Abject macroeconomic failure
Remember America’s stimulus package(s)?
Remember how it was described as “essential” to”save jobs.”
So how’s that job-saving going, I wonder. Answer: 15 million Americans remain out of work.
Just so you know, the original graph was issued by Obama’s team in January 2009 to show what would happen both with and without most massive economic intervention since every other intervention put together (bigger, in fact, than the sum of all interventions put together).
The really sad thing to note here is that resources amounting to more than the Apollo programme, the post-war Marshall Plan and the cost of the Iraq War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War put together were taken away from resource-owners, where they could have been put to productive use, and used instead to … to what? Well, to have no effect whatsoever, at best—and, at worst, to make the economic situation worse.
Now, the graph comes from the blog of Greg Mankiw--former adviser to George W. Bush and as mainstream as a mainstream economist can get—who rushes to the defence of both his profession and the Obama administration, saying no-one should be held accountable here because it’s all just “a reflection of the inherent uncertainties associated with macroeconomics.”
Perhaps a better word than “uncertainties” would be “failures.” As in, the complete and abject failure of the whole mainstream theory.
Failure by practically all the world’s mainstream macroeconomists to see the global economic and financial crisis coming.
Failures of the advisers to both Bush and Obama to know what to do when it hit.
And now failure to know what the hell would happen when the world’s biggest ever “stimulus” programme was thrown at the US economy like one giant golden shower, at the recommendation of most of the mainstream macroeconomists Prof Mankiw calls “colleagues.”
But all of this is just abject, flatulent nonsense. We here at NOT PC were among those saying at the end of 2008, as clearly as we knew how, that “A pump primed means a recovery delayed.” We were saying, while all the “stimulunacy” was being talked up, that there is no choice at all about the pain of recession—the only choice is how long the pain is going to take. Meanwhile, the mainstream economists were insisting on making the situation worse while pretending they knew how to make it better, even as (they confess now) their own hopes and expectations were riddled with all “the inherent uncertainties associated with macroeconomics.”
Perhaps it would be time, then, for those failed macroeconomists to reflect on one basic principle when considering action in the face of abject ignorance: First, do no harm.
And to take the only action that would really be appropriate in the circumstances: to pack up their theories, their excuses, and their record of abysmal failure, and get the hell off the world stage.
NB: Also for the record, here are the unemployment figures for the US civilian population by sex and age, not seasonally adjusted, March 2009 to March 2010
Overall: 9.0 to 10.2
Men over 16: 10.6 to 11.8
Men over 20: 9.9 to 11.2
Women over 16: 7.3 to 8.3
Women over 20: 6.9 to 7.1
Both sexes 16-19: 21.5 to 22.0
And the only reason these unemployment figures look better than the figures for the Great Depression? Because the headline figures are measured differently now. Measure them as they used to, including the underemployed and long-term unemployed (as the BLS's U6 measure of unemployment does) and we discover that “unadjusted” unemployment reached 17.5 per cent in March, higher than it was in every year of the thirties apart from the peak unemployment years of 1932 and 1933, when the figures were 22.9% and 20.6% respectively. [FYI, the series from 1929 to 1938 was, in percentage terms, 3.9, 8.7, 15.3, 22.9, 20.6, 16.0, 14.2, 9.9, 9.1, 12.5]