Maybe when Dean Baker first floated this idea (back in January) it was too soon and people weren't worried enough yet about unemployment. Dean was ahead of the curve. Now that everyone is wringing their hands about the jobs crisis, one of the hand wringers will take notice enough to at least say why not. Sandwichman is not holding his breath, though:
There are many ways that the federal government can boost demand, with more aid to state and local government probably topping the list in terms of priorities. However, to get large numbers of workers back to work quickly, the best route is a tax credit to shorten normal working time.
The basic logic is very simple; the tax credit effectively pays employers to hire more workers, with each worker putting in fewer hours. If we used the tax credit to pay employers of 100 million workers to work 5 percent fewer hours, while keeping their take-home pay unchanged, then in principle they should want to hire 5 percent more workers, or five million workers. This can be done quickly and will involve more employment in the private sector, not make work public sector jobs. That should make the conservatives happy.
There undoubtedly will be some gaming of such a tax credit, but there is some waste/fraud in everything we do. The prospect of having 15 million people unemployed for much of the next two years is unacceptable. Having used trillions of dollars in loans to bail out the richest people in the country, it is time that the government take some bold steps to help everyone else.