A conservative economist with a progressive idea? I'm guessing he won't be doing consulting work for the RNC anytime soon. Kevin Hassett is director of economic policy studies at AEI, a very conservative think tank. But when I got him on the
August 28, 2010

A conservative economist with a progressive idea? I'm guessing he won't be doing consulting work for the RNC anytime soon. Kevin Hassett is director of economic policy studies at AEI, a very conservative think tank.

But when I got him on the phone to talk about the unemployment crisis, he struck a different tone. His problem with the stimulus wasn't that government spending inherently fails to grow jobs and the economy. The problem, he said, was that Obama's stimulus was not direct enough.

With the Recovery Act, the White House eschewed direct hiring and aimed instead to raise overall economic output in the hope that more activity would lead to more demand, which would lead to more hires. "Look at the stimulus and the number of jobs we've actually created, and it comes out to a couple million bucks per job created," Hassett told me.

"My idea is simpler. Find the unemployed and hire them."

[...]

"Employers don't want to take a chance on some guy without a job for two years," he said. "The cycle is so long and deep that the cyclical becomes the structural." The easiest way for the government to end somebody's jobless spell is, very simply, to end it by straight-up hiring the worker.

"Since the economy has created this class of long-term jobless, the arguments for government hiring become stronger," he said. "If you give the person a job for a while, it helps them get a job later. You remove the stigma."

What a concept. Hopefully, the White House is paying attention. And Congress. And yes, even conservatives.

Can you help us out?

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.

Discussion

We are currently migrating to Disqus

On May 14, 2022, we started migrating our comments from Insticator back to Disqus. During this transition period, some posts will have Insticator and some Disqus. For more information on the transition, as well as information regarding old C&L accounts, please see this post.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.