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The State of the American Workforce

Testimony Before the House Committee on Education and Workforce

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SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the House Committee on Education and Workforce. Read the testimony (CAPAction).

Thank you, Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Miller for inviting me here today to testify on the state of the American workforce. My name is Heather Boushey and I’m a senior economist with the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The challenges workers face are as great as they’ve been in generations. The Great Recession has wrought havoc in the lives of millions of families. The policies that will create jobs are those that will increase aggregate demand by making investments that will not only boost employment in the short-term, but lay the foundations for long-term economic growth.

Until we fill the demand gap, we will have continued unemployment, which in turn will continue to drag down economic growth. Unemployment—the ultimate unused capacity—is a terrible thing. Allowing it to fester when you have tools at your disposal to alleviate it sends a message that our government not only doesn’t care about the very real hardships families are facing, but that they don’t recognize the enormous waste of human potential.

The real question is whether policymakers will focus on not repeating the mistakes of the Great Depression and, rather, continue to focus on boosting investment until the recovery solidly takes hold. While the immediate imperative is to address in the short-term high unemployment, we must also simultaneously begin to address the deep structural challenges to long-term growth and job creation.

Jobs will not, however, be created by limiting regulation or repealing the Affordable Care Act, nor by creating by cutting spending or focusing on the short-term deficit. And, I would caution you on focusing too much on the short-term deficit. That deficit is not due the result of overspending, but rather due to the failed economic policies and two unfunded wars of the Bush Administration, and the higher costs and lower tax revenues caused by the Great Recession.

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the House Committee on Education and Workforce. Read the testimony (CAPAction).

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