Troubling ignorance

The country lost almost 600,000 jobs in January, the Chicago Tribune reports, which is “the biggest figure for any month since December 1974.”  The unemployment rate currently stands at 7.2 percent, its highest in sixteen years, and is projected to rise at least to 9 percent before subsiding.

Figures like these have finally led some major financial figures, such as Dominque Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, to admit that what has been euphemistically called a “downturn” is actually a “depression.”  Nevertheless, this realization of some economic truth has apparently not led to further wisdom, and Strauss-Kahn still anticipates the Obama-supported stimulus bill, which will be voted on in Congress in the coming week, with considerable optimism.

Economic considerations aside, this sort of inability to learn from mistakes coupled with an ignorance of even the most recent history is troubling, particularly as we embark on this umpteenth stimulus plan, which is already guaranteed to follow its predecessors to irresponsible policy, continued depression, and increased debt.

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