Add this to the “People have to like this crap” file. Over at AMERICAblog, John Aravosis asks Cornell economist Steven Kyle to comment on this figure distributed by Organizing for America:
It is a good illustration of exactly what many of us economists have been saying – the stimulus was big enough to stop the job loss, but not big enough to put all those unemployed people back to work again. So, if we switch to “deficit reduction mode,” as the President has said, and start cutting spending, there is a very real danger of slipping back into a recessionary dynamic (i.e., downward momentum could get reestablished – at the moment we are sort of just staggering along, neither here nor there).
What I find puzzling is that the Administration apparently seems to think that cutting spending is a bigger political winner than getting people jobs. No reading of the data I have ever seen would support that. And to the extent that some people DO like cutting deficits, it is irrelevant, because those types aren’t going to vote for a Democrat anyway.
The only thing Dick Cheney got right was “deficits don’t matter.” Our debt to GDP ratio was higher after World War II than it is today, and that led to a quarter-century of prosperity for the middle class. Everybody is for lower deficits in the abstract, but most voters decide using heuristics: do I have a job, is my economy doing well, and so on. Those who get upset about deficits aren’t going to vote for Democrats anyway–and Republicans certainly haven’t paid the price for running massive deficits, so it doesn’t seem that anyone really cares about them.
People, and the businesses that serve them, need jobs. Bring unemployment down to four percent, then worry about deficits.