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The 2014 U.S. Economic Outlook

We take on the economic outlook for 2014, the new year ahead. We’ll look at what’s working, what’s not and what’s coming for the U.S. economy.

A trader wears glasses celebrating the new year while working on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP)

A trader wears glasses celebrating the new year while working on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP)

Every New Year for years, it’s been the same.  This year will be the year the US economy finally takes off, we’ve heard.  And then it hasn’t.  Now it’s 2014’s turn.  Happy New Year!  This could be it.  And this time, the economic seers say they really, really mean it.  Not boom times, they say.  But strong growth on the way that should feel distinctly different.  And better.  We’ve shaken off debt.  We’re an energy powerhouse.  Washington’s chilling out.  Good times, maybe.  But for whom?  This hour On Point:  the economy in 2014.

– Tom Ashbrook


Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. Author of “Paying the Price: Ending the Great Recession and Beginning a New American Century” and “Financial Shock: A 360º Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis.” (@dismalscientist)

Heidi Moore, U.S. finance and economics editor for The Guardian. (@moorehn)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: Global economy set to grow faster in 2014, with less risk of sudden shocks – “The threat, for example, of a eurozone implosion, another government shutdown or debt-ceiling fight in the US, a hard landing in China, or a war between Israel and Iran over nuclear proliferation, will be far more subdued. Still, most advanced economies (the US, the eurozone, Japan, the UK, Australia, and Canada) will barely reach potential growth, or will remain below it.”

Moody’s Analytics: U.S. Macro Outlook 2014: A Breakout Year? — “Preconditions are in place for much stronger economic growth in 2014. The path won’t be straight up, and significant hurdles remain, including Congress’ budget battles and the winding down of the Fed’s bond-buying program. But the U.S. economy’s fundamentals are strong.”

Wall Street Journal: Winners of 2013: Boring Investors — “In the best year for U.S. stocks since 1995, the smart way to play the markets has been to follow the dumb money. So-called dumb-money strategies, which involve buying and holding a plain-vanilla portfolio of U.S. stocks, did much better than the more complex approaches employed by hedge funds and other professional investors.”

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  • HonestDebate1

    There will be no significant recovery as long as we have Obamacare. The umpteen illegal delays only prolong the misery, suck confidence and attempt to fool the public for political gain in November.

    • Jacob Arnon

      Obama care will help the recovery.

      • HonestDebate1

        How so?

        • JGC

          Freeing the “job lock” that prevents some people from starting their own businesses or from moving to businesses without health benefits ; healthier and more productive work force; reduction in the hyperinflation of healthcare.

          • HonestDebate1

            I think higher taxes, dramatically more regulations and much higher start up cost for compliance have a far far more dramatic effect on people starting their own business.

            I think it’s quite a stretch to say Obamacare will make a healthier more productive workforce.

            Healthcare cost are going up not down.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      1) Too late 2) Best maybe to accept the ACA but look for opportunities to make it better 3) What? Do you want to return to the status-quo before the ACA?

      • HonestDebate1

        I agree it’s too late, so much damage has been done already. Obamacare is fundamentally flawed, there is no way to make it work and it’s not supposed to work.

        #3 is a false choice. Are you saying it’s either Obamacare or nothing? No one is defending the status-quo but it sure was better than Obamacare.

        • Don_B1

          The damage has been done by the ignorant, stupid policies of Tea/Republicans pushing austerity in an economy with lack of aggregate demand to provide business with an incentive to invest in new buildings and machinery and to hire new workers. Just look at the middle class without money to buy much beyond maintaining what they have and businesses with record profits and not investing those profits in more growth but buying the company stock which then enriches the C-level officers and stockholders.

          And you have been a cheerleader for those incredibly blind ideological policies of greed and rent-seeking of the most wealthy.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Why do you believe in an aggregate demand God? Do you really think you can “will” the economy to do as you wish? Like it or not, the economy is the collective actions of all of its participants.

            The more you insist on “managing” and engineering, bailing out and pumping up our charade of an economy, the deeper you dig us in.

          • Don_B1

            I don’t believe in “an aggregate demand god,” but I can recognize the fact that with so many consumers (and banks) overleveraged with mortgages and pressured by conditions keeping unemployment high so they keep spending down it fits the definition of lack of demand.

            But of course, it is necessary for your ideology of not doing anything fiscal to improve the economy to believe that only supply-side actions work, you just cannot see any need for demand-side action as it would create major tsunami-level cognitive dissonance in your head to even consider the actual facts.

          • TFRX

            Why is it the Libertarian purists never can throw their weight around when the right is in the White House?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            I guess you weren’t paying attention.

          • TFRX

            I guess you were happy in your gilded cage, just waiting to be taken out, like a pet who pretends he’s free, when a Dem is in power.

            Why don’t you ever come out when the GOP is in charge? Why is the spending and the rule of law and the deficit–all much worse under Republicans, all much more glossed over by our mainstream press while the R’s are in power–something the Libertarians mostly freak out over when a Democrat is in the White House?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            I’ve voted/written in for primaries and generals for Harkin, Nader, Dean, Obama, Ron Paul. Never a GOPer.

            But I get more and more educated/disillusioned with the DNC/GOP/Banking/War/Surveillance machine each day.

            I trust the collection of our citizenry more than the establishment and elite.

          • TFRX

            Cute phrasing about elites, considering how much your “we can’t regulate anything so let’s not try” gives them a stiffy.

            Couldn’t care about your one vote. It doesn’t make a difference in all but the anecdotal elections, of which there are three every decade, usuall for dogcatcher in Dogpatch.

            When it happens that you are ready to tell right-wingers what lies they are perpetrating about liberals, then maybe I’ll care about what you think.

            Until then, all I see from your lot is a willingness to get in bed with those Beltway Inbreds and ultra-rick who’re fascinated with destroying the 80 years of policies that basically gave us an American middle class.

            The deficit is shrinking, the economy is growing, and all you want to do is rip it all up and hope that everyone–including the corporations–will act like it’s 1789 again?

            Is there a Libertarian anywhere whose first act isn’t to destroy the safety net , SocSec, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployemnt insurance in the name of “the corporations and the people, the rich and the poor, should have the same freedom” RightThisVeryMinute?

          • brettearle

            Don, seems to me, that like the President– with his questionable presentation and elucidation skills vis a vis, the ACA– prominent Democrats in Washington have been woefully bereft in pontificating–clearly, and substantively, over the years– about how….

            …..supply-side/trickle-down strategies don’t necessarily stimulate the Economy.

            If these Democrats were as good at shooting down Republican Economic Theory as the Republicans are in skewering ACA, we’d be in much better shape.

            Happy New Year

          • TFRX

            It’s not the Dems in total.

            The press corps’ knobslobbering for the right wing has resulted in a lot of crap mainstreamed. For example, how UI has never been not extended while unemployment has been atthis level before. Or how government spending under “conservative” presidents has always gone up during recessions, but for the current “taxandspendDemocrat”, it isn’t.

            This knobslobbering was already going on when Al Gore had to correct Jim (Hey, I’m from PBS!) Lehrer on a key difference in proposed health plans, at a 2000 debate. The media takeaway of Gore’s twenty words schooling the moderator? Al Gore was a “know it all” because Jim Lehrer was being stupid on behalf of George W. Bush.

            When a player has to battle the “officials” as well as the opponent…

          • brettearle

            Do you think that MSM is being subtly influenced by Right Wing Propaganda–so that MSM, for example, plays down the significance of Unemployment Benefits’ cancellation….because MSM is afraid that it will be castigated by Right Wing propaganda?

            It seems to me that the clamor of the Right wing Attack Machine Echo chamber is so far-reaching that it can inhibit the MSM–so that they don’t `play’ certain issues more frequently or clearly.

            Happy New Year, TF…

          • TFRX

            I’ll pick one part “afraid of the right wing scheibestorms”, one part “making an audition reel for Fox News”.

          • Don_B1

            I do agree that sometimes I think that Democrats could not sell a drink of cold water in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

            I was particularly incredulous when President Obama actually made the statement that “… just as households have to cut back, the government has to cut back …” [paraphrase].

            I suspect that President Obama actually knows better, but maybe not. But what he probably decided was that since the average voter is totally ignorant of macroeconomics and is easily persuaded that “Keynesianism” is somewhat equivalent to “Communism” he would not get far trying to educate them if they had not learned enough in school or otherwise to be willing to actually think about how macro works.

            For those who think I am off in fantasy land, the American public was for debt reduction in 1936 as President Roosevelt’s stimulus policies were restoring growth (the strongest growth in decades) but the unemployment rate was still around 15%. Unfortunately when the Roosevelt administration followed their opinion and raised taxes and cut spending, it brought on a return to recession and deepened the Depression rather than continuing the recovery.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for the response.

            Presidents have always had more autonomy in Foreign Policy.

            But In the venue of Domestic Policy–where autonomy is less available– it is incumbent upon the Standard Bearer to stress a philosophy in clear English.

            [Of course, it is also true that when you control more things as a leader--in the case, for example, of Foreign Policy-- you must exercise prudent communication with the public, as well.]

            How many times did we hear the following Maxim from Reagen?:

            “Get Government off our backs and Decrease Government spending….”

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            What is more cognitively dissonant than going further into debt to get out of debt?

            Here comes the “not a household” barrage, because the government can build up as much debt as it wants, because enough people say so, math be damned!

            Keynesian approaches were meant to be minor adjustments or one time events to juice the economy, but sadly and predictably, due to the pandering reality of politics, and the insatiable demand of more crap by the American consumer, and of course the profits to be made by the debt traders (i.e. human nature, and why concentrated power always corrupts and fails), a debt based uber-Keynsian status quo has become the norm, not an adjustment.

          • Don_B1

            Because what is cognitively dissonant is to look at the graphs of the effects of austerity in Europe and how it has only increased the debt/GDP ratios.

            The austerity that the Tea/Republicans have enforced here with their “debt-ceiling negotiations,” etc., have done the same here, forcing a slower economic growth at the expense of middle- and lower-income workers.

            Take a bigger look at the whole picture rather than coming with cheap “talking points.” Take the one you infer, that stimulus spending “never goes away,” which has been debunked here:


          • HonestDebate1

            We keep spending more and more, what austerity? There hasn’t been on red cent cut.

        • J__o__h__n

          #3 is the Republican option. What is the Republican plan to deal with health care? Their old plan is Obama/Romney/Heritage Foundation-care.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s a talking point. Republicans have offered many plans over the years but let’s say they did not. So What? What does that have to do with the disaster that is Obamacare?

            Have you ever actually compared Romneycare and Obamacare? Or the Heritage mandate and Obama’s mandate? They aren’t close but still suck. Who cares who comes up with a bad idea?

            It was Bill Clinton’s idea to remove Hussein. He signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. But it was GWB who actually did it. So do you blame Clinton for the Iraq mess? That’s your logic.

          • nj_v2

            As usual, you post a steaming heap of distortion and misrepresentation to argue most of your idiotic points.

            Disqus needs to provide a way to ignore selected screen names.

          • HonestDebate1

            You don’t say, I thought it was brilliant.

          • jefe68

            Your comments are many things, brilliant is not one of them.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alright, you tell me: if the notion that Heritage invented Obama’s mandate so Republicans should not complain holds weight then why doesn’t it follow that Democrats shouldn’t complain about Iraq because it was Clinton’s idea?

          • Ray in VT

            Because it wasn’t Bill Clinton’s idea to remove Saddam, at least not when one considers that the Iraq Liberation Act was co-sponsored in the House be two Republicans. Pinning that on Clinton is like trying to lay the blame for the NDAA at Obama’s feet while most of Republicans voted for it. That act also did not call for a military invasion and overthrow of the Iraqi government.

          • HonestDebate1



            He advocated for it and when he signed the Act into law it made regime change in Iraq U.S. policy. That’s more than Heritage did with the mandate.

          • Ray in VT

            Funny, I don’t see anything in the act or his signing statement about being all hot to militarily invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam. That was Bush’s deal, no matter what he had to do to lie to or mislead the American public in order to get the war that he wanted.

          • HonestDebate1

            It went right over your head. I just said removing Hussein was Clinton’s idea. It was.

            Are you angry at Bill Clinton for lying his ass off about WMD?

          • jefe68

            Who said Republicans should not complain? The comments that the ACA socialism and it will destroy the economy are more or less fodder for a good laugh.

            The ACA does little to control the cost of health care or make it affordable. What it does is give more control to the private sector, which is why the right wing disdain is so misguided.

            I’ve always been a single payer advocate.

          • HonestDebate1

            Libs around here make a living saying the mandate was a Republican idea.

          • jefe68

            And your point is what? That idea is as old as the Nixon administration.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was replying to John and what he wrote about the mandate. I wasn’t making a point to you. I was just pointing out you couldn’t back up your hate. What was your point? That I’m an idiot? How many times must you say it? How many times must I agree with you?

            What’s your purpose?

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          Your statement “No one is defending the status-quo” proves once again it is much easier to criticize something than it is to propose a better solution.

          The ACA is an attempt to remedy serious deficiencies in American health care. Granted, it’s a mess, however, it seems to me that “We the People” would be wise to insist their governments work to make it work.

          Success would be measured in outcomes in line with other western countries who have far better healthcare for dollar spent that you do.

          • jefe68

            Is it a safe assumption that you live in Canada?

            21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare
            by Ralph Nader


          • NrthOfTheBorder

            Hi I’ll take a look. Frankly I’m not so sure this system is all that good. Or, rather, it’s far from perfect. I will tell you however, I have ample experience with the American system up until 2003.

            While many Canadians complain about their health system you’d be hard pressed to find any who’d trade their system for yours!

            What I wish for here is that people would undertake more responsibility for their health. Looming is a public health disaster where an aging population typified by years of smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise and poor diet will converge on an already maxed-out system. But then again, this problem isn’t unique to Canada.

          • HonestDebate1

            Of coarse it’s easier, irrelevant but easier. It’s not my job to save the healthcare system.

            “An attempt”?! Terrrific.

            But I really could use some advice and would appreciate your input. My car was old, rusty and the air-conditioner didn’t work. The brakes were iffy and it got horrible gas milage. The passenger window was broken out. It did however get me where I needed to be. My friends kept telling me I needed to get rid of it. They said it would fundamentally transform my life.

            Eventually I took their advice and parked it. I got a brand spanking new bicycle. I only paid $50K, I financed it.

            My friends were right, it fundamentally transformed my life. The payments are hard to keep up with now that I’ve had to switch to part-time work. I had to do so because It takes me 2 1/2 hours to pedal to my job, longer if it’s raining. Even longer if there is snow.

            I think it’s time to give up on the idea but my friends keep telling me I need to work on my bike to make it better. I could mount an umbrella on it. I could get training wheels. I could even put a motor on it. Maybe they have a point but I’m tempted to take the old car out of the garage while I look for a better on… especially when its’s raining.

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            Your choice of an analogy serves only to prove the point you could have made in a sentence.

            On the ACA. Do this America: Since repeal is not possible – nor desired really by the majority – work to make it work. Then after 5 years compare results with other [more] advanced countries.

            If it doesn’t measure up – which I’d think you’d want it to do – then change it again. But I’ll bet you many states by then will have gone to a single-payer system like Vermont – with modifications. What won’t happen is a resurrection of your old car.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re entitled to your opinion but most people do not like Obamacare and they have no idea how bad it will be until the other shoes drop. That was illegally delayed until after the midterms.

    • TFRX

      Anyone else remember when the right actually cared about making government work rather than destroying it?

      Hint: It was a time before the Dave Gregories of the world said “When the GOP makes Congress’ approval ratings go down, it’s a (Democratic) President’s political problem. We in the press can’t stop saying BothSides.”

      • HonestDebate1

        No one wants to destroy the government.

        • TFRX

          Hahahahaha, You’re cute when you’ve got your politeness blinders on .

          • HonestDebate1

            Thank you.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    In this New Year, let us reflect on history, recent and long past, and remember that the most dangerous people are those who think they know everything.

    Like religious fundamentalists, neoconservative Republicans, and well-intentioned, but shortsighted, Nanny-state DNC types. Federal Reserve technocrats, and lying heads of the NSA.

    Lets embrace the wisdom of the cumulative decisions of free individuals, with freedom of information and freedom of expression of thought and action, aside from crimes against persons and property.

    The Gestalt of the Free for 2014.

    • Don_B1

      Unfortunately for your ideology, there are conditions, which have existed since the financial crisis of the fall of 2008, where individual actions driven by what is best for the individual, are extremely harmful for the collective of all those individuals.

      Maybe the example of a run on a bank, by savings account holders, is an example that might convey an image of what can happen. Each account holder has an interest in getting the account’s money out, but since the bank has to loan the money out on a long-term basis, it cannot hand out the money in all the accounts on demand at one time. It is the purpose of deposit insurance to provide a guarantee that the money will always be available. That is a government function, like fiscal stimulus that takes the place of individual action when each individual’s best action is not in the best interest of the collective whole.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Sounds like we should discuss the downsides of fractional reserve banking and bubbles created by a fiat monetary policy that builds the tinder that is engulfed by bank runs when even the riff raff see that the jig is up.

        What is my “ideology” by the way?

        Constitutional, Self-Governance and Sound Money?

        So radical.

        • Don_B1

          So your alternative is the Gold Standard?

          1) In the Great Depression, the countries that started recoveries earliest were the ones that got off the Gold Standard first.

          2) The euro is working exactly like a gold standard within the EuroZone today, to the distress of the peripheral countries (Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece, etc.)

          3) BitCoin is another gold-standard-like constraint on using monetary policy to help a depressed economy recover to a growing one.

          But you like throwing around terms like “rule of law” without specifying what laws and/or regulations that you support but generally oppose most specific regulations or laws to restrain a rogue financial system.

          If you think getting rid of the Federal Reserve will lead to a gold standard and “sound money” just consider the wild volatility in the BitCoin and gold markets lately. Not what anyone wanting to preserve the value of their savings would support.

      • sickofthechit

        So the FDIC is obviously a Communist plot
        As well as insurance (especially the mutual companies). charles a. bowsher

        • Don_B1

          Only in the minds of those who think like Government_Banking_Serf, as you and the majority of those who understand finance clearly understand.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Could you please ask you guests to honestly assess our current financial/monetary situation?

    It is clear that our levels of National Debt are quite likely mathematically, and practically, impossible to repay.

    Our modern society, everyone’s “economic security”, now depends on unsustainable, intellectually indefensible, accumulation or monetization of debt.

    In this New Year, can we try a shed of honesty and admit, that our Economy is a charade, not based on true productivity, but simply on an illusion, built on debt that cannot be paid off, and cannot stand.

    Of course the debt peddlers, traders and spenders are happy. Washington is now the richest area of the U.S.

    While we turn blind eyes, and hope to get our cut, the failure of the US dollar, and its replacement by some new, more global currency, will be a cementing of the greatest transfer of wealth and power in history. And the end of a historical experiment trying to devolve power to the people.

    Happy New Year.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Our leaders and the press make their living off public approval and the last thing they want is to foment hatred towards them. Tell your wife she looks huge in her favorite sexy dress and see if you get admiration for your honesty. We have a society that is so delusional that shooting the messenger is far more reasonable than hearing the ugly words coming out of his mouth. President Carter was naive enough to speak some truth in a speech back in the 70′s by warning us about conspicuous consumption and lack of spiritualism. Reagan destroyed him in a landslide with the counter argument that “greed is good”. We as a society have become so comfort driven that expecting someone to wait five minutes in line, live in a house that is 80 degrees, or drive a car without heated seats is unforgivable. Any talk of moving away from that direction is met with ire. The masses are blissfully distracted by comfort and when they do feel the need to “think” about an issue they latch on to the easiest and often wrong solution. When have you ever had a discussion about politics from a person who has actually read books? Reading takes time away from games, hunting, drinking, eating or whatever distraction they choose to engage in. So are Americans grounded enough in reality to seek the truth?

    • Human2013

      In attempting to explain this economic system to the disengaged, I start by saying this: “Your debt is another’s asset”. Will you be able to pay all your credit card debt, school loans, mortgage and whatever else you borrowed. There are no real assets behind all this weath as we seen with the housing bubble or the tech bubble. Everything is based on the consumers confidence in the system, and so that is why psychologicas operations against the American people are so powerful. If Americans make a “a run on the banks”, we’re going down, down, down.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. The government will continue to spend more money than it takes in (for stuff that we don’t need or can’t afford). The Democrats will scream that we need more social programs. The Republicans will continue to support special interest such as oil/gas and pharmaceutical industries. And the federal debt will increase to $18+ trillion with no hope of ever dealing with it.

    • Labropotes

      Those close to the QE spigot will get richer and those far from it will get poorer.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        And the Inflation will hurt……who?

  • creaker

    We need to stop talking about the economy like this monolithic thing that affects everyone equally.

    While it’s been going on for a long time, there was a quantum change after the crash of 2008 – the economy is doing great right now (the 20% return on my 401k last year is just whack, I can only imagine the money I would have made if I was rich), the issue is so many Americans do not occupy the same place in it that they used to. The top of the 1% have been going gangbusters, but 10′s of millions of Americans are sliding lower and lower.

    • TFRX

      Yep. If I never see another “Long term unemployment isn’t going down, but then again, your* stocks are going up!” newsbabbler, it’ll be too soon.

      (*That’s the proverbial you, not the literal “you”.)

      Some people are saying that our ruling class likes high unemployment because it keeps the riffraff nervous. I hope there’s a guest on today who can discuss this.

      • James

        I believe it. As long as the unemployment is high (and people believe in Keynesian economics) then the Fed keeps it’s pumps running and the primary benefactors of this policy are the elite.

        • TFRX

          If you want to back up your assertions about Keynesian economics, go ahead.

          I’m just here waiting for some right wing economist, anywhere, to talk about the multiplier effect. Or some mainstream pol pointing out how many working class right wingers get suckered into voting for rich righties who won’t deliver thing one economically to them.

        • Don_B1

          It is the lack of acceptance (by politicians) of Keynesian economics in an economy at the zero-lower-bound with depressed aggregate demand where Keynesian economics shines that is the problem.

          While not the best reference, try reading:


          And to graphically see just how “well” (read badly for those who can’t understand sarcasm) austerity has worked for Europe (and will work here), see this:


  • alsordi

    One merely has to view contemporary television to see where the USA is heading. Duck Dynasty, pawn shops, trash pickers, and every variety trashy types arm-wrestling, rodeo smuts, swamp yahoos, etc. etc.. and their respective (not respectful) personal dramas.

    The cabal at the Federal Reserve have made their rich friends ever more richer while creating a tax on the middle class that will eventually come to be realized.

    But the massive shift in wealth from the bottom to the top is not yet complete. The wealthy media moguls are not only getting richer but having plenty of laughs at this cheaply made bigotted TV fare, DESENSITIZING and propagandizing, leading the citizenry to their ultimate destiny with so many other police, homeland security and secret agent shows.

    • sickofthechit

      I take umbrage at part of your comment. I haven’t seen the “trash pickers” show, but as an avid “trash picker” who once found an 1832 portrait miniature (sold for $1,500!) in a pile of debris in a curbside roll-away I have to say, don’t knock it til you try it. Actually, I meant to say, “Move along people, there’s nothing to see here” (Officer Bah Brady, Southpark)
      For me, it’s recycling at it’s best. charles a. bowsher

      • alsordi

        I will boast a bit here. About five years ago, I was predicting that flea markets are the future of America. My prescience came, particularly in the media, more than I even expected.

        What this trash picking, junk trading, antique treasure seeking American media reality, is reflecting is the fact that AMERICA NOW PRODUCES LITTLE OF ITS OWN, so when China further develops its own or other markets and turns on the US dollar, Americans will turn to trash picking, pawn shops and barter.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    Our economy now struggles to compete in a global marketplace.
    We are not the only ones to innovate, and there are many elsewhere, within easy reach, who’ll work much harder for much less.

    • Don_B1

      It also takes government to make the investments that private businesses do not make because they do not see a quick enough return. These investments are necessary for the economy to develop the new industries that will provide the goods and employment of the future.

      The Tea/Republicans are cutting all kinds of research and development money in solar energy, geothermal energy, in developing new ways to make energy use more efficient, in developing new ways to fight disease, to develop cures for diseases, to develop new ways to make educational progress for all, particularly the disadvantaged.

      But other countries are making those kinds of investments.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        TeaParty/GOP are increasingly reactionary which comes from running scared that the tables are about to turn – that the America of a little red school and little white church is gone.
        Their world is being replaced by an urban and, god-forbid, ethnically and culturally diverse universe that is at once global and simply beyond their ability to comprehend or embrace.

        What baffles me are the legions of hard-working-don’t-have-a-pot-to-pi$$ in Americans (mostly in Red States) who get suckered into supporting policies that ultimately work against them.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          Again with all due respect, I think your bafflement comes from the fact that your idea of what/who the Tea Party is is a mischaracterization, and oversimplification.

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            Could be, but well-educated, multi-lingual, well-traveled, open and tolerant people they are not.

          • HonestDebate1

            What is your basis for that?

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            Got me there. Good question – and I admit to taking a swipe//making a stereo-type. One of them would feel reading my post, like I do when called a “Liberal”.

        • Don_B1

          Not that it totally explains it, but the public has a woeful understanding of macroeconomics, as I have indicated in a few other posts on today’s subject. Thus politicians can use that to appeal to simplistic notions that simply are not true but are hard to explain easily to those lacking that understanding. Therefore, even those who do know, decide not to even try, leaving the public even more woefully uninformed.

          But the general bafflement is what Thomas Frank attempted to explain in his book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?.

          Note: I thought you understood the point I made in response to your post, but I also thought your post provided a good opportunity to make the point more explicitly. Thank you.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    2014 is the year for us to accept and enact the combination of progressive personal ideals and more libertarian principles for economics and governance.

    Diversity, tolerance, freedom.

    United we stand, divided we fall.

    Either you are for empowering Statists, Technocrats, Bankers and Military Industrialists, or against it. The perverted fusion of the Clintonians and the Compassionate Conservatives etc. as a corrupt status quo has failed.

    Do we compromise with murder? Do we compromise with theft? Why compromise with tyranny or corruption? Because the establishment says we need “compromise”? Because the establishment says a special interest driven Congress that “hasn’t passed many laws”, is a bad thing?

    Let’s get real in 2014

    • Bluejay2fly

      All our institutions are corrupt and dysfunctional. We almost need an entire tear down in many cases. All I have to say is good luck trying to get this selfish and lazy country to do what is needed to repair all the damage.

    • sickofthechit

      It’s going to take several decades actually. charles a. bowsher

  • creaker

    The rich used to have a huge problem – it was called trickle down, but it looks like they’ve successfully stopped up most of the leaks.

    • sickofthechit

      I think it is called a “dribble”. charles a. bowsher

      • Don_B1

        I would agree with you if you were talking about 30 years ago. But today the “sucking sound” is mostly/all in the upward direction.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Are we really going to accept notions that this stock market value is lasting wealth that the vast majority of Americans can count on and should be celebrating?

    As your intro descriptions note, the dumb money strategies are underway, and the smart money will pull out the rug when they are all set up for it.

    Pump n Dump.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “Banking system has done a lot of hard work”

    What a telling oxymoron.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Tom could you challenge the Keynesian assumptions underlying this conversation.

    Is “running the economy” now an accepted norm? It’s a delusion.

    • sickofthechit

      For the top 5, 10 or 20 percent it’s working pretty damn well. charles a. bowsher

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Yep, Crony Capitalism 101. Step right up to the Fed Window, if you can.

      • Don_B1

        Q.E. is not doing that much for the real wealthy, who are looking for rent-seeking opportunities. While these do include low capital gains taxes, it also includes tax loopholes for specific industries or government actions to support specific work.

        Note that the big banks are not strong supporters of Q.E. and Tea/Republicans particularly decry it.

        Economists who support it readily acknowledge that it is minimally effective, but they make the point that anything that the Fed can do it should do since Congress, in deadlock because of Tea/Republicans, refuses to do its duty of passing stimulus bills that would be much more effective in restoring a strongly growing economy.

        The Fed’s Q.E. program holds long-term interest rates down, which helps rebuild the real estate industry, which has been the driver of every recovery from recession since the Great Depression. Because the Great Recession was caused by overleveraging of private debt, it will take growing incomes of workers which allows paydown of debt as well as recapitalization of the banks to restore the flow of money and growth of the economy.

        The fact that Q.E. is a last-resort type of action means that other measures, such as regulation, should be employed to ameliorate the side effects of its use, such as the growth in the stock market value due to the lack of other investments with good returns. It does not mean that Q.E. should not be used.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    Is anyone asking if our whole economic system is completely out of date and wrong?

    An economic model based on continual growth and the commensurate consumption of fossil fuels and resources is at odds with a long-term survival of a stable and nurturing ecosystem.

    Our inability to change – to keep this problem from getting worse – is natural, but utterly irrational.

    We are at a crossroads in human evolution – and while I am a optimistic person I am not hopeful for the future of mankind.

    Face it folks, we’re headed for big trouble – and it’s gonna get real ugly.

    • Bluejay2fly

      People assume the pie can keep growing throughout their lifetime, and when the planet dies it will not be on their watch. Yes, they are true intellectuals.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      The problem, if you see it that way, is that the economy is primal. Its about producing for survival and local betterment. The fact that we have overpopulated the earth doesn’t make that go away. A work ethic, competitive spirit, the idea of saving, is normal and human. It is NOT the oversimplified, “greed is good” that closet communists like to gripe about.

      Those impulses will not, and should not, be removed from us. The only way would be if we line up like cattle, to be fed by our masters.

      When we support the erosion of free will, or free markets, we move closer to the cattle model.

      We have laws against theft, bodily harm, corruption and collusion (we should at least), but after that, freedom is human nature.

      A top down, engineered solution, Animal Farm, 1984, Minority Report etc. will never work, and never be peacefully accepted.

      Of course today, the technocrats do try and run the economy, and dole out enough scraps for an iPod in every hand, but the long term rot beneath the illusion of freedom, and the growing awareness of the cattle condition, is not sustainable.

      • Bluejay2fly

        It is always in the best interest in a consumption market to throw things away and buy new. It is that disposal mentality which while increasing demand creates waste. I would opt for a more sustainable economy based on slower growth with less waste.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          I agree with those goals. Just don’t think it can be engineered. If the economy was free and honest, limits would be felt.

          • Bluejay2fly

            That is why it is called MIxed Capitalism.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        My point is none of this will matter if we’re all forced more and more into a reactive state due to runaway climate change. (Watch what happens when there are serious food shortages for example).

        Such conditions are ripe for oppression much worse than the technocrats who run the economy in your book.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          With all due respect, I think you just aren’t seeing how over-ripe our current repression/serfdom situation already is.

          I don’t want to give up our Constitutional rights or economic sovereignty in the name of terrorism, too big to fail, climate change or anything else.

          The means don’t justify the ends.

          I’d rather we move our farms North than submit to technocratic rule by a well meaning elite.

          And I believe in incorporating externalities as part of the pricing mechanism, which is the free way to do things.

          • TFRX

            Move the farms north?

            That’s basically all you say about the result of APC?

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            Strange, I don’t fee repressed at all. Not anything like a serf. I think we have too much freedom (because many people don’t seem to manage it too well); and compared to my grand parents we live like kings.

            If you are feeling beaten down by the system, it’s probably not the system’s fault so much as your own.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            “Strange, I don’t fee repressed at all”

            So what’s the problem?

            The problem will come when you want to see the injustices you see forcibly altered, and are unhappy with how it is being done ham-handedly.

            We are in a real conundrum socio-economically and population-wise I agree. But I want to err on side of less centralized power if forced to choose.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Even when the economy was booming in the 90′s the North East was in decay, gangs were killing thousands, millions in prison, the government was trillions in debt, the student loan bubble was growing, and millions without health care. Sounds like our economy has always sucked!!!

    • Labropotes

      Carter did talk about moderating expectations. And under Reagan, the US started to run up debt, and since then it has averaged 7% of gdp in total new debt each year, counting household, corporate and government. US federal deficit was about $900 billion in 2013 not counting some phoney dividends from the mortgage mills. So yeah, we continue on the same path.

      • Bluejay2fly

        My earlier post mentions that speech as I remember watching it on TV. We are tied to an unsustainable consumption model that people defend vehemently.

        • Bluejay2fly

          And my case in point, the down vote!

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            IMHO, the reason it can be down voted (not mine) is that people can disagree on how to achieve shared goals. We are suffering these days from accepting that the ends justify the means (NSA, Federal Reserve technocrats).

            Means such as top-down mandates from unaccountable committees and technocrats, lying to the electorate, spying on us, manipulating our currency and treating us like ants in a colony, is not acceptable to many, regardless of the good intentions.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I never advocated government mandates as that will not work. However, if our culture changes than there is the benefit. Look at obesity in this nation. If people skipped a meal or ate less they would loose weight and feel better. Our culture does not encourage these positive behaviors because unhealthy food is inexpensive because of government subsidies and low wage structures for fast food workers. Also, corporations make billions off of diet pills and now “organic food” . In a free economy it is your choice to over eat but are we making healthy choices less attractive? Culturally we eat too much but again the food industry pushes larger portions so they can charge more. I could go on but the solution to these problems start with an educated discussion and the desire to change from within, both of which are lacking in this nation.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            “I could go on but the solution to these problems start with an educated discussion and the desire to change from within”

            I whole-heartedly agree.

      • sickofthechit

        Carter will always be in my top ten Presidents List. He was dead accurate on the right path for energy and Regan destroyed it all beginning with removing the Solar Panels from the Whitehouse.
        Oh, to be living in that alternate universe where Carter gets a second term……charles a. bowsher

  • alsordi

    The stock market boom is nothing but crooked bankers (the Fed) pumping air into the ballooning pockets of the rich.

    There is little reality, and less benefit to the stock market boom, in fact most of the real gains are due to outsourcing, automation, reduced pay and benefits, but increased productivity for large companies.

    Stock market booming, balancing budget, banks recapitalizing, these are such abstract concepts that are way over the heads of the mainstream. It mostly rubbish.

    • Bluejay2fly

      It is a giant casino where people who do not grow anything, build anything, or make anything are productive members of the economy and nobody is exploited? Yeah, right.

  • SteveMarantz

    Tom — How credible is an analyst from Moody’s? What about Moody’s role in assigning positive ratings leading up to the 2008 collapse? I’m dubious about what a Moody’s analyst says.

  • J__o__h__n

    What services will Americans be providing for the world’s cellphones? Stores are local and the customer support is already in India.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Tech Services has all been outsourced to the NSA.

      • Labropotes

        Not true. I still have service. ;-)

      • J__o__h__n

        I hadn’t thought that they could rebrand them as job creation as long as they privatize the spies and not have them work for the government directly.

      • sickofthechit

        Actually, Tech Service is only routed through the NSA. Hi guys and girls at the NSAA! charles a. bowsher

  • http://www.socialwork.ilstu.edu/faculty_staff/biographydetail.asp?u=diecht Daniel Liechty

    It seems to me that “growth” in itself is meaningless, perhaps even
    pernicious. We can see without question that in terms of available
    resources and ecology, this civilization is not infinitely sustainable.
    We cannot simply “grow” in all directions indefinitely. That is simply
    math. Therefore, it seems to me, we need to distinguish between “growth”
    in some directions and “growth” in other directions – between healthy
    growth (in sustainable directions) and unhealthy growth (in unsustainable directions.) Mainline economics needs to find categories for making that distinction.

    • Labropotes

      It has, it’s called regulation and the taxing of externalities.

      • Bluejay2fly

        So is it an externality when we have to build prisons and hire police to arrest the idle poor in Detroit or Flint Michigan? As long as the government pays that cost the corporations get off not taking responsibility for externalities. Imagine the environmental clean up cost of Mexico.

        • Labropotes

          You would blame Chrysler for Detroit’s crime rate?

          • Bluejay2fly

            Prior to Attica inmates in the NYS prison system sat around in their cells all day. Now they have jobs and programs to keep them busy and their minds occupied. It did it stop prison violence completely but has cut down on mischief very dramatically.

    • nj_v2

      If we were playing a drinking game, having a shot every time these people invoked “growth,” i would be unable to type by now.

      “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
      —Ed Abbey

  • E Williams

    Tom, your guest pointed out that “unit labor cost” was down in the US, which is directly related to stagnant median wages over the past few decades. This discussion is entirely about growth of “the economy” as measured by GDP, but how does that relate to improved quality of life for Americans? Record Dow Jones does little or nothing to help increasing numbers of children and families living in poverty.

    • E Williams

      “[GDP] measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
      - Robert Kennedy, 1968

    • Bluejay2fly

      What we never talk about is debt. How you a HS teacher cannot pay back your student loans and thus kick that can down the road just like credit card debt, huge mortgages, and state and federal debt. Somehow, using credit to plug the wage gap or government revenue gap is an issue never discussed by the media.

    • TFRX

      It’s strange to hear that “unit labor cost” is down.

      Why? Because there’s a surfeit of concerned pundits–not economists–who want to tell people like you and I (I’m figuring you for middle or working class) that, on the whole, we’re “lazy”, because we want to have the imbalances written into law at least acknowledged.

      And if it bothers me a bit that I’m considered that way, imagine what it feels like for someone who’s 200th in line applying for one of those five jobs. They got it much worse than I do.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Gee, if the markets were free, and supply was high, prices would come down. Go figure. They will never let deflation occur.

  • Labropotes

    Again, there is a lot of consensus today. No one here in comments is buying the Madeye Moody’s view.

  • nj_v2

    I’m always struck and disappointed with these short-sighted economic prognosticators, genuflecting at the alter of growth, whose thinking seems to have been entirely untouched by the decades of recent environmental research and awareness.

    Nearly all of the blathering in these first few minutes are based on old, stale, mechanistic, abstracted models of “the economy.”

    “The fundamentals are sound’??!

    Let’s look as some fundamentals…

    Global climate change threatens the very existence of entire countries, and will add huge costs in many geographic areas as people divert resources to cope with the effects of a changing and ever more volatile climate.

    Despite the current domestic-gas energy bubble which will, at best last a few decades, the world careens toward peak fossil fuels. The entire infrastructure of industrialized nations has been made possible by readily available, cheap fossil fuels. This party is about to end.

    Major ecosystems across the globe are in decline, from overuse, human development, pollution, etc. Fisheries are in collapse; industrial agriculture is unsustainable (with supplies of certain basic inputs becoming expensively scarce); wetlands (nature’s natural water filters) are threatened by development, pollution. etc.…

    And the subversion and control of the U.S. national political system by powerful, monied, corporate interests results in ever-increasing gaps between the uber wealthy and everyone else, destroys democracy, and destroys local economies.

