With discomfort you can agree with RBS Securities' Guy Berger, who says this morning's job report is "ugly"--"We’re still digging through it, but it’s hard to explain the magnitude of the miss"--or you can feel free to cuddle up with "Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics, [who] suggested that the December data represented a statistical outlier."
Yet even the latter choice makes little difference in terms of comfort. Fact is, the numbers stink. Welcome to the payoff of conservative, neoclassical austerity, which 80 years ago John Maynard Keynes sniffed at--and was soon, and thereafter repeatedly, proven correct:
We [in Britain] have stuck in a rut. We need an impulse, a jolt, an acceleration.... Let us experiment with boldness on such lines [as 'public housing, better roads, and improvements to the electric grid'], even though some of the schemes may turn out to be failures, which is very likely. With home investment, even if it be ill advised or extravagantly carried out, at least the country has the improvement for what it is worth; the worst conceived and most extravagant housing scheme imaginable leaves us with some houses.
And above all, creates jobs.
Jobs. Act. NOW ... a proposition perfect for Republican sniffing, and a perfectly salable one by Democrats.
The latter have got to get out ahead of this, but I doubt they will. They're terrified of boldness.