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Kai Ryssdal: So durable goods and inventories are two measures of the economy. Economists Alan Blinder from Princeton and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics have come up with another one. They took to their computers, ran economic modeling programs and tried to show just how effective the stimulus package has been.
Princeton’s Alan Blinder:
Alan Blinder: The model says that it would have been terrible without it that we would have had something that realistically would have been called a depression.
For instance, says Zandi, the jobs situation would have looked a whole lot bleaker than it does even now.
Mark Zandi: We lost about eight and a half million jobs from the peak to the trough, if we had not had the extraordinary policy efforts, our estimates is that our job losses from peak to trough would be just about double that — 16 to 17 million.
Score one for the stimpack, right? Not so fast. We may be headed out of a recession but we are running head-long into the worst budget deficits we’ve ever seen. So despite the jobs and the dodging of a Depression, the White House is still on the defensive. Here’s budget director Peter Orszag in a speech this morning.
Peter Orszag: I think there has unfortunately developed a false debate between jobs and the deficit. It would be foolish to dramatically reduce the deficit immediately, because that would choke off the economic recovery before it has had a chance to develop adequately.
That, however, is a fight Peter Orszag won’t have to have. His last day on the job is Friday.
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