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Robert Reich writes, "Why aren't Americans being told the truth about the economy? We're heading in the direction of a double dip - but you'd never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



Why Americans Are Fed Lies

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

31 March 11

 

The Truth About the Economy That Nobody In Washington or On Wall Street Will Admit: We're Heading Back Toward a Double Dip

hy aren't Americans being told the truth about the economy? We're heading in the direction of a double dip - but you'd never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington.

Consumers are 70 percent of the American economy, and consumer confidence is plummeting. It's weaker today on average than at the lowest point of the Great Recession.

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey shows a 10 point decline in March - the tenth largest drop on record. Part of that drop is attributable to rising fuel and food prices. A separate Conference Board's index of consumer confidence, just released, shows consumer confidence at a five-month low - and a large part is due to expectations of fewer jobs and lower wages in the months ahead.

Pessimistic consumers buy less. And fewer sales spells economic trouble ahead.

What about the 192,000 jobs added in February? (We'll know more Friday about how many jobs were added in March.) It's peanuts compared to what's needed. Remember, 125,000 new jobs are necessary just to keep up with a growing number of Americans eligible for employment. And the nation has lost so many jobs over the last three years that even at a rate of 200,000 a month we wouldn't get back to 6 percent unemployment until 2016.

But isn't the economy growing again - by an estimated 2.5 to 2.9 percent this year? Yes, but that's even less than peanuts. The deeper the economic hole, the faster the growth needed to get back on track. By this point in the so-called recovery we'd expect growth of 4 to 6 percent.

Consider that back in 1934, when it was emerging from the deepest hole of the Great Depression, the economy grew 7.7 percent. The next year it grew over 8 percent. In 1936 it grew a whopping 14.1 percent.

Add two other ominous signs: Real hourly wages continue to fall, and housing prices continue to drop. Hourly wages are falling because with unemployment so high, most people have no bargaining power and will take whatever they can get. Housing is dropping because of the ever-larger number of homes people have walked away from because they can't pay their mortgages. But because homes the biggest asset most Americans own, as home prices drop most Americans feel even poorer.

There's no possibility government will make up for the coming shortfall in consumer spending. To the contrary, government is worsening the situation. State and local governments are slashing their budgets by roughly $110 billion this year. The federal stimulus is ending, and the federal government will end up cutting some $30 billion from this year's budget.

In other words: Watch out. We may avoid a double dip but the economy is slowing ominously, and the booster rockets are disappearing.

So why aren't we getting the truth about the economy? For one thing, Wall Street is buoyant - and most financial news you hear comes from the Street. Wall Street profits soared to $426.5 billion last quarter, according to the Commerce Department. (That gain more than offset a drop in the profits of non-financial domestic companies.) Anyone who believes the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill put a stop to the Street's creativity hasn't been watching.

To the extent non-financial companies are doing well, they're making most of their money abroad. Since 1992, for example, GE's offshore profits have risen $92 billion, from $15 billion (which is one reason it pays no US taxes). In fact, the only group that's optimistic about the future are CEOs of big American companies. The Business Roundtable's economic outlook index, which surveys 142 CEOs, is now at its highest point since it began in 2002.

Washington, meanwhile, doesn't want to sound the economic alarm. The White House and most Democrats want Americans to believe the economy is on an upswing.

Republicans, for their part, worry that if they tell it like it is Americans will want government to do more rather than less. They'd rather not talk about jobs and wages, and put the focus instead on deficit reduction (or spread the lie that by reducing the deficit we'll get more jobs and higher wages).

I'm sorry to have to deliver the bad news, but it's better you know.


Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

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+93 # JahLove63 2011-03-31 20:04
You're right. It indeed has gotten better for Wall Street with all these American (MultiNational) Corporations making record profits. None of this is a surprise to me...I've been insanely advocating, on deaf ears, of course, that Bush Srs. New World order dream of globalization will be the end of democracy and capitalism as we know it! The world I was born into 48 years ago is not the same world I live in today. I see our once great stature eroding, being morphed into an aristocratic fascist system governed by a shadow Corporacracy.
 
