Biden Needs This Bold Strategy To Reimagine The Economy So It Can Create Jobs For Everyone

Thin majorities in Congress offer President Joe Biden the opportunity to be bold. He can challenge moderate Republicans with ideas that would boost employment and incomes as the economy recovers and in years to come.

The recent employment reports indicate the need for more stimulus but another round of checks for all households that earn less than $150,000 is wrongheaded.

Folks who work from home or whose jobs have been otherwise insulated from shutdowns have not suffered large income losses. For most, another check would likely be saved, used to pay down debt or spent, not on necessities, but rather mostly on gadgets and furnishings that are often imported.

Million scrapping by

That doesn’t create enough jobs for the emerging army of 5 million permanently unemployed and the millions more scrapping along in part-time work.

Those folks are running out of savingsmaxing out credit cards, and facing evictions. Targeted aid to those in severe distress—much greater than $2,000 per household—would be spent on food, rent and necessities that create more demand for U.S.-produced goods and services.

Simply, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, assistance for the unemployed and underemployed does more to create jobs and growth than welfare checks for comfortable suburban voters.

The stock market is hitting new highs because investors recognize most of the economy will recover nicely, but it’s the millions who have lost jobs, mostly in small businesses and downsizing sectors such as airlines, who should be the focus. 

With work from home institutionalizing and raising productivity, many urban employment centers need repurposed to be more mixed residential-commercial use. Workers who sold services to commuters will have to reskill and often relocate but the nation has real opportunities to create less-dense, more-humane patterns of commuting, work and home life.

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Peter Morici is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and widely published columnist. He is the five time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster ...

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