Despite steady job growth in November, policies like those being debated as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington could damage further employment gains, progressive economists and analysts say.
The U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs last month, and the national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008, the time of the financial crash, according to data released Friday by the federal government.
“You can’t fix the debt, as the lavishly funded CEO lobby suggests, by focusing on deficits. You have to fix the economy. Fixing the economy will fix the debt. And that requires bold steps now to put people to work by making investments that are vital to strengthening our economy,” he says. “With interest rates near record lows, we should be launching a major initiative to rebuild our failing and costly infrastructure. The president has called for a modest effort in this record — $50 billion for an infrastructure bank – as well as extending the more effective stimulus measures – extended unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut. Republicans dismiss these out of hand. This gridlock on jobs is the least reported and most important aspect of the fiscal showdown. With no action on jobs, the debate is simply over how much austerity will be inflicted on a weak economy, and who will pay the costs upfront. If the economy slows, working families will continue to pay the price, no matter what is in the agreement.”