Slashing Jobs Beyond What's Necessary ... and Defining What's Necessary

Aside from the direct "collateral damage" that has resulted from the 15.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession, the ruthlessness and severity with which jobs have been slashed is also fueling greater long-term economic inequality in the country, according to an op-ed in today's New York Times.

"In other words, U.S.

 corporate management has

 used the crisis to slash jobs

 well beyond what economic

 decline strictly demanded."

In the column, author Roger Cohen cites Chicago economist David Hale as concluding that U.S. employment has declined at a much faster rate than national output (6% versus 3.8%) since the the beginning of the recession, whereas in Germany and Japan, the job losses have been just a fraction of the increase in output.

"In other words," Cohen wrote, "U.S. corporate management has used the crisis to slash jobs well beyond what economic decline strictly demanded."

This has led to "stunning" increases in American productivity, according to Hale, making U.S. businesses more competitive than ever, which, theoretically at least, eventually could create jobs. "But for now, the newly jobless ask, “'What recovery? What justice?'”

“If managements are raising profits by cutting jobs, and that gives them a stock market gain of 55%, in the end you’re magnifying inequality,” Hale told Cohen. 

To read the entire column, which uses this information to make the case for the critical need for universal health care, click here.

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