Put New Stimulus to Work for Unemployed

Painful 'new normal' isn't good enough
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2009 2:08 AM CDT
President Barack Obama holds a town hall style meeting in support of the economic stimulus package in Elkhart, Ind. earlier this year.    (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – Economists are buzzing about a "new normal" of higher unemployment and wage stagnation post-recession, but Americans shouldn't resign themselves to a mediocre economy, writes Harold Meyerson. Downturns triggered by banking crises usually cause higher rates of unemployment for longer periods than normal downturns, but the cycle can be broken with public investment, Meyerson argues in the Washington Post.

To avoid a prolonged period of economic weakness and ensure continued American prosperity, the US needs to spend more federal funds on public works projects, the child-care and senior-care sectors, and "green" construction and manufacturing, Meyerson writes. Conventional wisdom holds that President Obama won't dare to ask for another stimulus, but New Deal-type projects to subsidize jobs have widespread approval even in places like Tennessee, which is hardly "a sleeper cell of socialists," he notes.