Being Unemployed Is a Miserable State

By: Saturday January 18, 2014 9:15 am

The headline isn’t mine, but it comes from one of my old college professors, Dale Mortensen, who won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics. I was fortunate enough to have studied under him for several years, and among other things, he instilled in me and my classmates a strong sense that behind all the statistics, all the equations, and and all the models are real people.

Dale died last week. I just wish that more folks in DC had had him as a professor, or would be willing to listen to the wisdom of his remarks in Sweden in 2011.


Housing Market Still Searching for Turnaround

By: Wednesday April 25, 2012 4:57 pm

There have been several housing-related reports this week, some better than others, so analysts have been reading the entrails to determine whether the housing market is finally starting to hit bottom and turn around. The answers are mixed — some regions are doing better than others — but we still seem to have a ways to go before the national market starts stops falling and begins to pick up in any meaningful way.

From Statistics to Graphs to People

By: Saturday December 31, 2011 9:14 am

As 2011 comes to a close, millions continue to be without a job, and far too many haven’t had a job for at least half of the year.

To the MOTUs, these are statistics; to me, they are the people I see almost every day. They are my neighbors, my parishioners, and my friends. For them, my new year’s wish is that they find the jobs they so desperately seek. For the MOTUs, my new year’s wish is that they pay the taxes to fund the safety net my neighbors, parishioners, and friends so desperately need.

Remember When a Possible 9 Percent Unemployment Was Considered a Huge Crisis?

By: Wednesday August 24, 2011 2:15 pm

The latest long term budget projections from the Congressional Budget Office assume that unemployment will be very high for years to come.

Will Obama Sacrifice His Catholic Supporters to Get a Debt Ceiling Deal with the GOP?

By: Saturday July 9, 2011 9:00 am

As Obama buys into the deficit hysteria of the GOP, he is endangering not only the social safety net on which millions depend, but also his own particular job. One aspect of the 2012 election calculus that I don’t think Team Obama realizes is that a deal like this will throw away any hope he has of holding onto the Catholic voters that supported him in 2008.

In states like Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Ohio, and Florida, Catholics are a sizable chunk of the electorate, and Obama cannot afford to alienate them. If he caves to the GOP on the debt ceiling negotiations and sacrifices Social Security and Medicare to protect the tax gimmicks so beloved by the MOTUs and banksters, these voters will not be happy.

Just let those states sink in: Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Ohio, and Florida. Obama’s not going to win them without significant Catholic support, and cutting the social safety net is NOT going to help get those votes.

The Economy Stays Muddled

By: Saturday May 7, 2011 1:00 pm

Doncha just love the phrase “…softening in the jobs market”? As if the jobs market for the last few years hasn’t already been closely resembling a marshmallow in strength.

Congratulations, Graduates, Or Should I Say Condolences?

By: Saturday April 30, 2011 9:00 am

Tomorrow is May 1, and college graduation season is almost upon us. Seniors everywhere are writing their last papers, taking their last exams, preparing for the end of their college careers, and probably crying about the employment situation. College placement officers might as well be grief counselors.

For the last three years, the unemployment picture has been Ugly with a capital U, especially for those graduating from college. The Economic Policy Institute’s new paper “Class of 2011: Young workers face a dire labor market without a safety net” is a depressingly accurate take on what they face.

Glad I’m not a commencement speaker this year.

Obama Business Tax Cut Draws Negative Reaction from Economists

By: Tuesday September 7, 2010 3:20 pm

Today’s announcement of a $200 billion dollar program to allow businesses to write off their capital expenditures up front in 2010 and 2011 at full cost (which would only cost $30 billion in the long run) hasn’t received the widest reception from the economic profession.

Wall Street Notices Main Street; Stocks Fall

By: Saturday July 17, 2010 9:07 am

The disconnect between the Masters of the Universe, whether on Wall Street or at the Fed, could not have been clearer in this last week. When you compare the mindset of Wall Street and the Fed with the economic conditions that local city managers are seeing, people notice that city services are being squeezed and jobs are being lost. In places like Topeka, the city budget for next year envisions lower revenue, which is hardly a sign of economic recovery. When the monthly consumer sentiment survey showed people are losing confidence in the economy, Wall Street was shocked. Maybe they ought to get out a little more, and talk to some city managers.

Why Is There Even a Question About Auditing the Fed After it Failed So Badly?

By: Tuesday May 4, 2010 6:55 am

Sometime Tuesday the Senate may take up an amendment to the Senate financial reform bill that would require the Government Accounting Office to conduct an audit of the operations of the Federal Reserve. The outcome is much in doubt, but it shouldn’t be.

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