Daniel Eran Dilger
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America is on a path to economic recovery

America is on a path to economic recovery

  • ChrisM

    Except none of the underlying issues that created those long red bars have been addressed.

    [Well Bush isn’t president anymore – Dan]

  • Ludor

    I’m not surprised. I read Al Franken’s “Lies” once, and, besides his occasionally silly jokes, he included a wealth of data on how US economy has fared during different administrations. Take a guess at the republican track record!

  • FightTheFuture

    i’ve been unemployed for a little over a year, and more jobs are starting to pop up so i agree with the stats. it is still pretty rough to get anything right now though.

  • august

    The y axis on that graph is a bit confusing. Negative jobs lost? Would that be in January of this year we lost negative 750 thousand jobs, which means we gained them instead?

    (Yes, I know what the graph is actually trying to say. I’m employing the Socratic Method.)

  • dallasmay

    I don’t think anyone doubts the economy is improving… err, except for the teabaggers, but empirical evidence means nothing to them, so what can you do. Anyways, the real problem Obama faces is not growing GDP and making jobs. That’s easy, the economy would do that on it’s own. The hard job would be stabilizing the economy. What we’ve done over the past 20 years is just create an economy of waves. It’ll climb for a while, and then fall and loose everything we gained.

    That’s not stable. You can’t financial plans off of that. That is what we need to fix. That is much harder.

  • http://kingofdeprecation.blogspot.com Envinity

    I always knew that the path to economic recovery would come from a series of colored vertical lines! Praise the line god!!


  • even

    Albert J. Nock’s 1935 classic Our Enemy, The State (text and audiobook versions online) should help dispel the notion that any significant recovery is possible without first removing the cancerous tumor which has by now almost finished devouring our economy.

    Nock diagnosed the illness while regretting he didn’t have a cure for it. Rothbard et al. found one in the 1960’s, but how many people know this, or even know what the root problem is?

  • even

    Get well soon, Dan, and take mark’s good advice: don’t drop the bike… just stop dropping the bike. :)

  • http://bkpfd.org qka


    Please stick to tech, and Mac tech in particular. You are a persuasive voice of reason in a sea of babble there. You aren’t as persuasive in the political realm.

    All this graph show is that maybe we’ve slowly stopped digging ourselves into a deeper hole. Until a prolonged period of creation of large numbers of jobs occurs, we will still be in a state that existed under the reign of George Bush Jr. More jobs must be created than were lost over the past few years before the depression/recession can truly be said to be over. Right now, it’s too early to say that.

  • humann

    I’m not an economist but I read about economics here and there and this graph looks very suspect to me. Much too complex a situation to reduce to a single chart of a single ill-defined metric. Sounds like the regular political claim of jobs being created without any reference to the very real possibility that the created jobs are worse than the jobs eliminated in another part of the same process. Not the sort of one-dimensional reference I expect from you on your front page. By the way, the democrats are way too conservative for me so don’t assume I’m a teabagger.

    Also, hope you’re feeling better. Don’t catch a cold right now–coughing hurts with broken clavicles/ribs. Laughing too ;-)

  • buster

    Please don’t drink the kool aid, the underlying economic fundamentals are so far off with the huge spending going on. We are going to have a very hard time getting out from this 2 ton donkey/elephant any time soon. I doubt if 2% of the population really knows what’s going on on the transformation of our country under this administration. I don’t think it is the change we anticipated when we voted for Obama. Please stick to tech Dan.

    [Well, I agree that 20% of the country clearly doesn’t know what’s going on, but I support their rights to express their teabag opinions and peaceably assemble. Too bad they’re so in favor of swinging their assault guns and draping the flag on a cross. That cult of proud ignorance is really what’s wrong with the country. Paralyzing dread about “socialism” in healthcare spending and rebuilding the crumbling republic’s infrastructure while supporting $4 trillion to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people on a military adventure with no clear goal.