 
+29 # DaveW 2011-04-01 10:14
JahLove63, I agree with everything you say but would have added Bill Clinton to the toxix stew. His NAFTA signing and capitulation on financial deregulation is highly significant in understanding how we got where we are. Reich states, "Hourly wages are falling because with unemployment so high, people have no bargaining power and will take whatever they can get." THIS is why the Republicans and Blue Dog Democratic allies have focused on the curtailment of women's reproductive rights INSTEAD of job promoting programs. Emma Goldman, a woman's rights activist and anarchist in the early part of the twentieth century talked of the "worker bees." Women used primarily as "incubators of industry" spitting out one child after another, doomed to poor educational opportunities and forced either to enlist in the military, work menial, low wage jobs, or, if female, prepare to produce more fodder for the elites to use at their discretion. God Bless America my ass! JahLove63, we need to hear some Jimmy Cliff again, "Sufferin' in the Land."
 
 
+15 # Capn Canard 2011-04-01 13:17
Absolutely, I have had similar results. It seems many people are blinded by Nationalistic tendencies. I blame the powers that be: MONEY, i.e. the failed economic system that controls everything. Look at Obama and his signing the mistake of tax cuts for the wealthy. A more BAD CONSERVATIVE POLICY that will directly damage the middle class.
 
 
+85 # Kayjay 2011-03-31 22:02
Hey, here's an idea. How about we spend less moola on fighting three wars, and use this money to fund another economic stimulus package. The first stimulus was more or less a small gesture taken by Washington politicos who held our hands and patted our heads, saying everything would be alright. Its beyond time for more of us to MARCH, and get as passionate/invo lved in order to take back our nation. For future generations, save both our trees and a semblance of democracy. Find a way to clean house in 2012.
 
 
+42 # sark 2011-04-01 05:54
Fantastic ideas but I think the only way we will ever have real change is taking back the elections and making sure our votes are counted as cast. We can MARCH, call, write and protest but as long as the vote count is done on machines manufactured and serviced by hard right wing supporting corporations, we will continue on this path of corporate rule. To truly clean house and make sure we don't just have the illusion of an occasional victory, we must address election integrity and the machines that count the vote.
 
 
+10 # ginger gee 2011-04-03 00:10
what we haven't got yet is a strong public anti-war movement. not only for moral reasons but because the military are sending the country broke (even more than the super-rich not paying their taxes) . they've been given a blank cheque to do anything they want and the whole world suffers.
 
 
+10 # sark 2011-04-03 08:02
I agree and yet I have traveled to DC many times to participate in anti-war marches and made hundreds if not thousands of phone calls and written letters. The numbers participation are huge, much larger than tea-party gatherings but you would never know that from corporate media. If the anti-war movement got the same media attention as the tea party group, then I think we would have a much different story. I think the story would be different also if the corporate media gave the Green Party the same amount of coverage given to the tea party.
 
 
+3 # ginger gee 2011-04-04 05:13
good points, sark. which means that the corporate-owned media can turn off their attention to the demos going on right now in Wisconsin (and other states) and we would become invisible. why do they give these demos more attention than the anti-war ones? is it the novelty (anti-war is so old fashioned)? or because the demos in the state capitals may lead to the recall of elected reps? whatever, this is a warning that we could lose the public attention that the mass media gives us. our strongest protesting method, least vulnerable to interference by the super-rich, is boycotting, which is taking off like an epidemic, i read. when we start to significantly affect their profits, we've won. i wish there was an equivalent method to get the defence budget reduced, as there would be no deficit without wars.
 
 
+4 # ginger gee 2011-04-04 05:18
maybe if the huge anti-war demos were held in places other than DC and they were linked with a "stopping the wars will fix the deficit" or "ending wars will stop the budget cuts" themes, it would attract more attention?
 
