Unemployment Rate

The Endless Bummer


Stimulated yet?

So how's that Recovery Summer campaign going? According to both a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll and the latest jobless figures, not so hot:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% who felt that way in January.

How could they possibly believe such a thing, when no less an eminence than Tim Geithner assured us recently in The New York Times that "we are coming back," because "the White House and Congress helped save 8.5 million jobs and increased gross domestic product by 6.5 percent relative to what would have happened had we done nothing"? Maybe because of news like this:

Initial [jobless] claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February.

You're not a good man, Timmy Geithner

Analysts said that the unexpected rise in claims suggests hiring in August won't be much better than July. The economy added a net 12,000 jobs last month after excluding the loss of temporary census positions.

The jobless claims report "represents a very adverse turn in the labor market, threatening income growth and consumer spending," Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

The prospect of more layoffs added to this week's grim outlook for the economy, which began Tuesday when the Federal Reserve lowered its assessment of the recovery.

Sufferin' succotash!

As many of us were pointing out back in the fall of '08, one crucial difference between this economic crisis and the 1978-82 downturn it semi-resembles is that back then, "Washington…was forcing us to swallow our medicine to whip inflation and create conditions for future growth. Nowadays the only government medicine being doled out is temporary pain relief." Bipartisan Washington these days seems to think that the mere existence of economic unpleasantness (the unemployment, the collapse of some asset prices, the credit unwind) qualifies as medicine, just because it tastes bad going down. As Reason has been pointing out repeatedly since George W. Bush's first big televised case of the vapors, the long-term picture will not meaningfully improve until you address the underlying problems, and putting off that day of reckoning with an ongoing series of taxpayer-financed cushions will just prolong and deepen the pain.

Some relevant Reason reading, in chronological order:

* "The Coming Recession: Seven observers debate the (sorry) state of the economy," by Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr., Megan McArdle, Ron Paul, Robert Bryce, Robert Higgs, Robert E. Wright, and Donald J. Boudreaux; June 2008.

* "Lessons From the Great Inflation: Paul Volcker and Ronald Reagan's forgotten miracle created a quarter century of prosperity–and a dangerous bubble of complacency," by Robert J. Samuelson; January 2009.

* "Why the Stimulus Won't Work: And several ideas that might," by Veronique de Rugy, February 2009.

* "Will We Be Stimulated? Economists sound off on Obama's stimulus package," by Robert Higgs, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Megan McArdle, Deirdre McCloskey, Allan H. Meltzer, Jeffrey A. Miron, Michael C. Munger, William A. Niskanen, Johan Norberg, and Mark J. Perry; May 2009.

Everyone avoids him like a cyclone ranger

* "Turning Japanese: Japan's post-bubble policies produced a 'lost decade.' So why is President Obama emulating them?" by Anthony Randazzo, Michael Flynn & Adam B. Summers; July 2009.

* "The Myth of the Multiplier: Why the stimulus package hasn't reduced unemployment," by Veronique de Rugy; November 2009.

* "Five Lies About the American Economy: The Obama team's favorite slices of fiscal baloney," by Tim Cavanaugh; April 2010.

* "The Myth of the Recovery: The White House claims the economy is on the mend. That's a fantasy," by Anthony Randazzo; April 2010.


NEXT: It Happened at the World's Fair

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  1. “the White House and Congress helped save 8.5 million jobs and increased gross domestic product by 6.5 percent relative to what would have happened had we done nothing”

    How does he not spontaneously burst into flames when he says shit like this?

    1. You notice he dropped the “created or” out of the standard stimulus bovine excrement?

      Progress of sorts.