    And being that I am in San Francisco, I have to take exception with your Koolaid reference. First off, it was Flavor Aid used in Jonestown, and secondly it wasn’t the intellectual liberal elites drinking it, it was people brainwashed by religious propaganda spewed by a charismatic charlatan. Read about it, don’t just repeat trite jingo buzz phrases spewed by charismatic charlatans on Fox. – Dan]

  • Orenge

    I wish we weren’t just “on a path”… I wish the path was over and done with! But it’s amazing how abruptly we stopped digging ourselves deeper, thanks to Obama’s adminstration. Now to finish the slow process: digging ourselves completely OUT of Bush’s many messes. With the rebublicans trying to block progress at any cost, and then pretending they aren’t un-American. Sad times, but amazing times too.

  • Dan Kurt

    The graph is nonsense.

    Here is the real deal, over spending:

  • humann

    Congratulations to Dan Kurt for so quickly finding an economic chart that proves once again the democrats are no match for the republicans when it comes to spin or in this case outright hysterical mendacity. Conveniently blaming all the bailout debt on the democrats beats the vagueness of the Lost Jobs stat in the above chart hollow. This one was in the bag too Dave. All you had to do was point out that Daniel’s graph was a political oversimplification at best. But no, you had to go full Goebbels on us. Angry white dude indeed. Those comments there at the end are only funny as long as you remain the impotent minority you ought to be. You guys may have your civil/race war fantasies come true in the end, there are plenty of historical examples of this. There are however historical examples of cooler heads prevailing as well. Here’s to cooler heads.

    Also, I bet it must be rough over there using the fruity tree-hugger computer. Kinda like being a log cabin republican. Don’t know how you and Rush manage.

  • nini

    I do like these posts if only for the humourous discourse from both sides. Now obviously politics isn’t Dan’s territory otherwise Roughly Drafted would be in reference to bad policies from the Shrub days, Prince McClean would be his pen name for his work at The Huffington Post and people would be throwing around tired Mac vs PC arguments each time he wrote about his favourite tech company along with being told to stick with politics though it’s his personal blog.

  • http://www.adviespraktijk.info Berend Schotanus

    I would guess two factors are behind the decrease in job-loss: hope and government spending.

    Obviously under the Bush administration America (and the world or that matter) had lost its hope and prospect. Obama gave back hope and leveraged a considerable amount of flexibility to adapt to a new situation that was latently available within the American population. I do believe this kind of psychological factor really does matter even when it is difficult to deal with in economic science.

    The second factor is that Obama started spending money at the deepest point of the crisis when all the private sector started cutting cost in panic. Given the dynamic nature of the economy this was absolutely the right thing to do and the only thing to do. But given the same dynamic nature of the economy it is also very risky and difficult thing to do. On the short term the disadvantage of increase of government deficit was outweighed by the advantage of recovering from the sudden shock and keeping the economy going at all. On the longer term the government deficit is very problematic as well.

    Now that the hock of the sudden crisis has been overcome (which is an accomplishment) the work on recovery can only begin. This work will include finding a new balance in income and spending worldwide and finding a reasonable and balanced way for America to pay its debts. China doesn’t have an interest in Americas collapse but it doesn’t have an interest in eternally paying for Americas wealth either.

  • airmanchairman


    And now the real work starts, the push into real positive growth.

    But IMHO, all the President’s horses and all the President’s men will have a hard job of it getting anywhere near the erased budget deficit and trade surplus of Bill Clinton’s “golden years” of blessed memory, when the USA beat the living daylights out of the Tiger Economies and the European Economic Union.

  • http://n/a patrickwilliamwalker

    Let’s start that Pelosi’s office is using U3 unemployment numbers. That’s considered the “official” unemployment because it significantly reduces the number of actual unemployed.

    Under U3 rules, if you work eight hours a week,you’re considered “employed”. If you volunteer, you are considered employed. That’s a relatively recent change by the Department of Labour (1994), when they added in three other classes. U4 to U6.

    The real scandals are the U4 and U6 rates (U5 contains workers who cannot work for reasons such as medical issues). The U6 rate has shot up dramatically in the last 24 months and has helped push down the U3 rate as part-time work is being used as full-time work is being made redundant. Ever wondered why these rates are not measured and released month-by-month by the DOL?

