The economic news this morning makes you feel like you are watching Major Kong (from the movie Dr. Strangelove — the picture on the left) ride the bomb like a mechanical bull to our mutual total economic destruction. But our economic situation is more similar to that of Otto (played by Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda — on the right). At first we are amused with the idea of being run down by a steamroller moving 2 miles per hour. But then we realize that we have stepped in wet cement and are thus destined to be run down by the U.S. Senate a one-eyed man with ketchup stains round his nostrils.
In short, our problem is a lack of aggregate demand and the solution is well within our grasp, but our politics are paralyzed and millions are destined to be run down by years of needless misery.
- Robert Pear, The New York Times — President’s Jobs Measure Is Turned Back in Key Senate Test
Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric (GE) and the head of the White House job creation task force, wants you all to root for GE. USA! Multinational Corporations! USA! Multinational Corporations! Building on Paul Krugman’s chart showing the divergence between corporate profits and employee compensation, we lay out below some of the awkward facts that may explain the lack of cheerleading for GE and U.S. multinationals generally. (The second chart shows U.S. multinationals have eliminated nearly 2 million jobs since 1998, while creating over 2.3 million overseas. Should that be “job destroyers”?)
- Paul Krugman, Conscience of a Liberal — Intellectual Styles of the Rich and Clueless:
The key Immelt quote is ‘I want you to root for me. Look, everyone in Germany roots for Siemens, everyone in Japan roots for Toshiba, everyone in China roots for China South Rail, I want you to say, win GE. I think this notion that it’s the population of the US against big companies is just wrong.’
Is that “go team,” or “thank you sir may I have another bowl of gruel”?