Friday, December 4, 2009

Investment Choices

"But Obama's options are limited, as the administration already has signaled it is unwilling to make any investments that would add significantly to the nation's ballooning deficit."

Michael A. Fletcher and Ben Pershing, "As Obama opens jobs summit, he faces limited options," The Washington Post, December 3, 2009.

And that was going into the summit. One can't help but compare statements like this with the Obama administation's willingness to increase troop levels and spend unknown billions in Afghanistan after eight years.

The numbers on youth unemployment are staggering. We need to invent new ways to combine work experience with educational attainment and post-secondary credentials --hopefully oriented to skills, occupations and parts of the economy that will be in demand for the long term. Given future demography and likely skill demands, it's probably fair to talk about this as a national security issue. That's not just another glib appeal for resources: we need to face up to the long-term implications of slow job growth.

I continue to be frustrated by the unwillingness to even talk about targeting employment approaches to low income and low skilled. There is a kind of progressive trickle down theory that is enamored by the power of multipliers. No doubt there is some truth to this theory, but that's not the whole story. A lot of people get left out.

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