Economist Simon Johnson calls out the Republican party for bad economics, bad policy and basically being bad human beings.
But the severity and depth of our current recession raise an issue that we have literally not had to confront since the 1930s. What should we do when people run out of standard unemployment benefits — much of which are provided at the state level — but still cannot find a job?
In negotiations currently under way, House Republicans propose to cut back drastically on these benefits, asserting that this will push people back to work and speed the recovery. Does this make sense, or is it bad economics, as well as being mean-spirited?
In raw numbers, we lost more than eight million jobs, most of which have not returned.
The jobs crisis was caused by recklessness in the financial sector, made possible by irresponsible deregulation (including a period when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House) and resulting in enormous unconditional bailout protection for the bankers at the heart of the disaster (under both President George W. Bush and President Obama).
Let’s be generous for a moment and simply state that mistakes were made — on an enormous, macroeconomic scale with gut-wrenching consequences for families around the country. Why would anyone now seek to punish these people when they seek work but cannot get it?
How does it help any economic recovery when the people who lose jobs cannot even afford to buy basic goods and services — enough to keep their family afloat?
Why do this? Because it’s so much easier to punish the victim than it is to hold a mirror up to your own culpability in the devastation wrought by failed Republican leadership. Deregulation caused this jobs crisis so clearly the answer (if you’re a Republican) is to blame the people who lost their jobs. This, my friends, is their jobs plan. Thrown children and families into the street because they’re sitting around on their butts not working.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, apparently. Unless you’re a banker, of course.
Now, back to your oar, slave!