Delightful economic news in the Times this morning:

“It’s clear that the housing downturn and credit crunch are still very much under way. Clearly, there are more jobs to be lost in housing, finance and construction -- hundreds of thousands of more jobs to be lost collectively.”

Without easily accessible credit, the article goes on, Americans are being forced to ration their paychecks, putting a hit on consumer purchasing, even with tax rebate checks going out. It's increasingly clear that we need a more aggressive response from the government in order to limit some of the factors leading to this slide; one option is the Dodd-Frank bill, discussed by Dean Baker and Bob Kuttner.

Congressional staff hope that bill passes when Congress returns from the Independence day recess, but the real question is whether any further recovery legislation will be approved by the White House before we have a new president -- sure, 6 months seems like a long time, but it's nothing on the Hill; the President doesn't seem eager to go as far as necessary; and Congress will be out campaigning for most of the fall.

--Tim Fernholz

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