Rising Fears That Recovery May Once More Be Faltering

Global finance leaders are meeting in Washington to discuss oil prices, unemployment and other issues putting a cloud over the global economic picture.

Comments: 168

  1. A classics, on one hand, on the other hand analysis drafted largely by economists, who are the masters of hedging their bets. The analysis is not as foreboding as the headline suggests, but the GOP will make it sound like Armageddon is just around the corner. Its solution will be draconian budget cuts, no new taxes and increased defense spending. On that we can be sure in these uncertain times.

  2. There is a “light recovery blowing in a spring wind” with “dark clouds on the horizon".
    Christine Lagarde

    Translation: We don't know what is going to happen next.

  3. "Fears rise"?? Well, I can hear some republicans (selfishly) rejoicing.

  4. Socialism for the rich, cut-throat capitalism for everyone else.

    No hungry child can be fed, no homeless family sheltered, no elderly person cared-for, if it means a single rich person's debt is not made whole.

  5. The Age of Turbulence the world capitalist economy is in trouble and you cannot continue spending to fix or repair it on the backs of the middle or working class unemployment will lead to social unrest and more crime unless a global jobs program is created look towards green energy and recycling in the manufacturing sector to create mass employment and save environment feed humanity and explore the heavens this is the new frontier new technology will create new jobs we need more science in government and economics not less.

  6. The 'Recovery'. . . has been largely illusory; led by the Administration's cheerleaders banging the 'recovery' drum at their daily Press Conferences and on the Sunday Morning Talk shows.

    Any knowledgeable and informed observer of the American economic scene, cannot be other than convinced that there has been absolutely NO recover from what is now the most protracted recession in American history. IE: There can be NO recovery until America's private sector regains enough confidence to begin marketing, selling and producing their products and services! This, so that jobs will be created- and these jobholders begin to re-enter the housing market as buyers of homes- the pricing of which has always been determined (heretofore!) by America's free-market economic structure.

    As the situation is now, America is headed for another economic crisis even MORE severe than the one American faced at the end of 2008.

  7. I'm beginning to think of JOB CREATION as an oxymoron.

  8. I'd rather see slow and sustained than a fast climb and burst, we've had enough of that for a while.

    Considering the scope of the worldwide financial crisis, we should be thanking our lucky stars it wasn't so much worse here. Evidently enough of us didn't take on more debt than we could handle.

    The shame of the whole thing is that both political parties, and their minions/supporters/boosters, have done more to divide the nation than unite us. I feel like the sane and sensible leaders are exiting the game and we must pick from the chafe.

    We do have some remarkable people building a better US, but they seem to be off the mainstream media news of doom and gloom.

  9. Every financial crisis story should start with a recap of how the creation of trillions of dollars of uncollateralized and ultimately worthless triple A securities in the United States crashed the world economy. These acts by our bankers, brokers and lenders, carried out after safety regulations put in place following the Great Depression were done away with by our leaders, are the root of the current world wide gloom. This recap should include the fact that no one has gone to jail for any of these activities and that the majority of the current House of Representatives believes that the answer to preventing future such catastrophes is less regulation and oversight. Repeating this explanation over and over might seem like rubbing our own noses in the mess we have made....but we really do need to own the stink if we are ever to stop ourselves from creating another.

  10. How do you create the atmosphere for people to learn from mistakes by jailing them? Can't you see that lawyers have already made everyone paranoid about admitting anything?

  11. Let's not forget WHO did away with the regulations. Actually, can we start at the true beginning - early 90s when Clinton announced that everyone had a right to own a home and the Dems stripped away the regulations we did have - it was a bipartisan group that tried to fight the Dems in 2010 to include the post Depression regs in the nonsense Frank/Dodd 'financial reform.'

    So the government started this with a social experiment, using Fanny and Freddy as the 'bank' for those that could not afford a home and the circus began. Millions of citizens in this country benefitted from this 'flip' mentality, millions lost out on the gamble.

    Couple that with the 'free' money floating around because of the Feds lack of insight and economic realities (i.e. interest rates at 0% for how long?!) and you have the real recipe for disaster.

    That's the re-cap. Sorry that you can't just say the Republicans are evil and the Democrats have everyone's best interest at heart. It's just not that simple...

  12. For folks who work for a living? The recession has not ended.

    Why wont anyone in the media say that?

    Average USA salaries have actually decreased about 3% over the last 3 years for those who are actively employed. Throw in cost of living increases and you have working people making noticeably less. That's a recession.

    Those "newly created" jobs that the white house likes to talk about every month? They are often jobs without health benefits. Or seasonal jobs that disappear after the holidays.

  13. People in the media - and our public officials - have jobs and are probably - unless trust fund beneficiaries - as terrified as any other working stiff waiting for the next shoe to drop, not spending, hoping they can maintain their standard of living or at least pay the mortgage and the kids' tuition until the magic full employment dawn arrives. Meanwhile, they avoid the cold hard realities of why people are out of work (need an unpaid intern to fact check those for you?) with little relief and the unemployed cower and don't speak out for fear of being blacklisted.

  14. Politically, Pres Obama's major mistake was trying to show how bipartisan he was with a Republican House dedicated to his defeat. You cannot compromise with those unwilling to do so.

    If we are so unfortunate to have Romney elected President, kiss goodbye to medicare, social security, and women's rights of all sorts; and be ready to welcome in brand new tax cuts for the already rich. Romney's election would also be a disaster for the Supreme Court. Imagine a few more far right zealots added to the present mess.

    It is ironic that Romney says Obama "made things worse". Elect Romney if you want to witness how bad it really will get.

  15. Obama has never worked in a bipartisan way. Never.

  16. memories are short. Obama did work on bipartisanship in his early years. didn't work. Remember McConnell.

  17. @Mary- Atlanta:

    Right, but not for lack of trying, but because the repuglicans have refused to work with him at all. As Perry says, you can not compromise with those unwilling to do so. Of course, you'll say, somehow, it is Obama's fault they won't work with him. I say that's bull.

  18. I was just about to sign a lease in Florida for a corporate apartment that would cost me a month just about what I pay for heating oil here in Maine...and the thermostat is at 60 degrees. So, it would be warmer and cheaper...well not so much cheaper, once the "additionals" are added in. Looking at the crime stats in Tampa, I found that Tampa is the #1 city in the country with "high stress" and high crime. So, what is the trade-off here...I think I'll be looking for a less expensive place...who knows what will happen at election time. i am fearful of the power of the Republicans and not terribly comfortable with Obama's results. But, as my dad would say, better is the new crook than the old crook. Dad came out of the Big Depression in '29 and I heard about it most of my life. The house next door, a big two family, was for sale for $500 in an upscale town in MA. No one had $500. Mitt was devastating when he served his time in MA. We were so happy to have him go....if he is the choice to be back, I still will go with the Democrats. Sorry, Mr. President, the "crook" word was just analagy...I would hope.

  19. Too bad we don't have a scientific energy policy in the US.

    I think MIT should be funded to work the remaining bugs out of solid oxide fuel cells powering heat pumps to replace oil burners in New England. Such systems can deliver considerably more heat than the heat content of the fuel.

  20. In a truly affluent economy, people spend on travel, particularly empty-nesters who have all the material items they want.

    Too bad America is a destination to avoid due to visa hassles and fear of random shootings.

  21. What the U.S. needs to grow the economy are WPA and CCC-type work programs. Joseph Stiglitz made the case for more stimulus in an interview with Democracy Now:

    “My view is we cannot afford NOT to stimulate the economy. Anybody that says we should go back to austerity or we should not have a second of round stimulus just doesn’t understand economics. And let me be very clear about this. If we don’t stimulate the economy, the economy is going to get WEAKER. When the economy gets weaker, tax revenues go down and expenditures go up. Already more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps. The number of people on Medicaid is reaching record levels. So revenues go down, expenditures go up, deficits get worse.

    “If you stimulate the economy, then people get jobs, they spend money, tax revenues go up. If we spend the money on investments in education, technology, infrastructure, you GROW the economy in the shortrun from the stimulus, you GROW the economy in the longterm because of the returns that you get on these investments. Just think about this from the point of view of a firm. If you are a firm and you could borrow at 0 to 2-1/2 percent and you have investment opportunities that yield 10, 15, 20 percent, you would be irresponsible, you would be foolish, not to undertake those investments.

