An evenhanded discussion and study guide on unemployment.
Bittle and Johnson draw on solid statistical sources including the National Association of Manufacturers, trade-union organizations, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, and they also rely on expertise from, among others, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman of Princeton, Nouriel Roubini of NYU's Stern School and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The authors provide a scrupulous analysis of the many problems caused by the unemployment crisis, as well as possible solutions. Bittle and Johnson rightly place a great deal of responsibility on the backs of readers: “If you've been reading along carefully, you probably have your own checklist of criteria for judging what's likely to hurt or help on jobs.” Just in case, though, they provide a list of “considerations [they] think are vital.” The authors encourage readers to review past mistakes and successes in order to be better prepared to assimilate what is to come. In that vein, they provide a useful historical discussion of the 1930s Depression and FDR's WPA program, as well as estimates of the financial costs of possible solutions and the ramifications for other sectors of American society. Joblessness affects consumer spending, government programs and citizens’ ability to purchase homes, write the authors. Fortunately they provide a helpful series of options to ensure that “the greatest number of people have the greatest possible chance to get ahead.”
The authors intended to “help voters sift through the political rhetoric” to better understand and face the unemployment crisis. Mission accomplished.