The prime architect of the Federal Reserve was German immigrant Paul Warburg. Arriving in America in 1902 with brother Max, he married into the family controlling Kuhn, Loeb and Company, America’s prime international banking firm. By 1907, he was earning $500,000 annually, an enormously generous salary at a time when there was no income tax and inflation had not begun eroding the value of the dollar.
When MSNBC headlined the report that existing home sales surged by 7.4 percent in November (according to the National Association of Realtors), it suggested that such an improvement boosted “recovery hopes.” Others jumped on the recovery bandwagon, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Blinder.
Chinese officials have once again publicly stated their intention to buy less U.S. Treasury debt, according to the December 18 Shanghai Daily newspaper. "The U.S. current account deficit is falling as residents' savings increase, so its trade turnover is falling, which means the US is supplying fewer dollars to the rest of the world," Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, said. "The world does not have so much money to buy more U.S. Treasuries."
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.