Now the Not-Actually New Year Begins — With the Same-Old-Same-Old

For those who believe in facts, why unemployment will remain troubling high for a number of years to come:

The figure above illustrates Okun’s Law — the relationship between growth and unemployment. (Gah — I’ve tried to remove the connecting lines, to no avail.) The horizontal axis shows annual growth rates of real GDP; the vertical axis shows the year-to-year change in the unemployment rate. Two things are clear. First, the economy has to grow around 2 1/2 percent per year just to keep unemployment from rising. Second, growth above that level leads to a less than one-for-one fall in unemployment (because hours per worker rise, more people enter the work force, etc.). Roughly, it takes two point-years of extra growth to reduce the unemployment rate by one point.

So, suppose that US growth is accelerating. Even so, it will take years of high growth to get us back to anything resembling full employment. Put it this way: suppose that from here on out we average 4.5 percent growth, which is way above any forecast I’ve seen. Even at that rate, unemployment would be close to 8 percent at the end of 2012, and wouldn’t get below 6 percent until midway through Sarah Palin’s first term. (Link. To which I’d add: You must also keep in mind that the still-collapsing housing market will, in turn, keep, GDP relatively weak. In addition, the Republicans will attempt to deliver crumbs of tax cuts, greatly increasing the deficit, and in turn use that to destroy the social safety net and eliminate necessary public services — what, you think they’d regain trillions of dollars by eliminating corporate welfare and retreating from the Iraq and Afghanistan follies disasters (Afghanistan’s no better off thanks to our invasion and Pakistan has been and is being weakened; Iraq is practically a suzerainty of Iran)?)

Doomed! New Year reminder.

(Potentially deadly) Bad Science. Me, I’d chalk some of it up to fraud and corruption.

Reminder: Too many economists are in fact partisan whores spewing partisan crap. So when you read “Economists say…”, get ready to treat it for what it’s worth — nothing.

Reminder: In foreclosure cases, it’s often a question who actually owns the mortgage in question. No reason to assume it’s the plaintiff. Of course, in a healthy system of law, the issue would be resolved up front. Often, however, it is not.

Why be anti-abortion when you’re anti-future? (Rhetorical question.)

Just saying:


This is true.

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