    I’ll give you three guesses. Let’s just say it’s a long-term trend by Western nations to keep the official rates low to avoid having to do anything on the public policy front to deal with technological change and capitalism’s inability to do what it’s believed it’s supposed to…

    I know you like Obama, like Pelosi and hate Republicans but don’t mistake Democrats for anything more than they are. They’re just less radical Republicans and to think they will bring about “change” is a misdirected and dangerous hope.

    Obama isn’t doing anything on the economic front that McCain or Bush would not have done. Obama is following orders from powerful monied interests with more fervour than maybe even McCain… considering how much corporate cash Obama got from Wall Street. Any wonder why “reform” is going nowhere? Why there is a total void of leadership at the top? At all levels … ‘cept my homie Dennis Kucinich? hehe

  • http://n/a patrickwilliamwalker

    Forgot to mention in my missive above, but the U6 numbers are trending to be a lot higher now than during the earlier parts of the Bush Recession (obviously as this new jobless “recovery” progresses) so Obama really has nothing to be congratulated for…

  • ChuckO

    patrickwilliamwalker – You’re right he doesn’t but then you can’t recover from 30 years of selling off the country in 6 months.

    This isn’t really a Bush vs Obama story. Bush was only carrying on the Reagan plan. He and his team was too stupid to have an actual plan of their own. Actually that’s not entirely true. Cheney dragged us into the moral quagmire of torture. This is all post-Reaganomics that we’re suffering through. First consolidate all the business’ in a particular market where the owners and the deal makers make a ton off of selling it to stock holders. Next when the benefits of that clearly aren’t holding up move to step two. Fire everyone who actually does anything and send their jobs to China, Mexico, etc. Step 3 is a doozy. Stop our best and brightest from going into engineering or the sciences and send them to work on Wall Street where they can think up foolproof ways to turn crap into gold. Step 4 – Spend a generation trying to recover from the last 30 years.

  • gus2000

    I am quite concerned about the deficit, as we all should be. But using deficit spending to climb out of a recession is a tried-and-true policy.

    Nevertheless, the deficit “exploded” under the Obama administration because they ended the Bush administration practice of separately accounting for the war expenditures outside of the budget. Thus the Bush deficits appear artificially low, and Obamas seem to have exploded overnight.

    Too bad Sarbanes-Oxley doesn’t apply to Congress!

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter

    All they have to do, is get rid of the “Corporate Welfare Bums.” Companies who make a lot of money from Government handouts (mostly through the military). Did you hear about the push to buy more F22 Raptors? Oh, it’s a great plane. But the cost is insane. Just like the M1 Abrams, another over priced piece of equipment.

    FYI – other governments do this too – its just spent in different areas, like health care.

  • http://www.lowededwookie.com lowededwookie

    Actually there are very easy ways to get an economy on track.

    America needs to take back its banking system to under the government’s wing where it is supposed to be. Your American banking system is why your economy crashed.

    In fact privatising things that should be under government control, e.g. health care and education, is a stupid idea. It hasn’t worked in other countries so why do you keep insisting that it will work in yours?

    You want a great example of a healthy economy look at Denmark. They have a 50% tax rate across the board and have free university level education, free healthcare for all but some elective surgeries, and was rated as the most contented nation in 2007. The government controls everything and as a result people are looked after.

    Contrary to America’s narrow minded “all things socialist is bad” mentality socialism actually works well if done right. Capitalism has never done anything but create self-interested people who see no need to look after anyone but themselves. That happened in the Roman Empire. It led to the collapse of the social structure and as a result the Roman Empire collapsed to remain to date the only world power to have never been taken over.

    The government is supposed to be there to look after the people not the other way around and until America understands this its democracy is for nought… not that democracy ever worked anyway.

  • hmciv

    The interesting graph would be the one that covers job creation and loss between 1992 and today. Remember if you’re not careful you can prove beyond a doubt that the rise in temperature is directly attributable to the sale of ice cream.

  • PhilipWing

    Well, this chart shows something embarrassing to those Obama fanboys (including the Nobel committee) – Bush’s policies, when he got moving, worked, just like the military surge in Iraq worked. Oh, and to Lowededwookie, this nation was founded on the idea of less government is better, the Lord of the fief is not feeding his slaves.

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter


    Well, this chart shows something embarrassing to those Obama fanboys (including the Nobel committee) – Bush’s policies, when he got moving, worked, just like the military surge in Iraq worked. Oh, and to Lowededwookie, this nation was founded on the idea of less government is better, the Lord of the fief is not feeding his slaves.


    Sorry. You’ve got it wrong. The English settlers rebelled because they were being taxed, but had no representation in parliament. It’s quite possible that the entire rebellion could have been staved off, had they been allowed the representation that they needed.

    If you read the words written at the time, you see that rather than asking for less government, they were asking for responsible government. Which they still haven’t gotten. In the long term, the USA would probably have been better off remaining a British colony.

  • von

    Wouldn’t that be nice if that graph were true. Sadly, unemployment has been steadily rising for about 2 years. Unemployment rose in November, despite this graph showing it as a positive month. It must be based on a very convoluted definition of job loss, that does not reflect national employment.

    Here is Wolfram Alpha’s analysis of unemployment.

  • ChuckO

    The country is founded on the constitution and the bill of rights two thing President Cheney and his sidekick King (I’m the decider) George weren’t too interested in. Amazing how the “conservatives” are so interested suddenly in fiscal responsibility after Pres. Rove’s unfunded prescription drug benefit and tax cuts for the wealthy. That and Greenspan’s demented Rand inspired Monetary policy did wonders for the country. You should read some Bruce Bartlett for a real conservative who isn’t living in a dream world.

  • http://www.lowededwookie.com lowededwookie

    Less government is a crock because if there’s less then there’s no one to govern the way the country runs… essentially it leads to a little something called anarchy which America is clearly heading towards.

    I say this not as someone who hates America but as a realist who has the opportunity to see America from an outsider’s perspective. I live in New Zealand and somewhere in the 80’s NZ decided to try and mimic America all to its detriment.

    When New Zealand was a socialist country there was a lot of needless government jobs. While needless they did employ a vast amount of people meaning unemployment was quite low. When NZ went capitalist those government jobs disappeared and New Zealand’s unemployment went massively through the roof.

    When NZ was socialist people looked out for each other. Now that it’s capitalist they had to actually build a government department called OSH to put accountability on people for their own actions.

    Because NZ has only 4 million people the issues that America is quickly facing happened at an astonishing rate to the point where NZ is not the country it was 20 years ago and all for the worse. Big business has raped and pillaged this country and then taken that money overseas. That would never have happened under socialism and therefore the economy would not have been as poor as it is today.

  • http://wanderbook.com eddieclay

    Your blog do what you will, but tis post is fodder, love the rest.

  • TheSnarkmeister

    Whoa dude, that’s some great weed you’re smoking. Is that medical grade stuff? The basic problem with charts like this is that they purport to measure a recovering economy. The economic downturn has been bad, but it’s not the core problem. It’s only been a symptom. The problem is a monetary collapse and nothing is going to repair that at this point. The U.S. dollar is history. We’ve been robbed and left with the bill. The cure is to End the Fed, default on the Federal debt, annul all debt to Fed supported institutions, and start over with an open, competitive market in commodity-based currencies sans legal tender laws.

  • Jason Bush

    Dan, I agree with other posters that you should stick with tech(mac). I read about the economy and related issues from other sites. Nothing is being done to fix the real problems by Republican or Democrats. Spending more money than we take in isn’t going to get us out of this.

    [One of the purposes of government is to step in during a crisis and take action when smaller entities in the commercial realm can’t or won’t address an issue. Katrina didn’t have a “private sector” solution, it required an emergency response from the government. Attacks from North Korea would require a similar response.

    The problem is that during 8 years of Bush, America’s ability to respond to real crisis was scuttled by dumping all legitimate emergency services (such as FEMA) into the unfunny joke that is the Dept. of Homeland Security, which not only bungled the response to Katrina but also allows actual terrorists operating on an idiot-level of sophistication to board planes and nearly blow them up (twice now).

