Monday, August 04, 2008

Peter L. Bernstein and I are in agreement

He is saying in today's NYTimes pretty much what I said a few weeks ago, except that he doesn't offer a solution to this intolerable unemployment situation. But if it isn't some kind of federal jobs program, I don't know what it could be.
ASSISTANCE to individuals and institutions in trouble always raises concerns about the moral hazards of bailouts, especially when a case can be made that people underrated risks or were blindsided in their decision-making. But we have no choice here. The economy teeters on the edge of not just a recession, but also a more profound decline where trouble in any single sector can spread breakdowns throughout the system, driving unemployment to intolerable levels. To sit back and let nature take its course is to risk the end of a civil society.

Until we move more decisively in this direction, other efforts are likely to be frustrating at best and counterproductive at worst. The household is the key to the puzzle.

Peter L. Bernstein, a financial consultant and economic historian, is the editor of the Economics & Portfolio Strategy newsletter.