Too Big To Fail

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On the same day that he was appointed to be an economic adviser to Joe Biden, the economist Jared Bernstein, who works at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, has penned an overview of the latest jobless numbers. His is not a conservative view.

Policy makers must recognize this deterioration and craft their responses accordingly. Our job market is now shedding jobs at a truly alarming rate, a rate measurably worse than past recessions. We face an emergency that certainly equals those in the financial markets in recent months. The American workforce is too big to fail.

The numbers are so bad that economists are growing (even) more cynical. (Last month, the October job loss numbers put us in the worst job economy since 1994. This month, the November numbers have put us back to 1974-size problems. That’s the year Happy Days, Good Times and Shazam! all made television debuts.) One economics outfit now expects a 1.8 percent contraction in GDP next year, with unemployment growing from the current 6.7 percent to 8.6 percent.

Meanwhile, media baron Barry Diller is asking profitable companies to pull back on the pink slips. He says, “It’s not that you don’t want to earn as much money as you can — it is your obligation, of course — but companies have obligations beyond that and they certainly have obligations beyond that at certain times, in the times in which they operate. And they also certainly ought to know that meeting and beating expectations is probably yesterday’s game and it will be increasingly so, which would be by the way very healthy for companies.” Strange times, indeed.