Deficit “super-committee” must focus on jobs too

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley deserves praise for his effort to keep the focus on America’s job crisis. His suggestion that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the “super-committee”) request the Congressional Budget Office to score the committee’s proposals for not only their budgetary impact, but their impact on unemployment is brilliant in its simplicity.

If this were to happen, folks would be able to see the impact of the committee’s proposals on both the deficit and the labor market. They would also see the foolishness behind the deficit hawks’ repeated assertions, here, here, and here, that reducing the deficit will reduce unemployment.

The vast majority of across-the-spectrum respected economists, including my personal (non-EPI) favorite, Paul Krugman, have made the case quite convincingly over, and over, and over, that cutting spending in a time of high employment is the height of foolishness.

As for EPI, we said it here, and here, as well as plenty of other places. I’m convinced and I’m not even an economist. Here’s to hoping that we’ll see some common sense come out of the so-called super-committee.