…Apparently, economist Christine Romer thinks so too (italics mine):
…hundreds of thousands of public school teachers are likely to be laid off over the next few months. As many as one out of every 15 teachers could receive a pink slip this summer, the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates. These layoffs would be spread throughout the country — in urban, rural and suburban districts.
Such layoffs are terrible for teachers, for communities and, most important, for students. For the families directly affected, layoffs mean not only lost wages but often lost homes and postponed dreams. Because unemployed teachers have to cut back on spending, local businesses and overall economic activity suffer. And the costs of decreased learning time and support for students will be felt not just in the next year or two but will reduce our productivity for decades to come.
Additional federal aid targeted at preventing these layoffs can play a critical role in combating the crisis. Such aid would be very cost-effective. There are no hiring or setup costs. The teachers are there, eager to stay in their classrooms
But don’t trust a professional economist, the Mad Biologist already told you this:
Regarding ‘shovel ready’, these jobs are very ready–and obviously the layoffs can be halted with the stroke of a pen. Or we could fire more people during a depression and hurt education.
(My version was more concise….)
What has been immensely frustrating about economic policy post-Big Shitpile (although it was pretty frustrating pre-Shitpile too) is that the appropriate actions, at least at the broad scale, were blindingly obvious. Yet an unholy alliance between the Uruk-hai wing of the Republican Party (which is most of the party) and ‘fiscally conservative’ Democrats scuttled or hobbled every initiative due to ideological inanity (believing that short term deficits are worse than massive, long-term unemployment).
It’s not that I’m brilliant (Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, I’m not), but this stuff really isn’t hard. Unless, of course, you don’t care about the highest level of unemployment in seventy years. Then coming up with reasons to not do something is kinda challenging….