 
+15 # GWC 2011-04-01 01:44
After reading all about our economy and how to save America from sure destruction, I'm ready to start a new party where conventions are not needed nor allowed. Use this money for research on alternate forms of energy for fuel to get goods to consumers. Elections will be government funded. Term limits for all federal elected positions. Stop making weapons for wars that cannot be won. Make health care available for everyone for free (yes, free!). Use a consumption tax so every one, corporations included, pays their share of running the country. Greatly reduce the number of people who are armed and trained to fight - including local police, homeland security "employees". The TSA, CIA special ops personnel, the DEA people who are fighting the "war" on drugs. Focus on treatment not "enforcement" with those who use drugs (legal and "illegal". Change the focus of our police to keeping the peace vs. "enforcing the law!" Make higher education the number 1 item on our "must do" list, and make it free. Take a serious look at what we are doing to our environment. End for-profit outsourcing of government services. One last thought (for now at least) make every program be what the people want, not what the wealthy want. To accomplish these programs we must take time out and ask God for His assistance, for He is the one who makes things happen.
 
 
+25 # BradFromSalem 2011-04-01 07:22
In concept, I agree.

First, drop the God stuff. It is unconstitutiona l, and reeks of trouble bigger than any that you may sove.

The rest of your details, I would hope can be negotiated. Some are great, others such as a consumption tax and term limits are not my preference.
In general, we do have to something beyond talking to ourselves.

We need real fundamental, soul searching change.
 
 
+4 # tonenotvolume 2011-04-03 03:57
Totally agree. Where's the People's Party? Pick a better name if necessary but let's start building an alternative.
 
 
+30 # Dave45 2011-04-01 01:46
I think Robert Reich is running for president. If not, he should be.
 
 
+16 # BradFromSalem 2011-04-01 07:45
I agree.

But, unfortanetly he cannot win. He is too short and too Jewish.

In that great Communist stronghold (sic), the Commonwealth of MA, he could only muster 25% of the Democrats when he ran for Governer.

No, original thinking is not encouraged in America anymore.
 
 
+43 # Patricia Chang 2011-04-01 02:44
One of the problems with the public is that they are in denial, while at the same time suffering the consequences of what they are denying. Obama and Congress encourage it. The corporate-owned media encourages it. I knew back under Clinton and NAFTA and bank de-regulation that we were headed in the wrong direction. We haven't been headed in the right direction since then. Only the Fat Cats are profiting. Wealth is in the hands of too few. The whole system is top-heavy. It is absolutely bound to collapse. "Double-Dip"?! We will be lucky if it is only at that level. I see a world wide economic collapse. It will be devastation. The wise person will start stocking up on canned goods, water, some rain barrels, a wood-burning stove, and hope for the best but expect the worst. The indicators are there. They are growing worse, not better. Obama has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to all of it. He would sell us down the river for a bent nickel.The Republicans are as bad. Our government is corrupt and broken. There are NO solutions to our problems there. Hang on to your hats, folks. A very rough ride is ahead. Even gold will be worth little. What will there be to buy? So, the greed-driven rich, with all their offshore accounts, may not be nearly as safe as they, in their profound arrogance, think they are.
 
 
+17 # James R Young 2011-04-01 08:01
You are right about the denial. David Brooks, in his ted.com talk, points out 19% of Americans think they are in the top 1% of earners. See http://www.ted.com/talks/david_brooks_the_social_animal.html (about 20 minutes into it).
 
 
+13 # annualoath 2011-04-01 20:21
hey patricia, i'm in agreement with all you've said. i am every bit as pessemistic as you and i do expect the worst is coming. the few, who own all the wealth, have no regard for anyone but themselves. and, they work tirelessly to re-create this society inot a "feudal/slave" sociiety. the vast majority of "the dominant culture of citizens" in this country are sleeping on this bigtime.
 
 
+4 # ginger gee 2011-04-03 00:25
there must be systemic reasons why so many people looked the other way for so long. was it that few people knew what was happening because the media kept it quiet? or did most people write it off as someone else's problem and didn't see it was a national sickness that would hurt them too? or were people scared to speak out? or were they thinking the reports were isolated and exaggerated? were they embarrassed to make a fuss because it wasn't considered cool or smart to do that? i wonder what went wrong. any ideas? because the systemic reasons must be addressed to help others take action, as the only power the public has is its huge numbers.
 
