Zachary Karabell on ‘The Case for Big Government’
With Congress passing a nearly $800 billion spending and tax-cut bill and with the Federal Reserve taking trillions onto its balance sheet, we are if nothing else plunging into a new era of big government. The extent of these actions would have been unthinkable even six months ago, and the scale of these measures—as well as the fact that they are probably the first of many—has taken many by surprise. Even those who have been advocating for years that the federal government play a more active role in addressing economic imbalances and inequalities could not have predicted or imagined what has happened of late.
Calling the bottom of the market has been a favorite pastime in the past six months, and there's been a veritable cottage industry of cognoscenti forecasting the trajectory of the recession.
Confessions Of A Pundit
With the financial system in tatters and trillions of dollars of public financing at stake, economic experts have become a priestly caste. Every day, on air, online and in print, dozens of economists and strategists proclaim their views on how bad the crisis will get and how long it will last.
How Bad Is It, Really?
The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was just as dismal anticipated. Unemployment in January jumped to a 16-year high of 7.6 percent, as 598,000 jobs were slashed from U.S. payrolls in the worst single-month decline since December, 1974.