Jobs Now! Austerity Is the Recipe for Recession
By Robert Borosage
July 6, 2012 - 9:21am ET
Today's jobs numbers reinforce what we already know
about this economy: The growth is too slow; the jobs
created too few.
Last month's 80,000 additional jobs does not keep pace
with the number of new workers coming into the economy.
We are essentially limping in place. Millions have been
added to the workforce, but we have fewer people
employed than before the financial collapse. Mass
unemployment continues, which means that wages will
continue to fall and insecurity will continue to rise.
The young continue to struggle in the worst jobs market
since the Great Depression.
Worse, the U.S. economy is hitting increasing headwinds.
Europe, in the grip of austerity, is moving back into
recession. China is slowing. In this country, already
scheduled cuts in public expenditures will continue to
cost jobs in both the public and the private sectors.
It is time for action on jobs. We know what to do. We
will never have a better opportunity or a greater
imperative to rebuild America's decrepit infrastructure.
Aging roads, bridges, sewers, schools cost us in lost
time, lost competitiveness and lost lives. Our
construction industry is idle. The U.S. government can
borrow money for less than free (with interest rates
below the rate of inflation). Anyone with an iota of
business sense would grasp this opportunity to make
investments we must make in any case.
The call for action comes from the most conservative
bastions of the economy. Federal Reserve Chair Ben
Bernanke pleads for more action from the Congress.
Managing Director Christine LaGarde says "action is
needed to boost the recovery," urging the U.S. to spend
Yet in Washington, austerity still reigns. When the
Congress finally managed to extend lower rates on
student loans last month, legislators not only insisted
that the subsidy be paid for, but added billions in
additional spending cuts to demonstrate their commitment
But as Great Britain and other European countries have
shown, austerity is a recipe for recession, not for
deficit reduction. At a time of mass unemployment, the
first and necessary measure to reduce the deficit is to
put people back to work. We need a large and sustained
commitment to rebuild America. We need an urban corps
and green corps that can put veterans and young people
to work in jobs that need to be done. We need aid to
states and localities to rehire teachers and police and
firefighters, so that the bill for Wall Street's
excesses does not get paid by savage reductions in vital
Those who argue for austerity now--for cutting spending
and raising taxes--ignore the lessons of our history,
and the miseries now being inflicted on Great Britain,
Spain and much of Europe. Partisan paralysis and
ideological inanity are blocking the common sense steps
we must take to get this economy going and put people
back to work.
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