Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good Old Days?

The more I read and try and understand where we are economically the more I fear that "The Good Old Days" are now. I am not seeing any encouraging news from any source right or left and every person in the know is saying the same thing. "It's going to get worse."

Paul Krugman thinks that the "bold" Obama economic plans are not enough to stop the slide.
The latest data confirm those worries — and suggest that the Obama administration’s economic policies are already falling behind the curve.

To see how bad the numbers are, consider this: The administration’s budget proposals, released less than two weeks ago, assumed an average unemployment rate of 8.1 percent for the whole of this year. In reality, unemployment hit that level in February — and it’s rising fast.

Employment has already fallen more in this recession than in the 1981-82 slump, considered the worst since the Great Depression. As a result, Mr. Obama’s promise that his plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 looks underwhelming, to say the least. It’s a credible promise — his economists used solidly mainstream estimates of the impacts of tax and spending policies. But 3.5 million jobs almost two years from now isn’t enough in the face of an economy that has already lost 4.4 million jobs, and is losing 600,000 more each month.

There are now three big questions about economic policy. First, does the administration realize that it isn’t doing enough? Second, is it prepared to do more? Third, will Congress go along with stronger policies?
I tend to agree that if Obama tries to go back to Congress for more stimulus he will likely be rebuffed. You have to admit, from their historical track record, these are not bold people. They try and satisfy special interests at all costs and you rarely if ever see them just do what's right and necessary without all kinds of triangulation and compromise for this special interest or that one. They are always looking out for the next election or the next campaign contribution and not for their constituency. So here is more from Krugman....

So here’s the picture that scares me: It’s September 2009, the unemployment rate has passed 9 percent, and despite the early round of stimulus spending it’s still headed up. Mr. Obama finally concedes that a bigger stimulus is needed.

But he can’t get his new plan through Congress because approval for his economic policies has plummeted, partly because his policies are seen to have failed, partly because job-creation policies are conflated in the public mind with deeply unpopular bank bailouts. And as a result, the recession rages on, unchecked.

O.K., that’s a warning, not a prediction. But economic policy is falling behind the curve, and there’s a real, growing danger that it will never catch up.

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