Yesterday 350 prominent economists issued a statement urging our lawmakers and the Obama Administration to focus on jobs and economic growth, not the budget deficit. I suspect that their plea will be largely ignored, unless we, the people, take responsibility for our own future and rise up in opposition to austerity.
Here is part of what the economists wrote.
The U.S. economy, once in free-fall toward a new depression, has begun to recover. But we are still mired in a prolonged slump marked by mass unemployment, rising poverty, and declining wages. And the fragile recovery is threatened by obsessive concern with cutting deficits that has infected both parties.
As even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recognizes, it is long term unemployment, not excessive deficits or debt, that is now inflicting the greatest human toll and economic damage. Polls show that voters agree joblessness and a bad economy are much higher priorities than deficits.
Yet too many in Washington are fixated on cutting public spending to balance the budget, not on how to put people back to work and get our economy going. There is no theory of economics that explains how we can deflate our way to recovery. Businesses are not basing investment decisions on how much Congress cuts the debt in 2023. As Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Greece have shown, inflicting austerity on a weak economy leads to deeper recession, rising unemployment and increasing misery.
Indeed, reports this morning indicate that a second recession has already hit the Eurozone.
Please share this information widely. I’ll continue to post more on what we’re facing (and how to resist) in the coming days and weeks. Please comment or email with your own ideas and links to share as well.
Read the Economists’ Full Statement: Jobs and Growth, Not Austerity – Campaign for America’s Future.
P.S. The image above depicts firefighters in protest over budget cuts at Thessalonika, Greece on September 8th, 2012.