Define Your Terms, Ben

You know what drives me nuts? When bureaucrats talk about “the economy” as if one portion is separate from (and more important than) what affects ordinary people. It’s as if a doctor told a patient, “Well, you still have malignant cancer cells spreading in all your major organs — but look how nicely your sprained ankle is healing!”

If people don’t have jobs, are losing their homes and can’t afford to feed their families, and the numbers of people in those straits continue to grow, the economy is not recovering. Can we please cut the crap? If you shove a pile of dirt under the rug, you didn’t “clean” — you simply moved the problem to a different location. When are we going to stop pretending that the banking system isn’t still a house of cards?

Saying the economic outlook was “unusually uncertain,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke predicted that unemployment was likely to remain stubbornly high for several years, straining families and endangering the nation’s economic stability and competitiveness.

“Long-term unemployment not only imposes exceptional near-term hardships on workers and their families; it also erodes skills and may have long-lasting effects on workers’ employment and earnings prospects,” he said Wednesday in his semiannual testimony to Congress.

“This is the worst labor market, the worst episode, since the Great Depression,” Bernanke said of long-term unemployment. “Not only for the sake of the unemployed and for the short-term strength of the economy but also for a long-term viability in international competitiveness, I think we need to be very seriously concerned.”

Though Bernanke painted a bleak picture for the millions of jobless workers, he said the U.S. economy was continuing to recover at a moderate pace. And for now, he said, the central bank was holding off on taking further actions to stimulate the economy.

A series of economic data in recent weeks have pointed to slowing economic growth, fanning fears of a return to recession and prompting speculation that the central bank may be gearing up to buy more securities or initiate other moves in an effort to spur lending by pushing already low long-term interest rates even lower.

3 thoughts on “Define Your Terms, Ben

  1. “When are we going to stop pretending that the banking system isn’t still a house of cards?”

    For as long as doing so continues to maintain the firewall between upper management/directors and the nasty business of accountability.

  2. There’s Ben’s economy, and there’s our economy. He calls his “the US economy,” and Our Nation’s Great Professional Journalists™ go along with the gag.

    Ben’s economy is fine. Sure, ours isn’t doing too well, but as long as Ben’s is OK, Ben can go on saying “I’ve got mine, Jack.” (Ben’s polite; he doesn’t add the usual FY tagline. That’s OK. It’s so well-known that everyone hears it anyhow, but this way he’s still a good guy. Because the only thing that marks you as bad is incivility. Inhumanity’s fine. And Ben’s got his, Jack.)

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