Writing Off the Unemployed

Fuzzy thinking meets lack of compassion as Republicans try to rationalize their refusal to extend benefits.

Comments: 274

  1. Late last year the human rights arm of the Council of Europe warned that austerity measures imposed on Southern Europe were eroding social and economic rights and the rights to decent work and adequate standards of living. In the US it is possible that making life hard for people is a policy decision - people might be less inclined to take environmental concerns seriously if they are desperate. Desperate people have no time to pay attention to corruption by elites. Hunger actually undermines reasoning ability. If you have to work three jobs you might not have time to vote for a progressive candidate or even know what the political issues are. Even if the average GOP is merely hard-hearted it does not mean that their backers don't have a pipeline or other agenda that makes them want people to be desperate and thus less inclined to question the agendas of the 0.01%.

  2. Funny about the Austerity program in Europe. The nations who are beating up on Greece were the ones who sold them high cost military equipment which added to their debt and interest costs. Austerity here or there are 'I gotcha' programs. The failure of course is who we're sending to congress. Obama is powerless to do much and he's chided for what he has done as not enough or not the right way or something like that. The have somewhat better practices in the money countries, but they too like to punish, like our congress. Human nature is not a pretty thing to watch when it can take advantage. Nature still may have the last laugh and become beyond fooling. It can do without us.

  3. The right wing think tanks funded by right wing billionaires and the corporations they control are so numerous they can run circles around the reality-based, moderate to liberal think tanks. The RBL think tanks are the reality-based liberal think tanks. One of the leading ones is EPI. Oops? EPI?

    The right wing can afford to fund so many think tanks that they funded one with initials to match a leading RBL think tank, the respected Economic Policy Institute. Now there’s confusion when EPI is discussed.

    The conservative EPI is the Employment Policies Institute described on the front page of today’s Times. It spreads the kind of false theories about employment policy that Prof. Krugman is exposing.
    Fight Over Minimum Wage Illustrates Web of Industry Ties,

    Conservatives also fund numerous, atroturf think tanks around the country named so they can insinuate themselves into the local landscape. The Manhattan Institute, as if it had anything to do with the history and culture there. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania they created, you guessed it, the Commonwealth Institute. It has out of state money and doesn’t represent the interests of the citizens of PA.

    Its web page states, “The Revere Foundation was designed to assist corporate donors with…their investments in think tanks...favor a particular corporate interest… effectively takes this question off of the table.”

  4. Source, Google Revere Advisors - The Revere Foundation, www.revereadvisors.com/Foundation.htm‎

  5. Republicans are happy to have large numbers of unemployed people. It keeps wages low, it supports their arguments against immigration reform. The Republican party of Lincoln has become the party of economic slavery.

  6. Every now and then you get a real gem of a video or quote, like Mitt Romney's 47% video. I remember a couple years ago Alan Greenspan felt that his role at the fed was to ensure interest rates remain high and basically create an economic environment that would keep the labor market loose. In his words so that workers would live in a state feaful of losing their jobs resulting in their hesitation to ask for pay increases.

  7. @Walter

    I agree with you about the work not being as thorough and incisive as it could be. On the other hand, I'm glad someone is broaching this topic at all. If only someone "serious" would take it up and write about it! There is a lot more to be studied and written about the subject, and many more connections to be made about present day tactics not only by business, but our politicians and institutions.

  8. This is why the CBO report on 2 million people leaving (not losing) their jobs over the next 10 years as a result of ACA rattles them so - it gives actual, if limited, leverage to employees rather than employers and will result in employers having to either hire more to fill the hours they leave or boosting wages (or both) for those remaining. Add to that the proposed increase in minimum wage (however minimal) and some Republicans and corporatists are approaching melt down.

  9. "And workers over 45 are especially likely to spend a long time unemployed."

    My husband is in that category. Throughout this Great Recession, he's managed to find a few jobs, all of which ended either the startups failed, or business wasn't stable enough to justify his and other hires' salaries. Since the last job ended at the end of this summer, there's been only one blip on his employment search radar, when a mutual friend was able to get someone at Google to recommend him for a technical writing job. He was told he'd get a response. Almost a month later, still no word. No word from the hundreds of applications he's filed since September - not even an inquiry.

    We've been coasting for the past five years. My husband is still receiving unemployment thanks to the three months he worked at the last jobs, but that will end sooner, rather than later.

    Republicans' crass attitudes toward the unemployed and the other victims of the Bush Great Recession is horrid enough. What's worse now is that the attitude has spilled over to the Liberal wing of the Democratic party. As blue cities and states veer left, the national party, under the direction of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has caved to the right.

    It isn't just the older unemployed. Student debt is out of control. Without the prospect of decent paying jobs, our young will be in no better position than those of us who are at mid-point in our lives. We need more Bill de Blasios and Bernie Sanders. Where are they?

  10. @Andrea

    "... but is also hellbent on executing his progressive vision..."

    Um... That's what he was elected for, overwhelmingly, over Michael Bloomberg's favorite candidate.

  11. At the same time that older - over 45? - workers are less able to find employment, we also hear - from tthe same group - that it will be necessary to cut Social security benefits - or raise the age for full eligibility - because there aren't enough workers kicking into the system. Expanding employment and making higher education affordable t for all has got to be a part of change.

  12. Rima i suspect that there are good people out there fit to run for public office but so far the hour has not been right. Maybe de Blasio is the tip of the iceberg but to date the party of hate has had the upper hand and if one believes the media predictions are set to gain more seats in congress. Why Americans seem intent on self destruction remains a mystery to many of us but with the dumbing down of education in this country perhaps this might explain much of it.

  13. The inability of people to see reality similarly has reached the point in the country where nothing can be accomplished. We are in paralysis.

    For example, Mr. Douthat in his Sunday column made this bewildering statement: "Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted. The question is whether tomorrow’s liberals will be our allies in that fight."

    Mr. Douthat sees the unemployed as a mass of people who have been lulled by public policy into not working, failing to realize as "rugged individualists" and "communitarian conservatives" do that work is essential to dignity. And it is the unemployed who would solve social inequality if they would just choose to work. Do you suppose Mr. Douthat has ever met any long-term unemployed?

    In addition to this offensive characterization of the long-term unemployed he goes on to insult liberals, who in his view have no interest in fighting unemployment, apparently because we fail to see the connection between human dignity and labor. He wants us to join in his call to end the disincentive to work that he sees in the health care subsidies of the ACA and extended unemployment benefits.

    How could I possibly reason with Mr. Douthat, a man who looks at the world and sees nothing that I find familiar?

  14. perhaps they all need to take some pages from john howard griffin and enter this world that they do not know but that they assume so much about and have so much power over?
    beyond that, we have a media that has hypnotized about 50% of the voting public with their 24/7 propaganda. no lie once exposed is ever retracted, no pointed follow up questions ever asked of powerful people and the nuance required to understand what is actually happening is paved over with certitude.

  15. And he and the GOP care not about living wage jobs, work 2 or 3 at minimum wage. It's demoralizing and frightening and we need an FDR.

  16. Mr. Douthat has always looked at life through the lens of the economically privileged and well connected. He gives the impression that poor or unemployed people are just something he steps over on the way to the country club.

  17. We also appreciate the things that Ms. Rampell had to say on this subject last year at Economix:


    and are constantly amazed at whom GOP'ers are choosing to write off.

    Then we remember that kids don't vote, that the poor vote less regularly than others, and that GOPers' donor base has not been having too bad a time these past few years - a lot of whyyyyyning, but these are ' goldilocks times ' for the top 5%.

    Combined with the fact that over 50% of Congress are millionaires (for the first time ever) and remembering that even with polls showing 80% of GOP'ers and Dems wanted stronger gun back-ground checks, such legislation failed to pass, we agree with Jared Bernstein:


    when he cited Bin Appelbaum's tweet " maybe unemployed people should try standing on runways " so that Congress finds itself inconvenienced, and acts.

  18. While the GOP is sadistically open in their disdain for struggling people, "centrist" Democrats try to keep their own complicity hidden behind their increasingly feeble "I feel your pain" platitudes.

    For example, when the president signed the corporation-friendly Farm Bill last week, he effectively condemned almost a million more people -- the young, the disabled, the working poor, and the elderly -- to hunger. He put his imprimatur on an additional $8 billion in SNAP cuts. Yet, he had the chutzpah to call it a bipartisan victory! He suggested, with a straight face and with all apparent sincerity, that people can now use less money to buy more farm-fresh food! He even blustered on about deficit reduction, celebrating "common sense" reforms. (When politicians yack about common sense, you rest assured that the commons will not benefit.)

    He's euphemized income inequality into "the opportunity gap." Austerity is alive and well in both branches of the Money Party. Republicans hate you with a passion, Democrats love you to death. Corporate con artists get tax breaks and deferred prosecution agreements. And you get bupkis.

    And so, when they flood my inbox with appeals for campaign donations in order to "make my voice heard" on the social ill du jour, I inform them that all my spare change is going to help my food bank. My long-term unemployed, retired, low-wage and disabled neighbors shouldn't have to choose between heating and eating in this long, hard, cold, cruel winter.

  19. Karen Garcia and Rima....Always my Gratitude for both of you as those I look to for Content and Substance in this quagmire of Today. Since my stroke, I have little in either content or substance....but try to "exercise with words" to express.
    With what I call a "Ransomed Politic", the two of you give me a chance to feel beyond just Cynicism and give me some Hope there are others that think past simple Greed. Thanks for your Minds. Since I sort of lost some of Mine, You two are a Gift to me....and many. Richard DeForest Erickson, Nowthen, Minesota.

  20. Right on!

    There's no room for partisanship when the Democratic party is complicit in shredding the social safety net. The look on President Obama's face when he signed the corporate welfare, working class warfare farm bill was way too much to take.

    This my team/your team mentality may make some people temporarily feel good about themselves. However, the less of two evils is still evil.

    The working class needs a party that is unequivocally, unapologetically going to fight for their interests. The Democratic party and this so-called Democratic president have abandoned us.

  21. "And so, when they flood my inbox with appeals for campaign donations in order to "make my voice heard" on the social ill du jour..."

    Oh, amen, sister. Do I sympathize with the goals of proposed "progressive" social legislation? Sure. Do I think they are at best a distraction and at worst a club the demagogues doing the bidding of the plutocracy uses to steal more money? You betcha.

  22. The jobless irk the upper class,
    They're "takers" and do it en masse,
    Since the upper class minions
    Follow all their opinions,
    Repubs find jobless lazy,crass.

  23. Krugman is right---the Congress should be extending unemployment benefits.

    But we also needed a jobs program, and here Obama has been missing in action. Of the $787 billion proposed in the ARRA, only about $45 billion was earmarked for transportation, about $55 billion in education. The bulk of Obama's proposal was unemployment benefits (important but not enough) and tax breaks that would appeal to special interest groups.

    It was China that constructed new high-speed electric rail joining major cities, not the US. And federal spending on education was largely offset by cuts by the states.

    Of course, Obama was trying to "appeal to the center," but the result was an economic stimulus package not much different than would have been proposed by McCain, or Romney, the main difference being more spending on the poor, but here no thought was given to how to decrease spending over the long term.

    Thus Obama increased subsidies to families with children, apparently not realizing that we need fewer children that we train better for higher value-added jobs.

    One example of Obama's poor planning is provided by Obamacare. Here ALL Americans, even those past child-bearing age are required to buy coverage that includes maternity care. It would have been far better to give LOWER PREMIUMS to those who agreed not to have children.

    Obama makes things even worse by supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration and high fertility increases the level of unemployment.

  24. Brett, it was politicians in the Caifornia legislature from your neck of the woods that crippled high-speed rail by passing laws that refused to let it run on its own tracks through the Peninsula effectively making it unable to transport passengers in the time allotted by the law that voters passed creating it. Check out KCBS radio's "In Depth" this morning at 8:30 a.m. PST. Don't blame Obama or overpopulation.

  25. @Mark Thomason. At least China HAS a high-speed electric railway system. I've ridden it and it's fantastic. And full all the time. If I read your comment correctly you seem to call for "no action because we might bungle it". What? Every major project in the US from the Erie Canal to the ACA has had its risks and been "bungled" to varying degrees. But I can't think of one bit of bungling that has even held the US back in the long run. Unless your talking about the Congress, in particular its current Republican members, then I tend to agree with you. But, that is no reason not to move forward in spite of them.

  26. Your comment contains a number of errors and a great deal of misinformation. However, the one that I will address is this: It is simply not true that Obama has ignored the lack of jobs. In fact, he has submitted a number of substantial jobs proposals, and they have been sitting in John Boehner's inbox since at least 2011 -- The American Jobs Act. Look it up. Congress has refused to pass it.

    Besides the American Jobs Act, he has sent job proposals to Congress every single year to no avail. And a few that Congress actually did pass -- very small ones buried in legislation that Congress will actually pass, like the farms bill and the veterans bill.

    So you really ought to be blaming Congress for actively ignoring the dire need for jobs, as an uncomfortable fact for you and the Republican Party.

  27. "So how can politicians justify cutting off modest financial aid to their unlucky fellow citizens?"

    The government should add the unemployed to the list of groups protected against discrimination.

    At the very least employers should have to publicize hiring statistics. Given that the job seeker has to divulge everything to the employer, isn't it only fair that the prospective employer do the same to the job seeker?

  28. Far-sighted - My apologies, I should have read a few more comments before posting my own. About the need for some kind of legal protection for the long term unemployed, we weren't the first two to suggest it, but something has to give. I would normally favor almost any solution to legal measures, but I can't imagine any other means of redress. I'm 52 and not getting any younger, so I don't believe my own employment status is going to improve much from here, but I'm still open to any advice other than going back to college and getting a Ph.D. Not gonna do it, not when I've got a son who'll be needing money for college in just 11 more years.

  29. A young man I know was laid off from 2 teaching positions, because of budget cuts. He is now changing professions, because he says that he is tired of going to interviews for teaching where he is competing with over one thousand other applicants. Lucky for him his parents have the means to help him, but his wife and child are stressed out. Even if he wouldn't have retooled his profession, he could have gotten other jobs, but not near what he would have made as a teacher. Like Rand Paul, this young man was lucky to be born to parents of means. Unlike the very lucky Rand Paul, I don't think he would begrudge sustenance to the unfortunate.

  30. Think about meeting someone for the first time at a party. Fairly early on, the two of you will exchange information about what you do for a living.

    Having a job is certainly about money, But let's not forget, it's also about self-worth and the Republicans are stripping that from millions of Americans.

  31. Your 'young friend' is fortunate to have enough time left his bag of tricks' or on his biological-clock to to 'change professions'. I'll be the has already encountered that tired old rejection: 'If we hired you, and something better came along, you'd quit', to which I hope his response would be somethng line: 'Well, yes, and I would expect to be fired for being so stupid'.

  32. Over the past five years, the Republican Party has been focused on only one thing - winning elections. The easiest way to do that is to slow down the economy and to support legislation that only benefits their big money backers. The Koch brothers and their Super PACS alone are expected to spend a minimum of 100 millions dollars to support Republican candidates in the midterm elections. The one percenters know who's on their side.

    Hardhearted is an insufficient description of the cruelty they've unleashed on the middle class and the poor. No to an extension of unemployment benefits or a raise in the minimum wage. No to the American Jobs Act and an infrastructive bank that would actually create decent paying jobs. And at the same time, they weaken the social safety net. Republican governors and state legislatures deny millions of Americans health care by refusing to expand Medicaid.

    Anybody who thinks Republicans worry about the unemployed, hungry children, the uninsured, low wage workers, people losing their homes because they lost their jobs or suffered a medical bankrupcy are deluding themselves.

    They only care about keeping the House and regaining the Senate in the next election. They are more like a public relations firm than a political party. I can't think of one piece of legislation they've sponsored to help the middle class or the poor in the last five years. Not one.

    They've turned their backs on us and we have to do the same to them in November 2014.

  33. They're more like a crime syndicate than a political party.

  34. In light of Rand Ghayad's findings, maybe we need to consider adding long term joblessness to the list of groups needing legal protection from discrimination. For all the talk of Japan being such a sexist and depressed economy, judging from the experience of a few close friends, things are not really so bad here. A 51-year old Japanese female friend of mine, for example, recently found a new job within a few weeks of losing her old one as a computer code writer for a small Indian-owned company.

