit in the medium term and the easier it will be to address structural imbalances in the long term.
it is also time for the private sector to step up to the plate and unlock their amply filled treasuries and start hiring. When they were in danger because of the crash the American government and taxpayer came to their rescue. It is time to repay the debt.