 
-12 # rf 2011-04-01 05:34
I think Obama is right on schedule...woul dn't want a recovery until it can propel him into office in 2012! Maybe he IS a smart president and not just a bad bargainer. Too bad he is taking it out of OUR middle class (or used to be) skins.
 
 
+10 # BradFromSalem 2011-04-01 08:31
You really think Obama has that much power?
 
 
-19 # futhark 2011-04-01 05:36
Oust the Liar-in-Chief in 2012. Maybe the Democratic Party will get the message that they need to present some substantive alternative policies for America, instead of merely acting as lying toadies for the Plutocrats.
 
 
+34 # BradFromSalem 2011-04-01 08:35
Change will come from the bottom. The people. We need alternatives to the Blue Dog Democrats.

We need an active Progressive Democrat party. We will support Progressive Democrats and recruit viable candidates to replace those that are not progressive.

We need leadership for this movement.

I am sick of talking, lets do it!
 
 
+18 # rbriand 2011-04-01 12:43
Speaking of substantive alternative policies, Ralph Nader tried to get Kerry to pick any three issues of the ten most important issues facing Americans and run with it on his platform. If he did this he could have won because Nader would have thrown all his support behind him. Kerry never even called him back to answer. No compromises. He simply did not want to win. Our elections are fixed. This prompted Nader to say there were no substantive differences between Kerry and Bush. Kerry it turns out is one of the largest recipients of money invested in defense contracts. Do you think he would have not gone to war, not lied to us, not done the bidding of the uber-wealthy who control us?
When we elect another president, let's make SURE they are not part of the DC clan, who are mostly corrupted by legal bribes to both sides of the aisle. Howard Dean was a good choice, but the character assassination machine which included the media's (including polls) full complicity was well oiled and ready for controlling the info. We're told what to think, not the truth. See this film: "An Unreasonable Man-Ralph Nader". Then let's all wise up and start rejecting all the candidates that are from the big money side.
 
 
+10 # Dave Stone 2011-04-01 06:11
For the real reason the country's broke, see this short video by Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry's Icecream:

http://www.truemajority.org/oreos
 
 
+31 # BradFromSalem 2011-04-01 06:36
For some crazy reason the administration truly believes that the American people think that cutting the budget is more important than creating jobs. When the "private" economy is not creating jobs, it is the "public sector's" responsibility to do so.

It funds that job creation by absorbing the excess income that is not being used to grow the economy. In other words, tax the rich.

This is not complicated. Only stupid Republicans have not figured it out.

Professor Reich, we are not being told the truth, because the government is split between 3 factions. 1) Stupid Republicans 2)Those that think most Americans are stupid 3) Persons that want to control all wealth and power, or at least be seen as their allies.
 
 
+5 # Sue 2011-04-01 09:31
YES!!!! The government is the employer of last resort.

I see that we're repeating the 1937 mistake. (Did I get the date right, Professor?) Yes, the deficit spending seems OTT but we can't wimp out now!
 
 
+13 # Alan Stromberg 2011-04-01 16:44
The Repugs aren't stupid. They've figured out that if you tell a big enough lie loud enough and often enough, the public will begin to believe it.
 
 
+28 # PGreen 2011-04-01 06:48
The one-sided class war is in full swing. We live in a system of "state capitalism," in which the economy is managed by government for the benefit of corporations. (War is largely a part of this management.) Corporations, being essentially totalitarian in structure, funnel their profits to benefit a select few (giving rise to the phrase "crony capitalism"). Thus we end up with an oligarchy comprised of business and government officials operating in tandem. Some people like to pretend that our economic system is a meritocracy, that talent dictates this distribution of wealth, but in reality talent plays only a small part. And strangely, these people often ignore that even if ability is the deciding factor, such a maldistribution of wealth guarantees hardship for most people. The public majority has said frequently that we don't want this kind of distribution, regardless of merit, but the democratic functions in our institutions are being over turned and ignored. Where will it end?
 
