CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press They Don't Know About Unemployment at the Washington Post

They Don't Know About Unemployment at the Washington Post

Friday, 25 June 2010 05:58

In keeping with the policy of fact-free reporting at the Post, David Ignatius touts the economic successes of the last year and proclaims: "much of the necessary repair work has been done, with one nagging exception -- the lack of a credible long-term plan to control the deficit."

Wow, no one told him about 9.7 percent unemployment.

Comments (11)Add Comment
written by alex, June 25, 2010 8:40
Dean Baker: "Wow, no one told him about 9.7 percent unemployment."

Maybe he doesn't read the newspaper.
I can't imagine that's an oversight.
written by Russ, June 25, 2010 8:57
That reads like very intentional elitist writing.

I think the WaPo would like to become more overt about its class warrior ideology and coverage. They'd like their masthead to proclaim a slogan like, "Of the Elites, By the Elites, For the Elites".

That's already what they are, and it must get tiresome pretending they're something else.
It's the same old song...
written by diesel, June 25, 2010 10:41
While I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day drinking my Americano (no David Brooks, it wasn't a triple whatever frappucino), I overheard a florid-faced, grey-haired, paunched guy in his sixties loudly declaiming to the cowering staff behind the counter that "jobs were out there, you just had to be willing to go out and look for them" and other such rubbish. As has been my wont lately, I spoke out, "That's a bunch of BS. Unemployment is over 10%." There was a moment of embarassed silence, a pause, and then he plowed on and I went back to my book. So anyway, the issue du week that seems to be out amongst the teabaggers and their ilk, targets unemployment. Their message? That old refrain, "Once again folks, it's all a matter of human failure--a lack of will on the part of the usual suspects. The shirkers. The shiftless unemployed who want to game the system, enabled by the pointy-headed so-called intellectuals who can talk numbers all you want, but that won't create a single job now will it?"
Where is the Sustainable Economic Plan
written by J Snow, June 25, 2010 11:05
What we really, really need from the economic community is sustainable economic plans. Clearly Dean Baker's proposal to allow defaulting mortgagees to stay in their houses for 10 years as tenants at prevailing market rates would stabilize the housing market overnight. That is just one piece to the economic puzzle of having a sustainable economic plan for America and our trading partners around the world who hold vast amounts of our debt.
be realistic
written by bhatman, June 25, 2010 3:18
Maybe "of the elites, by the elites" but not "for the elites". More accurate would be "for the middle-aged government workers and Washington area retirees"--these are the people who read the WaPo and buy from the WaPo's advertisers. The government workers have little risk of unemployment (layoffs, if any, would be likely be last hired, first fired) and the retirees have no risk. The big concerns of these groups (with respect to economics, at least) are: stock and corporate bond prices (government has done a truly heroic job making these go up), house prices (not so good here, but remember DC hasn't been hit nearly as bad as the rest of the country, and most of these folk bought their houses long before the bubble, and hence are mostly unaffected by the bursting of the bubble), inflation (which would tend to benefit house prices, but only marginally, but crush stock and bond prices. So there you have it. Why do you expect the WaPo to gives a crap about the young or the lower-class or the people living in other parts of the country than DC, when these other groups don't subscribe to the WaPo and don't buy from its advertisers?
written by bhatman, June 25, 2010 3:24
I overheard a florid-faced, grey-haired, paunched guy in his sixties loudly declaiming to the cowering staff behind the counter

If you're a sadist with a secure job or secure pension or all your money in bonds, these are wonderful times indeed. You can kick workers around with impunity and get your rocks off watching them eat whatever sh*t you set before them. No wonder so many retirees and near-retirees seem so chipper these days.
Home Foreclosures Are Also Redacted Information To Ignatius Too
written by Union Member, June 25, 2010 5:14

Fifteen straight months with 300,000 or more home foreclosures!

Where does David Ignatius think these people (families) will be living five years from now? Ten years?

The same is true for the unemployed. The 9.7 percent figure is not static: how many of these people have been unemployed for six months or more? A year or more? Will they ever be able to "recover"? Unemployment statics don't tell any of the true cost to a persons well-being and the well-being of their family.

Let's hope David Ignatius is more accurate and honest and has better information when he's writing about Predator Drones.
"unemployment rate remains shockingly high." said David I
written by AndrewDover, June 25, 2010 7:41
I guess D.I has heard about high unemployment because the very next sentence was:

"Obama gets little credit for economic success at home, where the unemployment rate remains shockingly high."

Or did he add that in later?
written by Union Member, June 25, 2010 8:23

Yeah, Shockingly and Awesomely high, maybe.

What would Ignatius's corrective be?
written by benamery21, June 28, 2010 1:56
How to drop unemployment to 7% overnight...

Hire 5M people at minimum wage to do things that don't displace existing jobs. This would cost about $100B a year assuming about a 25% overhead for the program.

$100B financed at 0.7% is 700M dollars per year. There are 154M currently employed people. This is $4.50 per employee per year to drop unemployment down to 7%.

FUTA (payroll) tax is typically 0.8%, but it's capped at 28K per year (actually 7k per quarter technically). The cap was last raised in 1983. The law originally applied to 100% of wages, the first cap (in 1939) covered 98% of wages. The current cap covers about 14% of wages by my calculations. If we simply uncapped the 0.8% portion of FUTA (an employer tax), we would generate $50B additional per year. The $100B per year and declining cost of workfare, would be very sustainable.
Look Who's Not Talking
written by Dean Elvin Baker, June 28, 2010 10:26
Seems like a lot of news organizations think that 9.7 unemployment is nothing but an urban myth. I heard nothing from the major networks (save Fox and it's devotees who wallowed in ectasy at the failure last week of H.R.4213) and...I could not find much on the liberal websites, either. The big newspapers, Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc, etc, were tight lipped and it made me wonder, "What the hell?". The plight of struggling unemployed people was barely a bleep on the radar. Talk about heads in the sand!

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

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.