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How Much are We Paying Larry Summers for Insights Like This?

Larry Summers dozes off at White House meeting

Larry Summers dozes off at White House meeting

From Politico:

Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.

The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.

Searches for the term were up four-fold when the recession deepened in the earlier part of the year, and the recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher, Summers told the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Gee thanks, Larry. Now I feel so much better about the surging unemployment figures, the skyrocketing rates of home foreclosures, and the increasing numbers of homeless families with children. If a Google search is Summers’ idea of a leading economic indicator, I want to know why my tax money is going to pay his salary.

Summers claims that the economy is “back from the abyss”

A somewhat more important indicator–the unemployment rate–isn’t as upbeat, though and has become a thorn in the administration’s side. (See: “The Job Market’s Grim Picture.”) It hit 9.5% in June, embarrassing the administration’s predictions that if their $787 billion stimulus were passed, the rate would peak a bit above 8%. Economists predict it will soon top 10%, erasing all the jobs created in the U.S. since the beginning of the decade.

“This is obviously a major area of concern,” says Summers, “But contrary to a significant amount of commentary, this does not provide a basis for concluding that the Recovery Act is falling short of its goals.” Summers points to the administration’s own forecast that only 10% of the job impact of the stimulus would take place in 2009.

Really? I guess if one of the administration’s goals was to create more profits for Goldman-Sachs, they are on track. What were the administration’s goals for the stimulus plan anyway? It doesn’t sound like creating jobs was in the top ten.

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