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Sunday, June 05, 2005


I was watching MSNBC this week and saw Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao lying her face off about the new jobs report. She's saying that the numbers "show the economy is continuing its two-year solid streak of job creation." Riiight. When most people see a streak like that they decide it's time to do the laundry.

Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, has a more honest assessment over at Counterpunch:
In May the Bush economy eked out a paltry 73,000 private sector jobs: 20,000 jobs in construction (primarily for Mexican immigrants), 21,000 jobs in wholesale and retail trade, and 32,500 jobs in health care and social assistance. Local government added 5,000 for a grand total of 78,000.

Not a single one of these jobs produces an exportable good or service. With Americans increasingly divorced from the production of the goods and services that they consume, Americans have no way to pay for their consumption except by handing over to foreigners more of their accumulated stock of wealth. The country continues to eat its seed corn....

Economists and policymakers are in denial while the US economy implodes in front of their noses. The US-China Commission is making a great effort to bring reality to policymakers by holding a series of hearings to explore the depths of American decline.

The commissioners got an earful at the May 19 hearings in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ralph Gomory explained that America's naïve belief that offshore outsourcing and globalism are working for America is based on a 200 year old trade theory, the premises of which do not reflect the modern world.

Clyde Prestowitz, author of the just published Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East, explained that America's prosperity is an illusion. Americans feel prosperous because they are consuming $700 billion annually more than they are producing. Foreigners, principally Asians, are financing US over-consumption, because we are paying them by handing over our markets, our jobs, and our wealth.

Offshore outsourcing is dismantling the ladders of America's fabled upward mobility. The US labor force already has one foot in the third world. By 2024 the US will be a has-been country.

(emphasis mine)
It's an absolutely lacerating critique of shortsighted Bushenomics. The evidence keeps piling up that war was not the answer to this country's precarious economic position (totally aside from the amoral imperialism thing). If you want to have the unholy crap scared out of you, read the rest here.

P.S. Favorite quote from Prestowitz book: "They'll sell us semi-conductors and we'll sell them poetry."

(via Daou Report)

Update: I dropped Mr. Roberts an email asking him about his recommendations for the future, and he wrote me back: "Haven't reached the solution stage. First, the problem has to be acknowledged. And denial reigns."

Ain't that the truth.

photo courtesy stock.xchng