Skip to main content

David Brooks had a busy day spreading nonsense yesterday.  In the morning, he wrote a column incredibly asserting that Neocons Are Flaming Liberals.

Then, in the evening, he appeared on the PBS News Hour with his "liberal" counterpart, Ruth Marcus, and discoursed on the meaning of the jobs report.  As detailed by Dean Baker, "they got just about everything they said completely wrong."

As in:

First, Brooks said "I think there's a consensus growing both on left and right that we -- the structural problems are becoming super obvious."

This "consensus" exists solely in the limited consciousness of Beltway Heathers like Brooks and Marcus.  Clued in by Baker about the latest VSP* dogma, Paul Krugman writes about Structural Humbug and shows that the situation is actually the opposite:  Now, even Republican economists agree that current unemployment is not structual.

As Baker points out:

There is nothing close to a consensus on either the left or right that the economy's problems are structural, as opposed to a simple lack of demand (i.e. people spending money). This is shown clearly by the overwhelming support on the Federal Reserve Board for its policy of quantitative easing.
(If you have any interest in economic matters, Baker should be a regular stop for you.  Like Krugman, he's a brilliant economist who is great at communicating complex ideas to laypersons like us.)

The structural changes, Brooks and Marcus assure us, stem from automation and lack of skills. Wrong again (see Dr. Cox, above).  Says Baker:

If this claim were true it would mean that there are substantial segments of the labor market where we are seeing labor shortages. That would mean that workers in some occupations would be seeing rapidly rising wages. We should also see industries or occupations where the length of the average workweek is increasing rapidly. Employers would be trying to get the workers they have to put in more hours, since they can't find additional workers. In these industries/occupations we should also see a high ratio of job openings to unemployed workers. There are no major areas of the labor market where we see this evidence of labor shortages. In other words, Brooks is just making this up out of thin air.
Later, the firm of Brooks and Marcus sagely counsel that we really, really, must do something about "entitlement reform," i.e., cutting Social Security and Medicare, and once again, Baker destroys this poisonous conventional wisdom:
As a result of the slower projected health care cost growth, entitlements are now projected to be a far smaller share of the budget than had previously been the case. For example, in their 1999 long-term budget projections CBO projected that Medicare and Medicaid spending would be 7.7 percent of GDP in 2023 (Table 1). In the most recent Budget and Economic Outlook CBO projected that these programs would cost just 5.7 percent of GDP in 2023.
This is not Fox News, CNN or the networks.  It is PBS spouting blatant falsehoods that real economists can easily debunk.  Krugman ends plaintively:
In short, the data strongly point toward a cyclical, not a structural story — and there is broad agreement, for once, among economists on this point. Yet somehow, it’s clear, Beltway groupthink has arrived at the opposite conclusion — so much so that the actual economic consensus on this issue wasn’t even represented on the Newshour.
*Very Serious Persons, a/k/a Beltway Heathers, a/k/a Sabbath Gasbags, a/k/a SOC-W Spouters of Conventional Wisdom.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (196+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, belinda ridgewood, dennis1958, randomfacts, sceptical observer, TomP, Laurence Lewis, revsue, Meteor Blades, Chi, dradams, Publius2008, LillithMc, psnyder, priceman, high uintas, bnasley, DBunn, countwebb, KenBee, basquebob, Sandino, trumpeter, stunvegas, VA Breeze, rmonroe, dotsright, Mathazar, begone, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Dbug, harlinchi, Just Bob, where4art, KJG52, marleycat, TheMomCat, GAS, Gemina13, bluicebank, Rosaura, Youffraita, pgm 01, mofembot, paulbkk, TheMeansAreTheEnd, CTLiberal, i dunno, Patango, MartyM, MadRuth, cordgrass, Dave in Northridge, banjolele, Anorish, dadadata, libdevil, Floande, skohayes, Shippo1776, LynChi, gulfgal98, richardvjohnson, profh, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, Jim R, One Pissed Off Liberal, Burned, Lily O Lady, LI Mike, caul, Gary Norton, LaFeminista, deminva, OLinda, Dartagnan, Byron from Denver, CwV, mudslide, maryabein, ask, eru, mamamedusa, biggiefries, salmo, CTDemoFarmer, Lovo, J M F, Glass Navel, commonmass, mkor7, Scioto, jhop7, Kevskos, onionjim, Alumbrados, Preston S, PeterHug, dougymi, cv lurking gf, davidkc, merrily1000, TracieLynn, emal, Sybil Liberty, Laura Wnderer, slowbutsure, shortgirl, Dave in Columbus, nupstateny, on the cusp, zerelda, argomd, lineatus, Plox, gooderservice, chira2, BlueDragon, Nulwee, ruleoflaw, muddy boots, clarknyc, Dr Colossus, kartski, War on Error, LookingUp, triv33, Capt Crunch, pvasileff, NCJan, cpresley, spunhard, CT Hank, randallt, Matt Z, Fonsia, Brooke In Seattle, MarkInSanFran, hlsmlane, opinionated, MarciaJ720, millwood, Nebraskablue, Hillbilly Dem, renzo capetti, Mother Mags, Shockwave, SouthernLiberalinMD, JesseCW, Ray Pensador, middleagedhousewife, Joieau, Sun Tzu, jamess, Gowrie Gal, anodnhajo, enhydra lutris, Sylv, TexDem, Curt Matlock, JVolvo, prfb, 3goldens, cwsmoke, Libby Shaw, RubDMC, Chaddiwicker, cocinero, armadillo, Debs2, brentbent, Williston Barrett, hotheadCA, arlene, addisnana, wallys son, rapala, mcgee85, hayden, Kombema, boran2, dmhlt 66, fumie, deben, Siri, AverageJoe42, Involuntary Exile, Dvalkure, daddybunny, Dumbo, tegrat, science nerd, pyegar, riverlover, sidnora, splashy

    The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

    by Upper West on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 07:54:02 PM PDT

    •  Not sure if you read the article (8+ / 0-)

      but you've got the Meet the Press crowd on your side, so that's nice. Myself, I'd need some evidence before I called most economists liars.

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:38:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Liars is the nicest term for them (16+ / 0-)

        They have been shoveling policy that defies logic since the Reagan era and it has turned our economy into a giant ponzi scheme.

        Trickle down reign a bell?

      •  So we're not competing with dollar a day or (4+ / 0-)

        less wages? I guess if one defines 'structural' however one wishes and leaves aside parts one doesn't like (like wages) then sure, yeah it's not structural

      •  Here's some evidence for you (7+ / 0-)

        I'm assuming you were snarking.  Just the same there's lots of evidence.  

        Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

        Perkins helped create today's US/Corporate Hegemony or Empire Building.  He had a change of heart, finding himself steeped in guilt for the harm he and his ilk created for the simple goal of enriching a few at the expense of the most.

        John wrote a wonderfully insightful book:  Confessions of an Economic Hitman (EHM) which you can read online here.  Perkins exposes how he and his EHM team exploited many countries.  It is a searchable document, so you can focus on one country for research purposes.

        I found Confessions.... filled in some missing, critical information presented in Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine.

        For those of you don't have time to read the book, which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to understand the basis of US policy at home and abroad, here is a 1:24 hour presentation by John Perkins.

        I will present both the old and new embed codes (you might see two copies of the same video) because one or the other is not always viewable on handheld devices.


        John Perkins, one of the first Economic Hitmen, clearly states at about minute 0:23:52 in the following videos

        The human spirit is indominatible.......

        0:24:30  What will you do?

        0:24:55 What will it take to turn around this Empire?  We must create a new model!

        0:26:00 They all work under one premise:

        US/Multi-National Empire building has one goal:

        TO MAXIMIZE PROFITS

        regardless of the environmental and/or social costs.

        This is what must be changed, and can be changed if the laws governing multi-nationals are changed.  We have to demand this change in our State, Federal, and seats of governments throughout the world.

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:20:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Independent of the validity or otherwise of (0+ / 0-)

        anybody's argument,

        I'd need some evidence before I called most economists liars.
        is a classical named Argumentum ad Verecundiam.

        As to evidence, I'm not sure why anybody should bother when talking of economists, since most of them, especially the academic ilk, are not empiricists and dismiss and ignore facts which contradict their theories. (A guy at the Haas School of Business actually won a prestigious award a while back for the novel approach of actually going out and getting empirical data.)Sometimes they claim that the facts are distortive or non-representative or magikly skewed, but they have also been known to openly admit that they are recasting the facts because it is necessary to save the theory. One such case was where a name product cut prices and sales and demand both dropped instead of rising. The particular lie espoused at that time was that this changed the product.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 12:36:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  PBS is now being run by Corporatists (5+ / 0-)

      The Nightly Business Report is now almost fully funded by your folks at CNBC, no more list of corporations or people who have contributed to it....

      Anyhow, just another example of how the Corporate World is taking over the People's Worlds.  I've watched NBR several times now and it is nothing but CNBC on PBS.  

      But Suzy Gharub loves the new format.....  seems she is smiling much more these days (guess she got a raise too).

      PBS will become the new FOX News if something isn't done.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:15:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They're using the term structural differently (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, Val

      than that.

      What you're talking about it systematic planned attack. Not a structural defect in the economy.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:37:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They're Both Wrong. (48+ / 0-)

    It's structural, but not structural because 99% of the greatest nation any galaxy could dare imagine were morons who didn't prepare for the future, but because the 1% ran a nation intentionally discarding the other 99%.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 08:24:19 PM PDT

  •  Our president has adopted this position on (38+ / 0-)

    occasion:

    "There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to be much more efficient with fewer workers. [. . .] What we have to do now, and this is what the jobs council is all about, is identifying where the jobs for the future are going to be, how do we make sure that there’s a match between what people are getting trained for and the jobs that exist, how do we make sure that capital is flowing in those places with the greatest opportunity."
    Someone who goes by the name of "Armando" said the following at the time in response to that quote:
    What a crock of sh*t. I don't know if Obama believes this or if this is some reelection line, but either way, we a re truly f*cked.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 08:52:37 PM PDT

    •  Good old Milton Obama. (12+ / 0-)

      So glad we elected a University of Chicago asshole.

      Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

      by expatjourno on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 12:34:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But he was a community organizer. (0+ / 0-)

        Regular Saul Alinsky, this fellow.

        Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:45:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, how quickly they forget. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD

          Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

          by expatjourno on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:22:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Adolph Reed in a prophetic 2008 piece wrote (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD
          It may be instructive to look at the outfit where he did his “community organizing,” the invocation of which makes so many lefties go weak in the knees. My understanding of the group, Developing Communities Project, at the time was that it was simply a church-based social service agency. What he pushed as his main political credential then, to an audience generally familiar with that organization, was his role in a youth-oriented voter registration drive.
          One can access the whole piece at http://www.progressive.org/...

          I wasn't in Chicago at the time, but friends who are hard core organizers chuckle when people mention that Obama did community organizing.  The only accomplishment I know of is that he exposed dangerous asbestos removal practices at CHA housing projects.

          "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

          by Illinibeatle on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:45:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  although I don't agree with every last little (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Illinibeatle

            thing he says in that article, for the most part, wow, prophetic is right. spot-on in his analysis of Obama's most central strategy--giving inspiring speeches filled with convenient loopholes, so that later he can make it his audience's fault for believing he will bring about positive change.

            Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:24:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  There are structural issues (15+ / 0-)

      Are you kidding?  Just because these idiots use the word "structural" doesn't make it a curse word.  There are economic structures built and maintained by the 1% (the FIRE sector, and major corporations) that actively work against the working classes.  Including in ways that Obama states above.  For instance, my mother works for a giant insurance firm which fired her entire division, forced them to re-apply for their jobs, and ended up culling 25% of the workforce.  This is how businesses increase "competitiveness" -- firing people and making the remaining employees do more.  She kept her job, but it became more difficult for her while her firm made larger profits.  Call this a general feature of the structure of capitalism.

      Then there are the political structures that militate against the working class, such as free trade agreements, laws that make it difficult to unionize, institutional bodies that prevent militant unionism (NLRB), hell even an entire party that prevents even that pro-corporate institution (NLRB) from functioning because it's got the word "labor" in it!

      And yeah, the globalized economy (again going back to FTAs and mobile capital) undercuts the economic sovereignty of nations.  The "race to the bottom" is a very prominent structural feature of our contemporary economy, and as the Bangladesh experience proves, it isn't going anywhere.

      So please, do not shy away from the word structure nor the structures of the economy that are destroying the world's workers.

      •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)

        And President Obama's quote rings true to me, from the vantage point of the company where I work and a lot of the companies we deal with.  Starting in 2009 -- so, exactly contemporaneous with President Obama's term in office -- we began restructuring most of our roles and teams, including low-, medium-, and senior-level positions.  I am on a team of four that does the work of a previous team of six.    Mid-level managers who used to manage single teams now commonly manage two teams.  Senior-level managers who used to have dedicated admins now do not.

