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Bernstein: How to Reconnect Economic Growth and Jobs

| By CBPP
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CBPP

“While the high jobless numbers are partly a legacy of the Great Recession, the fact is that our economy has generated too few jobs for most of the last 30 years and is likely to continue to do so,” CBPP Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein writes in a New York Times op-ed on why full employment should be a central goal of domestic policy.

Here’s an excerpt:

What would it take to reverse these trends? For one thing, in the near term, do no harm. Austerity, including sequestration, is the economic version of medieval leeching. The Federal Reserve continues to apply high doses of monetary stimulus, and that’s supporting low interest rates, which in turn are linked to the improving housing market. But it can’t do it alone, and Congress is counteracting such tailwinds with fiscal headwinds.

We also need a significant, permanent program to absorb excess labor (an explicit part of the Humphrey-Hawkins law). We should consider restarting and rescaling a subsidized jobs program from the 2009 Recovery Act that, though relatively small, made jobs possible for hundreds of thousands of workers.

And we have to reassess our manufacturing policy, including reducing the trade deficit. That means both reshaping our dollar policy — going after competitors who suppress their currencies’ value to get an edge on net exports — and public investments in areas where clean energy intersects with production.

Finally, financial deregulation has become the enemy of full employment: it funnels capital to unproductive parts of the economy, and plays a key role in the “shampoo cycle” of bubble, bust, repeat. Less volatile capital markets mean fewer shocks to the job market.

Click here for the full op-ed.