When CNBC announced that the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week while private employers added new jobs in May, this was “further evidence [that] the labor market was improving.” In more muted fashion, the Associated Press called it a “slow-motion recovery,” but a recovery nevertheless.
The timing of the sellout by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) could not have been more politically auspicious — or more suspicious. For months the Senator had been denouncing the secrecy of the Federal Reserve’s bailout operations, which have exceeded two trillion dollars. For months he had been pledging that he would push for a genuine audit of the Fed. He authored an amendment in the Senate identical to “Audit the Fed” legislation in the House (H.R. 1207) authored by Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Item: The April 22 Washington Post reported that President Obama was making an “assertive stride into the debate on financial regulatory reform.” The President flew to New York “to deliver a stern address to an audience that included prominent financial executives, telling them that greater government oversight is in the best interest of the industry — and the country. ‘Unless your business model relies on bilking people, there’s little to fear from these new rules,’ he said.”
“Shock and awe” is how the Pentagon described the opening stages of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq: overwhelming force designed to demoralize the enemy into surrendering. Having witnessed how spectacularly that war turned out, the Obama administration decided to employ the same tactic, in a metaphorical sense, to the European debt crisis.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had long worked together on their campaign for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, which emerged last year as H.R. 1207 and S. 604. Dr. Paul's House version of the Audit the Fed bill had 319 cosponsors; Sanders’ Senate version, 32 cosponsors. Despite these bills’ massive popularity with a public grown increasingly suspicious of central banking, efforts to audit our central bank, the Federal Reserve, have been effectively thwarted for the time being.
Quick: What’s a “derivative”? The difference between a “custodial account” and a “trust”? “Listed” versus “unlisted” markets? “Debentures”? How about “price earning ratios”? “Assets” per se, versus “net asset value”? “Capitalism” versus “capitalization”? Stumped? Well, don’t feel badly. Most of your friends and neighbors are stumped, too, unless they majored in economics and are pursuing finance as a career.
Vice President Joe Biden predicted job growth of 250,000 to 500,000 jobs a month in the next two months, according to CNBC on Monday. Biden was speaking at a political fundraiser in Pittsburgh, where he said, “We caught a lot of bad breaks on the way down. We’re going to catch a few good breaks because of good planning on the way up.... All in all, we’re going to be creating somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs next month.” Even though some have cautioned Biden about his excessive and premature enthusiasm, Biden continued: “I’m here to tell you some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.”
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. executive director Fabrice Tourre probably didn't help his company's public relations efforts (assuming it has some) by referring to an index that facilitates derivatives trading as "a little like Frankenstein turning against his own inventor." But Tourre made that observation in January 29, 2007 e-mail that predated the crisis in the subprime mortgage market.
The idea that President Barack Obama is a socialist is popular among many conservatives; all of us have seen automobiles sporting the bumper sticker reading, Don’t Blame Me; I Didn’t Vote For the Socialist — obviously referring to Obama. Not so fast, says, of all people, Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Item: An Associated Press story dated February 17 reported: “Vice President Joe Biden asserted in an interview Wednesday that taxpayers have ‘gotten their money’s worth’ out of the $787 billion stimulus program that Congress passed during the depths of the recession....