Sunday, June 05, 2011

Fareed Gets Religion

I was watching Fareed Zakaria on GPS today, right after church. Maybe that was the reason it seemed like a religious experience.

”In Washington, the battle over America's debt ceiling continues. But let me tell you about the real crisis we face in America (and Europe has its own version of this), a crisis that could cripple America's economy and its society and would make the debt problem much, much worse.

It is America's jobs crisis.”

Hallelujah! “Gets it” is probably too strong -- I think Fareed has always understood the problem-- but perhaps “gets on board” is a better phrase. It is way past time America put this problem front and center. It’s time we started putting the emphasis on the people instead of the money.

”If unemployment doesn't drop a great deal fast - and it shows no signs of doing this – problems proliferate in all directions”

Tell it brother! Some may not care that unemployment is a moral/social problem -- it’s a soul-crushing experience -- but the people that insist on concentrating on the money angle have to understand the problems massive unemployment creates.

”President Obama's budget assumes that the economy will create 20 million jobs over the next 10 years. That will be a dramatic acceleration. Over the past 10 years, it has produced only 1.7 million.

Congressman Paul Ryan's plan envisions unemployment dropping to 50-year lows to make his budget numbers work. That would require magic at this point. If you assume unemployment stays high, the deficit and debt become unimaginably higher in 10 years.”

If we don’t fix the unemployment problem, we can’t fix any of our other problems.

”So, what to do? Well, there are several things we could do to spur job creation.

...perhaps most urgently, (d) rebuild America's dilapidated infrastructure and put millions of people in the construction and housing industries back to work.”

That’s my favorite one. You can read (or listen) to the others ones for yourself.

The reason I’m so excited about all this is that it meshes so well with what Krugman has been saying for so long. As I alluded to earlier, I think Fareed has felt this way for some time but was reluctant to throw his weight behind a course of action because respected economists had varying opinions about it all.

I sense he has made up his mind.

”The official unemployment number does not include the millions who have stopped looking for work or are working part time. So, if you add these numbers together, the actual number of Americans without a real full-time job is closer to 24 million.

Everyone is expecting that the normal pattern of growth and job creation will start up soon, except that it hasn't.”

Amen brother.

Don Brown
June 5, 2011

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