“This is not business as usual. This is a very, very bad job market, and we don’t fully understand it,” said Jeff Madrick, director of the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, which hosted the conference. “Jobs should be the first word out of every policymaker’s mouth in America, and I wish out of the media.”
The conference, entitled “A Bold Approach to the Jobs Emergency: Setting the Political Agenda for 2014 and 2016,” brought together a diverse array of activists, thinkers, and policymakers to explore not just how to create more jobs in the U.S. but how to improve job quality. While many different approaches were considered, the overarching theme was that a more active and effective government is needed to create new and better economic opportunities.
In his keynote address, Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, reminded listeners, “We know what full employment looks like, feels like. It is not an impossible dream… The way to create jobs without spending a budgetary nickel is monetary policy.” But, he added, “The Federal Reserve has gone almost as far as they can go. That’s why they’re now talking about fiscal policy.”
Maya Wiley, president and founder of the Center for Social Inclusion, spoke about the need for increased social spending. “In the past, to make life better and make our economy work, we invested, our leaders invested in schools and universities. We invested in buses and subways and highways. We invested in the retirement and health care for our parents and grandparents. Now, more than ever, we need to renew these investments. Our leaders are currently slashing these programs.”
The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative will continue to examine the jobs emergency through an ongoing series of road shows, including an event in New Orleans today, where Madrick and leaders from local organizations will discuss strategies to address the city’s high rate of youth unemployment. As the austerity debate once again heats up, the initiative plans to provide these and other resources to help define the problem and potential solutions to the jobs emergency.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at