    Japan's debt to GDP exceeding 200% is disconcerting, particularly since demographic factors will only make growth even harder in the future, yet Professor Krugman explained over a year ago that Japan's economy would compare quite favorably with America's if demographic factors were properly considered. Things have improved in the US since then, but my point is not that everything is so much better in Japan – it is not – but unemployment is a bigger problem there than here, by far, and there is no excuse for that.

    Official unemployment is still well over 7%, but everybody knows that the actual number would be far higher if the underemployed and those who gave up looking were counted, so the common sense, economic case for stronger stimulus is still solid. And bring back good job training programs such as CETA that were senselessly axed by Republicans as well, or things will get far worse before getting any better.

  35. CETA trainees would suffer the same discrimination aa the long-term unemployed.

  36. I'm sorry, Dr. K., but as an unrepentant FDR Democrat I believe you have let the Dems off too lightly. Time after time, from the President down, they have sold out a little bit here and a little bit there for the sake of "compromise". Each compromise has chipped away a little more of the New Deal's legacy.

    I wish just once or twice the party leaders would learn to be strong in standing up for America's unemployed and working people and calling out the predators who have helped themselves to just about all the fruits of the nation's explosion in productivity. As it is, they are little better than the GOP's enablers.

  37. I agree with you. The following is a part of the famous campaign speech FDR gave in Madison Square Garden October 36, 1936, speaking of Republicans: "They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred."

    He followed with "Here and now I want to make myself clear about those who disparage their fellow citizens on the relief rolls. They say that those on relief are not merely jobless—that they are worthless. Their solution for the relief problem is to end relief—to purge the rolls by starvation. To use the language of the stock broker, our needy unemployed would be cared for when, as, and if some fairy godmother should happen on the scene.

    "You and I will continue to refuse to accept that estimate of our unemployed fellow Americans. Your Government is still on the same side of the street with the Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side."

    Have the current Democratic pols even heard of FDR?

  38. I don't know if the Dems realize that every time they sell out for the sake of compromise, they send out a message that there is something worthwhile in the GOP's position when, so often, there is none. And there is none in the long term unemployment debate nor in raising the minimum wage to $10.10.

  39. There are a few - VERY FEW - Democrats worthy of their seats in congress (Doggett in the House, Sanders in the Senate) who are truly worthy of reelection. The rest, most Democrats and NO Republicaans , deserve to be thrown under the bus, in subsequent elections. And the recent acceptance by the president of that abomination, 'The Farm Bill' completely shredded any hopes I once had for Mr. Obama.

  40. It's the fault of Americas biggest myth - that only the need to fight -(some Indians - the British - your fellow men and poverty) - creates "the winners" of the American dream.

    And most Americans haven't noticed yet - that in this century "the pressure cooker model" doesn't work that well anymore... if they will things will change -(and even nasty Republicans...)

  41. Republicans had no problem extending $7 billion for the crop insurance program in the farm bill. The majority of these subsidies go to the largest farms. In 2011:

    - the top 20 percent received 73 percent of the payments
    - at least $1 million in subsidies went to 26 agribusinesses
    - $100,000 or more went to 10,000 recipients
    - more than $1.3 billion goes to subsidize the crop insurance industry each year

    If unemployment benefits are not extended, the CBO estimates that we will lose more than “200,000 jobs” this year. The best way to get money into the economy is through the food stamp program, unemployment benefits, and infrastructure spending. Tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations are the least effective way to create jobs.

    Stimulus benefit for each dollar spent:
    $0.29 – Bush income tax cuts
    $0.30 – Corporate tax cut
    $0.37 – Dividend and capital gains tax cuts
    $1.36 – Aid to states
    $1.59 – Infrastructure spending
    $1.64 – Unemployment benefits
    $1.73 – Food stamps

    Bang for Your Stimulus Buck

    My beef with the Democrats is since it comes as no surprise that Republicans refuse to extend jobless benefits, why did the Democrats give up their demand to extend benefits when negotiating the budget agreement?

  42. Rima, you are absolutely correct; But until we have the tea party buried in a crossroads with a stake through it's heart, we can't afford the Democratic Party faction Fight/purge.

  43. Probably more that 200K jobs lost. According to Bloomberg, "For Each High-Tech Job, 4.3 Others Are Created:" so doesn't that suggest that even with sales jobs or service jobs, in the long term many other jobs will be lost as well creating more economic downturn?
    As millions more are dropped from unemployment benefits, that has to impact the local businesses.

  44. They "caved" because however horrible it is, this bill did cut payments to agribusiness and, let us not forget: Dems eat at the same money trough as the Republicans, they just don't get quite as much. That is also the reason that the Dems are so quiet in the face of Republican cruelty.

  45. The Republican use of the filibuster to block the extension of benefits to the long-term unemployed should be a centerpiece of Democratic advertising for the 2014 mid-term elections.

    Republicans purport to want to create jobs, yet they have voted against virtually every piece of job creation legislation. To add insult to injury, they eliminate long-term joblessness benefits and cut food stamp aid. Finally, they castigate the Affordable Care Act because it increases worker choice and mobility by making it easier for Americans to work part-time, change jobs, or start new businesses.

    Why so many Americans continue to vote for a political party that acts against the interest of ordinary Americans is beyond my comprehension.

  46. I'd surmise they do it because they actually do hold beliefs that reinforce the teachings they got from church and state, together with the media. In our country we've permitted our leaders to lie; enabled our media to fail to call them on the lies and eventually the number of times they're lied to, they have two choices and choose not to judge. Recently we saw Mr. Wolfowitz tell us the Iraq war would cost $50 billion and this would quickly be recovered from them. He was later rewarded with a role at the World Bank. Took a girlfriend with him (at the banks expense), and is probably with some outfit paying him 6 figures now. We say one thing and do another. No consequences for lying unless to an FBI agent. Look at the fast food outfits who exploit all the social services to make up for what they won't pay. Privatize profit, socialize risk. So, we more or less license the liars to continue. Very few or no consequences have been the norm in my lifetime. Rarely does truth get equal time and even when questions are raised action may never follow. Is the Gov. of New Jersey still in office? How many ways does Mr. Mitchell or Mr. Boehner strecth truth or just plain fib? Do their fellows admonish them?

  47. It could be because so many of them are mesmerized by the likes of Rush Limbaugh; though why that is, I don't know. I hope someone is doing a psychological profile of that population.

  48. Again I ask you readers to look at the underlying psychology of the conservative mind we see in these issues.

    For one thing, the majority of these conservatives are followers of conservative religions factions that go back to the the first Europeans to come her, and they brought these prejudices with them.

    In their way of thinking, people who are not working, and have not found work, just are not trying hard enough. So they rationalize that to claim, these non workers are satisfied to collect unemployment payments, and sponge off those who are working. That claim sits well with the marginally employed who think their taxes are going to support those who do not work. This is the primary voting base of the GOP and those like Ron Paul. The wealthy managerial class also supports this view, as it gives them access to low cost employees.

    However, we see that the preponderance of the unemployed are middle pay range people, like IT professionals, aerospace engineers, general office workers, and teachers among others. Educated but not in the skilled trades.

    In order to bring some relief and understanding to the correct this treatment of those who are caught in this economic disparity, we need to attack the psychology and mentality of the politicians perpetuating it. They need to be shown for what they are, and their true character as parsimonious ideologues exposed to public view.

    They are characters right out of Oliver Twist.

  49. I think I did some of that in the post I published just after yours.

    Kind of a coincidence, I guess.

  50. David,

    You are right, of course, that business owners want access to cheap labor, and that, along with their desire to keep their own taxes as low as possible, explains their indifference to the plight of their employees. Many of them probably know that sales are weak due to the generalized impoverishment of the middle class, and that makes no sense as economic policy in a country where consumer demand accounts for 70% of the economy.

    Business owners cannot be expected to take the lead here because they only care about keeping their own costs low and somehow attracting customers, but certainly not by making all middle class people richer. That's the ultimate solution though, and only government can make it happen.

  51. @Tim Kane
    Yes you did, not coincidence, great minds think alike, or so I have heard it said.

    It is just that most commentators concentrate on the effects, as it is much easier to see that. And I suspect, most do not want to think of those responsible, as being of bad character. In fact a couple of time I have shown real links to a particularly evil incident in not to distant history, i have been censored for it, and my comments have been removed, even after they got high recommends from the readership. I suspect a certain segment just looks for these kinds of comparisons, and complains.

    Sometimes I have been out of line, by suggesting that certain individuals had escaped from the funny farm. but in general, my comments were verifiable, but not to the liking of the gods of the editors.

  52. The lack of compassion demonstrates a serious pathology

    This piece goes from:"What all of this suggests is that the long-term unemployed are mainly victims of circumstances"

    To:"it’s striking how hard it is to find anyone on the Republican side even hinting at sympathy for the long-term jobless"

    In between there are all kinds of rationalizations for the Republican position on unemployment (and other economic issues)

    We know 1 thing: the Republicans are all for helping the 1% get ever more at the expense of the everyone else

    But now we know 2 things: The 1% are just junkies for money%2Bpower, The Republicans are their enablers/suppliers

    3 weeks ago the Times published a piece by ex-wall-streeter Sam Polk (For Love of Money, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.h...

    In that piece Polk describes life among the 1% as simply an addiction to power and money. Polk came by this realization pursuing relief from other addictions he held. The analysis makes sense. If you've known an addict all they ever want is ever more and they've an incredible capacity at creating justifications that upon closer inspection make no sense

    There is no shortage of rationalizations that have a germ of truth and follow some kind of logic but in essence are absurd

    Helping the unemployed means helping the 99%. Any help to the 99% impedes the 1% junkies from getting their fix

    Addiction analysis makes sense of our politics. Perhaps It's time for a confrontation

  53. "Addiction analysis makes sense of our politics. Perhaps It's time for a confrontation"

    You mean an "intervention" - Right?
    NOT "confrontation"
    -(as "confrontation" might be part of the old not working-anymore-American model?)

  54. Right, intervention, not confrontation. The wrong word came to me.

    I've actually participated in one about 25 years ago. Turned the person in questions life around. Though he mentally is very rigid and intrinsically republican. Likes everything to be and fit right where it belongs. He's also an engineer, so maybe, same dif.

  55. Tim...the Polk op ed is apt.

    He says that traders despised with fury any limits to bonuses or any higher taxes. “ When a drug addict uses up his junk... “He’ll do anything — walk 20 miles in the snow, rob a grandma — to get a fix. Wall Street was like that. In the months before bonuses were handed out, the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in “The Wire” when the heroin runs out.”

    In his opinion “ the wealth addicts are responsible for the vast, toxic disparity between the rich and the poor and the annihilation of the middle class. Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation — and $8.5 million bonus — as the McDonald’s C.E.O., Don Thompson did in 2012, while his company gave a brochure to its work force on how to survive on their low wages. Only a wealth addict with hundreds of millions would lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary.”

  56. "Why so many Americans continue to vote for a political party that acts against the interest of ordinary Americans is beyond my comprehension."

    You have to stop seeing it as a "political" problem and more of a "cultural" problem - where "the American pressure cooker" still rules supreme -(beyond most "political parties") - and the sad fact - for somebody who truly believes in the American Dream it will take a very long time to understand that unemployment isn't a "losers" fault.

  57. The estimated cost of the last government shutdown brought to us by Sen. Cruz's pack of outlaw Republicans: $24Billion. Thecost to extend benefits to the unemployed for one year $17Billion. Crazy!

  58. Deliberate, also.

  59. That isn't the only cost of the GOP government shutdown. The post office has raised postage 3 cents to make up some 5 billions that they claimed they lost. How is it that the American public has to make up for this loss and not the GOP that caused it in the first place? It should come out of their salaries for however long it takes to make up the loss.

  60. In 1958 a company to treat addition was formed in Santa Monica and named "Synanon."

    Their concept was to use "tough-minded" intervention by former drug users to get addicts to quit. In 1971 the Federal government granted funds to "The Seed" in Florida, an organization that modeled itself like Synanon but to specifically target teens. By 1974 Congress held hearings on "The Seed" and determined that they employed tactics that weren't much different than those used by North Korea before, during, and since the Korean War.

    Not to be deterred, Mel Sembler, a friend of the Bush family, who liked the ideas of "The Seed," co-started "Straight Inc." Later Mel became the GOP's 2000 finance chair, then later headed "Scooter" Libby's legal defense fund.

    By 1985 "Straight" was in 7 states. They were sued multiple times and in 1993 closed. But they live on in look-a-likes that favor what is since known as "tough love."

    The treatment of those the GOP deems losers, the 47% who won't vote for Mitt or any other Republican, and includes our long term unemployed, is a very strict mindedness Conservatives believe individuals need if they're unemployed or simply not meeting up to imaginary GOP standards.

    But tough love doesn't work. Oh, sure, one can cite lots of anecdotal examples, the kind the GOP mind loves, that it "prove" it does, tautologically. But what the GOP dislikes, data, say if fails.

    And so does shoving long term unemployed into the gutter "to make them" get employed.

  61. John,

    I worked long enough in the mental health and substance abuse counseling to know that far too little is done to help addicts get clean and to support them in recovery. These programs that you've cited are good examples of Republicans who've even figured out ways to profit off of the most destitute people of all, while at the same time treating them with money grubbing "tough love" that is really a euphemistic way of saying "tough sh_t".

    And we should all be alarmed that America's prison population has increased eight-fold in just 30 years, particularly since corrections has become another one of our hottest growth industries - the nation's incarceration rate has increased eight-fold in just 30 years. God help us because nobody else possibly can.

  62. As a lot of people know, I'm struggling with my own addiction of pointing out my own writing errors, but repeating myself in the same sentence was just too much for going cold turkey so I fell off the wagon, again. And you know what, I get a lot more patience and compassion here than hard core drug addicts will ever get from any Republican.

    I try not to wish ill will on anyone, but if every Republican incumbent were driven out of office en masse in the next election, we would all be better off and could be forgiven if we went wild in jubilation.

  63. Well - I would say your "addiction" is nothing to the "addiction to be a Republican" - and I'm working since years on a foolptoof cure to help (Republican) addicts to get clean and to support them in recovery.

    And I had my successes -(made an impressive amount of Republicans vote for Obama) - but the addiction to be a Republican is a hard nut to crack -(so to say) - and you always need the help of the "WHOLE" family -(if you know what I mean?) for a sucessful intervention!

  64. and about "the bad character thing" and mostly "Republicans" do it - I like to stress that often too
    -(as my "nasty" Republicans remark will prove) -
    But then - as a "good Liberal" - who also believes - that people often are victims of their "circumstances" I not only feel sorry for poor minority kids but also for poor rich Republicans -(who have "made it") that they want for their fellow citicenz the same taste of sweet success - reaching the mountaintop...

    S... I can't do that with a straight face - could somebody please delete this comment?
    Dear Professor?

  65. Or damn it -
    Let's say it as it is:
    "Empathy for unemployed is a whimpy European thing" - and as Europe -(lately) is "in big trouble" and considered to be a BIG loser - Empathy -(and help) for the unemployed is NOT in demand in the homeland too!

    (But perhaps - when Francois is dining with all the American winners he could drop a few words of advice how to deal with the so called "losers" of a
    society - or take them to a performane of "Les Miserables" afterwards?)

  66. Yes, millions of Americans have been written off in terms of unemployment, but they and millions more--millions more of us--have been written off for some time by global corporations, extremely rich people, and the two parties they control. Democrats engage in shadow-play to make it seem like they care more than Republicans (and a few, like Elizabeth Warren, sincerely do understand how crucial it is to create and expand the middle class, while also ensuring opportunities for working-class and poor Americans), but in general, both parties, from the President and Congresspeople on down to local officials, are beholden to money. That's the game. MONEY. And the power that it ensures. The people with lots of money (the Kochs, Petersons, etc.) could care less about the unemployed. They care only about enriching themselves and their tiny clique of peers. So the rest of us need to do something about it, beginning with voting out the GOP in 2014. But we can't stop there!

  67. Just as Sec Kerry is pro-active in Foreign Affairs, and Sec Def Hagel is pro-active in Defense issues, if this administration truly wants to advocate for jobs and extension of unemployment benefits, we need a pro-active champion as Sec of Labor.

    President Obama’s first Sec Labor was a zero. His second is qualified to defend labor law but lacks history of pro-active action for working Americans.

    By contrast, FDR’s Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, led creation of Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration, labor portion of the National Industrial Recovery Act. Through the Social Security Act she established unemployment benefits, pensions for elderly Americans, and welfare for the poorest Americans. With the Fair Labor Standards Act, Perkins established the first minimum wage, overtime laws, and set the 40 hour week as a standard.

