The fight for recovery is over. The feds have waved the white flag. Maybe…
The Labor Department came out with the latest employment numbers last week. They were atrocious. Only about a fifth as many new jobs as economists expected. Which shows you three things.
First, economists can’t really predict levels of employment, growth, prices, or anything else. And they are especially bad at it when they have the wrong idea of how things work.
Second, the feds have failed. They have been completely unable to make any progress against the downturn.
Third, this is not a recovery. Widely reported in the media was the opinion that the employment numbers were ‘disappointing for the second year of a recovery.’ Well…yes. Because it’s not a recovery. It’s a Great Correction. And this is just what you’d expect.
For the last 4 years – since the beginning of the financial crisis in ’07 to today – economists, analysts, investors and policymakers have had the wrong idea. They thought they were dealing with an ordinary (though perhaps severe) recession, which they thought would be followed by an ordinary (though perhaps weak) recovery.
Not at all! It was not an ordinary post-war recession. So, the ordinary counter-cyclical policy measure – more credit! – didn’t work. This time, the economy already had too much credit. Which is to say, too much debt. It didn’t do any good to add more debt. Households were already drenched in it.
They couldn’t absorb any more. They couldn’t increase their spending by borrowing more money. So, spending couldn’t go up…
Instead, households are struggling to maintain their standards of living in the face of rising consumer prices and flat…or falling…incomes.
And now, the mainstream financial press is finally catching on. Heck, even the US Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, may be opening his eyes.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Bill Bonner writes: