Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Using a Dipstick to Find the Bottom of the Recession

This graph from the Calculated Risk blog tells me just how bad the Great Recession truly is:

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Ponder that for a minute. New homes -- as in home construction and jobs in the construction industry -- are being built at a rate which is lower than anything since the the early 1960s (and probably earlier, but the graph doesn't go that far). Back then the US had 180 million people. Today it has nearly double that with 310 million. But new house construction is below the level of building for the past 50 years and its been that way for over two years! That is an economy that is bumping along the bottom, seriously wounded, and needing jobs. That's why unemployment is so high. That is why so many people have "dropped out of the work force" (given up hope of getting a job anytime in the foreseeable future). This is tragic.

Meanwhile politicians want to cut deficits and tighten the belt and tell people to "work harder"! Wait a second. There are many, many millions who have no job and can't "work harder". The rational solution isn't to tighten up. It is to open you hand and spend. It is the Biblican story of Joseph with the 7 good years and the 7 lean years. But in today's fundamentalist Christian revisionism, Joseph bolts up the granaries a couple of years into the 7 lean years telling people that if they keep taking grain at the current rate, the storage bins will be empty after 7 years and we will all starve. They are in effect solving future starvation by imposing current starvation. They have completely undermined the purpose for the granaries that Joseph built. And this is what "the Bible is the inerrant truth of God" people say about the book that they obviously haven't read. They are moral prigs who love to be "in your face" with their complacent morality. But they are blind to reality. They are the hypocrites and Pharisees that Jesus railed against. But these moral prigs are blind to the beam in their own eye while they rail against the mote in the eye of the government response to the financial disaster. Hypocrites!

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