Commentary

With the expiration of one of the most turbulent years, economically speaking, in American history, it is not surprising that Time magazine has recognized Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as Man of the Year. In an era of unbridled optimism gone bust, the ubiquitous media presence of the unassuming Princeton economist who has become — in Time’s panegyrical prose — “our mild-mannered economic overlord” and “the most powerful nerd on the planet” would make Bernanke a shoo-in for such recognition.

The economic conventional wisdom of the moment is that the U.S. economy has begun to turn around. According to mainstream economists, a tentative recovery can be found in the third-quarter numbers, and in the drop in new unemployment claims from October to November.

ObamaWhen ABC News asked if the "jobs summit" would make real progress or would just be "simply a glorified public-relations stunt," it studiously avoided asking the real question: How can the prime movers that created the current economic "Great Recession" be expected to fix it?

The United Nations summit on global warming in Copenhagen is less than a week away, and UN agencies are trying to pre-set the dials with calls for massive funding of various UN projects and programs. Speaking at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, UN Development Program (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark said the developed nations need to provide between $75 billion and $100 billion a year to help poor nations cope with climate change.

empty pocketIn spite of forecasts by some commentators of an improving economy, several factors point to a coming, even worse, "double-dip" recession: false government statistics that hide the real unemployment rate of 22 percent; the coming defaults of ARM loans; plummeting commercial real estate values; and, the ripple effect the declining real estate market will have on all other areas of the economy.

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