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When you can’t even preach to the choir without being laughed at…

You are in trouble. And it looks like Obama just tried preaching to the choir, in this case a bunch of democrats at a DNC event, and it didn’t go well:

Over the last 15 months we’ve created over 2.1 million private sector jobs. (Laughter.)

Even the troops see through this bullshit and can’t help but laugh when this nonsense is spouted. They have not created any real jobs. They protected some 480K lot of state and federal employee jobs, and destroyed over a million private sector ones in the process, at the insane cost of close to $1 trillion. At least the home crowd was kind enough to just laugh at this joke instead of feeling angered.

I would laugh at the whole thing if it wasn’t for the fact that we are stradled with the consequences of their actions.

27 comments

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  1. Kimpost says:

    Is there a video from the event, or did you get the laughter bit from the transcript? Kind of impressing if you did.

    A few points.

    1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was 787 billion, not 1 trillion.
    2. The CBO estimates that somewhere between 1.3 million and 3.5 million jobs were saved or created.
    3. IHS says 2.45 million jobs were saved. Macroeconomic Advisers says they were 2.3 million. Moody’s say 2.5 million. Link.

    You don’t have to agree with the stimulus, in parts or as a whole, but suggesting that it “didn’t create any real jobs”, just seems … well, wrong. Perhaps you meant to say that it just wasn’t worth the cost?

    Incidentally I agree what the 2.1 million figure is misleading. For some reason (probably because it makes the numbers look better), he focuses on the last 15 months. Add more months to the mix, and the numbers will go down.

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  2. Dave D says:

    Dammit, Kimpost. You are one HELL of an apologist.

    1) 787 billion is just about as insulting as a trillion. That made me laugh. Your attempt to distinguish the two is even more laughable.

    2) How can jobs be created as unemployment goes UP? Nice trick.

    3) “jobs saved” is just some nebulous speculation/doublespeak that requires (unobtainable?) hard data and a healthy dose of context to even have meaning. 10 reports on “jobs saved” for any given period would definitely provide 10 different results, determined by the analysis assumptions and biases.

    4) I am FULLY betting that the “15 month” timeframe is what they have determined does NOT include anything that Dubyah did, hence no need/ability to give the previous administration any “credit” for the “recovery” (the use of the word “recovery” made me laugh, too!).

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  3. Kimpost says:

    I’m not trying to be an apologist, and it’s not like I’m citing my own numbers here.

    Unemployment can rise, while private sector jobs are increasing, if public sector jobs go down more. Which seems to be what’s happening.

    What’s wrong with saying that the stimulus wasn’t worth the cost? I don’t think it’s very credible to claim that the stimulus did nothing in terms of job creation.

    For what it’s worth I think that US has failed in applying austerity measures. I have no problems with a stimulus per se, but I think a recession needs to be addressed with cuts in spending as well.

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  4. AlexInCT says:

    Is there a video from the event, or did you get the laughter bit from the transcript? Kind of impressing if you did.

    I quickly looked for a video but came up empty handed. I might do a more extensive one when I am not at work and doing this between the real work I need to get done. Yes, I saw that in the transcript and thought it was funny.

    1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was 787 billion, not 1 trillion.

    By the time they pay off the whole thing, interest included, it will be closer to $1.22 trillion Kimpost.

    2. The CBO estimates that somewhere between 1.3 million and 3.5 million jobs were saved or created.

    And I respond with laughter at that number. They were asked to produce a formula for how they came up with these numbers and it was all fluff. As I also pointed out, some economists did a much better analysis of what really happended, and they put the number of jobs saved at 450K, all in government, at the expense of over 1 million private sector jobs. I will find you the link when I have time tonight.

    You don’t have to agree with the stimulus, in parts or as a whole, but suggesting that it “didn’t create any real jobs”, just seems … well, wrong. Perhaps you meant to say that it just wasn’t worth the cost?

