Now More Than Ever

The current economic downturn has been called a housing crisis, a financial crisis and a debt crisis, but the simplifying logic of the political season has settled on what is really more a result than a cause.

Thus begins Adam Davidson’s first article in a new series on the economy for the New York Times Magazine. Davidson is well known for his work on NPR’s Planet Money and I hope he can bring the same no-nonsense approach to the written word as he does on the airwaves. “Can Anyone Really Create Jobs” is a laudable first step.

Some choice quotes:

No corporate leader is rewarded for hiring people who aren’t absolutely required. Most companies hire only when its workforce can no longer keep up with the demand for its products.

This is a point I constantly bring up in regards to the argument that pulling back on regulatory measures would be a panacea for jobs. Ditto for the “lower taxes” and “minimum wage reduction” as job solution ideas. These are all ideas that represent “now more than ever” ism’s. None of those ideas have relevancy to our current crisis. They are policy prescriptions based on the economic right’s theory of long term growth. Yet they continually package these ideas as solutions for today.  Davidson echoes my assumption:

Instead, Republican candidates fill their jobs plans with Chicagoan ideas that have nothing to do with the current crisis, like permanent cuts in taxes and regulation. These policies may (or may not) make the economy healthier in 5 years or 10, but the immediate impact would require firing a large number of America’s roughly 23 million government workers.

The rest of the article is worth reading.