America needs to add a whopping 18 million jobs to its economy over the next five years to get anywhere near full employment, and it's the Federal Reserve that needs to do it, writes Paul Krugman. President Obama's hands are tied by obstructionist Republicans and lukewarm support from his own party, but the Fed could get things moving if it used its powers to the fullest, Krugman writes in the New York Times.
Analysts are urging the Fed to expand credit by buying another $2 trillion in assets, but Ben Bernanke seems strangely unwilling to act, Krugman notes. Politics may play a part in the Fed's fatalism, but it also seems to have its priorities wrong, believing that fixing wrecked banks is more important than preventing the wrecked lives high unemployment causes, Krugman writes. "If we don’t get unemployment down soon, we’ll be paying the price for a generation," he warns.