        I also know of many companies who, in 2008-09, let go @25% of a given role, like project managers, and haven't returned to pre-recession staff numbers, even though the project portfolio is now larger.  

        I would call these structural changes, unless there is in economics a limited definition of structural, which I don't know.  It's quite possible!

        A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

        by deminva on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 05:41:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From my wife's experience in corporate life lately (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bleeding blue

          we simply call this "blood from a turnip" (or stone, take your pick). More out of fewer people, working more hours, in four time zones around the world, 6+ days a week. "Life" ? What's that?

          I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

          by tom 47 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:49:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And if we tax the fuck out of their profits (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, JVolvo

        and taxed the fuck out of Executive Compensation, their incentive to squeeze workers would decrease.

        We did that for 40 years, and it worked.  

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:45:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again, economists use the word "structural" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo, Val

        to mean something different than what we are using it to mean in normal non-economist English.
        In normal English, normal use of the word "structural" yeah damn skippy it's structural--in the sense that it's systemic, planned, methodical and ingrained in the very structures we inhabit.

        That's not what the word "structural" means in the phrase "structural unemployment."

        Definition of structural unemployment, or at least a place to start

        and it's not what Brooks or Obama mean when they use the word. Just look at the other words they use when they're talking about "structural problems." Bet you $5 per speech that somewhere in the speech (or in the discussion) they'll talk about how the American people are inadequately trained for the jobs of the future.

        Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:49:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the full quote, RFK Lives, ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akeitz, chira2, Upper West, Aramis Wyler

      ... without the ellipses, as well as some commentary from Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress (emphasis added):

      There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to be much more efficient with fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you see it when you go to the airport and you use a kiosk instead of checking at the gate. What we have to do now, and this is what the jobs council is all about, is identifying where the jobs for the future are going to be, how do we make sure that there’s a match between what people are getting trained for and the jobs that exist, how do we make sure that capital is flowing in those places with the greatest opportunity.
      [Yglesias writes] Now obviously this is true. One thing that people do is they try to invent machines such that they can then go to businessmen and say, “Buying my machine would be cheaper than paying a worker.” This causes job losses. The invention of the answering machine reduced the need for secretaries. Advances in electronic filing further reduced the need. Cell phones and email have even further reduced the need. ATMs reduce the need for bank tellers. Self-serve checkout machines reduce the need for grocery store clerks. And this is, indeed, one reason why people are unemployed. It’s also the source of progress over the long term. But technological change is a constant. Firms were seeking to adopt labor-saving technology in 1998 and 2006 and 1967 just as much as they are today in 2011. And yet the unemployment rate was much lower in 1998 and 2006 and 1967 than it is today. Indeed, it seems to me that firms probably try harder to find ways to economize on labor when the unemployment rate is low. The fewer unemployed workers there are, the more expensive it is to hire an extra worker and the more desirable labor-saving technology is.
      Now, it seems to me that a fair interpretation would be that President Obama sees certain structural problems in certain industries, and he's offering a solution to help workers who may have been involved in those industries such as bank tellers, airport workers, etc. To say that the President thinks that that's the only problem is silly. Hell, he was the guy who sought tax cuts for people who would actually use the money to pump into the economy and not a tax shelter in Bermuda.

      He gave us the Stimulus in 2009 and wanted more. He saved the auto industry because of the autos, but mostly because of the millions of jobs in the automobile and automobile-related industry involving workers who would also pump money into the economy and not into a tax shelter in the Caymans. Doing all of that while having to deal with Tea Party nuts who wanted to sink the economy.  

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 05:56:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pump your own gas, (no attendants)checkout your (5+ / 0-)

        items at Walmart, (no cashier) buy your own subway fare card at a machine (no token booth clerk). HOw is this not structural?

        •  Structural v. not structural? (3+ / 0-)

          I wouldn't really like to get into using those words, because I don't know how we are defining "structural" here.

          I do think you've hit the nail on the head, however, in your first sentence.

          Like the 18th-19th century transition of the industrial revolution, "modern" technology means that much less labor seems to be necessary, but this is true then like now only because the maximization of profit is the first impulse.

          It is not true that less labor is necessary--what is true instead is that "consumers" (a/k/a citizens) are getting shafted by a lack of service because no one has figured out how to make a profit out of this.

          One example--if we as consumers (and workers) could start to demand service workers to help with online activities--getting a green card, a license, a passport, a savings bond, applying for a job, and on and on--life would be so much easier.

          As a former reference librarian, I saw these needs presented every day, but we did not have the time--or even the training--to give these people the help they truly needed.  And now reference librarians are also, ironically, being replaced by automation, even as the needs still go unmet.

          There are certainly many other examples than you and I have mentioned of services going unmet because no one wants to cut into profits or pay taxes--debris-strewn highways and beaches, a lack of interstate and state rest stops, and on and on.

          It's really a question of priorities.

          Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

          by NCJan on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:17:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Look at what Baker says. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Val, jeopardydd, Roger Fox, JVolvo
          If this claim were true it would mean that there are substantial segments of the labor market where we are seeing labor shortages. That would mean that workers in some occupations would be seeing rapidly rising wages. We should also see industries or occupations where the length of the average workweek is increasing rapidly. Employers would be trying to get the workers they have to put in more hours, since they can't find additional workers. In these industries/occupations we should also see a high ratio of job openings to unemployed workers. There are no major areas of the labor market where we see this evidence of labor shortages. In other words, Brooks is just making this up out of thin air.
          Saying there are no changes due to technological advances resulting in some jobs becoming obsolete would be idiotic. That sort of shit goes on all the time. Saying it's responsible for the bulk of our unemployment is idiocy. What, did we suddenly get a massive influx of technology that magically coincided with the Wall St ripoff of 2008 that sent our economy into a downward spiral?

          That's what this "structural unemployment" line is for; it's designed to get the perps off the hook. Buy into it at your peril. It's a scam.

          Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:54:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  He DIDN'T seek more Stim in '09, which was a (7+ / 0-)

        big problem.  His leading choice for Fed Chair vetoed that idea, as did his COS who has gone on to win friends and influence people w/ Chicago's teachers:

        There was an obvious tension between the warning about the extent of the financial crisis, which would require large-scale spending, and the warning about the looming federal budget deficits, which would require fiscal restraint. The tension reflected the competing concerns of two of Obama’s advisers. Christina Romer, the incoming chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, drafted the stimulus material. A Berkeley economist, she was new to government. She believed that she had persuaded Summers to raise the stimulus recommendation above the initial estimate, six hundred billion dollars, to something closer to eight hundred billion dollars, but she was frustrated that she wasn’t allowed to present an even larger option. When she had done so in earlier meetings, the incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, asked her, “What are you smoking?” She was warned that her credibility as an adviser would be damaged if she pushed beyond the consensus recommendation.