    One of President Nixon’s Sec of Labor was Peter Brennan. Under him, Congress passed legislation protecting worker pensions, expanded workplace rights of disabled, improved enforcement of workplace safety and health laws, and improved benefits for workers left jobless by changes in international trade.

    These, days, the Sec Labor should be one of the most often heard voices in our nation advocating for and pressing legislation for working and unemployed Americans. Can a postcard voting system for union organizing be authorized by executive order?

    Labor isn’t a dirty word. It’s what built, builds, and defends our nation.

  68. As part of my job search, since the labor market is so unresponsive, I've begun to set aside some time every day to research policy, economics, unemployment etc. to gain a more in-depth understanding of the problem. More importantly I'm writing officials and agencies.

    Today I'm going to e-mail Mr. Perez, Secretary of Labor and ask him why he isn't out front and center working on the single greatest problem our country faces today. I invite everyone else do do the same:

    Except I just tried to send him an email and the link on the page does not work. He does not have a comment page like for Obama or congressmen at all so I called and got his email address:

    [email protected]

    Bomb him with the emails he's been shielded from!

  69. Are any of the GOP criticisms valid?

    Will extending benefits increase the deficit? No, the Senate bill pays for them; see Paul's link.

    Will offering benefits retard the recovery? No, the benefits will be spent by families to prevent further economic dislocation. Keep in mind to qualify, a recipient had to be working!

    Will benefits allow recipients to leave jobs on the table? No. What jobs? Federal stats, state reports, communities, neighbors, Times commenters report a dismal job market. Critics have not offered contrary evidence.

    Will this lead to redistribution of income? Why not just cut taxes? No. This is the original American Promise: a government "laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to seem most likely to effect Safety and Happiness." For all--not the disenchanted and the rich! Tax cuts should not come on the backs of suffering families whose jobs were sacrificed to protect business profits.

    Isn't this enabling a moral failure? No.

    Isn't this simply more tax and spend? No. Benefits are paid for. The spending returns benefits to families and local communities, helping their recovery.

    Isn't this socialism? No.

  70. While I almost entirely agree with what you write about the problems, what I can't see there is an approach to any solutions. I think that is because traditional economists, even including you, Professor Krugman, are looking at the entire economic perspective from the wrong angle.

    The truly valuable resource that is mostly ignored by economists is human time. I'm guessing that is mostly because it is so hard to measure. No one knows how much he actually has, even if many of us would agree that we are wasting too much of it...

    I think we should rethink economics in terms of the time that's needed to keep the society afloat, the essential working time. In an advanced country like America, that is quite a small number of hours, whereas in some impoverished nations, there aren't enough hours in the week to produce the essentials such as food.

    In a rich country like America that actually represents an economic opportunity in terms of how the rest of the time is allocated. I suggest we should be considering productivity investments and recreation as the two key categories. If one country wants to improve relative to other nations, then a high priority should go to encouraging people to work on methods for higher productivity, but America could actually afford to encourage more consumers of entertainment, too. Not joking, but I call it "Couch potatoes of the world, unite!"

  71. At at time when there are not enough jobs for everyone who needs one, cutting off measly unemployment benefits is inexcusable.

    And you wondered how revolutions occur with those in power getting a little off the top?

    The answer should be obvious.

  72. Professor Krugman, the key to understanding Republican attitudes is that you have to expand the definition of Those People to include everyone except a few rich donor friends. Like the folks Mitt Romney was speaking to in that tape, they were the Virtuous, you see. Everybody else, be they 47 percent or 97 percent, are Those People who needn't be a concern, and are certainly not to be provided benefits.

  73. You paint a picture of long-term unemployment that contains no hope for eventual employment. You simply re-state the obvious, that we have many suffering; and, with every jobs report we see "unemployment" dropping but learn that it's largely because yet another substantial number of Americans who wish to work have given up trying, so they're no longer counted as unemployed. We need to start seriously questioning how meaningful this statistic remains as a benchmark of national prosperity.

    But let's accept for a moment, for the sake of argument, that since we hear absolutely nothing from the left about reversing long-term unemployment that it's a permanent economic condition that will worsen as the last of the baby-boomer generation confronts increasing difficulty becoming re-employed, when at other times they would be in their best earning years, among the few that remain. What you hear from the right is that one starts over and rebuilds a life.

    Does your story mean that they become wards of the state for the remainder of their lives? Don't say no, please, unless you have a solution to reversing long-term unemployment to counter the right's. When put that way, you can't sell the proposition to America of forever-renewals of long-term unemployment benefits, at higher debt OR higher taxes. Others Americans have their own problems to deal with. Better a job at any wage than lifelong dependency.

    All we ever see from the left is the soft heart; and nothing about the hard head.

  74. Richard, this is a reply to your reply about raising the minimum wage so not exactly on point here. You, Andrea and others completely miss my point. It is absolutely irrelevant whether the increasing gap between productivity and wages is due to automation, hard work, longer hours or the blessings of the Lord.

    Because of the increase in productivity, businesses are making more money. Before 1937 (or 1981, you pick), this extra money was being shared with the workers. After that, essentially all the gains went to the executives and the shareholders. This has had two effects:

    One is that workers to not have enough money to buy stuff (goods and services). This fact is one of the main causes of our lack of jobs. You are not going to hire more people until you have the hope of more customers who can afford to buy your stuff.

    The other is that the Rich have money coming out of the wazoo. When you have so many houses you can't remember how many you have, what are you going to do with your money? The answer is clear. You will put it into a hedge fund. You will buy credit default swaps, collectivized debt obligations, oil futures, etc.

    Both of these are very bad for the economy. We have seen this picture before in the 1920's with similar rates of inequality, but different types of wild speculation.

    As for your comment today, history has shown that government projects pump money into the private sector which then provides more jobs. More detail in another reply.

  75. Some concrete suggestions:

    1. Institute an efficient universal government run health care system, say Medicare for All. The data shows we could save over 1.5 TRILLION dollars each year which could better used elsewhere.
    http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/oecdhealthdata2013-frequentlyrequ... (and get better care)

    2. Return to much more progressive tax rates to encourage the Rich to leave more of their profits in their companies and their companies to pay their workers more, and to discourage the Rich from wild speculation.

    3. Strengthen unions by requiring workers to pay for the union benefits they receive and by enforcing rules on coercion by companies against organization.

    4. Strongly regulate speculation. Here are 3 suggestions:

    Require the buyer of a futures contract to show willingness and ability to take delivery.

    Require each party to a mortgage contract to get permission of the other party or a court order to sell his end of the contract.

    Require the buyer of a credit default swap to have a material interest in the underlying security.

    5. Stop worrying about the debt and invest in America--fix our crumbling infrastructure, build a better power grid, increase support for education at all levels, fund research, etc. If we grow the economy, the debt will fade into insignificance as in 1946 - 1973. On the other hand we can balance the budget. All 6 times we balanced the budget for more than 3 years, we got a major depression. Shall we go for #7?

  76. It's come down to this, unfortunately. The great economist, Professor Krugman, has been reduced to making a case based on democrats' caring more.

    The particular issues that our workers are facing are unprecedented in their entirety. We've had individual issues before, such as automation disruptions, unemployment, but never in a globally competitive economy. We've had to cycle through the usual suspects of solutions because human nature is to resort to what has worked in the past. If this were a sales cycle, and we wanted to be optimistic, we could count all the efforts tried unsuccessfully as "No's" getting us to the ultimate "Yes." After all else fails, will acceptance follow?

    The unemployed seem to have resigned themselves; the president appears to still be in the bargaining stage ("I'll just use my pen ..."). It's time for us to collectively reach the acceptance stage so we can actually deal with the problem of American jobs going forward.

  77. Basically, the long term unemployed have the same problem as the forty seven million Americans on food stamps, the thirty five percent of Americans with jobs paying less than twenty five thousand dollars per year, the thirty million Americans working at indentured servant pay levels of less than ten dollars per hour and the Red State citizens denied Medicaid by their governments.
    Their legislators cannot afford to help them. All the legislators and the administrators must have the approval of those that provide the huge sums of money needed to even become a candidate for any elected position.
    I do not know what you call a political system that has almost half of the citizens without real representation but it certainly is not a Democracy.
    Things are not getting better for American workers, they are getting worse and there will be a difficult adjustment in the future. I expect we will see bricks versus truncheons if no champions arrive for working Americans.

  78. “Being unemployed is always presented as a choice, as something that only happens to losers who don’t really want to work. “

    Being unemployed affects all walks of life all over our country. This isn’t a political question, but an economic one…

    The fact that the GOP has turned this into a political football where they call all the shots says volumes of how broken our political system is today.

    Unemployment insurance isn’t a handout. Like any insurance you pay into it and hope you never have to cash out. But if and when you do have to use it, it shouldn’t be denied because your GOP Congressman doesn’t think you are worthy/fit to receive it.

    As a constituent living in their state, people should be calling/writing to them and asking why they are denying you coverage for which you paid into. And if they tell you they can’t afford it, ask them why they put trillion dollar wars on taxpayer’s tab or why they bailed out Wall St.

    The only reason they don’t want to grant people coverage is simply because they want to score political points with their base. That money isn’t coming out of their pockets and it seems they aren’t even concerned about your votes.

    One can only hope that people take note of these GOP intransigents and show them the same respect at the next election…

  79. Actually, unemployment insurance is paid for by the EMPLOYER in the fringe calculations-which is in a sense, part of your pay. The more people they lay off on a regular basis that need to collect, the higher their premium which is why they will sometime fight an employee they've gotten rid of (or try to get them to resign) so you won't be able to collect benefits at all. These insurance premiums are paid into the states where the work is done or the worker lives. The first six months are covered via this insurance, but extended benefits come about as the result of economic crisis and are paid then by the federal government in response to the wholesale loss of jobs, terminated when recovery is underway. Obviously our "recovery" has been weak, and has primarily benefited the 1% club. Republicans like to say that the recovery from the recession under Reagan was so much faster, it must be policy that's holding us back. When Reagan was president we still had a manufacturing infrastructure and many more jobs to go back to. Those are gone now. Even jobs that existed in 2007 are gone now. There is little to go back to-government hiring on all levels has been severely cut and corporations are striving to hiring as few people as possible to do much more work than in the past. The stagnant wages for those who are employed have dampened growth and demand, and there is no interest in investing in the future. We must get creative and make an economy with more opportunity for all.

  80. Coverage has limits. If you paid in to a system guaranteeing 26 weeks of coverage, by what line of reasoning can one demand 101 weeks of benefits after the fact?

  81. I stand corrected.

    Read about UE Insurance here..

    Ten Costly Myths About Unemployment Insurance

    Myth #6: Unemployment benefits are a form of welfare. So if I need to make sure my mortgage is paid, they'll help me.

    Truth: Unemployment benefits are a form of insurance, just like auto, medical, and life insurance. Your employer pays the premiums, and when and if you are laid off, you can file a claim. How much you receive -- in fact, whether you receive anything at all -- will depend largely on the rules governing unemployment insurance in your state.

  82. Absolutely, the contempt for the jobless precedes the rationalizations we constantly hear-- that anyone unfortunate lacks ambition, ability, character.

    By stressing choice, the gop rw use the mythology of American freedom and independence to dupe voters into thinking it’s all their fault. That we should still wait for trickle down as millions lose more ground.

    By stressing our choice the gop rw can avoid their blame. They and their election financiers directly cause loss of livelihoods for millions.
    Blame is still put on govt-- that high taxes and over regulation of business have actually caused the recession. Also welfare cheats, minorities, greedy unions.

    That by some miracle, despite all the roadblocks to middle class security, if people have enough character they will overcome stagnating wages, destruction of unions, the sending to Asia of millions of jobs, the dismantling of bank regulation, the soaring costs of education, health care and retirement.

    For the media to challenge this constant gop rw message would by now sound too ‘left wing’. So voters are molded by their daily news to accept one of the biggest scams ever put over on voters in a democracy.

  83. Professor Krugman's perpetually visceral attacks against conservatives does nothing to help achieve solutions. We are where we are in terms of a weak economy in large part due to the Krugmans of the world who seek to stifle job growth through entrepreneurial spirit, seeking instead to regulate, tax and bureaucratically redistribute . Republicans supported an unprecedented two years of unemployment benefits . What does Krugman want, a permanent pensioner state, living off a minority of workers ?

  84. Krugman's point is that the "conservatives" who've opposed government spending that could have increased demand for goods and services also want to cut aid to people would have otherwise been employed to satisfy that demand.

  85. Please provide some verifiable examples of these attempts to stifle job growth.

  86. Someone has to stand up to the bullies. Krugman has consistently been correct, republicans also have been consistent. Consistently wrong. They crashed the economy, and have been holding us back ever since then.

    Perhaps they need some humility. One would think that losing 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections would help them on that. But they are republicans and as Krugman said, haven't changed their minds on anything despite all evidence to the contrary

  87. "abandoned by politicians whose fuzzy-mindedness is matched only by the hardness of their hearts."

    You forgot to mention intellectual dishonesty. Some of these politicians know perfectly well that what they are doing is harmful to the unemployed but to stay in office they must pander to their constituents who can't stand the idea of Those People getting their money.

  88. Can we hear something of how the middle and working class in some other countries are supported and protected to a greater extent? Sure they have unemployment. But they also have acceptance of unions, and higher union membership, which gives the employed some leverage against predator business.

    Also subsidized apprenticeships and college. And the detaching of medical care costs from employment all together, avoiding the ludicrous battles we now see embroiling our politics—that Obamacare will lead to millions of ‘lost jobs’.

    In Germany workers can stay on their jobs during recessions b/c with a govt/ business partnership their hours are shortened, they get regular pay, and they don’t lose their livelihoods. This saves them the destructive effects of loss of skills and experience that plague our long term jobless when they try to find work.

    The psychological benefits of staying on the job are huge, avoiding the destructive effects of being thrown on the refuse heap of society. This spreads from the individual to the family to the community. Crime and social pathology follow. Here the victims are blamed. Elsewhere steps are taken by govt to avoid intractable problems from starting. The results are shown in OECD statistics showing less economic inequality than the US has. But that’s big govt, which Americans have been carefully taught to distrust.

  89. So many Republicans justify their decisions with pious rhetoric, having us believe that they, in cutting off unemployment benefits, are motivated by a righteousness that justifies their displeasure with the unemployed and their hard-heartedness. They would have us believe that their decisions or rationalizations are motivated by their aspiration to do justice, to do what is right for the unemployed, to move them to adopt a more moral and healthy work ethic--this tough love is all about freeing the unemployed from their self-made wretchedness. However, what they are engaged in is a manifestation of vengeance, not justice.

    Anyone attending a religious service in a Catholic parish today or a religious denomination that uses the common lectionary would have heard in the first reading from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah a description of authentic justice (setting things aright) in these terms: "Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own."

    All this purported toughness to bring about better behavior on the part of the unemployed is due to more than their "fuzzy-mindedness...matched only by the hardness of their hearts." What we have witnessed is nothing more than cruel and anti-social behavior, and the correct word for this conduct is evil.

  90. There is a puritanical streak in our culture: one should not be paid unless one is working for it. I think there is a solution for that. Those receiving long term unemployment payments should be required to do 1 day a week volunteer service to their community. Not only would that get people out of the house, it would contribute to our overall well being by getting something useful out of unemployment payments.

  91. That puritanical streak doesn't apply to all in our culture. To the Republicans it's perfectly fine for people to be paid without working for it -- as long as those being paid are "investors," trust fund babies, or members of the Koch or Walton families. That's not only perfectly okay, it's desirable, in their perverted view. And in that same view, it's perfectly fine for Mitt Romney to be paid $1M per year in pension, but an average person who's worked his or her entire life having any pension at all is a vile, evil thing that leads to economic destruction.

    We're already getting something useful out of unemployment dollars. They get pumped back into the economy. That spending is my income, and vice versa.

  92. And if they have to do the volunteers service, the boss is free to chase them around the desk, figuratively speaking, and they have no recourse because if they refuse to do the service they will not get unemployment.

  93. One reason Congressional republicans, and some democrats, don't understand or care about the problems of the unemployed is because they know, should they be turned out of office, they need only make the short walk across town to K Street riches.

