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There’s been a lot of confusion and absurd conspiracy claims about last week’s drop in the national unemployment rate. Dean Baker has the actual skinny here.

The bottom line: Things are better, but the lack of demand in the economy continues to hold us back.

In other words, we’re still paying the price for the inadequate stimulus that the federal government has mustered over the last few years; The President’s efforts stabilized things but the roadblocks to doing more set up by conservatives have locked us into a just-slightly-better-than-treading-water pattern.

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Prof. Paul Krugman explains some basic facts about how to stimulate an economy today. The column — entitled the “I-Phone stimulus” makes it so clear and simple that even politicians ought to be able to understand it.

The only problem, of course, with Krugman’s prescription is that it’s not based on the only politically viable strategy in the modern American plutocracy, i.e. giving even more money to rich people and large corporations.

 

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The latest issue of the NC Budget and Tax Center’s Prosperity Watch is out and it provides additional confirmation that government austerity ain’t what is needed to get the economy going.

“Recent trends in the national labor market demonstrate the harm inflicted on the economy by cutting government spending and laying off government employees in the middle of an already challenging economic recovery.  Just as with private sector layoffs, government layoffs increase the number of people out of work.  And given that there are already nearly three times the number of people looking for work than there are job openings, these public sector layoffs only serve to increase overall unemployment.”

Read the entire story by clicking here.

Conservative politicians of both parties are frequently guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of government’s role in job creation. Most of the time, these pols parrot the market fundamentalist line that government can do nothing to promote economic growth — except, that is, when the issue is a government program or expenditure in their district.

Think Progress posted some new and classic examples late yesterday. of conservative politicians trying to have it both ways.