Road to Recovery?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at financial analysis and forecasting firm IHS Global Insight and author of Spin Free Economics; and Marisa Di Natale, senior economist at Moody’s, discuss some of the hopeful and not-so-hopeful economic signs out there, and which indicators really matter. When will you know we're on the road to recovery? Comment below!


Dean Baker, Nariman Behravesh and Marisa Di Natale

Comments [34]

M. from Manhattan

We say we are a capitalist country, yet we do not impose the severest of penalties for disrupting the financial system. Seems to me that the first time a corporate type gets dragged to the scaffold kicking and shrieking after some Ponzi scheme, and gets given the drop, gets the old terminal neck stretch, well, then maybe we'll have started being a capitalist system.

Apr. 08 2009 01:15 PM
BMF from NYC

First... That promo, that one that goes ""That job is gone, but I am still a good person..." I love that promo. That says everything about the situation, though it says nothing good. In our imaginations, we see this as some version of "our fault," otherwise what the hell would we have to say "I am still a good person" for?

And it surprises me not a whit that unemployment is still rising. Wouldn't be the first recession that unemployment was the lagging indicator. And given the fact that business executives and managers seem to have made so much more money from giving employees the sack then from successful business operations, depending on their perception in the stock market more for reward than from product development or sales, does anyone actually see that as changing?

I, for one, don't. When the first CEO gets the sack for lay-offs, well, I'll laugh for a while first. Then I'll check to see that it wasn't really for robbing the company blind.

(Oh, and in that discussion of Merkin and Madoff this morning, let's get real about the Street. All of this was just guys making light of OPM. When in the last twenty or thirty years hasn't it been just what they laugh about in their private moments, this enterprise that amounted to stealing the civilians' lunch money and thinking well of themselves?)

Apr. 08 2009 12:28 PM
Nick Lento from NJ

PS Will Brian *ever* put anyone on the air re these issues who ISN'T speaking from the wall street pov?

Apr. 08 2009 12:24 PM
Nick Lento from NJ

Unless we allow the failed banks/institutions/corporations to actually fail....we are only further deepening the hole we're in.

Bailing out essentially corrupt/criminal activity doesn't extinguish it; on the contrary, we are reinforcing the behaviour and will, ultimately, pay a far higher price.

All these bailouts have done is to put off the day of reckoning and make the recession/depression that will hit at some point (we ain't seen "nuttin" yet) a far deeper one than necessary.

Krugman is no crazy's just plain common sense that rewarding criminality (even if it's "legal") will only result in more of the same...

Apr. 08 2009 12:23 PM
Richard Williams from Larchmont, NY

I will know that after seven years and interviews with 22 school districts, I will have that concert band director position I have been seeking.

Apr. 08 2009 11:36 AM
markBrown from

Oh Brian.

When will I say the economy has improved?

It's gonna be a long time from now, my favorite talk show host.

I've even sorrier then you that you decided (again) not to take my call (after waiting 41 minutes).

My answer for when the economy will improve is as it HAS been for the past 2 years (see my blog,now going for the third year about needing another 'new deal'.

We will not see a recovery of this economic downturn until the 75% of the economy based on CDO's (collateralized debt obligations) on the CONSUMER market (credit card, college and car loans) totally collapses.

UNTIL this iceberg totally subsumes the USS economic system (aka the titanic), we will not be able to have a recovery.

And, for the past 3 years I've also been saying that the shock of that is gonna be a HECK of a lot worse then the 'sub-prime' mortgage mess.

I have no time (for a change) to quote myself.
go to my blog at

search for 75% to see everything about the titanic analogy.

Mark in Westfield.
(who prays one day that Brian will UN-black-list him from the show!!!)

Apr. 08 2009 11:08 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Laura #1 -- Hear! Hear! It's totally annoying. If I was laid off and had to hear that day after day, I'd want to throw the radio out the window. Please -- WNYC promo deparment -- get a new one!

Apr. 08 2009 11:03 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Re: Blankfein's comments. I couldn't sleep last night, turned on C-Span and caught a bit of Blankfein.

I didn't see the first mea culpa (or business sector culpa), but I did see the second, which came directly after two women went to the stage to try to make their criticisms (no mic, hard to hear them). Blankfein then made the second contrition comment.

Just prior to this second comment, Blankfein was asked a question by polite, somewhat nervous, attendee who suggested reworking broker compensation to show ongoing success of the sales, say 3, possibley 5 years, before full bonus comp be given out. During this woman's questions, Blankfein leaned way back on his chair, body language which *seemed* to show great skepticism or even disrespect. He didn't really sit up until he went on to GS internal competition remarks, which included losers should go off and die, as a joke. A joke he clearly loved, very animated. Very genuine.

After the protester's comments his body language was Sincerity Writ Large --and I didn't believe it.Seemed coached. If you get this kind of Q or attack, we want you to have sincere expression, one of concern, attentive body posture, etc.

Anyone else see Blankfein?

Apr. 08 2009 10:50 AM

Laura/comment 1 says it all...

...when msm moves along to the next story it missed.

Apr. 08 2009 10:44 AM
Richard Williams from Larchmont, NY

I'll know when, after interviews with 22 school districts since 2002, I'll get my job as a concert band director. My baton is getting restless.

Apr. 08 2009 10:41 AM

um, when moodys goes to jail?

