Skip to main content

Years of Tragic Waste
New York Times
September 6, 2013 (Edition)

In a few days, we’ll reach the fifth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers — the moment when a recession, which was bad enough, turned into something much scarier. Suddenly, we were looking at the real possibility of economic catastrophe.

And the catastrophe came.

Wait, you say, what catastrophe? Weren’t people warning about a second Great Depression? And that didn’t happen, did it? Yes, they were, and no, it didn’t — although the Greeks, the Spaniards, and others might not agree about that second point. The important thing, however, is to realize that there are degrees of disaster, that you can have an immense failure of economic policy that falls short of producing total collapse. And the failure of policy these past five years has, in fact, been immense…

…I think it’s important to realize how badly policy failed and continues to fail. Right now, Washington seems divided between Republicans who denounce any kind of government action — who insist that all the policies and programs that mitigated the crisis actually made it worse — and Obama loyalists who insist that they did a great job because the world didn’t totally melt down.

Obviously, the Obama people are less wrong than the Republicans. But, by any objective standard, U.S. economic policy since Lehman has been an astonishing, horrifying failure.

Friday morning, at 8:30AM, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ August 2013 Employment Situation Report will be published. I’m pretty sure—like virtually every monthly BLS’ Employment Situation Report in the past five years--it’ll be somewhere between abysmal and mediocre. (NOTE: Latest prognostications from economists point to a consensus of 180,000 jobs added last month.)

This morning, Paul Krugman really does speak for me. Dean Baker, too...

Scary Thought on Labor Day Weekend: Obama's Economic Team Think They Are Doing a Good Job     
Dean Baker
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Saturday, 31 August 2013 07:41

Ezra Klein gives us some terrifying news in a Bloomberg column today. President Obama's economic team think they are doing a great job, hence the desire to bring back former teammate Larry Summers as Fed chair. This is terrifying because the economy this Labor Day is described by a set of statistics that can only be described as horrible.

We are almost 9 million jobs below the trend level of employment. The number of people involuntarily working part-time is still up by almost 4 million from its pre-recession level. Wages have been stagnant for a decade and show no signs of increasing any time soon. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the economy is still operating more than $1 trillion (6 percent) below its potential. Oh, and by the way, the financial sector is more concentrated than ever, with top honchos drawing the same sort of paychecks they did before the crisis.

I could go on but what's the point? This is an economy that under other circumstances we would all say is awful. The Obama team can pat themselves on the back for saying its better than a second Great Depression, but that's a bit like saying that the 1962 Mets didn't lose all their games. Horrible is horrible.

The best that can be said is that the crew has been ineffectual in the face of Republican opposition in building any sort of political support for a stronger economic agenda. But ineffectual is not a much better recommendation than incompetent...

#            #            #

Originally posted to on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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

claude, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, paradox, trillian, Ed in Montana, cslewis, chuck utzman, Paleo, PrahaPartizan, PhilK, decisivemoment, murphy, melo, Maxlongstreet, dfarrah, Powered Grace, msl, emal, PeterHug, johnmorris, Sprinkles, Shockwave, Pescadero Bill, Wintermute, OLinda, LEP, TX Unmuzzled, polecat, RFK Lives, expatjourno, Creosote, opinionated, TheMomCat, TracieLynn, fugwb, Einsteinia, undercovercalico, Agathena, lunacat, cosmic debris, roses, ovals49, Nate Roberts, fumie, ctsteve, Arrow, jdmorg, Redfire, kharma, Eric Blair, TexDem, Dallasdoc, Miss Jones, pat bunny, ranger995, brainwave, HeyMikey, Chirons apprentice, clarknyc, Dood Abides, inclusiveheart, Dave925, dkmich, Oaktown Girl, AllisonInSeattle, zerelda, side pocket, Kitsap River, Hillbilly Dem, jcrit, Josiah Bartlett, rmx2630, xxdr zombiexx, bibble, oortdust, sawgrass727, tovan, marina, jrooth, denise b, UncleCharlie, LakeSuperior, caul, newfie, chimene, sc kitty, corvo, LtdEdishn, run around, truong son traveler, eightlivesleft, basquebob, dewtx, ChemBob, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, Lepanto, reflectionsv37, eru, Sun Tzu, where4art, lotlizard, markdd, Sandino, Cecile, LucyandByron, Tool, WisePiper, Shotput8, FindingMyVoice, bunsk, Rogneid, Brian B, Oye Sancho, Jim P, kovie, esquimaux, Nance, snazzzybird, Medium Head Boy, Kingsmeg, vigilant meerkat, cybersaur, Illinibeatle, dharmafarmer, profundo, Yellow Canary, koNko, Naniboujou, kck, greenearth, blueoasis, NBBooks, DarkestHour, triv33, praenomen, erratic, Rosaura, gooderservice, Bush Bites, real world chick, JVolvo, Preston S, tommyfocus2003, Dinclusin, Turbonerd, onionjim, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, profh, James Hepburn, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, kurious, bstotts, AllanTBG, Aaa T Tudeattack, cpresley, DBunn, seabos84, fiver, pgm 01, pfiore8, Haningchadus14, Jarrayy, SpecialKinFlag, devis1, yoduuuh do or do not, david mizner, Cofcos, daveygodigaditch, terabytes, dclawyer06, eOz, Unbozo, newpioneer, Kentucky Kid, jayden, ca democrat, mudslide, rontripp, exreaganite, leonard145b, bewild, Don midwest, rmonroe, MKinTN, gundyj, wayoutinthestix, spacejam, Johnny Nucleo, Youffraita, Brian76239, Involuntary Exile, elwior, Buckeye Nut Schell, jamess, Calamity Jean, CenFlaDem, home solar, temptxan, shigeru, venger, JamieG from Md, Robobagpiper, WearyIdealist, forgore, BvueDem, maggiejean, enemy of the people, Bule Betawi, J M F, driftwood, two roads, greengemini, lostinamerica, RenMin, CanyonWren, maryabein, War on Error, Nailbanger, rbird, DefendOurConstitution, angel d, ruscle, biggiefries, Crabby Abbey, mookins, sunny skies, psychbob, gulfgal98, ItsSimpleSimon, Kristina40, 4kedtongue, Publius2008, Betty Pinson, Floande, slice, Bluefin, ozsea1, Liberal Capitalist, Oldowan, vahana, freesia, Susipsych, Bluerall, asterkitty, Teiresias70, Alice Olson, marleycat, thomask, floridablue, tardis10, wintergreen8694, peregrine kate, CorinaR, chira2, sound of progress, poliwrangler, VTCC73, toby esterhase, Willa Rogers, jadt65, DRo, Mentatmark, SouthernLiberalinMD, caryltoo, jaebone, annecros, DEMonrat ankle biter, PrometheusUnbound, No one gets out alive, Azazello, BlueDragon, quill, absdoggy, Only Needs a Beat, ridemybike, anodnhajo, Williston Barrett, greenbastard, MsLillian, orestes1963, wordfiddler, dance you monster, The Lone Apple, orpurple, AnnieR, Joieau, 420 forever, deanarms, This old man, Mike RinRI, BusyinCA, Boogalord, Buckeye54, notdarkyet, lunachickie, wxorknot, Victim of Circumstance, Ramoth, katiec, mythatsme, Blue Dream, Blue Bell Bookworm, Chaddiwicker, countwebb, Thornrose, gypsytoo, aresea, kmfmstar, howabout, Icicle68, Demeter Rising, JeremySchro, dannyboy1, OldSoldier99, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Capt Crunch, bygorry, kkkkate

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site