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Republicans to Fed: “Keep Millions Out of Work”

Posted by Karen Traeger on Sep 26 2011
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By:  Bob Lucore

Last week the Federal Reserve Board met in Washington and decided to take measures to bring down long-term interest rates in order to get the economy growing. As they were meeting, they received an unusual letter from the top four leaders of the Republican Party in Congress urging them not to act.

There is nothing wrong with citizens, or their political representatives lending their advice to the Federal Reserve. In fact the system is a creation of Congress, and the Chairman of the Fed is required to report to Congress on a regular basis. At various times over the years, ADA and our allies in the labor movement have even held demonstrations outside of Federal Reserve headquarters to demand more action to address unemployment.

What is unusual about last week’s Republican missive is that it urges the Fed strongly not to take action to address our jobs crisis. That, combined with Governor Rick Perry’s accusations that the Fed is treasonous and treacherous if it attempts to get the economy moving, show an opposition party that is completely out of touch with the desires and needs of the American public.

Economic theory, historical experience and the common sense of the people, indicate that we need action to get the economy moving. The best way to do that would be with a combination of direct government spending on jobs—along the lines that President Obama has proposed—combined with an accommodating monetary policy from the Fed that would keep interest rates low and money available.

The Republican oppositionists in Congress have taken extreme measures—even holding the good faith and credit of the government hostage—to ensure that fiscal policy (i.e. direct government spending) cannot be used to address our crisis. Now they are attempting to shut down the only other avenue available in our system to address the crisis—action by the Federal Reserve.

There really is no other explanation for the behavior of the Republicans, other than putting their party’s political interests ahead of the public’s interest in ending the unemployment crisis. They prefer to keep millions of Americans out of work, in order to win an election.


Bob Lucore, a long-time ADA board member, is the former Director of Research and Policy for the United American Nurses and has worked for the Teamsters union and the Department of Economic Research at the AFL-CIO. . He taught economics for several years at Centre College and Colorado State University and is currently a research assistant and student at the School of Library and Information Science at San José State University.

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Comments

The Fed can / will put people back to work? With what tools? By Unknown on Sep 26 2011 at 3:46 PM
The Federal Funds rate has been near ZERO since 2008, and the Fed has clearly communicated its intent to keep it there over the next several years. They have recently decided to swap $400B from short- to long-term Treasuries - a dubious tactic that may - or may not - have any beneficial effect on the economy, but certainly increases their market risk. Large corporate employers, who are sitting on a ton of cash, will invest / hire when the domestic regulatory and fiscal (taxation) environments stabilize - and no amount of tinkering with monetary policy can overcome that. The Administration - and this writer - are clearly over their heads on economic issues.
Some idiots are signing letters in your names By Unknown on Sep 26 2011 at 4:14 PM
Dear Messrs Cantor, Boehner, McConnell and Kyl:

Lock up your autopens. Some idiot is out there signing your names to an outrageous letter. I hope that you find the cretins because what they are attributing to you would be not just treasonous, but political suicide if widely dispersed. If I were you, I would denounce the correspondence in the strongest terms possible. No one should attribute such vile, malicious and anti-American communication to leaders of the Congress. If you wish, I will stand with you at a press conference to protect your reputation and admit that I never thought that any of you (well, maybe Mr. Cantor, but probably not) would ever affix your signatures to an effort to derail any attempt to assist in helping to solve the problems of the American economy. It is a despicable thing that someone has done. I hope that you find them and hold them up to the ridicule which is their due.

Sincerely

Chairman Bernanke
Stability By Unknown on Sep 26 2011 at 4:21 PM
Surely this administration could have done more, but it is hard to see how, when every move is blocked by hostage-takers. It is also hard to see how the Republican's shenanigans contribute to stability. The reason why corporations are sitting on their profits is that there isn't enough demand for their products--because people don't have jobs or incomes. The Fed can't do much in such circumstances, but that's no reason to make their job even harder.
Insanity. I read nothing but insanity here. By Unknown on Sep 30 2011 at 12:44 PM
"The best way to do that would be with a combination of direct government spending on jobs—along the lines that President Obama has proposed..."

You mean, like the TRILLIONS of wasted dollars already spent for the same thing that has done nothing but force the next generation in to slavery? Wait, I know. Maybe we just need to spend more. What comes after trillion? Quadrillion? Maybe that's what we need to spend. Haven't democrats figured out that LOW taxes and LOW/NO government spending cause the economy to move, not higher taxes and increased government spending? Who the hell is supposed to pay for all this spending? Congress?! I personally think that ALL the people in Washington DC should be locked up for twenty or thirty years at hard labor with their career politicians, democrats, republicans, whoever. At this point 99% of them are corrupt.
Keynesians are gonna have to sit this one out. By Unknown on Oct 01 2011 at 11:39 PM
I read the \"strange\" letter; not sure what\'s strange about NOT printing money. Washington has turned Keynesian economomics on it\'s head by borrowing during boom times and borrowing during busts. This entire Bush recession, the ONLY growth \"industry\" I\'ve seen is Federal spending. We\'ll do Keynesian next time. This time, we need to STOP spending money we don\'t have, STOP debauching the currency, or we\'ll end up like Greece. Or do we have to go to the Hague for our bankruptcy judge?
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