Famous economists agreeing with us — the first in an occasional series

Missed this when it came out, but Harvard economist Lawrence Katz published a jobs-proposal in the New York Times this past Tuesday that actually matches the scale of our jobs problem. Would I spend the money exactly the way he does to create jobs? Probably not. But, his proposed new jobs tax credit is much bigger than most others I’ve seen and calling for “at least several hundred billion dollars a year” in infrastructure spending for the next two years is, well, really serious. But, the plan is so naïve in the current political moment – he must not know anything about policymaking.

And, missed this too, but Paul Krugman makes the point that environmental regulations that incentivize businesses to undertake investments needed to meet their requirements can actually create jobs when the economy has lots of unemployed workers.

It’s a brilliant point, especially the ‘broken windows fallacy’ part. Of course I would think that – I made the same point (with the same ‘broken windows fallacy’ pooh-poohing) here. This paper found that the EPA’s “toxics rule” would create on the order of 100,000 jobs between now and 2015. Of course, the primary reason to enforce such regulations is not job-creation – that’s just a happy side-benefit during times of excess capacity – instead it’s the incredibly high benefit/cost ratio generally. But the jobs-terrain is where most opponents of regulations go, and, it’s wrong.