U.S. Economy: Factory Production, Home Starts Exceed Forecasts. The 0.9 percent increase in production at factories, mines and utilities followed a 0.7 percent gain the prior month, according to the Federal Reserve in Washington. Figures from the Commerce Department today showed housing starts climbed to a 591,000 annual pace, exceeding the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.
I think people are legitimately--more than legitimately, desperately concerned about the absence of jobs. In that situation it's almost impossible to hear, and if you hear, then almost impossible to accept that it will take time to make up for the decline in jobs that began in the last quarter of 2007. It doesn't help that so many people who are out for political advantage refuse to see that the plan has indeed begun to work, to be sure, but together with the absolutely understandable despair of so many people, what that political spinning means is that the president has to be constantly on the airwaves setting the record straight. He can't do it by sending out Timmy or Benny to carry the water. He's got to do it himself. Over and over and over and over and over. I think it would also help if he got a little of the Bill Clinton "feel your pain" touch. I personally don't like that, but have a feeling that it would be comforting for a lot of folks.
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I'm not convinced it would be better/worse with or without the stimulus. The real problem was (still is) the credit crisis. Saving 2 million jobs is great, but when there are 20, 25 million others unemployed/underemployed the net effect is small overall.
Instead of tossing tons of money at temporary projects, I think what would be more beneficial, and get people back to work faster is expanding something like cash for clunkers, but include stuff we all need like refrigerators, washers, dryers and the like - and make it permanent. Then give huge incentives to consumers to purchase those products that are produced/assembled in the U.S.A. (maybe double the credit), and tax breaks to companies putting people to work making them.
As for housing, IMO houses are still too expensive. Prices need to come down more, and price increases need to slow down to sustainable levels.
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