      1. I didn’t notice that. Good catch.

      2. Change we can believe in.

    2. Soviet industry is buildink more traktors!

      1. China leads the world in steel production!

        1. It’s uncanny–this is you, JohnSukiPatheticBot.

          1. It’s disturbing that I found that mildly arousing.

            1. Very, lol. Stay tuned for rctl or MNG to chat with Epi about this.

          2. Can’t you find a new hobby? Your messed up knows no end.

          3. Chat, chat, chat

        2. We will strengthen our socialism by exceeding our turbine quota!

          1. Turgid prose akhbar!

  2. Obviously, this is all our fault for willing Obama to fail. It has absolutey nothing to do with the inherent fallacy that stealing money and filtering it through worthless bureacracy creates jobs. Good job team. Our racism, selfishness, and prayers to the spaghetti monster are working.

  3. I think some of this started in 1992. We had a mild recession in 1991-92, that ended before the election. But the single media wanted Clinton to win so badly they blew it totally out of proportion for political gain. The lesson that politicians learned from that was that any recession was you political death. Flash forward to 2001. There we had a recession after 9-11 and the tech bubble bursting. Rather than taking our medicine then, Bush wanting to avoid the fate of his father, got Greenspan to open the flood gates and gave up the housing bubble. If we had just taken our medicine in 2001, 2008 would not have been so bad. It still would have been bad because government intervention in the housing market would have been just as bad. But, without Greenspan’s easy money, the bubble would not have been as big.

    Politicians are craven. But they do have an amoeba like predictability to their behavior. They are always going to do whatever it takes to stay in office. So they will sometimes do the right thing even if it is almost always for the wrong reason.

    What is sad is that we finally have a President that the media will do anything to cover for and could have as a result gotten away with doing the right thing. Yet, that President is using all that media to do exactly the wrong things.

    1. LCTM

      1. Damn, I mean LTCM

        That’s where this round started

        1. Another example of not taking our medicine to avoid short term pain. Had that bailout not occurred, things would have gone differently in the 00s.

      2. It goes back further than that to the S&L crisis in the 80’s.

        1. no, it goes back further, to the tulip bubble crisis

          1. There have always been bubbles since there have been markets. I mentioned S&L because of the government bailout. It sent a signal to the financial world that the government was there to provide a safety net whenever they fucked up. That message has been reinforced by further bailouts. And people wonder why financial firms take such big risks.

        2. What’s with the Bushs and bank bailouts?

        3. The S&L crisis they did right. They went in and shut the banks down and liquidated the assets. They made good on some investments. But a lot of people went to jail and the failed S&Ls; went away. The whole thing cost around 50 billion (doesn’t that sound quaint). That is in contrast to TARP where no one went to jail and no banks closed.

    2. “But the single media”


      1. He meant to write ‘the single medium’.

        1. That makes less sense…What, did only radio cover Clinton?


      2. I think its probably supposed to be “single-party media”.

        Which, given the voting and contribution profile of your major media types, is fairly accurate.

    3. “”They are always going to do whatever it takes to stay in office. So they will sometimes do the right thing even if it is almost always for the wrong reason.””

      What’s screwed up is that some in congress are willing to go against the “get re-elected” grain, for what they think is right. But it’s crap like health care reform. Not anything that improves the fiscal health of the country.

      The problem is in the belief that it’s a elected official’s job to help the citizen with everything. This is compounded by two schools of thought. 1. Government should assist in a citizens quality of life.
      2. I pay taxes and want something in return.

      An elected official can pander to either or both.

      1. What’s screwed up is that some in congress are willing to go against the “get re-elected” grain, for what they think is right. But it’s crap like health care reform. Not anything that improves the fiscal health of the country.

        If helping Pelosi, Reid, and Obama push a gigantic new bureaucracy over the finish line costs you your job, there’s probably a job for you somewhere in the gigantic new bureaucracy.

        1. Until a republican admin comes in. Then the team blue hacks will be replace by team red hacks.

          The irony is that the left that supports heath care reform law isn’t really paying attention that they are placing their health care in the hands of partisan politics. The worst place it could go.

          1. And then the Blue Team hacks get jobs as lobbyists, because now they’ve got connections in Congress AND in the career-employee ranks in the new bureaucracy.

    4. Bush wanting to avoid the fate of his father, got Greenspan to open the flood gates and gave up the housing bubble.

      Well, maybe that’s why Bush inflated the housing bubble, but he had the full support of the Krugtard. From his 8/2/02 column, in which he raised the specter of a double-dip recession (that he would blame on Bush, natch):

      “A few months ago the vast majority of business economists mocked concerns about a ”double dip,” a second leg to the downturn. But there were a few dogged iconoclasts out there, most notably Stephen Roach at Morgan Stanley. As I’ve repeatedly said in this column, the arguments of the double-dippers made a lot of sense. And their story now looks more plausible than ever.

      The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn’t a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.”

      1. Yes. There is a whole school of “there never has to be a recession if we don’t want one” economists out there.

  4. Bush couldn’t have done any more to set us up for Obama if he was working for him.

    1. He set us up the bomb. Now all our stuffz belongs to him.

  5. Heck of job, Timmy!

      1. Matt Damon!

  6. You should be thanking me, mutha’fukrs!

    1. Thank you for bringing back the Dark Ages, Berry Hussein-O.

    2. It’s like a thug beating you up and demanding you be happy because it could have been worse.

  7. Soviet industry is buildink more traktors!

    Some idiot (actually, I think it was Ray LaHood, so imbecile might be more appropriate) was on CNBC a couple of days ago, talking about the wonderful things we’ll see if we just swallow our ObamaStimTabs. I swear to god, I kept hearing him say, “Five Year Plan”.

    I’m almost certain I imagined that.

    1. La Hood is moron. He did manage to make me some money on TM after saying stupid shit in front of Congress and the press. It was almost like the good old days of trading on Timmy’s Congressional hearing schedule. You could count on a market fall because he was going to say something stupid. They just recently started letting him talk again. lol

  8. The problem is lack of government control and spending. The best and brightest are in charge. All is well. We have always been at war with East Asia.

  9. Knew I should have shorted the DJIA last week. Damn.

  10. “”The best and brightest are in charge.””

    All you need to do is look at campaigns.

    We don’t vote for the best or brightest. We vote for the most sneaky, backstabbing, liars. What do we expect in return?

    1. Well, it is a representative democracy we have, no?

      1. Exactly. I have no problem admitting that we are getting the government we deserve. The chances of getting away from them is like crash landing a plane in utopia.

        1. Can you crash in a perfect world?

          1. you have to crash near it and hope the sherpas find you, a la Shangri La

        2. Excuse me, but I haven’t been voting for this. Have you? I’m going to get the government YOU deserve.

      2. There is something more than just bad politicians happening when a common criminal like Timmy gets to be a cabinet official. Our whole society is breaking down.

        1. Our whole society is breaking down.

          Sadly, I agree. I think that the ruling class has basically given up on America and has just decided to go ahead and sack and plunder everything they can still get their hands on.

          When our current debt bubble/death spiral pops, the ugliness is going to be unlike anything most people in this country have ever seen.

        2. I think it’s the reverse, John.

          I don’t think Timmy is a common criminal at all.

          I think the point has been reached where no one respects vast areas of our law and routinely breaks many, many laws, whether for advantage [like cheating on your taxes] or just out of complacency [i.e. not knowing that you’re breaking some state or federal regulation every time you sneeze].

          Timmy got to be Treasury Secretary because nobody gives a shit any more.

          That’s still “society breaking down”, but it’s a different version.

          Think of it this way: at Harvard in September there will probably be some very smart kid who’ll be a 17 year old freshman, and he will fuck his 17 year old freshman girlfriend in the dorms after smoking a little dope and drinking some PBR, and then they’ll take pictures of themselves with their cell phone and laugh.

          One or both of those kids could end up as Cabinet secretaries, despite the fact that the law considers them sex criminals, child pornographers, controlled substance dealers, alcohol abusers, etc.

          And no one will care, because everyone knows it’s all bullshit but everyone is also too lazy and too intellectually dishonest for anything to change.

          Somebody’s got to be Treasury Secretary and the time is rapidly approaching when there will be no one available who hasn’t broken any laws.

          Hell, think of the laws you’ve admitting breaking right here. I guess we can’t let a “common criminal” like you in the Cabinet either.

          1. I got paid I think $40,000 by the UN and signed a paper saying that he understood that it was income and that he needed to report it on his taxes. And then he didn’t report it.

            I understand your point about everyone being a criminal. But Timmy didn’t get caught up in some arcane tax code dispute. He broke a basic rule that would apply even if the tax code were as simple as it should be.

            And one of my favorite sayings is “people don’t just become depraved”. That wasn’t the first time Timmy had lied or stolen. I am sure he did that because that is what he does. He really is just a thief. He is no different than someone who pick pockets you. He is a common criminal who has been smart enough and smooth enough to rise to the top. He is not just an honest guy who made a mistake or got caught up in an unfair law like the examples you give.

            1. He is not just an honest guy who made a mistake or got caught up in an unfair law like the examples you give.

              That actually wasn’t what I said.

              I said we’ve reached a point where respect for the law has largely ceased to exist, so everyone ends up breaking some laws. Whatever laws they personally don’t respect or are too apathetic to find out about.

              He really is just a thief. He is no different than someone who pick pockets you.

              I don’t think people who cheat on their taxes are the same as pickpockets. I’m surprised you do.

              Personally, I think everyone should cheat on their taxes.

              I think Democrats that cheat on their taxes are hypocrites, but I still am not really outraged by their action.

              1. I think if you owe something by law, you ought to either pay it or make a principled stand against it. I can honestly say I have never cheated on my taxes. And I understand why some people would. Sometimes you haven’t kept the records or maybe guess the number in the high range. I understand that. But that is not what he did.

                And further, do you think Timmy holds the government in some kind of special contempt? You probably cheat on your taxes but I would still trust you not to cheat me because you hold the government in low esteem. There is no indication that Timmy holds the government in low esteem. In fact, he seems to love the government, yet still cheated them. That tells me that he would cheat anyone. In other words he is just a thief.

                And I agree with your point about people not having respect for the law. People don’t have respect for the law. And that goes a long ways towards explaining why a thief is now Secretary of the Treasury.

  11. Can someone PLEASE photoshop an Obama head into that Geithner cartoon?

    That is hysterical.

  12. Was watching Monsters versus Aliens last night with the kid, seemed to me that Galaxhar has Obama’s lips and brows.

    1. My God. That is horrible. Can you just link to something more please next tiem like pictures of burnt children or holocaust victims next time.

  13. Hey! A hat tip to the Summer of Recovery! A phrase heavily associated with my personal favorite King County Executive in whose glory all of the country now gets to bask.

    What’s great about many of Seattle’s and Washington’s pols is so many eventually toddle off to Washington to try out their own ten-years-behind-California tricks on the rest of you.

    Fun fact: Ron Sims is a deficit spending/stimulus maniac. He’s so badass on ‘stimulus’, he hired almost 2000 workers during a King County hiring freeze.

    Take that economic slowdown!

    Respect, bitchez…

    Sadly, though, you guys almost got Greg Nickels– for a while he was the darling of the National Media as the “Greenest Mayor EVAH!” but he came in third in the primary after he told his people “Let them drive on snow!”

    So close! I guess you can’t win them all.

  14. I ? Ron Sims!

    With tens of thousands of projects funded and millions of Americans on the job today, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been 16 months since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. And with so many jobs saved and created already, you might think that the Recovery Act’s greatest impact is behind us.

    I’m only happy to share the best of Washington State’s politicians with the rest of you! Afterall, why should we get all the love?

  15. Nowadays the only government medicine being doled out is temporary pain relief.”

    Thank God the Feds legalized that.

  16. you can find whatever watch you want

  17. thanks very muhc,so goooooooooood

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