The Michiganization of America

This is a remarkable slide show depicting the growth of unemployment in the U.S. in just two and a half years. In January 2007, before the credit and financial crises and the subsequent recession, the counties in purple or black — representing unemployment of 7 percent or more — were restricted to a handful of states.

Move forward to September of this year, and the whole map looks bruised.

I don’t intend this as a “blame Obama” post. The recession and the rise in unemployment started before he took office. But even “Saturday Night Live” understands that what the administration has been trying so far — namely, spending more money and piling up even more debt that will have to be repaid — isn’t working.

265 comments Add your comment

Sam

November 23rd, 2009
11:21 am

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 23rd, 2009
11:38 am

In many ways, H Ross Perot was nutty as a fruitcake but he was right about NAFTA, globalization, and the giant sucking sound.

Kyle Wingfield

November 23rd, 2009
11:53 am

Doesn’t take much, huh Sam? Your NYT article quotes one economist who says the stimulus worked; one who says it was too small and not well designed; another who echoes the part about the poor design.

Then you have one (Zandi) who says it should have been bigger but nonetheless is working — but who can’t be expected to say anything else considering the stimulus bill was based in large part on his research, and who makes up a number (1.1 million jobs saved or created) that not even the White House has been brash enough to trot out in justifying the bill.

Then you have two people whose only quoted comments reveal that they think it was a bad idea to sell the stimulus in connection with a particular unemployment-rate outcome (one of whom works for the White House and is the very person who made that unemployment-rate prediction).

Then you have one businessman who kinda, sorta says the stimulus was better than nothing. Then you have some statistics about the “multiplier effect” of government spending that are hotly debated in the economics field — even if that debate isn’t mentioned at all in the article.

Finally, you have an economist who doesn’t commit either way about the stimulus.

But don’t worry — some unnamed, uncounted number of economists form a “consensus” that it was a success!

Skip

November 23rd, 2009
12:22 pm

You win Kyle, whatever SNL says.

Dunwoody Mike

November 23rd, 2009
12:24 pm

The problem with the stimulus (both Bush’s and Obama’s) is that it went to the wrong people. Why should we give billions to the same people that wrecked the economy in the first place?

DebbieDoRight

November 23rd, 2009
12:30 pm

Kyle just wondering……………..where was all this concern when the past administration, (who shall remain nameless), was getting trillion dollar loans yearly from China? How did we expect to pay that back? What about the time when the past administration doled out all those stimulus checks, (this was between the years of 2003 and 2007), trying to get americans to buy, buy, buy our way out of trouble? I wonder why we were being bribed and buttered up if there weren’t any problems? What about the time the past administration decided that we didn’t need to raise taxes to pay for two wars? Remember when they said that the oil fields of Iraq would be able to pay for that war? How did that work out? What about the time the past administration, six months into its first term, wiped out a budget surplus that the previous administration, (who shall remain nameless also) had left behind? And I can’t exactly recall, but can you remember who originally said that “Budgets Don’t Matter”, and everyone in that elephant party smiled, nodded & applauded and said that was correct and that paying down the deficit wasn’t as important as cutting taxes for the wealthy? (who, if i recall correctly are supposedly the ones who are upholding america — although recently we’ve found out that a good majority of them have been witholding from america and using foreign countries to hide their funds instead of paying taxes on them to revamp a failing economy), do you remember that? Didn’t anyone notice then that the country was spinning out of control? A first year economy student could’ve told you that if you borrow trillions of dollars from a country and you have no way of paying it back that you’re going to be in deep doo-doo. OR if you have two wars, at least have a way to pay for them (since you’re not going to raise taxes on the rich). OR if you get surplus funds, PAY DOWN YOUR DEBT FIRST, not use it to extend great tax breaks for people who already pay less taxes then the middle class, and still hide the majority their money so that their tax debt will be negligible.

But of course, economist, even first year ones, weren’t running the country then. It was the previous administration who got us into a bigger pile of sh##t then any other in history, cheered and applauded on by their elephant party, (you know the ones — they claim to be “fiscally conservative” but wiped away a surplus in less than a year, in 8+ years of control [six years = Senate under Clinton PLUS 6 years under Bush, 8 years = House under Bush, 8 years = Presidency] did not bring down the deficit not ONE CENT, but managed to triple it); yes they were cheered on by the “fiscally conservatives” and did not veer one inch from the party line of “All is well, move along, there’s nothing to see here”; when our financial house was in turmoil. NOW however, it seems that they’ve come out of their “sleeping beauty” type coma and have suddenly remembered the word budget. It seems just a weeeee bit hypocritical to the average eye and just a tad bit self righteous after 8+ years of f@#king everything up that now that party of the elephants are pretending to care about anything that isn’t connected to them getting re-elected. Funny isn’t it?

Jefferson

November 23rd, 2009
12:42 pm

Nobody is worth 40 times pay of someone else. (clue)

Joan

November 23rd, 2009
12:52 pm

Debbie: We can look forward or we can continue to look back and cast blame. Looking forward is the only positive approach to take. And looking forward, we do have to require more of our citizenry. We need people in this country to accept responsibility for their own and their children’s lives, and stop whining and crying poor. A free education is available to all who have a desire to better themselves. But instead of walking through those doors of opportunity so many opt to sit on the couch, drug themselves into oblivion and then have the nerve to suggest their worthless lives are worth someone else saving. I don’t buy that.

Kick Me

November 23rd, 2009
12:53 pm

The logical question is what would the likely alternative have been had the stimulus money not been spent. Actually, that’s a moot point isn’t it, like today’s editorial.

Kyle Wingfield

November 23rd, 2009
1:25 pm

DebbieDoRight: Sorry to let a few facts get in the way of your screaming:

There have been no “trillion dollars loans” from China or any other country, annual or not. Our entire foreign-held debt as of Sept. 2009 was about $3.5 trillion, about $800 billion of which is held by China. These are cumulative figures. Big figures, to be sure, but not in line with your over-the-top rhetoric.

The first trillion-dollar budget deficit — i.e., what would necessitate a trillion-dollar loan — was this year. True, this deficit was inherited from President Bush. But don’t blame Bush for the deficit Obama inherited and then say that Bush eliminated a budget surplus in his first six months — i.e., in the budget he inherited from Clinton. Either blame the president for the budget during his first year or don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

No one has ever said “Budgets don’t matter.” Dick Cheney reportedly said “Deficits don’t matter,” which is not exactly the same thing. And whether he was right or wrong, there’s no doubt that he was talking about deficits that represent a few percentage points of GDP, not the nearly double-digit figures we are talking about now.

But more importantly, I would like you to find where I, personally, specifically, said it was fine for Republicans to do all this, as you imply that I did. You’re right that Republicans deserve blame for the way they managed federal finances. But you’re wrong to say that all conservatives supported this financial mismanagement. Did many of us vote for Republican candidates over the past decade? Sure — on the theory that Democrats would be even worse. That’s a theory that’s now being proven true.

My mantra is: Vote against incumbents early (in the primaries) and often (both in the primaries and the general election).

The most tiresome argument in this whole economic debate is “Republicans did it too!” Fine, yes, they did it too. So what do we do about it now? Spend more money? Your “first-year economic student” can surely tell you that this is wrong. And it is “just a weeeee bit hypocritical to the average eye and just a tad bit self righteous,” to borrow your words, for liberals to complain about Bush’s mismanagement and now support Obama for doing the same thing.

Road Scholar

November 23rd, 2009
1:26 pm

Kyle, wouldn’t it be great to have a parallel universe to see if the bailouts and stimulus packages worked versus doing nothing? Remember, most who dismiss these as irresponsible don’t have an economics degree or know enough to remember what they had for dinner last night!

Road Scholar

November 23rd, 2009
1:27 pm

Sorry for the double post.

