It is not just the gap, but the rapidity of the decline that it is so stunning.
Yes, says U. of C. prof Casey Mulligan:
Labor market distortions have gotten progressively worse during this recession. The federal minimum wage, for example, was increased once shortly before the recession began, a second time in the summer of 2008, and yet again this summer. The housing collapse has also had multiple harmful effects, such as impeding families who might want to move out of some of the hardest-hit regions toward areas where the economy is doing better.
Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate. I think you would also be talking about the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.
I think Henry Kaufman (in the WSJ) accurately outlines the public policy choice when it comes to financial reform: heavily regulated monster banks vs. a more decentralized, somewhat less regulated financial system TBTF creates a need for heavy regulation and less economic efficiency.
The instant analysis on Senator Christopher Dodd’s aggressive financial reform plan is that it’s more about getting him re-elected than getting a bill through the Senate.
First, Geithner on the dollar and deficits:
“I believe deeply that it’s very important to the United States, to the economic health of the United States, that we maintain a strong dollar,” Geithner said in a meeting with Japanese reporters at the U.S. embassy. “We bear a special responsibility for trying to make sure that we are implementing policies in the United States that will sustain confidence … in investors around the world that as growth recovers and growth strengthens that we’re going to bring our fiscal position back to a sustainable balance,” he said.
From the NYTimes:
“I want us to do everything we can to create the conditions for new, stronger growth,” Mrs. Merkel said Tuesday, laying out her agenda in a speech before the Bundestag in Berlin. “Without growth, there will be no investment. Without growth, no jobs. Without growth, no money for education. Without growth, no help for the weak.”
I spent all morning at a Senate Budget Committee hearing looking at how to create a special commission that would devise a plan to fix America’s long-term budget shortfall. This would be like the base-closing commission where a panel — made up mostly of senators and congressman — would submit a plan to Congress that would have to be voted on — up or down, no amendments.
If you care about bending the curve of long-term healthcare costs – downward, I should emphasize – then it is tough not to conclude that Democratic efforts at healthcare reform are a failure. The essential money-sucking structure of US healthcare would remain intact. As the NYTimes finally figures out: