Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taking excellent advice where one finds it...

Larry Summers brings The Sanity:
Larry leaning left.
I think the biggest problem the country has right now is not the budget deficit.  The biggest problem the country has right now is the jobs deficit.  Yes, there's a risk that we will misplay things and make the mistakes of the 1970's, and have inflation and have excessive borrowing.

But far and away the larger risk is that we will make the mistakes of 1937, and that we will not have a recovery that is sustained, that we will make the mistakes that Japan made, and that we will have a decade or two of stagnation.  The right question to be focused on is how to stimulate demand.

"Unemployment? Who Cares?" Revisited

Ezra Klein at Wonkbook:
With 15 million people unemployed, and more than 20 million underemployed, you’ve got a fairly large constituency for action on the jobs crisis. But it’s not a constituency that has any evident power in Washington. … 
Most policy changes with majority support didn’t become law,” (Jacob) Hacker and (Paul) Pierson write (in Winner-Take-All-Politics.) The exception was “when they were supported by those at the top. When the opinions of the poor diverged from those of the well-off, the opinions of the poor ceased to have any apparent influence: If 90 percent of poor Americans supported a policy change, it was no more likely to happen than if 10 percent did. By contrast, when more of the well-off supported a change, it was substantially more likely to happen.

If 15 million college-educated professionals were unemployed right now, the political system would care.