Thursday, December 26, 2013

Things Are Better Than We're Being Told

The recession hasn't ended for the under-employed and for the people who haven't gone back to work; we have seen far too many people drop out of the economy. And the reason why this is important is pretty basic--there's no incentive for anyone in business to hire people and pay them a living wage because there's no compelling government program to provide an incentive to engage in positive economic activity.

The goal should be 5% unemployment or less. Will we ever see that again?

If you doubled the tax credit for hiring a Veteran, would it matter? Probably, but there isn't anyone willing to go that far. If you made it cheaper for an employer who hires ten new workers in the coming year to cover their employees under the ACA, would it help? Good luck getting that through today's Congress. What about a comprehensive jobs program designed to reward companies that add new workers by July 1? Never going to happen.

Blaming this on the President ignores one simple truth--he cannot persuade crazy people to stop shooting themselves in the foot over and over again. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has a better chance at passing a dozen more attempts at repealing Obamacare or impeaching the President for Benghazi than it does a bill that would put a single American back to work. When the House is ruled by crazies, nothing happens. The mechanism is hopelessly jammed with careerism and hubris.

This obstructionist, economy-killing Congress is the problem. The media won't tell the story and the American people haven't figured it out yet. If the Congress took up a small business tax credit bill or pushed companies to hire workers and pay them a living wage, and if it rewarded them for doing the right thing, we might see an improvement. If we were to put a million people in this country back to work just this year, we would see the deficit go down even further and we would see some serious relief for state and local governments.

We are not being told what we need to know. What few improvements we've seen are happening in spite of the obstructionism of the Republican-controlled House. The deficit is falling. Obamacare is signing up thousands of people who never thought they would have a chance at health care insurance. The DOW is going through the roof.

We are not being told enough about the effects of putting people back to work. We are not being told why that isn't happening. We are not being told how the simple act of making the lives of people who live in the middle of this country better would resonate through the economy and confound the pervasive narrative that tells us that this is a failed President, that Benghazi is bigger than Watergate, and that Obamacare killed your grandma. It's all bullshit and it's all designed to get you to stop screaming about jobs, jobs, jobs. The American standard of living is under attack because no one wants to add a single job to the economy on purpose.

When you transition people from benefits to salaries, you provide a stimulus for economic growth. When you don't, things suck. Why isn't this story being told over and over again?

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