Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Get this to the President: Reading Baker and Bernstein's "Getting Back to Full Employment"

We are at the level of employment we have only because people have made the decision that this level is acceptable. 

Bernstein and Baker lay out different answers in this book.

If you have a capitalist society, you are not yoked necessarily to the idea that the current version of capitalism is the one that is necessary, right, and the only way possible.  You can have capitalism with a human face where workers are not fighting for crumbs.

The point of this book is that the current upwardly distributing system is the logical conclusion to policy decisions that were made already.  Different, more equitable policy decisions can be made.  These include raiding the minimum wage, targeting a lower "Natural" unemployment level, and going for weak dollar policies to help boosts exports relative to imports.

This is a short book, basically a long white paper, but it is an important book.  I suppose that is why they are distributing it at cost.  I read it in an evening over the long weekend, and I nodded my head to their words.  It needs to be in the hands of policy makers, as soon as possible.

A couple of notes.  The only thing that troubles me is the idea of weakening the currency (70).  It is not an issue that it should be done, but that others can make moves to offset your moves because currency's values are relative to each other.  That and you don't want to be labeled a currency manipulator on President Romney's first day in office.  The second thing that gets me is that there is a cover design implying an attack on a certain company that isn't followed through fully in the text.  I kept waiting for it, and it never came.  I have to admit to liking take-downs of the beast from Bensonville.