It's beginning to look like there's an economic shipwreck dead ahead. That plunging stock market is the wealthy passengers, trampling the children as they rush headlong toward the lifeboats. The nation's capital, the bridge of our ship of state, lies abandoned.
The officers have gone to their quarters, the wheel's left unattended, and nobody's trying to turn the ship around. If you're not sounding the alarm, you aren't paying attention. And it looks like a lot of people aren't paying attention.
Sure, this month's jobs report is slightly better than the last couple of months, but that just means the drowning passengers are a couple of inches closer to the surface. That's not much comfort to them, since they're still drowning, but it seems to cheer up the ship's officers. Now that Congress has concluded its debt-ceiling deal they've all gone home.
The President's economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, is plaintively whispering the words "unemployment insurance" to their receding backs, but it wasn't important enough to be included in the deal. And the "bipartisan" mantra forced Goolsbee to mention two free-trade deals in the same breath. That's like throwing a brick to a drowning sailor, rather than a life preserver.
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