Stealth Bananas!!!
…At a basic level, this is all kind of terrifying. If top financial officials and credentialed economists can’t even avoid getting confused about the difference between asset prices and productive capacity, what hope is there for rational policy discussion?

U-3 — This is what BLS calls the “official unemployment rate.” It represents unemployed workers who are actively searching for a new job. That’s the 8.3 percent rate that made headlines last week.

U-4 — This is the total unemployed plus “discouraged workers.” Discouraged workers are those who have given up looking for a job because they are convinced there aren’t any available for them. It was 8.9 percent in January.

U-5 — This is the total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus “other persons marginally attached to the labor force.” The marginally attached are people who are neither working nor looking for work, but indicate they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the last year. But they aren’t counted as unemployed, because they didn’t actively search for work in the last four weeks. That rate was 9.9 percent in January.

U-6 — This is the catch-all of the lot. It includes all of the above groups — total unemployed, discouraged workers and the marginally attached — plus part-time workers who say they would like to be working more, but for economic reasons could only find part-time work. It was 15.1 percent in January.

From the comments:

"And why would that be a good idea?"

"Well… I’ll make a more money that way"

"And why is that good?

"Well…I can use that money to invest in more businesses."

"And what amazing advice do you tell these new businesses?"

"Mainly… cut staff and wages and do whatever you can to boost their stock price"

"And why is that good?"

"Because if I time it just right, I can cash out right before everyone realizes how gutted the place is"

"And why… is that good?"

"Well… as I said before, I make a lot more money that way"

"… which you can invest in more bus-"

"Which I can invest in more businesses, exactly"

"Isn’t that a bit circuitous?"

"What… oh… oh no. Yes, I see your problem. You don’t fully understand. You see, I don’t fully invest the cashout money. I keep some as well… a lot actually. I can always get money from your fathers pension fund for the actual acquisition. So while it may seem circuitous, my pile of money actually keeps going up."


"Hey, don’t pull that face. That’s just capitalism. It’s not my fault I was blessed with the innate ability and massive inheritance to take advantage of it. You’re just envious. Anyway, can I count on your vote this November?"

From the comments:

"…It used to be that gov’t workers were considered to be low paid, relative to private sector workers. The idea was that working for the public involved some sacrifice, that gov’t workers were willing to make. What has happened since then is not that gov’t workers have gotten better pay and benefits, but that private sector workers have gotten worse pay and benefits. They are poorly paid. That is the problem.

"And if anything, better pay for gov’t workers serves to bolster pay for private sector workers, by giving them the alternative of working for the gov’t. Lowering gov’t workers’ pay would be more likely to lower private sector pay, instead of equalizing it…."

…the left and right aren’t symmetric. People of all persuasions lie; but the right has a whole institutional structure of lying that has no counterpart on the left.
…Keynesian analysis should be part of the mainstream, and does not need to be embodied in a school of thought. However, for those that like schools of thought, I will replace it with a new one: the anti-Keynesian school of thought. It covers all those who attempt to dismiss Keynesian ideas like fiscal stimulus at the zero bound, or countercyclical fiscal policy in a monetary union, not through reasoned analysis, but by just labeling it Keynesian.

Who finances the research? Well, there’s a whole lot more money for the fossil fuel industries to fund their preferred brands of propaganda:

…37 governments spent $409bn on artificially lowering the price of fossil fuels in 2010. Critics say the subsidies significantly boost oil and gas consumption and disadvantage renewable energy technologies, which received only $66bn of subsidies in the same year….

Here are the stages of inequality rationalization:

1. Rising inequality? What rise in inequality?

2. OK, inequality has been rising, but it doesn’t matter, because we have lots of social mobility.

3. OK, we don’t have lots of social mobility. But that’s a good thing….

…For years, opinion leaders have told us that it’s all about family values. And it is — but it will take a while before most people realize that they meant the value of coming from the right family.

From the comments:

"The creaming off of most of the wealth generated in the US since the 1970’s by the wealthy and powerful is clearly attributable to concentrated and sustained political efforts, from Reagan onward, to attain this end. There may be some impact of technological change and globalization of markets, but it was largely a triumph of propaganda engineering that persuaded millions of Americans to vote against their own economic interests. This process continues today."

…Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas….Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares….

…In 1996, Gingrich succeeded as House Speaker in passing welfare “reform,” which decimated the welfare program, particularly its ability to respond during times of economic stress. Because TANF (welfare) is block-granted, it cannot increase when more people become eligible for it. As a result, SNAP became one of the easiest ways to provide needed benefits to struggling Americans. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities writes that “SNAP’s role in the safety net has been all the more important because TANF cash assistance has not been available to many unemployed low-income families.” The 1996 welfare reform made cuts to SNAP, most of which remain. But it’s still expandable during a downturn, unlike TANF. In 2010, 40% of single mothers received food stamps, while only 10% received TANF funds. And this is why SNAP costs increased by 102% during the Great Recession.

In other words, without the “end of welfare as we know it,” nobody would likely have become a food stamp President. The closing of the welfare channel forced an opening of a separate channel to deliver benefits. I suppose the other option is to let the poor starve, which Gingrich must be advancing. But when he talks about “food stamp Presidents,” recognize that he’s responsible.

And he should be thrilled to take the credit! The US Department of Agriculture estimates that $1 spent on food stamps generates $1.79 for the economy, creating economic activity with one of the best multipliers of any federal program. Census data from 2011 shows that SNAP kept 5.1 million Americans out of poverty, including substantial numbers of women and children. It’s a great program that helps the food production industry, keeps struggling families afloat when the economy turns sharply against them, and which has an historically low error rate. Almost all of the benefits get directly to people with a tiny administrative overhead….

…Welcome to the wonderful world of estate planning for the super wealthy. The Romney kids will have to pay taxes when they start taking income from the trust their father set up for them — at the usual 15% rate paid by millionaires, of course — but the inheritance itself is blissfully tax free…

…About one-fourth of all German businesses take part in this apprenticeship program; six of 10 apprentices end up getting hired permanently, said Dirk Werner of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.

The practice, he said, is a key reason why Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates for 15- to 24-year-olds, about 9.7%, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. In the U.S., the comparable rate is about twice that….

& they’re worth every penny…in their own minds!

& they’re worth every penny…in their own minds!