Monday, December 6


I'm getting reluctant to quote from the NY Times because of its highly flawed pre-Iraq invasion and election coverage. But this is unmistakably true, so even they can't mess it up too badly. So much for Christmas hiring.

Those monthly numbers, disappointing on their own, reinforce what is now an unmistakable pattern in which the economy grows at a decent pace and corporate profits surge, while wages lag inflation and job creation barely keeps pace with the growth in the labor market.

We know how we got here. Tax cuts were misdirected at investment rather than consumption, resulting in an economic recovery weaker than it might have been. The budget deficit portends higher interest rates and a weaker dollar, both of which impair business confidence and, in turn, inhibit hiring. And then there's the lack of affirmative policy on jobs, such as a targeted credit that would make hiring more attractive or, at the least, an increase in the minimum wage to help the working poor and put money in the economy, fueling consumption that is critical for job growth.

Persistent subpar job creation might cause some leaders to question their policies. Yet, more high-end tax cuts and higher deficits are the template for President Bush's second term.


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