April 26, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Long-Term Unemployment Proves Economic Austerity Folly
The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed little change in long-term unemployment in March, with 4.6 million Americans being tossed away like garbage. These are people who want a job but cannot find one, and their elected representatives are doing nothing about it. Republicans, particularly congressional Republicans, have shown very little concern for the unemployed. They reject any attempts to stimulate the economy, and when the long-term unemployed try to get by on unemployment benefits, Republicans try to snatch that from them as well.
Go ahead, attempt to impose your ideological beliefs on others. Tell them you are doing this out of the kindness of your heart. — It’s tough love. If you don’t do this, we will have a nation of slackers. Go ahead, I’m sure you can prove your policies serve the greater good, right? And the people can freely reject your policies. But in the case of government austerity, people don’t have a choice. When you purposely limit government’s ability to stimulate the economy, you are intentionally damning millions of Americans, not just in the short-term, but potentially for the rest of their lives. Their skills are atrophying, and the longer they are out of work, the greater discrimination they face when interviewing for a job.
We know the government could be doing more. We know it took government investment to build this nation’s infrastructure. The private sector will not do it all. It takes the collective will of a great nation. There are no shortage of projects we could take on now, that would employ hundreds of thousands or even millions of people either directly or indirectly funded by government investment. Because we know there are jobs to do, and people to do them, this is why austerity economics is wrong during a weak economic recovery. But unfortunately Republicans have enough people convinced the United States is broke, that we can’t spend more money, that we can’t do big things. They are wrong, and millions of Americans are suffering because of it.