Robert Reich: The latest jobs bill coming out of Washington isn’t really a bill at all. It’s the Fed’s attempt to keep long-term interest rates low by pumping even more money into the economy (“quantiative easing” in Fed-speak).
David Love: Although the history still has yet to be written on the Obama presidency, it looks as if the second coming of F.D.R. ain’t gonna happen just yet. There are very good intentions in this administration, mixed with conflicting allegiances and amateurism.
Robert Reich: John Boehner, the Republican House leader who will become Speaker if Democrats lose control of the House in the upcoming midterms, recently offered his solution to the current economic crisis: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.”
Robert Reich: The Fed’s decision Tuesday to keep short-term interest rates near zero is no surprise. What’s odd is its apparent decision not to boost the economy by buying hundreds of billions of bonds — despite its acknowledgment that ”the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months,” and that prices are rising too slowly for comfort (i.e., we might be facing deflation).
Robert Reich: A record number of Americans is unemployed for a record length of time. This is a national tragedy. It is to the nation’s credit that many are receiving unemployment benefits. This is good not only for them and their families but also for the economy as a whole, because it allows them to spend and thereby keep others in jobs.
Robert Reich: We’re unlikely to see a repeat of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariffs that worsened and lengthened the Great Depression. But you can forget trade-opening agreements. In Toronto last week, the G-20 leaders dropped their 2009 pledge to finish the Doha round this year. In the U.S., agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia are languishing.
David Barber: What I do know is that while “social psychology” may have had some small role as a causal factor in the Crash of ’08, it was the actual structure of the American and world economies which brought on the crisis. And if in fact we enter a second round of this Crash, it will not stem from what Dr. Shiller calls a “weakness and vulnerability of confidence,” but will result from the same structural elements of our economy as those that brought on the “first dip.”