        *

        Since 2009, some economists have insisted that the stimulus was too small. White House defenders have responded that a larger stimulus would not have moved through Congress. But the Summers memo barely mentioned Congress, noting only that his recommendation of a stimulus above six hundred billion dollars was “an economic judgment that would need to be combined with political judgments about what is feasible.”

        He offered the President four illustrative stimulus plans: $550 billion, $665 billion, $810 billion, and $890 billion. Obama was never offered the option of a stimulus package commensurate with the size of the hole in the economy––known by economists as the “output gap”––which was estimated at two trillion dollars during 2009 and 2010. Summers advised the President that a larger stimulus could actually make things worse. “An excessive recovery package could spook markets or the public and be counterproductive,” he wrote, and added that none of his recommendations “returns the unemployment rate to its normal, pre-recession level. To accomplish a more significant reduction in the output gap would require stimulus of well over $1 trillion based on purely mechanical assumptions—which would likely not accomplish the goal because of the impact it would have on markets.”

        This guy named Krugman expressed concern at the time:
        Even if the original Obama plan — around $800 billion in stimulus, with a substantial fraction of that total given over to ineffective tax cuts — had been enacted, it wouldn’t have been enough to fill the looming hole in the U.S. economy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will amount to $2.9 trillion over the next three years.

        Yet the centrists did their best to make the plan weaker and worse.

        One of the best features of the original plan was aid to cash-strapped state governments, which would have provided a quick boost to the economy while preserving essential services. But the centrists insisted on a $40 billion cut in that spending.

        The original plan also included badly needed spending on school construction; $16 billion of that spending was cut. It included aid to the unemployed, especially help in maintaining health care — cut. Food stamps — cut. All in all, more than $80 billion was cut from the plan, with the great bulk of those cuts falling on precisely the measures that would do the most to reduce the depth and pain of this slump.

        The president essentially got what he asked for w/ the Stim.  Even worse, he's still vigorously defending the guy who made the Stim too small:
        Speaking up for a contentious former aide, President Barack Obama pushed back Wednesday against liberal Democrats who are urging the president not to pick Lawrence Summers to run the Federal Reserve.

        In a closed-door session with House Democrats, Obama offered what participants in the meeting described as a keen defense of Summers after being pressed by Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado about his controversial consideration of Summers to replace the Fed's outgoing chairman, Ben Bernanke. The defense continued at the White House, where press secretary Jay Carney said Summers had "stood shoulder to shoulder" with Obama during an economic crisis.

        "He made decisions and put forth the policies that helped reverse the tragic economic decline that this country faced in the beginning of 2009," Carney said, adding that Obama's kind words about his former aide shouldn't be misconstrued as an omen about whether Obama would pick him for the top Fed post.

        Whether or not Summers is eventually picked is, in this context, secondary to the fact that, to this day, the WH publicly proclaims that he did a bang-up job back then.  They still think that a Stim that they were warned was too small at the time was just right.  The argument that the president "wanted more" has no basis in fact.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:26:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Christine ROmer wanted a 1.6b stim (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo, RFK Lives

          she was incoming WH Econ Advisors. Dean Baker wanted 1.2 billion.

          And the 800 billion we got was hardly real stim, only 175 billion was for infrastructure. Using a multiplier of 2.5 it created 4.2 million jobs. None of the other 625 billion really created any new jobs.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 01:03:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Just because ATMs replaced tellers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hillbilly Dem

        does not mean that people don't WANT to still go to human tellers.

        The banks have forced us to use the ATMs and fired the human employees to save money on the bottom line.

        Sure, they are a convenience if you just want to pull money out of an account, but it's difficult to use one for multiple complicated transactions or various kinds of accounts. And some people just want a real, live person to hand their money to -- not some faceless machine that might eat their deposit and give no proof that the transaction was properly recorded.

        "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

        by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:51:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just because ATMs replaced tellers doesn't (0+ / 0-)

          mean that only Executives and Stock owners should reap the benefit of increased productivity.

          Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

          by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:54:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  There's a simple answer. Clear as fucking day. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, JVolvo

        Not one of the corporate assholes Obama golfs with and put on his "Jobs Council" will ever suggest it.

        Tax the profits that resulted from the increased productivity created by the capital investment in that ATM machine or Self-Serve checkout machine, and hire more teachers.   Hire young people to plant trees. Hire more cops and outlaw police except in declared emergencies.  

        Slash the work week and raise the minimum wage.

        Demand employers use that increased productivity to shoulder more of the health care burden.

        You think his stacked "Jobs Council" is going to come up with that simple proven solution?

        Really?  

        He "wanted more"?  How the fuck do you know?  He got the stimulus he asked for, slanted just a bit more heavily toward tax incentives.

        He followed Rahms Advice to "Fuck the UAW" and destroyed the promises made to workers while protecting executive compensation.  You think that deserves a cookie?

        I don't know if you noticed, but Detroit is bankrupt.  That how well he "saved" it.  

        Then you fall back on the excuse of Tea Party that had no political power for the first two years?  That only got political power because President Obama grinned widely and told a nation of unemployed people that "the car is out of the ditch" while claiming to have "prevented a Depression"?

        You're as willfully out of touch as the NeoLiberals you support.

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:53:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yay Armando. (0+ / 0-)

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:44:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  he's had a busy career... (37+ / 0-)
    David Brooks had a busy day spreading nonsense yesterday
    spreading nonsense. every day.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 08:55:38 PM PDT

    •  Is that one of the toppings (15+ / 0-)

      at the Applebee's salad bar, and does it come in low fat?

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:44:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I could find a place to spend $20 for dinner (0+ / 0-)

        I'll let you know.  I hear tell that's just not possible in mid-America...

        The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

        by JVolvo on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:47:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For a GOOD, nutritious, filling, tasty dinner (0+ / 0-)

          that isn't just about eating but a night out, that's a tough find. You can probably find it, but forget wine, drinks, soda or dessert.

          There's an Italian place I go to now and then that has a decent lunch special menu where for around $21 you can get a decent meal for two. It's a real restaurant, with tablecloths, china, service, etc., and you get soup or salad, and entree, and bread. Nothing fancy, but good, filling food.

          I doubt that you can get a decent meal at Applebee's for $20 for 2.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:54:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was mocking Brooksie on a deeper level - while (0+ / 0-)

            writing about Applebee's salad bar (!!!) he was also claiming that, gosh isn't America swell, you could eat a full meal and not hit $20 on your bill. I have no idea what his facade "point" was or what he was trying to mansplain to us.

            The man is a vapid, mendacious hack.

            The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

            by JVolvo on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:35:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  PBS used to be the one place (41+ / 0-)

    where I could listen to news or interviews and feel I'd hear intelligent discussion.  Or at least hear talking points challenged and questioned.  Now I can't get away from conservative crap on any station.

    It's gone way beyond creepy.  

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:00:12 PM PDT

  •  All wrong (8+ / 0-)

    It's structural because of more population than we need and previous massive over saturation in most industries (especially construction, housing, retail, and service industries).

    Additionally we have a global population of 7 billion (compared to 4 billion in 1980 or so). They all want what we have, are willing to work for much cheaper, and we have neither the moral nor actual power to tell the teeming billions elsewhere that they can't have what we have.

    All these imbalances will eventually be rectified by the market regardless of what the government wants or tries. The only question is how we deal with the impact.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:14:12 PM PDT

    •  Don't like anything you say (7+ / 0-)

      Wish I did not agree with it :)

      If I had to quibble (and I do), I'd say that your phrase "rectified by the market regardless of what the government wants or tries" suggests that intentional intervention is useless. Then you say something about the only question is how we deal with the impact. It seems to me that government is the first line of how we need and ought to deal with the impact.

    •  Not true (9+ / 0-)

      The recent,expanding ability of the wealthy corporate sector to purchase control of government at national and local levels has tipped the economic scales in their favor.

      They buy tax cuts and credits, non-compete contracts and immunity from prosecution for laborious and safety abuse, They've bought immunity from predatory practices and outright theft from consumers and government. All of those things tip the economic scales heavily in their favor.

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:06:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree with analysis (0+ / 0-)

      But the idealist in me wants to dispute the conclusion.

      If we, as consumers and citizens, can act to demand better control the profit motive by demanding better services,  more responsive and less corrupt governments and a better quality of life--globally, not just locally--we can at least ameliorate this bleak prognosis.

      I believe Progressives achieved at least some of this--in effective legislation for better housing, health care, public education, child labor, public health, public spaces, etc.--during the late 19th and 20th centuries.

      Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

      by NCJan on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:28:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the exact attitude that creates the 1%. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hillbilly Dem

      He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

      by Publius2008 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:18:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "More population than we need"??? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, Roger Fox, JVolvo

      More than we need for what?

      More than we need to service an ever smaller number of ever more wealthy Rulers?

      If what we've got is far more labor than we need to produce an immense amount of wealth, that ought to mean leisure, not poverty.

      Everyone can, in fact, live like I do.  My life isn't hugely expensive in terms of resources.  It's still pretty damned comfortable, 'though.

      You speak in "can't".  The truth is that you simply don't want to see the obscene wealth of the richest Westerners stripped away and used to improve the lives of the workers they've gotten rich by exploiting.

      That's not "can't".  It's "won't".

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:02:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Krugman is partially wrong. (11+ / 0-)

    The problems are structural, not cyclical.  Something has radically changed in the world economy and, thereby, ours.

    You can't fix the US economy by stimulus alone.  That was actually proven and continues to be proved by TARP and the fact that it has only benefited the 1%.  Two factors are missed by Krugman: 1.  wealth disparity and 2. the outsourcing of jobs.  

    These are not American problems alone and can't be fixed by monetary policy alone.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:22:00 PM PDT

    •  All stimulus is not created equal. (31+ / 0-)

      You can shovel money in at the top, increasing liquidity and hope it generates jobs (instead of the massive corporate profits that we see). Or you can shovel money into the bottom and try to kickstart demand and boost the economy from the buyer's end.

      They haven't tried nearly enough of the latter to say that the problems are 'structural' instead of a cyclical lack of demand due to people not having money.

      •  Yes. (16+ / 0-)

        The corporatists perennially against higher minimum wages are basically shooting themselves down.

        If McD, for example, paid its workers a living wage...more of them could buy McD's food.

        Same for Burger King.

        Same for WalMart.

        It's the Ford effect: pay your workers enough to afford to buy your Model-T Fords.

        Paying more money to the employees means that there's more money rolling into YOUR corporate profits b/c everyone has a little more disposable cash.

        Being miserly with your paychecks means there's a LOT less disposable income...and what's left over ain't going to you, it's going to the Dollar Store. And your employees have all signed up for Food Stamps and other government benefits...b/c YOU ain't payin' a living wage.

        Which will raise your taxes, ultimately, unless you Tea-fucking-Baggers decide to let us all starve to death.

        Which is gonna mean even LESS profits for ya, ya mofos.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 01:06:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In truth, if McDonalds paid more, the workers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          saluda

          stuck there would probably stop buying McDonalds food using their employee discount+EBT and instead go buy some groceries.

          For places like McDonalds and Wal-Mart, the sub-poverty wage has a "Company Store" effect.  People stuck working for them can't even afford to go across town to a place selling actual food, even if they could afford to buy it.

          Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

          by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:05:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know about elsewhere... (0+ / 0-)

            but here in PA, you can't use EBT for McDonalds food, or other restaurant food. You can buy a cold sandwich, but not hot food. Or hot coffee (cold bottled water and sodas are okay). So I don't think McDonalds franchises -- at least here -- are even set up to handle EBT.

            Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

            by Youffraita on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:53:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure how it can be called a cycle, (6+ / 0-)

        when Congress has been rationing the distribution of dollars for decades.
        One would have thought that liberating dollars from scarce metals would have revealed the true nature of currency as a symbol of value, rather than valuable in itself. Instead, fearing the loss of control, Congress and their henchmen on Wall Street set about reducing the availability of dollars artificially by jiggering the tax code to promote accumulation and hoarding by the ruling class. And the hoarding can take various forms. Individuals exchanging "great masters" or giant diamonds amongst themselves for cash effectively keeps the dollars out of the economy.
        Conspicuous consumption does not occur when nobody gets to look. The gilding of churches was more productive even though the process removed gold from the economy permanently.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 03:55:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Stimulus is fiscal, not monetary policy (15+ / 0-)

      And Krugman and the rest have been continually calling for both, on a short and long-term basis. Wrt stimulus spending, they've called for short-term stimulus to put money and demand back into the economy, and targeted long-term stimulus to fix our infrastructure and give us the fundamental basis for a strong 21st century economy that can sustain a recovery. None of them have called for just this or that. We need all of it.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:51:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stop the hand waving (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BradyB

      The ARRA had 175 billion in infrastructure spending it created 4.2 million jobs, thats the perfect multiplier of 2.5.

