News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
The Secret of Our Non-Success by Paul Krugman, The New York Times | October 22, 2012The U.S. economy finally seems to be recovering in earnest, with housing on the rebound and job creation outpacing growth in the working-age population. But the news is good, not great — it will still take years to restore full employment — and it has been a very long time coming. Why has the slump been so protracted? The answer — backed by overwhelming evidence — is that this is what normally happens after a severe financial crisis. But Mitt Romney’s economic team rejects that evidence. And this denialism bodes ill for policy if Mr. Romney wins next month. read more »
Obama's Not-So-Hidden Second-Term Agenda by E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post | October 22, 2012Everywhere you turn, President Obama is accused of not offering a clear second-term agenda. It’s not surprising that Republicans say it, but you also hear it from quarters sympathetic to the president. But how true is the charge? The president does lack a crisp, here’s-my-plan set of sound bites. What’s less obvious is whether this should matter to anyone. Mitt Romney’s five-point plan sounds good but is quite vague and, upon inspection, looks rather like five-point plans issued by earlier Republican presidential candidates. Moreover, Romney has been resolutely unspecific about his tax plans, leading to the understandable suspicion that he’s hiding something politically unsavory, either in the popular deductions he’d have to slash or in the programs he’d have to get rid of. Obama, by contrast, has been far more straightforward about what he would do about the deficit. read more »
Poverty: The Election Issue That Dare Not Speak Its Name by Rupert Cornwell, independent.co.uk | October 22, 2012A presidential election campaign approaches its climax, as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney criss-cross the land in search of the last few votes. But my thoughts have turned to a couple of candidates from long ago, who have been back in the news these past few days. One is recently deceased George McGovern, best known for his landslide defeat at the hands of Richard Nixon 40 years ago.. The other is Robert Kennedy, indirect subject of a new documentary on HBO devoted to his widow Ethel. But the mere names of Bobby Kennedy and George McGovern get you thinking: whatever happened to the old-fashioned American liberalism under whose banner they so proudly fought? Not today's diluted "liberalism" as practised by Obama, and which is little more than a schoolyard taunt hurled by right-wing talk-show hosts, but the liberalism that set out to right the wrongs of American society, first and foremost the scourge of poverty. read more »
What We Talk About When We Talk About Poverty by Greg Kauffmann, The Nation | October 19, 2012Here’s a twist: in the second presidential debate, one candidate used the word “poverty” without saying anything about poverty; the other didn’t use the word at all but managed to speak a fair amount about it. Make sense? Stay with me. Governor Romney used this talking point: “There are 3 1/2 million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office”; and again, “I mentioned 3 1/2 million women more now in poverty than four years ago.” He also used what has become a staple of his campaign as a bludgeon against President Obama’s record: “There are more people in poverty—one out of six people [lives] in poverty.” What he didn’t do was offer any notion as to how a Romney administration would create opportunities for low-income people—people who decidedly aren’t included in his binders. read more »
The Danger of Wealth at the Top by Paul R. Pillar, consortiumnews.com | October 19, 2012America’s growth-inhibiting inequality is making it less able to compete, and less able to serve as an exemplar for others, in the global arena. Ideologically driven myopia, which mistakenly cherishes anything in the private sector status quo, even when it is destructive of free markets and vigorous competition, and disdains anything government does, even when it is necessary for economic growth and the fullest use of human capital, is needlessly weakening the relative as well as absolute position of the United States. read more »
Tax Cuts for Job Creators by Laura D'Andrea Tyson and Owen Zidar, economix.blogs.nytimes.com | October 19, 2012If tax cuts for high-income earners generate substantial real economic activity and job creation, then we should expect to see two things in the data. First, employment growth should be stronger in the years after tax cuts for these earners. Second, parts of the country with a larger share of high-income earners should experience stronger employment growth after national tax cuts for these taxpayers, because the places where they live receive a larger share of the national tax cuts. What do we actually see after combing through a half-century of economic data? Neither of these predictions is borne out. Tax cuts for everyone else are a much more effective path to job creation. Our research found a statistically significant and positive relationship between tax cuts for the bottom 95 percent and job growth at both the national and state levels. read more »
Snow Job on Jobs by Paul Krugman, The New York Times | October 19, 2012Mitt Romney talks a lot about jobs. But does he have a plan to create any? You can defend President Obama’s jobs record — recovery from a severe financial crisis is always difficult, and especially so when the opposition party does its best to block every policy initiative you propose. And things have definitely improved over the past year. Still, unemployment remains high after all these years, and a candidate with a real plan to make things better could make a strong case for his election. But Mr. Romney, it turns out, doesn’t have a plan; he’s just faking it. In saying that, I don’t mean that I disagree with his economic philosophy; I do, but that’s a separate point. I mean, instead, that Mr. Romney’s campaign is telling lies: claiming that its numbers add up when they don’t, claiming that independent studies support its position when those studies do no such thing. read more »
