Roubini: “The worst is yet to come”

Nouriel Roubini, one of the predictors of the economic catastrophe, along with most of the progressive netroots, appears to just be making a dour economic prediction. In fact, he is describing the transformation of American society.

Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening. While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%.

So we can expect that job losses will continue until the end of 2010 at the earliest. In other words, if you are unemployed and looking for work and just waiting for the economy to turn the corner, you had better hunker down. All the economic numbers suggest this will take a while. The jobs just are not coming back.

The long-term picture for workers and families is even worse than current job loss numbers alone would suggest. Now as a way of sharing the pain, many firms are telling their workers to cut hours, take furloughs and accept lower wages. Specifically, that fall in hours worked is equivalent to another 3 million full time jobs lost on top of the 7.5 million jobs formally lost.

NY Daily

“The jobs just are not coming back.” That could be the theme slogan for the last 40 years. If we had had a big election back in 1973 on whether or not we wanted to move our manufacturing sector overseas, thereby decimating a huge chunk of the economy, and destroying millions of livelihoods and lives, how do you think that election would have turned out? I’m pretty sure the political careers of the people who even suggested it would have been over.

Yet, behind the scenes, through the lobbying work of international trade groups like the CFR and COC, that is exactly what our democratically elected representatives set out to accomplish.

And what they accomplished was nothing less than the transformation of American society. We went from having a thriving middle class, with an immense amount of common wealth, to a borderline third world state, common wealth looted, private wealth looted, public facilities starved and in shambles, society on the verge of collapse or, more accurately, balkanized into segments in varying degrees of prosperity and collapse.

It’s not a mystery. We were attacked. Our treasury looted, public policy turned against us on trade, manufacturing, taxes. The history is not secret. It has been chronicled in books and publications, in print and on the web.

But the liberal left never saw it coming. We were too busy with academic issues like prayer in schools or the ten commandments on the courthouse steps to notice that our country was being turned into a third world state. While we were waging our culture war, corporate America was quietly dismantling American society.  


Skip to comment form

  1. … war, to give supporters of politicians pursuing policies deeply antagonistic to the supporters own interests something to focus on, and to encourage the final dissolution of the New Deal coalition into a morass of individual interest groups.

    But it turns out that if we wish to fight for civil rights for all, we need to do it in the context of a coalition with those willing to support that in return for our support for their own, compatible, priorities.

    Given the final collapse of the New Deal coalition, we have to build a new own.

  2. real learning situations — that will give people an opportunity to think rationally about life after capitalism.

    What else is there?

Comments have been disabled.