The Dismal Economic Outlook For The New Year
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Institute for Political Economy
January 6, 2012
Jobs offshoring, financial deregulation, and ten years of wars have severely damaged the US economy and the economic prospects of 90% of the American population. The signs are everywhere in front of our eyes. They are in the income distribution data, the BLS jobs data, the Census data, the poverty figures, and the high number of food stamp recipients.
The signs are in the foreclosed and boarded up homes and the accompanying homelessness. They are in closed strip malls, in office building, warehouse, and shopping mall vacancies, and in the huge population losses of America’s manufacturing cities.
The New Economy was a hoax, like Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” and the “war on terror.” Americans were deceived by “their” corrupt government, by greed-driven corporations, and by corporate shills among economists and the pundit class into believing that they were trading middle class “dirty fingernail” jobs in manufacturing for better middle class “clean fingernail” high-tech service jobs. Instead, reasonably paid manufacturing and professional skill jobs, such as software engineering and information technology, were traded for lowly paid jobs as waitresses and bartenders and for jobs in ambulatory health care.
Consequently, real median US income fell for the vast majority of the population. To keep consumers spending when they had no raises, the Federal Reserve used low interest rates to create a real estate and credit bubble. The low interest rates drove up housing prices, and Americans refinanced their mortgages and spent the equity in their homes. Americans maxed out credit cards. The rise in consumer indebtedness kept consumer demand growing and the economy afloat.