What Obama Really Wants To Do In A Second Term by Perry Bacon Jr., thegrio.com | October 19, 2012Following President Obama’s strong performance in Tuesday’s debate, Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have seized on a new line of attack: the president isn’t being specific enough about his second term agenda. Non-partisan analysts are making the same claim, namely that Obama must provide more details about what he would do in his next four years to win. They’re wrong. Even though he’s not talking about these ideas much on the campaign trail, it’s likely Obama would push for immigration and energy reform and a long-term budget deficit reduction deal in a second term. But perhaps the most important goal of an Obama second term, one he has nodded at himself at times, is preserving the accomplishments of his first term. read more »
The Difference Between Equity and Binders Full of Anybody by Rinku Sen, colorlines.com | October 18, 2012Maybe I have no sense of humor, but when Gov. Mitt Romney said the words “binders full of women” during this week’s debate, it didn’t occur to me to make an Internet joke. I was more struck by the fact that he answered a question about pay equity with a story about diversity hiring. If we had the language as a society to describe this difference, the jokes might have been more pointed. Diversity is about variety, getting bodies with different genders and colors into the room. Equity is about how those bodies get in the door and what they are able to do in their posts. A diversity approach has gotten us to the point where Romney could get a binder full of women’s resumés. An equity approach is what would have forced him to address the pay gap, which I bet all the women in those binders have experienced. read more »
Mitt Romney Is Wrong About The Wage Gap by Irin Carmon, salon.com | October 18, 2012Asked about the gender wage gap last night, Mitt Romney changed the subject. “What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a — a flexible work schedule that gives women the opportunities that — that they would otherwise not be able to — to afford,” he said. Sensing that he was going to be forced to actually answer the question, Romney added, “I’m going to help women in America get — get good work by getting a stronger economy and by supporting women in the workforce.” There are so many half-formed assumptions and pseudo-promises here that it’s hard to know where to start, but let’s go to the basic premise: That the wage gap narrows when the economy is strong. That premise, so far as we can see from the data, is wrong. read more »
Subsidized Jobs: A Faint Echo of the New Deal , stateline.org | June 18, 2010
In rural Winston County, Mississippi, Taylor Machine Works — best known for its Big Red forklifts — is the primary employer. After the recession hit in late 2008, the company shed nearly 200 of its 500 jobs and would not be rehiring anyone now if it weren’t for a subsidized employment program Mississippi launched with the help of federal stimulus money.
No Clear Path Forward After Jobs Bill Fails Again In Senate, Huffington Post | June 18, 2010
The Sagging of the Middle Class, economix.blogs.nytimes.com | June 14, 2010
The chart above captures the takeaway point of David Autor’s new report, “The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market,” published by the Center for American Progress and the Hamilton Project. read more »
A Jobless Rate Still Unaffected by New Hiring, The New York Times | June 4, 2010
After hemorrhaging jobs for months, the economy is finally starting to add them. Yet the unemployment rate is not really budging because of people like Regina Myles. Ms. Myles, 51, has been out of work for three years. After a grueling job search yielded 150 interviews but no offers, she simply stopped looking last fall. read more »
U.S. Added 431,000 Jobs in May, Mostly From Census, The New York Times | June 4, 2010
Employers added 431,000 nonfarm jobs nationwide in May, the biggest increase in a single month in a decade, the Labor Department said Friday. But the bulk of the growth was in government jobs, driven by hiring for the Census, and private-sector job growth was weak. The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent nationwide, from 9.9 percent in April, the department said.
Economy Fueled By Census Hiring Adds 431K Jobs, But Few Positions Created In Private Sector, The Washington Post | June 4, 2010
Private employers dramatically cut back their rate of job creation in May, according to a government report released Friday that cast doubt on at least one aspect of the nation's economic recovery. read more »
Economic News Release, bls.gov | June 4, 2010
Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, reflecting
the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Private-sector em-
ployment changed little (+41,000). Manufacturing, temporary help ser-
vices, and mining added jobs, while construction employment declined.
The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent.
Fishermen Wait On Docks As Oil Gushes, The New York Times | June 3, 2010
This time of year, Eric Authement would normally be buying about 70,000 pounds of shrimp a day from the boats that line the Grand Caillou Bayou and spread their winglike nets in the bays, marshes, coastal waters and inlets along the coast. But in the last month, the shrimp processing plant his family has run for generations has been much quieter. Some days, he has bought next to nothing.
Does Washington Care About Unemployment?, theweek.com | June 2, 2010
In 1983, Ronald Reagan's Washington regarded high unemployment as a national emergency. Today, with unemployment kissing 10 percent, Barack Obama's Washington scarcely seems perturbed. Why? read more »
Job Outlook for Teenagers Worsens, The New York Times | June 1, 2010
This year is shaping up to be even worse than last for the millions of high school and college students looking for summer jobs. read more »