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Lipstick on a Pig

While I understand the title may be culturally specific, almost surely the metaphor isn't.

The American Jobs Act, unveiled fairly vigorously by President Obama last night to a joint session of the Congress, is an attempt to dress up the employment disaster the US and other advanced economies are needlessly enduring.

The metaphor presumes that you share in the general notion that pigs lack pulchritude. The current lack-of-jobs status is about as ugly as it gets. And the address last night leaves it barely improved at best. This is the biggest economic crisis of the last four generations, and we get....lipstick?

It is conceivable that, if the program manages to survive the worst Congress in my memory, it could help. The various early modeling returns have it adding between 500K and 3 million jobs over three years. So Mark Thoma and Paul Krugman say it positively surprised them. How low have our expectations sunk? These normally very good economists know how to do much much better than this. C'mon guys, this practically stinks.

This is at least a 15,000,000 jobs BIG pig, and getting bigger every day.

Mr. President, this economy must have at least 400K net new jobs per MONTH to fulfill both the economic potential and the moral imperative to reduce the totally needless suffering of the unemployed. C'mon Mr. President. 400K net new jobs per MONTH, hell or high water.

Put away the lipstick. We need jobs. Lots of them, private and public.

Update: via Jared Bernstein, Mark Zandi's model speaks and we strain to listen: AJA => 1.9 million net new jobs. While better than no jobs, folks, this is a crisis, and requires crisis-worthy action. I realize the political challenges, but as soon as we have whatever crumbs can be pried from agreements with the 'pubs, it will be time to put maximum political pressure on them to do the right thing -- 400K jobs a month. C'mon Mr. President, less lipstick, more jobs.


  1. Only 140 billion on infrastructure spending against 240 billion in ineffective tax cuts. Yep, this is NOT going to do the trick.


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