Hatin' on the stupid

November 23rd, 2009
1:27 pm

Joan: “We can look forward or we can continue to look back and cast blame.”
Hilarious how the “take personal responsibility for your actions” gang begins to “look forward” when the light of truth shines in on their hypocracy. You go Debbie girl. That was a slam dunk. The republicans did the same thing when Clinton got in office after 12 years of borrow and spend under Regan and Bush Sr. Suddenly nothing was more important than balancing the budget. Same old tune, and becoming sooo predictable.

Hatin' on the stupid

November 23rd, 2009
1:32 pm

Kyle: “True, this deficit was inherited from President Bush. But don’t blame Bush for the deficit Obama inherited and then say that Bush eliminated a budget surplus in his first six months — i.e., in the budget he inherited from Clinton. Either blame the president for the budget during his first year or don’t. You can’t have it both ways.”

That is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard on this post and there have been mountains of stupidity. I wont even bother to explain it to you. Let me guess, you love Sarah Palin too, no?

Jimmy62

November 23rd, 2009
1:33 pm

The problem liberals have is their best argument is “But Bush overspent, too!” But that only holds till you look at the magnitude. If Bush did X, and Obama does 10X, that’s 10 times worse, not the same. But then simple math seems beyond the left, or they wouldn’t think that spending lots more money will somehow lead to lower deficits.

Here’s a clue: If it doesn’t make sense for your personal finances, it also doesn’t make sense for a country.

Kyle Wingfield

November 23rd, 2009
1:34 pm

No worries, Road Scholar — that’s why I took down your first post (I assumed you liked your second one better).

As for your parallel universe: Sure, that would be great. But the universe we have is telling us this: The stimulus has had some effect because, well, you can’t throw a couple of hundred billion dollars the economy and have *no* effect. But it’s also telling us that employers, whether small or large businesses, are not buying into the notion that the stimulus is salvation. While they see that money, they also see the deficits that will have to be financed with higher taxes, borrowing, or both (and these people don’t care which president caused the deficits, only that they have to be repaid); they see that the large amounts of money that the Fed is creating will lead to some big-time inflation sooner or later; they see Congress contemplating all manner of legislation that will reduce their incentive to grow their business and thus reduce their incentive to hire more workers.

The most likely answer is that the effect of the stimulus has been tempered greatly by the rest of Washington’s actions. Capital is still on strike, and we won’t have a real recovery until that changes.

Kyle Wingfield

November 23rd, 2009
1:36 pm

Let’s hear your explanation, Hatin. How is it that Obama is not responsible for the deficit’s increase in his first six months in office, but Bush was responsible for the surplus’s elimination in his first six months?

Churchill's MOM

November 23rd, 2009
1:41 pm

Wingboy@1:25 pm

“My mantra is: Vote against incumbents early (in the primaries) and often (both in the primaries and the general election).”

Here in Georgia, we have a problem with that. We have the 2 sorriest RINO Senators known to mankind yet Saxby did not have primary opposition although every Republican I know hates him. In the general election we had a good honest conservative, Allen Buckley yet he only got about 10% of the vote. Johnny is just as bad as Saxby yet he has no Republican or announced Democratic opposition. The Libertarian party has Chuck Donovan, who is an unknown to me. It would be really nice if you did some writing about Mr. Donovan. I grew up in Georgia when we only had 1 party, democratic and now live in a state where we only have 1 party the RINO party. Can you tell me the difference between the 2?

Piso Mojado

November 23rd, 2009
1:41 pm

I think we all need to take a hard look at what Republican leaders have proposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs, determine the viability of the best ideas, and work towards a bipartisan effort to turn words into actions.

Oh that’s right. They haven’t proposed anything. Doh!!!

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

November 23rd, 2009
1:43 pm

Kyle, in Carpetland, unemployment has led to a recession that is still deepening. No, or too little work for more than a year has finally led to consumer spending necessarily drying up in epic proportions and thousands having to turn to food stamps and charities just to eat. The bruises here are turning gangrenous. But, then, you know this already.

