Anyone trying to figure out what in the world is going on in today’s economy might remember Agatha Christie’s classic, Murder on the Orient Express. When master sleuth Hercule Poirot boarded that train, he’d no idea that before the night ended he’d face the most perplexing murder case ever. A carful of passengers, all of whom had motive and opportunity, maneuvered around so skillfully that even Christie’s brilliant Belgian couldn’t figure out whodunit. The best he could do was point a perfectly manicured finger at the most likely culprits — in the end, everybody walked away, except the luckless victim.
Senator Christopher Dodd and fellow Senate Democrats are proposing to scale back the regulatory authority of the Federal Reserve and eliminate the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among many other provisions in a new 1,136-page bill made public on Tuesday. Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, blamed the Fed for alleged failures in consumer protection and regulatory oversight that contributed to last year’s financial implosion.
In Robert J. Samuelson’s latest op-ed piece for the Washington Post, “Could America Go Broke?”, the longtime editor and economic and business writer — who can normally be counted upon to prescribe the usual Keynesian claptrap for our sundry economic woes — actually flirts with common sense. In his piece, Samuelson dares to ponder the unthinkable: What if the rest of the world lost confidence in the viability of the dollar, and America could no longer service her fourteen-figure national debt by printing more money?
According to the White House on October 30, the $787-billion stimulus plan has created or saved about one million jobs, but that number is conveniently unverifiable. There is simply no way to know with certainty how many workers would have lost their jobs without the stimulus. And of course, the admininstration-supplied estimate does not even take into account how many jobs may have been lost because of the stimulus program, ignoring the fact that the "stimulus" money that was used to create jobs in certain government-favored sectors of the economy had to be siphoned out of the economy as a whole, destroying jobs elsewhere.
Less than a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged Congress to act with dispatch to pass new legislation giving the Fed and the Federal Government more surveillance powers and control over the financial sector, the Obama administration has unveiled a bill that, if passed, would put most of Bernanke’s proposals into effect.