Bob Herbert writes in the NYT about the Great Recession and the predicament millions of unemployed now find themselves. He rambles on about many things that strike a nerve with me, but one stands out.
Perhaps the most astounding statement Mr. Herbert makes is in the last paragraph. Herbert says “New ideas on a grand scale are needed. The United States can’t thrive with so many of its citizens condemned to shrunken standards of living because they can’t find adequate employment. Long-term joblessness is a recipe for societal destabilization. It should not be tolerated in a country with as much wealth as the United States. It’s destructive, and it’s wrong.”
We’ve introduced nothing but BIG ideas lately. In 2009, we passed an $862 billion stimulus plan that promised to put millions back to work. Unemployment rose to more than 10%. After that, we passed Obamacare – a 10-year, $940 billion dollar rearranging of our healthcare system, which promised to extend healthcare to millions of uninsured. Then we enacted the Dodd-Frank bill, the biggest overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression. This bill created the Consumer Protection Agency and a slew of new regulatory powers for the Fed and other federal agencies. Additionally, we’ve run $1.5 trillion dollar deficits for the past three years in an attempt to spend our way out of this mess. The Federal Reserve has expanded its balance sheet by something like $2 trillion, commenced on QE2, and kept interest rates at practically zero for two years. Whew.
Is there a remnant of our life, economy, or existence that isn’t suffocating from Washington’s grip? Bob, I’m not sure we can afford more grand ideas.
Here's the link to the NTY article: