LBO 132 out

Just emailed to electronic subscribers, and on press for print subscribers, LBO #132. bouncing around the income ladder: U.S. not so mobile education spending & enrollment: U.S. not so good MONEY The austerity drive intensifies MISCELLANY mythmaking about (un)employment If you don’t subscribe, well, why not? Subscribe here. If you already subscribe, why not give a gift?

Sucky demo in NYC

This morning, New York City joined many other localities around the USA in mounting demonstrations in support of the Wisconsin workers. It was nothing like Madison, let me tell you. As I noted in one of my reports from Madison last week: A New Yorker couldn’t help but be struck by how there was no effort to keep people out of the Capitol—no metal detectors, no police lines, in fact only a handful of cops inside the building. Indeed, in New York City you can’t even get near City Hall any longer,… Read More

Yanis Varoufakis on austerity

Not only is he an economist, he’s now master of his own domain! Yanis Varoufakis on austerity: Cutting our noses to spite our faces.

Radio commentary, November 20, 2010

Stumbling recovery continues • bourgeois theories of unemployment • who gets UI? • how the StimPak helped • models for budget-cutting [The commentary also included an analysis of health lunacy, which I’ve posted separately.] stumbling along The U.S. economy continues its stumbling recovery. On Thursday, we learned that first-time applications for unemployment insurance, filed by people who’d just lost their jobs, rose slightly last week after falling decently the previous week—a fall that exactly reversed the rise of the previous week. The four-week moving average, which smoothes out the weekly volatility in… Read More

Radio commentary, November 13, 2010

Pacifica • deficit commission • QE2 • education “reform” Before that, and before some comments on the news, a few words on the Pacifica situation. I did this show on WBAI in New York for 15 years. I was given the show by our late program director, Samori Marksman, who was a very intelligent and charismatic man with contacts all over the world. After his early death at the age of 52 in 1999—a death I’m certain was hastened by the pressures of Pacifica infighting—he was succeeded by an endless procession of… Read More

The Real News, part 2

Part 2 of my interview with The Real News on The Crisis is up: THE LIMITS OF STIMULUS.

Radio commentary, August 21, 2010

[Since today’s show was unusually filled with material—a rerun of the Diane Ravitch interview that first ran last April—I kept the introductory comments short. But I did want to get this on the record, for people who think I’m something of a happy-talker.] Evidence of an economic slowdown continues to roll in. First-time claims for unemployment insurance, filed by people who’ve just lost their jobs, have been creeping up for the last few weeks after falling for most of the year. It’s quite possible that the weak job gains of the last… Read More

Happy 75th, Social Security

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of FDR’s signing of the bill that created Social Security. Despite—or perhaps—because of the program’s popularity and success, the austerity party has its knives out for it. Keyed to the anniversary, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has published a very useful factsheet on Social Security: how it’s reduced poverty among the elderly, and how it offers quite a few services for the young. It’s been a while since I did a piece in LBO on the preposterous assumptions behind the projections of the system’s imminent… Read More

The CBO’s deep, unappreciated gloom

In this article from LBO #128 (yes, it’s posted quickly to the web, but that doesn’t happen often, so you really should subscribe if you don’t), I talk about the lust that some people—within Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the world of punditry—have for getting the federal deficit down. Contrary to this I argued that this is really the wrong time to start thinking about that—we still need the short-term kick of deficit spending to help get the economy off the mat, and then over the longer term we need to… Read More

Jonesing for a slump

The Bullet reprints the lead piece from LBO #128: “Jonesing for a slump: austerity in the face of weakness”

Radio commentary, March 18, 2010

In U.S. economic news, more signs of modest recovery. Early in the week, we learned that retail sales rose an OK 0.3% in February. Weak auto sales dragged down that headline number; stripping them out, sales rose a pretty healthy 0.8% last month. Sales of electronics and appliances, sporting goods, and at restaurants and bars were pretty strong. The mix was a departure from recent retail bahvior, when spending on necessities predominated. Now we’re seeing more indulgence and frivolity in the mix. And, in another departure from recent behavior, it looks like the… Read More

Radio commentary, March 13, 2010

Recovery watch In a business cycle update, the grinding slog of a recovery continues. Last week, we learned that the job market looked got a little less bad in February than it was getting for most of 2009. On Friday, we learned that the retail sector had a not-bad February. Broad composite measures of the state of the U.S. economy, like the Conference Board’s Coincident Index and the Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI), are basically getting back to the zero line after deep collapses. Most measures, however, are behaving rather weakly… Read More

Radio commentary, April 23, 2009

Gotta keep the comments short today because it’s a packed lineup today. economic news First-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 27,000 last week to 640,000. Though somewhat below the highs of a month ago, this is still quite elevated. So, continuing the theme of the last few weeks, things are still quite bad, though not getting worse at an accelerating rate. Sales of existing houses fell by 3% in March, after rising almost 5% the month before. This number has been bouncing around a depressed level since late last year. So, similar conclusion here, too:… Read More