 
+3 # murielschnierow 2011-04-01 10:00
if it goes as it seems to be we will end up with a 3rd party. The President is not a disappointment to me because i met him. However He and all the others want votes lots of them and that is our power. Votes.
 
 
+4 # ginger gee 2011-04-03 00:50
as the super rich own the government officials and the mass media, they also own the "truth", which we hear and are encouraged to believe and trust, even when it doesn't match common sense or our own observations. so many of us are raised to trust the experts and those in authority that we don't challenge the "truth" and assume we are wrong. not only is the damage done by accepting the official story ruining our economy and making millions of middle class people poor, it is causing disease and death and stunting our children. ignorance is not bliss, and denial can kill you.
 
 
+17 # mediasavvy 2011-04-01 07:07
I'm sorry, but we need another candidate for President in 2012. I'm completely fed up with Obama and his gang of corporate bagmen and banker's boys. This gang is not going to get past the Republicans in the next election.

We voted in 2008 for the party of Roosevelt and the memories of MLK and JFK and we got the party of Coolidge instead. Be it war, the economy, education or energy policy there is absolutely nothing this administration had done or ignored that I can support or agree with.

They are presiding over and facilitating the economic destruction of more than half this country's population. Far from even illuminating the damage done to our lives, the Obama administration is paving our crises over for the benefit of their corporate campaign contributors.

Enough is enough! If they won't defend our interests, we need new leaders!
 
 
+5 # murielschnierow 2011-04-01 10:03
We are not broke.Control this false GOP and get out of war ($120 bil yr), tax earners $1 mil yr ( $800 bil Yr), and shut the tax havens - How ? votes.Total probably $400 bil Yr.
 
 
+9 # Merschrod 2011-04-01 07:12
Even if the consumer were to "activate" most would be spent on imported projects and thus would not generate jobs. It is glum.

The separation of the financial opinion from the US manufacturing opinion is an important gauge.

I think that statistics by sector on hiring would be useful at this poit to see where gains really are and are not.
 
 
+17 # mediasavvy 2011-04-01 07:36
We also need to look at the wages.

Unemployment among college professors is very low (3%) but more than half are now adjuncts, making - on average - less than 20,000 a year, no benefits and, in many places, no social security payments made. 30 years ago, 7% of the faculty were adjuncts, now most college professors are adjuncts. An entire job market is being destroyed as we speak, while the cost of tuition continues to skyrocket.

So to look at one job sector - that requires very high educational qualifications - we have low unemployment AND collapsing wages.

I'm sure this pattern is repeated across a host of sectors, even when they are employed.
 
 
+14 # in deo veritas 2011-04-01 07:47
If the TV "media" did their job instead of being run by Murdoch and his Wall Street thugs, would it make a difference? I wonder. Maybe things just aren't bad enough yet to wake people up. Maybe too many people in the country just don't give a damn or they are too self-satisfied. Regardless it comes down to the dumbing down of America. As long as we have our bread and circuses the sheeple will be just as impotent as in the Roman Empire! The parallels are too obvious for anyone whill still thinks or knows anything about history to deny any longer. Rome was saved by the"barbarians" . Where are they now that we need them? The enemy is not at the gates-they own the gates!
 
 
+7 # patricia jackson 2011-04-01 21:27
don"t know quite how i got here just stumbled on thank heaven, did not realize there were sane people c brains that gave the current situation this much thought, yes americans will soon be drinking the kool aide, while watching their lg.screens, pretending that they are among the rich and famous, the way most think is simply mind-blowing, every man woman and especially child thinks they are super entitled and all are distracted, i think they all want the aristocracy class back, so they will all join and make the lesser beings pure chattel, meanwhile this country doesn"t have enough meat on its bones for dogs to survive, they need to be preserving their oun food, putting up wood cribs growing lg. organic gardens c non-monsanto seeds, a return to sane living and planting trees is and excellent start, future gen. will need forest
 
 
+8 # Nwcitizen 2011-04-01 07:49
Professor Reich - We get that our economy is in bad shape and that public policy is wrong headed. The bigger question is what to do about it.