Hatin' on the stupid

November 23rd, 2009
1:47 pm

Ugh. So Clinton is responsible for turning the surplus Bush inherited into trillions in debt, but Bush is not responsible for dumping those same trillions of debt, and a traumatized ecomomy in Obama’s lap to try to clean up. Think it might take more than 8 months or so to try and mop up 8 years worth of hemoraging??? This illogic is what I hate the South. Why not shut up and let his team see what they can do with this mess instead of hoping for failure like Porky Limbaugh??”

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
1:52 pm

I looked up conservative states vs. liberal states in debt and unemployment. Liberal states like California and Michigan led the nation in unemployment and debt rates. Liberals have single handedly destroyed Michigan and California. Look for the south to RISE in business in the next 15 years. Taxes are cheap and unions are not in control.

Kyle, I watched the SNL skit with Obama and Hu. It was fantastic but sad. So damn true. President Acorn is the new Jimmy Carter. But sadly, Jimmy Carter was not out to destroy America.

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
1:56 pm

Hatin’ on the stupid wrote: This illogic is what I hate the South

Answer: Move.

Kyle Wingfield

November 23rd, 2009
1:58 pm

Hatin: Try reading what I’ve written, not what you think/wish/imagine I wrote.

Debbie said that Bush eliminated the surplus in his first six months in office — ignoring that at that time, July 20, 2001, the federal government was still operating on a budget that began in October 2000, before Bush was even elected, much less in office. I simply pointed out that Bush can’t be held responsible for the fiscal 2001 budget deficit, any more than Obama can be held responsible for the fiscal 2009 budget deficit.

Of course Bush is responsible for the debt accumulated during his eight years — fiscal 2002 through fiscal 2009. Do you know the difference between deficits and debt?

Ga Values

November 23rd, 2009
2:03 pm

Barnacle Bill Bavasi .. we re-carpeted our house last week hope that helps you out.

The US has been on a multi year spending spree that all stopped about a year ago. I am on the board of 8 medium sized companies all except 1 come into the downturn with healthy balance sheets. All are having a 8-20% drop in sales for this year. None have had layoffs but are working short time, losing a little money but still have positive cash flow. We are looking for small acquisitions to add to our market share next year. These are unusual for private equity companies, next year there will be a 50% failure rate in the private equity which the NYT thinks will add up to $1.7 trillion. This will have a worse problem that the sub prime problem. We are in for a rough new year, I’d be moving my investments into near cash if I were you.

ATLshirt.com

November 23rd, 2009
2:06 pm

Just wait for this healthcare reform to pass.. they just may as well call it, bailout payback.. they are going to raise taxes on EVERYONE!! IF the FED doesnt do it to you, then the state will!! Get ready for hyper inflation, it is coming next year..

I also would like to see our government drug testing people who are drawing welfare checks and unemployment, or just do away with it all together.. I am tired of supporting lazy people!!

I do find it very funny how the dems keep pointing to the right and blaming thier failures on past administrations.. its thier way of confusing the masses and keeping us divided so that they (the government) can complete thier agenda of government takeover on all of us citizens!!

Kyle, I am with you, and so are many other people, when it comes to the next elections, we plan on voting against the incumbent!! Since congressmen and senators will not impose term limits on themselves, it is up to us (we the people) to vote them out!!! We have the power to set term limits, by constantly voting out the incumbents, 1 term for everyone!!! That way, just maybe, those guys in office will start to do things for the people, and not themselve!!

Churchill's MOM

November 23rd, 2009
2:07 pm

David Axelfraud
1:52 pm

Please list the Conservative states that are in good shape.. certainly not Georgia or any other southern state for that matter.

Hatin' on the stupid

November 23rd, 2009
2:15 pm

“Do you know the difference between deficits and debt?”

Yeah, deficits are what Republicans don’t pay for on an annual basis.
12 Trillion in debt is want it accumulates to in short order. Thanks for wrecking the country then dumping on the guy trying to fix it. Deficit spending is what your supposed to when the economy is struggling, not each and every year of your administration. Can you name me one Republican since Carter that didn’t run a deficit? Could this not be why we’re in such a mess? But that (American hating, Socialist, Facist, Muslim Loving, Too low bowing- chose your slur)Obama is the one causing this country to go to hell.

