Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal conservative politicians who came to power in 1979 and 1980 at the end of a period of profound transformation in the Anglo-American world. A postwar system forged in war, and built on a broad foundation of industrial labor, rising middle class prosperity, and an active government hand in economic development was transforming itself socially and economically into something quite different.
I’m announcing the New York Times award for incompetence in macroeconomic reporting (IMR, pronounced like “screamer”). I suggest that the paper offer as a prize to awardees a two hour lunch with Krugman in which he provides a remedial economics lecture. My premise is that it is impossible to be a NYT reporter and fail to know that the paper has a Nobel Laureate in economics who writes a regular column for the paper and frequently discusses making economic downturns worse by inflicting self-destructive austerity. Even the most casual reader of Paul Krugman’s columns would know that opposition to austerity has long been the dominant view among economists and that over the last five years events here and in Europe have again confirmed that view. Continue reading →
OK, the President has officially proposed the “chained CPI” cut to Social Security in opposition to what the heavy majority of American voters want him to do and in contradiction with promises he and Joe Biden made during their re-election campaign. So, what punishment should we exact from this Administration, and what should we do to prevent cuts from happening in addition to signing petitions, and calling Representatives and Senators? Continue reading →
Barry Eichengreen’s and Tim Hatton’s January 1988 paper entitled “Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective” is a useful starting point for any effort to compare unemployment during the Great Depression and the Great Recession.
It is useful to begin by recognizing three related cautions that the authors make in that paper. First, the modern sense of the term “unemployment” (willing and able to work, but unable to find a job commensurate with the worker’s skills) was not common until the decades before the Great Depression. The prior assumption was that people were unemployed because they were lazy. There was little understanding of business cycles or inadequate demand, little sympathy for the unemployed, and no sense that business or government were primarily responsible for the the level of unemployment. This meant that keeping data on unemployment was rarely a concern of government. Data on unemployment in Europe was largely collected through industrial trade unions.
Brad Delong, after taking appropriate and honest notice of the badness of today’s job report, then goes on to muse despondently about the way future historians will assess the performance of our present leaders:
(Brussels) Nonplussed by this week’s unemployment report showing the Eurozone jobless rate rising to an unprecedented 12%, members of the European Parliament and Europe’s national governments pressed ahead on Wednesday with passage of a stringent new package of austerity measures. Dubbed “hyperaustérité” or “Übersparpolitik” by its backers, the new program of ruthless cuts and social demolition promises to deliver even higher levels of joblessness, misery and hopelessness than has been achieved so far by earlier rounds of austerity.
Along with the new economic measures, the European Union (EU) also announced its intention to change its name to the “European Sadomasochistic Cult.” The new ESC will take the leading role in the implementation of European hyperausterity.
NEP’s Randy Wray appeared on radioLitopia discussing Money, Banksters, Austerity and other issues. You can listen using the player below or visit radioLitopia’s site [some have reported having problems with the embedded player].