Sunday, November 15, 2009

Krugman Suggests $300 Billion Jobs Program

by Calculated Risk on 11/15/2009 03:32:00 PM

"There’s no hard and fast number, but ... I have in mind something like $300 Billion, you could do quite a lot that’s actually targeted on jobs."
Professor Paul Krugman, Nov 12, 2009
In the following interview, with Alison van Diggelen of Fresh Dialogues, Paul Krugman offers some suggestions for addressing the high unemployment rate (transcript here):

And two pieces - the first from the NY Times, and the second from Krugman's blog.

From Krugman in the NY Times: Free to Lose
[T]hese aren’t normal times. Right now, workers who lose their jobs aren’t moving to the jobs of the future; they’re entering the ranks of the unemployed and staying there. Long-term unemployment is already at its highest levels since the 1930s, and it’s still on the rise.

And long-term unemployment inflicts long-term damage. Workers who have been out of a job for too long often find it hard to get back into the labor market even when conditions improve. And there are hidden costs, too — not least for children, who suffer physically and emotionally when their parents spend months or years unemployed.

So it’s time to try something different.

Just to be clear, I believe that a large enough conventional stimulus would do the trick. But since that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, we need to talk about cheaper alternatives that address the job problem directly. Should we introduce an employment tax credit, like the one proposed by the Economic Policy Institute? Should we introduce the German-style job-sharing subsidy proposed by the Center for Economic Policy Research? Both are worthy of consideration.

The point is that we need to start doing something more than, and different from, what we’re already doing.
And from his blog: It’s the stupidity economy
[S]ome readers have asked why I’m not making the same arguments for America now that I was making for Japan a decade ago. The answer is that I don’t think I’ll get anywhere, at least not until or unless the slump goes on for a long time.

OK, so what’s next? The second-best answer would be a really big fiscal expansion, sufficient to mostly close the output gap. The economic case for doing that is really clear. But Washington is caught up in deficit phobia, and there doesn’t seem to be any chance of getting a big enough push.

That’s why, at this point, I’m turning to what I understand perfectly well to be a third-best solution: subsidizing jobs and promoting work-sharing.