Fraud: Make me

Chris Broe

November 23rd, 2009
2:18 pm

At least hold judgement until the bulk of the money actually gets released into the economy, sir.

The bulk of the stimulus package funds has yet to be released. It probably wont create jobs until the bulk of the money actually gets released.

The only funds that have been released have been clunker cash, the bank bailout, and that tax credit for first time home buyers, (not to mention the 10 billion released specifically for the makeover they gave that singing ogre from America’s Got Talent, Susan Boil, who now looks like Lady GaGa with a unibrow.)

Also, didn’t the bulk of the cash for clunkers program go to Jay Leno’s writing staff? When’s the last time he’s told a funny? OMG!

Yes, America’s Got Talent has a new recording superstar, Susan Boyle, who’s not so much Fergie as Froggie, but what a voice!! She’s so inspirational, and I think Wallstreet is betting on the Shirley Temple effect, that is, the entire globe will rally just because she’s so adorable.

Question for people who don’t understand economics: Did the bailout money all end up in the stock market?

ATLshirt.com

November 23rd, 2009
2:18 pm

if this healthcare reform is so great, then why wont the congressmen and senators enroll in the same program that we are being forced to ??

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:31 pm

Churchill’s MOM, didn’t say that they were in good shape. Just said that they were not in danger of going bankrupt. Louisiana and Texas are two conservative run states that come to mind.

Hatin’ on the stupid wrote: Fraud: Make me

Ms. Stupid, don’t mistake me for a democrat. I don’t try to make people do anything. You cried about the south and so I offered a simple solution. Kyle was right, you are TERRIBLE at understand what people write.

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:34 pm

Churchill’s MOM, before you go an put your foot in your mouth, which you just did, go and look up each state yourself. You know, reading? It’s pretty simple.

Churchill's MOM

November 23rd, 2009
2:35 pm

Just released survey, they say better 1st quarter, who knows.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/11/23/business/AP-US-NABE-Survey.html

Churchill's MOM

November 23rd, 2009
2:36 pm

fraud
2:34 pm

As usual all talk no facts..

Churchill's MOM

November 23rd, 2009
2:38 pm

fraud… that should say as usual YOU ARE ALL TALK AND NO FACTS>

Chris Broe

November 23rd, 2009
2:40 pm

Debt and Deficit figures are meaningless by themselves, and any attempt to define either term without the context from which one could derive their consequence on the economy is misleading.

The % of GDP is the magic number.

Historically, neither our debt nor our deficit have ever had a lasting negative effect on our growth. If debt were such a cycle-killer, then around the 1930’s we would have experienced a downturn from hell, okay?

D’oh!

Actually, after a perfunctory search, I don’t see any correlation between boom and bust cycles and deficit spending or total debt. If anything, there’s a inverse relationship, unless I’m reading the graph upside down.

“Zilch, a googolplex next to infinity is”. (Yoda)

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:40 pm

Kyle, what is interesting about your comment above is that for 8 years Clinton had every chance in the book to do something about terrorism yet he did nothing. During Bush’s first 9 months we were bombed yet liberals wanted to blame Bush.

Fast Forward to now and Obama and the Democrats want to blame Bush for everything and not take any blame for themselves.

Bottom Line: Democrats and liberals blame everyone else for their problems even though they cause more harm than good.

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:42 pm

Churchill’s MOM, no facts? Huh, I posted those FACTS about a week ago. People like you said nothing about it. Now, feel free to go back to watching your fake Daily Show and calling it real news.

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:45 pm

States with unemployment under 10%

LOUISIANA 7.3
OKLAHOMA 6.9
ARKANSAS 7.6
TEXAS 8.3
ALASKA 8.8

Jimmy62

November 23rd, 2009
2:47 pm

The Clinton “surplus” was a myth, only viable if you completely ignore a lot of government funded liabilities. There was no real surplus, we did not end the year with more money than we started. We ended with less, we just had more creative accounting.

