The politics of austerity still hold the world in a vise-like grip and today’s employment report provides another view of that failure, despite U.S. job creation barely above what’s needed to accommodate new entrants into the labor market.
Within today’s 7.6% unemployment rate are millions of people who could be building our economy. Millions of young people are living with unemployment rates between 25 and 50 percent, their dreams of opportunity slowly fading. Communities of color are devastated. And formerly middle class workers are finding part time, low wage, no benefit jobs. This tepid, so-called recovery hurts all of us.
The reality is, our economy will not recover until our government and global financial institutions begin to govern — not just for the banks — but for the well-being of all of us. People unwilling to give up the ghost of austerity provide the same-old tired ideas: the idea that drastic cuts to public spending will promote private spending.
Austerity doesn’t work — under any name or by any measure. Eurozone leaders are beginning to accept this idea. We should do the same.
As Michael Linden of the Center for American Progress reported yesterday, the economic theory and empirical reality undergirding the bipartisan embrace of austerity have crumbled. The evidence shows that what we need now is job creation. Amidst sequester and without real progress on the 2014 budget or the debt ceiling, he argues that “these changes should dramatically affect the debate on federal economic policy in general and the federal budget in particular.”
We strongly agree with Linden’s assertion and urge Congress to reject cuts in Social Security and Medicare, reject senseless cuts that hurt the ability of our country to grow and meet the needs of people. The sequester is not savvy frugality but a disastrous assault on working people that Congress must repeal, rather than replace. We must all demand real solutions — like investments in good jobs, education, infrastructure, job training, and the green jobs that come with sustainable development. America’s working people are ready to stand with any leaders committed to large-scale investments to create jobs, to rebuild our middle class and lead us all forward.