Re "President urges progressive values" (Page A1, Jan. 22): The liberal agenda that President Obama put forward in his inaugural address hit on several issues that are important to liberals, but failed to mention full employment.
The economy is still more than 9 million jobs below its trend growth path. This means enormous suffering for millions of people who are needlessly unemployed or underemployed. High levels of unemployment mean reduced worker bargaining power. This means that income is likely to continue to be redistributed upward.
The best prospect for increased employment is use of work-sharing. Germany has used work-sharing to lower its unemployment rate by more than 2 percentage points below its pre-recession level, even though its growth has been no better than growth in the United States. It's possible that a major presidential push could substantially increase the use of work-sharing, whereby the government pays companies to reduce workers' hours instead of paying out benefits to unemployed workers..
When a speech that touched on many liberal themes fails to address employment that should be noted.
-- Gary Fitzgerald, Carmichael
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