One of the things we’ve been discussing a lot chez LivingSmall, is the fact that this “recession,” which looks a lot more like a depression to those of us in the self-employment pool, isn’t going away. Every morning in our local paper, we read ridiculous AP stories predicting that “the recovery” is just around the corner, that all we have to do is what? clap our hands and hope that like Tinkerbelle, the economy will return to the roaring days of easy credit, inflated housing prices, and excessive consumer consumption? Hasn’t anyone noticed that there aren’t any jobs, that we don’t actually make anything in the US anymore, and that the finance wizards on Wall Street have turned all their vaunted “intelligence” to gaming the system? We can’t go back, but there seem to be very few people thinking about what a sustainable economy could look like, an economy that will sustain an actual middle class, an economy that provides actual jobs for actual people.
Looks like Joseph Stiglitz has noticed … his new book is reviewed in this morning’s New York Times and it seems promising. I might have to go put in a request at my local library since without a job, I’m not really buying new hardcover books these days.
Mr. Stiglitz, a member of Mr. Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and later chief economist for the World Bank, frequently criticized the Treasury secretary at the time, Robert E. Rubin, and his successor Lawrence H. Summers, for their deregulatory policies; in these pages, he questions President Obama’s decision to make Mr. Summers his chief White House economic adviser and to name Timothy F. Geithner (who worked under Mr. Summers and Mr. Rubin in the Clinton administration) treasury secretary.
Obama chose this team,” says Mr. Stiglitz, who writes with what sounds like a touch of sour grapes, “in spite of the fact that he must have known — he certainly was advised to that effect — that it would be important to have new faces at the table who had no vested interests in the past, either in the deregulatory movement that got us into the problem or in the faltering rescues that had marked 2008, from Bear Stearns through Lehman Brothers to A.I.G.