Moody's plots the path The great depression saw 15.3%. How these levels of default impact Rentier decision making is a really interesting question. It likely means that in this area, the financial crisis pig is still working its way through the python.
Pretty sure that the average American is way ahead of the President and his administration, Congress, the media, Wall Street, and academia (particularly that amateur sport called economics) on where the economy is headed. This confidence report is particularly telling:
U.S. consumer confidence plunged to another record low in February... The Conference Board, an industry group, said on Tuesday that its sentiment index fell to 25.0 from a downwardly revised 37.4 in January. The median forecast of economists polled by Reuters was for a reading of 35.5. [JR Note: that's not a miss, that is absolute incompetence]
This is why it isn't useful to put to much faith in "great leaders," the disillusionment can catalyze failure:
In February, the expectations index plunged to 27.5 from 42.5 the previous month.
So, the next politician or media person that says that "the people don't get how tough things are" should be tarred and feathered.
There are ample indications that Obama hasn't given up his dreams of overhauling health care. As a result, he is about to explode another economic nuke (more uncertainty) at the worst possible moment.
Brooks gets it right in that any attempt to redesign the entire economic control system is doomed for failure, in the best of times. In the current situation, it's akin to trying to rewire an airliner's control system while it is hurdling to earth at 600 knots. The passengers aren't going to like the ride.
NOTE: I do agree with Paul K. that Brooks is delusional in that Republicans/conservatives are going to be swept back into power if Obama fails. If he fails, the entire political class FAILS.
Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to fully appreciate the collapse of a system if you are inside it. Like the proverbial turkey being fattened for Thanksgiving, the steady meals and constant verbal assurances from the farmer obscures reality until the very last moment. The moment when the man with knife arrives.
Students stage protest to force NYU towards financial transparency. Current tuition is $50k (!) a year (including board). Of course, the school is resisting, since the bubble economics of the American University system is so fraught with waste and misallocation, it verges on the criminal.
Based on my back of envelope calculations, given the moon shot in college costs over the last decade, it's hard to imagine anyone ever making enough money (in excess of what they would have made otherwise) to pay off a college education. The American University system has denuded the experience/training of its financial value.
I'm hearing people say this a lot, particularly in reference to the sale of new homes and cars. Their using it as a sign of a market bottom and a good sign that growth will soon return. I'm not as sure.
Here's how it works.
The assumption is that new homes will eventually need to be built to accommodate population growth and new cars will be sold to replace old stock. However, what if there is a surge in multi-generational housing (there is) or people start to drive much less (they are) or keep their cars until they drop (most people I know are planning this). If that occurs, you have to revise the replacement level assumption to a far lower level than before the start of the downturn. What's that level? I suspect it is well below current sales levels, which means that there is much more downside movement possible.