Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rogoff: Unemployment to 11%

Here's Harvard professor and former IMF Chief Economist Ken Rogoff on Bloomberg talking about the prospects of an economic turnaround. Rogoff is still bearish - his analysis of past financial crises shows that these types of slumps tend to last longer than typical recessions, and the recoveries are weaker - and he sees unemployment rising to 11% by 2011. If this prediction turns out to be correct, there are two immediately obvious implications: the farcical stress tests will be even more inadequate than pessimists have pointed out, and Obama will go into the reelection cycle with the cratering economy weighing him down. If the Republicans can manage to pick a credible candidate and shed their current craziness, they might be able to win by default. Of course, if the public perceives the Obama administration as generally being on their side, and trying to alleviate economic suffering, while the Republicans continue to shill for the top 1%, Obama might get a pass for a crummy economy he inherited. But by not biting the financial bullet and getting all of the worst news out of the way - putting insolvent banks into receivership and realizing all financial sector losses - Obama risks extending this downturn, and opening himself up to an electoral challenge. It is baffling that a politician as savvy as Obama does not seem to appreciate this possibility.

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