The good folks at e21 have updated the wildly optimistic chart from January 2009 prepared by incoming White House economists Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer. You know, the one that show the Obama stimulus plan would keep unemployment from hitting 8 percent.
My pal Tim Kane at Growthology lays it all out:
— The unemployment rate is now 9.1 percent, up from 8.8 percent two months ago. That’s important. Although research shows the U rate is more reliable than the payroll employment numbers over the long term, it might still suffer from a one month blip due to turnover in the survey sample. But a second increase in two months all but nails the coffin shut. By that I mean that the U.S. is experiencing if not a double recession then a historically stagnant recovery.
If you listen to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the rest of Obama administration, failure to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 risks “catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis.”
The problem with the Federal Reserve is not that an “activist Keynesian” — in the words of the Club for Growth — like Peter Diamond can be appointed to such a powerful economic policymaking body. His views are, unfortunately, well within the mainstream of economic policymaking. The problem is that Diamond and the other Fed members really don’t matter. As one former Fed member said to me, “If you see someone from the Fed talking on TV and he’s doesn’t have a beard, feel free to ignore him.”
I don’t think the terrible May jobs report means the Obama presidency is doomed anymore than I thought the killing of OBL meant re-election was in the bag. But another 18 months of economic muddling through – high unemployment, stagnant wages, dead housing, slow GDP growth – would certainly make the GOP nomination one worth winning. Like REALLY worth winning – let’s put it that way. And the history of economies after bank crises show the “muddling though” scenario is a common one.
My blogging has been particularly light of late. I am visiting several cities in China, including Beijing, Urumqui, Kashgar and Shanghai. I will be back full-force after Memorial Day, though I hope to post from time to time. A few quick thoughts on what has been happening back in the US: