Business Insider, Refuge of the Disgraced and Discarded

Former NYC congressman and mayoral candidate Anthony “I’m not sure if that was my weiner” Weiner has joined Business Insider as a political columnist.  The disgraced Weiner joins the disgraced Henry Blodgett, who has been banned from the securities industry for life.

But Weiner, unfortunately, hasn’t been banned from politics, and if you don’t think he still lusts after being mayor of New York, note that his new column is called Weiner!, just like the Broadway musical was called Fiorello!

Raise the Minimum Wage? What Are You, a Nazi?

“Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany.  You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

Ken Langone, billionaire founder of Home Depot and huge Republican donor, on income inequality.

So if you hate carried interest and want to raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment benefits, well, heil to you, you despicable Nazi.

We’re going to give the Senate back to these people in November?  Really?  But of course they’re emboldened — they brought down our whole economy and no one went to jail.

Quote of the Day

“But it is both a relief and a disappointment that the new [job] numbers offer some assurance that the long-reliable pattern of adding a bit more than two million jobs a year continues apace.  The 175,000 net jobs added in February extrapolate to a pace of 2.1 million jobs a year…. The jobs recovery in the United States is astonishingly consistent, astonishingly resilient and astonishingly underwhelming.”

Neil Irwin, NYT

Quote of the Day

“I believe it’s immoral for this country to have as a policy extending long-term unemployment to people rather than us working on creation of jobs.”

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Texas)

Um, Pete, this isn’t a case of “rather than” — you can, and should, do both. Because while you’re “working on” creating those jobs, people need to eat and pay their rent.

But the thing is, the GOP has shown no interest whatsoever in creating jobs because that might make the anti-Christ Obama look good and help the demon Dems in 2014.  Your party is interested only in making the economy as stalled and sluggish as possible, which means making as many American families as possible suffer.

There’s a word for that.  I believe it’s immoral.

Quote of the Day

“The wrong turn we’ve taken in economic policy — our obsession with debt and ‘entitlements,’ when we should have been focused on jobs and opportunity– was of course, driven in part by the power of wealthy vested interest.  but it wasn’t just raw power.  The fiscal scolds also benefited from a sort of ideological monopoly:  for several years you just weren’t considered serious in Washington unless you worshipped at the altar of Simpson and Bowles.

“Now, however, we have the president of the United States breaking ranks, finally sounding like the progressive many of his supporters thought they were backing in 2008.  This is going to change the discourse — and, eventually, I believe, actual policy.”

Paul Krugman, “Obama Gets Real,” NYT

It’s been so frustrating to me that during and since the Great Recession, we’ve sacrificed growth by focusing too much on each year’s deficit and the national debt.  Of course, deficits were going to spike when unemployment was so high and we were paying out so much more for unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. and taking in so much less in revenues.  But we behaved as if that was not just a temporary circumstance, but our long-term destiny, and thus prolonged and deepened that temporary state, weakening us as a country and cruelly crushing a whole lot of families unnecessarily.  Keynes is (still) right, Paul Ryan is wrong, and Ayn Rand was a novelist, not an economist.  It’s time for the Prez and the Dems to lead us out of this economic wilderness.

Quick Thought on Jobs

I’m tired of hearing that the economy isn’t producing jobs because business lacks confidence in President Obama.  Yes, companies are sitting on a ton of cash rather than adding to payroll, but this failure to hire would be the same if Romney were in the Oval.

If England used to be a nation of shop keepers, the U. S. has become a nation of middle managers.  While it’s easy to calculate out how many people it takes to produce Fords on an assembly line, it’s not as straightforward to figure out how many people you need in cubicles writing reports and emails to each other.

As the economy has come back, a lot of jobs have been eliminated, as companies realized that they didn’t need all the people they had before the meltdown.  To some extent, they made bigger profits because people who kept their jobs were so grateful and terrified that they were willing to do a job-and-a-half rather than complain.  But remaining workers also found themselves able to get more done because meetings were shorter and there were fewer co-workers up and down the chain of command to deal with by memo or email or office visit.  Businesses realized that before the meltdown, they had a lot of employees who may have looked busy, but weren’t terribly productive.

When the economy tanked, our private sector was over-staffed, as we typically complain that the government is.  Companies that find themselves under-staffed are hiring (people doing a job-and-a-half won’t do that forever), but they won’t let themselves become over-staffed any time soon.  A lot of jobs are just gone for now, regardless of who controls Congress or the White House.