The media report that new unemployment claims continue their gradual descent from their highs of this winter. Of course, if you are one of the army of unemployed young people, you may never have gotten your first job. Almost certainly, real unemployment is thereby underestimated by looking at new claims. What are the current data showing about today's economy?
First, businesses have downsized and fought for profitability. This is proper capitalist behavior. It's not the fault of any individual company that a lot of large new industries are not ready to suck up lots of job-seekers.
However, let us say that this post-tech innovation era is in an interregnum phase until the next New Thing appears. Until New Thing's appearance, the watchword is "Houston we have a (jobs) problem".
So, a pair of chief executives named Bush and Obama struggle on playing weak hands, printing money/debt at paces exceeding the growth in their "company's" revenues.
And so jobless benefits are extended over and over again, as the economy can meet the real needs of its people and foreigners who wish to buy our products with fewer people working.
The easy answer for Mr. Obama's company to do, since it is a non-profit entity, is to invest and invest some more on accelerating research and development efforts on new products. There are obvious candidates in medical, energy and other fields that can benefit the country and the world if successful. Not all will succeed, but at least people will learn things, more people will be employed trying to create a brighter future, and the sense of national malaise will tend to lift simply by a President doing the vision thing.
Rather than continuing to borrow money to pay oldsters a cost-of-living benefit in 2010 without any regard to need, I believe that that money would be better spent putting people back to work on R&D.
It's about the future.
But politics is about buying votes.
So the malaise and money-printing continue. Eventually a next New Thing will occur. We are reduced to hoping that the change will be a Good Thing rather than a Bad Thing.
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