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Jobs Stimulus Stutters and Echoes

The Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial is one of many voices saying that President Obama’s stimulus has been less than stimulating for new jobs, and that his proposed second round is a recognition of that. It’s worth remembering that FDR’s New Deal didn’t come in one straightforward push either: there was a first phase with financial reform (heard about that) and the National Recovery Administration. When that wasn’t enough to kickstart the economy, FDR created larger programs like the WPA, unprecedented in scale and impact.
    Some conservative bloggers have said that by 1939, when many of the New Deal programs ended, unemployment hovered around 19%. They imply that the programs were failures. They don’t say that when the New Deal began, unemployment was nearly twice that level, and had dropped to 14.3% in 1937 before an uptick as the programs ended.
    Our recession today isn’t on the same scale as the Great Depression. Don’t let a false comparison suggest that the New Deal didn’t get people back to work.

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