Biden Econ Advisor: “The American Workforce is Too Big To Fail.”

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I like this guy.  A lot.  And I like that Biden picked him.  I know Biden voted bad on the bankruptcy bill, but I think that was for his Deleware banks.  That he picked Jerod Bernstein today to be his economic advisor is good news for progressives.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden on Friday named Jared Bernstein as his chief economic policy adviser, a new post created as the nation faces a recession.

Bernstein, a senior economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, has been an informal economic adviser to President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign. He also served as deputy chief economist under Labor Secretary Robert Reich during the Clinton administration.…

Today, he published an article about job losses.  This is Bernstein:

Our job market is now shedding jobs at a truly alarming rate, a rate measurably worse than past recessions. We face an emergency that certainly equals those in the financial markets in recent months. The American workforce is too big to fail.

No shit.  But it’s good to hear it from those who will be in power.

More on Bernstein and other good signals from Obama today, after the fold.  

Today there is an article from Jared Bernstein, Heidi Shierholz, Tobin Marcus about the job loss report:

Job losses accelerate at alarming rate in November

by Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz with Tobin Marcus

The American labor market is losing jobs at a truly alarming rate. Payrolls contracted by over half a million jobs last month and unemployment rose to 6.7%, according to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The under-employment rate-the broadest measure of weakness in the job market-soared to 12.5%.


What explains the sharply deteriorating job market captured in today’s report? A large part of the explanation lies with two negative forces: consumer retrenchment and the credit crunch. Demand for labor is ultimately driven by consumer’s demands for the goods and services employers provide. But the stalwart American consumer is under great stress, and after decades of consistent spending is finally pulling back, thus leading to diminished consumer demand and sharp job losses.

Credit remains the lifeblood of American businesses, large and small. Given the financial meltdown, the difficulty businesses currently face accessing credit is curbing their abilities to finance new endeavors, or, in the short run, to finance healthy day-to-day operations.

Together, these two forces-consumer retrenchment and the credit crunch-help explain the sharp acceleration in job losses in recent months. Policy makers must recognize this deterioration and craft their responses accordingly. Our job market is now shedding jobs at a truly alarming rate, a rate measurably worse than past recessions. We face an emergency that certainly equals those in the financial markets in recent months. The American workforce is too big to fail.…

In my diary earlier today at Dkos, I quoted Obama’s statement on the job loss numbers and opined that it was a good signal to progressive populists, because he will use the stimulus to make big changes in the economy:

“The 533,000 jobs lost last month, the worst job loss in 34 years, is more than a dramatic reflection of the growing economic crisis we face. Each of those lost jobs represents a personal crisis for a family somewhere in America. Our economy has already lost nearly 2 million jobs during this recession, which is why we need an Economic Recovery Plan that will save or create at least 2.5 million more jobs over two years while we act decisively to maintain the flows of credit on which so many American families and American businesses depend.

“There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. But now is the time to respond with urgent resolve to put people back to work and get our economy moving again.

At the same time, this painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people by rebuilding roads and modernizing schools for our children, investing in clean energy solutions to break our dependence on imported oil, and making an early down payment on the long-term reforms that will grow and strengthen our economy for all Americans for years to come.”

I agree with Obama: We must take advantage of this crisis to make real changes that are needed to create a more fair and more successful economy.  The Reagan-Bush model failed completely.  We need a people-centered economy.  People and Profits, not Profits over People. [For docudharmites, I prefer People over Profits, but I understand the political realities.  People and Profits will be great progress]


Obama is signaling that the stimulus must also build a new economy.

This is what I want to hear. I have a lot more confidence that Obama will create real change after this statement.

Obama on Largest Monthly Loss of Jobs in 34 Years: An Opportunity for Real Change

Good signs.  Another is Daschle’s remark that health care reform is a priority:

“There is no question that the economic health of this country is directly related to our ability to reform our health-care system,” Daschle said.

Daschle cited the fact that high health care costs are preventing U.S. businesses from staying competitive and creating jobs. “That’s what makes this so urgent and so much a part of the economic recovery process,” Daschle said. “I believe that for the first time in American history, health-care reform will be done.”…

I see it as good news.  It may not be single payer, but it’s the biggest reform since Medicare and Medicaid in 1966.  It’s progress because it will help real people, although we still have a struggle to create single payer in the future.  It must have a government insurance aspect to compete with private insurance.  That can change into single payer and pave the way.

Good signs today.  There will be ups and downs, and we won’t get all we want, but I am more optimistic about the Obama adminstration today.


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    • TomP on December 5, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    based on people and fairness.  

  1. …combined figures for unemployment and under-employment, which really shows the magnitude of the problem for workers:

    Under-employment, a more comprehensive measure of the extent of weakness in the job market, rose to 12.5%, its highest level on record since the current series began in 1994, and more than four percentage points above its year-ago level. The growth in this more comprehensive measure of slack was largely driven by an increase in people who work part time but want a full-time job-up 621,000 from October, and by 2.8 million over the past year. All told, there are now an estimated 19.6 million unemployed or under-employed workers in this country, amounting to about one in every eight people in the labor market.

    Retail sales won’t be rebounding any time soon if almost 20 million people (and counting) are unemployed or under-employed.  

  2. …of the otherwise dismaying down side.

  3. It’s easy to lose ‘hope’ when reading the news both on line and off. I really do not understand why the Bushies are still calling the shots as in taking the ‘bridge’ money for automakers from the Green Car Funding. I also cannot see why congress is allowing Paulson and the financial markets, which have proven to be nothing more then a Ponzi Scheme, to do what they please with the ‘bailout’. This crisis seems bigger then politics as usual and labor is being left out.  

    One progressive who actually talks labor is better then none I guess. I truly wish that the concepts of ‘Global Growth’ would stop being the criteria by which we measure our economy. This is not our economy, it’s the investment bankers economy. The one that is totally off the rails, globally. The economy as it has been for decades has failed the work force. I think the two economies need to be hooked up, labor is the only force not being considered.

    We need to stop producing only bubbles and we need to have this insane view of growth as the criteria for what’s profitable and to whom. Once again if jobs are considered only a way to make more profit then who will buy the stuff they sell. Bill Richardson as Secretary of Commerce is another good omen.            

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