Deficit. Debt. Debt ceiling. Sequester. Shutdown. Cuts. "Shared" sacrifice. Belt tightening. Benefit cuts. Grand bargain—Republicans and Washington elites throw around a bunch of words when they talk about the economy and what it will take to get the country moving forward. But the one word they need to be talking about—jobs—seems almost absent from the conversation. No wonder things aren't getting much better.
Creating jobs is the most important thing politicians can do to solve most of the economic problems the country faces. And according to pretty much any public opinion polling you can find, it's the main reason why voters chose the candidates they did in 2012 and what they most want those politicians to focus on now.
While the deficit is already falling faster than at any time since the demobilization after World War II, Republicans are focused on things like more deficit reduction and cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits, threatening to shut down the country and default unless their ransom demands are met. These things not only don't create jobs, they cost us jobs. It's almost like Republicans don't even listen to America's working families.
The government shutdown cost us 120,000 jobs in the first two weeks of October. Federal budget cuts since 2010 have cost us 1.2 million jobs. And continuing the job-killing budget austerity of “sequestration” will cost us another 900,000 jobs in the next year.
Richard Eskow, writing at Campaign for America's Future, sums up Republican policy proposals and the Washington mindset quite well:
You can’t cut government jobs in an economy wracked by unemployment—an economy whose current “multiplier effect” translates them into many more nongovernment jobs which will be lost—and still tell us your approach works. Everything, including economics, common sense, and historical experience tells us how to fix our economy: by investing in our economy and creating jobs.
So create some. Create some construction jobs, before our crumbling infrastructure robs our economy of even more lost growth—and starts robbing Americans of their lives. Create some teaching jobs so that our young people can get a decent education. Create some jobs for college graduates, who are facing career-crippling early-stage unemployment, so that they can go to work improving this country.
Please stop putting people out of work with government cuts, and start putting them back to work with government investment.
Read the rest of Eskow's Dear House-Senate Budget Committee: The Country Needs Jobs.