What say you? Of the many things that we could spend our time on, which are most important in order to right this ship?
 
 
+9 # ruth mckenney 2011-04-01 07:53
the above comments are so depressing that a poor fool like me, who knows little of economics, wonders: if so many of you DO know, how often do you write, email, POUND your representatives & this President with your persuasions? Do you phonecall every day? Saying what you think on your puters is important, but doing what you think about is MORE significant All the talk will not make up for walking the walk!
 
 
+6 # ginger gee 2011-04-03 01:15
the real question is, how much does public opinion matter to those in power? even if we all call our elected reps every day, we will either get busy signals or they will pay a call center in India to filter our calls. the super rich own the politicians and the mass media and they can rig elections, so what do they care if the public are unhappy? i think our biggest power is our spending habits. we need to hit them in their profits! move your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, etc to a locally-owned independent credit society (tell them why you are doing it and the credit society will help you with the transfers). then start boycotting all the paper products that the koch brothers make. and continue to boycott all the other corporate thieves. stop feeding the monster!!
 
 
+5 # PGreen 2011-04-03 18:05
Noam Chomsky recently talked about the responsibilitie s of intellectuals in a forum in Holland. In the question and answer phase he discusses strategies for change. he doesn't think that "speaking truth to Power" is effective because Power already knows the truth and disregards it. (Though to be fair, adherents to this philosophy believe that "truth," properly presented, might persuade Power. I suppose it is debatable.) But he seems to believe in non-violent direct action, and specifically mentions the civil rights lunch-counter demonstrations, which started small (targeted small) and ballooned into a national movement. Collective action is likely the best strategy if one can find an effective target. We must all find the level at which we can participate.
 
 
+9 # ruthee 2011-04-01 08:09
For some time now, I have felt Washington is another country. These comments confirm my suspicions to an alarming degree. How many of you email, snail mail, and telephone your opinions to your reps & senators in Wash?? Do you speak with others re your statements?? Or are we just a silent majority? Advertising depends on repetition and God knows, TV proves it! How strongly do we pursue our convictions? If you are so busy making your salaries and do not have time to share opines with your fellow citizens and your governors, what do you expect will hap?? Do you vote faithfully? What are so many of us DOING? TALKING HERE IS A GOOD START, but what are you doing?
 
 
+10 # kalpal 2011-04-01 09:03
Lies are the most prevalent comfort food in American political feasting. Without lies politics in America would grind to a halt and sink in the muck.

I remember that Carter tried honesty and it failed miserably.

As Nixon said to a member of his staff who wanted to run for office, "You are not a good enough liar."
 
 
+2 # forparity 2011-04-01 13:55
Indeed, I remember Obama and Biden lying to seniors in Fl during the 2008 campaign - trying to scare them over SS.

Fortunately the liberal org., FactCheck.org caught em "Scaring Seniors", and set the record straight. Hmmm - if only the national media would have cared and reported it - asked the two of them point blank how they get away with that.

Lies - Supported by the National Media
 
 
+1 # Capn Canard 2011-04-05 14:50
Lies, I know! I remember George "Slick Willie" Bush lying his way into two wars and with promises that tax cuts would mean job growth! Thanks for the reminder forparity! Lies, supported by the wealthy and paid for by your dead sons and daughters. All for nothing except those glorious expanding profit margins.
 
 
+6 # williamofthetrees 2011-04-01 11:46
I doubt anything can change as long as people are as disempowered as they are, thinking themselves third class human beings who do not have a right to participate in how resources are alloted.


I was writing this recently, perhaps it helps:

In time we will realize that Democracy is the entitlement of individuals to every right that was in its times alloted to kings. The right to speak and decide, to be treated with decency, to serve and be served by people in a State of “love”, that is, to serve with one’s work for the development of ‘life’. To belong to the Kingdom of Human Beings without racial, national, social or academic separations.
 
