The September jobs report is more of the same. We witness slow growth, with job creation barely at levels needed to keep up with workforce growth. And the economy is headed into ever more severe headwinds – Europe’s recession is already reflected in manufacturing job stagnation; the congressionally invented "fiscal cliff" at end of year will soon slow hiring by government contractors.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is right: the time for action is now. But with Congress adjourned for elections, any action will wait until the lame duck Congress convenes. Its focus will be on avoiding the crippling hit the economy would take with the deep cuts required by the sequester and the expiration of a range of tax cuts.
What is needed is a plan to get the economy moving and put people to work, one that provides for growth, redresses extreme inequality and protects basic security for Americans. This is not a time for inflicting austerity on a weak economy. Putting people to work is the first and necessary step to any sensible effort to get our economy in order.