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View Diary: Dean Baker: How much unemployment was caused by Reinhart & Rogoff (74 comments)

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  •  It's not just that the GOP doesn't CARE (12+ / 0-)

    about high unemployment. The truth is that the GOP LOVES high unemployment. It accomplishes so many GOP goals:

    - High unemployment drags down the cost and raises the compliance of the labor force. Someone seeing long lines at the UI office is not about to agitate for higher wages and better working conditions.
    - High unemployment reduces tax revenues, i.e. it "starves the beast."
    - High unemployment gives the GOP an excuse to claim that safety net programs are growing too much and must be curtailed, since these programs naturally spend more when more people are unemployed.
    - High unemployment enables the GOP to whine about the "moochers", since by definition the unemployed are people who aren't working.
    - High unemployment is mud that they can smear on President Obama. Note that job-creation programs and safety-net spending are always a priority when a Republican occupies the White House during a recession - the GOP is very aware that low information voters (ie 75% of the country) ALWAYS blame high unemployment on the current president no matter who is actually responsible for it.

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:51:47 PM PDT

    •  I agree -- GOP WANTS high unemployment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, Roger Fox

      I think you're right in every point you made, and especially this:

      High unemployment drags down the cost and raises the compliance of the labor force. Someone seeing long lines at the UI office is not about to agitate for higher wages and better working conditions.
      At the leadership level, they're not "too stupid" (or ignorant/bullheaded/whatever...) to figure out the consequences of austerity, they actively want these consequences.
    •  interesting pamphlet from 1943 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      by a Polish economist working in Britain during WWII has this to say

      the maintenance of full employment would cause social and political changes which would give a new impetus to the opposition of the business leaders.  Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the 'sack' would cease to play its role as a 'disciplinary measure.  The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow.  Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension.  It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire, and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests.  But 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' are more appreciated than profits by business leaders.  Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the 'normal' capitalist system.
      This is from Political Aspects of Full Employment by Michal Kalecki, which was being discussed in Britain a few months ago while I was visiting there. I'd never heard of it before, but I now I really recommend it, it's a short and very to the point treatment of stuff that's extremely relevant to what's going on in the current austerity push. (I added the bolding)

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