Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Joblesse Oblige?

by the Sandwichman

Both the Congressional Budget Office and the White House Office of Management and Budget released economic estimates and projections today showing unemployment averaging around 10% (9.8% OMB, 10.2% CBO) next year and remaining above 8% until at least the end of 2011. Last March, the OMB estimated would average 8.1% in 2009 and decline thereafter.

In short, the unemployment rate is now much worse than anyone expected five months ago, it will get even worse and it will stay worse longer. Where are the proposals to respond to this unacceptable level of unemployment? Where is the political movement to demand a solution?


run75441 said...


There will not be any outcry on Unemployment as most people are too concerned about deficits and will cut their own throats to reduce it.

Martin Langeland said...

FUD = fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Pirates purvey fear of deficits, uncertainty of employment and doubt that government programs will be effective to cover the continued raids by corporatist's on the treasury. Secrecy for Wall Street. Utter exposure for trade unions.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...


Well, it has long been understood that employment (or unemployment) is a "lagging indicator." You or anyone else may rail against this, but it is not something that is going to be undone easily by anything. Firms are slow to fire and even slower to rehire.

That your various arguments may suggest policies to raise the longer term employment rate (the official unemployment rate not being all that meaningful for well-known reasons) does not particularly have much to do with this time pattern when a recession hits, and your proposed policy changes are not likely to prevent recessions, as has been argued elsewhere (and I am not going to repeat).

Sandwichman said...


The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.


"Well, it has long been understood that..."

What I just said to Martin.

Sandwichman said...

By the way, Barkley,

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the meaning of "This will be my last comment on this for some time, as, sorry, this issue is simply one that I am not all that worked up about one way or the other."

Doesn't "not all that worked up about" mean you are not all that interested in the topic? Presumably accompanied by a lack of keenness to, as Blaug put it with regard to the classical economists, "rise above the commonplace" in formal analysis? "Well, it has long been understood..." is not a substantive argument.

This makes two dismissive comments from you after your dismissive announcement that your wouldn't be commenting. What gives?

Barkley Rosser said...


Just a crazy guy, that is all. Do you really want to make too much of it?

BTW, I do not think that what I said is what you said to Martin at all.

Martin Langeland said...

My comment about FUD referred to the current pointing with horror of experts to the horrible problem of deficits which obscures notice of other problems such as un- under- and non-employment as animadverted to by run75441. I did not make that clear.
Much as I hate to admit it that still leaves me scratching my head over the application of Yeats quote.

Sandwichman said...

Martin, "leaves me scratching my head..."

Just playing with the ambiguity of the quote. People full with passionate intensity about the budget and lacking all conviction about unemployment. Although the ironic juxtaposition of "best" and "worst" also implies that it is somehow good to lack conviction.

So now you've got me scratching my head...

Martin Langeland said...

Just playing with the ambiguity of the quote
Oh good! and thanks, I just love red ripe ambiguities in the morning before coffee.
How to deal with all the misdirection there is in the world is a worthy, even if futile, excuse to scratch our heads.