      Both Krugman and Baker will tell you that in a downturn infrastructure gives you a multiplier of 2.5.

      The CBO & the San Fran Fed all agree on the numbers - do you need citations?

      Two factors are missed by Krugman: 1.  wealth disparity and 2. the outsourcing of jobs
      Thats an amazing claim.
      The above quote is so phreaking wrong, the only way you can provide quoted citations is to totally take things out of context.

      Neuovo Milton Friedman hand waving, please move along.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 01:15:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is with the word "structural"-- (25+ / 0-)

    apologists for the current situation are hiding behind an arbitrarily narrow definition of "structural."

    I submit that a few decades ago investment shifted away from manufacturing to production of esoteric "financial products" producing very high profits but very socially limited in demand, affordable only to banks and wealthy investors; those Americans previously unemployed in manufacturing were expected to find new roles in a "service economy" (overlooking the fact that personal trainers, poodle groomers, and cupcake caterers will never make the kind of wages their parents in manufacturing did--also overlooking the fact that most services can be more cheaply outsourced abroad).

    Manufacturing was written off. High wages were written off. The middle class was written off. And this has not bothered investors one whit, because they make higher profits than ever before. They don't need a big work force anymore, and they don't need mass consumption anymore.

    If the US economy is successful in producing higher profits for a very few but is no longer able to provide a reasonably dignified living for the vast majority, isn't this a structural crisis?

    And if it is indeed a structural problem, the only kind of "demand" henceforth stimulating production will be socially oligarchic.

    •  You're right (12+ / 0-)

      but since the VSP's like Brooks are wrongly using "structural" as traditionally defined by economists, it's best to use another word for the long-term trends you describe. -- not sure what though -- "oligarchic compression?"

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:15:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, jeez. (0+ / 0-)

      The entire comment section is essentially FUBAR because of a mistake made, in good faith, about the meaning of the term "structural" as used by economists when discussing unemployment.

      Apologists for the unemployment situation--such as Brooks--are the ones who are saying it is "structural unemployment."

      Critics of the current unemployment situation--such as Dean Baker--are the ones who are saying the situation is not due to "structural unemployment."

      Until we get the confusion over the term "structural unemployment" cleared up, this whole discussion is going to be based on a misunderstanding.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:58:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're taking back the word "structural" (0+ / 0-)

        The apologists for the current situation are claiming the distorted "structure" of our economy is due to workers failing to update their job skills. This is a dangerous and dishonest euphemism. ("Oh, we'd love to create more jobs-- but you rabble refuse to acquire the skills we need.")

        We're saying the structural change divesting from manufacturing and saddling Americans with underpaying service sector jobs was made by banks and private investors. And this distorted new structure must be dismantled if the mass of Americans are to experience prosperity again. ("We have no need to create more jobs. We're making obscenely high profits already through speculation and rent-charging.")

        Treating the problem as "cyclical" rather than "structural" is naive and self-defeating. Waiting around for mass consumer demand to "inevitably" rebound and stimulate resumed growth is folly; the Liquidators (Bain, the big banks) have already restructured production to prevent that from happening.

        The comments section is not FUBAR: it's challenging the dishonest and opportunistic use of the term "structural."

    •  It doesn't bother politicians either. With the (0+ / 0-)

      3,400 dollar donations from the rich, they can buy enough advertising time to get millions of 100 dollar donations from dirt poor chumps.

      And they hardly ever have to shake hands with the scummy peons.

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:07:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm coining a new term: Hack For Hire (11+ / 0-)

    That's what Brooks and Marcus are, Hacks For Hire. They're simply too smart (relatively speaking) to believe this crap that they regularly spew. The beltway is a bubble echo chamber but it's not THAT much of a bubble echo chamber that just enough truth and reality doesn't get through from time to time to let them know that they're spewing nonsense.

    Krugman, Baker, Steiglitz, Zandi, etc., have been speaking the truth for way too many years for them not to know that among actual economists, there's something pretty close to a consensus on these things. They may not agree with them, but not being economists, they have no substantive basis for doing so, and not being complete fucking morons, they know that "Well, I don't care what the pros think and you can't make me!" is simply unacceptable.

    So the only POSSIBLE explanation is that they're saying these "The moon is made out of green cheese" sorts of things anyway because they're being PAID to say them, and being paid very well for it (or, maybe, being hacks, they fear that they'd never cut it as honest journalists and pundits, and they're probably right about that). But whatever, they're lying, they know they're lying, and they don't care, because it's their JOB to lie. Like most of the corporate media.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:40:16 PM PDT

  •  This article illustrates the short-sightedness (5+ / 0-)

    of the "conservative-corporatists". Demand decreases when purchasing power decreases. I know that this sounds incredible, but when demand decreases, there's less capital flow through the economy and less profit for more corporations-- if we still have a consumer-driven economy.

    And-- as the middle class shrinks, so does the economy.

    So we can get the sense that there's no economic planning that would increase the middle class' numbers and purchasing power to drive a more healthy economy and increase profits for corporations and businesses dependent upon consumer spending.

  •  Both (6+ / 0-)
    But, let's put it into a little perspective and go back to 1945 when there were about 15,700,000 manufacturing jobs, which represented about 37.4 percent of all nonfarm jobs. In the 1950s, it was 30.4 percent; 27.4 percent in the 1960s, 23.0 percent in the 1970s, 18.5 percent in the 1980s, 14.8 percent in the 1990s, 10.9 percent in the 2000s, and 8.9 percent in the 2010s, which is the current level. link
    Manufacturing Returns to USA (Jobs Not So Much)
    New US factories are “superautomated” and heavily roboticized;

    Employees typically are required to have computer skills and specialized training; Minimum of two-year tech degree, which is likely to rise to four-year degree (eventually);

    These factories of the future have more machines and fewer workers—and those workers must be able to master the machines. Many new manufacturing jobs require at least a two-year tech degree to complement artisan skills such as welding and milling. The bar will only get higher. Some experts believe it won’t be too long before employers expect a four-year degree—a job qualification that will eventually be required in many other places around the world too. link

    There are both structural and cyclic aspects and the structural may become a bigger issue over time.  We should do all reasonable things to stimulate the economy for jobs right now but we also need to look for longer term solutions.

