Critics of the Obama administration have accused the President of trying to spook the American people into believing that the only to prevent economic Armageddon is to pressure Congress to support the stimulus package. They're using the language of Democrats who criticized Republicans and the Bush-Cheney administration for trying to scare the American people into a state of suspended obedience to political authority. The terrorist threats might have been real, but we know now that a lot of the "facts" marshalled to support the rhetoric wasn't. In the case of the economic crisis, though, maybe Americans aren't panicking as much as they should: the job market spiraldown continues, and more apocalyptically, the rate of decline is picking up. The labor force is contracting rapidly; the unemployment rate is close to its 1990s peak at 7.8%. (Want higher than that? Go to the 1970s.) Americans are working fewer hours, too. Scary! Christina Romer, the White House's chief economist, noted that of the 3.6 million jobs lost over the past year, most of them have been lost in the last four months. The rate is comparable to the rate recorded by economists in 1938, during the....yep.
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