When you measure [prices of ] both goods and services, you come up with a tame inflation environment, which is policy nirvana. You can apply as much fiscal policy and monetary policy as you want without side effects.
Since the beginning of this year, the economy has been recovering gradually....In that environment, a gradually rising stock market would be justified. Instead we got a sharp decline. Can we justify this rally? Absolutely....But we can't justify a thousand-point increase every week.
What is giving us protection is all the global competition that we have. That is preventing companies from passing on most of the costs. Even though productivity has been slowing down, it's still fairly significant.
Right now ... there's the perception out there that somehow the Republicans are taking care of our security a lot more than they are our economy. If we get full Republican control ... we may see it have a negative impact on confidence.
It's tempting to say these are terrible jobs, but the service sector has more wage pricing power than the manufacturing sector. If you're getting a pay increase from your boss today, it's probably not in manufacturing.
There's no question the recovery is taking longer than people thought. People thought the economy would pick up very quickly and that we would have a typical garden variety economic recovery. That's not the case, but the good news is it is a recovery. You can't ask for more than that.
There is a lot of pain, and if anything these statistics are understating the pain, ... At the same time the economy is showing some potential signs of improvement, you're not finding a lot of firms offering jobs.
Anything that causes people to spend more time thinking about what they do will clearly have an impact on productivity. The good news is this is not a permanent situation -- these things have a way of clearing themselves up. But will it be completely inconsequential? I don't think so.