Saturday, November 14, 2009

Disaster in Plain Sight

It's interesting to see the category "financial elites" used as a natural object by the New York Times. On top of that, Bob Herbert nicely summarizes the clearly visible problem with the current "recovery":
It was the financial elites who took the economy down, and it was ordinary working people, the longtime natural constituents of the Democratic Party, who were buried in the rubble. Mr. Obama and the Democrats have been unconscionably slow in riding to the rescue of those millions of Americans struggling with the curse of joblessness.
Amidst an underemployment rate of about 25% for Blacks and Latinos, and a poverty rate of 35% for Black children, "Wall Street can boast about recovery all it wants, [but] much of America remains trapped in economic hell."

I think it's worse than that, actually.  The "investment" and "employment" economies have been divided for some time: attempts to save the company by firing workers, the national stroke of managerial genius of the 1970s, became attempts to loft the stock price by firing workers.  The markets divorced the industrial employment base a long time ago,and they have long gone in opposite directions.  The crisis has given the financial sector the chance to perform the most complete dumping of the employment economy in modern history.  It's not sustainable, but finance doesn't care.  Without some kind of upheaval, by the time the political sector shifts a little emphasis back to the employment economy,  all of the political sector's money will be gone.

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