Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.8%, A Two-Year Low

Since November, the Unemployment Rate has fallen a full percentage point, a sign that this is more than just a minor recovery.

For the second month in a row, we’ve got a strong  jobs report and signs that the economy really has turned a corner:

WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March and companies added workers at the fastest two-month pace since before the recession began.

The Labor Department says the economy added 216,000 new jobs last month, offsetting layoffs of local governments. Factories, retailers, education, health care and an array of professional and financial services expanded payrolls.

Private employers, the backbone of the economy, drove nearly all of the gains. They added 230,000 jobs last month, on top of 240,000 in February. It was the first time private hiring topped 200,000 in back-to-back months since 2006 — more than a year before the recession started.

Since November, the Unemployment Rate has fallen a full percentage point, a sign that this is more than just a minor recovery. More important, U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, has fallen along with the overall rate over the past four months and is now below 16%, not good but a heck of a lot better than it was even six months ago. Politically, this is obviously good news for the Obama Administration and, if it holds up, the possibility of the unemployment rate being belong 8% by Election Day 2012 seems pretty likely at this point.

The usual caveats still apply, of course.  There are still millions of people sitting outside the labor force after the recession, and it’s going to be some time before most of them are back to work. Some of them to be quite honest, may never return to their previous levels of income. Oil prices continue to rise, as does the price of gas, and the impact of rising energy and food prices on the economy shouldn’t be discounted. At the same time, it’s clear that this is more than just a one month anomaly,  it’s a real recovery.

 

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Total B.S. and you know it…but being OTB you have your agenda.

  2. Michael,

    Would you care to explain what you’re talking about?

  3. hey norm says:

    actually the strong jobs reports have been going on for much longer than a couple months, but like everything it depends on how closely you look. this is important in ongoing budget discussions. yglesias has been pointing to this for months.
    from january ’10 to january ’11 the economy added 1M private sector jobs. it shed 250K public sector jobs. what has been happening for over a year is EXACTLY what so-called conservatives say they want – smaller government. wouldn’t it be cool if so-called conservatives acknowledged this? but for them to so would force them to admit their ideology has been actually been creating a huge drag on the recovery. likewise their spending cuts, and the resultant slashing of another 100K jobs, would continue to hold back the recovery. fortunately with this newest report it appears that the real-world recovery is now strong enough to overcome their make-believe ideology.
    beyond the numbers – a shrinking public sector and expanding private sector make laughable the fox news/tea bagger/republican claims of a socialist president. the so-called republicans will never admit this. it would be nice if the news media and more blogs would.

  4. john personna says:

    “8.8%, A Two-Year Low” is pretty sad.

  5. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Back when Bush was the president and the unemployment rate went up to 5.5% everyone was crying that the end of the world was coming. Now there is celebration over an 8.8% rate???

    Funny how things change over time.

  6. John Malkovich says:
  7. john personna says:

    Patrick, if you can find anyone celebrating 8.8% … nm, I don’t think you can.

  8. reid says:

    If there’s any celebrating, Patrick, it’s because of the downward trend (and the opposite was true when unemployment was on the rise). You probably knew that, though.

  9. John Malkovich says:

    Looks like someone it trying to save face from their “Obama tanking in the polls” thread.

  10. John Malkovich says:

    Funny that Gallup aint seeing a “downward” trend

  11. alanstorm says:

    Too bad Obama’s infamous pre-stimulus chart promised that unemployment would be lower than 7% by now, and would be under 6% by election time.

    Doug, I’m not buying that this is a real recovery yet – not with this administration running things. We shall see.

    norm, you are incoherent. Please explain how government spending cut = lost jobs. you can’t, but it might have some entertainment value.

    Also, please explain, assuming your private/public jobs numbers are valid, how this puts to rest the idea of a socialist president. Are you perhaps unaware of what socialism entails? Everything we know about him, and all his acts, proclaims his socialist beliefs. Or do you believe that he’s not a socialist because he hasn’t been able to enact his full agenda? By that “logic”, a lawyer who doesn’t win all his cases isn’t actually an attorney.

    Also, please explain how a fewer government jobs = smaller government. Hint: if the same number of rules and regulations are still in effect, and the same number of bureaucracies are still administering them, government has not shrunk. Reducing the number of people in government does not equal less government.

  12. John Malkovich says:

    employment particiation rate: 64.2%

    ’nuff said

  13. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Here is your downward trend.

    And then there is employment and making a living.

  14. hey norm says:

    @alanstorm
    “…explain how government spending cut = lost jobs…”
    really? you cant figure out how cutting spending would mean eliminating jobs? really?
    also – so smaller government is charachteristic of a socialistic governent? ok…ill accept that may be possible…improbable but ok. simple question then – what socialist acts?

  15. reid says:

    Any sign of good economic news really ruins some people’s day. I wonder why….

  16. John Malkovich says:

    How is 10% jobless good news?

  17. john personna says:

    “Too bad Obama’s infamous pre-stimulus chart promised that unemployment would be lower than 7% by now, and would be under 6% by election time.”

    Oh yeah, I remember that. Obama said the charts controlled reality, and promised to move the line by mandate.

    Idiot.

  18. reid says:

    How is 10% jobless good news?

    LOL, keep squirming! Do you really think you’re convincing anyone of anything? Other than Patrick, of course.

  19. john personna says:

    “How is 10% jobless good news?” … “LOL, keep squirming!”

    I actually worry more about reid than Partick in that exchange. Patrick links to the Calculated Risk chart, which many of us have been watching at its home. It does show a slight quickening of improvement, but only slight. The main thing it shows is a long deep cycle. And we are still near the bottom.

  20. john personna says:

    Not sure why the home link failed: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

  21. reid says:

    jp, I’m laughing at the Obama-hating damage control troops who seem to show up and put down any sign of good news. I don’t doubt things aren’t as “rosy” as the 8.8% would indicate, but the partisan reek here is obvious.

  22. Socrates says:

    “Back when Bush was the president and the unemployment rate went up to 5.5% everyone was crying that the end of the world was coming.”

    How about you provide some solid evidence for this assertion.

  23. Unemployment going down is nothing but good news.

    Sadly, I have come to trust government provided statistics less and less.

  24. anjin-san says:

    > “Back when Bush was the president and the unemployment rate went up to 5.5%

    If we are going to talk about economic conditions under Bush, you should really remember to mention the economic catastrophe that led to today’s high unemployment. I am sure you leaving that part out was just an oversight.

    > the partisan reek here is obvious.

    Here is some coverage from those noted pro-Obama partisans at the Wall St. Journal

    Jobs Report Signals Improving Economy

    WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy continued to add jobs in March, pushing the unemployment rate to its lowest level in two years and offering the latest signs of an improving economy.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576236373168364868.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

  25. John Malkovich says:
  26. anjin-san says:

    reid – sorry, misread your comment. Still working on my morning coffee…

  27. Axel Edgren says:

    Why are so few of you smarter than me? I’m only 22 and it is clear that some of you are about as ignorant as I was five years ago. You are supposed to be smarter than me, not dumber.

  28. PD Shaw says:

    I’d say the Calculated Risk assessment is rosy given the site’s general dour demeanor. So I have to go to old reliable doom monger, Tyler Durden, for a dose of reality:

    in order to regain the millions of jobs lost since the start of the Depression in December 2007, and return to the same unemployment rate when factoring in the natural growth rate of the labor force of 90,000 per month (not our estimate: CBO’s), the economy will need to create 245,500 jobs each and every month by the end of Obama’s tentative second term in November 2016.

  29. Steve Verdon says:

    Private employers, the backbone of the economy, drove nearly all of the gains. They added 230,000 jobs last month, on top of 240,000 in February.

    Barely enough to keep up with population growth, so less than stellar. Add on another 100,000 and then it would be a sign of a stronger labor market.

    The drop in the unemployment rate is good, but still it is quite high by historical standards. Hopefully the trend will continue but a worrying factor is the low (ten year low at that) labor force participation rate.

    If we are going to talk about economic conditions under Bush, you should really remember to mention the economic catastrophe that led to today’s high unemployment. I am sure you leaving that part out was just an oversight.

    Right because Presidents have such amazing control of the economy and Bush just wanted to mess things up for Obama…and which raises another question…why hasn’t Obama fixed it yet? This kind of partisan nonsense is just stupid. Any President would have been with the effects of an economic bubble…like Bill Clinton was. Presidents want good economic news, its good for their approval ratings and their agenda.

    Back when Bush was the president and the unemployment rate went up to 5.5% everyone was crying that the end of the world was coming. Now there is celebration over an 8.8% rate???

