Dems hold strong and no budget cuts

First, let me say I told you so. I spent the last two years (here, here and here) I have been talking about our economy and the recession. I talked about some of the causes of our financial collapse. I talked about some of the strategies for getting things turned around. I said that the government must spend money. There’s no other entity within the United States that has the power and size to be able to move our economy. Republicans, on the other hand, have been running around screaming that the government is too big. We have too much regulation and business is being strangled. It’s hard for me to figure out how business is being strangled with record profits rolling in. How can business be dying on the vine when they’re not paying any taxes? House Republicans are insisting on budget tax cuts.

The new jobs numbers are out today. There’s clearly some encouraging news. The economy made over 200,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate is now 8.8%. Most of these jobs involve the private sector. So, conservatives can’t scream that all of these are government jobs. It is way too early to start doing the happy dance, but it appears that a thoughtful approach to economic policy is actually working.

Long-term unemployment is still a huge problem. There are still 6.1 million Americans who’ve been unemployed for more than six months. 24.5 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. In spite of the fact that March was one of the best months we’ve seen in this country in years (source jobs growth) the economy really needs to heat up in order to alleviate some of the pain and suffering that many Americans are feeling. If the economy continues to hire at a rate of 212,000 Americans per month it will be 2018 before the unemployment rate reaches the level that it was before the Great Recession. We’ve got work to do.

Tax cuts and budget cuts are clearly the wrong policy as the economy is beginning to turn around. We need the house Democrats and the Senate Democrats to stand strong against this budget-cutting GOP. The only reason that I can see to enact major budget cuts at this point in our economic recovery would be to stall or kill the economy before it really gets going. The GOP wouldn’t want to sabotage an economic recovery, would they?

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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