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There’s been a lot of confusion and absurd conspiracy claims about last week’s drop in the national unemployment rate. Dean Baker has the actual skinny here.

The bottom line: Things are better, but the lack of demand in the economy continues to hold us back.

In other words, we’re still paying the price for the inadequate stimulus that the federal government has mustered over the last few years; The President’s efforts stabilized things but the roadblocks to doing more set up by conservatives have locked us into a just-slightly-better-than-treading-water pattern.

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President Obama signed the new payroll tax cut bill into effect last night – another piece of legislation that shows the Republicans in Congress are finally backing down at least a little bit on their market fundamentalist obstructionism.

One of the best and most under-reported aspects of the bill is a provision that encourages employers to promote work-sharing as an alternative to layoffs. Such programs have worked well in Germany and other countries.

One of the nation’s best economists, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research, has been touting the concept for years and released the following statement in praise of the new law: Read More

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Dean Baker has a great little myth-buster post up this morning in which he takes  the WaPo’s E.J. Dionne to task for his “loser-liberalism.” As Baker notes, liberals buy in much too readily to conservative spin about right and left attittudes toward government regulation and “free markets.” Read More