 
+5 # Thomas G. Miller 2011-04-01 13:16
What is the justification for private capital being cyclically recapitalized at public expense, without the public receiving benefit from either the recapitalizatio n of failed private capital or the revenue stream generated from the private capital recapitalized at public expense?

The answer to Robert Reich's "Why Americans are Fed Lies" is that until the American Populace forces the American Aristocracy, the American Middle Class, and their hand maiden the U.S. Government to deal with the cyclical recapitalizatio n of private capital at public expense AS the problem, there is no solution.

If Robert Reich is truly seeking an answer to "Why Americans are Fed Lies", Mr. Reich will speak out on both the problem and the solution.
 
 
-2 # forparity 2011-04-01 13:37
"Consider that back in 1934, when it was emerging from the deepest hole of the Great Depression, the economy grew 7.7 percent. The next year it grew over 8 percent. In 1936 it grew a whopping 14.1 percent."

Very odd -- unfortunately it didn't create many jobs.

Perhaps a better, more constructive comparison would the the Reagan recovery. During the 1st 6 Q's of Reagan's recovery, we saw 9.9% growth (compounded). During the 1st 5 years of that recovery, we created 4.9 million jobs.

Presently, this corrent post-recession economy has grown 4.5%, and finally we just saw the first positive numbers, with a whopping 22,000 jobs.

If we're going to be spending money to save an economy (as we do following each recession) - then we should do it with creating tax revenue producing jobs in mind (there's a lot in there for both Libs and Conserv's to love). - Bring the jobs home -
 
 
+4 # Gene Blodgett 2011-04-03 07:15
I did not notice any comment about Reagan enacting the largest tax increase in the history of the country
 
 
+12 # bigkahuna671 2011-04-01 13:57
Sorry, folks, but American voters are fed lies because most of them are, unfortunately, too stupid or too lazy to research for themselves, so blindly accept the BS they hear or read (mostly hear, since many voters don't even read the newspapers or magazines of a national political nature. Why else would so many Republicans believe our President is a)Nigerian; b)Muslim; c)Socialist; d)All of the above???? Most American voters just don't know how to think for themselves. I suspect that RSN readers and writers may be the last people in this nation capable of seeing beyond all the garbage and it scares the heck out of me, as it should you.
 
 
+7 # wfalco 2011-04-01 14:01
Reich writes that CEO'S of big American companies are "the only group that's optimistic."
I seems we are entering a period of unparalleled pain and suffering. An exaggeration? Maybe..maybe not.
The possibility is out there since the division of wealth is just too extreme.
With the loss of manufacturing and their unions-and now the upcoming loss of public employment (the last bastion of collective bargaining)-wha t is left for the rest of us? It is likely the apathetic masses may continue to sit idly by-too busy with their gadgets of entertainment-t he new opiate of those masses. Distraction is a good thing for the oligarchs. It prevents not even class warfare-but class consciousness.
 
 
+5 # Lilly 2011-04-01 14:17
You could be talking about the UK its the same here. Most people watch the same media get the same lies from the same sources - the Government - the obscenely rich tax evaders. Just that you're a little ahead of us - people are starting to wake up to the fact that blaming the last Government on the deficit, and using this as an excuse to cut jobs, services, access to education, etc. etc. is wearing thin. Sad that these people in control (small numbers) can be so callous - the only up is that most other people are pulling together, showing care and compassion to others etc. They may have the weapons but we have the numbers.
 
 
+2 # ginger gee 2011-04-03 01:27
what about UK Uncut? they are doing a great job of bringing awareness to the public and putting pressure on the businesses of the super rich. and they started their actions before Americans began protesting in a big way. so you're ahead of us. US Uncut is starting to take off now.
 