    Additionally, speaking of “spending more than we take in,” Bush also destroyed our military defense preparedness to hijack the response to 9/11 into an excuse to seize control of an unrelated country that did nothing but funnel money to corrupt US contractors like Blackwater/Xe, destabilize Iraq to the point where real terrorism and extremists could take control of large areas, all while ignoring the real threat posed by Osama Bin Laden.

    Bush spent over $4 trillion on this, which has killed off more of our military than 9/11 did in civilians, not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Now, rather than having a dictator we can pressure with oil embargoes, we have a destroyed nation we are committed to police for years, and which has generated huge amounts of contempt for America, both among radical terrorists and among the intellectual progressive world community which would prefer to see the US shine as a beacon of hope rather than exclusively serve the corporations and local religious extremists who support the Republican party.

    Bush also spent $1.4 trillion to transfer government resources directly to the ultra-rich, without making any cuts in spending. That was outrageously incompetent and irresponsible, but the media gave him a complete pass and both Democrats and Republicans supported the bailout of the ultra-rich because it also benefitted them both directly and indirectly.

    Now, Obama is working to spend not new money we don’e have, but funds recovered in waste and inefficiencies in order to provide middle class citizens with adequate health care on par with (or at least approaching that of) other advanced countries.

    Framing this as “spending money we don’t have” is completely wrong. – Dan ]

  • flmbstn

    Dan – thanks for the post, I’m ok with you branching out. I’ve just some comments on some of the posts I have read.

    1) I’m not convinced there is a way to create an economy that has continued, sustained growth. Hyman Minsky wrote compelling arguments that stability breeds to instability (think the housing market), and vice versa. We shouldn’t have continued long term growth as a target as it is unrealistic – rather we should aim for less drastic swings each way (like creating regulations to prevent abuses that lead to high short term gains followed by massive losses)
    2) Does Nock have the solution we need? Can you imagine the adjustment costs associated with such a change…? Too radical for my taste.
    3) Denmark seems like an admirable society, but undoubtedly what works in Denmark won’t necessarily work in the states (although income taxes have been that high before). We are a much more diverse, distinctly different culture… I do hope the US looks to the European nations who have been around for much longer than we have for guidance, though.
    4) I, for one, am not as concerned about deficits or our currency. Defaulting on our loans is a ridiculous idea to me – Mexico had to do it in the early 80’s and it had massive impacts on the world. We are no Mexico… We are able to leverage because we have credibility as an economy (for most of our history) and should continue to in the future. Think of a (relatively) stellar student taking out huge student loans to go to school – why shouldn’t they? What other student would you loan to in the world? And look at countries who are at a trade surplus… do we really want to be a net exporter? Let’s face it – we are consumers and high skilled workers so we probably won’t be in a trade surplus any time soon. Don’t forget how massive our GDP is, give ourselves some credit and don’t crap your pants about being leveraged.

    The graph you posted fits perfectly with Keynesian theory. It will be fascinating to examine the bailout in 10 years to see how close to theory it plays out… with global economies becoming interconnected and information becoming more available everywhere, the idea of one super power economy far greater than the rest is unrealistic. For Stephen Covey fans out there – it is greater to function cooperatively than independently.

    Don’t buy in to doomsday talk and stay civil people :)

  • TheSnarkmeister

    These numbers might be significant, if these jobs were being paid for with something other than debased (devalued) stolen dollars. As it is though, all the Fed is doing is stealing the money from the bank accounts and bond investments of pensioners and putting it temporarily in the hands of corporations in order to boost hiring in time for the election cycle. It might inflate a short term bubble, but in the long term, perhaps even in the short term, the value of that money will equalize causing inflation, which will make put those new hires right back in the unemployment lines.

    This is Enron-type bookkeeping chicanery writ large. Don’t let it fool you just because it is being given the stamp of quasi governmental approval through the Fed, or because it has the smiling endorsement of the Goldman-Sachs stacked Obama administration. These guys are corrupt from their wingtips to a foot past their double-Windsors. They make the Reagan administration look like a gang of kindergarten bandits.