While Obama pushes for a deal on the debt ceiling, jobs numbers make plain that the focus in Washington is in the wrong place: jobs, not deficits, are the crisis.
Former administration economist Jared Bernstein echoed what many were saying today when he wrote, “Washington needs to quickly and aggressively shift from its long-term debt obsession to the much more immediate jobs problem. To do otherwise at this point would be deeply irresponsible.”
Yet Bernstein's out, Geithner remains for the time being, and the GOP and corporate backers have so thoroughly controlled the debate over the economy that free-trade deals are being passed off as a jobs plan. The only solutions this morning came from former Clinton administration labor secretary Robert Reich, who tweeted a six-part jobs plan calling for, along with a payroll tax exemption, loans to the states, and amendments to bankruptcy law, a reinstatement of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Putting millions to work directly sounds like a wonderful plan. And as those millions continue to suffer, as public-sector layoffs don't magically produce jobs and public opinion turns against anti-labor governors like Scott Walker and Chris Christie, perhaps some space will finally open up for a discussion of a real jobs program.
There's little time to waste.
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