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How Congress Is Helping Create Unemployment

A growing number of unemployed Americans today are the victims of actions taken by the current Congress aimed deliberately at eliminating jobs.

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Most of the nearly 14 million people across our country who are currently unemployed can blame their situation on the inability of Congress and the White House to sufficiently cushion the economy from the financial crisis that began in 2007. But a growing number of unemployed Americans today are the victims of actions taken by the current Congress aimed deliberately at eliminating jobs.

Even worse, many of these jobs are ones that will have to be performed at some point in the next several years and taxpayers will eventually pay the bill. Delaying the work not only sucks jobs out of the weak economy but also in many instances costs the government more money and over time, and serves to increase rather than decrease the public debt. CAP Senior Fellow Scott Lilly’s new report, "Creating Unemployment," examines some of the job-elimination efforts by the current Congress and the growing impact this is having on individuals, families, and communities around the country.

Saving these jobs does not require us to ignore our country’s long-term deficit problems. While nearly all economists believe we should decisively reduce the amount we are scheduled to borrow over the next decade, a large majority of those same economists believe that the spending cuts and revenue increases necessary to reduce the deficits should be agreed to now but not executed until there is substantial steam in the economic recovery. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently warned the Joint Economic Committee, it is important to “avoid fiscal actions that could impede the ongoing economic recovery, putting in place a credible plan for reducing future deficits over the longer term does not preclude attending to the implications of fiscal choices for the recovery in the near term.” That is advice that the new majority party in the House of Representatives has been unwilling to take.

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