Friday, February 06, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: 598,000 job losses in January

By Michael J.W. Stickings


The country moved into its second year of uninterrupted job losses last month, with companies shedding another 598,000 jobs — the most since December 1974 — and the unemployment rate moving up to 7.6 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

Economists had forecast a loss of 540,000 jobs and a unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. The jobless rate is at its highest since September 1992.

And yet the Republicans, as enraptured as ever by their miserable right-wing ideology, are still playing partisan politics over the stimulus bill, seeking counter-productive tax cuts and otherwise trying to slash what is already too small a package.

To read this morning --

Robert Reich: "This isn't a matter of more or less government, however much Republicans and conservatives would like to wedge it in that old ideological box. The issue is how to revive the economy. When consumers and businesses can't or won't spend enough to keep the economy going, government has to be the spender of last resort. Period."

Paul Krugman: "It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge."

Look again at that number: 598,000.

This isn't a time for failed ideology and partisan politics, it's a time for constructive action -- to get the economy moving again, of course, but also, and perhaps most pressingly, to help the American people now. People who are losing their jobs and having trouble putting food on the table aren't statistics, after all.

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