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January 09, 2004

THE ECONOMY - SEEING STARS

I found two jobs last year. One of them is fun and the other is now by the wayside. In 2002 I was essentially unemployed. In other words, I had no full-time job with or without benefits. This is otherwise known as the Great Freelancing Challenge.

When it comes to how the economy is doing you can be a numbers person or one who makes decisions based on anecdotal evidence.

Of course, the best way is to be a little of both. Which is why I'm "happy" to report that the numbers back up what I've been saying about this so-called recovery. My main question has always been - what the fuck good is a recovery if jobs don't come along with it?

[Note, I'm not "happy" that job growth is anaemic, just that the numbers seem to bear me out.].

Atrios pointed me to
JobWatch.org, but more importantly pointed me to this deft analysis from MaxSpeak. Among other things he pegs his analysis not on the unemployment rate but on the very promise that Bush made - job growth.

That in turn led me to a comment which reminded me of something I had forgotten. Follow me here.

Government spending and deficits are through the roof - $2.4 trillion and approx. $500 billion, respectively, by the end of the fiscal year. Yes, that's a smaller percentage of GDP than under Reagan (the most admired Republican in the free world) but the highest since then. There are no (false) excuses this time, either. Republican Congress. Republican president.

Massive government spending usually results in a boost to the homeland (ahem) economy. For at least one quarter last year, it did. And from everything the Rove administration tells us, the ressession ended soon after Sept. 2001. (hmm, 9-11 was an economic hit?).

But then, where are the subsequent jobs?

The lack of them worries me.

Now there are those who trust this administration to find the right path toward a recovery that actually means something. Paul O' Neill, former Treasury Secretary under George Bush Jr. (just last year, in fact) isn't one of them.

There are a lot of companies who don't seem to be putting their money where their rhetorical allegiance is.

Should O' Neill's views be brushed under the carpet? You are free to do so.

More than 300,000 gave up or were forced to give up looking for a job last month (forced based on end of welfare). If you're a strict fiscal conservative you forget about them and let them rot in the street.

After all, that's one way to save money. They're all a bunc h of lazy, retards anyway, right? And it makes those unemployment stats look real good. All the better to get Bush re-elected, my dear.

Two last things.
Remind me again how the Dow shooting up helps the average American?

And remind me again how spending half a trillion dollars for a lunar science center is going to help the average American? As a quick aside, I remember when the Columbia crashed many on the right were saying NASA was a boondoggle that should die since it served no practical purpose. But now the bold idea from Bush is, so far, the best thing since sliced taxes.

With NASA, with the economy - which is it to be?

12:07 update A short addendum on the Immigrant Employment Initiative - I initially thought it was an effort - a good effort in the way that only a Democrat could perform Welfare reform and only a Republican (Nixon) could go to Red China.

I could see no drawback. But on the Lou Dobbs Report yesterday evening someone made the point that such a law could act as a real downward jerk on the economy in as much as employers could deliberatly drop the bottom out of their salary structure to make the jobs they're offering very undesirable to American workers. In doing so that would fulfill the requirement that no Americans could be found to fill the jobs first.

That put a halt in my "this may be the best and only good thing Bush has done absolutely right" stride. It also reminded me of this little nugget from Right Wing News: Are you a liberal? quiz:

Have you ever wondered if you're really a liberal? Well, wonder no more! Just take this nifty little true/false quiz and all will be revealed!

8. I support immigration laws as long as they're not enforced!


12:34 update And this Tom Toles cartoon is excellent.