July 29, 2011



Shoving America back to the Great Recession
by Jim Hightower

The core economic problem we're facing today is that both unemployment and underemployment are rampant, stifling any hope for real recovery and threatening the very survival of our essential middle class.

The solution? Our leaders in Washington and various state capitols are pushing a massive jobs program across America. Great, just what we need! Uh ... no. Unfortunately, theirs is not a program to create jobs, but a coordinated effort with corporate front groups to eliminate hundreds of thousands of public service jobs, adding these workers to America's jobless hordes. If ignorance is bliss, they must be ecstatic!

They've swallowed the right-wing mythology that prosperity will magically arise if only government budgets can be gutted and the jobs of public employees terminated. Yet, by going on a firing rampage they are shoving the entire U.S. economy back into the Great Recession — or worse.

This is because people who are out of work do not tend to be — how shall I put this? — "robust consumers." Since consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of our country's economic growth (and, in so doing, creates America's jobs), the dogma of deliberately destroying the purchasing power of middle-class wage earners is disastrous — like trying to cure a headache by chopping off your head.

Not content to undercut middle-class consumers by firing them, extremist politicos are also slashing jobless payments, food stamps, Medicaid, and other safety-net programs. These put money directly and quickly into the consumer economy as recipients spend for food, gas, and other basics. Such cutbacks will drain some $37 billion more out of consumer spending this year.

As our economy keeps sliding backwards, the middle-class people who get knocked down will be hunting these laissez-fairyland ideologues with dogs.

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Copyright 2010 by Jim Hightower & Associates
Contact Laura Ehrlich (laura@jimhightower.com) for more information.