Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Number of the Day

1.8 million: The potential number of jobs that will be lost in 2012 as a result of the debt ceiling agreement, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
In addition to the immediate cuts to spending, the debt ceiling agreement fails to continue two major policies which had been part of broad agreements in the past. The payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment insurance were passed last December along with the two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts; but are set to expire at the end of 2011. While Congress could still extend these policies between now and the end of the year, that scenario is looking much less likely today. (Any economic support subsequent to this deal would have to be offset by other tax increases or spending cuts in 2012 or a further increase in the debt ceiling, neither of which seems politically viable.)

...It should be noted that while the payroll holiday creates jobs, there are more effective ways to target tax policy to those most likely to spend the extra income, creating an even bigger bang-for-the-buck without some of the negative side-effects.

...If Congress fails to renew these existing programs or enact improved versions, we can expect slower growth, fewer jobs, and higher unemployment. Specifically, there could be 1.8 million fewer jobs and a 0.6 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate in 2012 as a result of abandoning current budget policies.

...Roughly one in three workers will be unemployed or underemployed in 2011 and there would be little progress on this front in 2012. This persistent high unemployment not only creates great economic distress for those families directly impacted but also undermines wage growth and continues the erosion of benefits of those still employed. Moreover, these high levels of unemployment make it more difficult to face our fiscal challenges over the long run.
And here's another number: 60% of respondents in the latest CNN poll disapprove of the debt deal failing to include tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Whooooooops!