    My contention is that if we had not borrowed/printed that money, money we didn’t have in the first place, and let things just run their course, we would have gotten better returns. In fact, I believe we would already be out of this depressing economic situation we are now in. More people in government might have lost their jobs, but in the long run, the sector that produces wealth & jobs – the private sector – would have had a lot more money to work with. Then again, if you factor in the hostility of these Keynesians to the private sector, the result might have been much more of the same.

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  5. Seattle Outcast says:

    2. The CBO estimates that somewhere between 1.3 million and 3.5 million jobs were saved or created.

    And I’ll call BS on that – these jobs that were “saved or created” appear to be little more than conjecture. The unemployment rate continues to be high and almost nobody is hiring.

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  6. Kimpost says:

    As I also pointed out, some economists did a much better analysis of what really happended, and they put the number of jobs saved at 450K, all in government, at the expense of over 1 million private sector jobs. I will find you the link when I have time tonight.

    That would be probably be this study from Timothy Conley and Bill Duporz.

    It has been criticized by other economist like Dean Baker and Paul Krugman.

    Anyway, I would concede that any numbers are debatable. But I would also suggest that thinking that a stimulus would lead to an actual loss of jobs (as a direct result), seems counter intuitive to me. I mean, why? Even if all the money was defrauded, it would have meant zero gain, surely not a negative one, wouldn’t you agree?

    Dean Baker goes into some of that, if you care to check it out. And here’s a guy not agreeing with Krugman or Baker on their criticism of Conley and Duporz (so you might actually want to read it), while still pointing out how difficult it is (impossible?) to use state level analyses for capturing interstate effects, let alone national market impacts.

    Here’s another study. If you check its abstract out you’ll notice that it doesn’t celebrate the stimulus.

    We use state and county level variation to examine the impact of the American Readjustment and Recovery Act on employment. A cross state analysis suggests that one additional job was created by each $170,000 in stimulus spending. Time series analysis at the state level suggests a smaller response with a per job cost of about $400,000. These results imply Keynesian multipliers between 0.5 and 1.0, somewhat lower than those assumed by the administration.

    Some expensive job saves, but still saves. However studying these effects is a complicated thing to do, which they acknowledge.

    However, the overall results mask considerable variation for different types of spending. Grants to states for education do not appear to have created any additional jobs. Support programs for low income households and infrastructure spending are found to be highly expansionary. Estimates excluding education pending suggest fiscal policy multipliers of about 2.0 with per job cost.

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  7. Kimpost says:

    I missed adding a link above. Here it is.

    Dean Baker goes into some of that, if you care to check it out. And here’s a guy not agreeing with Krugman or Baker on their criticism of Conley and Duporz (so you might actually want to read it), while still pointing out how difficult it is (impossible?) to use state level analyses for capturing interstate effects, let alone national market impacts.

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  8. CM says:

    Yeah I assumed Alex was referring to that study. It actually didn’t just put “jobs saved at 450K, all in government, at the expense of over 1 million private sector jobs”. They also stated:

    There is appreciable estimation uncertainty associated with these point estimates. Specifcally, a 90% confidence interval for government jobs gained is between approximately zero and 900 thousand and the counterpart for private HELP services jobs lost is 160 to 1378 thousand.

    And they confirm that their study has limitations (like other studies do) for other reasons:

    The most promising avenue in this regard is to allow for cross-state positive spillovers. This might result in estimates of a large positive jobs effect. Suppose, for example, that Georgia received
    relatively more ARRA aid, which in turn stimulated that state’s economy. If, as a result, Georgia residents’ vacation spending in Florida increased, then the increased vacationing might generate
    jobs in Florida. Our methodology cannot pick up this effect.

    Also, look at their section on “Other Researchers’ Estimates of Job Creation”. In particular, a study carried out before the legislation was passed (Bernstein and Romer (2009)) reported:

    that 3.6 million jobs would be created or saved by the then envisioned legislation, relative to a no stimulus act baseline. This was based on existing estimates of fiscal policy multipliers. Their estimates included both the tax and spending components of the ARRA.