    No, not celebrating 8.8%, but that for some time now the trend has been downwards. In fact, it is about a year of downward trend. That is significant. It isn’t great, but it does point towards improvement. In fact, the recent improvements have been at a rate greater than what I hoped for, so yeah, there is reason for optimism…celebration? No. Optimism yes.

  30. ponce says:

    Bad few months for the “Predict the trend will continue” crowd.

  31. Gerry W. says:

    Right because Presidents have such amazing control of the economy and Bush just wanted to mess things up for Obama…and which raises another question…why hasn’t Obama fixed it yet? This kind of partisan nonsense is just stupid. Any President would have been with the effects of an economic bubble…like Bill Clinton was. Presidents want good economic news, its good for their approval ratings and their agenda.

    But Bush had control of the economy and that is the point. He had unemployment down to 5%. It was his trickle down and stay the course. But the problem with this is it ignored the future. What happens when tax cuts become ineffective as the economic cycle ends? What happens when 57,000 factories close and he kept saying “free trade is good?” What happens when the infrastructure is ignored and the wars took priority. What investment was made for the future? Add 2 billion cheap laborers into the free market and what happens? Add to that, it was a “guns and butter” economics using deficits. A bogus economy. It was a 25 year cycle in which unemployment came down and we did nothing to invest in our future. The cycle ended as there was no future investments for our country. All the ideology and stimulus we had, ran out.

    Bush only believed in ideology until he got into trouble. And a price was made.

  32. John425 says:

    Let’s look at the BLS statistics. Many of these new “jobs” are part-time work. Mataconis still has a way to go in his efforts to get Obama canonized.

    http://bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm

    Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

    It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

  33. Gerry W. says:

    John425,

    You make a valid point. When we send our private sector jobs to other countries, the government is the only thing left-except McDonalds and Wal Mart.

  34. Rick DeMent says:

    And the Republicans firing public sector workers will help things out how?

  35. Hey Norm says:

    @Gerry
    Bush had unemployment to 5%? He was handed 4.7% by Clinton. He handed Obama a 7.6% rate that was shedding 600k jobs a month. That’s a 60% increase. The employment market was decimated before 1.20.09.

  36. mantis says:

    Nothing like a positive trend for the US to make the wingnut brigades angry and sad. Such patriots.

    Bush had unemployment to 5%? He was handed 4.7% by Clinton. He handed Obama a 7.6% rate that was shedding 600k jobs a month. That’s a 60% increase. The employment market was decimated before 1.20.09.

    Shhh. You’re ruining the wingnut’s fantasies.

  37. anjin-san says:

    Right because Presidents have such amazing control of the economy and Bush just wanted to mess things up for Obama…and which raises another question…why hasn’t Obama fixed it yet? This kind of partisan nonsense is just stupid

    Did I say that? No. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    As for “partisan nonsense”, the economy did crash while Bush was in office. That is simply a historic fact. All I am trying to do is point out that GOP meme “the economy sucks, Obama’s fault” is partisan nonsense. The economy has been improving steadily on Obama’s watch. Not as speedy or as robust a recovery as we would like to see, but a recovery nonetheless.

  38. Axel Edgren says:

    And the Republicans firing public sector workers will help things out how?

    They’re um… Not “proper” workers and taxpayers. You know. Baby Jesus doesn’t like them maybe.

    Yeah I got nothing, and neither does the anti-public employee bigots.

  39. Barry says:

    Doug: “Since November, the Unemployment Rate has fallen a full percentage point, a sign that this is more than just a minor recovery. More important, U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, has fallen along with the overall rate over the past four months and is now below 16%, not good but a heck of a lot better than it was even six months ago. ”

    Looking at the workforce participation percentages show that the headline unemployment rate is BS; it deliberate doesn’t count a large number of people.

    Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Back when Bush was the president and the unemployment rate went up to 5.5% everyone was crying that the end of the world was coming. Now there is celebration over an 8.8% rate???

    Funny how things change over time.”

    Yes – Bush trashed the f*cking economy.

  40. G.A.Phillips says:
  41. Dave Schuler says:

    A couple of problems. First, far, far too much of the BEA numbers are a result of the birth-death ratio–fully a third of the private sector job growth can be attributed to it. Second, the Atlanta Fed just published a study that threw cold water on the BEA’s assumptions about the birth-death ratio. Apparently, the rate of new business formation has been extremely low, much lower than the BEA is assuming.

