Fourteen million out of work! Sixteen notable economists and historians have joined in a consensus statement for The Daily Beast demanding urgent action on unemployment and the faltering recovery. Joseph Stiglitz, Alan Blinder, Robert Reich, Richard Parker, Derek Shearer, Laura Tyson, Sir Harold Evans, and other thought leaders have produced a manifesto calling for more government stimulus and tax credits to put America back to work.
See the signers here >
GET AMERICA BACK TO WORK!
Fourteen million unemployed represents a gigantic waste of human capital, an irrecoverable loss of wealth and spending power, and an affront to the ideals of America. Some 6.8 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Members of Congress went home to celebrate July 4 having failed to extend unemployment benefits.
We recognise the necessity of a program to cut the mid- and long-term federal deficit but the imperative requirement now, and the surest course to balance the budget over time, is to restore a full measure of economic activity. As in the 1930s, the economy is suffering a sharp decline in aggregate demand and loss of business confidence. Long experience shows that monetary policy may not be enough, particularly in deep slumps, as Keynes noted.
The urgent need is for government to replace the lost purchasing power of the unemployed and their families and to employ other tax-cut and spending programs to boost demand. Making deficit reduction the first target, without addressing the chronic underlying deficiency of demand, is exactly the error of the 1930s. It will prolong the great recession, harm the social cohesion of the country, and continue inflicting unnecessary hardship on millions of Americans.
This post originally appeared at The Daily Beast and is republished here with permission.
Alan Blinder was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and served on Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers; he's the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.
David Reynolds is an international history professor and fellow at Christ's College in Cambridge. His latest book is America, Empire of Liberty: A New History of the United States.
Image: University of Cambridge
Jim Hoge is editor of Foreign Affairs and the former editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, which won six Pulitzer Prizes under his tutelage. He is co-editor of How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War.
A journalist and author of the book How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities, John Cassidy has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995, covering economics and business.
Image: Blog Business World
Joseph Stiglitz is the former chief economist of the World Bank, and a recipient of the Nobel Prize and the John Bates Clark Medal; currently, he's a professor at Columbia University. He is most recently the author of Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy and The Stiglitz Report: Reforming the International Monetary and Financial Systems in the Wake of the Global Crisis.
Image: The Business Insider
Laura Tyson served as the chair of Council of Economic Advisers and the director of the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration. She is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the History Department at Harvard University, and author of Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939.
Image: Harvard University
Sir Harold Evans is a journalist and former editor of The Sunday Times and the Times, who was knighted in 2004 for his services to journalism. His award-winning book, They Made America, chronicled the country's most important innovators and inventors.
Nancy Folbre won a MacArthur Genius Award and is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is author of a new book, Saving State U: Fixing Public Higher Education.
Image: UMass Amherst Colleg
Richard Parker, a former congressional consultant, is a public policy lecturer and senior fellow at the Shorenstein centre at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of The Myth of the Middle Class, Mixed Signals: The Future of Global Television News, and John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics.
A professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, Robert Reich was the 22nd secretary of labour under President Clinton. He is the author of 12 books, including his most recent Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life.
Image: The Business Insider
Sean Wilentz is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the American Revolutionary Era at Princeton. His book, The Rise of American Democracy: From Jefferson to Lincoln, won the 2006 Bancroft Prize.
Sidney Blumenthal is a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and advised Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign. His books include The Clinton Wars and The Permanent Campaign.