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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

As Jobs Vanish, Forgetting What Government Is For

Eduardo Porter: 

As Jobs Vanish, Forgetting What Government Is For: America has been here before. At the dawn of the 20th century, the economy was already well into a fundamental transformation of the labor force, as industry replaced farming and crafts as the primary source of new jobs. ...
The nation is well on its way through a second transition, this time to a postindustrial economy with little factory work to be had. Even as industrial production has grown, the economy has shed seven million manufacturing jobs since 1980. ...
During much of the 19th and 20th centuries, government at multiple levels played an essential role in shaping the nation’s transition from farms and small towns to cities and factories. It could do so again. What has stopped it is not the lack of practical ideas but the encrusted ideological opposition to government activism of any kind. ...
Why American politics turned against this successful model of pragmatic policy-making remains controversial. Perhaps it was the increasing footprint of money in politics, which has given more clout to corporate interests lobbying for smaller government and lower taxes. Maybe desegregation led to increasing distrust in government by white voters. Perhaps it was the combination of a recession and high inflation of the 1970s, which discredited interventionist government policies.
In any event, there is much the government could do. ...
So what’s holding us back? The loss of a vision, once shared across much of the ideological spectrum, of what government can accomplish, when it is allowed to do its job.

    Posted by on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 06:39 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (43)


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