Apr. 08 2009 10:41 AM
Robert from NYC

what does this guy offer? he offers more cuts in vacation, work time, et alia for the worker!! well salaries have stunk for decades and increases were negligable and the folks at the top have skimmed billions which could have gone back into the companies and into the real economy not the "special" economy of yachts and custom made cars and air planes. And he's saying the worker has to "give up" more.

Apr. 08 2009 10:40 AM
bernardo issel from Brooklyn, NY

Shouldn't a guest from Moody's be introduced with the qualifier that Moody's utterly failed in its role in analyzing AIG and other big financiers.

"[Moody's] and rival Standard & Poor’s are widely seen as prime contributors to the credit bubble because their analysts awarded top-shelf AAA ratings to securities backed by toxic subprime mortgages. Regulators and furious members of Congress are contemplating big changes at the ratings agencies, which generate revenue by charging the issuers whose debt they grade."

Apr. 08 2009 10:36 AM
Laura from Staten Island

Hey, my comment is back. Thanks WNYC.

Apr. 08 2009 10:34 AM
KC from NYC

This might be an interesting topic for these guests: Obama's economic adviser Lawrence Summers received $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch speaking engagement, and $135,000 for an April 16 Goldman Sachs speaking engagement.

Since Obama (or Clinton, who would also have likely hired Summers) was bound to become president at that time, does this count as preemptive bribery?


Apr. 08 2009 10:32 AM
Phil Henshaw from NYC

The sign of the turnaround will be when we acknowledge that growth is a project that needs to be finished.

Continually using nature as a machine for enlarging our bank accounts has truly outlived its usefulness. There are lots of signs what was really behind the failure of finance was that converting the natural world into multiplying money was running into natural difficulty. Just as at the office, you get paid for the projects you complete, don't reap the benefits of great ideas you start but never finish.

Apr. 08 2009 10:30 AM
dorsie nyc

sounds like dueling bubbles of testosterone today. take a breath.

Apr. 08 2009 10:29 AM
Don from Bronx

I'll know when the Markit CDX and ABX HE indexes for BBB bonds and lower (below investment grade market) show some liquidity and sell for at least 40 cents on the dollar

Apr. 08 2009 10:28 AM
Laura from Staten Island

Thanks RLewis. Did you notice that Big Brother took down my comment?

Apr. 08 2009 10:26 AM
Nico from Crown Heights

#4, #8,

I don't think you need to worry about Brian's feelings. He's a professional journalist. He can handle being corrected when he's wrong. That's why most of us listen to this show.

Apr. 08 2009 10:23 AM
antonio from park slope

I second your notion, Adrian..
I am unemployed, but have been on interviews..

Apr. 08 2009 10:23 AM
Duncan from Maplewood, NJ

Could you have booked two more egocentric guests? "we predicted recession before you did"
Hard to hear through the self directed praise.

Apr. 08 2009 10:22 AM

but what would greg david say?

Apr. 08 2009 10:21 AM
KC from NYC

Rosie: Yes, but I think Baker's really tired of that "labor economist" label. He has a number of stories about being invited on shows opposite economists directly employed by, say, CitiGroup, and while their connections are never disclosed, he's always "the union economist" (despite not taking money from unions). It's a commonly-accepted way the media stacks the deck against non-banking-industry economists.

Anyway, he's a great guest, and he's been writing about the coming housing collapse for a decade.

Apr. 08 2009 10:21 AM
Roy from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

Sign for recovery? Easy! when we see the USD starts to slide (already off its multy year highs) we'll know the recovery is coming!

Apr. 08 2009 10:19 AM
beatrice from ft. greene

I couldn't agree more, Rosie. I feel bad for Brian. A lot of weird stuff going on on the show lately.

Apr. 08 2009 10:19 AM
Nico from Crown Heights

Thank you, Dean Baker, for making that correction. These days, market fundamentalists are considered mainstream and any deviation from this is described as being some kind of "interest group" perspective, usually labor. What nonsense. We need a paradigm shift and this starts with how we talk about the economy.

Apr. 08 2009 10:16 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

ha, ha, ha,... Laura is soooooo right. We've had it with that promo!

Apr. 08 2009 10:13 AM
Marybeth from North Salem, New York

The economy will be turning around when that beautiful home that's fairly priced down the block from me sells. It's been sitting for two years.

Apr. 08 2009 10:13 AM
rosie from brooklyn

Meow! Dean, you could have corrected Brian without being a dick about it!!

Apr. 08 2009 10:12 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

The public will never have confidence in the Banking system until Congress passes new laws that prevent banks from ever again becoming "too big to fail". Once the large banks have been broken up into pieces like was done with the telecoms, then we can begin the road to recover.

Apr. 08 2009 10:12 AM
Kathleen from Connecticut

I'll know the economy is coming back when, after two years, hundreds of resumes and a handful of interviews, I finally get a job offer. Despite my grad degrees and nearly 20 years of corporate experience, for too long, employers have been too timid to make permanent hires for folks with real skills and ability.

Apr. 08 2009 10:12 AM
Adrian from Northport

I'll know we're on the road to economic recovery when Paul Krugman says so.

Apr. 08 2009 10:11 AM
Laura from Staten Island

I will know that the economy is turning around when WNYC stops playing the annoying promo of the woman saying, "That job is gone, but I am still a good person..." We have heard that one enough, thanks.

Apr. 08 2009 10:10 AM

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