Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. And, also, Jobs.

Joe Gagnon points out that the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve have plenty of tools available to boost hiring and generate growth — tools that could not be held hostage by the Teaocrats in the House of Representatives:

Many actions that would be helpful — extension and enlargement of the payroll tax cut, extension of unemployment benefits, extension of aid to the states, and a substantial and accelerated infrastructure program — require Congressional approval. I have no insights as to how to get such actions approved in the face of determined opposition by many members of Congress.

Instead, I propose aggressive actions that can be taken by the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve without a single vote in Congress. …

First and foremost, the Federal Reserve should announce an additional $2 trillion of asset purchases, including longer-term Treasury bonds, agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and foreign exchange. This is more than three times the size of the woefully underpowered quantitative easing of late last year (dubbed QE2) and it should be accompanied by a clear statement that more is forthcoming if the economy continues to underperform. The goals are to push down bond yields and mortgage rates, to push down the value of the dollar in terms of foreign currencies, and to boost stock prices. All of these help households deleverage their balance sheets and encourage consumption, investment, and exports … Businesses would need to hire more workers to meet the additional demand. …

Well, the Fed didn’t announce anything like that today. I guess they’re waiting until …

… until …

I have no idea what they’re waiting for. They should have done this stuff two years ago.

Gagnon also outlines some steps the White House could take without needing to go through the impenetrable, intractable Do-Nothing Congress:

First, the Administration should use its control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to force them to invite all homeowners whose mortgages are already guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, and who are not delinquent in their mortgage payments, to refinance their current mortgage balance at the new low rates regardless of loan-to-value ratio. … Lowering mortgage interest payments on underwater loans would be the best way to prevent future defaults that would harm Fannie, Freddie, the holders of second liens, and US taxpayers. It is a win-win for all involved. …

Second, the Administration needs to acknowledge that the strong dollar policy, as enunciated for many years, is defunct and opt to embrace moderate further dollar depreciation consistent with monetary easing. Developing economies are spending more than $1 trillion each year manipulating the values of their currencies to subsidize their exports to the United States and Europe. Fiscal austerity in Europe and countervailing currency manipulation in Japan mean that the United States bears most of the cost of this modern mercantilism. As the world’s largest net debtor, it is time for the United States to just say no to trade deficits. We need the high-paying jobs that come from exports.

President Obama, unfortunately, also seems to be waiting for whatever it is the Fed is waiting for before he does anything that substantial about the jobs crisis either. That’s depressing (emotionally, but also economically).

Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, there is another call for massive stimulus spending from — and here’s where it gets weird — Judson Phillips, the head of Tea Party Nation.

Who knew that the leader of the farthest-right tea party organization was a closet Keynesian? Probably not Judson Phillips himself, but Keynesian stimulus is exactly what Phillips is calling for in his cry for an expansion of America’s fleet of aircraft carriers.

Phillips says:

If we decided to build a couple of new carriers, thousands of workers would be hired for the shipyards. Thousands of employees would be hired for the steel mills that would provide the steel for the hull and various subcontractors would hire thousands. … They would receive paychecks and go out and spend that money. That would help a recovery. …

Yep. All true. I’m not sure what we need two more aircraft carriers for, but in the current jobs crisis, I’ll happily second Phillips motion. Let’s build two more. Heck, let’s build 20 more. Then we can hire even more people to dismantle them and start over, or we could turn them into artificial reefs, or convert them into floating schools for coastal cities.

Phillips, oddly, is apparently only a Keynesian when it comes to aircraft carriers. He seems to think that aircraft carriers are magical. Mills producing steel for aircraft carriers, he believes, are generating economic growth and a ripple effect that will lead to more hiring.

But if the steel from those mills were to go, instead, to rebuilding bridges or levees, then he believes it would have no ripple effect and would do nothing to stimulate economic growth and hiring. Same mill, same workers producing the same steel — but if that steel winds up anywhere other than in one of his magical aircraft carriers, then it would be a socialist boondoggle.

Judson Phillips is a very confused man. As M.S. writes:

The tea-party movement has spent the past year arguing that stimulus doesn’t work and cannot, by nature, create more jobs or economic activity. The idea that a major tea-party figure can turn around and make a bog-standard argument for defence spending on Keynesian grounds testifies to a startling capacity for cognitive dissonance.

YouTube Preview Image

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of jobs…the Diocese of Orange is offering to buy the Crystal Cathedral for $54 million. Why not spend that money on building a new cathedral (with gargoyls and flying butresses and all that cool shit) and employ a whole much of laborers, skilled tradespersons, and artisans (not to mention stick it to the Protestants with a cathedral that’s bigger, better, and badder-ass than their broke-ass glass abomination)? While they’re at it, they could put an apprenticeship requirement in the contracts and help train-up the next generation of skilled tradespersons.

    C’mon, Catholic Church! Where’s that sense of one-upmanship that made the Renaissance so great?