    “So anybody that says, I’m going to only look at one side of the balance sheet, the liabilities; I’m not going to look at the other side, the assets, is really NOT understanding economics.”

  22. The issue you have failed to recognize is that we already 'stimulated' the economy. Huge subsudies for Obama's favorite green (unproven, not ready for prime time) projects. Billions to create jobs were given to state governments to 'maintain' public service worker benefits, bonuses, and salaries (actually, they mostly benefited administrators that do nothing to provide a service, but...).

    The US spent over a trillion dollars on stimulating, but their implementation was so badly thought out, no market competition considered, that we are now facing a debt that cannot be repaid.

    I guess you and many here do not realize that it is not austerity or stimulus in the end, but how those approaches are implemented. Since government implements them, we find a complete lack of true business stimulation and a complete over-stimulation of government. The NYTimes likes to say that Fed/state/county workers have gone done. If you look at the average outlay, we pay more for gov't today, significantly more, than ever before.

    The Congress and Obama only stimulate what they like to stimulate. And government doesn't produce revenue.

  23. Joseph Stiglitz probably knows that no economic stimulus would ever be enacted by a Republican Congress, no matter how much this or any other Democratic President demands it. The best chance to enact the kind of stimulus he wants would be for voters to fire enough Republican Congressmen to put the House back in Democratic hands and to elect enough Democrats to the Senate to restore filibuster-proof majorities. Alas, the former is unlikely and the latter is well-nigh impossible in the current election cycle. Stiglitz probably knows this, even if his focus is on economic figures and not electoral math.

  24. FALTER ! Don't you need to start something before it can falter?

  25. "Fears That Nation Will Fail" will now become the non-news theme for the year as rightwing pundits make this the campaign slogan: fear.

  26. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
    All the king's horses and all the king's men,
    Couldn't put Humpty together again.

    The present global economic model is approaching maximum entropy. The problems with it, ie. 700 trillion in outstanding derivative debt according to the Bank of International Settlements is irreversible or in other words impossible to pay off and thus represents and economic black hole high entropy situation which is sucking all the productive energy out of the system.

    Time to think outside the box to look for alternative models; however that is something the current leaders are unable and unprepared to do. The solution to the problem probably won't come until the next generation takes over. Until then it's likely to be a pretty rough ride.

  27. That whole pyramid of derivatives is a hedge against the manipulations of interest rates for short term reasons by central banks.

  28. Our nation needs a Democratic Congress, who will be willing to make new policies that lean toward the Middle Class and its consumer and investment power. For instance, the government could require business owners with four sustained quarterly profits to share a small percentage with their employees. The government could require businesses to record their quarterly profit on workers pay stubs. That could protect businesses that do not show sustained quarterly profits from financially participating.

    I am suggesting required profit sharing, which is something Republican leaders probably would not like.

    The United States needs to bring that money from the top back to the bottom and to help raise wages that we have lost. We can build our economy with creating new policies growing the money our nation has now, instead of waiting for more money.

  29. Meanwhile Michigan has all but taxed industry out of the state. If you think that strategy will have a different effect on a National level, you are just kidding yourself.

  30. The stability of the economy will be teetering on the edge now for a long time, probably beyond our time. The mistakes that were made, most without regard about consequences or the futuire can occur in a few months but then take years and years to correct or just can't be corrected. The enormous amount of equipment in use, in storage, in development, etc that the defense deparrtment has is on a production line that no longer has a stop button. And what is never realilzed is it's been some seventy years since America was actuallly attacked on December 7, 1941 and even then, the main land of the USA was never attacked, by anyone. We have spent trillions and trillions and killed tens of thousands of soldiers helping out others. I digress, but the military industrial complex, remember that phrased coined by President Eisenhower some seventy years ago. Once you build the plant, fill with machinery, hire the workers, always more than are needed, but man has to make a living, to shutter the plant and shut down the operation the consequences are grave, whole communities dry up and disappeer. So the factory output may slow down but continues to pump equipment that mostly ends up idle in storage in some warehouse. Point is, no matter what sectors of our economy, be it defense, social security/ medicare and all the others and like the wars we've fought, the consequences and changes made, etc. all our over reaction to our occurrrences.

  31. Gee, you'd almost think the government (we the people) should be borrowing at historically low interest rates and investing in short- and long-term strategies to spur activity and growth, to put people to work rebuilding America so that they can buy more goods, so that employers can hire more people, so that our tax coffers increase, so that we can use that money to pay for even more investment...

    Oh wait, that's for redistributionist, class-warfare-mongering, socialist chumps.

    Instead, we must continue the cycle of slash and burn, both here and in Europe, and hope that if we cut enough services to enough poor people to balance our books, that they will just die off and not need the money going forward. That'll fix it.

  32. Daniel, this makes no sense. Your first paragraph is exactly what has been happening (interest rates at '0%' billions in stimulus). However, those interest rates are set by the Fed for the bank and the billions in stimulus went to the wrong objective - maintaining raises, bonuses, and pensions for public workers). No eye in the white house was on the ball. Oh, they strut about creating jobs (e.g. bridge in CA being built by Chinese engineers on stimulus money, Solandra, etc.). Yes, the evil banks get to borrow at 0% (although I have no idea why - when money is 'free' the rich get richer).

    Obama has been 'redistributing' by special interest only. He selects the business that will be paid money that we don't have. And he selects the businesses that will be taxed or charged fees. He is picking the winners and losers, and the citizens are the losers.

  33. Mary, thanks for the comments. My comments in the first paragraph were of the eye-roll variety, meant to suggest the irony in just what you state - that the benefit of our near-record-low interest has gone only to the banks, etc., and not been applied to the average citizen in any productive way for society.

    I agree with you that there has been no eye on the ball in the White House, a deep disappointment, and far short of what we actually need.

  34. My little world of interior design and architecture is plain and simple . . . there is no work, there no are projects, projects are on hold or shelved, "maybe in 6 months" is the mantra.

  35. Despite his campaign promises President Obama had increased the debt by $5,027,761,476,484.56 during his 39 months in office. Although he has served less than a term, Obama is now the first American president to see the federal government's debt increase by more than $5 trillion during his time in office.

    Anybody can temporarily live well on a credit card until they hit their credit limit or can no longer make the monthly payments. The United States is no different.

    Viliifying the rich and increasing taxes on those individuals that create jobs will only compound the problem. We need to elect a President that is fiscally responsible on November 6th to ensure the survival of our Democracy.

  36. the last republican that was fiscally responsible was bush's daddy and before that richard nixon. bush senior was crucified by his own party for doing the right thing and raising taxes. Romney will not make that "mistake" and therefore will continue to preside over the destruction of our country.

  37. We have had the Bush tax cuts in effect since the economy tanked in late 2008. How has that worked to create private sector jobs? It doesn't work.

    I would like to hear one affirmative program or idea of Romney's that he would institute to create jobs other than more tax cuts for wealthy and simply being a Republican in office. I have only heard him say that Obama is a failure and not a leader, but what is his remedy for the economy that hasn't already been tried (again, other than even more tax cuts).

    The ironic thing is that if Romney is elected, he will benefit from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts because that will help pay down the deficit.

  38. Critics are still wrong on what’s driving the deficits in the coming years. The economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars drive the numbers. The Bush tax cuts, if extended, and the wars will account for “$10 TRILLION” of our national debt by 2019. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states that “without the economic downturn and the fiscal policies of the previous administration, the budget would be roughly IN BALANCE over the next decade.”

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3490

  39. Obama and the democrats have turned "Success" and "wealth" into dirty words. The people who run businesses are now the "Enemy Of the State".

    Obama feels he can bring the poor up, by bringing the wealthy down. This is a recipe for disaster and this is why our country is heading SOUTH.

  40. Yep. Obama wants to play to the 10% of people who are unemployed, at the risk of blaming the 90% who are employed. Obama is basically saying that if you work hard and get ahead, you are doing so on the backs of the people who don't want to work hard and don't care if they get ahead.

    Obama is trying to turn the workers into the scapegoats, and making the people who live on the taxpayers' dime the heroes.

  41. I would argue many that use those terms as "self-descriptors" have done a good job of that all on their own.

    Some things are just plain wrong in spite of wearing a $5K suit.

  42. Oh puleeze. In the next paragraph you will disparage their travels, and Mr. Obama's golf.

    The issue, for all who think, is what do we do with our lives if machines do everything for us?

    In other words, how do we distribute the dividends of revolutionary productivity gains?

