On Pictures and Thousands of Words

(Good times, good times. -- David

Please also see Krugman, who estimates that our "moderate" Senators just arranged for 600,000 fewer people to have jobs. "This is really, really bad." - promoted by Charley on the MTA)

No text needed:

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  1. Well---we can thank Congress and several presidential administrations for this

    It's called a correction. The lard asses in the United States of America who have been living the high life on someone elses money and credit cards are about to get a good dose of reality. Nothing like a good depression to get people focussed on reality and reasonable priorities. We are plunging into a worldwide depression and there is not any amount of federal spending that will stop it or even mitigate it, because no one is going to be spending a dime. Whatever money is dumped on the street is going right in the bank or in the matress. just like Bush's stimulus rebate---went right in my grandaughter 529 for college---and half of it is gone. It's a beautiful thing. Thanks Barney and Chris. A coupla GOODFELLAS!  

    • Spending

      We are plunging into a worldwide depression and there is not any amount of federal spending that will stop it or even mitigate it, because no one is going to be spending a dime.

      Think about this sentence for a minute. Then get back to me when you realize it makes no sense whatsoever.

  2. THAT is not a picture of a $quot;recession$quot; - THAT is a picture of a Depression

    Sadly, I have been saying that since January of 2008 - and wishing that I was wrong.

    Sadly, too, the decisions being made in 2008, did not prevent or halt or even slow this down.

    It is not just the New Gilded Age elite - though they looted us.  Or deregulation; though without those two forces, I think that any correction would have been mild.

    My analysis now points to the following problems:

    1.  Loss of the inherent sense of community, by "Community" I mean the sense that we all sink or swim together, and that no person or segment of society is worth more or more important than any other segment; that the more you own, the more you owe everyone else. [the elimination of the Guardian Ad Litems for education not because they weren't needed, not because no one knew the harm that would be done - but because they were not protected by statute is a good example of a total lack of caring, lack of community, and lack of insight into cause and effect].

    2.  Loss of the concept of personal responsibility, honor, and compassion as motive forces.

    3.  The appearance, and I now believe, the reality of the almost total absence of long range planning by anyone in authority.

    4.  The magical thinking that a "stakeholder" who already wields authority, or controls a huge amount of assets is therefore wiser, kinder, and a repository of the requisite knowledge to make the best decisions - and that the citizens with "on the ground knowledge" are less useful and effective then the entrenched stakeholders.

    5.  The mistaken idea that cutting taxes, while the infrastructure, education, safety, and research and development grind to a halt, will somehow magically translate into economic activity of a productive nature.

    Just for starters...

  3. Point of comparison

    But the points of comparison are 1990 and 2001, neither of which was particularly bad, deep, or long.  In other words, it is designed to make the present situation look as bad as possible.  Indeed, 2001 was over before people knew it existed.

    Would like to see the present numbers compared to 1974 or 1982, which might be a more meaningful reference.

    • '74

      The job loss seems similar to 1974.  Except now, unlike 1974, media is doing everything it can to create hysteria.

      • more perspective

        Via this, here's the top ten worst months by percentage of jobs lost

        Year   Month  Difference   % Diff 1974 Dec 602,000 -0.77% 1960 May 340,000 -0.62% 1970 Oct 430,000 -0.61% 1975 Feb 378,000 -0.49% 1980 May 431,000 -0.47% 1974 Nov 368,000 -0.47% 1975 Jan 360,000 -0.46% 2009 Jan 598,000 -0.44% 2008 Nov 597,000 -0.44% 2008 Dec 577,000 -0.43%

        The 1974-75 recession has "4 of the top 10."  

        But our 2008-09 is right up there....

        • Chart porn

          It's apparent from looking at the Pelosi produced graph that she gave her staff instruction to come up with a graph that'll scare someone's socks off.  Sheer numbers when percentages would have produced far more informative illustrations:

    • Ask and ye shall receive

      Yellow Dots are 1974, Purple dots are 1982:


  4. Scary Picture

    But thanks for bringing it to light.

  5. I think this 600,000 lost jobs argument is a sham argument

    First of all, there is no factual data that this will amount to 600,000 jobs, it's merely speculation.  Second of all, if you want to play THAT game, I would like you to think about how many jobs have been lost because of minimum wage and other labor laws.  Millions, dare I say?  

    However, those laws are often morally necessary.  I would further contest it is morally necessary for a generation not to put this spending on the backs of their children, as it no doubt is being, regardless of the purely speculative, theoretical loss of 600,000 jobs.  

    • $quot;Millions, dare I say?$quot;

      You can say that - if you don't mind being pretty much completely wrong. The red dots are raises in minimum wage.

      From here: http://waldo.jaquith.org/blog/...

      • Dated Chart

        It is a fundamental law of economics that the more expensive a thing is, the rarer it becomes.  If you don't believe that, I suppose the pretty red dots next to a cute squiggly blue line argument has legs.  

        For whatever it's worth, didn't we just raise the minimum wage and isn't unemployment spiking?

        • $quot;pretty red dots next to a cute squiggly blue line$quot;

          Also known as "data."  Some economists find data useful.

      • But what about the terms we're talking in?

        Remember, people not having jobs isn't just unemployment rising.  This money not in the stimulus isn't jobs that are going away, but new jobs not being created.  I would like to see that chart adjusted to reflect such.

    • Race to the bottom

      Minimum wage and other labor laws, like overtime pay, safe working conditions, and child labor restrictions, have created the middle class in America. Whatever jobs you think we might recover by depressing American wages to match the average Chinese worker ($160/month), I suggest you consider how you'd live on that sum.

      Stimulus spending isn't money poured down the drain or debt left to our children. It's an investment to save our economy and avoid a depression. Each dollar spent in stimulus will return more than a dollar.

      * Each dollar spent on state aid will return $1.36 * Each dollar spent on infrastructure will return $1.59 * Each dollar spent on food stamps will return $1.72


      • while we're on food stamps

        i understand the argument in favor of [linking food stamps to economic stimulus, because of the high multiplier (can get it out to families super-quick).  

        but there's a good discussion of why it might not a good idea here.  

        Using food stamps as a cyclical tool seems to risk destabilizing some families' food consumption in an attempt to stabilize the overall business cycle....

        That is, for any mean level of food stamps, wouldn't the poor be better off with a constant stream of benefits than with a benefit that fluctuates over the business cycle?

        • Food stamps don't just increase spending on food

          That blog assumes (incorrectly) that increasing food stamps is designed to get people to buy more groceries.

          It's difficult to live on just the food stamp allocation. Grocery expenses come in higher, so remaining cash is spent on the gap. Increasing food stamps frees up cash to be spent on other things.

          The reason food stamps are very effective is that they are a very rapid way to reach households that are highly likely to spend the extra money immediately. They're already screened for income and need and the payment system is already in place.

          Even if it is just more groceries, it's still an effective way to get money into the economy:

          "If someone who is literally living paycheck to paycheck gets an extra dollar, it's very likely that they will spend that dollar immediately on whatever they need - groceries, to pay the telephone bill, to pay the electric bill," he said.

          Tracking that single dollar spent through the economic chain shows what economists call the ripple effect, Zandi said. For example, that dollar spent at the grocery store in turn helps to pay the salaries of the grocery clerks, pays the truckers who haul the food and produce cross-country, and finally goes to the farmer who grows the crops.


  6. but

    No text needed:

    however, context is.  Your y axis compares straight numerical numbers without any relation to the total number of jobs at the relative peaks over time (kind of like these "Top Hollywood Gross" figures of all time without taking into account ticket prices over the years; inflation is skewing results, not the popularity of GWTW et al over films like Titanic).

    Two books for anyone to read:

    Darrell Huff's classic "How to Lie with Statistics" and Charles Poor Kindleberger's "Manias, Panics and Crashes".

    Context is everything...

    • Dawned on me, too

      But that doesn't mean as much, considering the short span of time we're examining.  For the job loss to be proportional, the number of American jobs would have had to increase from 33% in six years.  That's obviously not the case, so the graph still makes a clear point.

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
  7. The States Blew It

    The states failed to show how the Federal Government caused the recession by raising Fed rates. So the states look like they just budgeted badly.  

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