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Krugman: Challenge to Nation's Economy Political, Not Technical

Krugman: Challenge to Nation's Economy Political, Not Technical

It’s not technically hard to put millions of unemployed workers back on the job—the real challenge is political, says Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. Even returning the public-sector jobs that have been slashed at the state and local levels could lower the unemployment rate to nearly 7 percent or under, he said.

Krugman spoke this week at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and on a variety of media outlets around the nation to promote his new book, End This Depression Now! In short, says Krugman:

One party that has run off the deep end and is not interested in running this country at all.

Hmm. Wonder which one that could be?

Taking issue with the Washington consensus that the economy is faltering due to “structural unemployment”—economist-speak for “more need the right skills to fill jobs,” Krugman said the structural problem is not with the economy but with politics.

In fact, a recent EPI report projects that the education and training levels necessary for the labor force of 2020 “shows that jobs will not require a significantly greater level of education or training than workers currently possess.”

Another falsehood being passed off as truth is that cutting spending  improves the economy—when instead, it depresses it. This turn toward austerity measures—cuts to jobs, social services and needed repair work to our schools and roads—is bad economics. Just look at Europe, Krugman said.

We’ve had one hell of an experiment in austerity and the results are in. European countries are on a downward slope.

Meanwhile, our nation’s own experiment in austerity has resulted in an “unprecedented fall in public employment and a fall in goods and services.

Krugman, who writes a column and blog for The New York Times, applauded new media for its ability to engage readers and provide interaction. But content on such platforms disappears too quickly, he says. So Krugman pushed forward with the book to create a more permanent account and to offer solutions to the nation’s economic morass. The most urgent question, as Krugman sees it, is if you’re in a bust “what can you do about it?”

There’s no good reason to waste a large amount of your productive capital. The question is, what do we do now.

Check out End This Depression Now! and find out. 

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