Posts by Teresa Ghilarducci
October 8, 2010, 10:54 AM ET
The unemployment report came out an hour and a half ago and it’s not good news, though the news reports may be bland.
It probably will be reported that nothing much has changed; but things have changed: no improvement means erosion.
We lost 95,000 jobs last month; remember, we need about 160,000 jobs created each month just to keep up with population and labor force growth. AND the current rate of 9.6 percent is among the highest unemployment rates there have been. AND, the long-term unemployment rate has never been higher. AND, 14.5 million Americans are out of work.
And, mind you, the unemployment rate is high and stubborn a year after the recession is "officially" over. Don't listen to that official junk, the indicator for recession should be more heavily weighted towards unemployment.
And the IMF estimates that 210 million workers worldwide are officially out of work, up 30 million...Read More
October 6, 2010, 01:07 PM ET
Opinions from economists are converging: Unemployment, now at 9.8 percent for adult men, 8 percent for adult women, may not improve for three years. What’s even more sickening is that the decay (an appropriate word to describe the human misery and eroding human and physical capital caused by joblessness) doesn’t have to happen.
Congress and the president could boost economic growth with a trillion-dollar stimulus—not more war please, though that works, but more unemployment benefits, a work-sharing program, an aggressive home principal adjustment mechanism, massive apprenticeship training, etc.
The first panel at a lively and well-attended conference* yesterday in Washington at the lovely Newseum featured three economists, one on the right wing, Martin Feldstein (a dignified Harvard economist who has taught economic principles to thousands of students and chaired Ronald...Read More
September 24, 2010, 12:55 PM ET
As polls predict Republican success in the midterms; the Republicans are getting pretty reckless. Not only do they complain about the deficit while opposing tax hikes on the rich, they are also running with sticks in their hands. A Republican candidate for Congress in Michigan was asked by a potential voter where he thought President Obama was born. Former Representative Tim Walberg, who is running against current Democratic Representative Mark Schauer in Michigan’s 7th district, replied:
"I don't know, I really don't know. We don't have enough information about this president. He was never given a job interview that was complete... But that's not the issue now. He is president. Right now we need to make sure he doesn't remain as president, whether he's American, a Muslim, a Christian, you name it."
Oh—recent polls and analyses see the Congressional race in the Michigan 7th as a “...Read More
September 22, 2010, 06:14 PM ET
Option A: The very rich pay more tax, bringing down the deficit by $700-billion in 10 years and we do not suffer productivity loss, output loss, or any real utility loss because the rich will adjust by buying fewer goods and services that cultivate what the marketing consults call connoisseurship (we will lose a bit of what I can’t spell!)
Option B: The rich get richer, we get more connoisseurship, and an ever growing federal debt.
Yeah, sure, let's choose B!
Here are the facts:
If we do nothing, the Bush tax cuts* expire at the end of 2010. Obama wants to extend the tax cuts for everyone but the top 2 percent of taxpayers earning over $250,000 per year to yield $700-billion over ten years.
(That do...Read More
September 20, 2010, 03:32 PM ET
I don’t blame anyone for being confused about the tax cut debates. I’ll make it simple.
Obama wants to raise taxes on the richest 2.1 percent of taxpayers.
The Republicans don’t.
The tax increase would yield $700-billion; which is a lot of money, even for the U.S. government. (Ways to relate to $700-billion are endless: the GDP of the Netherlands, or 10 times federal education spending.)
Rich families, on average earning one-half million dollars per year, would pay about $3,000 more in taxes, an amount that would hardly be felt. Paying that extra tax on already super high incomes can't credibly affect well-being.
My co-blogger Diane Auer Jones repeats one of the most worn-out falsehoods in this debate. She wrote falsely that the top one percent "pay 70 percent of all taxes collected." When we consider all the taxes we pay—sales, property, license, etc.—the top 1 percent pay ...Read More
September 14, 2010, 03:22 PM ET
As the Republicans are fighting hard to keep tax cuts for the wealthy, one of their spokespersons, Newt Gingrich—former Speaker of the House, whom David Broder of The Washington Post once described as a “visionary,” lamenting that he didn’t run for President in 2008—seems to be running a side-show diversion. The latest visionary thinking could be a parody of a postmodern political-science course on Africa.
Believe me, before this makes any sense you will have to understand the Export-Import bank, but that comes later.
First the quote where Gingrich deconstructs Obama's "real" thinking.
Here is the Newt Gingrich quote: “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?...That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.” He goes on: “I think Obama gets up every morning ...Read More
September 12, 2010, 01:03 PM ET
On the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and 50-some days before the midterm elections, hate-filled rallies at the World Trade Center site, and elsewhere, were staged against the “Ground Zero mosque.” The New York rally was organized by right-wing blogger, author of Obama Adminstration’s War on America. And the keynote speaker was Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders who supports banning the Koran and elsewhere has described Islam as not a religion, but as “the ideology of a retarded culture.” Nice memorial to 9/11 victims, right?
Media Matters gives a longer, depressing litany of intolerant quotes from anti-mosque commentators, and their intention is clear. They are exploiting 9/11 to create political advantage in the upcoming fall elections, based on fear during this time of great economic upheaval. Fear and hate is a tested and sadly, all too often, effective tactic that wins...Read More
September 7, 2010, 09:34 AM ET
We could very well have a double dip recession and the dippy newspapers would not prepare us for it. On Labor Day, in the worst recession since the Great Depression, the center of the New York Times op-ed page features John Grishman writing about his underwear.
At least Paul Krugman, in the side column, warns us that our economy looks a lot like 1937. Back then, weak-kneed politicians hesitated on continuing with a much needed fiscal stimulus and gave in to the theory-heavy, tired, wrong bromide that government budgets need to be balanced in bad times. The result? The economy tanked back into decline, and it was deficit spending for World War II that brought the economy back. Krugman says, correctly, the lesson is that “In a depression the usual rules don’t apply… austerity is self – defeating.”
But Krugman is only half way there—government stimulus is not enough to get us out, and...Read More
September 2, 2010, 09:52 AM ET
Hey Brainstorm readers! This blog site made itself into another blog and newspaper—well sort of newspaper.
Did he dispute the fact that employers are using unemployment as an opportunity to cut wages for their existing workers even when profits are up?
He defended the practice.
He writes that the price of labor is "dynamic and free of moral content." Wow. That comment would be breathtaking if it weren't a mainstream view among some neo-classical economists. They will invoke “supply and demand” as a kind of natural law that determines wages.
Most other economists reject the view that the supply and demand of human beings’ time, effort, skill, and loyality determines (or should determine) compensation. ...Read More
August 22, 2010, 11:38 AM ET
The shocking story in this week’s Financial Times had this lead: "Call center workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the U.S. as they are in India." High unemployment in the U.S. has forced down wages for low-paid workers in the U.S. so that in many cases Americans are cheaper to hire than those in a country where most people live on less than $8.00 per day.
For 90 days, workers at the upstate New York Mott factory (owned by Dr Pepper Snapple) have been striking to stop a $1.50 cut in pay, pension contributions, and other givebacks in the face of healthy company profits. Unlike other companies that have gotten drastic pay cuts from union members when they opened their books to prove their economic distress—GM, Ford, Chrysler, Goodyear tire company—Dr Pepper Snapple admits they can afford to pay; but they argue (I imagine some with some smugness) that unemployment is so high that...Read More