  43. Well, the report seems accurate, but not perfect as the retail sell is picking up. Last week the Costco Wholesale in New York was so crowded that it has never been in the last two years, which is a hope of economic recovery.
    But, the price of gas is the main hurdle in the economic recovery, the blunt and ill conceived action by the Obama administration is dissipating all the hopes of stabilizing the gas prices. There should be more gas supply in the U.S. market and an international consensus should be forged to normalize the relationship with Iran. The U.S. economy always hits when there is a war or uncertain situation in the Middle East.

  44. Hm...Headline is pessimistic, article is not.

  45. I spot a trend: Yesterday the Times reported on it's new presidential poll, which showed that President Obama's position had improved by 7 points. But the article itself never mentioned that fact, dwelling instead on his "weakness" and Romney's "strength on the economy." Liberal media. Right.

  46. One great way to make sure that we never get back on the path to a stable and long-term upward trajectory seems to be to release and report on new and conflicting numbers every 15 minutes and publish news that ranges from "things are getting much better" to "the sky is falling again". How can we even have any faith in what these so-called economic experts say when they 1- are so frequently utterly and completely incorrect and 2- are obviously coming to diametrically opposed conclusions based on their politics and bias? The end result of all of this informational tumult seems to be the create the very kind of confusion, uncertainty and instability that these very gurus and news outlets claim to be working to overcome.

  47. Economics is a science, not a fact. In science one must look at inter-related variables and consider long term as well as short term.

    However, sadly, we have politics that pervade our 'scientific' community and rarely get a true assessment out of DC.

  48. Any talk of the student loan bubble bursting very soon? Putting a whole generation in debt should be discussed

  49. I believe that Obama is a decent, well educated, very intelligent man. Sadly, in my opinion,he to thought he could get bipartisan action during these very dangerous economic times..... WE all now know that was an illusion as, in my opinion, all they wanted was his political destruction, regardless of the outcome on the country

    Sadly, if he had repeated FDR's playbook, things would be better now. If he had started another WPA and CCC, he'd have had millions of Americans working on badly needed public works projects and millions of homes farms and ranches would not have gone to foreclosure. If Federal funds had gone there rather than to the stock market, more of the average citizens would have been helped rather than further enriching the already wealthy.

    If he'd held another round of Pecora hearings like FDR did, the American people would now know exactly how the Republican majority, in my opinion, caused this meltdown by removing Glass-Steagall in 1999 (Gramm/Leach/Blyle) which, once again, allowed the wild kind of speculation which brought the markets down in 1929.

    Then, as before, few Republicans would have been elected for another 50 years and we would not have this far right House we now have.

    Hopefully, between now and November, the American voting public will begin to get the truth about how this mess really occurred and we can get back to rebuilding this great country and our Middle Class, which is really the incredible strength of America.

  50. The WPA and CCC offered hard physical work outdoors for the minimum wage. These are the jobs that we need illegal immigrants to do nowadays, because American workers want a soft office job that pays $20 an hour.

    As for Glass-Steagall, it stopped banks from doing corporate investment banking. Nobody believes that the crisis of 2008 was due to banks gambling on corporate stock, it had to do with making mortgage loans, which was certainly permitted under Glass-Steagall.

  51. You do know that it was Democrat Bob Rubin who pushed the repeal of Glass-Steagall (before he jumped to Citibank), and President Bill Clinton who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall?

    You do know that the Democrats controlled the House and Senate in the last 2 years of the Bush administration? You do know that the Democrats controlled Congress in the first 2 years of the Obama administration, and they passed the $800 billion stimulus with no Republican votes, the ObamaCare law, the Dodd-Frank law and extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich?

    You may have excuses for why Obama didn't do other things, but the bottom line is that Obama and the Democrats in control of Congress made choices. Maybe there is a reason why Democrats became so unpopular with the electorate in November 2010. I suspect the unpopularity of Democrats in 2010 had more to do with the choices they made and not the so-called failed attempts at bipartisanship. In my opinion the nonsense about bipartisanship had more to do with giving the Democrats cover for what they wanted to ram down the throats of Americans than listening to Republicans and compromising with them.

    No Change. No Hope.

  52. Jonathan,
    Please go back and review Glass-Steagall.... Mostly it separated Banking,Brokerage and Insurance. It also separated Banks into savings (With newly made FDIC insurance) and Investment banks with no government insurance..... If you look to the "sliced and diced mortgage securities which emerged soon after the removal, you will find, in my opinion, the culprit of the collusion, which allowed highly leveraged securities insured with highly suspect "insurance", which is very similar, in my opinion, to exactly what scuttled the markets in 1929....

  53. I see...so when the Tea Party Republican bosses, 2 Koch billionaires and Norquist demand no hiring until they "get rid of Obama", (see the Tea Party website for proof of this) that's helpful to the economy how?

    Or, when the Republicans in the House promised to hire and create new jobs in 2012 and as yet, still have not done so, that's helpful to the economy how?

    Anyone with common sense remembers McConnell's "get rid of Obama" statement in this president 3rd month of his presidency. How was that in any way helpful to the economy the GOP savaged for 8 Bush years? Or don't the Republicans think Americans EVER hold THEM accountable? Think again oh Grand Pubbahs of Uppercrust Bougie Wealth Entitlement.

  54. When a party deliberately seeks to sabotage the economy by tucking hidden tax cuts into every piece of legislation that benefits only their 1% and Big Business, how does that relate to their representing their constituents? Or are their only constituents the 1% and Big Business?

    Face facts. Eventually, all Big Businesses become obsolete. The GOP is using taxpayers as the insurance that prevents the natural ebb and flow of Big Businesses that are destined to fail.

    We save the auto industry because it saved 1 million jobs. Can we say the same of Big Oil that's now losing it's most senior employees who are leaving in droves now that Big Oil is no longer the only industry in town? Can we say the same of some of the banks that profited most from bailouts while they stuffed those federal revenues into CEO salaries and bonuses?

  55. I continue to have to work the equivalent of 2 jobs for the salary of 1 and I still cannot get into the housing market (Seriously, what price decline?? If you want a house in a nice town with good schools and a safe neighborhood, prices haven't budged at all. The rich WILL NOT allow anyone into their bubbles).

    Nevermind that food prices has risen exponentially in the last 2-3 weeks (where's the article on that??).

    It's impossible to get ahead of the game.

    Then I look at my neighbor, an immigrant from Brazil. Every year his girlfriend comes to visit the US for 3 months. She's 50, retired from a bank teller job (i.e. - not from old money), has an outstanding pension/retirement benefit, and is able to travel to the US, shop (and I mean SHOP) and enjoys life.

    I'll never have that.

    I don't get why more people don't see the truth of what's going on.

  56. Well your neighbor's generous retirement is from Brazil. You do know Brazil is in deep financial trouble and could be the next Greece right?

  57. Yes, but I'd rather have the option of having a retirement safety net, than none at all. 401K is a joke and shameful.

  58. Apparently "Recovery" is the current term for a flat landscape as far as the eye can see.

  59. There has never been any recovery! The media and talking heads hav been creating this false illusion of a "recovery" yet everywhere I go, i see more vacancies, boarded up stores, etc.

    We are heading on another leg down now that inflation is hitting due to the fed counterfeitting operation of the last few years as well as the fact that businesses are simply not going to hire or expand in the current economic and political climate.

    Whether its rising health costs, energy costs, Dodd Frank, etc- businesses have gone into hibernation until we get a change in leadership in this country.

  60. Lots of untruths without any fact basis. In New York your housing market is on the rebound or do you not read your own paper. Ours is also. I just spoke with my bank and the fact is that the economy is improving. There is finally some liquidity in the market which allows for the free exchange of homes, goods, etcetera. So you do not have a fact based analysis. The republicans would just rob the public bank once again if elected. It has certainly worked well for them in the past.

  61. A downturn in the US would cause untold suffering in the US and abroad.

    It is shameful that the GOP finds such a thing desirable, and will do everything in its power to see the Obama Administration fail, no matter who is hurt.

    They are not patriots; they are traitors.

  62. Your view of the glass is seemingly that it is half empty. Others to whom you refer see the same glass as half full. They would argue, and do, that their intentions have been to RESCUE the economy from Obama's horrible economic policies. Which means that all this finger pointing is just more he said-she said, with both sides offering their favorite talking points that often have little to do with reality.

