Saturday, December 27, 2008

Larry Summers on Obama's Job Creation Plan

Larry Summers, Director of Obama's National Economic Council, wrote in the Washington Post today about Obama's plan for jobs and how boosting consumer spending isn't going to cut it. I agree. Consumerism can't continue to prop up our economy. It's also destroying the planet. We need a real economy. Meanwhile, conservatives are whining about corporate tax cuts.

WaPo: Our president-elect understands both the peril and the promise of the situation and the importance of responding to changing conditions. That is why his economic team is crafting a broad proposal, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, to support the jobs and incomes essential for recovery while also making a down payment on our nation's long-term financial health.

A key pillar of the Obama plan is job creation. In the face of deteriorating economic forecasts, Obama has revised his goal upward, to 3 million. For one thing, significantly fewer positions would be created in the absence of any recovery plan. Second, more than 80 percent of these 3 million jobs will be in the private sector, including emerging sectors such as environmental technology. This is a bold goal. But economists across the political spectrum recognize that it is far less risky to stand firmly against the forces propelling our economy downward than to be timid in the face of a mounting crisis.

Here's the beef:
Some argue that instead of attempting to both create jobs and invest in our long-run growth, we should focus exclusively on short-term policies that generate consumer spending. But that approach led to some of the challenges we face today -- and it is that approach that we must reject if we are going to strengthen our middle class and our economy over the long run. Far from being an excuse for inaction or delay, the magnitude of the work ahead is all the more reason to begin that work.