    And the military/industrial/corporate/political monster siphons billions from the public welfare in ways untraceable and unaccountable.

    And the legalized gambling of greedy and fraudulent Wall Streeters distorts the entire system.

    But all these people can talk about is the standard growth, jobs, growth, leading indicators, growth…

    How many shows on the economy has On Point done now with no serious attention given to economic models which are an alternative to predatory capitalism?

    Again making the plea…

    (Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy)

    “Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves.”


    The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality

    “Economists insist that recovery is at hand. Yet, unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. The End of Growth proposes a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in our economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits.”


    The Myth of Progress

    “In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy.”


    Beyond the Bubble Economy
    We’ve finally learned that a growing financial sector isn’t the same thing as actual economic improvement. So how can we stimulate the real economy?

  • alsordi

    Housing, automobiles and commercial construction?? Zelandi is delusional. Washington DC, Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco does not represent the whole country.

    Zelandi isnt mentioning that the large investment houses (“bankers”), like Black Rock, are buying up the empty housing stock as rental investments.

    Because the banksters are fueling the stock scam, they arent lending to the mainstream for housing. Their big publicly traded development pals are now overbuilding apartments. But the increased rental bubble in even the best markets are going to eventually burst.

    • Yeah, Sure

      You have an excellent point. Are these professional commentators so many news outlets seek for advice only preaching to the choir? Is this an economic outlook by and for the upper 1/2 of wage earners? So maybe we need to hear the other side? What does the bottom 1/2 of wage earners have to “look forward” to in 2014? To be allowed to cross over to the wealthy half? I don’t think so – not without connections.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Perhaps best not to think of a controlling force in the economy as your argument alludes to…but opportunity in the market flows like water following the path of least resistance. Stocks are not a scam but a reflection of value at a particular point in time.

      If we want to system to work more in favor of the common man, the common man must learn to work in unison to insist on change that benefits him.

      Until then we are – or will perhaps be more so – at the mercy of the well-connected who use dollars to buy influence and protect wealth begotten by privilege or an adept understanding of how the system works.

    • StilllHere

      Not Blackrock, review your facts.

      • nj_v2

        The sad little troll makes his big contribution for the day. And, not surprisingly, it’s wrong.

        • StilllHere

          Please, more claptrap from you. The only Rock is the one that sits on your shoulders.

          • jefe68


      • alsordi

        Sorry, It is BLACK STONE, not Rock, that has purchased almost $$$$$ 5 BILLION in distressed housing. With all that cheap money they get from their pals at the “Federal” Reserves money making machine.

        Hey “StillHere” How is that for the “banking” system that is supposed to work on behalf of the citizenry? You still here…StillHere???

        • StilllHere

          Please show me how they got money from the Federal Reserve.

          You can rent a house or apartment from anyone, or buy one yourself, if you don’t want to transact with Blackstone.

  • nj_v2

    Please, please, please, please, On Point…

    For these economic discussions, at least once in a while, get some people who have a deeper, longer view of how “economics” interacts with other issues.

    • Yeah, Sure


    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Nj I agree! Time for a long, hard look at the real and daunting issues confronting us.

      I sense we’re comforted by talking about what’s familiar – and are more apt to do so until we no longer have a choice. When that will be is anyone’s guess, but I’ll bet it’ll be sooner than anybody thinks.

      • Bluejay2fly

        So a few hundred will understand the show and the rest will change the channel out of disgust. Does not sound like that is in Tom’s best economic interest.

        • alsordi

          As with most mainstream discussions with online presence, the real meat is in the comment section.
          Obviously the guests and the host are restricted to the superficial, as are the call-ins they select.
          It is the online comment section that opens the eyes and gets the brains working. Unfortunately, but as to be expected, most people are half-listening to the superficial discussion.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Sorry, I stopped listening to Tom months ago. I am only here for the comments.

          • alsordi

            The comments are the most enlightening. You learn so much from even the opposition troll comments.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Fed Prints, Government Mandates, We Spend. Aggregate Demand.

    Soon the Consumption basis of our economy will be mandated as the right thing to do. Why not? Maybe not Obama, but all the executive power and corrupted banking and credit systems, and detachment from the Constitution is in place. Obama gave the health care industry its slice of mandated consumption, what’s next?

    You must buy a smart phone, or you are can’t be a productive society member, etc. etc.

    Retina scans and NSA-type interconnectivity and omniscience over our lives will make it very, very easy. Not to mention the rampant Nanny-state and Technocratic sympathies running in the country these days.

  • alsordi

    Fundamentals are sound??? Sure, laid off workers are now renters, and can barely pay their rent. And when all the social supports and unemployment runs out, they will be at the whim of the uber wealthy.

    If they are fit, they will become cops, military or security types to protect the wealth and global interests of the rich, and flaunt their power and prestige among their struggling neighbors. They may even get to billy-club their own relatives at protest march.

    The less fit will be handed a mop and a broom, or a Walmart vest..

    • Bluejay2fly

      A prison LT in NYS made 190K last year with overtime. Law enforcement officers in NYS often make more than teachers. That right there shows you that “the
      planners” realize that Johnny is prison bound no matter how well educated he is. When he is jobless and hungry he will steal and he needs to be delt with.

  • creaker

    I don’t buy it – flood the market with newly skilled workers and it fixes everything.

    Sounds more like skewing supply and demand so that wages and benefits for skilled workers can drop. Instead of 20 folks applying for one job, there will be 50.

    • TFRX

      Only 20 people applying for one job? Where? Where?

    • James

      When an economist says “invest in education” all I hear is “give me and my institution more money”

      Here’s a crazy idea, if Boeing needs skills so badly, why don’t THEY pay for their employees education instead of standing around waiting for people like Mark Zandi to round up enough tax payer dollars. That way, the education will actually be put to use.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        I don’t think industry is in to training employees anymore – or, if they can pass those costs on to someone else, they will.

        Perhaps they’ll see the wisdom of in-house training when the labor market gets a lot tougher than it’s been for the last 5 years. As it is, elected officials are so desperate to improve employment they’ll devote tax dollars towards training.

        Here (in Canada) industry sends their newly hired employees to local trade schools to take courses tailored to company needs. The provincial government pays for the training – open to anyone – and pays the trainee unemployment insurance during their schooling. Employees, after a short apprenticeship, get a raise – and/or are sent back to school for additional training. This system seems to work well.

  • keruffle

    Make some money
    Place a bet
    Stocks are soaring
    All based on debt

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “No net impact”. What a dodge. Holy status quo but-kisser, Batman.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “We are roughly on track for paying for it.”

    Yes, this guy sold you the great bubble.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    The Banking Techoncrats really believe they are Gods. And so many other believe it as well, sadly.

  • alsordi

    When the economy is heading for failure, the last card of the banksters is WAR. And there is no lack of venues around the world for the USA to start a war. Zandi mentioned nothing about the Military Industrial Complex and the out of control security apparatus that is the basis of the USA wealth and control.

    • Ray in VT

      Why do you keep writing Zelandi?

      • alsordi

        Thanks Ray. I always mistake Zandi for an Italian name. I think its eastern European in origin.

        • Ray in VT

          I just didn’t know if it was unintentional or a reference to something.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      A new currency with international banking cartel in charge (a formality) a possibility as well.

      Sovereignty? That’s so………. 1700′s!

    • Bluejay2fly

      Read Andrew Bacevich or watch some of his speeches on youtube.

      • alsordi

        Bacevich is a good man. Unfortunately it takes the loss of a loved one (his son) to seek the true causes of one’s loss. A folded flag and star was not going to pacify Bacevich, as it does thousands of other grieving families.

    • nj_v2

      “War is the health of the state.”
      —Randolph Bourne

    • The poster formerly known as t

      America uses fear and intimidation to get what it wants but it holds it against anyone else who uses those tactics It’s these “people skills”that allow the trade deals to occur to make MBAs be able to use their “people skills” to manage new the businesses created by the fear and intimidation that America uses to maintain order. This isn’t a knock on America, this is is how all hierarchical societies are.

  • Yeah, Sure

    Typo – that should say “experts”.

  • John_Hamilton

    This is a pretty empty discussion. Predicting the future with certainty is something fools engage in. Sometimes those fools do it for money, which somehow lends it an aura of authority. When someone predicts boatloads of jobs it should raise a bit of suspicion.

    One thing any trained economist would be aware of is the concept of ceteris paribus, Latin for all other things held equal. It is the caveat for all discussions of changes in economic variables. These supposed economists didn’t use the term once. The most important variable of modern times – global climate change – wasn’t mentioned a single time. We have an infinite growth economic system on a finite planet, and have reached a point where continuing to grow is increasingly detrimental to the planet’s ecosystem. We are seeing the effects of this proliferation of economic manufacture in the threats carried by climate change.

    Had Tom Ashbrook done some research he might have noticed that our finacial system hasn’t been meaningfully reformed, and won’t be as long as Wall Street bankers can legally bribe members of Congress. Without financial reform another meltdown of the banking sector is inevitable.
    One wouldn’t be employed for long by Moody’s Analytics if he were to include these factors in his rosy predictions. Such a publication requires a certain level of orthodoxy in order to appeal to subscribers. In other words, it hires hacks.
    What would be more useful is for On Point to interview someone on how to create a sustainable economy. It would take some work to find guests competent to discuss such a challenging topic. Before the work, though, it requires intention.
    Or, you could continue seeking out hacks, which is much easier.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      But….but….. this is 2014, Economics is Science! The technocrats can save us from ourselves!

      Bring Bill Black back for this show next time.

      Basic rules of the road are entirely consistent with free markets, and entirely different than technocratic “management” of our economy.

      • John_Hamilton

        I just looked up Bill Black in Google. I’m kind of surprised I didn’t remember him. I did see him on Bill Moyers. The website for New Economic Perspectives looks pretty interesting. Another voice that you won’t hear on On Point is that of Herman Daly.

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          I did a paper in college on Herman Daly. “Herman the Heretic”

          Capitalism without Failure another interesting site:


          • John_Hamilton

            Wow. Someone knows about Herman Daly. It amazes me that he isn’t better known. Bill Moyers won’t interview him. Democracy Now won’t interview him. Self-aggrandizing WORT won’t interveiw him. The range of political correctness is pretty narrow.

            Thanks for the link. I’ll put it on my blog if it isn’t already there. I have a gazillion links.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Freedom vs. Population Levels.

    #1 Conundrum of our times IMO

    There are of course real issues there, but there are also plenty of power charlatans who are ready to jump at every degree of freedom we relinquish. Tough situation, kind of a bummer.

  • Human2013

    There is something very strange going on in America! I’m still looking for a good explanation as to why Capitalism is so cherished and believed to be the answer to humanity’s problems. As it turns out, in this form of capitalism, workers bargaining power is stripped away, wages are so suppressed that without government help you can’t feed or house yourself, big business convinces the government to reduce their tax burden, supplement their workers and provide them with a subsidy. The simplicty of the market to bring together borrowers and lenders has turned out to be a shameful show with the agent (middleman, broker) taking in most of the money. When the weathiest people in the world are the people that are suppose to bring together people that have money to lend out and people that need it, you know somehting is terribly awry.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Work against Crony Capitalism/State Capitalism that showers benefits and access on the few and the connected.

      Free capitalism, with free information and basic rules of the road, is just an arm of Freedom.

      Crony Capitalism, and Market manipulation by Fed Bankers and unelected technocrats, which you identify and rightly abhor, is a different beast.

      It’s too bad that so many conflate Crony Capitalism and Freedom today. It keeps many of us working cross-purposes and prevents grassroots change.

      The American experiment is about Freedom, Rule of Law and Self-Governance, not Crony Capitalism.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Well said.

  • alsordi

    How bout the Christmas sales data ?? Zandi didn;t mention anything. I guess its not worth reporting this year.

  • defeated by the system

    I was listening this morning on BUR and heard comments about education, outsourcing, insurance, and disproportionate pays. Fortunately, I’m not at risk of my job being outsourced, I am a paramedic in Massachusetts.
    In my profession, I perform IV access, I do venous puncture and insert a catheter into someone’s blood stream. I have approximately 20 medications I can administer at my own discretion (while following protocols for their use). I have about a half dozen others I may administer with Med-Control, rather, calling a Doctor on a radio and acting with their preference. I use a cardiac monitor where I watch the lines go across the screen like on TV or in the movies. I interpret the heart’s rhythm and treat it accordingly. The same cardiac monitor is also a defibrillator, and I may adjust the currency setting to speed up, slow down, or intentionally stop a patient’s heart (with the hopes that it will restart on its own biologically). I can perform intubations, wherein I place a plastic tube down a patient’s throat to manually help them breath.
    My biggest contention with the discussion on the program was hearing about bankers’ & rainmakers’ pay rates. I can do the above tasks, and I make $16.00/hour. I feel more than a little discouraged.

    • alsordi

      You are among the real producers. Thank you for your service.

    • Bluejay2fly

      God Bless. The best thing you can do is try to work into a fire depart or nursing. I left teaching to work in a prison because of pay and benefit issues. Good Luck.

      • defeated by the system

        Funny you should mention that. I worked as a firefighter for many years, both as a volunteer and as my career, but no one is immune to the economy. People seem to think that Police & Fire are exempt from layoffs or position eliminations. In the end, we’re just another line on a municipal budget. I lost my firefighting job and moved into the paramedic job I’ve now held for a few years.
        Even as a firefighter, I will publicly tell you, I was a career officer on a department in Massachusetts and making $19.37/hr. I had to pay for my EMS re-certifications out of pocket, though they were required for the position. Probably the part that hurts the most is, I loved my job. I truly and honestly did. I was one of those annoying bastards that looks forward to going to work. I got to go to the schools & talk to the kids, we were active with the local senior community, and I like knowing I can help when someone else’s world is falling apart around them. I had the tools, the training, and the will to do the job. Loving it was my own perk.
        There is this great misconception that Police/Fire/EMS/Nurses are all paid wonderfully. I just want to pay my bills.

    • Human2013

      Thank you for sharing your story. The economists, the right, the disengaged and so many others attempt to shame Americans telling us that we don’t have any skills. The truth is that is has nothing to do with skills and everything to do with wage inequality. “High Tech” workers with all the “skills” will be the Mcdonalds workers of the future making just enough to get by if their lucky.

    • brettearle

      Thanks much for being so illustrative and graphic.

      We normally think of, for example, educators and those in the service industry whose compensations are much less than desired.

      I hope that with the encouragement of those who hear you here, you, or someone else, will take up your specific cause in a formal way–even if it seems like we shouldn’t single out a profession, from so many others who receive undercompensation.

      But work like yours–where your profession faces Life-or Death challenges virtually every day–should be singled out–both practically and symbolically–for their heroics and the corresponding disparity in remuneration.

      It is somewhat of a basic outrage.

      This point ought to be underscored, over and over.

      And why I feel so strongly about this is beyond the fact that my own life was likely, or possibly, saved by someone in your profession….

      • brettearle

        Does the Coward–who inserted a thumbs down, for my comment above–have the Courage to step forward and explain himself/herself by identifying himself/herself and then stating specifically, in words, what it is that he/she objects to?

        Or is it simply that the Coward prefers to remain a Coward?

        • hennorama

          brettearle — let it go. There’s no rhyme or reason to Down votes, and I’ve yet to see any Down voter either identify themselves or explain their votes.

          • brettearle


            My impulse is always to stand up to ignorance.

            What’s more, if I need to be called out for something, I ought to be.

          • hennorama

            OK. I’m calling you out for calling out the cowardly ignorants, and the ignorant cowards.

            But most of all, I’m calling you out for inefficient and ineffective use of your time and effort.

            [PS] Tongue firmly in cheek, as far as you know. ;-)

          • brettearle


            Trust me [or not]…..

            There is Genius in the exploration of pettiness.

            Wars get started when it is ignored.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — no worries.

            But attempting to enlarge and expand narrow and small minds requires significant investment of one’s finite time and effort.

            ThatsAllsImSaying (sans hashtag)

          • brettearle


            I am not beating a dead horse here.

            I fully understand not only what you are trying to say; but also what you are saying.

            When some cretin greets a challenge with silence, it is a quiet point of shame.

            And that, like it or not, erodes the ugly soul. Time and time again.

            Think Mandela and Ghandi….They did it differently and much, much better. But they did it.

            I’m tryin’ to find my own way in this….

          • HonestDebate1

            “When some cretin greets a challenge with silence, it is a quiet point of shame.”

            Alrighty then.

          • brettearle

            disqus and disgust

          • hennorama

            brettearle — again, no worries.

            Find the way once you stop trying to find the way, you will.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I hear you loud and clear, as you are near me here in the choir.

    • davecm

      I have worked as a volunteer EMT Basic for the pass 15 years, love doing the work. My days are numbered due to increased requirements and having to maintain now, both National and State license. Training hour credits have increased so much that it is impossible for volunteers to work a regular job and keep up with the hours of training necessary to keep their license. Here is an example of to many regulations and the affect it will have on a poor county with only one paid ALS ambulance and a decreasing number of volunteer EMTs. I kinda know how you feel! I have one year left before my current license expires.

      • defeated by the system

        First off, I didn’t expect to see this kind of response to my mini-rant. I wasn’t trying to single out my profession as being more important than another’s. It just made me sick to hear about sign on bonuses for the rainmakers being in the millions of dollars with emphasis on the “good ones” getting into the 10′s of millions of dollars.

        Dave, I know you get it, having done the same. Sure, Medic vs. Basic, but we’re all doing the same thing, just different levels of it. All the tasks I listed we don’t just do, but we do them in someone’s living room. Usually, with emotional family members watching. I’ve been on both sides of it being my career and being a volunteer. In Massachusetts, we’re transitioning to the National Registry statewide, and while it may be good in the long run, the process seems like just more excuses to charge fees for certifications & participate in more con-ed classes to keep my job. Even though it is my career, most of my expenses for classes, etc. come out of pocket.

    • hennorama

      defeated by the system — the thing is, despite your ability and skill, and the fact that you are involved in life and death circumstances, those who determine your rate of pay seem to view you not as a professional who is difficult to replace, but instead as a fairly easily replaced technician.

  • Markus6

    Beginning of the year is a good time to upgrade a great program. I couldn’t tell what Mark’s political bias was – he seemed tied closely to facts. However, Heidi was clearly an advocate for the progressive side.

    Nothing wrong with having a political bias, though it’d be nice if people were more honest about it. And there should be shows which pit advocates against each other. But wouldn’t it be nice if there were more shows that had greater objectivity. A few more Marks and a few less Heidis.

    • brettearle

      Could you demonstrate with examples?

  • tbphkm33

    Maybe 2014 will be the year that the U.S. media and the average person on the street finally realizes what the socio-economic statistics have been pointing to – that the United States of America in 2014 is the richest 2nd (SECOND) world country.

    There is a great rift between the have’s and the have-not’s. This is not limited to money and economic resources, but ripples straight through the spectrum. The have-not’s do not have access to proper medical services, poor education (at all levels), inferior food, inadequate housing. The list goes on.

    Reality is that the ranks of the have-not’s, and increasingly the middle class, of the U.S. have more in common with the poor of 2nd world countries. The destitute of the U.S. have the similar statistics to that of slum dwellers in the third world.

    The question is not if the U.S. economic system and government is failing The People – it is if in many ways it is too late to turn the ship around. Crony capitalism is the enemy. Soon the only way to return the United States to the spirit of the Constitution will be by a revolution of the style the French had over 200 years ago.

    • warryer

      Go move to communist china if you think capitalist USA is so bad.

      • John_Hamilton

        Ordering people to do this or that is the kind of thing authoritarians are inclined to do. I remember when I was in Army basic training that a few trainees would try their hand at ordering people around. They saw that ordering people around was what people with status did, and the way to gain status was to do the same. They suffered greatly, learning painfully that to successfully order people around you have to have some rank. I have a funny story about a guy who tried to order me around, too long to tell here, just that I gave him a scalding hot cup when I was serving breakfast in the mess hall. I still chuckle at the memory.

      • jefe68

        Intolerance coupled with ignorance is such an ugly virtue.

      • andic_epipedon

        Actually I was thinking Australia, Canada or even northwest Europe were socialist leaders are actually elected and come and go at the people’s behest and not as much at the corporations behest. The United States problem is that no one agrees on anything, therefore the boat sinks as we duke it out.

    • pete18

      While I agree with you about the problems of Crony Capitalism, my guess is you see it completely differently than I do. I see it as a problem created when business colludes with government to carve out advantages for themselves that would not otherwise be found in the free market. A good example of this is the elimination of the perfectly good and cheap incandescent bulb, which was actually brought about by a collusion of the major light bulb manufacturers with government:

      “Competitive markets with low costs of entry have a characteristic that consumers love and businesses lament: very low profit margins. GE, Philips and Sylvania dominated the U.S. market in incandescents, but they couldn’t convert that dominance into price hikes. Because of light bulb’s low material and manufacturing costs, any big climb in prices would have invited new competitors to undercut the giants — and that new competitor would probably have won a distribution deal with Wal-Mart.

      So, simply the threat of competition kept profit margins low on the traditional light bulb — that’s the magic of capitalism. GE and Sylvania searched for higher profits by improving the bulb — think of the GE Soft White bulb. These companies, with their giant research budgets, made advances with halogen, LED and fluorescent technologies, and even high-efficiency incandescents. They sold these bulbs at a much higher prices — but they couldn’t get many customers to buy them for those high prices. That’s the hard part about capitalism — consumers, not manufacturers, get to demand what something is worth.”


      But my guess is that you see solutions for this in more government interference and regulations, yes?

  • marygrav

    Nothing will change in the US economy until the T-Party and its backers understand that Obama is here to stay and that it is foolish to wreck the entire country because he is Black.

    If it were not for Obama’s race the T-Party would have lost support in the society years ago. It is funny how the face that he is African American clots these stupid people together as they see the economy mired in its own political waste.

    All of the economic policies given to Congress to pull US out of the morass has been killed in the House by the T-Party and its neoconservative backers. The T-Party backers in the House are too cowardly to challenge the effect and affect of the T-Party on the country and culture itself. The House Obstructionists have held the economy back and may drive the country into rebellion as the “truly” middle class melts down further.

    Of course the Ryans and the Cantors will show off. But these Fascists may find themselves out of a job as the electorate realized the poison that the T-Party is putting into not only the US economy, but the world economy as well and the relevance of the US as a world economic power fails even further.

    John Edwards said during 2008 that the Stock Market has nothing what-so-ever to do with the 1%. The Market can go over the top, but people will still be hungry, jobless, and homeless.

    Fracking for natural gas is dangerous because it is the gas that holds up the earth formation. Witness the earthquakes in “diverous” places where they have never occurred. Our drinking water will not be fit to drink and all the profits will go to the 99%, not to the expansion of the American Workforce.

    Racism is the most powerful force that is holding back the US growth. And even though Obamacare will help put people back to work and improve the health of the youngsters that will serve in the Army that protects the wealth of the 1%, they have no vision. And where their is no vision the country and the people fail.

    • HonestDebate1

      That’s sick.

    • brettearle

      Your view of the Radical Right is too extreme.

      The Radical Right may be destructive and partially racist–and I dislike them intensely.

      But I challenge you to explain to me how they live up to the definition, from Political Science, of Fascism.

      What’s more, not all of Tea Party conviction is the result of Racism.

      You hurt the Liberal/Progressive cause by claiming this.

      There are a number of reasons why the Tea Party does not like President Obama–and they are factors that have nothing to do with Racism.

      Maybe I haven’t been around when you defend your positions.

      But I have never seen you defend yourself, when your positions are questioned.

      The less you defend your positions, the more your credibility is lost–with Moderates, with New Democrats; and even with with moderate Liberals and Liberals.

      As a Democrat, I feel that you do a disservice to our cause. Your knee-jerk buzzword of “Fascist” is as bad as the Right calling President Obama a, “Communist”.

      • HonestDebate1

        I want to defend Marygrav calling the Tea Party Fascist. I don’t have problem with it.

        Regarding President Obama, I am not aware of the Communist label being bandied about willy nilly, maybe I missed It. I would not call him a Communist. And please don’t remind me of his tacit government takeovers of the medical, insurance, auto and banking industries as I am aware. I am also aware of the Mao ornaments on the White House tree, Van Jones’ past and Anita Dunn’s hero worship. That doesn’t make him a Communist. I have never even called him a Socialist (I don’t think). I don’t put much credence in the fact that the Communists and Socialists support Obama big time and showed up in large numbers at the One Nation rally.

        These are all just meaningless labels but they are issues of position and policy. That’s fair game in the political arena. In fact, questioning policy is more than fair, it’s necessary and righteous. It can be debated honestly.

        However, accusations of racism are not attacks on positions and policies, they are attacks on character. They are personal, shallow and sick. They are in total and complete opposition to honest debate.

        • pete18

          “I want to defend Marygrav calling the Tea Party Fascists. I don’t have problem with it.”

          I do. It’s equally inaccurate and equally offensive as calling the Tea Party “racists.” What’s so laughable about this critique, which I’m sure Marvin Gravy doesn’t have the guts to attempt to defend, is that Obamacare, the defeat of which is the main reason for the Tea Party’s existence, is closer to a fascist policy than anything the Tea Party has suggested as a direction for the country (and no, I’m not calling Obama a Fascist). No doubt Gravy has no clue about the history of fascism and is just using the term as a glib insult that he has heard other uninformed leftists tossing around.

          • HonestDebate1


          • pete18

            I see your point, I do think there are a lot of leftists who throw around the racism charge in a cheap, gratuitous manner. I don’t think good arguments affect most who make either of those charges because they are not made based on evidence, they are made on emotion and long held doctrines that many on the left hold about conservatives, race and fascism.

            I am surprised at that part of Brettearle’s response, because he is otherwise someone who tends to argue honestly and factually.

        • nj_v2

          “…Communists and Socialists support Obama big time…”


          Just when you thought DisHonestMisdebatorGreggg couldn’t get any more clueless.

    • twenty_niner

      Good Lord. How is the Tea Party responsible for the Fed printing $85 billion (make that now $75 billion) and handing it to Wall Street every month? This is the most inside-baseball trickle-up quasi-Fascist policy since the inception of the Fed. And with nomination of Yellen, who is going to continue this nonsense, Obama now 100% owns this policy.

      And what’s more puzzling is how people on the left are completely glossing over this massive theft of purchasing power from a rapidly shrinking middle class. Granted, the POMOs and reverse REPOs and all of the Fed craptastic can get a little arcane, but just follow the moolah:


      And while your’e at it, why not ask most Tea Partiers what their opinion of the Fed is?

    • Human2013

      While I believe that race has been a factor, I don’t believe its been the impetus of the Republican party. This country is at a real cross roads and the two parties have different visions. The Republicans seem to be ok with reducing all sorts of help to the needy and soon to be needy while the Democrats understand that destroying are social foundation will lead to a different kind of America. We are either going to require Corporations and wealthy individuals to contribute more or we are going to let their wealth put the rest of us into poverty.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Something like 80% of Hollywood films come from overseas. We might as well double down on our greatest ability…to create a fantasy world.

  • samuelpepys

    I was dismayed by the conversation about the economy today. Not sure who the “we” is in all the good or not-that-bad news being celebrated, mutedly or wildly depending on the tone of the expert, but it doesn’t include those who are losing their unemployment payments this frigid January, those who still don’t have jobs or homes or pretty much anything those comfortable folk can’t imagine not having (and couldn’t stay “on point” when asked about it). For other dismayed listeners, and for Mr. Ashbrook, here are the opening two paragraphs of a more humane and better-informed account by Amy Goodman, from Truthdig:

    Congress to the Unemployed: Eat Confetti
    Posted on Jan 1, 2014 By Amy Goodman

    Is this really how we want to start the new year, by denying
    unemployment benefits to more than a million Americans who have lost their jobs? The bipartisan budget agreement passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama protects military spending, but promises to throw the most desperate in our economy into increased financial hardship, thrusting hundreds of thousands of families beneath the poverty line. The long-term unemployment rate is at the highest it
    has been since World War II, while the percentage of those receiving the benefits is at its historic low. Meanwhile, Wall Street bankers are popping the corks, celebrating a banner year for the stock market. As brokers await their bonuses, many more of the unemployed will head for the breadlines.

    “This is the wrong thing to happen at the wrong time for our
    economy,” Imara Jones told me. He is the economic justice contributor for Colorlines.com, and served in the Clinton White House, where he worked on international trade policy. “Jobless benefits are actually stimulative to the economy,” he said. “Every $1 we provide to someone of unemployment benefits yields $1.60 in economic activity. And that’s why the loss of these benefits is going to rob our economy of $41 billion.”

    People living on the edge financially spend what they have to get by. Those in the top echelons of our economy, the top 1 percent, can take their income and hold on to it, or stash it away into an offshore account….