  63. Thank you for a great write-up. I appreciate your good work.

    A suggestion: A type of graphic might add interesting emphasis for your readers: a force field. It has two parts (1) a set of up-arrows (toward heaven) each labeled and representing a force making a situation better. There is also (2) a set of labeled down-arrows (toward hell) representing forces tending to make the situation worse.

    You give the arrows different (approximate) lengths to show your impression of their importance.

    Thank you for considering this, Annie.

  64. What is happening is just more of the Fear Mongering we have been listening to since Obama took office and none of what they said came about. Look at where the stock market was as a result of George Bush's actions and policies, we've come a long way all the while FOX Hate News and others were saying we would not make it and Obama would drive us into the ground. What drove us down was GW's policies and if we put Romney in office it will go back to where it was and worse. You can all kiss Social Security good-bye, Medicare good-bye, our state college and universities good-bye, PELL Grants good-bye, along with a long list of other programs they will do away with as a result of the Ryan budget. WAKE UP people, you will have to figure out how to live and educate your children when they are done. The result will be only the wealthy will survive. We will be living in a society just like the movie "Soylent Green." Won't that be nice, the only food we will have to eat, after we destroy the earth, will be each other!!!!!!!

  65. Since you have ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Time, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal (except for the editorial pages), why do you so begrudge those of us who disagree with the monolithic liberal point-of-view an outlet like Fox that presents the other side of the picture?

  66. BO did nothing to promote bi-partisan anything, except to lie and say he bi-partisan. They pushed through bills they neither read nor understood, perhaps because the text was written by the people who bought and paid for the campaigns of the sympathetic allies of BO. After that he threaten to push past the Supreme Court if he didn't like their decisions. Sounds like someone building a kingdom or a tyrant in training? Doesn't it. A effort well proud of a Hugo Chavez. The recovery may falter because they have done a BAD job of getting people back to work, in favor of their pet projects and subsidies to friends, relatives and, of course, contributors. The interesting thing about the comments here is they drank the koolaid about FDR's success, tells you what a lie will do when someone try to apply it a second time.

  67. So you were right here along with us rallying against the crony capitalism that ran MUCH more rampant than the bush years, right? Your perspective is so skewed it's frightening.

    And to your comment about FDR---how many times do you need to drink the "supply-side economics" koolaid to realize it only benefits the wealthy?

  68. i guess you missed the day that mitch mcconnell stated flat-out that the republicans would do any and all things to stymie any policies that would improve the economy.

  69. @Major

    Even Obama and congressional Democrats cuddled up to supply side, trickle down economics when they wrote and passed TARP, the greatest supply side, trickle down legislation in our history. ALL that money was placed into the hands of the very richest among us, with no direction or accountability. And remember that Obama threatened to VETO any bill that included direction or accountability for the release of the second half of the money.

  70. The slowness of growth in economic output since the Great Recession, which officially ended in June, 2009 (about 33 months, thus far in April, 2012) is signaling that this time the economy has been deeply hurt, and maybe structurally and socially changed by the depth of this economic downturn and business as usual will not work. Clearly the problem is too big for any of the existing organized interest or policy groups to solve. Nearly 3 years into the official recovery, high levels of unemployment and underemployment are stubbornly persistent, undermining the efforts made by the Obama Administration and IMF to speed up the recovery. While it is clear that the first priority is to put people back to work in good paying jobs, the jobs priority has been elusive. Calls for auterity continue.

    The evidence points to a structural shift in U.S. economic history after the election of President Reagan. The history was marked with 4 major trends: (1) flat or declining salaries and wages for most Americans, (2) rising gasoline, food and healthcare costs, (3) a steadily widening gap between incomes and wealth of the rich and the poor, and (4) a shrinking “middle income class”.

    Putting Americans back to work in good paying jobs is the first step in restoring the dynamism of the economy. This is the first priority. It is not reducing government deficits. Historically, government deficits will disappear if America starts growing economically by satisfying its own needs.

  71. i. e.: wealth concentration.

    The more parallel redundancy you have in a system, the more resilient it will be. That is the design philosophy of the internet.

  72. With Ronald Reagan? To whatever extent the federal government caused the issues you describe, just remember that congress was filled with Democrats, with large majorities in both the house and senate for the entire term of Reagan's presidency. Every budget that Reagan signed was written by house Democrats who then voted for every one of them. As did the Democrats in the senate.

  73. "Every budget that Reagan signed was written by house Democrats who then voted for every one of them."

    No, this is a lie. Reagan submitted his own budget proposals and they were, on average, higher than the budgets passed by Congress.

  74. It seems to me that the NY Times columnist, Paul Krugman, has it right. If you want to keep the economy moving upward you have to spend some money. Of course, in this country, the Republicans can only talk about lowering taxes as a means of stimulating the economy and the Democrats don't have the nerve to suggest that necessary infrastructure funding take place. So how then can things improve over the long term?

  75. And $16 trillion of debt is not spending enough? How much more debt do we need to incur? How much more in taxes do we need to pay?

  76. "In this country?" You claim to be in Canada but are throwing bricks at ours. So which country is "this" country?

  77. Tony

    The main reason for the $16 trillion debt is joblessness, people not paying into the Treasury. To get out of debt, we will have to get the corporations, somehow, to quit shipping all our jobs overseas.

  78. Ms. Christine Laggarde, the IMF chief probably rightly captures the global economic mood when she says that "It's light recovery blowing in a spring wind with dark clouds on the horizon".

  79. Well, this is because the Europeans still do not take ownership of the economic crisis. The stronger countries want to keep foisting the burden on the countries they exploited during the good times. This sounds like a familiar story-- think about underwater home owners and credit default swaps.

  80. When GWB took office in 2001, the S&P 500 stood at 1340. When he left office in 2009 and handed the reins to Obama, it stood at 840. This AM it is at 1380. Why the worry about recent fluctuations as a sign of a faltering economy? The recovery of the stock market since Obama took office has been as impressive as its collapse under his predecessor was depressive. It will have its ups and downs even in good times.

    More important than the stock market is job recovery. During the winter knowledgable observers were telling us that the mild weather meant that we were not experiencing normal seasonal losses and that we would likely see more modest gains in the spring. So there is scant surprise for anybody who has been paying atte tion. Moreover, we have been warned that Europe would cost us at least .2% in growth due to lost exports. There is a vast reconfiguration of the economy that is ongoing that has less room in it for unskilled labor. None of this will bounce back quickly regardless of who is president. We are in for a long hard slough.

    The housing bubble is another thing. Unfortunately housing is tied to the employment situation and as long as insecurity prevails in the employment market, so too will it prevail in the housing market. We should never expect prices to rebound to bubble levels. You cannot reinflate a burst bubble. Recovery here will be slow regardless who is president.

  81. S&P's - Bubbles ???
    Insecurity - Unemployment ???
    Recovery ???
    Regardless who is president ???

    Let's try the white guy.

  82. The solution is simple. Economics is dominated by the laws of supply and demand. That's it.

    There's only 2 aspects but they are not equal. Ours system is a Market system, market=demand. 70% of economic activity is consumption (demand)

    Government policy can either have a supply bias or a demand bias. What should it do?

    When you have structural inflationary pressure, the Rx is supply side bias policies. When you have deflationary pressure the Rx is likely demand side bias policies

    Because ours is a market based system, demand bias policies are always more effective than supply bias (which is pushing on a string)

    In 1980 Reagan pursued supply bias policies. Then we had inflation so supply bias policies were called for - but they should have ended by 1990.

    Supply bias policies mean giving money to the rich so they'll build new factories. But the rich are motivated by return on investment and won't build a new factory if there is no demand to generate ROI. If supply-side policies persist, eventually it becomes impossible for the rich to get reasonable ROI doing orthodox investing for lack of demand.This leads to demand to deregulate unorthodox investing and investment bubbles in sectors where there is healthy ROI. This was arrived at by 1999.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary Western Governments pored the coals on supply side policies. This lead to cratering demand in 2008. This is a massive failure of democracy. Governments are STILL addicted to supply bias policies

  83. Yeah, the same ole malarky...

    There are other methods of Commerce.
    Our Congress ignores their existance.
    Corporate is their model.
    It pays them the best.

  84. "Fears rise..." Obviously written by someone who fears that it will negatively impact Obama. If George Bush were president, "fears rise" would not be part of the headline.

  85. Ron - want a nice day?

    Try going back to before 9/11 and reading news stories then...

