Morning Must Reads: Remembering the Accounting Scandals, Bernanke vs. Plosser and Health Care Reform Art and Success!

The Harrisburg Patriot-News has a somewhat nostalgic look at the accounting scandal at the cable company Adelphia

In a study of contrasts, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser both gave speeches on Monday. Bernanke's talk focused sharply on the poor performance of the labor market while Plosser voiced again his concern that Central Banks have done too much to aid in the recovery.

Bernanke, both a scholar of monetary policy and an appointee of democratically elected officials, takes more seriously than Plosser the importance of the Federal Reserve's dual mandate over inflation and unemployment. Plosser, who was selected by and is managed by unelected Philadelphia elite, is free to advocate only for the interests of the banking sector, a policy that would result in significantly higher unemployment.

In a speech Monday at an economics conference, Mr. Bernanke maintained that conditions in the job market remain "far from normal," with total hours of work and the number of people working still well below pre-recession levels. And once again, he expressed strong concerns about the millions of jobless people who have been out of work for more than six months...

The unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in August. Mr. Bernanke referred to Okun's law, which describes the close relationship between the changes in jobless rate and economic output, or gross domestic product. By this rule of thumb, given the weak 1.7 percent growth in GDP last year, the unemployment rate shouldn't have shown much if any improvement in the last year.

Mr. Bernanke offered one possible explanation for this disconnect. By Okun's rule of thumb, he said, employers slashed jobs during the recession well in excess of the decline in GDP, and now they may be taking reverse action to offset some of the heavy cutting earlier.

"What we may be seeing now is the flip side of the fear-driven layoffs that occurred during the worst part of the recession, as firms have become sufficiently confident to move their workforces into closer alignment with the expected demand for their products," Mr. Bernanke said at the National Association for Business Economics conference in Arlington, Va.

Some economists think the drop in the jobless rate may be overstating the real improvement in the labor market, believing that the unemployment figure has fallen primarily because many discouraged workers dropped out of the labor force, thus reducing the overall number of people who are counted as unemployed.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles the artist and activist Theresa Browngold and reports on a beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act.

Instead of kings and queens, her deck shows the faces of everyday Americans, uninsured and underinsured. Forty-six in all.

Ms. BrownGold knows each of their stories and every furrow of each brow, too. The Bucks County, Pa., artist painted each one, photographed her work and brought the pictures to the steps of the Supreme Court, where justices this week are hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act.
 

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