Dear lord, make it stop.
David Leonhardt is sounding mighty shrill these days:
After performing worse than the American economy for years, the Germany economy has grown faster since the middle of last decade. (It did better than our economy before the crisis and has endured the crisis about equally). Just as important, most Germans have fared much better than most Americans, because the bounty of their growth has not been concentrated among a small slice of the affluent…
…Unlike what happened here, German laws and regulators have also prevented the decimation of their labor unions. The clout of German unions, at individual companies and in the political system, is one reason the middle class there has fared decently in recent decades. In fact, middle-class pay has risen at roughly the same rate as top incomes.
The top 1 percent of German households earns about 11 percent of all income, virtually unchanged relative to 1970, according to recent estimates. In the United States, the top 1 percent makes more than 20 percent of all income, up from 9 percent in 1970. That’s right: only 40 years ago, Germany was more unequal than this country.
Read the whole piece. Leonhardt points to German benefit reforms that he thinks we should pay attention to, and to the role of government in creating the conditions for economic and social success.
It appears the plan for economic revival has pretty much been reduced to Evan Bayh’s war on regulation and vaguely reassuring (not really) words from Ben Bernanke:
The economy lost some momentum recently, Ben Bernanke acknowledged Tuesday, but the Federal Reserve chairman is still optimistic that the recovery will pick up again in the second half of the year.
In a speech on Tuesday, Bernanke twice called the job market “far from normal” and conceded, “the economy is still producing at levels well below its potential.”
But he also said the factors behind recent weakness are likely to fade in coming months.
If you thought there might be a brief bit of urgency about employment once the numbers came out a couple days ago, forget about it. The market has already forgotten and is working on tomorrow’s pump and dump scheme or figuring out which commodity to fuck you with next, and the powers that be have apparently decided they can do nothing and ride out the political storm.
We’re just screwed. We’ve got Krugman and a bunch of bloggers, while everyone else is on the payroll.