    The Los Angeles Examiner or Herald Tribune, or even the LA Times.
    Wow!!! What a difference.

    As you go back, the stories get softer and nicer and people do too.
    Unless your reading Chicago news.
    Isn't Chicago where Obama and his banker came from?

  86. Recovery is about the psychology of HOPE. Pres.Obama does not get this, even though he wrote the book: "The Audacity of HOPE". Go figure!

    So, where can we find HOPE?

    I think that HOPE can come from a realization that all 300 million Americans have to pitch in, with their hearts and minds. One president and one Congress cannot restore HOPE to the economy.

    But we have lost our HOPES because the government treats us like DOPES.

    So, I suggest that Obama should encourage the nation to focus on ongoing LEARNING for life. I believe that if he came up with some good slogans people would indeed find some HOPE.

    Here are some:

    EDU-CONOMY NOW (linking education and economy to the max)
    LEARN to EARN, TRAIN to GAIN
    LIFE TIME EDUCATION (K-65)
    IMAGI-NATION, not STAG-NATION
    DETERMI-NATION, not PROCRASTI-NATION.

    See:
    EconomyWiseUp.com

  87. The guy wrote the book through a ghost-writer from the CIA.

    Maybe top-heavy salaries for Corporate Execs is the wrong way to go.
    Ya think ???

  88. No, Americans can not vote "we are born to be rich". And this is the GOP mantra.

  89. What's underneath the mumbo-jumbo:
    1) Our economy is premised on the myth of ever-expanding Growth.
    2) Infinite growth in a finite space (the planet) is an absurdity: there is only so much junk people can be convinced of buying (disposable cell phones, anyone?).
    3) There will be no recovery because Growth is basically over. Get used to it.
    4) Our planet itself will be over shortly thereafter (due to the global climate chaos we are causing with our ridiculous way of life).

  90. Congress is in charge of Commerce.
    Their business plan is flawed.

    Corporations do not work for the common folk.
    Only for the greedy thieves.

    I believe that global climate chaos is due to A & H Bomb Testing.
    Notice that subject has never come up?

    Conspiracy Theory? - Damned Right !!!

    Those who live and work in WashingtonDC should be thinking of finding a more hospitable area, and soon.

  91. What a lot of silly, non factual conjecture. Growth is occurring on a daily basis. It should be slowed for sure, but the human animal is an exponential creature. And yes, we can be much more efficient in our use of energy and resources. Necessity is the mother of invention.

  92. With the possibility of a Republican takeover in November and the threats of entitlement contractions they bring to the table....I know what I'm doing. Any penny that doesn't need to get spent gets saved. Great for the demand a durable recovery need to succeed, don't you think?

    I guess the Republicans haven't figured out entitlements, as distasteful as they may be, are a "direct stimulus" to business. Until someone starts doing what I am doing.

  93. The problem is that someone else's entitlements are paid with my tax dollars.
    If I didn't have to pay their entitlements, I could do more stimulating myself, leaving them to what adults d;, that is, take care of themselves.

  94. Robert Cicero, that is exactly the intent of pay as you go funding of social costs incurred by people during thir non-working years. It uses the whole economy as the insurance reserve fund. One becomes "entitled" to the benefits by virtue of ones contributions to pay current benefits during ones own working years.

    I think it is an elegant and fair solution, and I suspect its main flaw is that it is too sophisticated for too many people to get.

  95. Well, I hope the Euro falls some more before my summer trip =).

  96. Best make that a one-way ticket.

  97. So we're finally approaching worldwide critical mass, the point at which growth meets a finite planetary boundary. Continued growth, even in modest terms, becomes unsustainable. Economic models based on growth become unsustainable. Quality of life becomes unsustainable. Population levels become unsustainable. And very,very few have the guts to admit it, maybe at a TED conference, but not in the mainstream media, certainly not amongst our Political leadership. Get ready for the deluge.

  98. Jesse - You've a interesting way to say it, but your basically right.

    The Politicians are just liars wanting to get to the gold.
    The Treasury is bare.
    The People are soon to find out what serfdom is all about.

    I wouldn't plan on a WashingtonDC career at this time in History.
    Pandora's Box has been opened.

  99. "I can't imagine why you wouldn't welcome any change my friend."

    Bring it on!

  100. A consistent theme in the comments among those seeking to blame Obama is ignorance -- of financial recessions, of higher deficits from lower tax revenues, of a worldwide economy that affects national economies, of global markets that determine oil prices and a dozen others. Those who wish to make the president the problem are truly fools, ignoring all economic realities because facts are so inconvenient. Creating jobs after a financial recession is not like doing so after an economic recession. And if you really want to place blame, look no further than House Republicans, who utterly failed to make any effort to help the president improve the economy.

    Eclectic Pragmatist — http://eclectic-pragmatist.tumblr.com/

  101. Not true, Obama is running up a huge pace on the deficit and they are calculating the interest payments based upon the very generous 2.5% low interest rates that the Fed is giving out. If the interest rates shift to the more normal 5.6% the explosion of the interest due will be unmanageable.

    This lack of restraint along with 4 more years of unbridled spending if Obama is re-elected will insure the demise of this country. How long can you expect to spend money you don't have?

    The long term prospect for default is certain at these rates and I hope then that the vast majority of Americans are studying Mandarin because its coming.

  102. This analysis describes a persistent nagging concern about the durability of our nation's economic recovery.

    Despite a transition to a growth mode -- the recession has been over for months -- some factors are affecting the vibrancy of the recovery such as high gas prices, concerns about the European economy and the tentative nature of consumer confidence.

    And, even though the stock market has been tracking upward for some time now, the S&P 500 has dropped three percent since the beginning of April. That does not augur well for continued growth.

    There are still areas for optimism as car and retail sales are continuing their vigorous activity. The unemployment rate remains stuck at over eight percent, though, and does not seem to be poised for a significant further drop.

    As with so many other areas of life, the fate of the economy could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If consumers feel confident, they spend, sparking the economy and thus making them feel more confident. The reverse, unfortunately, is also true. With all the statistics, it is ironic that the real fate of the economy could be based on something as intangible as a person's feelings. (To read an analysis of the lead story each morning, visit http://www.cioediting.com/wordpress.)

  103. The student loan problem is very serious, for too many students "drank the Coolaid" and borrowed up to the hilt for degrees in fields in which they can never catch up financially. As we all know, student loan debt cannot be discharged, even through bankruptcy.

    Only way to escape is to leave the US for good.

  104. And Obama wants to make it even easier for students to borrow for school. Maybe if Obama beat up on the schools to reduce tuition and other costs, he would be doing something useful for students.

  105. in 1957 I graduated from Rutgers with no loan debt. Credit cost $12 per credit $180 per semester for full time student and I could work and earn my tuition. America had no loan debt of students. The fed has caused the creation of indebted students throrugh inflation, etc.

  106. At the end of June, 2009 the USA completed the second consecutive quarter of growth in GDP (gross domestic product)--and having done so, technically speaking, the recession ended. That's how economists see it. But the recovery is happening at such a slow pace it seems like we are still in the recession. The bottom line is, though, that the recovery is so weak that something as simple as high gasoline prices could eventually send us back into recession--and worse than what we had before.

  107. Nothing will improve until the U-6 (underemployment) line item decreases on the monthly jobs report. People cannot pay bills or spend if they're not making money. Rich people moving money around on Wall St isn't a sign of economic recovery.

  108. Agreed. And yet the equity markets play a significant role in determining whether or not, officially, the economy is improving. As was noted prominently in this article.

  109. hello. government is in bed with big business. small business is strangled by requirements which big business gets exemptions from. SMALL business employs most Americans, and is only holding on by a thread. nobody wants to open new small business in this regulatory environment: that in reality only applies to small business. internal devaluation of currency by unprecedented spending on the federal level, has devalued wages- while inflating commodity prices; concurrent to casino corruption on Wall Street- all in favor of big business. there are more wealthy people than ever, and they do not provide jobs. big business is bigger than ever, and they can only provide so relatively few jobs. government needs to restore the business environment favorable to small business, before investment will return to the middle class. when small business is provided an environment to prosper- America prospers.

  110. isn't this just what mitch mcconnel and his gop have worked for since obama's inauguration. to block any and all federal policies that might actually create jobs and stabilize the economy. mitch mcconnell and his gop would prefer that americans suffer with unemployment and reduced assistance, thinking that people will flock to the republican ticket.

    memo to mitch mcconnel and his gop: it won't work. unless, of course, the voting restrictions and assorted shenanigans are again employed by the republicans. antonin scalia and michael connell (rip) are no longer available to work their angles...

