Tuesday :: Oct 6, 2009

Knowledge Lag


by paradox

The United States is not currently mired in an economic recession. We are in a Great Recession, a phrase and phenomena completely new in the world of economists, historians, and politicians. It’s a pretty cool trick, really, smash your little people so hard indicators don’t flip and trip since the days of the Depression, then frantically break any economic rule and belief so many times eventually the dishonesty coolly bathes a desperate outlook, we couldn’t be in a Depression on our watch, no no no, that presents all kinds of horrendously uncomfortable implications, we’re just in a Great Recession.

In a regular ordinary recession unemployment is considered a “lagging” indicator, the phrase implying a ridiculous dollop of patience automatically expected for results from our brave, fearless policy leaders. Yes yes yes we did everything we could, just wait, peon, for your little hell on earth to end some day when the American economy delivers a job, it’s always the last indicator to deliver something to the little people, you know. How convenient.

Contemptuous, angry disdain is richly earned by the fools in the Obama Administration for the horrifying employment trap Democrats now find themselves in: a completely predictable stimulus failure where hundreds of billions were spent but the unemployment rate keeps rising. It was quite accurately stated by Nobel economists the 2009 stimulus was too small and brilliantly noted by political scientists that tax cuts were lunatic on many levels but Axelrod and Rahm, double DC bubble all the way, just had to make positive the whole evolution would be hopelessly fucked up by including Republicans and their stupid tactics.

Does the Obama Administration “get it” that this shiny new Great Recession—which is not a Depression, just to be clear—doesn’t have the same rules a regular recession? Meaning that the obnoxious, insulting “lagging indicator” mentality has been chucked out of their bubble brains? I doubt it, frankly. The new indicator rules in the Great Recession were linked by the brilliant Atrios of Eschaton yesterday, so good they should be constantly lit up by a blimp and flown around Washington DC for a year, I’m deadly serious:

“Today’s unemployment rate is much more than a lagging indicator,” said El-Erian, whose Newport, California-based Pimco manages the world’s largest bond fund, in an e-mail after the Labor Department report on Oct. 2. “It is also a signal of future pressures on consumption, housing and the country’s social safety net.”

The job market tends to trail the economy in a recovery because companies hesitate to take on more workers until they are convinced the expansion will last. What’s different this time is the “large and protracted” rise in joblessness and the likelihood that it will stay high for years, according to El- Erian. That means unemployment will affect the economy going forward, not merely reflect where it has been.

“As you know,” the President said to New York Times reporter John Harwood, “jobs tend to be a lagging indicator; they come last.”

No, Mr. President, that’s not what I know, in a Great Recession jobs and unemployment become a whirling sinkhole of their own power and volition, waiting around forever while American lives are obliterated is the perfect way to keep the disaster going.

No, I’m not willing to give the Obama Administration any slack or benefit of the doubt for falling flat on their face with this brand new human phenomena, the Great Recession. Brand new or no the stimulus failure was easily called when the stimulus was being worked up, and there was never any good reason to cave to stupid Republican demands on nixing aid to the states, either, which just produced a confusing gang of state Hoovers in a land of federal stimulus. Jesus.

Barney Frank would like to end the Iraq war and help our little people, but unfortunately in the DC bubble liberals are meant to be spit upon and time is needed to figure out that pesky permanent base issue, so instead of comprehending that the Great Recession requires a hell of a lot more employment stimulus we get clucking about lagging indicators and lame, half-assed measures to extend unemployment benefits. Our people don’t get it, not yet, a Great Recession isn’t fixed with old recession tactics.

paradox :: 6:00 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!