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NYT editorial: Next Fight Over Jobs (updated)

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 11:09 AM
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NYT editorial: Next Fight Over Jobs (updated)
Edited on Mon Nov-07-11 11:15 AM by ProSense

The Next Fight Over Jobs

The way the job market is going, it will never be robust enough to bring down the unemployment rate, now at 9 percent, or 13.9 million people. Monthly job growth has slowed to an average of just 90,000 new jobs a month over the past six months, a pace at which growth in the working-age population will always exceed the number of new jobs being created.


Tragically, the more entrenched the jobs shortage becomes, the more paralyzed Congress becomes, with Republicans committed to doing nothing in the hopes that the faltering economy will cost President Obama his job in 2012. Last week, for instance, Senate Republicans filibustered a $60 billion proposal by Mr. Obama to create jobs by repairing and upgrading the nations deteriorating infrastructure. They were outraged that the bill would have been paid for by a 0.7 percent surtax on people making more than $1 million.

Things may be about to get worse.

Federal unemployment benefits, which generally kick in after 26 weeks of state-provided benefits, are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. That would be a disaster for many of the estimated 3.5 million Americans who get by on extended benefits an average of $295 a week. It would also be a blow to the economy, because it would reduce consumer spending by about $50 billion in 2012 which would mean slower economic growth and 275,000 lost jobs. Unfortunately, given Republicans demonstrated willingness to ignore human needs and economic logic, it is more likely than not that jobless benefits will be a major battle in the months ahead.

There are no plausible arguments against an extension in fact, Congress has never let federal benefits expire when the unemployment rate was higher than 7.2 percent. But there are many specious arguments, chief among them that providing benefits reduces the incentive to get a new job. The evidence says otherwise.


Updated to add this from Steve Benen: The growing acceptance of the sabotage question


The point was made in passing, but its nevertheless striking. As far as the editorial board of the nations most important newspaper is concerned, its simply accepted as fact that congressional Republicans want to hold back the economy, on purpose, to undermine the Obama presidency.

Does the American public accept this as easily? Greg Sargent flagged the results of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, that asked a related question.

Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view? Statement A: (President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the countrys economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs.) Or Statement B: (President Obama has not provided leadership on the economy, and he is just blaming the Republicans in Congress as an excuse for not doing his job.)

Obama making a good effort: 50%

Obama has not provided leadership: 44%

This comes less than a week after a poll in Florida found that 49% of voters statewide believe congressional Republicans are intentionally hindering efforts to boost the economy so that President Barack Obama will not be reelected. The WaPo/ABC poll is, as best as I can tell, the first national poll to consider the same issue.

To be sure, the wording of this new poll isnt ideal, and is far less direct than the poll conducted in Florida. But the takeaway is still pretty clear: half the country is inclined to believe GOP officials are killing efforts to boost the economy for purely political reasons.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 01:07 PM
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1. Mitch McConnell's denials
Edited on Mon Nov-07-11 01:07 PM by ProSense
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