  111. Yes but didn't BO have the majority for 2+ years? What did he do with it? Perhaps some meaningful legislation could have been pushed through other than his baby...Obamacare.

  112. There is a lot of uncertainty about the worldwilde economy recovery since the economic management everywhere is done by the same greedy and speculative mentalities.

  113. What has changed since the Roman Empire?

  114. By now this should all too clear to everyone. Without housing there will be no recovery. Housing sends money in every direction and is the engine that drives consumer confidence. Not the Federal Reserve, not the car industry, not the administration, not bailouts can get the economy back on track. All these other ban-aids are designed to keep us from totally collapsing until housing gets its feet back under it again. With 1.5 million new foreclosures pending, it will likely be next year at the earliest before things pick up.

  115. You can't build an economy on housing. US population is increasing at less than 1% per year. If you try to build and sell houses faster than new people arrive to live in them -- which we did from 2002-2007 -- you've got an unsustainable situation.

    The housing industry is based on the assumption that there's an unending supply of people who need new houses. It's similar to the fishing industry, which assumed an unending supply of fish, and it's in for the same rude awakening.

  116. A MUCH better economic engine than housing needs to become part of the foundation. Like all markets Housing is subject to boom and bust cycles, clearly predatory manipulation, smoke and mirrors "wealth". The recent market resembled nothing so much as a huge Ponzi scheme. If the commentator is suggesting that a US recovery cannot be made without reliance upon Ponzi schemes such as the housing market, he may have a point, one with terrible implications.

  117. So the progress in reviving the economy is slow and will remain slow. Having the party of NO continuously building roadblocks to the recovery doesn`t help.

    Perhaps the 45% of US citizens that reported in 8 separate Gallup polls over the last 27 years, that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and that evolution didn`t happen deserve the rut they are in. ie. The Republican created rut but the rest of the citizens are being punished for their ignorance.

  118. One can even identify the momentous year of 1953 when the US placed itself "under God", blasting right through the constitutional prohibition of faith based legislation, and began confusing youth with the notion that there is an adult in charge on the far side of the sky in a pledge of allegiance they recite every day in school.

  119. Troubleshooting involves 4 basic steps. Recognize that there is a problem, identify the problem, devise a solution, and finally, fix the probblem. Step one has been completed by most gurus. Lets get back to work, gurus.

  120. Economists, politicians, and journalists above all are always using lazy black-box methods of gauging the progress of the economy. We've seen all the detailed signs of a troubled recovery since this time last year, but so long as the stock market or bond market were booming, they considered things to be good. Everyone needs to understand by now that the stock market is a special type of casino designed to simulate an open market for investable goods of value in order to allow the ultra-wealthy to deposit their funds and be assured of a profit when they take them out. The background technical operations of the stock markets are designed to skim funds from small players and captive investment pools in order to guarantee good results to their plutocratic primary clients. The stock markets are not a genuine indicator of the health of the economy, they are indicators of the scope of personal wealth of the capitalist classes...

  121. Ideally, a stock market is a means to distibute dividends from productivity advances.

  122. this reads like atlas shrugged. somehow the economic leaders of the world are going to get together and "talk down" oil prices! oil is expensive because the dollar is weak. the more dollars we print, the weaker the dollar gets. does anyone really believe that we can borrow our way to prosperity? and all this mounting debt we have to deal with as a country, and a world for that matter, it's government debt. something about fixing the problem with the same minds that created it comes to mind.

  123. Try taxing what you will spend for a change. After all, everything you spend becomes somebody's income one way or another.

  124. Yes, Bill, I agree with everything you've said. Ayn Rand must be turning in her grave at all that is going on these days.

  125. From 2005 til 2012 the ratio of USD/Euro has remained fairly stable, around and average of 0.76. In the other hand oil prices have experienced much more variation most likely due to increase consumption by China and India and the economic crisis. If anything thing, higher oil prices will push us to finally get off our addiction to it in favor of safer energy sources both from the stand point of environmental impact as well as geopolitical repercussions.

  126. So, once again, we have lots of BO supporters floating the idea that the problem isn't economics nor the current administration.
    The premise is that it is the GOP that is deliberately keeping the economy down, as long as BO remains in the White House.

    Let's assume that this premise is an accurate assessment.
    Presuming that it is accurate, what possibly makes anyone think that this situation would change, if BO were reelected?

    If a voter believes that BO will forever be hampered by his opponents, regardless of all else, then why would anyone vote for four more years of gridlock, stagnation and a fragile economy?

    Wouldn't the sensible, practical and rational thing be to vote for someone, anyone, who wouldn't be so hamstrung?

  127. Romney looks even more hamstrung to me.

  128. Do you really believe that the GOP would take the initiative to facilitate market competition vis-a-vis jobs, education, and healthcare?

    Are you really that naive?

  129. Again, *assuming* the GOP is trying to hold the economy hostage (which I don't believe to be true)...

    you think best thing to do is just give the hostage-takers whatever they want?

  130. That the sluggishness of growth could help Mitt Romney is a sad testament to the collective amnesia, ignorance and vulnerability to propaganda of American voters.

    What we're experiencing right now is a slow climb out of a hangover resulting from the binge economy we've had in this country for the last 30 years, starting with the policies of the Reagan administration -- policies that Romney has every intention of perpetuating, if not intensifying. A vote for Romney would be a vote for more useless tax cuts for the wealthy, more weakening of regulations that protect the public, even less investment in critical infrastructure and maybe even another war or two.

    But let's look at the results of our three decades of catastrophically misguided economic policy. Instead of investing in infrastructure and making things, we've based economic growth on Wall Street gambling and real estate speculation. We've let manufacturing flee the country, ceding entire industries to international competitors, and treating that disturbing trend as little more than natural market forces at work or even as something to be celebrated. Companies have shifted their focus from long-term, sustainable growth to an obsession with quarterly earnings that must grow at all costs.

    This is why our recovery has been so sluggish, and we need policies to create real, sustainable growth, not more of the same bad policies, which are what Romney is proposing and would surely deliver.

  131. Agree with all you have noted except that you tacitly indicate that you sense a recovery is in fact underway. Not sure where the capacity to produce rather than unrelentingly consume can be found. Otherwise, very nicely stated.

  132. Regardless of what happens to the economy of our country we must increase our efforts to help the many millions of small businesses across our land which produce the products vital to the future of America. Most big businesses have ample reserves of cash and don't need additional tax breaks or sweetheart deals. Besides, they don't produce products which are crucial to the survival of this country. Our mom and pop businesses do!

    Right now many of our mom and pop businesses have seen many of their lines of support dry up and negatively effect their ability to deal with day to day problems, unexpected catastrophies, or to plan for the future. It has become difficult for them to not only ensure that their products turn out well but to also make sure that they can compete effectively in a world which is catching up to and even, in some cases, surpassing us. We as a people have a moral responsibility to ensure that these small businesses - and their precious products - succeed because our continued existence depends on their success.

    The most important businesses in our countries are our families, and our most important products, more important than any spaceship to the moon or any theme park, are our children. It doesn't matter how many atomic bombs we have or how strong our armed forces are if our young people go without food, shelter, health care and a good education. If we don't provide them with what they need to grow strong and smart, then our country has no future.

  133. Incredible Europe is a basket case with their Ryan austerity plan and we have to constantly view headlines going from one extreme to the other. One moment NYTimes reports Europe doing well then, ouch, guess what it's going bad. If we follow the Ryan Plan then look out because we will then end up a basket case as Europe. If the newspepers would stop going from extreme to the next then hopefully people would not be having fits and insecurtiy as to our economy. But one thing is for sure implement the Ryan Plan and we will sink into a hole or a major Depression. Republicans hate Europe but sure want to implement their economic mess.

  134. Profligate borrowing and spending caused the Europe problem, not the Ryan Plan.

  135. One of Romneys extreme positions is the desire to keep the USA from total economic breakdown, collapse and bankruptcy ala Greece.

    Obama is more moderate on the issue.

  136. Oil prices might stabilize somewhat if all the foolish talk of war with Iran were stopped.

  137. Perhaps it's time to start pointing out the largish elephant in the global room.

    The bond yields Euros (and particularly southern-tier countries) have been forced to accept to get buyers to roll over their maturing debt and finance new deficits have until recently been at historic lows, and now are only beginning to approach norms. How long, precisely, did they expect to get rock-bottom rates such as these by anything resembling historical experience? And if their very existence is premised on the availability of 3% or 4% yields at current debt and spending levels, whatever were they thinking?