    Obviously the information/research available at the time is what matters when criticising decision-making.

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  9. CM says:

    In a report released March 18, 2011, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that between 2.5 and 3.6 million jobs were created or saved by the stimulus through the fourth quarter of 2010.

    Separately, the council’s report cited four independent analyses by the Congressional budget office and three private economic analysis companies. Here’s what the groups found:

    *CBO: Between 1.3 million and 3.6 million jobs saved or created.

    *IHS/Global Insight: 2.45 million jobs saved or created.

    *Macroeconomic Advisers: 2.3 million jobs saved or created.

    *Moody’s Economy.com: 2.5 million jobs saved or created.

    Many conservative economists balk at the methodology of these studies, which they say depends on assumptions that government stimulus automatically generates a net gain in economic activity. Conservatives have argued government stimulus doesn’t boost the economy, but merely shifts around dollars that could be better spent by the private sector. They’re also concerned deficit spending creates uncertainty for businesses looking to hire.

    Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute, is among those skeptical the stimulus is a net plus for the nation’s employment picture. In an Aug. 2, 2010 column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he wondered how many private-sector jobs were lost or not created because he said the stimulus shifted money from the private sector to the government.

    http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2011/jun/03/eric-cantor/cantor-says-stimulus-failed-get-people-back-work/

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  10. JimK says:

    1. Anyone who is attempting to pretend the jobs situation in this country is good is either remarkably stupid or a stone-cold liar. The MANIPULATED numbers are horrifying. The actual rates are terrifying, and I see it every day. Costs are going through the roof while jobs are becoming harder and harder to get.

    Things in this country for real people? They’re bad. That’s the plain and simple truth. Only the government is hiring, and *anyone*, regardless of political affiliation, can see that the current status is unsustainable.

    2.

    Obviously the information/research available at the time is what matters when criticising decision-making.

    Really? So it’s not the the fucking results that matter? “Oh, sorry we ruined your lives, your futures and weighed your children’s children down with more debt than is even fathomable. But you can’t criticize…we didn’t know it was going to be a colossal failure!”

    Except millions upon millions of people DID know, and they said so, and they were right. And that counts. It matters.
    JimK recently posted..Game of Thrones recut as a bromantic comedyMy Profile

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  11. Kimpost says:

    I don’t think anyone is actually claiming that things are good. Not even the administration, as far as I have seen. The global economy is in dire shape. US is no exception to that. In Europe we are pretty much all looking at Greece today. Minutes ago it became clear that Papandreou’s government stays which is good, but on Tuesday they’ll have a vote on necessary spending cuts, and their people aren’t happy about them.

    And Greece is not alone. Portugal and Ireland are in deep shit too. As is UK. Even Germany has problems. In truth, we are all linked together, not just in the EU, but in the global economy as a whole. A Greece default would almost be as bad for US as it would be for the EU mean.

    Whatever signs of recovery we do see in some places, are small and very fragile. I think that US will probably have got to get used to a long term unemployment rate of 10 percent, or close to it. For years to come. I hope I’m wrong, but things aren’t looking all that great, in my opinion.

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  12. CM says:

    Really? So it’s not the the fucking results that matter? “Oh, sorry we ruined your lives, your futures and weighed your children’s children down with more debt than is even fathomable. But you can’t criticize…we didn’t know it was going to be a colossal failure!”

    Except millions upon millions of people DID know, and they said so, and they were right. And that counts. It matters.

    I didn’t at all mean to suggest that the results don’t matter. Ultimately that’s ALL that matters. But when criticising a decision, we have to assess what was known at the time the decision was made. If there was credible analyses that the stimulus would save create number of jobs, then we have to take that into account. But yeah, you’re right, there were obviously lots of people that didn’t think it was a good idea from the start. No argument there.

    Many people don’t consider the stimulus to be a “colossal failure”. It may not have created as many jobs as Republicans and Democrats hoped. But there’s no doubt it put many people back to work and preserved the jobs of many more.

    Also: http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2011/jun/03/eric-cantor/cantor-says-stimulus-failed-get-people-back-work/

    I think measuring how bad it is nationwide depends on what measures you use.

    Kimpost’s take seems right to me. We’re all varying degrees of fucked at the moment. I’m also in favour of spending cuts.

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  13. Jim says:

    Anyway, I would concede that any numbers are debatable. But I would also suggest that thinking that a stimulus would lead to an actual loss of jobs (as a direct result), seems counter intuitive to me. I mean, why? Even if all the money was defrauded, it would have meant zero gain, surely not a negative one, wouldn’t you agree?

    I don’t know about a *net* loss of jobs, but I can definitely see how it could lead to a loss of jobs based on a business’s lack of confidence in the economy in the aftermath of spending a trillion dollars hits reality. Keep in mind, we didn’t just see one stimulus and more were suggested that were close to passing. With that kind of out of control spending, I can easily see some businesses downsizing to save money in uncertain market conditions.
    Again, I don’t think that would result in a *net* loss per se, but definitely in loss of jobs. The other issue is that *many* of those “stimulus jobs” were temp jobs. Once the stimulus money ran out, no more job. So the numbers are extremely hard to follow.

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  14. AlexInCT says:

    It has been criticized by other economist like Dean Baker and Paul Krugman.

    Sorry dude, but Krugman is no economist. The Nobel prize he got proves it. he is in the great company of people Like Arafat and Obama whom also go token prizes for pleasing the political egos of the committee. I consider Krugman to be so economically ignorant and politically an ideologue, so out of touch with reality and full off bullshit, that on principle I am against anything he likes and instinctively for anything he is against or criticizes. Krugman IMO is the poster child for the idiots that can’t figure out why state driven command economies don’t work, even here in the US with the right people finally in charge according to him, mind you, just like they didn’t work for the USSR or any other such shithole.

    Anyway, I would concede that any numbers are debatable. But I would also suggest that thinking that a stimulus would lead to an actual loss of jobs (as a direct result), seems counter intuitive to me. I mean, why? Even if all the money was defrauded, it would have meant zero gain, surely not a negative one, wouldn’t you agree?

    Well Kimpost your quandary is easy for me to understand and the explanation of where we disagree and I think you are wrong is simple for me to point out. Here it goes.

    The jobs this stimulus saved or created are/were government jobs. And it did so at the expense of money that would have been better spent and actually would have created economic upturn, if left in the private sector, where wealth is created. Government jobs produce nothing of value. Note I said produce. Some people might feel that government employees do valuable work, but they PRODUCE no wealth. In fact, they require a huge chunk of wealth be taken out of the private sector to simply keep existing. So all that money the stimulus spent saved those government jobs it was targeted at saving for a couple of years, for sure, but conversely, once there wasn’t more money to do more of the same “job saving”, those jobs immediately ended up in jeopardy of having to be eliminated. Unless of course, as Krugman suggested, government simply took more money out of the private sector yet again to keep pretending their new stimulus program was saving or creating jobs.

    Governments create no wealth. They never have and they never will. One could even argue that very few governments deliver the value they cost to keep around. I am not advocating anarchy. I understand government is the only entity that can do certain things. But I do not understand the people that want government to do everything for them so they don’t have to worry about life. That tradeoff to me is insane. Maybe it is simply the fact that I trust myself and work hard. If I was a slacker I guess government giving me everything so I could stay home and play video games all day would appeal to me.

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  15. AlexInCT says:

    Really? So it’s not the the fucking results that matter? “Oh, sorry we ruined your lives, your futures and weighed your children’s children down with more debt than is even fathomable. But you can’t criticize…we didn’t know it was going to be a colossal failure!”

    THIS!

    What angers me is that the more they fail, and the bigger their failure, the more they are considered experts and act as if they have all the answers. Seriously, its like watching a bunch of clowns doing hyper complicated brain surgery, and acting like they are geniuses despite the trail of corpses they left behind. There is no shame. they simply double down and then are baffled when the result is double the failure.

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  16. Hal_10000 says:

    What’s scariest is the length of time people are without work. I saw a recent study estimating that some people might be out of work for as long as ten years before this is over. It’s insane.

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  17. CM says:

    Sorry dude, but Krugman is no economist (etc)

    You disagreeing with his assessments doesn’t mean he’s not an economist. He clearly is an economist.

    I consider Krugman to be so economically ignorant and politically an ideologue, so out of touch with reality and full off bullshit, that on principle I am against anything he likes and instinctively for anything he is against or criticizes.

    Do you realise the irony there?

    Government jobs produce nothing of value. Note I said produce. Some people might feel that government employees do valuable work, but they PRODUCE no wealth.

    Public policy which brings jobs into an area involves people working to produce something of value (if those jobs are seen by the community as valuable of course). I think a lot of this comes down to how you define ‘value’ and ‘produce’. Anyone above the factory floor in a large corporation (i.e. management level) doesn’t ‘produce’ anything either (technically). Most people in the financial sector don’t produce anything – many of them simply move money around (wealth is simply relocated, just like it is via public policy).

    ….once there wasn’t more money to do more of the same “job saving”, those jobs immediately ended up in jeopardy of having to be eliminated.

    I think part of the rationale is that after a couple of years those jobs may not be viable any more, but by then replacement jobs will be easier to come by. That’s the hope anyway.

    But I do not understand the people that want government to do everything for them so they don’t have to worry about life.

    I think most people (almost all) are between the two extremes (anarchy and total reliance).

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  18. CM says:

    Yeah good point Hal. In the US the average length of unemployment is now nudging 40 weeks.

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  19. loserlame says:

    Aye, and we have no social safety net to speak of. Illness put me deep in debt, helped my ex leave, I’ve burned through all my savings, sold everything, whilst our large for-profits are outsourcing everything to keep the gold. Average income is again as low as it was 15-20 years ago.

    Meanwhile the rich who care for us poor are so afraid of the future of America in robber barons’ hands they can’t even offer any handouts.

    If Michael Moore ever came to Nashville to speak out against profit, I would pay money to cheer him on.

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  20. Kimpost says:

    I’m not going to argue with you about your opinion of Krugman. It’s your clearly stated opinion, so there’s little point. I too see him as a liberal, but I don’t think that makes him ignorant in the field. Right or wrong, he’s probably well versed on economic theory.

    Having said that, his words are not gospel to me. He’s one of many making his voice heard on macro economics. A complex field, which perhaps shouldn’t even have a Nobel prize. I don’t believe in Friedman or Keynes, or any one single theorist. Perhaps partly because of my ignorance, but I believe that economic theory historically has had problems with predicting the unpredictable – namely human nature. It’s been tried (“subjective value”, “rational choice theory” etc.), but when it comes down to quantifying it, it always seem to fail.

    The jobs this stimulus saved or created are/were government jobs. And it did so at the expense of money that would have been better spent and actually would have created economic upturn, if left in the private sector, where wealth is created.

    Hmmm. You say (paraphrased) that “money should have been left in the private sector”, but what I think you mean is that the stimulus should have focused on lowering taxes instead of directly funding infrastructure, research and what-not. Did I get you right?

    If I did, I have no problems with that. And frankly much of the stimulus was in form of tax cuts. Seems to me that our opinions differ in degree, not on principle (just on this issue, though, so don’t come asking for hugs). However, if I didn’t get you right, I would like you to elaborate.

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  21. CM says:

    You’re in Nashville now? I thought you were in Texas?