  94. ...which is why among reforms that should be made (but likely never will) is to forbid any member of Congress to serve, paid or otherwise, as a lobbyist, consultant, or "historian" (lookin' at you, Newt) until the same number of years they served in government have passed: twelve years in Congress, twelve years before they can lobby. Might have to extend the prohibition to spouses as well.

  95. Let's call the long-term unemployed what they really are: a political football for the Democrats. Democrats allowed extended unemployment benefits to be excluded from the budget so they could make it an issue for the 2014 elections. Democrats know that extended benefits will not fly in Congress, and their call for passage is as insincere as are Republican efforts to overturn Obamacare.

    The long-term unemployed are not victims of circumstances - they are victims of mismanagement of the economy, first by the Fed who elevated interest rates and kept them elevated until the 4Q 2007 onset of the recession, and then blamed it on an alleged "housing bubble." Then the Obama administration and Congress underwhelmed the fiscal stimulus in 2009 and have not made a serious effort for fiscal stimulus since that time.

    The long-term unemployed don't want sympathy; they want a strong economy. If the Obama were serious about helping them, he would have been pushing for a massive fiscal stimulus and telling Republicans to either pass the stimulus or extend benefits. But Democrats see the extended benefits issue as an opportunity to to gain control of the House in the 2014 elections, so they don't intend to fix the economy.

    The Democrats could be making a serious miscalculation. The Republicans will attempt to use the weak Obama economy to gain control of the Senate and White House in 2016. Democrats just might fiddle around without fixing the economy long enough to allow that to happen.

  96. "The long-term unemployed are not victims of circumstances - they are victims of mismanagement of the economy ..."

    Exactly. Mismanagement that began and persists in the private sector, not the Fed or the government. It was banks and mortgage companies, corporations that only pay attention to the next quarter, and anti-employee HR practices in the private sector that brought the economy and tax revenues to their knees.

    The government is not to blame for everything. The trillions that went missing went missing in the private sector, and nearly crushed international banking.

    Greed is Not Good.

  97. Yes, the slow recovery is the Obama administration's fault, for not waving its magic wand and causing the GOP congress to stop blocking reasonable pro-recovery economic policies.

  98. Do you actually think that the GOP that won't allow for 20-some billion in unemployment benefits would ever consider a stimulus package of $500 billion or more? (That, and if a stimulus passed and actually worked, that would be their biggest nightmare!)

  99. Once again, another example of Republican powerbrokers afflicting the already-afflicted--paired with the usual policies of comforting the consistently comfortable..

    Speaking as a member of the long-term unemployed, I don't expect the economy to return to anything close to what we had in terms of pay and labor parity that we had in the 1950s-mid1970s, not without a major sea change in our society and how we discuss it. We had economic communities then, and they worked. We could learn form the past--if the GOP weren't so determined to reinvent that past into a robber baron's golden dreams of avarice, that is.

  100. It's not just the political aspect of this but people to whom it is convenient to follow along. I lost my job the day before new years. Since it's the third job, all temp work, I lost all income when extended benefits weren't honored. This week my car was repoed because although they'd hired us for 6 weeks, they kept sending us home. Only 2 of the 6 were 35 hour weeks so I missed payments because they simply didn't pay us enough to cover even bare essentials. They let us all go more or less more broke than before the first day of work.

    Most of my family and friends buy the republican line and won't help me because not having a job is prima facie evidence that I'm lazy and stupid, right? The rest are just tired of hearing about it or feel bad but helpless and don't want to hear about it any more. So I'm in this alone.

  101. Knitwit, know that you are NOT alone. You are legion, unfortunately. I don't know your background or location but you most certainly are not lazy. Job hunting is one of the most difficult jobs - and it IS a job - there is. Tell everybody you know, strangers even, that you are looking for work. Contact former employers, use your alumni placement service, take every civil service exam you may qualify for, if there's a company you'd like to work for - walk in and ask to see the manager of the department where you'd like to work and give him/her a two minute "why you should hire me" speech (as in what I can bring to this company) and follow up with a "thank you for hearing me out letter". In short, don't let the turkeys get you down.

  102. "...than what happened last week, as Senate Republicans once again used the filibuster to block aid to the long-term unemployed."

    Will the Senators ever come to their senses and completely abolish the vile filibuster rule? It was supposedly adopted to protect us from the tyranny of the majority, but in truth it is subjecting us to the tyranny of the minority. It is undemocratic and worse, utterly insane.

    “All provisions which require more than a majority of any body to its resolutions have a direct tendency to embarrass the operations of the government and an indirect one to subject the sense of the majority to that of the minority.”

    “The history of every political establishment in which this principle has prevailed is a history of impotence, perplexity and disorder.”

    -Alexander Hamilton,

  103. I would keep the filibuster rule but ONLY in debating whether or not to go to war.

  104. Dr. Krugman, you make a reasonable case for extending unemployment benefits, but I am still left with a few questions. Unemployment benefits were originally designed to be temporary. Are you now arguing that unemployment benefits should be open-ended? If that's the case, then the problem is not with the current Republican Party, it's with those who originally designed the program, is it not? If you don't intend unemployment benefits to be open-ended, how long should unemployment benefits last? As far as I can tell you have not really proposed a policy, only an ad hoc measure and a condemnation of Republicans who don't agree with you. If the benefits are to be open-ended, is it still an insurance program or hasn't it become a form of welfare? Why not just argue that all Americans should receive a basic income allowance? You argue that the unemployed want to work, but the jobs just are not available, and that is certainly the case for many unemployed, but is it not also the case that a certain percentage of unemployed will be disincentived from working based on receiving unemployed benefits? Shouldn't unemployement insurance policy be a balance between protecting the unemployed and incentivizeing work? What is that balance?

  105. A gentleman who became my friend when I worked with him with 2006-2009, before his layoff (and mine), who was in his mid-50's in 2009, has only worked at temporary jobs since then. And in he past 15 months, he has had no work at all. He has an associates degree from a two year college, and worked in middle technical management. I believe that in 2013, extended unemployment helped ease his difficulties, allowing him to live frugally, though not well at all. I do expect he could find minimum wage work, at least part time, more easily than employment similar to what he has had in the past. Which raises the question of human dignity. Should we send a 59 or 60 year old man who has had department manager responsibility at tech companies to Walmarts, if they will hire him, or support him further while he tries to find appropriate and gainful employment. Most of the folks making the arguments here have never even worked closely with non-four year college grads other than service people that work for them. I was in my late 50's at the time of my layoff, but I have an MA degree, and though I was out of work for 14 months initially (in 2009-2010), it was a lot easier for me to find appropriate work, albeit at somewhat less pay and in a less stable environment. Do you personally really know anyone from the disappeared middle class. Or is it all intellectual argument from above?

  106. The temporary situation with which we should be most concerned is the lack of jobs. So long as there is such a serious shortage of jobs available there will be a serious level of unemployment. Benefits should last so long as we experience what we believe to be a temporary shortage of job opportunities. If we conclude that the size of the workforce will seriously exceed the available employment opportunities on a permanent basis then we should discuss permanent basic income allowances.

  107. The fallacy with your post is that unemployment insurance payments are STILL temporary; they have NOT been made permanent. They had simply lasted longer for an unemployed individual than previously, under the 'emergency' provision, until the recent expiration. The reason extended payments were made law, obviously, is due to the facts about job availabilty PK cites in the article ... this is the worse jobs depression since the 1930s.

  108. Not only is writing off the unemployed cold-hearted, it's also terrible economics brought to you by the same Neo-Con-Artist GOP that is consistently and often willfully wrong on all economic matters.

    Extending the 2013 Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits would cost roughly $2.1 billion per month or $25 billion in 2014, but the economic boost would be much greater because of a very large multiplier effect.

    Spending $25 billion on UI extensions in 2014 would increase consumer spending and expand GDP by an estimated $38 billion, raising our $16.7 trillion GDP by roughly 0.2%. This increase in economic activity translates to 310,000 new or saved jobs.

    The 310,000 jobs created or saved will in turn generate greater federal revenues from the taxes paid on the wages earned by those who otherwise would not have jobs.

    They will also save the government money on safety net spending related to unemployment (Medicaid and food stamps). When people have jobs, government revenues increase and government expenditures go down.

    Spending $25 billion to continue UI benefits would generate a $38 billion increase in GDP and $14 billion in higher tax revenues (as more people and firms pay taxes) and lower federal expenditures, thereby producing a net cost for the UI benefits of $11 billion instead of $25 billion.

    Congress just passed a budget that gives $528 billion to the War Department - $25 billion of that pork could be used for the unemployed.

    The GOP is wrong for America once again.

  109. "Historically, the long-term unemployed — those out of work for 27 weeks or more — have usually been between 10 and 20 percent of total unemployment. Today the number is 35.8 percent."

    Krugman does some the problem up right here, with this statement.

    It is really bad, now. In prior times, it was better. 10 and 20 percent before, 35.8% now.

    What is the difference between now and then?

    It is Obama's policies.

    Not approving the Keystone pipeline. Refusing all energy exploration on federal lands. While he goes on and on in his SOTU speech claiming credit for the US increased energy production. When he had nothing to do with it.

    The current high unemployment rate is directly attributable to President Barack Obama.

    The answer is NOT more unemployment benefits. The answer is to get the government out of the way.

    And let private individuals, making individual transactions in a free market lead the way.

  110. Hard to believe you when so much of the legislative branch advocates welfare for the already wealthy.

  111. I imagine you would include the employyes of Walmart and McDonalds in this...

  112. The Keystone Pipeline would provide temporary work, when those jobs are done, all we'll have is the threat of another environmental disaster like the Gulf oil spill. Look up the impact that it had on jobs and the economy.

  113. The Democrats had their chance to force the Republicans to give ground on long-term unemployment benefits, but they didn't take it. They should have voted "no" on the Farm Bill (as only Sen. Warren did among liberals) and forced the Republicans to concede ground. Unfortunately, the Farm Bill, loaded with the usual goodies for Big Ag but stiffing the unemployed, passed with Democratic votes and was signed by President Obama.

    And if the Republicans are worried about the unemployed not trying to get jobs, they should be willing to fund a jobs program like those of the 1930's and see what happens. Then, out-of-work people gratefully flocked to the jobs that were offered, and they worked hard and produced some great things that still endure today. The Republicans' idea that people in those jobs programs just spent all day leaning on their shovels is very far from the truth.

    Our society has changed some from the days of the Great Depression, but it's still likely that unemployed people, some with considerable talent and expertise, would be only too happy to take whatever decent paying job they could get. And it's likely that they would be able to make a significant contribution to our country especially in infrastructure repair and modernization, but in other areas as well. It would be money well spent, taking people off relief rolls and generating taxable income. And it would do far more to get our lagging economy moving again than more tax breaks and subsidies would.

  114. Problem is, Government wants to spend and not invest. PK and Econ liberals, ignore the obvious difference

  115. Floretta, it's not that we aren't interested, it's that we need enough to live on! Maybe not palatially, but enough to live on!

    What would you think of a farmer who didn't feed his plough horse enough to keep it alive, worked it nonstop, didn't have a barn but left it out in all weather, and then when it collapsed, just sold it to a slaughterhouse for dog food and got another cheap horse, and another, and another? The ASPCA would be after him. And you'd say in addition to being cruel, he's just plain a bad farmer.

    And yet we think that is how corporations should treat human employees - give them as little as possible, treat them as interchangeable units, work them to a shadow, then just toss them out and get another cheap one and go through the same process.

    Boxer, in Animal Farm, never wised up until it was too late.

  116. Let's face the music: As a lifelong Democrat like my father before me, I no longer have a party. The "Democrats" who voted for the farm bill are no friends of mine, or any other liberal for that matter. And your president is the culprit in chief! I voted for him twice, but among other things that shows the utter bankruptcy of our electoral system. A near political novice whose deep convictions were unknown vs. a millionaire no-nothing bankrolled by enemies of democracy. God help us. Look out Tiny Tim!

  117. Let us recall that in a publiic discussion with Paul Krugman (ad debate?), Rand Paul appeared to truly believe the GOP talking point that the deficit is increasing. When you make something up to fool someone else, I would call it dishonesty. When you make something up and believe it yourself, I would call it delusional.

  118. Those of us on the front lines of economic reality- as opposed to the ivory tower/pundit paid to be the oligarch mouthpiece fact free reality side- have known this info experientially for some time. But of course, it's just anecdotal and therefore not to be taken as seriously as say Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity's take on things. Other things that are missing when jobs are missing are marriage and families and health and safety and self esteem. But of course, that's just anecdotal, except it's not. Those of us and our children who are on the front lines have known all of this and more from the get go but of course there are now studies to prove that yes, young people are putting off marriage because they simply can't afford it, let alone children. So there goes that whole next generation family thing, along with the non-existent good paying careers for an entire generation of young people. Again, politicians minds are Not (!) fuzzy. Their minds are laser focused on their campaign war chests and reelection or the corporate/lobbying job as soon as they step out of the capital hill door with a golden parachute for the rest of their lives and their spouses lives, courtesy of the American Taxpayer with no offshore bank accounts.

  119. "In the election of 1952 my father voted for Dwight Eisenhower. When I asked him why, he explained that “FDR’s debt” was still burdening the economy - and that I and my children and my grandchildren would be paying it down for as long as we lived.

    I was only six years old and had no idea what a “debt” was, let alone FDR’s. But I had nightmares about it for weeks.

    Yet as the years went by my father stopped talking about “FDR’s debt,” and since I was old enough to know something about economics I never worried about it. My children have never once mentioned FDR’s debt. My four-year-old grandchild hasn’t uttered a single word about it..." - Robert Reich

    History is witness to the kind of scaremongering going on today. The debt problem of the FDR era was far worse. And yet we not only got through that, but saw a great era of prosperity. Learn from our historic past.

  120. In 1948, I asked my father what all this Truman - Dewey stuff was about. He said, "Leonard, the Republicans are the party of the Rich. The Democrats are the party for the rest of us."

  121. Thank you again, Dr. Krugman, for defending the long term unemployed. The one in our family is a terrific person.

    People realize that some persons hold two or even more jobs. What they may not realize is that it is easier to add a second job than it is to get that first one, when you've been unemployed for a while. Employers discriminate.

    Indeed, the long term unemployed people I know are victims of circumstance just as Krugman says. Jobs are what is needed, but until job creation gets going far enough to cause employers to take a look at the qualifications among the long term unemployed, any unemployment insurance provided them is a way of stabilizing society and positioning the country for future economic growth. Ditto health care. Ditto SNAP. We all benefit from that.

  122. As a small business owner for the last 15 years, I have never laid off an employee for lack of work. I have, however, not hired new employees over the last few years because the economy under the current administration is stagnant. The policies that Paul Krugman and President Obama support do not translate into economic prosperity. Every spring is a punch in the face to me as I have to send a six figure check to the IRS. I have to tap into a line of credit to do it, and it takes months to get that back. I resent that Jeffery Immelt, CEO at GE, has made dozens of trips to the White House and GE pays less corporate income tax than my puny 20 person company.

  123. You are absolutely right. But when we hear the words "job" and "creation" we have been conditioned to think about fat cats creating jobs. So far, over the duration of the Bush tax cuts, the fat cats have not created jobs at all. No they are sitting on trillions of dollars and attempting to get more tax cuts and defeat Obama, even though he already won the election. What's new? Fat cats and their employees: Republicans have tried to undermine the President of the United States.

  124. In his book Leaves From The Notebook of A Tamed Cynic Reinhold Niebuhr reflected in 1927 on the new Ford car. “Mr. Ford has given out an interview saying that the car has cost him about $100 million and that after finishing it he still has about a quarter of a billion dollars in the bank. I have been doing a little arithmetic and have come to the conclusion that the car cost Ford workers at least 50 million in lost wages during the past year. No one knows how many hundreds lost their homes in the period of unemployment, and how many children were taken out of school to help fill the depleted family exchequer, and how many more children lived on short rations during this period…. No one asks about the toll in human lives. What a civilization this is! Naïve gentleman with a genius for mechanics suddenly become the arbiters over the lives and fortunes of hundreds of thousands. Their moral pretensions are credulously accepted at full value. No one bothers to ask whether an industry which can maintain a cash reserve of a quarter of a billion cannot make some provision for its unemployed…. The cry of the hungry is drowned in the song, 'Henry has made a lady out of Lizzy.’” Today, sadly, the “naïve gentlemen” have been replaced by men of unconscionable greed, and self-righteous, hard-hearted judgment.

  125. Ford retained a large part of it's workforce during the six month Model A change over, remodeling the massive Ford plants that would guarantee the company had a future. In Detroit's booming economy of the 1920's it was likely more work to stay out of work for the laid off Ford employees.

  126. "Being unemployed is always presented as a choice, as something that only happens to losers who don’t really want to work."

    Every time the topic of unemployment--and the disdain Republicans display for those without jobs--comes up in print, online, or on TV, I turn to my boyfriend and say, "I wonder how many people in red states, the angry white males that vote Republican, are unemployed?

    I can't believe that unemployment has disproportionately hit blue states, urban areas, and any place in the US that largely votes democratic. Losing one's job isn't a poltical issue, it's an economic one. I'm quite sure businesses in the process of downsizing aren't asking party affiliation before drawing up pink slips.

    Thus, if unemployment hits right and left equally hard, how and why are Republicans getting a free pass on their churlish attitude towards the out-of-work? I would like to see any of these permanently employed career politicians spend a day or week living the life of those who have been job hunting for months, rejected for their age, their over-qualifications, or for the simple reason they have passed the statute of limitations on joblessness--likely about 3 months at best. Every week I read horror stories of the 50-somethings who have blown through their 401Ks, spent money they don't have on job coaching, as if they could roll back Father Time with a new suit or Grecian Formula.

    To claim these folks are unmotivated or lazy is just adding injury to insult.

  127. Well said. I've often wondered if the average GOP politician could hack it in the real world away from lobbyists, lawyers, corporate executives, etc.

  128. When I read that the US media seem more concerned with the fate of a young giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo than they are with the fate of millions of their own citizens, it is no wonder that "imperviousness to evidence goes along with a stunning lack of compassion.".

    When the WSJ can publish leading articles by billionaires saying we should forget the jobless stats and move on because people are lazy and unwilling to work shows not only a stunning lack of compassion and common sense but also a stunning and frightening populistic cruelty similar to that seen during the rise of Fascism before the war.

    When I see the social stigma attached to unemployment and the lengths that people have gone to reinvent their situations, hide what they are suffering, and pretend that they are not really part of "that group," then I fear for my homeland, I despair for our civilization, and I feel ashamed, frustrated and embarrassed as a human being.

  129. How is it the Republicans support tax cuts and havens for the wealthiest Americans and a denial of unemployment benefits to those who have fallen on hard times? They say extended benefits provide a "disincentive to work". Not the folks I know who have been unemployed....they much prefer a paycheck to an unemployment check. The Republicans are simply wrong headed and nihilistic. They deserve to be unemployed.

  130. So do the Democrats that refuse to stand up and fight against them.

  131. As long as the downtrodden are docile or confine their violence to each other poverty and long term unemployment are manageable problems.

    My question is what will happen first?
    Will the poor/downtrodden engage in outwardly directed violence (e.g. Watts)
    Will there be overt political violence?
    Or will the economic, social and political costs of repression eventually overwhelm the system?
    Or will we just keep muddling along, with the world's highest prison population?

  132. As the Pope so recently said, blind investment by some in economic theories that have no bearing in fact (supply-side) and are a heedless cause of others' suffering. How long will the crazy train be allowed to hold this kind of power?

  133. Ghayad's study on hiring should be extended to those who imply age rather than recent long unemployment. If you say that you have worked at your profession for more than 30 years or have accepted an early retirement offer, do not expect many responses. This was the experience of many of my friends in recent years, and, while anecdotal, implies a pattern of defacto and illegal age discrimination.

    Of course, how would such a thing be proved, rather than just studied? Companies do not have any obligation to report applications or response data. So while they cannot legally ask an applicant's age, there is no penalty for failure to respond to an application. Many kinds of discrimination may be hidden by a secret process that lacks all but superficial oversight.

    How to discriminate? Implicit age, zip code, social media peeks at sites like FB and LinkedIn, high school or college names (suggesting race or religion), credit check info, as well as any kind of employment lapse. But in a process that is hidden from them, applicants not responded to have no way of knowing whether their futures are being determined legally or not.

    Responsible corporations should be willing to publicly state their criteria for response.

  134. They don't need to implicitly check age. Online applications openly ask for the date of your college degree, and you cannot move to the next page until you supply it. ANd if you supply a false one, it is easily checked, and then you are not hired because you lied.

  135. Regrettably, no matter how many columns like these are written by PK, the policies will stay the same until we somehow reach critical mass, rise up, and demand different policies. What will finally cause Americans to stand as one and demand change? Lets hope the 2014 elections can somehow right this wrong.

  136. Stop paying taxes. It's the only way our illegitimate government will; ever be brought to heel.

  137. It would be useful to revisit, in the light of this column, your previous column about the mass media misinterpretation of the CBO report on Obama care causing 2.4 million to drop out of the workforce because they only keep in the workforce to stay insured. What you said is true, but no one in the mass media points out that when there are over 10 million workers unemployed and looking for work it is a GOOD thing for 2.4 million to leave the work force and make room for some of those job seekers to get work.

  138. Our economy is 'over-formalized'.

    We would not have so many people 'unemployed' or on foodstamps if we

    1. Level the playing field so that the small business sector has a fair opportunity vs corporations and their chainstores.

    2. Level the playing field so that the small family farm sector has a fair opportunity vs corporate farms.

    3. Allow an informal economy up to a certain level again (talking about legitimate entrepreneurship not a'black market'.) How many Americans in the past survived hard times and even were able to use the informal economies (such as the original Maxwell Street Market) to survive and also use it a stepping stone to success in the formal economy?

    Unleash the resourcefulness, entrepreneurship and creativity at all levels.

    The over-formal economy forces people forced to either sit around or waste time chasing non-existent corporate jobs.

    We need to rethink our overly-formal economic policies.

    Isn't allowing some form of informal market closer to what a true 'free-market' should be?

  139. Puerto Rico is a good example of what happens when poor people no longer are allowed to participate in an informal market.

    The informal market (NOT talking about the 'black market') still exists there but those born poor or without resources are criminalized and penalized if they participate in it so that they no longer can do for themselves.

    No longer allowed to survive or climb out of poverty as they did before outside politicians, corporations and economic policies meddled, and formalized the Puerto Rican economy on a corporate model.

    When the 30-year corporate tax subsidies expired in Puerto Rico's formal economy, poor people are only left with unemployment & foodstamps.

  140. It's hard to unleash the entrepreneur when so much of what emanates from the federal government actually operates like a leash in the form of regulations, fees, taxes, etc. It makes little sense to create hurdles with one hand while trying to unleash them with the other.

  141. Despite the protestations of those who are funded by the few, we are undergoing a social revolution which recognizes the needs of the common man in a society with limited opportunity. We can feed, clothe, care for and house just about everyone for a very manageable and sustainable cost. It doesn't mean we have to abandon the ideals of free enterprise, it only means that because of technological advances we don't need as many people to do work. Corporatism and government can partner to provide for the needs who are shut out of the labor market. Trying to go back to the old system where it is every man for himself in a dog eat dog world wont work. It isn't a sustainable economic model for an economy with 20 million people out of work. So I think these people should come to their senses and face the fact that the land of the Triangle Coat Company is gone.

  142. Sorry, but I disagree that there isn't enough work to go around. There's LOTS of work that hasn't even been started, because there's no profit in it for the Corporations. We must break the notion that if it isn't profitable to some 1% Elitist, it isn't worth doing or funding.

    Profit is not a sufficient reason for doing something. It's not even a necessary reason for doing something. It is a false path, leading to ruin for the many.

  143. We also see the GOP's lack of compassion in their reaction to the CBO's report on the impact of AHA on employment. They see it as exemplifying how government is increasing the disincentives for people to work. Why don't they see it as further indication that the corporations who are making record profits need to 'reincentivize' the worker's desire to keep working by raising his wages - not just with respect to minimum wage but across the board. Why is it that they can only see 'lazy workers' but not greedy corporations?

  144. "Why is it that they can only see 'lazy workers' but not greedy corporations?"

    Hmmm, could it be that corporations have more money than workers to give to politicians?

    By the way, people are greedy not corporations.

  145. One of your readers mentioned that we need a jobs plan of action and President Obama is missing in action. That is not the only area our President has ignored the needs of where he could quite easily have used his Presidential powers to rectify. And why do your readers have to state the obvious when you are afraid to mention the very poor record of what our Democratic leaders are guilty of.
    While merely repeating over and over how hard hearted the Republicans are, just look across the aisle at the silence emanating from the Democratic side. If the Democratic party loses power in the Congressional elections coming up it is because they have lost many of us who have waited too long for some real action about a myriad of problems. We will look around for some real fighters of third parties to represent our hopes and dream next election day.

  146. ...guaranteeing GOP wins throughout the nation. Better think twice, my friend.

  147. Thank you. I was trying to figure out how to write my frustrations, but you did it beautifully. The Democrats have been no better than Republicans for way too long. And I am tired of hearing that the Democrats care more. They don't and they haven't since Clinton became an advocate for Wall Street. Both parties are advocates for the rich. The Democrats have lost my vote. I just hope there are real fighters for hope and change out there.

  148. The new GOP platform: money for sugar subsidies (artificially raising costs for all Americans while benefiting a small number of wealthy producers) but not for unemployment benefits (that would strengthen the economy by boosting consumption). Cut food supports for the poor but give big benefits to agribusiness. Couldn't be clearer which side the GOP has chosen.

  149. Raising essential natural food costs does not help poor people.

    Natural sugar in moderation is an essential foodstuff even for poor people.

    We should not be subsidizing artificial big business food like high-fructose corn-syrup and GMO that is substituted for natural foods just so that the agri-corporations can make a bigger profit.

  150. Natural sugar is NOT an essential foodstuff. People can exist perfectly well without sweeteners of any kind.

  151. I have always found touching pride for and unwavering loyalty to the country among the very people that Republicans are writing off. Once these patriots begin to realize the depth of Republican hardheartedness, the country can take a turn for the better.

  152. The long term unemployed need to be offered all the jobs that employers say only illegal immmigrants would do, and if all those jobs get filled by unemployed American citizens, then the government has a responsibility to create more jobs through infrastrucure renewal or any other worthy public project that can pay a living wage. You will never find out if someone is trying hard enough to find work until you offer them a real job. Any effort to discontinue support before that opportunity is given is an injustice that cannot be accepted by a nation that has such abundance.

    What the Fed is doing isn't making inflation because the money by and large doesn't reach wage earners. Market speculation makes the rich richer, that solves things for one percent of us, time for everyone else to have the same kind of opportunity. Aggressive retraining, job placement, and government sponsored work with a safety net that gives people hope instead of letting them languish would go a long way towards making us one nation again.

  153. I'm getting a mixed message. Your statement on retraining, job placement and government-sponsored work is one with which I heartily agree.

    But as to offering jobs now mostly performed by illegal immigrants to the long-term unemployed, nearly half of whom Krugman states are over the age of 45? Some may bus your table and clean your toilets, but do you suggest that large numbers of them move to California to break their backs picking your lettuce and strawberries, leaving their families behind while they live in bunkhouses, as most migrant laborers do at present? Good luck with that....

  154. Have you ever picked grapes? I did as a young teen and it was not just back breaking work, it was humiliating to see how Mexican families made me look so inadequate for the job. It was also a lesson when I used nearly all my earnings that day at A&W for a burger, fries, and a quart of root beer. The farmer really didn't want us back.

    Retraining won't work if we don't have jobs to fill. Stimulus and focused retraining could break this horrible cycle of underemployment and blame.

    Call your congressional representative.

  155. Right. What we really need is thousands of college graduates digging ditches at minimum wage jobs. That will solve the problem, and the country will be so much better off for it.

  156. This may be somewhat of a tangent, but let's firmly establish that charity is not the solution for injustice. I remember when Alan Binder suggested that the American workforce should simply accept that highly skilled workers in America should compete with low-wage foreign labor. Not just blue-collar manufacturing jobs, but white collar workers with advanced degrees should lose their jobs to help our foreign competitors, and all America needed was a slightly stronger safety net to catch workers after the fall. After all, reasoned Blinder, countries that "specialize" can provide better products and services!

    Yeah. Good luck trying to talk to your customer service representative in India. Meanwhile, clothing that is manufactured is Asia and sold in American retail stores is made of increasingly poorer quality year after year, most likely because we Americans have less disposable income as a result of this lengthy recession. A pair of jeans used to last me a couple years, now they only last me a couple months.

    Well I say, "no more!" I may have a vote in Congress to extend unemployment benefits, but I can vote with what little money I do have and support my fellow Americans who still have jobs.

  157. If I call for tech support it is always from India and that is so frustrating for me.

  158. I challenge all members of Congress to live on the median income for a week, or on the average unemployment benefit for a week, or SNAP allowance.

    Given that the majority in Congress are millionaires (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/us/politics/more-than-half-the-members..., I suspect that their hardheartedness comes from ignorance. I doubt that any member of Congress has within their circle of friends any of the long term unemployed. (And meeting one found by a staffer is not an acceptable substitute.)

    I was inspired by Joan Mondale's obituary printed earlier this month:
    "The Mondales made news with a social experiment in 1969, setting out to live for a week on the food budget of welfare recipients. 'You begin to understand the desperation of people who must live like this,' Ms. Mondale told the syndicated columnist Carl Rowan. 'It’s degrading.'"

    America needs Congress to know how degrading life has become for too many of our citizens.

  159. Why don't Democrats put forward a $1 trillion growth program built around a long-term public works program to improve the infrastructure of the country?

    Or we could listen to Larry Summers prattle on about secular stagnation.

  160. Republicans CUT taxes for those that will then contribute a part of the cut to the Republican Party. They GIVE benefits to those that in turn give them a piece of the undeserved subsidy (think crop insurance for rich farmers, 529 plans that direct money to the financial services industry that can then charge high rates and pass on some of it to the Republicans, etc.).

    The long-term unemployed, those without health insurance (including their own mothers left behind in rural America), etc. should as far as the GOP is concerned just Disappear or Die.

  161. Of course, if we had brought democracy to the US Senate, then the nearly 60 mostly Democratic votes would have been more than enough to give cash to those long without jobs.

  162. Funny how we gave zillions to the "job creators" to create jobs and all we got is a lousy t-shirt! Never again!

  163. Along with extending long-term unemployment benefits, the fed govt should fund the EEOC to look into discrimination against the long-term unemployed (at times linked to age discrimination and at times not). Taxpayers should not have to pay for the results of companies' discrimination.

  164. Ajoy, I am one of those older unemployed people. I certainly do not blame companies for not hiring me and training me for 3-6 months, knowing that I will no doubt retire in 1-3 years. Any company which did that probably wouldn't be able to pay much and probably would not last long. When the government takes complete control of private industry hiring practices, which is where we are headed, we will see one more nail in our coffin.

  165. Good idea, but Title VII does not classify the unemployed as a protected class. Perhaps Title VII should be amended to include this group. But the Republicans will never support this. In fact, they would like to eliminate the EEOC.

  166. Coffic,
    Do you really think that the twenty-four year old job trainee will stick with the company longer than a fifty-five year old? Odds are against that.

  167. This is all Obama's fault and his socialist policies. Obama has spent trillions now expanding the welfare state and has failed miserably those workers that voted for him.

  168. I was going to debate you, but then realized it would be a waste of time and space. Facts and reason make no difference to people like you and your right wing friends.

  169. What a ridiculous claim.

    Obama is far from socialist.

    In fact, Obama's economic advisors promote the same anti-free market corporate policies as Reagan & Bush based on Milton Friedman's silly theories.

  170. Republicans see themselves as "Godly" people, but act as "Godlike" people. The "job creators" spout: "Many are called, but few are chosen". These Godlike people follow the "Golden Rule": "They that have the gold, rule". If you doubt me, look at the Koch brothers, congress, and the Republicans who selected appointees to the SCOTUS under Bush.

    I debated this subject in the early 1960's, Nothing made sense then, or does today. The employment solution then was cold war spending and Vietnam making soldiers out of workers. George W. Bush/Cheney saw the employment solution to the dot-com bubble bursting as war spending, and making soldiers out of workers, in Iraq.

    War spending is deficit spending, where the war goods are destroyed so no one can re-use them. Roosevelt created the CCC to employ people without a war. Deficit hawks made this solution almost useless because it did not enrich themselves, but when WW II came up and solved the employment problem, deficit hawks became as scarce as hen's teeth. Today's job marketplace would make Dickens feel right at home.

    We need a new CCC specifically for the long term unemployed.