    If 6% or 7% represents such a monumental catastrophe when that's not much higher than you'd expect yields to be historically, then perhaps we all need to look at how strategically sustainable these economies are at all, regardless of the possibility of more aggressive action by their central bank and more stable economies.

  138. No, he is trying to keep workers from falling into abject poverty and despair. Unemployment is essential to sustaining our economy. The alternative is to have even greater social and economic problems. People can and will get more employment as that becomes available.

  139. The future of employment looks awfully grim. According to many estimates we add about 135,000 new entrants to the labor force each month on population growth alone. Yet the number of people employed in this country stands now at the same number as in 2000. Which means since that time we've added about 18 million more people to the work force who don't have jobs. And yet we're still adding new entrants to the job market each and every month.

    How long will it take to clear the backlog? Even if employers added a net 300,000 new jobs a month every month, something that isn't at all likely, we would need 9 years for all the new entrants to get a job along with the 18 million who don't have one now. Practical numbers even in a strong recovery are more likely around 15 years to do that job. I pity those new graduates whose hope for change is not likely to do them a bit of good.

  140. According to the Republicans, the obscene wealth of the 1% and their low tax rate and loopholes will create jobs, but those tax advantages have been around for a decade or so and haven't produced the jobs they still say will be created if they get even more money. More of the same is what Mitt Romney would bring and even worse--the Robert Bork dogma.

    If the Republicans would vote for closing the tax loopholes that still subsidize oil companies that don't need it and others and raise the effective income tax for the wealthiest who don't need it--the Buffett Rule--and vote for the infrastructure bill that would save lives and provide many jobs, the economy would improve, especially with the wars basically over.

    The reason the economy isn't improving as fast as it could is directly attributable to the Republican Party that cares more about obtaining power than helping our country and its citizens.

  141. Yeah, that 5% unemployment rate under W was brutal.

  142. Unfortunately, this piece serves mainly as propaganda to justify the continuation of failed policy, the "further actions" Mr. Zoellick is referring to.
    The ECB has been following our lead. The difference is, here, the Federal Reserve answers to no one, while in Europe, they have to come to agreements. But people need to continue to be reminded of the fact that what the Fed continues to do is criminal. Likewise, the ECB policy of providing private financial institutions with unlimited free money is nothing less than theft in advance of the calamitous fallout the world is still experiencing in the aftermath of the implosion of debt-related derivatives that began in the U.S. in 2007.
    Zero transparency is still the order of the day. That is why the analyst quoted can say "One has the feeling that any moment, things could well get very bad again.” Off with their heads, if that is the case, considering the trillions they have taken.
    We must face this: the fallout was certain. Trillions of losses were going to need to be wound down or transfered. The choice was who would feel the pain. Every single step of the way, plutocrats and central bankers have saved their friends, not the citizenry. Unlimited free money has not been extended to unemployed Spaniards, for example, but Spains private banks are about to be bailed out by the entire European Union, without so much as a by-your-leave.
    Lastly, Geithner is a scheming crook who will work for Goldman or Citi when he leaves in infamy.

  143. WHEN THE U.S. ECONOMIC MUSICAL CHAIRS STOPPED

    Musical Chairs is a party game in which players compete for a decreasing number of chairs, the losers in successive rounds being those unable to find a chair to sit on when the accompanying music is abruptly stopped.

    In the years prior to 2008 under the Bush administration, the corporate players crafted a new economic model and the U.S. Government and the FED unwittingly supported their financial scheme.

    In 2008, 75% of all Americans were wiped out, lost their wealth or credit and only those with wealth and liquidity could continue the economic musical chairs game.

    This crippling event and the mortgage market melt down will play out for a full generation. If you possess the cash and liquidity, you're good as gold. If you do not, tough times lie ahead.

    The illusive U.S. Economic recovery is simply mimicking the reality of our times.

    In real estate development, for example, certain traditional markets are decimated and yet certain niche real estate development markets are flourishing with great development opportunity if you know where to look and possess the specialized skills.

    Warmest,

    Richard Michael Abraham
    Founder
    The REDI Foundation
    www.redii.org

  144. Shepherdson: "It is a tango." Yet, it takes two to tango, and in the US there is only one dominant note expressed by both major candidates and parties, that of market fundamentalism and its corollaries--a trickle-down framework and privatization. Independent, autonomous government, the other partner in the tango, is utterly lacking. We expect this from Republican antigovernment tirades, but the Obama administration has taken over whole from the Clinton administration the whole DEREGULATION crowd that gave us the destruction of Glass-Steagall, and, now, in the spirit of Robert Rubin, the completely ineffectual control over the financial industry.

    Yes, recovery will be slow, barely sustainable, and always skirting the abyss of another serious recession. How could it be otherwise? Job creation is a phony, half-hearted administration effort, while genuine public works, along FDR New Deal lines, is anathema to present-day Democrats as verging on communism (although the real reason is, such work is not funneled through private contractors). The same about the foreclosure issue: people lose their homes, many double up, but criminal penalties for those responsible are nonexistent and the problem itself is permitted to fester.

    Recovery is predicated on viable consumption. America is losing its industrial foundations. Financialization is the name of the game for the total economy. Unemployment is hardly the way to prosperity.

  145. When thoughtful people really take time to analyze the nature of deductive reasoning, the word universe -all things turned into One, unitarity (physics) the some total of all probabilities and possibilites equals One, e pluribus unum- out of many One, it becomes apparent that the reason we operate in a state of "controled chaos" is not because of a lack of resources but a world wide deficit of purpose and this extant impulse for the "few" to rule the "many"! This is our reality but not the universe's actuality.

    It is an absurd-useless-exercise to analyze and argue over the infinite particulars that are the product of our collective misapplications when the very thesis that undergirds our cultural paradigm is rooted in Cosmic Law but applied via the falsities of the human ego- the actual "devil" that we must all fight within each of us! Remember that politics is a sphere but economics, as we presently practice it, is a pyramid. And anyone that knows anything about geometry knows that the sphere is the mother of all geometric expressions! Therefore, let not the uber materialists deceive us into thinking that an economc system has an equal footing with the political system from whence it was born! For this is cultural corruption.

  146. Huh?

  147. Prices up across the board but especially gasoline.

    Profits up on eveyrhting but especially gasoline.

    Stock market makes another spectacular three year recovery. Investors make out like bandits.

    Job market stagnet in US while profits increase as the global econamy becomes the new normal.

    Americans still have not figured out that the loss of jobs in directly proportional to their buying of endless cheap crap from overseas.

    And where do those claiming that oil company gouging and commodities speculation have not driven up the price of gas get off.

    Reading the Times you would never know the US has and is exporting billions in gasoline.

    In December 2011, West Coast refineries exported an average of 33,000 barrels a day of motor gasoline, according to data provided by the United States Energy Information Administration, up from just 4,000 barrels a day in 2007, before the recession began.

    But the region’s five oil refineries along San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait were responsible for $7.8 billion in oil exports in 2010, more than any other metro area in the country, according to a report released Thursday by the Brookings Institution.

    Jonathan Cogan, a spokesman for the energy information agency, said the search for new markets had been a relatively easy one, because in many developing countries — including Brazil, China and Mexico — demand for refined oil far outstrips supply.

    You think they pay $4.00 per gallon?

  148. Gas prices have started down in the last two weeks. A little too convenient for Obama by my way of thinking!

  149. It is better late than never that the worlds economic leaders address the impact of oil prices on the world's economies. In the nineties, oil was cheap and our economy really prospered, then the price ran up in later years under the Republicans until 2008 when the peak prices of oil crippled the world's economies. Then rapid declines in consumption as a result of the recession led to lower oil prices, thus allowing the economies to recover over the last few years, but now the price of oil has escalated to new heights once again slowing the recovery.

    Oil is a major resource that goes into everything, including plastics and chemiclas, moves everything and everybody, warms everyone, and when converted to energy through combustion, provides energy for business and manufacturing. The price figures into the bottom line of every aspect of commerce.

    I give wholehearted thanks to Joseph Kennedy III and the Times for publishing his op-ed regarding price speculation in the oil market.

