Bernstein on the jobs report

Jared Bernstein, formerly Vice President Biden’s senior economic advisor and arguably the most liberal economist in the administration, tries to offer a wake up call to the administration following today’s dismal jobs report.

Look, I’m not trying to be unduly negative here. Obviously, a stall is better than the massive job losses that characterized the Great Recession. But if policy makers fail to recognize that our most pressing problem right now is job creation, they are a big part of the problem. We need them to be part of the solution.

Yes, exactly. It’s not time for spending cuts or crashing through the debt ceiling. It isn’t even an ideal time for raising taxes on the rich.

Mike Konczal has more on what makes this jobs report terrible. He follows up with what I think is a simple, straightforward and accurate prescription for fixing the economy:

The discussion immediately needs to shift away from deficit reduction to jobs growth, in terms of public works, tax breaks for workers and getting to the bottom of the foreclosure crisis and shadow housing inventory.

Again, exactly right.

What is so infuriating about the economy stalling and there being long-term high unemployment is that it’s not as if the answer to this problem is mystifying. The answer is not located in some economic lacuna, unknowable unto death. The answer is staring us in our collective faces. But political elites don’t really care about joblessness and are instead turning to deficit reduction via austerity and the destruction of our social safety network.

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