  171. "If unemployment is high because people are unwilling to work, reducing the supply of labor, why aren’t wages going up?"

    When employers experience tough times, they cut hours and workers very quickly. But, when they need more hours worked, raising pay is about the last thing they will try. Increased hours, temps, interns, part-timers, new hires, anything but pay increases.

    Employers fear that pay increases will become permanent. Increases for new hires create salary compression ratios compared to existing workers. Employers may be cautious about hiring, but they loath pay increases. Or so say my friends in HR.

    Supply and Demand does not apply because the demand is for what may not exist - workers who will do better work for lower wages. Solution? Cuts that force the desperate unemployed to accept ever lower pay unrelated to the value of their work.

  172. I believe the last unemployment rate was 6.6% that is a drop of nearly 2% since 2012 when Obama couldn't be elected when the rate was 8%. Yes this is a slow recovery but employment will never get to zero because of "frictional" unemployment which means that a percentage of people who are moving between jobs. In the 60's full employment was considered about 4%. Whatever it is now nothing will ever be done about it until the zaniness of the republican party is brought to a halt or they happen to grow a brain. Unfortunately we have no Wizard of Oz to help us with the latter and the Koch Brothers money is supporting the former.

  173. ' Increased hours, temps, interns, part-timers, new hires'

    In looking for work, I'm seeing a lot of job postings for interns. Basically employers want employees to work for free, then, when it comes time actually to hire them, to discard this year's crop of interns and hire another batch of kids. They also want temps. Between inexperience and loss of institutional memory, that explains a lot about the quality of your goods and services.

    Currently I pick up some part-time freelance from a former employer. Quite a bit of the job involves fixing the mistakes of the offshore and temp workers who replaced me - avoidable mistakes. I and my fellow laid-off workers have the institutional memory that could prevent the kind of mistakes I'm helping to fix - and it gives you an idea of how little the offshore workers must be paid, if it's cheaper to hire multiple low-paid employees to make mistakes, fix the mistakes, find and fix other mistakes made in the course of fixing the mistakes from the first time round, etc. Either that or it's a false economy, that no one's really adding up the numbers and noticing that paying one fulltime skilled worker $5 plus benefits to do it right the first time is actually cheaper than paying six unskilled and semiskilled workers $2 each to do it over and over till it comes out close to right.

  174. Supply And Demand is a myth that we learned in high school. Modern economics has nothing to do with it.

  175. This column makes excellent points, but it understates the drastic nature of changes in who will even be considered for employment openings, especially at the level of jobs requiring a four yr. degree and above.

    Here are some recent "innovations" put in place by many employers:

    1. People who don't have at least a 3.6 or 3.8 GPA on their college transcripts will not even be considered.

    2. No interviews for anyone currently out of a job (forget the six months rule).

    3. Machine reading of resumes which means unless certain key words or phrases are written, the resume is immediately tossed.

    4. The use of credit reports to weed out applications even for jobs which have nothing to do with handling money or direct financial responsibilities. The presence of a poor credit report, even though the person has been unemployed, is considered a de factor indicator of disqualification.

    Additionally, jobs are typically listed with multiple, minimum qualifications that represent skills from years of experience. Employers arrogantly demand an exact fit from the applicant, as if his or her whole life was aimed at this one job. Most employers want nothing to do with additional training for the employee; they want new hires who can produce earnings and profits immediately.

    Who can blame people for giving up? Of course, Republicans believe someone with a Ph.d. should happily accept a min. wage job, even though doing so would represent ANOTHER potential disqualifying mark on their resume.

  176. What do we need to do about the long-term unemployed? Well you can start holding our President and his policies for not improving the economy, and in fact, make it worse.

  177. Wrong. We've had slow but steady improvement under President Obama, every economic indicator out there shows this.

    Republican antics like their 24 billion dollar temper tantrum have held us back.

  178. The president isn't a king. Your blame is misplaced. Try blaming the republican congress, which has spent 5 years doing EVERYTHING they can to block the president's agenda.

  179. Dr. K,

    This paragraph nails the problem. "More than five years after a financial crisis plunged the Western world into what looks increasingly like a quasi-permanent slump, making nonsense of free-market orthodoxy, it’s hard to find a leading Republican who has changed his or her mind on, well, anything."

    Intellectuals like yourself are banging your head against the wall in hopes of offering the logic of a sensible action based on evidence to make our society more fair & prosperous. But, as I see it, there probably is not an argument that will work. The conservative reality is different, and I believe that some know it, but they also know that if they continue with their strategy of pressing the non-nonsensical mantra that the deficit is the problem, & at the heart of the deficit problem are the "entitlements" they can still sell that argument to their voters until election time. The only stop for their "imperviousness to evidence" is a crisis that threatens the gravy train for the big donors.

    The last crisis produced a majority agreement that we must bail out the financial institutions that were "too big to fail". The failure of millions of Americans to find a livable wage job, is "too small" to agree on. Imagine if our Secretary of the Treasury, Labor, and Fed Chairman went to the Hill & told the truth about our future with a stagnant economy with the staggering proportion of earning going to the !%, I doubt they could raise a quorum.

    I'm sorry, donors matter.

  180. Donors matter? So does the Second Amendment. If they can't grasp logic, let's drive it through their heads with lead. Better to refine the rough beast in a class war than let it slouch toward Republican Bethlehem, to be aborted.

  181. Plutocrats and their employees in Congress are unsympathetic to those who are seemingly less fortunate. Why is this particularly surprising? The attitude of "I got mine who cares about you" should be the motto of a new dollar bill created by the right wing.

  182. Whatever else happens, we still have the Second Amendment. When it comes to class war, which it probably will, given the intransigence and ignorance of the Republican Party, at least we can take some of them down. We could have a modern CCC and WPA, but instead, we'll have blood in the streets.

  183. Writing off the unemployed seems to be a preconceived plan to show how tough republicans really are, zero tolerance for not finding a job. The problem: there aren't enough jobs for so many for so long that, understandably, some just had to give up looking; and the longer this happens the less willing are the employers to take them, independent of their knowledge and experience. It is as if a conservative ideology has blinded our representatives to what is happening, suspended in an illusory world where the unemployment is deemed a character deficit, a moral failing, hence, no compassion...and no relief.

  184. It certainly looks like unemployment is going to get worse before it gets better. And it may never get better, we may become a third world country with a stable middle class and an underclass which is equally stable. Think India.

    The Comedy Party has a solution. It is a tried and true approach, which has been tested and has succeeded in the U S and Canada and elsewhere. We call it Welfare for All.

    Everyone receives a payment from the government for enough to provide a slightly above poverty life style. Nobody starves any more, and those who want more prosperity can go to work. Everybody spends, which helps a lot.

    You can read about the tests in Canada, evaluated by Professor Forget at University of Manitoba, on-line and the tests on U S Indian reservations in recent NYTimes issues.

    For this and other great ideas, go to YouTube and watch Comedy Party Platform (1 min 25 sec). And please vote for me. I will hire Paul Krugman.


  185. The first problem with long term unemployed is they rarely have enough money to wage much of a campaign to find employment. Rents are high enough not to acquire that whole govt. stipend. Like the minimum wage we're creating our own poor each and every day it continues to be too little. Add auto insurance, maintenance or payments and the unemployed are very often in repo land and out on the street. We need to take seriously the fact that we exported our manufacturing. We allowed outfits like WalMart to be our providers and in many cases they provide stuff that won't last long and this further tears at our fabric. When is the last time you bought something that could be repaired? We're gutting our own society by policies and practices that reward the looters and pirates.

  186. My rent is over a week late and my landlord is upset. By mid-week I hope to have sold what few possessions of value I have left in order to satisfy him. After the holidays, jobs fell through, stranding me, but I never for one second believed that Congress would abandon me. They've renewed these benefits since 1977. Until now. What have we done to deserve this treatment?

  187. "What have we done to deserve this treatment?"

    Sadly what you've "done" is live in this country that's 99% christian.

  188. It's time for the Senate Democrats to "go nuclear" and pass this bill. Once they break the filibuster, it will only take 51 votes.

  189. The simple fact would appear to be that employment rates are largely supply-driven; the number of people who cannot find jobs is very close to the number of people employed or in the market for one minus the number of jobs that there happen to be. The creation of jobs, the demand side, is dependent on other factors, like investment in new economic activity on the positive side and folding of entities and loss-cuts by companies on the negative side. I do not say these facts are exactly right; but I lack an explanation of how this seeming common sense is desperately wrong.

    Thus, these pronouncements of Ryan-type Republicans are not to be taken at face-value. Perhaps they do not see a moral imperative for employing those who seek work regardless of skills and economic input generally, or do not think the costs are worth the benefits. More likely, job-creation policies are not friendly to the specific interests they back and are backed by. It is a pity that our politics let them get away with not simply saying so.

  190. This is exactly why we need to shift the focus the the U-6 is critical. We need to measure, track and respond to the unemployed, but also, to the under-employed, those working part-time who wish not, and more importantly, to those who are long-term unemployed who drop of "the lists". Them leaving the lists does not signal an improved economy or employment situation, instead, it represents a distortion of that reality.

    The U-6 should be what we hear about instead of the "straight" unemployment numbers, but politicians would never wish for that reality. But we need to help them, and change the focus to the U-6....

  191. The way we determine U6 should be reconsidered. After a closer look at BLS stats I had questions so I looked into it. They use a sample of 60,000 in rotating segments over a two year period with some overlap for consistency. They follow over a period of time to capture change. This is a census survey. These people are asked the same questions several times over the span of the two years including such questions as did you look for work in the past week, month, or year? What the survey does not do is connect to job creation which is done by self reported figures by businesses. There is not sufficient data gathered on either end on the quality of jobs or the impact of quality or lack thereof on either. For instance, the difficulty of poverty on getting or keeping a job. There is no data points checking for discrimination of the unemployed. What they don't know is astounding. When I told them my situation, I was greeted with amazed silence. People like me aren't measured at all, I don't constitute even those that rolled of the counted.

  192. If I'm right, even U6 isn't adequate because it counts the unemployed and the underemployed but not those who have given up and are no longer actively looking for work but who would grab one if they could find something. Am I correct?

  193. The U6 and the Labor Force Participation Rate are the two measures that can and do often tell us the *most* and you're right, we need to pay more attention to the U6 to start.

  194. Young people need to wake up to the fact that even with a college education and training, the rug is going to be pulled out from under them many times in their careers. They need to elect officials who are not in the pocket of the corporations and not deranged about the need for social programs such as universal health care and safety-nets for those in need. In other words, send the Republican Party to the dustbin.

  195. "The result is that millions of Americans have in effect been written off..."
    If only, oh God, if only they would [or could] vote their interests.

  196. We are all changeable commodities in today's political and corporate climate. If profits are threatened, then unemployment benefits must be cut.

  197. Let's not give in to morbid pessimism.

  198. Savvy investors the plutocrats like to think themselves. So savvy, they take pride in gains they derive from manipulating the system via rent-seeking. And yet, if they truly were concerned with the longterm health of their investments, they'd realize the well-being of their fellow citizens ought take precedence over saving more. Investing in extended unemployment benefits represents but a minuscule sum of their collective wealth, and results in an almost immediate reinvestment back into the economy. After all, how much discretionary income do the unemployed truly have? Not so savvy after all...

  199. Dr. Krugman and other progressives should stop shaking their heads at Republican hard-heartedness and analyze it more deeply. We saw in 2012 examples of Mitt Romney's personal compassion when he served as a Mormon bishop - but then he'd turn around and call the 47% worthless lazy bums. So this isn't a personal characteristic at all, but a matter of policy/ideology. Who and what gave rise to it?

    Ronald Reagan did; "cut taxes, government isn't the solution, it's the problem." He was so successful as a candidate that Republicans ever since have fetishized him, assuming that if they just say and do more of the same, they too will be successful. But it hasn't worked since Reagan, which they've never figured out. He was likable - and there hasn't been a likable Republican since. Americans didn't buy his ideology even at the time; they saw him as a strong leader and liked him for that.

    Republicans know Bush I and II were washouts, so they're now reduced to giving us Reagan on steroids, thinking that's the winning formula. It isn't; Obama beat 'em twice.

    Now, pushed by Limbaugh and Murdoch, their vapid ideology *demands* that they stigmatize the poor and unemployed. Read a Dickens novel to know what unfettered capitalism looks like; the elites stuff their faces while Oliver Twist goes hungry in the workhouse.

    Republicans stopped thinking in 1981, and now have no idea what they're for, only what they're against. Easy pickings for a takeover by Koch Brothers and extremists.

  200. The GOP believes that markets should rule and that they are the most efficient means available to regulate society. Markets are thought of as being totally impartial and therefore totally fair. Therefore, if something bad happens to an individual, it's their fault. They made the wrong choices or didn't have the necessary skills to achieve.

    What the GOP conveniently leaves out of their calculus is that people's lives are connected to those markets. It's one thing to buy the wrong stock and lose money. It's quite another to get fired from a job, through no fault of your own, because of a global financial meltdown. The dismissed individuals didn't make bad choices and might very well have excellent skills. They didn't cause the meltdown. They are victims of it.

    By their logic, if lighting strikes a house and it burns down, it's the owners fault for not installing lightning rods. Or if you caught a serious disease, it's your fault for stepping on that plane with all those people jammed together.

    The GOP position against unemployment benefits is a form of social barbarism. There is always enough money to subsidize big business, provide obscene tax breaks to the super rich, and bail out bankers, but we can't keep people from being thrown out in the streets for things they didn't do.

    If they don't want to provide benefits, then why not offer them jobs? Sorry, I forgot. The GOP is also against people working for the government.

  201. Free marketers don't think markets are "totally fair." They believe that they are less unfair than distribution via political connections and lobbying.

  202. Do what FDR did: hire the long term unemployed. We still benefit from the public works and conservation projects done by government workers on New Deal "workfare" projects. FDR even hired thousands of artists including William De Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

    Jobs are the best unemployment benefits.

  203. FDR wasn't just a spokesperson whose words weren't backed by actions. President Obama only spoke about "shovel-ready" jobs. He told Tom Brokaw that governors had shovel-ready jobs ready to go and touted his plans help states and local governments with shovel-ready projects. It was all talk of prospective actions and results, something at which he excels.

    Fast forward to the retrospective, which the The Times reported as follows, "[t]he president acknowledged what has become painfully obvious in last 20 months: 'shovel ready' didn’t mean what he and most people thought it did."

    If you want someone capable of an FDR-style program, and we certainly could use one, elect someone capable of delivering it and not just talking about it.

  204. What a basic truth. No kidding.

  205. Five years, and not even a hint of such a proposal from the President.

  206. There is a catch two situation here. While writing off the unemployed, the big elephant in the room is that corporations don't want full employment, employment that pays a living wage and also extends benefits. This would eat into their bottom line and leave less for them and the shareholders. Anyone who tells you otherwise has a bridge to sell you. The rich and powerful like things just how they are. They are not suffering... yet. What is the common man to do? This is not a dem vs. repub thing. This is ALL politicians and corporations in collusion to make sure that the cream of the crop get theirs. This time around with the extensions, Obama and the Dems have been like Willy Wonka in the scene with Mike Teevee - "Stop. Don't. Come back." Are they really fighting that hard for extensions?

  207. As a psychiatrist who frequently tends to the emotional consequences of long-term unemployment, I can often see that my patient's lost job is not coming back, and that he/she is very unlikely to find a similar position with similar pay anywhere. In some cases, the very career field is shrinking or disappearing. It becomes my job to help my unemployed patient make a painful transition to different work that nearly always pays a lot less, and adjust to the necessary adjustments of lifestyle. My patients often understandably delay this change as long as possible - very often until unemployment expires. Even though it's not a lot, unemployment is often enough to encourage denial of the inevitable. I'm not convinced that extending unemployment beyond a year is really for the best. Might there not be a better way to help them? Say, by tying financial assistance to job training, or help in moving to where the jobs are?

  208. I'm sure you do good work to help your patients make the inevitable adjustments, BUT the rest of the system is not cooperating! The small-minded and peevish politicians who believe unemployment is a choice have cut training and retraining, education funding, and appropriations for much-needed and dangerously long overdue infrastructure projects that would create jobs. At the same time, they have cleared the way for corporations to easily off-shore jobs and have stood silent while these same megacompanies have not paid their full share of taxes to support everyone here at "home."

  209. Considering that there are 3 people searching for a job for every available job, training for a new job--even a low-paying one--is no panacea. "Tying financial assistance to job training"--unless the training is free--would doom already desperate people to taking out loans that could never be discharged, even via bankruptcy.

    "Help moving to where the jobs are"--how would that work? A government program to pay the first and last month's rent on an apartment? Assistance selling a house that's "underwater" mortgage-wise? How would "where the jobs are" be determined? How much of a guarantee of a new job that would *last* could be given to a family that agrees to distance themselves from their current sources of support (family, friends, perhaps special needs help for a child in school)?

    Until new jobs are created, the extension of unemployment benefits is required of any humane society.

  210. Oh, please. This screed is as old as the whole unemployment debate is itself. As long as employers can squeeze more productivity out of fewer workers and pocket ever larger profits, unemployment numbers will remain high. As long as government - local, state, and federal continue to cut their budgets and more and more teachers and other government employees are being laid off, we will have this problem. Financial assistance tied to job training for those who have the skills that are needed in today's market and are not employed because of asinine public "policy?" This doesn't make sense. What is needed is more government spending to restore the infrastructure and to make the public school systems world renowned again. Corporations paying their fair share and governments working for their constituents, not against them would definitely improve the employment picture. What good will "job training" do when there are no jobs?

  211. The unemployment (and underemployment) crisis, and the callous responses by our political class, is also sparking an epidemic of homelessness, depression and suicide that's been especially harsh on both older workers and recent grads entering this miserable job market. I've lost colleagues and students to suicide when they, despite their best efforts, were locked out of the job market, then humiliated as failures for their misfortune.

    I work and teach in engineering which, like other STEM fields, has been hard-hit-- not only by the dismal economy but also this peculiarly American madness to outsource high-value jobs to India and cripple wages for those here with the corrupt H-1B "cheap labor" visa. Engineers have to suffer through years of toil and sacrifice to master their craft, so treating them as expendable is especially cruel. Even those who find work are often stuck as poorly-paid subcontractors without health insurance, drowning in student loans (no other country, except Britain, saddles its graduates with such debt), often facing divorce (effectively financial ruin) and spiraling costs of living, and little hope.

    Some of the lucky ones have gotten out-- scores of my ex-students have emigrated to the Benelux, Germany or Switzerland (where STEM expertise is valued and well-paid), Scandinavia or France, also to emerging markets in South America and Asia. But most are trapped here with little hope of escape. It's this sort of thing that causes riots and social unrest.

  212. Obama's economic advisors promote the same anti-free market anti-small business pro-corporate economic policies as Reagan & Bush based on Milton Friedman's silly theories.

    This is the root of the problem. Short term-solution is extending foodstamps. Long-term solution is to re-empower small business opportunities and re-allow some form of legitimate informal economy (not the black market') to help poor and disadvantaged people to help themselves.

  213. Obama's economic advisors promote the same anti-free market anti-small business pro-corporate economic policies as Reagan & Bush based on Milton Friedman's silly theories. This is the root of the problem.

    Short term-solution is extending foodstamps.

    Long-term solution is to re-empower small business opportunities and re-allow some form of legitimate informal economy (not the black market') to help poor and disadvantaged people to help themselves.

  214. Just to be perfectly clear, according to the JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) there were 4.001mn job openings in November. According to the unemployment figures there were 10.841mn unemployed persons that month. So even if every job in America were filled and there was not one single job opening in the entire country, there would have been 6.84mn unemployed persons. How can anyone claim that these people are unemployed because they are lazy, not looking hard enough for work, etc.?

    The structure of the US economy is changing. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon collectively employed about 113,000 people as of 2011. By comparison, GM alone employed about 209,000 people as of 2011, General Electric employed about 287,000 as of 2010, and the Ford Motor Company employed about 164,000 as of 2010. New companies just don't need as many people as the old ones did.

  215. Excellent points. It seems that our economy is very well positioned right now to respond quickly to an increase in demand. Companies are very sensitive to even daily changes in unsold inventory and (for services) empty slots in appointment calendars. Many of the impediments to growth are at long-term lows. There is a huge reservoir of unused labor, commodity prices are relatively low, and the banks are at least no longer in lockdown.

    Unfortunately, unemployment is usually a lagging indicator. A corporation or service provider can do a lot of other things to increase production before being forced to hire more permanent employees. Still, at some time the increased demand for workers should result in better working conditions and lower unemployment.

    If we allow our economy to grow, Dr. Krugman has pointed out repeatedly that our national debt will decrease as a fraction of our gross economy, that is, our ability to repay it.

    I believe this is all pretty standard stuff, but apparently needs to be repeated.

  216. Larry,

    You've made some very sobering points here and provided all the right stats to shake anyone from any foolish denial that we've got big problems. I like to look on the bright side if I can find one, but with data such as this, there's no shame at all in admitting that I'm scared.

    A lot of Americans look down on folks like us for not sucking it up and becoming jawb creators. And instead of a president telling us that the only thing to fear is fear itself, we've got a Congress that's got no qualms at all about putting people in the street; who in their right mind wouldn't be scared?

  217. You are right these companies no longer need the size of workforce that they used to have.

    Which raises the question of why are we taking in so many legal immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers ( in shot increasing the US population by 1 Millions a year) when we have no jobs for them? Shouldn't we be trying to decrease that number?

  218. I seriously don't understand how Rand Paul and his ilk have this vision of the unemployed that all they do is sitting around eating bon bons watching tv. They're not living in reality. This mentality that "we'll just squeeze em till it hurts, and they'll magically get a job doesn't make sense to me. When you lose your unemployment, you can't pay rent, you want keep your cell phone on, you can't pay for a bus fare to get to an interview. When you're cut off the last thing you're doing is finding a job! You're calling up family to take your furniture, you're calling up homeless shelters and food banks. I don't get how it encourages people to find work-- in fact it does the opposite.

  219. Or, worse: the advice of starting your own business.

  220. Prospective employers always ask for your cell number. When you tell them you don't have a cell phone they look at you as if you've sprouted a second head. You can't explain that you can't afford one. Similarly, some right wingers would argue that I can't possibly be poor because I have home Internet. I need it to search for work - even the local supermarkets won't take walk-in applicants now; they all require you to apply online - and also to do what little freelance I can scrape up. Our public library has free internet for residents, but with a time limit, and I can't afford a laptop to use the free wi-fi. The information superhighway is a toll road.

  221. The economy has been one of great concern for these few years. Let me revise that; the economy IS the great concern for these years. What do I mean by economy? Jobs.

    I mean, ask anyone what our leaders should be focused on, and they will, almost unanimously say, the economy. When further asked, they say employment. So we're clear on that.

    After all, they triumphantly paraded around the House in 2010.

    So what have the Republicans attempted to do, during these legislative sessions? Repeal the ACA and abortion. Not economic issues.

    And the Republicans certainly weren't ignorant of the economy, and they tried to knock out President Obama in the 2012 elections.

    Obviously, that concern is a farce, because after the 2012 rout, what have they done? Nothing.

    And then they have the gall to suggest that President Obama is not 'serious enough' to discharge his duty.

    It's clear. The Republicans aren't concerned about employment; it's the elections. And they should be called out for it, especially since they're going to knock this line of reasoning on Obama's footsteps.

    'We don't want Obama to do anything! And Obama hasn't done enough to spur the economy!

    So you're going to blame President Obama for not doing enough, and for doing too much?


    Even Republicans know how that will fare.

    So, back to jobs. What happens afterwards, you say? If employment is our main concern, what should they do to ease the problem?

    Democrats say, employment spending.

    Republicans, silence.

  222. Our depressed economy underlies long-term unemployment. Long-term unemployment is due to depressed (U.S.) markets—reduced income leads to reduced purchases, and this leads to reduced business revenues that results in cost-cutting, including layoffs. Factors in our depressed economy also includes the rise of global competition, from both competitive products and competitive labor. The Great Recession is also a major contributing factor.

    And underlying all of this is the Republican agenda, by now demonstrably based on failed psychotic and sociopathic ideology. Despite their many failures, the GOP dogmatically continues to promote their Ayn Randian narcissism and nonsensical austerity voo-doo.

    The most insidious factor in long-term unemployment is too many uninformed, disinformed, gullible voters or cynical, apathetic non-voters who have put these irresponsible, destructive, and incompetent politicians in office.

    By oath, Congressional Republicans are supposed to be representing ALL Americans--not just the 20-25 right-wing billionaires who bought them for their personal service just so they could irresponsibly increase their wealth.

    Protect our republic, our environment, yourself, and all Americans from those who enable the extreme minority. Become an activist. Be an informed critical thinker. Inform the uninformed with facts--be the antidote to Fox News--and motivate everyone to...

    Vote Republicans out of government, state and federal.

  223. Republican politicians are bad but Democrats currently in power are not much better.

    They both rely on failed economic policies that subsidize corporations and penalize small businesses and small farms.

  224. @Einstein
    First of all, Congressional Democrats + Independents combined have not been in power during Obama's presidency. They've not even had the minimum 60 votes required to stop filibusters, which Republicans have used to block Democrats and Obama's agenda. The notion that Democrats had a super majority during the 111th congress is a myth--the senate was comprised of 57 Democrats and 2 Independents.

    Without even control of the filibuster, how could Democrats effect Obama's reform agenda?

    Although Democrats have generally acted spinelessly and are subject to the same corrupt campaign financing, their agenda isn't anything remotely similar to the Republican agenda.

    The GOP agenda is to return America to its pre-1930s condition, complete with rollback of nearly a century of progress in citizens rights, environmental protections, workers rights, civil rights, women's rights, establishing a social safety net, and so forth. And simultaneously deregulating anything that undermines profit at ANY cost.

    Please get informed.

    Review the Republican bills presented in Congress since 2008, and learn about the Republican use of the filibuster to block progress--then, take another hard look at the who, what and how of the mess we're in.


    Please also review http://www.rootstrikers.org and see the film Inequality For All http://inequalityforall.com/

  225. Prof. Krugman wrote for today: "Third, in a weak job market long-term unemployment tends to be self-perpetuating, because employers in effect discriminate against the jobless. " He also noted this tend to be even worse for those not among 'Those People', worse for those with better education, and worse for those over 45. So whereas the new song has been played since the 1960s saying much the opposite, namely, 'Those People', and 'illegal' immigrants, need special consideration, today it appears that it's the kinds of people almost the opposite from that, who are now in trouble. How soon will 'These People' be designated a protected class?

  226. The government needs to make sure that everyone remains employed and that everyone gets paid roughly the same (to be "fair".)

    This is not a novel concept in pay equality. The Soviet Union implemented this wonderful experiment to such great success.

  227. That is quite a stretch, and a silly, cold and heartless one as well. Income inequality has never been so extreme in this country, but that fact seems to escape people like you. Perhaps you are one of our entitled, pampered, and spoiled 1%ers. Why not just say "Are there no workhouses? No prisons?" and let us all see you for what you really are? Oh right, that is precisely what you just did.

  228. Nonsense. Everyone should have to find their own work and the King should have all the money. It more-or-less worked in the 14th century, didn't it?

  229. That the Soviet system is the only alternative to unrestrained corporate rule - that is the fallacy of the false dichotomy.

  230. Why do Republicans continue to peddle their economic ideas and continue to punish the long-term unemployed in the face of overwhelming evidence showing that their beliefs are wrong? Because doctrine, or more to the point - dogma, doesn't require evidence. Articles of faith require only faith, not evidence. In fact, the more evidence demonstrating that their beliefs, their dogma, is incorrect, the stronger they'll cling to it.

    I admire Paul Krugman for continuing to write his articles to enlighten. I suspect he believes that some day, the unenlightened will finally see the truth of what he and other well-respected economists have written regarding the damage that Republican beliefs are doing to our economy and our fellow citizens.

    However, my sense is that Paul Krugman and other well-respected economists like him are regarded by the Republicans as part of the "faithless," the "detractors" who do not and will not believe their articles of faith ... that the long-term unemployed are all similar to "Frank Gallagher" in "Shameless." A caricature that is clearly unsupported by evidence. But again, evidence doesn't matter when you cling to your articles of faith.

  231. I have a hard time sympathizing with the unemployed. I just retired last year at 71 years old, after 60 years of having a job. I was unemployed for about two weeks some fifty years ago. I was fortunate to be born into a family headed by a hard working high school graduate, married to a wife who stayed home and raised five children. I was the oldest of the five. My father was continuously employed from age 18 until he retired at 65. My parents stressed the necessity of a good education, and I along with 3 of my siblings graduated from college. We all went to a California State University and worked our way through college. I have a degree in Physics, and my siblings were Business majors. All 4 of us have been continuously employed until retirement. Our sister raised 3 children and also worked on and off after her children were raised.

    My wife and I have a son who also put himself through college and has been continuously employed since he was 16 years old.

    Why can't everyone enjoy the success experienced by me and my family? I'm sure the N.Y. Times readers are going to explain it to me!

  232. Do you not understand that the world has changed in many ways since you and your siblings entered the workforce, and possibly since your son entered it, too? It's easy for you to show disdain for others when you live a life removed from the reality of many, many good, hard-working people. It's not the 1950s anymore.

  233. You were born in the right time and place, friend. I'm about 10 years younger than you, had a similar background, except our mother had a college education and worked around having 9 kids - all of whom are college graduates. I myself made my first 50 cents babysitting, worked my way through college and beyond but had the misfortune of graduating into a recession in 1974. It took a year to get a part-time job, which mostly remained part-time for the 5 years I worked there (it went FT nine years after I left) then worked for more than 2 decades at a job I loved until 2002 when my job was eliminated as the business was in financial distress, eventually declaring bankruptcy. From 2002 (age 50) to 2008 I got three short term jobs, each one paying less than the one before. None lasted even a year and none were in my field. I had 26 weeks unemployment in 2002-2003, then nothing until 2008 when I was a 99er. By 2010 it was clear after hundreds of resumes and tests that nobody was going to hire somebody at 58 years old and I declared myself retired. No matter how educated, how many skills, how hard working, stuff happens. You were blessed not only by your own efforts but circumstance.

  234. Hey, I'm not 71 years old but I was born in the late 1940's. Being old enough for Medicare is no excuse to be dismissive of others; rather, it should help you remember a time when people believed there was a community to uphold, when "greed is good" was not conventional wisdom.

  235. It is actually Obama who writes off the unemployed by supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Politicians of both parties ignore the feelings of the vast majority of poor Americans, that illegal immigration takes away their jobs.

    As pointed out by economist George Borjas of Harvard University, illegal immigration decreases the incomes of American minorities, particularly poor unskilled workers.

    This occurs through the Econ 101 mechanism of supply and demand. As the supply of unskilled workers goes up, the wages of those workers go down.

    Krugman seems to enjoy poking fun at the extreme right---some fundamentalists believe the Usher chronology provided by the Bible, that the earth is only 6000 years old, in spite of evidence from the Grand Canyon and elsewhere that the earth has been subject to long-term geological forces that must take millions, not thousands of years.

    Yet economists like Krugman maintain an even more ridiculous position, that limitations of resources MAKE NO DIFFERENCE. That it is always aggregate demand, never inadequate supply, that drives down living standards.

    Such economists have no mechanism for understanding why Obamacare must fail: illegal immigration and high fertility among the poor drive up medical costs.

    But it also undercuts any efforts that Obama might have made to provide jobs for America's poor. Instead of providing a jobs program, Obama merely brands us "racist" when we object to unlimited unlawful immigration.

  236. 'Illegal immigrants' are just scapegoats for our bad economic policies.

    Scapegoating 'illegal immigrants' is cruel, unjust, and often racist.

  237. Where exactly is there "inadequate supply" today?

    Do you have figures and a reference for your claim on medical costs? Sweden, for example, has a higher percentage of foreign born than the US and much lower medical costs. I suggest you read the series on medical costs written by Elizabeth Rosenthal in this paper. You might learn something.

  238. "it’s hard to find a leading Republican who has changed his or her mind on, well, anything."
    That is because they live in an echo chamber where "good" jobs are plentiful for those who want to work; where the unemployed are lazy; where living on unemployment (or welfare) is living the lap of luxury; and where they all got where they are solely by their cleverness and the sweat of their brows.

  239. Your criticism of the politics of unemployment is absolutely correct . . with one caveat. Yes, the Democrats pretty much support extension of unemployment benefits, but, as a Party, the Democrats have not embraced full employment, a New Deal type jobs program, industrial policy or in fact anything that could really make a difference in the dynamic of employment itself.

