Meanwhile, Back In The Real World
In Arizona, where there are 10 job seekers for every opening, 45,000 people could lose benefits by the end of the year, according to estimates from the state Department of Economic Security. Yet employers in the state have added just 4,000 jobs over the last 12 months.
Some other states will also feel a disproportionate loss of income unless hiring revives. In Florida, where nearly 476,000 people are collecting unemployment benefits, employers have added only 11,200 jobs in the last year. In Michigan, employers have added about 40,000 jobs since May 2010, but about 267,000 people are claiming jobless benefits.
[More. . .]
For many of the nearly 7.5 million people collecting unemployment benefits, those payments are keeping them afloat. Laura Metz, 42, was laid off from a clerical job paying $15.30 an hour at a home health care provider near her home in Commerce, Mich., nearly 15 months ago. She has been collecting $362 a week in unemployment insurance and about $50 a month in food stamps. That covers the basics. But Ms. Metz stopped making her mortgage payments last year on the modest home she shares with her 19-year-old son. A program that allowed her to make a lower monthly payment has expired, and she is waiting to see if the lender will modify her loan. She can no longer make her student loan payments for her bachelor’s degree or master’s in business administration [. . .]
After the Debt Ceiling Kabuki ends, this will still be the reality, indeed almost certainly worse. For as Paul Krugman writes, "No We Can't" is the new motto of the Beltway:
[A] destructive passivity has overtaken our discourse. Turn on your TV and you’ll see some self-satisfied pundit declaring that nothing much can be done about the economy’s short-run problems (reminder: this “short run” is now in its fourth year), that we should focus on the long run instead.
This gets things exactly wrong. The truth is that creating jobs in a depressed economy is something government could and should be doing. Yes, there are huge political obstacles to action — notably, the fact that the House is controlled by a party that benefits from the economy’s weakness. But political gridlock should not be conflated with economic reality.
Our failure to create jobs is a choice, not a necessity — a choice rationalized by an ever-shifting set of excuses.
Of course the Obama Administration is not the only, or the main, culprit, here. But it is a culprit. On economic policy, the Obama Administration has failed the Nation and it has failed Democratic values.
Maybe there is nothing more they can do now and maybe it is important that they play their cards this way to avert something worse after 2012. But what happened in 2009 and 2010? Why was the first stimulus so inadequate? Why was there not more stimulus through reconciliation in the budget? And why did the Treasury Department do HAMP instead of helping homeowners?
Yes, in the end, the buck stops with the President, but the President's top economic advisor, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, has been a disgraceful failure.
The sooner he leaves, the better.
Speaking for me only
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