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Job-killing spending, what is that really?

The Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., home to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., home to the U.S. Department of Labor.
American Backroom/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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The latest numbers from the Labor Department on Thursday show another jump in unemployment claims. Last week, 429,000 Americans filed for their first week of benefits – an increase of 9,000 claims from the week before. It's just one more figure that adds up to a dismal 2011 so far. House Republicans place part of the blame on President Obama’s spending policies. At a news conference last month, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “Americans continue to look at all the ‘stimulus’ spending that was enacted under the current administration and ask the question, ‘Well then, where are the jobs?’” But economist Alan Blinder says we know exactly where those jobs are. In an op-ed in this week’s Wall Street Journal, Blinder highlights numbers from the Congressional Budget Office that show stimulus spending created between 1.3 and 3.3 million jobs in 2010. He goes on to challenge GOP rhetoric that claims government spending kills jobs, calling that assertion mere myth. So what impact does government spending have on jobs? What policies actually create or crush jobs? And what weight does a private sector job carry for the economy compared to a government job?


Alan S. Blinder, Professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University; Vice-Chairman of Promontory Interfinancial Network; former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board

Kevin Hassett, Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute