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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Robert Samuelson Wants Us to Follow the Example of a Country With 7 Years of Double-Digit Unemployment

Robert Samuelson Wants Us to Follow the Example of a Country With 7 Years of Double-Digit Unemployment

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Monday, 18 July 2011 05:23
Yes, I am serious. In his column today Samuelson holds up Latvia as the model for the United States to follow. The unemployment rate in Latvia is currently close to 20 percent. According to the latest projections from the IMF, it is still projected to be double-digits by 2016, the end of its projection period. Its 2016 GDP is projected to be 1.5 percent below its 2007 level. If this is a model for success, it's interesting to think of what Samuelson would view as a failure.
Comments (11)Add Comment
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written by johnson, July 18, 2011 8:29
Mr. Samuelson seems to like near poverty wages and mass emigration too.
more american geography
written by frankenduf, July 18, 2011 8:51
maybe he likes it cuz it's where that dracula dude is from?
how jaded you've become, Dean
written by MURRAY P STONE, July 18, 2011 9:02
How can you be critical of Samuelson's admiration of Latvia's policies? He relies on a source of undoubted probity and impartiality: a book co-written by the Prime Minister who instituted them.
Best line from the Samuelson article
written by Matt, July 18, 2011 10:40
"Should it be devalued to limit short-term unemployment or defended to defuse the financial crisis? The government rejected devaluation, and though that temporarily boosted unemployment, it now seems the right decision."

No wonder a Fox on 15th reporter luvs Latvia - they chose to destroy workers rather than hurt the banking system. Although apparently he didn't pay attention to the rest - tax increase, jobs programs and additional extensions to unemployment coverage would tend to point out that we're not even capable of following Latvia's example...
Read the Comments to Samuelson's Screed: Are Most of The Commenters Insane?
written by shackdoctrine, July 18, 2011 10:48
Just read most of the comments, which praise Samuelson's NON-REASONING to the high heavens. I sometimes feel like the people who comment on sites like WaPo have all just escaped from an insane asylum.
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written by kharris, July 18, 2011 12:05
This is how you write that first persuasive essay in composition class, before your instructor tells you to try to rely more on facts if you can. Samuelson began not from results, but from policies. He assumes results at some point in the untestable future. The important thing is to write the essay as if good results are assured, in order to praise the policies that are sure to assure those results. There are 2 reason one does this is the first effort at a persuasive essay. One is that it is just emotionally satisfying to claim to be right, based on one's own beliefs. That's what children do till they are forced to rely on facts. The other is that one doesn't need to look up one's own beliefs. Just write the essay to confirm those beliefs and the effort involved is much easier to manage.
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written by Oblios Cap, July 18, 2011 12:40
Lavia!? Is Victor von Doom still running that show?
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written by Alan in SF, July 18, 2011 5:55
It's not that Samuelson has a different definition of success or failure than most people (although he might), it's just that, in his position, it's important that he always be wrong.
Latvians are fleeing Latvia
written by ToivoS, July 18, 2011 6:53
One of the consequences of their economic crises and the Western mandated 'solution', is the declining population of Latvia. There is the possibility that the population may drop below the level required to maintain a distinct language. They are in danger of joining the Livonians.

How ironic, their fear and hatred of the Russians have led the Latvians into the arms of western capitalist that are now strangling the last of their autonomy.
...
written by diesel, July 19, 2011 12:53
Matt, I too picked out this quote as the nub of Samuelson's article, that is; "How much should budget deficits be cut?...Should it be devalued to limit short-term unemployment or defended to defuse the financial crisis? The government rejected devaluation, and though that temporarily boosted unemployment, it now seems the right decision." But I drew a different conclusion from this statement.

Dean's problem is he just isn't looking at this with a long-enough time horizon. Samuelson realizes that nine years of double digit unemployment is just a blink of an eye, geologically speaking, confirming the notion that higher class people take a longer view of things.
thanks
written by Sergejs Ancupovs, July 20, 2011 2:51
Thank You very much for posting this. This is a difference between thinking approach and propaganda approach at describing matters on Latvia. We all are tired very much with lies.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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