Thomas R. Eddlem
Ford Motor Company was supposed to be the only major U.S. automaker not in need of a bailout, but this week Ford accepted a $5.9 billion loan subsidy under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The EISA loan is designed to help the auto industry by supporting “capital investments in facilities designed to produce vehicles with greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
Former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan (left) came up with a novel way to claim the U.S. government would never default on debt: print the difference. Greenspan told NBC's "Meet the Press" August 7, in response to a question about the recent downgrade in the U.S. bond rating by Standard and Poor's:
Britain's leading financial newspaper, the London Financial Times, now believes that the U.S. economy may be headed toward a Japanese-style "Lost Decade."
The stalling of the US recovery raises big, scary questions. After a recession, this economy usually gets people back to work quickly. Not this time ... traits seen as distinctive strengths are now weaknesses, and a “lost decade” of stagnation, like Japan’s in the 1990s, might lie ahead.
The Japanese economy has experienced zero economic growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since 1991. In essence, the Japanese have experienced two "lost decades."
Stocks retreated and commodities predictably soared Monday after Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke told CBS's 60 Minutes that “it's certainly possible” the Fed could create additional “quantitative easing” beyond the $600 billion already announced. “Quantitative easing” is the modern term coined by Federal Reserve officials that means creating hundreds of billions of dollars in currency out of thin air, thereby inflating the currency, but hopefully not raising consumer prices beyond a target two percent per year.
Just one week after James Bullard of the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank released his August 6 paper declaring that “the U.S. is closer to a Japanese-style outcome today than at any time in recent history” (meaning that the United States will likely have decades of economic stagnation, which Bullard blames on “deflation”), the news media have taken up a chorus against the bogeyman of “deflation” to explain the need for further social spending by the government and more debasement of the U.S. dollar (causing consumer prices to rise through inflation).
Real U.S. Gross Domestic Product increased at a far slower pace than previously reported, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which reported that second quarter GDP increased at a 1.6 percent annualized rate rather than the 2.4 percent rate it estimated back on July 30. The lowered estimate means that another recession — the infamous “double dip” — may be just on the horizon.
The San Francisco Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank has found that the United States will more likely than not be dipping back into formal recession over the next two years, according to an August 9 study of nine economic indicators. Study authors Travis J. Berge and Òscar Jordà concluded that “for the period 18 to 24 months in the future, the probability of recession goes above 0.5 [50 percent], putting the odds of recession slightly above the odds of expansion.”
The New York Times' leftist columnist Paul Krugman has garnered some headlines recently for attacking the House Republican alternative budget proposal, the so-called “Roadmap to America's Future,” and its author Paul Ryan as “The Flimflam Man.” Krugman calls Ryan's plan the “audacity of dopes” and claims that it wouldn't bring the budget any further into balance than President Obama's budget.
Just one week after James Bullard of the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank released a paper declaring that “the U.S. is closer to a Japanese-style outcome today than at any time in recent history” (meaning that the United States will likely have decades of economic stagnation, which Bullard blames on "deflation"), the news media has taken up a chorus against the bogeyman of “deflation” to explain the need for further social spending by the government and more debasement of the U.S. dollar (causing consumer prices to rise through inflation).