Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Government Jobs! Except...

Paul Krugman is absolutely right in his latest Op-ed piece: Washington is exhibiting a “strange passivity” now that the recession, in a "technical sense," is over, one which favors wealthy elites--but not the common worker, who faces a grim unemployment rate, likely to go on for many years.

(“The Jobs Imperative,” New York Times, November 29)

The implication is as plain as a sneer: corporation captains are more important than you and me. We are grunts in the trenches of toil and travail. Economic canon fodder.

Maybe it’s impossible for the government to do anything else. Maybe our leaders have done their best?

No, says Krugman. In fact, he shouts it. Washington’s attitude is heinously wrong and earns serious moral condemnation:

“There’s a pervasive sense in Washington that nothing more can or should be done, that we should just wait for the economic recovery to trickle down to workers.

This is wrong and unacceptable.”

Notice how Krugman puts “This is wrong and unacceptable” in its own standout paragraph. Folks, this is the written equivalent of a scream.

It must be frustrating for Krugman, a genius professor of economics who won the Nobel Prize, to have his keen words fall upon wooden ears over and over. His intelligent thoughts share the stage with lame opinions by colleagues like David Brooks, aka Mr. Status Quo (see, for instance, my blog entry, “The Cruelty Question”).

Krugman lucidly lays out the financial logistics for a government-funded work program. It would create a million jobs, a la Roosevelt’s WPA.

Also, he asserts, more money should be given to the states, so that they can avoid an axe chop to their payrolls, especially the livelihoods of teachers.

And yet his advice will surely be ignored. The plutocrats pretend they obsess about the suffering of the many, honing their well-acted crocodile-tear speeches; but, in actual deed, they dote on their silk-tie masters.

I emphasize with all my literary lungs: our leaders COULD do something to help millions of people avoid years of lean misery--but they are not going to. Their actions express concern only for the wellbeing of the banking and corporate sector.

The tree is known by its fruit.

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