Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Better than Nothing?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Better than Nothing?

Tomorrow appears to be stimulus day, when the Senate will vote, presumably, to pass it now that they've taken steps to undermine it. Paul Krugman calls it "really, really inadequate" and predicts that it will cost us 600,000 more jobs over the next two years, which essentially is the same thing as saying the people who lost their jobs in January won't be going back to work any time soon. I was rooting around the Gavel, the Speaker of the House blog, the other day and came upon this graphic (click it for a bigger version):

UPDATE--I didn't realize that shrinking the graphic to fit would take out so much of the detail, so here's a quick explanation of what the lines mean (in case you don't want to click through for full size). The Blue line tracks job loss in the 1990 recession. It peaked at just above a million and a half after a year of recession and leveled off for a while. The entire recession lasted 32 months. The Red line is job loss in the 2001 recession. After a year, job loss was over two million, and it kept dropping slowly until it bottomed out at about 2.7 million about a year and a half later. In all, jobs didn't come back to where they'd been for four years. The Green line is where we are now: more than 3.5 million jobs lost in a plunge after 14 months that shows no sign yet of bottoming out. Just taking a look at the graphic itself, you wouldn't be wrong in interpreting the Green line as falling off a cliff.

That's a lot of jobs being lost. It's important to realize that, despite the Obama administration's attempt to reach out in bipartisanship, there's not really anything in it for Republicans to go along. When a Democratic president governs with strong Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, an economy in shambles is Good for Republicans. Despite what the John McCain camp claimed about "Country First," the Republicans are trying to salvage a party that's been repudiated at the polls. You'd think that we'd all benefit from a strong economy, but if the Democrats do well, then they'll continue to have strong returns at the polls, and that comes at the expense of Republicans. Politics trumps all.


Post a Comment

<< Home