More Can Be Done on Jobs
Correctly understood, the lesson of today’s somewhat disappointing jobs report is that with super-high unemployment, government policy can easily create jobs. After all, imagine the state we’d be in if this weren’t a census year and those 411,000 census workers hadn’t been hired. Does anyone think that if they hadn’t been hired, the private sector would have magically conjured up 411,000 additional jobs? Where would they have come from? On the contrary, the private sector would have been even worse off as those 411,000 people would have had less money to spend. And as Annie Lowrey writes, there’s a ton that could be done to mitigate the anti-stimulus currently flowing from state and local government:
Washington has not run out of options to tackle the unemployment crisis. The government could expand, directly hiring workers. (As the census demonstrates, when the government hires workers, unemployment goes down.) It could push tax incentives and stimulus, so that Americans spend more and companies decide to hire more workers. It could take up Rep. George Miller’s (D-Calif.) Local Jobs for America Act, providing $75 billion to local governments to keep employees on the payroll. Or it could have considered Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) proposal to grant $23 billion to keep public school teachers in their classrooms, the Keep Our Educators Working Act.
Any and all of this would be a good idea.