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  22. loserlame says:

    Nah. Been here for a while now. Nortels dead and Texas is a frying pan. (Hello AGW) Kids aren’t yet in their teens, so we still see each other….

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  23. CM says:

    Ah I see. You wanted to be closer to Al Gore (especially as he is always surrounded by bad/cold weather). Oh well, I hope things are rosier in Nashville. Perhaps you can set your Youtube/Bono/noble stuff to some country music and get a gig at the Ole Opry……

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  24. CM says:

    In relation to Obama’s quote in the opening post, it seems to be the exact claim made here:

    “Over the last 15 months, we’ve added more than 2 million jobs in the private sector. That’s far in excess of what it was in the comparable period after the last recession.”

    Austan Goolsbee on Sunday, June 5th, 2011 in an interview on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour”

    So I assume Obama is just repeating it.
    Politifact considers the statement to be ‘Mostly True‘:

    Between February 2010 and May 2011 — the 15-month period Goolsbee was referring to — the U.S. economy created 2.1 million private-sector jobs. By contrast, following the previous recession, the economy actually lost 60,000 private-sector jobs during the equivalent period, which ran from August 2002 to November 2003.

    Where does this leave us? Goolsbee’s facts are correct — job creation during the past 15 months far exceeds the job creation seen in the previous recovery. He compared the current recovery only to the prior one, which was easily the weakest in recent U.S. history. But while this is somewhat misleading, Goolsbee was careful to make a very specific claim. More worrisome is that he used cherry picking to help make his point. He ignored the first eight months of the current recovery, in which a significant number of jobs were lost. On balance, we rate Goolsbee’s statement Mostly True.

    The rest of the assessment is about the timing (cherry-picking time periods etc).

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  25. AlexInCT says:

    You disagreeing with his assessments doesn’t mean he’s not an economist. He clearly is an economist.

    Please don’t nsult real economists like that CM. Krugman is a hack, and a piss poor one at best.

    Do you realise the irony there?

    What irony is that? That you aren’t bright enough to gras the fact krugman is not just constantly wrong, but horribly wrong that he deserves nothing but scorn, while I do? That’s not ironic: it’s par for the course.

    I think a lot of this comes down to how you define ‘value’ and ‘produce’.

    LOL!

    I am sorry but I have to point out that i see this as nothing but a cop out. I define value as in it “adds value for what it costs”, and I define produce as in “you create something more than obstacles and a system to defraud people that actually do work that creates wealth”. Governments in general have very few things that add value, and they never produce wealth. Never. At best, they don’t outright destroy or get in the way too much of such creation by those that do.

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  26. AlexInCT says:

    I’m not going to argue with you about your opinion of Krugman. It’s your clearly stated opinion, so there’s little point. I too see him as a liberal, but I don’t think that makes him ignorant in the field. Right or wrong, he’s probably well versed on economic theory.

    Actually Kimpost, what makes Krugman wrong and dangerous isn’t that he is a liberal, but that he has been dead wrong about everything of consequence that I can think off. This is the moron that continues to pretend that the reason the stimulus fiasco failed was that it wasn’t big enough, and then had the audacity to say Obama should double or triple the money of the first one, and do it again.

    It’s only in liberal circles that people that are dangerously and utterly wrong about things end up gaining huge stature, simply because they continue to espouse excuses for why their failures aren’t a problem with the ideology but the failings of others to rise up to the occasion. Considering how often Krugman continues to be wrong, I would have expected people to be treating him like a leper by now.

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  27. AlexInCT says:

    Hal, I hava friend that has been out of work for 2 1/2 years now. He is desperate and angry. All he sees is politicians doing things to buy votes, blocking the fixes that would correct the fundamental broken parts of our economic system while creating a whole host of new problems, while outright lying about how concerned they are about jobs. He used to be a liberal and even voted for Obama. I will leave it to you to figure out whom he means when he is talking about those bad politicians.

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