The new unemployment figures came out on Friday and they're bad. We lost 125,000 jobs and the unemployment rate is 9.5%.
But instead of helping those who are out of work, Congress just went on vacation without extending unemployment benefits. That means 2 million Americans are losing a desperately-needed source of support because of Congress' continued failure to act.
Congress seems to think they're doing the popular thing by pulling back support for the economy, but in fact, a recent poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans want benefits extended, even if it means temporarily increasing the deficit.
Thankfully, your senators, Sens. Gillibrand and Schumer did the right thing and voted to extend benefits. But there weren't enough senators willing to stand with them. We need to keep up the pressure so every senator knows this urgent issue has to be dealt with right away. Click here to send a free fax to Sens. Gillibrand and Schumer with the results of the poll along with a demand that the Senate act.
Friday's unemployment numbers drive home the point that Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman made last week about the perils of government inaction. He goes so far as to say we may be heading for a depression.
Here are some key excerpts from Krugman's op-ed:
And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world...governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.
Unemployment—especially long-term unemployment—remains at levels that would have been considered catastrophic not long ago, and shows no sign of coming down rapidly.
In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven't yet done enough to promote recovery. But no: over the last few months there has been a stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy.
While long-term fiscal responsibility is important, slashing spending in the midst of a depression, which deepens that depression and paves the way for deflation, is actually self-defeating.
So I don't think this is really about Greece, or indeed about any realistic appreciation of the tradeoffs between deficits and jobs. It is, instead, the victory of an orthodoxy that has little to do with rational analysis, whose main tenet is that imposing suffering on other people is how you show leadership in tough times.
And click here to send Sens. Gillibrand and Schumer a fax to demand that the Senate does their part to get the economy growing again:
Thanks for all you do.
–Daniel, Laura, Nita, Duncan, and the rest of the team
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