Monday, September 6, 2010

Stark Economic Reality

You don't get the following from the popular media. And you won't get it from the Obama administration. But here is a dose of economic truth...

From Paul Krugman's NY Times blog. I've bolded key bits:
Delusions Of Recovery

I’ve had a couple of conversations lately with people who follow politics and public affairs, but aren’t that close to the economic discussion — and I’ve discovered that there are two comforting delusions still out there.

Delusion #1 is that we’re on the road to recovery, just more slowly than we’d like; to be fair, the White House keeps saying this.

But it’s not at all true. GDP is growing below potential; employment, even if you focus just on private employment, is growing more slowly than the working-age population. If you ask how long it will take us to return to, say, 5 percent unemployment on the current track, the answer is forever.

Delusion #2 is the belief that the stimulus may yet do the trick, because there are still substantial funds unspent. I tried to deal with this last year. The level of GDP depends not on total funds spent, but on the rate at which funds are being spent, which has already peaked; GDP growth on the rate of change in the rate at which funds are being spent, which peaked last year. It’s all downhill from here.
The sad fact is that you can't mobilize a democracy if the people are ignorant of the facts. It is almost a conspiracy of silence that is keeping the truth from the general public. They are complacent because they believe things are slowly getting better. Things aren't. The US is in a "lost decade" just like Japan.

In this environment the rich can do OK. They can make money from investments. But for ordinary workers it means times are grim and a large number will remain unemployed into the foreseeable future.

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