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:48 pm

Churchill’s Mom, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment in the country. Guess what? It’s not run by liberal democrats

NORTH DAKOTA 4.2

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
2:49 pm

Churchill’s MOM, here the website for you. It’s a government site.

http://www.bls.gov/web/laumstrk.htm

Jess

November 23rd, 2009
2:50 pm

The issue at this point is not who’s to blame in the past. I don’t care if the Pope’s to blame, the issue now is the response to the financial problem. Obama’s response has been to go on an unprecedented spending spree. This is pure insanity. And saying it was Bush’s fault or the Pope’s fault doesn’t make it any less insane. There seems to be more at work here than meets the eye.

Peter

November 23rd, 2009
3:04 pm

Gee Kyle….I guess we should make up another WAR……sign ridicules “Cost Plus Contracts”…..let the infrastructure of America go to hell in a hand basket, and what will we have ?

The last Republican Administration…….

Which of course almost killed America……… Wasn’t there a period of time during the “Little Bush ” administration where is was said we almost went totally Broke and Belly up, worse than the “Great Depression ” ?

Like Republican’s actually have a clue ? Well I guess if ripping off American’s works for you, then you do !

dewstarpath

November 23rd, 2009
3:05 pm

- Axelfraud –
2:40 pm

– In 1998, Clinton ordered cruise-missile strikes on
suspected training camps and bomb-building facilities
in Sudan, places that had previously been suspected
hideouts for Osama bin Laden. Although it did not
appear that bin Laden was killed in those attacks,
I wouldn’t call that nothing.

The American People

November 23rd, 2009
3:05 pm

Write an article about the SEIU 1000 members beating up Ken Hamidi for trying to exercising his right for free speech at their public meeting. Write about the hyocrisy of the fact that this is barely been a news story. Write about how Obama has as he says “worked with this organization all of his life” but they are keeping this very quiet. Write about the obvious fact that if a black man would have gone into a public meeting and had been beaten up by 4 white men it would be national news and their would be a public outcry on every news channel in this country. Thankyou.

Peter

November 23rd, 2009
3:12 pm

Yes Kyle…….”Saturday Night Live”…..is a wonderful show when Politics, and national policies are debated.

That is like saying “Sesame Street” is a good show to watch when we talk about Terrorism !

Linda

November 23rd, 2009
3:13 pm

According to costofwar.com, we’ve spent about $900,000,000,000 in Afghanistan in 8 yrs. & in Iraq in 7 yrs., 15 yrs. total.
What an amazing coincidence that Congress approved the expenditure of almost the same amt of money less than 3 wks after the inauguration on a bill they called an economic stimulus, unread, passed within a few hours, in an emergency, promising to prevent unemployment which was at 7.6% from exceeding 8% which is now 10.2% unless you count all the people who are really out of work which is probably 17.5%. The intent of the bill was never intended to stimulate the economy & didn’t. It made it worse & will add to our national debt. It was a celebration. It’s going to blue states & blue districts in red states.
If you want to create jobs, you concentrate on the private sector, small businesses. You do not increase the minimum wage during the worst economic recession in decades. You don’t burden small businesses with fines & penalties in a health care bill. You do not double the price of utilities with a cap & trade tax. You don’t extend unemployment benefits for 99 mts., causing unemployment insurance for businesses to double & triple. If I deliberately wanted unemployment to rise, I would have done exactly what they did.

David Axelfraud

November 23rd, 2009
3:14 pm

dewstarpath, yeah, Clinton had the Navy hit a sand dune. Nice. I guess you have selective amnesia because we were attacked 4 times under Clinton.

Bottom Line: Clinton did nothing to help prevent 911.

Kyle Wingfield

November 23rd, 2009
3:14 pm

Peter: When they’re right, they’re right. The SNL writers have certainly zeroed in on the mood of most people I know better than the administration has.