Dear DC: 7.6% Unemployment Is Not OK

Paul Krugman thinks everyone's dropping the ball on employment
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2013 11:18 AM CDT
In this May 29, 2013 photo, job seeker Anu Vatal of Chicago, speaks with Patrice Tosi of BluePay, seated, during a career fair in Rolling Meadows, Ill.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

(Newser) – Once upon a time, back before the financial crisis, Americans had certain expectations for their economy. "Normal, back then, meant an economy adding a million or more jobs a year," and an unemployment rate "not much above 5%," recalls Paul Krugman at the New York Times. Now, Washington is making pleased noises about the most recent jobs report—even though unemployment is at 7.6%. "Policy makers … seem gripped by a combination of complacency and fatalism," Krugman complains. "Call it the big shrug."

"It seems as if nobody in Washington outside the Fed even considers high unemployment a problem." Without the threat of an imminent crisis, Congress appears unmotivated and uninterested. "The unemployed don't have much of a political voice. Profits are sky-high, stocks are up, so things are OK for the people who matter, right?" Deficit hawks have only gotten louder, despite their victories—and Krugman thinks that, if policy makers stood up to them, jobs would return. "Where we are is not OK. Stop shrugging, and do your jobs." Click for Krugman's full column. (Read more unemployment stories.)

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