There is a deficit of jobs AND the deficit is jobs. The public is so much smarter than the geniuses in DC. Washington talks about the deficit but the public knows that the deficit is jobs.
That huge deficit jump to over a trillion that happened in Bush’s last budget (2009) changed the national discussion from jobs and stimulus to worries over spending. But the deficit jump was caused by the financial crisis and recession and jobs and turning that around means addressing the recession and jobs.
See for yourself. Go to the White House Taxpayer Receipt page. Look at Health Care at 24.3% of the budget and Job & Family Security at 21.9%. There is almost half the budget right there. Not all of that is from the recession but a lot of it is. (Military is 26.3% but if you add Veterans it is 30.4%.)
Yes, Bush’s tax cuts and huge increases in military spending turned Clinton’s surpluses into big deficits. But no one seemed to care about that at the time. It’s the deficits in the trillions that are scaring people. The trillion-dollar-deficits is because there aren’t enough jobs. So we aren’t bringing in tax revenue and we’re paying out huge amounts for unemployment, healthcare assistance, food stamps, etc. Cuts only make all of that worse because cuts cut the economy and jobs. If you want to fix the huge deficits you have to create more jobs, and better-paying jobs.
Meanwhile the geniuses in DC are talking about CUTTING the things that create jobs, which just makes the problems worse. And worse. And they don’t touch military spending. Their approach is not really even about cutting the deficit it is about preserving tax cuts for the wealthy and keeping the wasteful, corrupt military contracts flowing. The just use deficit fear as cover to steer people away from real solutions.
The Real Solutions
Look at this chart of jobs. The downward slope is when we were losing more and more jobs every month. The upward slope is when we were losing fewer jobs every, up to where we were actually gaining a bit. The sideways slope is the standing still we saw for 2010, going into 2011. See if you can guess when on this chart the stimulus started, and when it stopped?
The only solution to the huge jump in deficits is to restore the jobs. That starts to restore the tax base and stops the emergency spending on the unemployed. Just cutting them out of the economy doesn’t fix the problem, it shifts the problem.
And the only way to restore the jobs is for the government to step in and DO SOMETHING. We have millions of unemployed and underemployed and those are people. That’s the third word in the phrase, “We, the People.”
We have to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure if we want to continue to be competitive in the world, so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
We need to retrofit our economy to be energy efficient, so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
We need more teachers, more police, more firefighters, more judges, more scientists, more social workers, more park rangers, more noise abatement and met and safety and environmental and other kinds of inspectors and so many other things that We, the People do for each other — so right there are millions of jobs that need doing. And the payoff from doing that pays for doing that.
The People understand this, that’s why all the polls show that these are the things the people want done. And The People’s Budget starts to address these problems, helps put people back to work, and that is why it balances the budget by 2021.
Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California. Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.
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