    Cutting so-called entitlements is the opposite of what we should be doing:

    That Vision Thing: our need to search for Utopia

    Jobs are not the answer

  •  People can't spend money they don't have. (5+ / 0-)

    Why, despite the Federal Reserve pouring dollars into the economy, don't people have more money? Because the dollars are being scooped up by speculators and sequestered just as surely as if they were being stashed in some underground vault.

    Think of it as similar to a golfer using one ball for a round of golf while another fellow pitches buckets full of balls into the surf. You may consider each to be engaged in a worthless enterprise, but if the number of balls used or wasted is an issue, then the fellow hitting balls into the surf, to wash up in marshes and contaminate the soil for decades, is a menace. Ditto for the blokes on Wall Street chucking dollars into derivatives and swaps and other esoteric constructs. Call it dollar abuse.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 03:41:18 AM PDT

  •  "Structural" is overused (5+ / 0-)

    In this case the intended use is Labor Skills. This is not the problem. Somehow in 2006 everyone had the right skills and now they don't. This is nothing more than Right Wing rationalization for a collapsed economy, read Investment Banking. Sure, blame it on the skill set of the work force. One can only marvel at the chutzpah of the Right.

    The structural problem is that US Labor has lost the war. Although GDP per capita has doubled since 1970, median income has remained almost flat (16% growth). Take the growth in the economy and distribute it fairly and you have few problems in employment, income, wealth, and debt.

    I maintain that distribution of income is totally arbitrary. You can have a society with a healthy middle class or one of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Supposedly the market determines wages, however by off-shoring our manufacturing economy we are making third world labor force as one with our domestic labor force. We have done everything possible to kill the American Dream.

    We had a choice. Scenario B is where we erect barriers at the border in 1970 and instead we concentrate on using technology and infrastructure to increase the productivity of labor. We reach today with a GDP much higher, median income more than twice today's, no depression and manageable consumer debt. The problem is that we never had a choice, the ideologues and the Right Wing Economists pushed the meme that all trade was good and any way of making profits was good regardless of its economic or social consequences.

  •  'Beltway Heathers' is a marvelous phrase for most (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West

    of the 'moderate' and 'conservative' commentariat.  Delicious to think of them ending up like the ones in the movie.  

  •  David Brooks specializes in making (5+ / 0-)

    the unreasonable sound reasonable. I will not listen to him and have wondered for years why PBS gives him a forum for his nonsense.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 04:52:24 AM PDT

  •  I have Brooks on ignore, once upon a time he (5+ / 0-)

    sent me into a rage, why I asked should I be upset by such an asshole, hence ignore.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 05:33:45 AM PDT

    •  Sadly, the VSPs think he's a VSP to listen to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaFeminista

      So I'm glad people like Krugman and Baker are listening to him a smacking him down. And in many ways he's a great barometer of the VSP dogma in DC, so I sometimes try to pay attention to what he says (at least as much as I can before I vomit).

  •  The structural problem is there, (6+ / 0-)

    but it isn't whateverbody thinks it is. The main structural problem we have is the structure of our laws. Trade laws, labor laws, and financial & regulatory rules. Simply put, there is very little incentive to invest in an economy that produces high wage jobs because the rules encourage the opposite.

    But as to the overall economy, Baker and Krugman are correct. Aggregate demand is weak. That is something that can be easily mitigated with government investment.

  •  how could healthcare costs go down? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West

    I'm sure that your average Fox viewer will tell you that the main reason it's going down is because they repealed Obamacare 40 times.  

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:11:14 AM PDT

  •  same on NPR in MA ! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West, AnnCetera, JVolvo

    I can't believe it. In all these panels there was not even a single voice telling the truth. Only liars get a podium. Reality doesn't even make it into any news channel.

    Seriously, this country needs to return to the bare facts or we are doomed as a leading industrial nation. I have enough of this stupidity. Anyone not telling the truths should be banned from participating in any news coverage. All these pundits should be fired. The non-stop broadcasting of ideology has to stop.

  •  It is totally structural! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnCetera

    Namely the structure of our political system.   We have all the tools and ability to end the depression and heal the economy from the last 30 years of wasting disease, but the political system structurally represents the interests of rich people to the detriment of the nation.  THAT is the structural problem we face

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

    by Mindful Nature on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:39:41 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, But Krugman Is Wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnCetera, Brooke In Seattle

    The underlying problem is structural, and it relates to trade and it specifically relates to shipping manufacturing overseas. Manufacturing is how we create wealth. Our decline in manufacturing tracks increases in unemployment. Since 1979, when manufacturing peaked, we've seen about 0.9% higher unemployment. That translates into a million U.S. workers out of work for 30-odd years. It adds up to trillions lost.

    This is structural. It comes down to a policy of keeping wages down and shipping jobs out of the country. Until we fix that problem we will see systematic problems with unemployment and wages, and therefore we will see systematic federal deficits and problems covering our costs.

    Yes, there is a cyclical component to all this, and we went down, and we seem to be headed up (not as fast as I'd like, obviously). But we should not ignore the structural component, which underlies all this. Adding on a culture of theft from Wall Street and the dominant role of money in politics you get huge crashes like the one in 2008.

    Congress is to blame and Congress can fix this problem. But someone has to talk about implementing an international minimum wage and uniform (and increased) tariffs, plus other fixes (like cutting military spending back to something reasonable, like 5X) or we'll never get there. I think Krugman ought to be talking about trade and its damage to the U.S. economy.

    •  Systematic doesn't equal structural. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, JVolvo

      the systematic assault on manufacturing, the middle class, democracy itself is not the same thing as "structural" unemployment. Quite the opposite. "Structural" unemployment is something that is nobody's fault, really, and can't be improved except maybe in the very long run. It usually comes about because of an increase in technology rendering certain jobs obsolete. Although some say that it's a result of high costs of labor caused by things like the minimum wage.  

      This is why you should watch people who make the "structural unemployment" argument very carefully.

      Here's the link to the wikipedia entry--just a place to start.

      So, nothing to see here, no Wall St assholes, no P.O. boxes in the Grand Cayman islands, no outsourcing to Asian sweatshops, just an inevitable though sad result of advancing technology and Progress! that unfortunately screws over some people who just happened to turn up at the wrong moment in history with the wrong skill set. They'll just have to starve, but they'll die knowing that it's all part of the Upward March of Man.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:04:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SouthernLiberalinMD

        That means the problem is even worse. If by "structural" all you mean is unemployment that's nobody's fault, then we should have even less than we used to. It used to be that 4% unemployment was considered "full employment" because we knew it took people a while to find a new job. But with Monster.com and so on, that time should have gone to essentially zero. So, our unemployment "structurally" should be less than it was before the advent of the Internet.

