Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Richard Romo hands in an employment questionnaire at a Maricopa County job fair. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Today, 800,000 people lost their unemployment-insurance benefits. Almost 2 million more will lose theirs in January if the government does nothing.
Unemployed people are losing their insurance because Congress can't agree on a plan to extend benefits for people who have been jobless for more than 26 weeks. That's six and a half months of unemployment, which may sound long, but consider that there are 2.9 million job openings for 14.9 million unemployed people -- one job opening for every five applicants.
Given that Ben Bernanke has been repeating his name like a mantra, it shouldn't be a surprise that some sharp eyes have found an interview where famed monetary economist Milton Friedmanendorses just the kind of creative policy the Fed has recently adopted -- i.e. purchasing long-term securities in attempt to stimulate the economy. Here he is talking about the Japanese case we often invoke today:
The president's decision to preempt his meeting with Republican leadership tomorrow for a surprise announcement -- a freeze in federal employee pay -- shows that Obama is finally turning his attention to the most pressing economic issue facing our country: The high pay earned by government employees.
“Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed," wrote the suspected source of the newest batch of Wikileaks. “It’s open diplomacy. World-wide anarchy in CSV format. It’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”