    Extended benefits is about the least they could do, and that's about all they're willing to do. President Obama meanwhile, talks a good game, for job programs, against inequality and the like. But when he had a chance to redress the imbalance between Capital and Labor; to reform the Banks and the Financial system in 2009, he chose to reconstitute it instead.

    And the worst of thing about Obama is that, as opposed to his predecessors, he actually knows better. The signal, gutless failure of Obama and Democrats to reform the financial system and stand for Labor is the other reason— besides racism, xenophobia and red dirt ignorance— that "liberal" has become a dirty word in large parts of America.

  240. I agree with you that the Democrats are not doing enough to address unemployment, and that in many policy areas they are the "corporate lite" party. However, I seriously doubt that "liberal" has become a dirty word in the "red" part of the country because the Democrats failed to be liberal enough. People in the red states have been voting against their own self-interest for years out of fear -- fear of non-whites, fear of women who can control their own lives by controlling their reproduction, fear of immigrants (the non-white ones, of course), and fear of gays. The Republicans have been as effective at tapping into the fear of "others" to divert attention away from the disastrous effects of their policies for all but the very rich as Putin has been in Russia. It works best in states with a Scotch-Irish cultural heritage because it is inherently xenophobic, but it's pretty effective anywhere fundamentalist religion holds sway, too.

  241. How do you propose the Democrats reform anything, when the Republicans block every bill and proposal they make? President Obama pushed a jobs bill, the American Jobs Act, over two years ago. Where is it? Dead in the Senate due to the filibuster, even after being broken up into several portions, all of which could not get cloture, thanks to the Republicans. Obama's bill focused on rebuilding infrastructure, refurbishing schools, and refurbishing foreclosed homes and businesses. Louis Gohmert submitted a Jobs bill in the House - it repealed the corporate tax.

    What would you have had Obama do to force the jobs bill through Congress? What can any President do in these circumstances?

  242. Lose your job and become part of Romney's 47% (well Romney's and Rand Paul's and Paul Ryan's and the whole of the Republican Party)!

  243. AndreaE, Romney's own career pretty much indicates that what he knew was how to destroy jobs for his own benefit. I would no more put him in charge of the welfare of the American worker than I would hand my cat over to a vivisectionist instead of a veterinarian.

  244. "Lose your job and become part of the 47%"

    Who think they have a right to food, shelter and medical care.

  245. AndreaE, what was Romney's plan for people unemployed for more than six months?

  246. The only solution to these ongoing disasters is to elect enough liberal Democrats to enact a national income guarantee program based on special taxes on the carried interest and capital gains of the "One Percent."

    A man has to have his fantasies. It's tough to stay warm in a hammock under a bridge in this kind of weather on $710 a month of SSI.

  247. Two cheers, Paul. One for their ignorance, Two for their hardness of heart. But why are they not open to economic or human evidence? Because this is not about truth—it's about cynicism (three cheers!) grounded in selfish greed (four cheers—jackpot!) over raising their taxes.

  248. Is there an issue left that Professor Krugman doesn't ultimately frame as a critique of the GOP? Now, republicans are not "sympathetic" enough?

    It's not "sympathy" the unemployed need; nor is "sympathy" a measure of whether the plight of the unemployed is being taken seriously. It is an emotion, and that is about all liberals have to offer at this point. They "care". Those other guys don't. They're mean. (Talk about "clinging".) The problem is that we can see how much all this "caring" has done -- or not done -- for the unemployed.

    Americans don't need their politicians professing to "care" about them. They need two things: (1) decently paying jobs in which they are actually competitive globally and (2) a strategy to deal with the loss of jobs.

  249. Yes, and a strategy to deal with the loss of jobs would be extending unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed. It's not about sympathy; it's about hard-headed reality: the economy improves when more people are putting money into it, and it declines when more people have nothing to spend.

    This is so obvious, it's a wonder that it has to be repeated again and again. It's not a liberal meme - it's Truth.

  250. Tell that to the GOP. We need infrastructure repair and improvement but none of them are even discussing that. It is all some vague "tax the job creators less and they will create the jobs". I am tapping my foot and waiting.......

  251. Agreed on your 1) & 2) but it is the GOP who is stopping progress toward those solutions.

  252. If you follow the Republican line of thought, taking away the long term unemployment should cause a huge employment spike, because the gravy train is over!

    I no longer get unemployment benefits (I got the full 99 weeks, and I sure needed it!), and I have been unemployed ever since. I'm no closer to a job, with or without unemployment. So that argument just doesn't hold water.

    In fact, because unemployment benefits required me to apply for so many jobs, and prove that I had, I probably was more actively seeking work than I do now.

    I am fortunate to live with someone employed, and we live pretty modestly. I am hoping that someday this labor market will improve and I have some chance of a job where I can use my talents.

  253. My story as well, Demerelda. My primary job disappeared in 2002, when my employer was facing financial difficulties (and eventually declared bankruptcy.) In the intervening years I had three short term jobs, one temporary project paying $60 an hour (!), the other two paying $15 an hour and $9 an hour. I was laid off from the $9 an hour job in late 2008 and qualified for 99 weeks unemployment. In spite of sending out hundreds of resumes for assorted jobs and scoring 100 on civil service exams, I never did find another job, but my husband had a decent job and we had savings and little debt. So at age 58 I decided I was officially, if involuntarily, "retired" and my husband joined me a year later. We live on his modest pension and my savings and in a few years will add Social Security. We are lucky, I have several siblings working full-time (one has 2 jobs) who are struggling financially, both college-educated but whose salaries just don't pay the bills. But at 61 and 52 they aren't about to rock the boat - a bird in the hand, after all.

  254. So Floretta, you lost your primary job when your employer went out of business. So according to Republican orthodoxy, accepting a job offer from a business that wold go bankrupt in the future was shiftlessness on your part. If you had had a real work ethic, you would have turned down that offer and waited for - oh, forget it.

    None of what I just said is meant to belittle your suffering, Demeralda or Floretta. Hang in there.

  255. The hard hearted soft headed people know they are being ruthless but prefer to delude themselves because they're terrified to speak up. Although it is easily demonstrable that there are three times as many job seekers as there are openings, the 'lucky' ones that still work feel that they earned everything and the unemployed choose to be so because they're lazy.
    Due to the downturn of the auto industry in 2008 - the plant I worked in was shuttered - I became unemployed. I have a Masters degree yet I couldn't find work for THREE years; it had nothing to do with lack of effort. I applied for well over twenty jobs a week and the best I could do was get interviews where they would tell me "you're overqualified." I was 'lucky' enough to find work where I work 50%2B hours a week for roughly more than half what I earned in 1999.
    I continue to search for a better job without any results.
    The people that still are employed are like the proverbial frog in the pot - they're doing one and a half times much work for less pay than they were fifteen years ago - and rather than think there is something wrong with the system, they bemoan the frogs outside the increasingly hotter water for not being poached.
    Eighty percent of our populous are still employed and not only too hard hearted but too afraid to jump out of the boiling water. It is much easier to blame others than to accept it's getting hotter in the pond.

  256. wasn't it Calvin Coolidge who said"the business of America is business" A now famous quote from a Republican. Has anything changed in the interim? Not much. The democrats will have to take the filibuster "from their cold dead hands" is the only way I see it that anything will be done for the long-term unemployed, or for that matter, any needy American who might look to our quickly eroding social safety nets for assistance. Truly the jack-boot of the "hard-hearted Hannas" of Great On Profits party has come down hard on those most in need. We can only hope that things will improve after November.

  257. Tunnel vision is a perennial problem. When we are obsessed with inflation, we tend to ignore the malignant DEFLATION. Angela Merkel's push for AUSTERITY was disastrous to member Euro-nations.

    LONG-TERM unemployment is an urgent problem. A better solution is to cut the hours for all, rather than laying off workers. Recent CBO report showed some 2.5M job losses in about ten yrs. because of ACA, almost entirely because workers could opt out of "locked-in" jobs just to maintain health insurance, which ACA provides at attractive cost. That would be a great blessing for younger jobseekers who are dying to be employed. But the right & the left interpret it in opposing ways. So far with my limited exposure, only Juan Williams at Fox explained it so clearly that even Laura Ingraham seemed to have bought his argument!

    In the "Second Machine Age," the need for human labor other than PRODUCTIVE, necessary jobs such as nursing care, child care, teaching, law enforcements & the like, will continue to shrink. Unless we continue to EXPAND MAKE-WORK programs, not too unlike digging out earth & filling the holes with the same dugout earth, full employment is a pipedream. Fattening bank balance, if we look rationally, is less rewarding than building & retaining loving relationships. Few would attempt suicide if their wealth were depleted, provided their basic comforts are intact, but many might, when intimate relationships unexpectedly end.

  258. In the last few years, I've seen how salaried workers are becoming expected to work ten hour days. In my field (IT in financial services), it's called the "professional day". In effect, we have 50 hour (or more) work weeks. What this tells me is that business has found the magic formula for permanently controlling the cost of labor. Fewer employees doing more work and a scarcity of jobs (as opposed to work) make that bottom line look pretty nice. The irony is that as a long-term strategy, it's suicide as it erodes the consumer market upon which the economy is based.

    The answer is to use the sledgehammer of law to break this pattern. It is time to mandate maximum working hours across the board (not just for hourly workers) and to adjust that maximum to balance the unemployment rate. Nothing else will solve the problem. Bring on the four-day workweek. The resulting decrease in unemployment and increase in leisure time will supercharge the economy, crank up the tax base and generate better times for all.

  259. Bunkie,
    Thank you. I agree with your analysis.

  260. Business leaders and entrepreneurs should be lobbying the right to extend unemployment benefits. Why? Because unemployment begets unemployment. As anyone who has tried to survive on UE benefits knows, it's hardly enough to pay the bills. All of it is spent on essentials, keeping a small part of the economy afloat. But it's not enough to keep other non-essential businesses afloat, thus businesses can't hire, can't expand, can't thrive, and often close and lay-off people, raising the numbers of unemployed competing for jobs. It is a vicious cycle. We need a jobs program in addition to support for the unemployed. Hopefully the CBO report will bear real fruit and people who can afford to retire will create vacancies that businesses can afford to fill. In the meantime, businesses should be doing everything they can to support policies and politicians that do what they can to grease the skids of this economy.

  261. The GOP has decided that if people have to suffer for them to retake the senate and white house so be it. Those people weren't going to vote for them anyway. Money that's their ace in the hole, with enough money you can convince people that policies in their interest aren't! Just appeal to prejudice and fear.

  262. "Those people weren't going to vote for them anyway"

    More likely, if "those people" were going to vote for anyone they'd vote for Democrats. Expect to see a lot of vote suppression in the next few years.

  263. "More than five years after a financial crisis plunged the Western world into what looks increasingly like a quasi-permanent slump, making nonsense of free-market orthodoxy, it’s hard to find a leading Republican who has changed his or her mind on, well, anything."

    How can they possibly change their minds now? If they do they lose and they lose big. They are playing high stakes poker and have put all of their chips in on their nonsense orthodoxy. The amazing thing is that they haven't already lost with the terrible cards they hold. The only reason I see for that is that there are not enough Democrats calling their hands. Starting with Barack Obama, all Democrats should be openly hostile and belligerent to Republicans for their cruel and wrongheaded assault on the middle class way of life.

    This is not a game. Sportsmanship and being cordial don't apply when the other players 1. are deliberately disingenuous and 2. cause so much suffering.

  264. I do feel sorry for the long-term unemployed, especially when outlandish aid is being offered to rich farmers. Congress should cap the aid the farmers get like they capped the aid to the unemployed.
    Years back, Denmark permitted four years of payments to unemployed workers. After squandering millions on this program research showed that the vast majority of Denmark's unemployed workers got a job within a year! The Danish government passed a new law limiting unemployment benefits to one year and it worked well to reduce their level of unemployment. I wonder what similar research would prove in the US?
    Maybe we should do the same that the Danish government did, but at the same time limit the money going to farmers who do not need it.
    While I am at it, from the lack of progress on all fronts in Washington, it appears that most of the US Congress, Senate, as well as some of the Executive Branch are not working, so maybe we should also cut their "unemployment" benefits as well.

  265. Your post doesn't make sense.

    Denmark saved money whether or not they allowed four years of unemployment benefits because the vast majority got a job within a year.

    Denmark had enough employment opportunities that they didn't need a four year program.

    That's all your example proved.

  266. Einstein, Denmark had enough employment opportunities because they hired Danes instead of shipping jobs to India and China or bringing in H1B workers. That's another thing the example proved.

  267. If we tax the "job creators," then what do we do with the tax? Create jobs, I hope.

    I'm looking for a job, but I can't find one. Because nobody is hiring the long-term unemployed, like we're lepers or something.

    The private sector is not hiring enough workers to keep up with the demand for jobs as more people graduate from college and try to join the workforce. So because there's more demand, and private companies cannot meet that demand, then government has to step in to create the supply of jobs.

    We need jobs. Who is going to supply the jobs? Give me a G! Give an O! Give me a V! GOV! GOV! GOV!

    Our country's economy, the U.S. economy, is 70 percent consumer spending. We need to have people buying products and services with each other. We need BIG GOV to create jobs. We bailed out the BIG BANKS and BIG AUTO and BIG INDUSTRY with taxpayer dollars. The banks and auto companies and other companies were supposed to grease the wheels of commerce and keep people working. Instead the banks froze the credit market like John Boehner's tears in the winter. And the auto companies jettisoned their pension obligations like Chris Christie dropping the kids off at the pool. And companies across the country laid off workers like passive-aggressive behavior was going out of style. Companies figured out how to make one employee do two jobs for the same pay.

    We need BIG LOV from BIG GOV. Give me a J-O-B! JOB! JOB! JOB!

  268. Compassion -- sha-passion -- has nothing to do with the long term problem of creating lots of good, high paying jobs. Most people will give a handout of $100 to an unfortunate, but most people will NOT keep giving the handout -- that' the state of "Compassion".

    What will cause the creation of lots of these jobs? DEMAND. Demand is the answer.

    If a Massive Economic Stimulus program Is undertaken to Fix, Repair, and Build badly needed Infrastructure... there will be massive demand for Labor. Jobs will be created. High paying jobs.

    If there is not enough sufficiently trained people, companies will hire the unskilled and TRAIN them. During the great economic expansions, that's what companies did. It was common or companies to have training programs... even for high paying jobs. For example, it used to be common practice foe Wall Street Banks to hire Liberal Arts college graduates from prestigious schools (majoring in, for example, Philosophy -- never in Business or some crass utilitarian study) and train them to be Bankers.

    Today, companies do not have training programs because they have insufficient Demand for labor. We don't need "Compassion". We don't need to worry about these heartless Republicans (and Democrats "writing off" the unemployed.

    We need DEMAND... which we can create with a Massive Stimulus Program to fix our falling down bridges all the other desperately deteriorating infrastructure all around America. Why can't people see this?

  269. People can see that just fine, but the only thing that's going to bring up demand is people having money to spend. So anything that puts more money in more peoples pockets is a good thing, since most of it gets spent and "trickles-up" anyways. Is that so hard to understand? And I agree, we need broad-based training programs from every company that has positions to fill.

  270. Those who love the idea of trickle down economics also tend to really love the idea of trickle up morality: Above all, the holders of property and capital must be given free rein; and above all, the lower classes must be kept on a tight leash.

    The former are believed to be already good, and the latter are believed to need to be made good.

    Economic paternalism.

  271. Always loved the term "trickle down". Basically what they are saying is, " Give us a flood at the top and maybe some will "trickle down" to you."
    Of course, they keep trying to plug those "trickle" hole so they stay awash in their money.

  272. Being unemployed is not a "choice" but a consequence of many things.

    "For the most part, however, Republicans justify refusal to help the unemployed by asserting that we have so much long-term unemployment because people aren’t trying hard enough to find jobs, and that extended benefits are part of the reason for that lack of effort."

    As for trying hard to find a job after being unemployed I know about it because I tried hard. Maybe I couldn't find a job for a while because I am a liberal, nevertheless I did but not before submitting many, many cvs. I was never a loser as Republicans might claim nor are the many who currently cannot find work. But in this current environment the difficulty in finding a job is formidable and unfortunately the older you are the more difficult it becomes. But pity? Is that in the arsenal of weapons in the Republican fortress of ideas? I doubt it.

  273. Hey, isn't it the rich who are supposed to be job creators? So create some jobs!