    My concern, as has been the case for some time, is that the rate of job growth is far too slow to bring those who’ve lost their jobs during the Great Recession back to work. The recovery has now been ongoing since June 2009–roughly 18 months. Even this phlegmatic expansion won’t go on forever.

  42. Rob Prather says:

    Jesus Gerry, what is it with you and trade? Trade barriers have never made a country stronger, only weaker. Did you sleep through class when Smoot-Hawley was discussed?

  43. Steve Verdon says:

    But Bush had control of the economy and that is the point.

    Okay, that point went right over your head. No he did not. Just as Obama does not have control, nor did Clinton. They can have some imprecise influence at best and that is it. Granted President’s love to take credit, but really it is Bravo Sierra when they do for the most part. Just as it is Bravo Sierra to blame them. They aren’t Superman, they aren’t economic/business Svengalis or the like.

    He had unemployment down to 5%. It was his trickle down and stay the course. But the problem with this is it ignored the future. What happens when tax cuts become ineffective as the economic cycle ends?

    All Presidents tend to be myopic given the upper limit of no more than 10 years in office with 8 being typical since the 1980s.

    And tax cuts during the bust phase of the cycle is a not uncommon fiscal response during the bust phase of the economic cycle. There are issues with timing and such, as well as the size of whatever multiplier, but it isn’t some wild eyed notion.

    What happens when 57,000 factories close and he kept saying “free trade is good?”

    I guess when all you got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Bush had unemployment to 5%? He was handed 4.7% by Clinton. He handed Obama a 7.6% rate that was shedding 600k jobs a month. That’s a 60% increase. The employment market was decimated before 1.20.09.

    Yeah because Presidents have so much control of the labor markets….

  44. Gerry W. says:

    I do not ask for trade barriers other than fair trade. If you can cite an example how it is fair to pay a dollar an hour to what our middle class has been paid, then let’s hear it. With the collapse of the communist system and the world opened up, there are an added 2 billion people who want jobs. And there is simply not enough jobs to go around. We have closed some 57,000 factories (6 million jobs) over the past decade. Is that beneficial to us? Add to that that you have robotics and automation and six sigma and lean principles and there are less jobs. Also, add less restrictions on consolidation and mergers. It all means less in jobs and wages.

    Just as much some people complain about Obama’s spending, I think there is a right to complain about the laissez-faire under Bush with his trickle down or “stay the course” while ignoring globalization and our country. If we have globalization, then let us act like we have to deal with globalization and find ways in which we can create private sector jobs. Sending millions of jobs overseas is like cutting one’s arm off and you cannot get that back.

    Now, one way to create jobs is to reduce taxes. Oh but wait. We already did that for a decade while we let the jobs go overseas. So again, as I have said in the past, is that our country has to invest in our country, in our people, and in the future. And since this has not been done in over three decades, it will take time to create jobs. We have used every ideology and every stimulus to date to try and create jobs and as we do that, we still keep sending jobs overseas. And while people say that government is not an answer, it seems like our country, states, and cities react with cash for clunkers, extension of unemployment benefits, and casinos for every state. They are only reacting to the void that is left with them. Your reaction is to ignore what is happening to the middle class. And for those, like you who criticize me, then come up with some answers.

  45. Drew says:

    Amusing thread. I share Dave’s skepticism about the stats. That birth/death adjustment seems a wild one to get hold of. We should all hope that there is validity to the 200,000, but more as a harbinger of better growth ahead. As JP correctly pointed out in the Clusterf- oops reference. 200,000 ain’t gonna do it.

    But in reviewing the thread it seems a few points need to be made.

    1. Yes, Obama inherited a recession. But if I recall he actually ran for the office, and was not drafted. You get what you get. Clinton was lucky, he walked right into a recovery from a mild recession (his campaign BS about “the worst economy in 50 yrs etc” notwithstanding) and claimed it as his own. That’s politics, and luck. But if we recall, the first few years were weak. The latter half of the decade supposedly roared, but as we now know, two key components were a housing bubble that took off in 1996, and the dot com bubble that busted…………….just in time for Bush to inherit a recession. I don’t recall Bush whining like an old woman about it. Ultimately, the fact is that the unemployment rate under Bush and Clinton was basically indistiguishable. And now Obama inherited a recession from Bush.

    Its interesting to look at the commentary from the left. Anything bad on the statistical front: all Bush’s fault. Anything good – such as it is – definately a product of Obama policy. Rubbish. The simple fact is that the economy stabilised under Obama. How much him? How much natural economic cycle? I don’t know. But – as the politics go – he can take credit. After that, he’s got jack squat to show for his tenure.

    2. Obama has been in office for more than two years now. He now owns the economy as much as any President can. He should shut up about Bush. If he doesn’t want the responsibility to lead and produce results, then step aside. Without the media running constant interference for his exculpatory tendencies the entire nation would be fed up with the finger pointing and excuse making. And as for his promise of peak and current unemployment rates? jp ran into a ditch. Obama made the claims as part of selling and passing his legislative agenda. He owns the claims. They were wildly wrong. Live with it. That’s called accountability.

    3. Obama has had the mother of all wingmen during his tenure – Helicopter Ben with the spigots wide open. One has to wonder what the state of the economy might be without Ben’s open floodgates. Problem is, the costs of that policy appear to be gathering steam: inflation. I don’t know about you, but I worry about the “little guy” when gas, food and clothing prices are rising like they are. We could help out the little guy on the energy front if we’d quit wringing our hands over global warming and letting Obama play to his crazed greenie and rich greenie political onstituencies. But right now politics wins, and the little guy gets the finger from Obama.

    4. And as for the REAL state of unemployment, the participation rate tells all. If it was possible to accurately adjust the headline unemployment rate, is there anyone who thinks it would be less than 10%??

  46. Gerry W. says:

    Well Steve, thanks for answering with no answers.

    Okay, that point went right over your head. No he did not. Just as Obama does not have control, nor did Clinton. They can have some imprecise influence at best and that is it. Granted President’s love to take credit, but really it is Bravo Sierra when they do for the most part. Just as it is Bravo Sierra to blame them. They aren’t Superman, they aren’t economic/business Svengalis or the like.

    Bush was given an economy in which deficits were somewhat under control. While the deficit and debt was problematic in the past, it is nowhere near to what Bush created and what it is today. Clinton signed the free trade agreements and the exit of jobs did not take hold until in the Bush administration. Bush had to get out of a recession and he had 9/11 which there was worry in keeping the economy going. Normally, you have tax cuts and the fed accommodating for two or three years and that would have been enough to get the economy going. But Bush decided to use the ideology of the Laffer Curve and trickle down for all these years. And at the same time we were sending our jobs overseas. As Bush repeatedly came to Ohio, he said “free trade is good” and factories would close. Bush was an ideologue and he ran not only our country, but two wars into the ground. Bush could have seen that “free trade” or even his ideology of tax cuts was not working, but chose to ignore it. Obama, has less control as the jobs are lost, as he cannot stimulate beyond what we have done. As the fed has stimulated all these years. As housing crashed. There is little for Obama to work on.

    All Presidents tend to be myopic given the upper limit of no more than 10 years in office with 8 being typical since the 1980s.

    And tax cuts during the bust phase of the cycle is a not uncommon fiscal response during the bust phase of the economic cycle. There are issues with timing and such, as well as the size of whatever multiplier, but it isn’t some wild eyed notion.

    Again, you are ignoring the fact that we have globalization and the addition of 2 billion people in the free market system. You don’t sit with tax cuts and ignore the problems. Singapore went with high tech and embryonic research. China has had cheap labor on their side. South Korea has had the biggest development in batteries. Hungary says if you go to college, you have to speak english.

    The question is, what can we do to create jobs in a globalized world. While Bush gave out some 800 billion dollars in tax cuts, factories closed and cities crumbled. Again, as with other countries, you have to invest in your country, in the people, and in the future. Get away from this ideologue nonsense and get back to pragmatism.

    I guess when all you got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Not an answer.

    Yeah because Presidents have so much control of the labor markets…

    .

    While situations are not perfect, I have explained what you have to do and not ignore the problems. There are situations when presidents have no control, like in recessions and high interest rates. But you don’t sit around with tax cuts and watch jobs leave the country. It was Bushes economy and he ran it his way. The tax cuts was his way. The jobs left and he ignored it. He did not invest in the future. The tax cuts was spent money for the here and now. A total disaster. And while he believed in his fairy tale world, in 2007, he said there would be a balanced budget by 2012. His ideology ignored so many things and was a total failure. We are where we are.

    Bush could have continued to reducing the deficit and debt that Clinton and Gingrich worked on. Bush should have raised a war tax to pay for the wars. Bush could have invested in our country, in our people, and in the future as we lost the jobs or revised the free trade agreements to be on a sliding scale on wages. It is too late to deal with that now, as we lost too much. The tax cuts are less effective today. The deficits and debt is sky high. And the fed has printed too much money. Yeah, I would say Obama has less control.

