Biden Doesn’t Grok Trump

“Trying to figure out this man is sort of above my pay grade. I mean, I don’t get it. It seems to always be about him. Everything is about him or his political fortunes. Like this idea of making sure we delay getting the checks out till his name could be on them. For God’s sake, people are scared to death. They’re struggling just to keep their head not above water but just every once in a while above water.”

— Joe Biden, in an interview on Morning Joe, when asked about President Trump’s daily briefings.

U.S. Economic Growth Accelerated Last Quarter


“U.S. economic growth accelerated last quarter, easing fears of a near-term slowdown but doing little to change the trajectory of a long but weak expansion,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.9% annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said. That was stronger growth than the second quarter’s pace of 1.4%. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected growth at a 2.5% pace for the July-to-September period. Last quarter’s growth rate was the fastest recorded in two years.”

U.S. Household Income Surges


Incomes in the U.S. surged in 2015, delivering the first increase for family households in eight years, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The median annual household income—the level at which half are above and half are below—rose 5.2% from a year earlier, or $2,800, after adjusting for inflation, to $56,500… The boost leaves household incomes around 1.6% below the 2007 level, before the last recession began.”

Good News for America, Bad News for the GOP – CBO Says Deficit Is Shrinking Faster Than at Any Time Since Post-World War II

Chart based on figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showing the federal deficit for each year since the economy crashed at the end of the Bush administration

Good news, America. The federal deficit is shrinking faster than it has since the end of World War II, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Oddly enough, however, this good news for the country — this sure sign that the United States is finally recovering from the economic crash at the end of the Bush administration — is actually horrible news for the Republican Party, which for the past five years has pinned its hopes on defeating Pres. Obama and the Democrats by deliberately hobbling the recovery with the hope that a weak economy would benefit them politically.


Effect of GOP’s European Style Austerity on Public Sector Employment in a Single Graph


Ezra Klein at Washington Post’s Wonkblog:

In the graph atop this post, I ran the numbers on total government employment after the 1981, 1990, 2001 and 2008 recessions. I made government employment on the eve of the recession equal to “1,” so what you’re seeing is total change in the ensuing 54 months, which is how much time has elapsed since the start of this recession.

As you can see, government employment tends to rise during recessions, helping to cushion their impact. But with the exception of a spike when we hired temporary workers for the decennial census, it’s fallen sharply during this recession.

Note that a Republican was president after the 1981, 1990 and 2000 recessions. Public-sector austerity looks a lot better to conservatives when they’re out of power than when they’re in it.

The Fire Next Time: Can We Build a Recession-Proof Economy?

plan aheadAs we climb out of the recession, which we clearly are and were before the freshmen Republicans in the House took their oaths of office last week, it’s a good time to remember we are not all on the same page about how we got into an economic mess, nor about how to go forward from it.

There are people out there who believe, thanks to FOX News and Rush Limbaugh, that the whole housing market collapse was because of groups like ACORN trying to help people who couldn’t afford them buy houses.

Keefe: ‘We can either summon the collective will to invest in our common future or continue to stumble along hoping the next asset bubble temporarily bails us out while entering into a period of long national decline’

There are others, like me, who witnessed the mortgage crisis from closer to the inside and know firsthand that the wealthy led the way into economic ruin with such instruments as no-money-down mortgages, interest-only mortgages, five-year balloons, and other highly creative arrangements dreamed up for folks who wanted to make even more profit by flipping second and third and fourth houses than they were by investing in shaky stocks.

Most of those in the latter group were just one slow-selling property away from bankruptcy and foreclosure, which we all got to find out together. Of course, most of them will just wait out the seven or so years it takes to clear one’s credit record if one is of a certain income bracket, and go forth to sin again.

And since we’ve never collectively gotten straight about the causes, why should we expect to agree on the remedies? Sadly, we shouldn’t.

Joseph F. Keefe, president and CEO of Pax World Mutual Funds, says we can’t fix what’s wrong in this country, or in the world, by looking for the next boom. (Emphasis that follows is added.)