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    or convert them into floating schools for coastal cities.

    Or Fallout-themed amusement parks!

  • Lori

     Would she think you serious and express agreement?  

    No, because agreement does not generate controversy and acrimony. The troll’s goal is controversy and acrimony, not conversation. 

  • Lori

     Would she think you serious and express agreement?  

    No, because agreement does not generate controversy and acrimony. The troll’s goal is controversy and acrimony, not conversation. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That makes for an interesting challenge.  Is there anything we could say, anything at all, that would be meet with agreement from Beatrix or Monoblade?  What would happen if they did agree with something?  Would it cause a massive release of energy like in a matter/anti-matter contact?  

    For science!  

  • https://profiles.google.com/ravanan101 Ravanan

    Everything is military because we specifically designed our system to be that way.

    The year: 1948 (I think. Give or take one or two, I’m feeling too lazy to google it). The US government is discussing the creation of a central military authority. The plan: Create the Pentagon to help funnel money into war industries. We’re fighting those damn commie bastards, so give them as much money as they want to get the job done. Industrialists see a nigh-unlimited trough to feed from; military-industrial complex formed. We made the Pentagon as a super-organization to take down the USSR; by the time that was actually ACCOMPLISHED, so many people were getting so wealthy off of the Pentagon’s funneling that to get rid of it was politically unthinkable. Authoritarians love war and military for a multitude of reasons, so the modern Republican base is easy to convince to keep it.

    Furthermore, the military CULTURE they seek to enforce promotes authoritarianism, which also helps perpetuate the cycle.

  • Rikalous

    That makes for an interesting challenge.  Is there anything we could say, anything at all,
    that would be meet with agreement from Beatrix or Monoblade?  What
    would happen if they did agree with something?  Would it cause a massive
    release of energy like in a matter/anti-matter contact?  

    For science!

    In one thread Monoblade pointed out that Beatrix’s appeals to tradition were bullshit, which I’m pretty sure the rest of us agreed on. Results were underwhelming, but it might have been an outlier.

  • Rikalous

    It’s like we pretty much have to pass every potential new technology
    through a “Can we kill people with this?” filter before we decide to
    bother working on it.

    The Rule of First Adopters: all technology will first be used for sex or violence. Clearly, we need to encourage robot porn and so forth. It is our patriotic duty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    he was a member of a union

    Until he stopped acting, at which point he became virulently anti-union.  Yes, I remember how he threatened the safety of all flights because of PATCO.  And then they named an airport after him.

    Scum then, scum now.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The Rule of First Adopters: all technology will first be used for sex or violence. Clearly, we need to encourage robot porn and so forth. It is our patriotic duty.

    I imagine that it will not be long before we see soldiers on the battlefield with auto-targeting smartguns equipped in sophisticated crotch-mount fire bracings.  

    “Suck on this!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    “All it needs is a name”

    “Death Star”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    No, it’s the same reason Reagan tried to use “Born in the USA” and similar to Gang of Four’s  “Natural’s Not in It” in a Kinect commercial

    And some jeans company (“Union Bay”?) used “Fortunate Son” (while waving a giant American flag, of course!). Palm, meet forehead!

  • Rikalous

    “All it needs is a name”

    “Death Star”?

    Naming it after something best known for being blown up by rebels is bad juju. I advocate “Star Destroyer.”

  • Lonespark

    MegaPhallus Rapid-Rail 
    Frak that coffee was too hot for the nasal passages.

  • Anonymous

    From Yahtzee’s review of Shadows of the Damned:

    So for a while I didn’t really feel like I was playing a Suda51 game, but then something happened that I think deserves to be recounted in full. Garcia has an amusing buddy movie partnership with Johnson, a sort of well-spoken lost soul from Doom who can turn into a motorbike which thrums mightily between Garcia’s thighs or a handgun called “The Boner”. At one point in the game, you require some heavier artillery, so Johnson calls a phone sex line, which causes his barrel to extend by about five feet and turns him into “The Big Boner”, which Garcia holds right in front his crotch and fires by thrusting his hips forward and yelling “Taste my Big Boner!”

  • Matri

    I’d like to throw in my suggestion for names: “Bible Thump”. Or “Light At The End Of The Tunnel.”

    Or we could build a pair of those ships and name them “Logic” and “Reason”. (There’s a groan-worthy joke in there somewhere that I’ll spare you guys.)

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    Oh, I’m not that old, and as soon as you said that, I said out loud, “That’s so wrong.”  But then again, Royal Caribbean cruise line used Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.”  Which is about drugs…

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    Yeesh.  That’s horrible.  Think I’ll play that album now in personal protest, in fact.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    My life as a Bureaucrat would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to pay rent or for food.  Of course, my job is triply eeeeevil because I work to get us off of petroleum.  Cause petroleum, even when imported, is awesome, apparently.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X