  47. Gerry W. says:

    Drew,

    Here is a 60 year graph to look at.
    http://www.forecast-chart.com/graph-unemployment-rate.html

    Let us go back to Kennedy as he had tax cuts and unemployment came down. Look at the following years as you had three bumps up. That was the “guns and butter” economics of LBJ. As more money was printed, inflation was more and more uncontrollable. Nixon tried dealing with it with “wage and price controls” and that did not work. Ford dealt with it with “WIN buttons” and failed. Carter did not know what to do. He did however get Paul Volcker in the fed and under Reagan beat inflation with high interest rates. Ever since then, you can see that unemployment came down for about 25 years.

    Bush did what LBJ did “a guns and butter policy”, only that in this case it was deficits. All looked good until the last year or two of Bush and we already saw signs of his ideology as a failure. And add that he was running deficits every year of his presidency. But what is interesting is that we had this non inflationary, lower interest rate, and lower unemployment trend for 25 years. The critical point was under Bush. There was no catalyst to move our country into the future. The tax cuts was for the here and now and was spent money. The fed kept printing money as they do today. With globalization, our jobs went overseas.

    So what I am saying is that 25 year trend ended. We used all the stimulus and all the ideology and it is not working. We see the reversal with worse days to come-perhaps 20 years. If we look at the inflationary years, Nixon, Ford, and Carter policies may have failed, but the trend was created by LBJ.

    The same with Bush and we can go back some two or three decades. Bush is the LBJ of our time. We have deficits, we still do not have an energy policy, our country mistook supporting the building of housing while we sent manufacturing jobs overseas, we had a financial crisis, we ignored the infrastructure, and we are in two, now three wars. But the biggest thing we are ignoring is globalization. Not that I support protectionism. What I have been saying is that what is our role in the world? Do we continue to send jobs overseas? Do we go with Obama and others and say that we will benefit with exports while other factories close? What, as a nation are we supposed to do for generations to come?

    Yes, we need to cut spending. But we also used up the tax cuts and they are spent. The fed has printed money and we have fears of inflation. And what should we do to deal with globalization without protectionist policies? How do we move our country forward when we have lost so much?

  48. Trumwill says:

    I liked this blog better when half of the comments were not devoted to the non-falsifiable accusations of ill-motivation on the part of the posters.

    When I don’t believe that a blogger is operating in good faith, I stop reading the blog. Why waste your time on it?

  49. just me says:

    Well around here it isn’t going to be long before a lot of government employees file for unempoyment given the cuts being made.

    A couple of years ago government jobs were viewed as safe havens from the recession, but it looks like states and local communities are balancing their budgets by cutting positions.

  50. anjin-san says:

    > Jesus Gerry, what is it with you and trade

    Have to agree. We can pine about what is gone, but the simple fact is that this is the 21st century, the world has changed, and we all have to deal with it.

  51. Gerry W. says:

    anjin-san,

    We can pine about what is gone, but the simple fact is that this is the 21st century, the world has changed, and we all have to deal with it.

    And that is what I have been saying all along. We have to deal with it and not ignore it. The world has changed and Washington has ignored it. The democrats tax and spend. The republicans want more tax cuts. And since there is a void, we have more extensions of unemployment benefits, cash for clunkers, and casinos for every state. So, looking forward, what are going to be the policies that will preserve our middle class and create jobs? And how do we deal with globalization?

  52. john personna says:

    I think that if the free trade laws had unexpected outcomes (for some), it should be fair to talk about that. The Smoot-Hawley example is actually silent on what happens when you go to the other extreme.

    Perhaps the right answer was in the middle somewhere?

    I favor a very small, but uniform, tariff for that reason. It would greatly improve economic efficiency for one thing, when you don’t have special t-shirt tariffs and so on.

  53. Gerry W. says:

    A small tariff, is one of many things that can be done. It is just a fact that many things are against the middle class these days and we have lived by failed ideology all these years and threw pragmatism out the window. It would be nice to hear one president say that we are going to do this and that, and that is why I lean towards Donald Trump. Although I don’t know what is up with the birth certificate situation and I know that he exaggerates. It isn’t that hard to recognize the problems our country faces. Dealing with them in Washington and with politics is the problem.