    The price of oil is a vital natural resource that must be regulated by Congress who's responsiblity is the stewardship of commerce. The price of oil cannot be tolerated or a depression will result, not only destroying commerce but threatening national security.

    Regulation is needed to limit speculation in the markets. As Mr. Kennedy pointed out, there are 9 middlemen for every buying user that takes delivery.

    If the government can't control the market, they can affect supply and demand.

    Act now!

  150. Maybe I'm wrong, but the Recovery Stimulus plan was grossly flawed.
    Why didn't the US begin the recovery from the bottom up, instead of the top down?
    Every sign points to the fact that that's where help is needed the most.
    Imagine what could happen to the economy if,,, instead of pumping billions into
    people who could already help themselves if they weren't so cheap, to,,, say,,, distributing $1 mil to every person in the US , the age of 21 and over. Houses could be bought, debt could be paid off, small businesses would spring up in every community. People could have adequate health care . Autos could be purchased. etc. etc. etc. At that level, economy would be spurred way beyond giving it to corporations who would just fork it over to over-paid CEO and cohorts, wasting it on Pow-Wows in exotic locations etc.
    Just a thought...... but isn't it worth a try?

  151. Get real! A million dollars apiece to about 200 million individuals amounts to 200 TRILLION dollars. Where do you suppose that much money exists other than in your fantasy?

  152. I am so old I actually survived without much damage (perhaps no damage at all) the Great Depression of the thirties. So, I am not that impressed by the current difficulties. Of course, the economy can be better but that is true even during the best of times. Where is the ceiling and where is the floor? Nobody can say.

    Do administrations play a significant role in these matters? I do not think so. I was just a baby when FDR was in charge but I think it is generally believed that WWII assured the end of Great Depression, not FDR's efforts. Of course, he was the Cheerleader in Chief and I think people here (and aournd the world) really admired him for that. Obama is definitely not on his level but he tries. Do people like him enough to re-elect him? Perhaps but we cannot be sure.

    To me one thing is clear: Romney will surely make things worse. Obama may not make them better but we will be better off with him, at least psychologically and on some non-economical issues. Romney, as a true Mormon, has to live in an early 19th century - the world has not changed much for him since Angel Moroni revealed himself to Mr. Smith in New York.

    But that may be just my senile take on things. Old age does not necessarily brings wisdom

  153. Cute. Right after you claim that administrations play no significant role in the economy, you reverse course to say that the do. If Romney can significantly affect the economy as you want to believe, then so can every other president, which you don't want to believe. Which suggests your comment is more a tribute to your long life than to any reliable understanding of economics.

  154. the title here is misleading. we, the 99%, don't have rsing fears. we know the economy isn't coming back anytime soon and neither romney nor obama can change that. congress and the senate hold the key here -- but they and their wall street friends wnat to keep the keys for themselves. they need to find courage and integrity to do the right thing. that will be very dificult since they have behaved selfishly and self-serving for the last 30 years. we need more than the two identical parties that exist at present.

  155. it really makes me laugh when the liberals on the NYTimes sight the do nothing obstructionist congress that the republicans got control of in 2010. The reason they got control was the uncontrollable democrats had majorities and were giving us 1.5 trillion dollars deficits and obamacare. Let also not forget that they have not passed a budget since Obama has been in office and his budgets get voted down without one ONE democrat voting for it.

    So when the citizens of this country turn over the house by a record number of seats it speaks directly to what the majority of the citizens want and that is not a demo controlled govt that will use their power without regard to any harm that it produces.

    So the house turned away from the democrats by we the people and the republican house is just doing some of what the people want basically stop the obama agenda cold until we can get a new president of all americans.

    As far as the economy goes....what about all those green jobs? oh they dont really exist without massive govt subsidies. The fact is this president and the democrats in general do not care about anything other then power to rule over every aspect of your life.

    The democratic party of today is nothing but a socialist workers party seeking to alienate everyone from each other by putting you in your special box...AKA divide and conquer.

  156. One wonders what the headline will be next week -- the outlook changes constantly with no rhyme or reason, so who's paying attention anymore?

  157. Come on folks, this is not a recovery. Using the word recovery is a nice campaign ploy for Obama, but overall, things are worse for us all than they were before Obama took office. Regardless of the original reasons why this economy has been failing, it is Obama's job to correct the situation, and he is FAILING TO DO SO. He tinkers here and there, awarding various monies and benefits to his current pet organizations, companies and sectors, and it all adds up to nothing. He has no coherent plan to improve things. Arguments about who is favored to get the best tax rates are a big distraction from the FACT that our national debt is FRIGHTENINGLY HIGH, unemployment continues at record rates, the mortgage situation is still HORRIBLE, and we are still engaged in a war we cannot win, and that has NO BENEFIT WHATSOEVER to our country... we have spent trillioins on foreign engagements since Obama took office, and thousands more lives have been lost... what happened to Obama's promises to pull us out QUICKLY?? CLEARLY it is time for this country to get new leadership.

  158. As the Fed gears up to print more money via QE3, you can rest assured that the money won't flow where they want it to, but instead will flow to the stock, oil, and commodity markets. The dollar will continue its death march and the prices of everything will continue to increase.

  159. These "growth" numbers by the month - economy, job numbers - are utterly worthless, and the media should cease chasing these numbers stories.

    The US had 132.5 million jobs in March 2012, which is the same number of jobs in April of 2000. We need to redefine what kind of growth is important, and the focus should be on the quality of life for the average citizen.

    Even lacking that, we'll have no real economic "growth" with decades of governments that have no interest in creating living wage jobs, let alone middle class jobs, and whose priorities are giving money to Wall Street speculators.

  160. Imagine spending $5 Trillion more that you make. Sounds like a great party right? Bush did it in 8 years, Obama took only 3.3 years.

    But where is the great party? Guess I missed it. We are the richest country in the world but drowning in debt. Repeat that over and over and over until it makes sense.

  161. The world was at the brink of economic collapse when Obama became President. His great accomplishment was preventing bread lines. You may want to read The Big Short by Michael Lewis or see the movie by the same name. Today we are fairing better than the Euro Zone. The prescription of cutting expenditures is not working.

  162. Wake me when the news is good and it lasts for more than ten minutes. I wonder if it takes longer to write these articles about the fluid economy or for the economy to change. It's like a bad roller coaster ride that won't stop.

    I'm getting sick from all this up and down.

    Let's face it the only constant is change!

  163. Never ending growth in a biological organism - such as a human being - is called cancer. Unchecked, the growth called cancer will cause death. The earth - the biosphere with all living things - is also a kind of organism. Never ending economic growth is a threat to the biosphere. Growth causes resource depletion, environmental destruction, pollution, species extinction... Unchecked economic growth may eventually cause the destruction of the biosphere. The central paradigm of our society - perpetual growth - is a delusional fantasy. Nothing in Nature grows forever. We are part of Nature. We are not going to grow forever either.

  164. The electorate is unsure; lacks confidence in eithe Mitt Romney and President Obama.

    No cofidence in President Obama; no certainty even for a slow recovery. and this leaves

    a vacuum to be filled by the predator; the operative of the one percent; Mitt Romney.

    Obama should step down and allow Hillary Clinton to run in his place; The Democrats
    would win; and confidence would be restored; and the economy would then become
    consistenly better; slowly better; and very consistent; no one I believe would lack
    confidence in the ability of Hillary Clinton to put this country back on track.

  165. Baloney. Since Bush left office, Dow's up 64% and S&P's up 71%. I'd say that's sort of a recovery, huh?

  166. Pretty weak recovery if we have to worry about little whiffs of air blowing it all away, eh!?!?!?

    Not even huffs and puffs will put it back together again (mixing my metaphorical nursery rhymes - oops)!!

    :)

  167. A little recognized mortal threat from solar storms capable of collapsing power grids has the potential to unleash a nuclear nightmare.

    Strong action to prevent the worst appears possible. New technology will be in production this summer capable of protecting the grid.

    There are 5,500 vulnerable huge transformers in the USA and perhaps 20,000 worldwide. Rapidly protecting each of them is a massive project - which might save millions of lives - and avoid the potential of permanent evacuation of major cities such as New York, Washington and many others.

    See 400 Fukushimas? at www.aesopinstitute.org for an overview of the problem and what might be done to minimize the impact.

    Wise steps taken in time can generate large numbers of jobs and sharply boost the economy.

    NASA and NOAA predict as many as 14 possible strong solar storms can impact the earth during the next 3 years.