Pearlstein: No Quick Fix for the Economy

In his Washington Post column today (now thankfully in the 1st section of the paper) Steven Pearlstein warns the nation's policymakers that there is no quick and easy fix for the struggling American economy:

As difficult as it is for voters and politicians to accept, government cannot -- and does not -- control our market economy. To give you a rough idea, it would be a huge accomplishment, and take a huge amount of money, for the government to stimulate the creation of a million jobs, let alone 2 million. Even that, however, would be but a fraction of the nearly 7.5 million jobs that have been lost so far in this recession.

The truth is that robust growth and job creation will happen only once we've completed the painful and disruptive process of deleveraging, restructuring and rebalancing the economy so that we consume less than we produce, and put something away for the future. The government can, and has, taken steps to smooth that process and make sure that it does not spin out of control, while providing some support for those who have lost the most. But unless we reinflate the credit bubble and the bubble economy that it spawned -- a big mistake -- there is no way to avoid an extended period of uncomfortably slow growth with uncomfortably high employment as a large, complex, dynamic market economy heals itself.