Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rep. DeFazio: Fire Geithner

Interesting story over at HuffPo, and consistent with similar rumblings I've heard out in the interwebs. Here's a video from MSNBC of Rep. Peter DeFazio (D - OR) suggesting that President Obama's two top economic advisers be fired:
Money quotes:

"We think it is time, maybe, that we turn our focus to Main Street -- we reclaim some of the unspent funds, we reclaim some of the funds that are being paid back, which will not be paid back in full, and we use it to put people back to work. Rebuilding America's infrastructure is a tried and true way to put people back to work," said DeFazio.

"Unfortunately, the President has an adviser from Wall Street, Larry Summers, and a Treasury Secretary from Wall Street, Timmy Geithner, who don't like that idea," he added. "They want to keep the TARP money either to continue to bail out Wall Street...or to pay down the deficit. That's absurd." (My emphasis)

Huh. Imagine that. Paying people to work on roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects allows them to support themselves and put money back into the economy. And not only do those projects put people back to work, they create the engines for future prosperity and economic growth. I've been wondering for a while now if it would be smarter to simply re-start Depression-era programs such as the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps. Conservatives will undoubtedly cry foul, but there's no question that those programs benefited our country during the Depression and helped millions of families stay afloat when workers could find no other jobs. And with the real unemployment rate (see bottom line on chart) now at 17.5%, soon there may be no other choice. When the economy runs out of buyers for a good or service (in this case, employees), sometimes the government is the only buyer left. We may have reached that point.

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