        Perhaps I should have said "non-cyclical", but that's not a term I suspect people would think is any better.

        The unemployment I'm talking about is clearly somebody's fault and it's something we can do something about.

        •  Oh yeah. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking

          I'm with you, and I'm guessing Dean Baker probably is too. And I understand why people want to use the term structural to describe the deliberate, uh, restructuring of our society in a way that beats down those who aren't rich. We just have to be careful when we're talking to economists--or in the case of Brooks, propagandists who are talking the lingo of economists. Because economists don't exactly talk English--they talk an economists' lingo that bears some distant relationship to the language the rest of us speak.

          JosephK74 is worried about dumping the term structural. I understand why. The best I can think of to do is for everybody to be clear what they mean by "structural." A clunky solution, but the only one I've come up with.

          No hard feelings, BTW. I agree with you.

          Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:40:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Youre not using the term structural (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, JVolvo, BradyB

      in the same way as Krugman.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 01:19:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lies. (0+ / 0-)

    Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:36:41 AM PDT

  •  Excellent but incomplete. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    I (very humbly, I should say)  agree wholeheartedly with Krugman and Baker. The highly fixable cyclical demand problems are the most immediate, highest priority, most easily fixed, and biggest bang for the buck. Infrastructure investment and public works on cheaply borrowed money is the solution. No doubt about it, IMO.

    However, the "bottom" of our economy is growing, is positioned to get way over crowded, and is being impacted by competition for resources as those of us with money are smart enough to resist spending and instead save - boatloads.  

    The long term unemployed, the over 50 crowd with no retirement, the unskilled, the skilled but stuck in the wrong cities, those C students who make it through HS and go to no further training, these already see the the deep and wide structural problems that are metastasizing. Some of them will be  lifted up with greater demand, albeit barely suffieicntly. However, the long term picture is bleak. These issues are not being addressed.

    Those middle class and better who already own homes and, more importantly, have investments are doing great and will continue to improve.

    As capital movers resolve the cyclical problems they're so good at easing and fixing the shit that already flowed downhill will continue piling on.

    First, biggest things first. Krugman is right about that. It's insane to confuse trillions in mutable cyclical economies to the billions here and billions there in the multi-generational stagnating economy stuck at more complex structural road blocks.  But those who are hurting probably hear the hollow sound of being left out and left behind in the dust.  

  •  PBS: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    Pandering and taking a "bi-partisan" approach for its own survival.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 12:26:06 PM PDT

    •  Everytime I see that stupid Newshour promo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensdad

      where they say, "we are [beholden] only to you the viewer" I want to aske them "then why do you so frequently have on people from conservative think tanks like the Brookings Institute?   Because those guys certainly don't represent me."  The Newshour seems to have those conservative pundits on speed dial.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 02:59:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  New look: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensdad

      Pandering
      Bull
      Shit

      The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

      by JVolvo on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:52:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't care if PBS goes bust but the threat is (0+ / 0-)

    hollow. They belong to Koch.

  •  PBS Newshour is a joke (0+ / 0-)
  •  It's news to me that Ruth Marcus is a "liberal" (0+ / 0-)

    I don't read her--she's an Obamascold.  I don't read Melissa Henneberger either, she's a femscold.

    I won't waste my time on "trivel" (trivial drivel) when there's so much good stuff out there by Krugman, Baker, et al.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 06:40:04 PM PDT

Meteor Blades, deminva, Thumb, Alumbrados, Sylv, dwellscho, i dunno, MadRuth, teacherken, deben, emal, PeterHug, Shockwave, Wintermute, HootieMcBoob, MarkInSanFran, expatjourno, RubDMC, opinionated, TheMomCat, TracieLynn, Einsteinia, wonkydonkey, mbayrob, whenwego, ask, sidnora, revsue, Redfire, TexDem, Dr Colossus, duncanidaho, riverlover, clarknyc, zerelda, side pocket, Curt Matlock, Hillbilly Dem, hayden, boran2, Sybil Liberty, Gowrie Gal, davidkc, rapala, 3goldens, caul, LarisaW, Independent Musings, irate, wallys son, grimjc, basquebob, Brooke In Seattle, Laurence Lewis, Kevskos, Gary Norton, eru, Sun Tzu, where4art, Burned, Kayakbiker, Sandino, spunhard, daddybunny, Jim R, begone, Mother Mags, kovie, cookseytalbott, liberalconservative, Dvalkure, ruleoflaw, KenBee, dougymi, arlene, kck, triv33, aloevera, gpoutney, Rosaura, gooderservice, NCJan, Libby Shaw, real world chick, JVolvo, Preston S, sceptical observer, middleagedhousewife, hlsmlane, onionjim, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Ian Reifowitz, Nulwee, cpresley, DBunn, tegrat, ammasdarling, One Pissed Off Liberal, pgm 01, timewarp, bluicebank, dotsright, Debs2, Dartagnan, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, Matt Z, Dave in Northridge, dclawyer06, bnasley, mudslide, millwood, jhop7, on the cusp, TomP, gundyj, Roger Fox, weegeeone, GAS, Sixty Something, Youffraita, Involuntary Exile, dadadata, skohayes, KJG52, jamess, TomFromNJ, mofembot, Gemina13, Keninoakland, priceman, dmhlt 66, LaFeminista, maggiejean, J M F, banjolele, Nebraskablue, tari, War on Error, mkor7, CamillesDad1, JesseCW, shalca, petral, TheOpinionGuy, sfarkash, Tortmaster, LookingUp, Just Bob, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, commonmass, brentbent, piers, biggiefries, Aramis Wyler, renzo capetti, cordgrass, gulfgal98, samanthab, addisnana, Publius2008, Betty Pinson, Floande, cocinero, science nerd, nosleep4u, Glass Navel, slice, annieli, Jasel, Plox, slowbutsure, cv lurking gf, trumpeter, Haf2Read, marleycat, muddy boots, merrily1000, enhydra lutris, chira2, bluedust, randomfacts, dradams, SouthernLiberalinMD, Auriandra, Mathazar, paulbkk, BlueDragon, anodnhajo, cwsmoke, Williston Barrett, Siri, Betty Clermont, Joieau, Horace Boothroyd III, Mike RinRI, hotheadCA, belinda ridgewood, MartyM, AverageJoe42, George3, madcitysailor, The Geogre, Ray Pensador, Lily O Lady, Chaddiwicker, countwebb, argomd, dennis1958, howabout, Icicle68, Laura Wnderer, Kombema, richardvjohnson, Capt Crunch

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site