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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

June 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Weinergate break: While you were out, America, it’s the economy, stupid

The Dow is now below 12,000 with the longest decline since 2002. Maybe that will refocus us on things that matter, instead of Anthony Weiner’s unmentionables. Quickly, before the next, “Hey, America, look over here!” distraction, here’s a rundown of some things you might have missed while Weinergate … carefully choosing word for a family newspaper … *removed* the oxygen from the room:

  • As if you didn’t already sense it, the Employee Benefits Research Institute reports that many Americans will have to work into their 70s and 80s because lack of retirement savings. If we can find jobs, that is.
  • The Bush/Obama tax cuts turned 10. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a helpful set of charts on what they did and did not achieve.
  • Be sure to read the fascinating New York Times story on the success of the German economy. The policies behind it defy stereotypes of conservative or liberal.
  • Our friends at OPEC ‘fessed up that world demand is surpassing supplies, making higher prices likely in the second half. Unless the economy slows so much that prices fall. Just remember, peak oil is a hoax.

  • President Obama floated the idea of a payroll tax holiday to spur hiring. I am doubtful it will be of much good in the face of the highly unusual set of problems facing the labor market. University of Oregon professor Mark Thoma weighs some other options.
  • Some worthwhile and substantive takedowns: Simon Johnson on JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s bad math; James Kwak on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and TBTF banks, and Matt Taibbi on apologists for Goldman Sachs.
  • In another America, it was pretty routine for a president’s nominees to be confirmed. This was before ideological battles paralyzed us. The latest victim: Nobel laureate economist Peter Diamond, who withdrew from being considered as a Federal Reserve governor in the face of partisan opposition and a president who wouldn’t fight for him.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

The bigger they are

It’s patently obvious

The harder they fall

Comments | More in Banking, Energy, Global economy, Jobs/Unemployment, Oil prices, Outlook, Stock market, Tax policy

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