  • phytolipide

    I found this discussion frustrating because the foundation on which it was based was flawed. There was talk of how best to help the population, etc. The reality is that in an economic system in which the corporations are only beholden to their shareholders with the constant goal of profit then of course folks will be expendable.

    It’s not out of nowhere that we have lots of people who are out of work or who are only partially employed. Almost all of this is because of bottom line decisions that corporations have made.

    It’s cheaper to outsource jobs to China or India. It’s cheaper to hire people part time so as not to have to pay them benefits. It makes economic sense not to hire older people who you may have to pay more benefits to – unless you are hiring them part time yet working them like slaves, as Tom’s show on the kind of hiring Amazon does shows.

    And everything else follows from these corporate decisions. There’s no money for good schools when so many people are out of work and have lost their homes (shrinking tax bases and municipalities in the red). There is no impetus for training people anyway when it’s cheaper and easier to outsource the jobs or to bring in skilled workers from elsewhere (and I say this as someone who is not at all anti-immigrant or xenophobic – just responding to the realities I see).

    To the economist who spoke of growth through construction. How many more houses do we need? How many more trees and natural areas need to get the chop for these new subdivisions. And these by and large won’t end up being homes for people, but because of the kind of economy we have in which everything (even essentials like food and housing) are commodities they will simply end up as investments and assets for the well-off.

    There are thousands and thousands of forclosed properties lying empty and many Americans who don’t have a roof over their heads — but our focus is on building new subdivisions and condos that the few who still have decent incomes can afford???

    Either we care about people and their livelihoods and our economy is structured accordingly (less towards rampant unsustainable growth and more towards providing a decent living for the people who live here and seeing food as food and not as a commodity) or we don’t and we lay bare the realities of the Market. The Market and Corporations don’t care about anyone and we are reaping the results.

    • samuelpepys

      Well said! I wish you’d been one of the guests on the show for this discussion!

    • HonestDebate1

      NPR is a corporation.

      • andic_epipedon

        NPR is a non-profit corporation. That’s different from a for profit operation that Phytolipide is referring to.

        • HonestDebate1

          So is the NFL.

          You say profit like it’s a bad thing.

          • andic_epipedon

            The NFL hides behind its status as a non-profit. The NFL is bad. The NFL has hidden proof of head injuries for over twenty years. Profit is not bad. Short-term profit with no eye to the future is bad and that is exactly what most corporations are. A perfect example of a good business strategy is of the guy who created the first waterproof fabric that has spawned all the modern outdoor clothing. He installed non-required environmental gizmos in his factory because of his dedication to a clean environment. He still made a profit, it just wasn’t a greedy amount of profit.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s my point, non-profit means little.

            Who is the guy you refer to and is his business incorporated?

            The thing is antic_epipedon demonizing corporations is a very broad charge. I just don’t see the purpose. There are good and righteous corporations and there are bad ones. By and large businesses with integrity are more profitable in the long run.

    • Peter

      Beautifully put! Thank you.

    • andic_epipedon

      The best thing we can do as a nation is abolish the laws that require a corporation to make short-term profits for their shareholders. I am an educated scientist who was involved in environmental policy and now works as a peon in a large corporate retail chain. I see the results of corporate policies that are only interested in short-term gains. If I were to run a business, I would do it for the long haul and I would do it right.

  • phytolipide

    The economic problems we see are not about politics though more and more corporate lobbyists pull our politicians strings. Instead it has everything to do with our economic system and the reforms it needs.

    • Bluejay2fly

      The greatest reform needed in this nation is for people to become more group oriented and less self-obsessed. We have selfish, greedy, politicians because they reflect the general population at large. I work in law enforcement and we have a coffee and donut area. Even though the fund is monetized by individual officers we have people who eat 2 or 3 donuts and drink coffee everyday without paying. Not only do some officers who run the mess have to put in their own money everyday there are occasions when someone has taken money out of the fund! It gets worse when people can rationalize their bad behavior when it comes to stealing from the government or faceless corporations. The “ME” generation and everyman for himself predatory social system has caused this nation to devolve. Thankfully, we are not Somalia or Columbia yet but we are in decline. Having a banker loan a 20 years old 90K for college which he knows will most likely not help that person get a job ,and will force that person to pay that principle three times over is almost worse than a starving man sticking a gun in your face.

  • Don_B1

    Whether we like it or not, technology has always been the driver of changes that ended repetitive and labor-intensive jobs; Eli Whitney’s cotton-gin of 1793 being just one example (I chose it because most people know of it).

    Typically, these inventions have increased the productivity of workers who have gone on to do more productive work, either controlling these new machines or in the use of the products of these machines or in new areas available because the increased earnings of the workers of the first two things listed allow the economy to grow and people can afford something else, like going to movies or plays of buying a computer, etc.

    Whether the level of technology has reached some tipping point now or not, will only be known sometime in the future. But just submitting to doomsday warnings now is not a good idea.

  • andic_epipedon

    Tom. In these discussions about the economy, job retraining and education is always mentioned. This show had spent the most time of any show that I’ve heard, but I think we need a show dedicated to it. Show me the jobs and I’ll retrain (aka…show me the money).

    As someone with a bachelor’s degree and 13 years of experience that used to make 70,000 a year, spent 3 years with temporary employment and more schooling and has finally decided to work a part time retail job, I don’t get it. I thought I was doing the right thing by getting more schooling, but it didn’t pan out. Everybody told me I was doing the right thing by getting more schooling. All I have is more debt. I’m getting really frustrated that everyone keeps saying more training is required. Training in what? Who is going to teach a 40 year old with minor health problems who has had a history of program and project management of natural resources conservation to retrain their skills to do something else. I’m certainly capable of it. Alternatively, I can certainly operate a chainsaw, but I don’t have the stamina to do it all day, and I certainly don’t want to cut down a grove of old growth forest.

    • Bluejay2fly

      If I were you I would look at being a forest ranger, park ranger, or conservation officer. Basically, some state or federal job connected to what you enjoy doing or have some skill set towards. I left the teaching profession (MA English Literature) because I saw it was going to be never ending misery. I decided to join a growth industry so I work in a prison. I am making more than most teachers and do not have to worry about lay offs or listen to people complain about us being over paid baby-sitters. Am I happy about not teaching and working with very violent uneducated people? NO!! but I did what was in my families best economic interests and ironically my stress level is probably less than before.

      • andic_epipedon

        I tried the Park Ranger thing, but it would have required me to leave my family, My relationship almost ended after a 3 month stint 4 hours away from home. I could have taken permanent employment had I decided to break up with my significant other. I too have thought about prisons.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Family versus job is a difficult choice. My first year in the NYS prison system I drove over 300 miles for over a year until I could get a placement near my home. Some people were stuck downstate with that terrible wintery drive for over 4 years. I knew at least 2 officers who died and quite a few others who had nasty highway accidents. Today, 15 years later I stay at an apartment 2 or 3 nights a week because the drive to where I work is far. I thought all this was bad until I was mobilized and sent to the Iraq at age 40 with 4 small children and a wife recovering from breast cancer. I did not get to hold my loved ones for over 8 months. One thing I learned from all that is how strong people can be and how my few days away from home is a pretty minor inconvenience. I hated barely scraping by at a job with no retirement, poor benefits, no security, and little or no insurance. My belabored advice is take the prison job and later you could transfer to a different state job once you are in. I planned to cross over to teaching but I like being a guard better so I stayed there.

  • Jim

    if people are listening… there will be more money redirected to executives and less to employees. simply saying more training is being disingenuous.. there will be less and less work involved in many manufacturing and service jobs… just wait and see. well, i see it first hand at the MIT labs.. oh yes, innovation will destroy jobs further. now is the time see if you really want to live in a society where smartest and fittest shall survive.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Bill Black: Leaving Felons in Charge of our Largest Financial Institutions is Now United States Policy


  • Zack Smith

    OnPoint brings on two cheerleaders that just repeat CNBC talking points, and Mark Zandi in particular has 0 credibility http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/09/zandi/

    “The housing market correction is in full swing but it probably has another year to go before it bottoms out,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com.

    Los Angeles Times – Jan 6, 2007

    Why not bring on an economist that forecasts a bearish 2014 to bring some balance to the show? James Grant, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff or Marc Faber would have made for a more interesting debate.

  • Zack Smith

    Further proving that Zandi does not understand economics, he trots out the canard that Ford paid his workers so they could buy Model Ts. FALSE.

    But according to Stephen Meyer, a labor historian and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ford didn’t pay so much because of beliefs about enriching workers. He had no choice.

    According to Meyer, in 1913, the year before Ford doubled wages, the turnover rate at his plants was 370 percent. In contrast, Walmart’s turnover rate today is said to be 100 percent annually, still a very high number by today’s standards.

    “They wouldn’t stay,” Meyer said in a phone interview Tuesday. “They hated the work and they would just walk off the job or not show up.” That meant that to maintain a workforce of 13,000 to 14,000 employees, the company had to hire 52,000 workers in a year.


  • hourly_PA

    The outlook is rosy says Moody’s Zandi.
    He’s talking about the economy of the haves.
    Those that pocket 40 billion a month from the Fed.
    That have access to cheap labor world wide.
    The other economy is that of the have-nots.
    Zandi & Co. tells them how lucky they are to live in a democracy.
    What’s real lucky for the haves is that no vote from anyone, for any party, can work against their interests. Which doesn’t come from luck of course, but from cash that buys legislation.

Sep 18, 2014
Flickr/Steve Rhodes

After a summer of deadly clashes between Gaza and Israel, we talk to Jews on the left and right about the future of liberal Zionism. Some say it’s over.

Sep 18, 2014

Billionaires. We’ll look at the super super rich, and their global shaping of our world.

Sep 17, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

Sep 17, 2014
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson watches from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of a preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (AP/Ann Heisenfelt)

The NFL’s Adrian Peterson and the emotional debate underway about how far is too far to go when it comes to disciplining children.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

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Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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