Commentary: Getting America back to work is challenge for 2012

The article Commentary: Getting America back to work is challenge for 2012 on the McClatchy news is very well done.

We can begin by rejecting incumbents and candidates who don’t seem to understand what things are like for the common man and woman. A typical case is Newt Gingrich, who opined that the poor don’t know how to work. Apparently, he’s never seen a single working mother multi-task.

Much of the national debate about our dismal economy amounts to thoughtless moralizing. The unemployed are lazy. The poor don’t want to improve themselves. Those who complain about inequality are envious. This kind of rhetoric appeals to many voters, but there are signs that more are seeing through it.

More insidious are the discredited economic doctrines that live on, zombie-like, in Congress and in polite circles in Washington, which obstruct useful government action. A prime example: the notion that raising taxes on the rich, even moderately to shrink deficits, will stifle the economy. Republicans take care to refer to the rich as “job creators.”

Yet the greatest job creators are not the rich but the American consumer. We create jobs by demanding goods and services — and we can’t do it without income.

The economic policy we need now can be summed up in three words: Get Americans working.

Of late, I have been pondering the value of fiscal stimulus in the face of highly unbalanced international trade. Perhaps my previous posts, The Euro Crisis in 7 Simple Charts: They’re telling you a real pack of lies and Eurocrisis: “Democracy is Not a Given”,  have finally awakened me to some additional economic forces for which we need to take account.

It is not that Keynesian fiscal stimulus is no longer a good idea, because it still is.  The problem is that there may be economic forces of sufficient strength now that there are additional steps that need to be taken beyond fiscal stimulus. My previous post Stop Arguing About Economic Theory And Politics is a graphic depiction of a better way to think about competing economic theories.

I’ll try to put these thoughts together in a future post.

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