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Friday, August 15, 2003

Krugman's Column

First off, I am back, and I welcome readers to Fair and Balanced Day in the blogosphere, as declared by Neal Pollack and Atrios. Many others are participating, of course. Happy F&B day to you.

Paul Krugman's column from today is a riff I've seen variations of regarding the job market difficulties of the present. It all sounds quite depressing, and it makes me wonder exactly how to improve the employment situation. A complaint I've heard about Krugman's NYT columns is that he always is on the attack and he never offers a good alternative way to fix the problem. That criticism seems valid today, especially given this conclusion:

"The best guess is that growth in the second half of the year will be faster than in the first half, possibly high enough to create some jobs, but not high enough to make jobs easier to find. In other words, in terms of what matters most, the economy will continue to deteriorate.

"All this is, of course, an indictment of our economic policy — a policy that has managed the remarkable trick of generating immense budget deficits without giving the economy much stimulus. But that's a subject for another day."

I know you can't save the world within the space of one op-ed. But could he at least offer some reason for hope, some indication that there might be a way to improve matters?

I would especially like to hear PK weigh in on the current debate among the Dem candidates for president about the merits of repealing some of the Bush tax cuts (regardless of how unlikely this is from a political standpoint). And is a stimulative policy strong enough to generate enough jobs possible without causing inflation? Krugman claims that, "Just to stabilize the labor market in its present dismal state would probably take growth of at least 3.5 percent; it would take much more than that to return the economy to anything resembling full employment."