 
+4 # sebouhian 2011-04-01 15:12
why don't we "act"? because the only action we could take is in the streets, but the "controllers," i.e., politicians/cor porations/top2% , would respond like Khadaffi--you don't believe it? check out our history; I was born during the First Big Depression and expect to die in the Second
 
 
+8 # economagic 2011-04-02 20:28
Waiting for the global corporatocracy to hire us or to provide goods and services for us to buy if we had jobs is likely to be a slow or fast slide into starvation. Think entrepreneurshi p, in the sense of small,local and regional businesses to meet local and regional needs, starting with food. Google slow food, slow money, local/urban agriculture, Institute for Local Self Reliance, new economics, new communities, and anything else you can think of along these lines. Then DO IT!! I will try to get back with more specifics. Also check out Rebecca Solnit's recent TomDispatch article on the tendency of people NOT to panic in emergencies. This is part of a growing literature on the tendency of us "self-intereste d" creatures to collaborate in order to survive, as we must today, and as we always have.
 
 
+7 # SteveH 2011-04-03 11:14
Maybe I'm just cynical or simple-minded or both but it seems, with the market racing back to where it was before the last crash, those who know how to play it, and those are the ones who have huge sums in the market, will, once again, make out like bandits just before the plummet, leaving millions of folks who've invested their life's savings - and who let the "managers" manage it make the killing - while they're being financially killed.

Wall St thinks everyone who isn't working on Wall St is stupid and they're smarter than everyone else. Given what we let Wall St get away with, maybe they're right.

However, let's recall the Cree say: "Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money."

Folks, this is supposedly a democratic republic. It's really a plutocratic oligarchy or an oligarchic plutocracy - take your pick. We plebeians only have the choices they give us because we haven't the brains or the courage to pick those who'll do right by us. Folks like Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader are branded kooks or commies.

In the end, we get what we deserve based on how we treat each other and the rest of the world. And, from that perspective, things don't look good.
 
 
+4 # ruthee 2011-04-03 14:28
In my lifetime of 75 years, Ive seen a lotta folks receive far too little notice, much less goodness, so I sorta wonder what kind of tribes Americans have become since the 1950s? I do agree somewhat on Steve H's observations. I like what the Christian moral code says: "Return good for evil." But it does not seem to work so well in a culture such as ours has become.
Maybe we Plebes dont have the brains or the backgrounds (education in critical thought) to choose among the best that is given us? BUT THERE IS LITTLE EXCUSE FOR ABSENCE OF RELIANCE ON MORALITY, AND I AM NOT TALKING RELIGION! I DONT FAVOUR FAERY TALES! And after reading all these commentaries, my spirits are not much lifted, but I appreciate realizing I have some brothers & sisters!
 
 
+6 # rm 2011-04-03 16:57
We are now living in the days of the fulfillment of Reagan's "trickle down economics." Lies are just part of what trickles down from the ruling elites to the people. How else are they going to be able to steal so much of the wealth created by the working class of America. They lie and they steal the value of the labor of others. That is the heart of trickle down economics. It used to be called capitalism, when people read Marx. Now we rarely even call things by their proper names.

I like the comment by someone above that Americans are in denial. Yes, that is true.
 
 
+6 # ImaLouiseWright 2011-04-03 17:53
i think things in america will have to hit economic rock bottom for ppl to finally get off their butts and try to do something. but i think the gov will try to keep ppl fairly content, hopeful of change, and thoroughly confused.
as for why americans are fed lies, thats pretty obvious. if u want to jerk someone around and abuse them, do u tell them?

i dont much care for all the whining about the economy. stuff it. the whole afghan/iraq wars were lies and we are feeding off their innocent blood. so if youre a poor american, boo hoo. i'm pretty poor myself. but at least i'm not an afghan widow living in a refugee camp and watching my ripped apart children starve to death.
1 thing u wont read in the newspapers is that the af war was planned well before 9/11 and had zip to do with 'terrorism' or democracy . u can read abt the trans af pipeline here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_the_War_in_Afghanistan_(2001–present)

until this war is stopped, i dont give a fig if u need to tighten your belt a bit. just be glad u arent afghan.
 
 
+2 # lisa d. 2011-04-05 01:18
why Americans are FED lies is not the important issue ... the important issue is why do they EAT them as if they were candy?????
 

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