Traveled far around the world
Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.
But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.
-- Brad Delong
The bottom line is that income mobility is alive and well and seems pretty consistent regardless of who is president or who controls Congress. The underlying market processes appear to be doing well at enabling a majority of those who start out poor to move up the income ladder within a decade or less.
. . .
As good as these results are, allow me to steal from a favorite source of mine and say "just think what we might do" if those market processes were even freer to work their magic.
The demise of the bill means that unemployment benefits will phase out for more than 200,000 people a week. Governors who had been counting on federal aid will now have to consider a fresh round of budget cuts, tax hikes and layoffs of state workers.
"This is a bill that would remedy serious challenges that American families face as a result of this Great Recession," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chief author of the bill. "This is a bill that works to build a stronger economy. This is a bill to put Americans back to work."
The bill had been sharply pared back after weeks of negotiations with GOP moderates Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine. The most recent version, unveiled Wednesday night, contained new cuts to food stamps and scaled back the state aid provision to allow Democrats to claim the measure was fully paid for except for the unemployment insurance extension.
That didn't move Republicans like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
When you have an aggregate of over 300 million, you're talking about human nature. If Americans are stupid, it's because humans are stupid.
But there's a lot more to it than that. There is a powerful and very well funded right wing talk machine that has enormous influence over the ignorant and the prejudiced, as well as the merely uninformed, who get duped by their potent misinformation campaign.
The wealthy elite, at all times and places, work hard to keep their advantage - and that comes at the expense of all the rest of us. Same as it ever was.
These days, most people are too damned busy dealing with the problems of their own life to be able to get a good handle on politics and economics as well. Plus, regressives have succeeded in diluting education so that people don't understand civics. And many don't have a good grasp of rational thought processes.
As I think about what is slipping away, it occurs to me that the best time and place to have been alive - maybe ever, was the post WWII U.S. And, in a strange way, we owe a great deal of what we've had to the Great Depression. No GD -- no New Deal, no unemployment compensation, no Social Security, no strong union movement; i.e, no strong middle class.
And this is what we are losing, because it is what the rich and their minions are taking away. Historically, the life time of a democracy is about 200 years. Look where we are.
Good bye, America. It was good while it lasted.
This contrasts sharply, for example, with the German practice during the 1930′s when persons in the labor-force camps were classed as employed, and Soviet practice which includes employment in labor camps, if it includes it at all, as employment.
Lebergott assertst that it is reasonable to considert the WPA to be essnetially the same as Buchenwald, Dachau and the gulag (I am not exaggerating at all).
The reason for the historical relationship between the slope of the yield curve and the economy’s performance is that the long-term rate is, in effect, a prediction of future short-term rates. If investors expect the economy to contract, they also expect the Fed to cut rates, which tends to make the yield curve negatively sloped. If they expect the economy to expand, they expect the Fed to raise rates, making the yield curve positively sloped.
But here’s the thing: the Fed can’t cut rates from here, because they’re already zero. It can, however, raise rates. So the long-term rate has to be above the short-term rate, because under current conditions it’s like an option price: short rates might move up, but they can’t go down.
I do feel a sense of despair here. Ever since the crisis began, some of us have been trying to get across the point that you have to be very careful with your historical precedents, that things work very differently when you have a synchronized severe financial crisis, with interest rates near zero everywhere. And here we are, two years in, and it’s as if we’ve been talking to a wall.
So wise policy, as defined by the G20 and like-minded others, consists of destroying economic recovery in order to satisfy hypothetical irrational demands from the markets — demands that economies suffer pointless pain to show their determination, demands that markets aren’t actually making, but which serious people, in their wisdom, believe that the markets will make one of these days.