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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Economy, Politics, Society | 32 comments

No Stomach for WPA Jobs Program in Obama Administration

Jared Bernstein — former economic adviser to Pres. Obama and now writing a must-read blog at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities — responds to Paul Krugman’s earlier column (emphasis is mine):

As I wrote the other day, it’s essential to turn the conversation back to what we should be doing on the jobs front, so I was glad to see Paul Krugman thinking along those lines this AM.  But I was struck by this ‘graf:

“For example, we could have W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads — which would also, by raising incomes, make it easier for households to pay down debt. We could have a serious program of mortgage modification, reducing the debts of troubled homeowners.”

But then there’s this: There will be no WPA-type programs in our near future. There was no appetite for them in the Obama admin in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression and there’s a lot less now. The reasons for that are interesting and I’ll speak to them another day. But it ain’t happening.

Several bloggers are commenting on this Bernstein post at the moment, but I will limit myself to two words: Rahm Emanuel.