Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Big Zero

Paul Krugman wants to call the first decade of the 21st century in the US "the big zero":

"It was a decade with basically zero job creation. O.K., the headline employment number for December 2009 will be slightly higher than that for December 1999, but only slightly. And private-sector employment has actually declined — the first decade on record in which that happened.

It was a decade with zero economic gains for the typical family. Actually, even at the height of the alleged “Bush boom,” in 2007, median household income adjusted for inflation was lower than it had been in 1999. And you know what happened next."

The fact that there was zero net job creation is pretty amazing actually. That hasn't happened since the 1940s. It likely dropped quite a bit in the last year, but these numbers still suggest that the "growth" of the entire last decade was mostly illusory. I've suggested as much- that it was debt covering up a massive nothingness- but what's amazing now is the current rush to return to the nothingness.

Econ blogger Tom Noyes:
"It is an article of faith among free market fundamentalists that tax cuts and deregulation lead inevitably to economic growth. How then do they explain the last decade?"
Option 1: they don't. 2: Maybe they explain it the same way old communists still shrug off the obvious failures of communist regimes by saying, "That doesn't count. Real communism has never really been tried." 3: Maybe us mere corrupt mortals aren't suited for a system as beautiful and pure as the free market. But, never expect any sort of "fundamentalist" to acknowledge it when their ideology shits the bed. If the idea conflicts with the reality, deny the reality.

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