A simple solution to a devastating problem

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

At CNBC, the solution to the nation’s high unemployment and debt levels is stated simply and powerfully:

“The fact is that the U.S. economy isn’t growing fast enough to significantly increase the revenue to the government, but our debt is still soaring,” Pento said. “It’s a shame they won’t just implement real measures to grow the economy like reduce regulations, simplify the tax code and balance the budget.”

What is the problem? Massive, lengthy unemployment:

GDP growth is in the midst of its longest sub-3 percent annual growth rate since 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The economy hasn’t topped 3 percent since 2005—before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took over—and is unlikely to do so this year.

So even if projections are correct that the economy is about 3 percent bigger than thought—say, another half-trillion dollars—the U.S. is still stuck in the slow-growth morass it has endured since the beginning of the Great Recession.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in employment.

Though employment has risen by 1.3 million over the past year, unemployment that counts the discouraged and underemployed, as well as the jobless (often called the “real” unemployment rate) has remained stubbornly high, at 13.8 percent of the workforce, according to the most recent count.

Tea Party Patriots doesn’t agree with Paul Krugman on much, but he was right when he wrote about the impact of long-term unemployment in December:

But long-term unemployment remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression: as of October, 4.9 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and 3.6 million had been out of work for more than a year.

When you see numbers like those, bear in mind that we’re looking at millions of human tragedies: at individuals and families whose lives are falling apart because they can’t find work, at savings consumed, homes lost and dreams destroyed. And the longer this goes on, the bigger the tragedy.

There are also huge dollars-and-cents costs to our unmet jobs crisis. When willing workers endure forced idleness society as a whole suffers from the waste of their efforts and talents. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that what we are actually producing falls short of what we could and should be producing by around 6 percent of G.D.P., or $900 billion a year.

As Tea Party Patriots wrote in February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that in the 4th quarter of 2012 America produced $1 trillion less than its “potential.” This is equivalent to at least $174 billion in deficit reduction via increased tax revenue, as well as untold numbers of Americans actually having work, providing for their families, etc.

“It’s a shame they won’t just implement real measures to grow the economy like reduce regulations, simplify the tax code and balance the budget.” Indeed. A true shame, and one that is crushing millions of Americans.

Washington D.C. should be ashamed.