Saturday, January 11, 2014

So December's Jobs Report was Anemic? Perhaps its Time to Make a Ruckus!

Robert Reich's commentary on yesterday's jobs report gives interesting suggestions for strengthening our nation's economy...

"The U.S. economy created a measly 74,000 new jobs in December, and a smaller percentage of working-age Americans are now employed than at any time in the last three decades (before women surged into the workforce).
"What does this have to do with the fact that median household incomes continue to drop (adjusted for inflation) and that 95 percent of all the economic gains since the recovery started have gone to the top 1 percent?
"Plenty. Businesses won't create new jobs without enough customers. But most Americans no longer have enough purchasing power to fuel that job growth..."
What are Reich's solutions?
(1) raise the minimum wage at least to its inflation-adjusted value 40 years ago -- which would be well over $10 an hour
(2) extend unemployment benefits to the jobless
(3) launch a major jobs program to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure
(4) expand Medicaid to the near-poor
(5) enable low-wage workers to unionize
(6) rehire all the teachers, social workers, police, and other public service employees who were laid off in the recession
(7) exempt the first $20,000 of income from Social Security payroll taxes and make up the difference by removing the cap on income subject to the tax.
Since there is this passion in Washington for 'paying for' everything proposed, Reich comes up with some interesting ways to do that as well.
I've heard some people make some disparaging remarks about Robert Reich's theories. I've heard none with such complaints come up with reasons why he's wrong or alternative proposals. Maybe it's time for those of us who agree with him to 'make a ruckus'.

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