Washington has a way of focusing the nation’s attention on tactical games over partisan maneuvers that are symptoms of a few really big problems. But we almost never get to debate or even discuss the big problems because the tactical games overwhelm everything else.
The debate over the fiscal cliff, for example, is really about tactical maneuvers preceding a negotiation about how best to reduce the federal budget deficit. This, in turn, is a fragment of a bigger debate over whether we should be embracing austerity economics and reducing the budget deficit in the next few years or, alternatively, using public spending and investing to grow the economy and increase the number of jobs.
Even this larger debate is just one part of what should be the central debate of our time — why median wages continue to drop and poverty to increase at the same time income and wealth are becoming ever more concentrated at the top, and what should be done to counter the trend.
With a shrinking share of total income and wealth, the middle class and poor simply don’t have the purchasing power to get the economy back on solid footing. (The wealthy don’t spend enough of their income or assets to make up for this shortfall, and they invest their savings wherever around the world they can get the highest return).
Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from
Hovering in the background of the “fiscal cliff” debate is the prospect of 2 million people losing their unemployment benefits four days after Christmas. “This is the real cliff,” said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. He’s been leading the effort to include another extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed in any deal to avert looming … Continue reading »
Fiscal Cliff / Unemployment Benefits will abruptly end for 2 million in dec., and nearly one million more in the first quarter of 2013
Because over five million workers will be unable to collect federal UI benefits next year if Congress fails to act, NELP is calling upon Congress to make this issue a priority during the lame-duck session of the 112th Congress. Not only should Congress reauthorize the EUC program in its current form for the next year, it … Continue reading »
The unemployment insurance (UI) system is a partnership between the federal government and state governments that provides a temporary weekly benefit to qualified workers who lose their job and are seeking work. The amount of that benefit is based in part on a worker’s past earnings. CBO estimates that UI benefits totaled $94 billion in … Continue reading »
Fiscal Cliff / UI Benefits will end for 3 M: A Brief Overview of the Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit
The Fiscal Cliff means that Unemployment Benefits will abruptly end for 2 million in dec., and nearly one million more in the first quarter of 2013. So the important question is that is the legislative procedures for adjusting the public debt limit ? Here is the summary of a Brief Overview by Congressional Research Service. *-* … Continue reading »
The federal budget crisis in Washington known as the “fiscal cliff” has an estimated 400,000 long-term jobless Californians on the edge. A 41/2 -year-old program of emergency federal jobless assistance, which provides many of the state’s unemployed up to $450 a week in benefits, is scheduled to expire Dec. 29 — unless Congress and President … Continue reading »
The labor market has added nearly 5 million jobs since the post-Great Recession low in Feb. 2010. Because of the historic job loss of the Great Recession, however, the labor market still has 3.8 million fewer jobs than it had before the recession began in Dec. 2007. Furthermore, because the potential labor force grows as … Continue reading »
Congress last lengthened the deadline to file for benefits in February, but lawmakers also restructured the program at the time. The maximum number of weeks the jobless can collect unemployment benefits was reduced to 73 weeks. And in all states save New York, the jobless are no longer eligible for a separate federal extended benefits … Continue reading »
Federally funded extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are set to expire at the end of this year. These benefits serve two very useful public purposes. Most obviously, they provide a lifeline to the long-term unemployed and their families during the deepest and longest economic downturn since the 1930s.1 Less understood but equally crucial, the UI … Continue reading »
Substantial changes to tax and spending policies are scheduled to take effect in January 2013, significantly reducing the federal budget deficit. According to CBO’s projections, if all of that fiscal tightening occurs, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 0.5 percent in 2013 (as measured by the change from the fourth quarter of … Continue reading »
House Democrats are beginning their push for an extension of expanded federal unemployment benefits before more than 2.1 million workers lose them at year’s end. Ways and Means panel ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) released a committee report on Monday arguing for quick action to extend benefits before they expire … Continue reading»
The Federal Reserve has reiterated that the US economy is only growing slowly, and that the country’s unemployment rate “remains elevated”. Yet it added that the housing market had “shown some further signs of improvement”. The comments came as the US central bank kept interest rates on hold at between zero and 0.25%, as had … Continue reading »
Fiscal policy, at both the federal and state and local levels: headwinds for unemployment reduction says Bernanke
The accommodative monetary policies I have reviewed today, both traditional and nontraditional, have provided important support to the economic recovery while helping to maintain price stability… Notwithstanding these positive signs, the economic situation is obviously far from satisfactory… Further, the rate of improvement in the labor market has been painfully slow. I have noted on …Continue reading »