A preview of the upcoming Census Bureau's upbeat analysis of the economy was met with little enthusiasm and contrasted sharply with reports from FedEx and elsewhere.
When the Federal Reserve announced last week its plan to buy more treasury securities, only a few read the fine print. Many observers envisioned sugar plums dancing in their heads as the Fed’s plan would lead, no doubt, to more economic growth, more jobs, more profits, and more stocks to sell on Wall Street. But in fact, unemployment not only hasn’t fallen significantly since the start of the Fed’s rollouts of Quantitative Easings, but it has remained higher longer than any time since the early 1980s.
If the Fed decides to extend its Operation Twist program beyond the end of the year and into the year 2015, then the math is irrefutable: 40 months of purchases totaling $85 billion a month is $3.4 trillion. The Fed’s balance sheet is currently at $2.7 trillion. That brings the Fed’s balance sheet, if nothing changes, to a mind-bending $6.1 trillion.
The U.S. tax code is a complex and burdensome maze of rates, exemptions, exclusions, credits, deductions, phase-out levels, and exceptions. People may not agree on anything else, but the nature of the tax code is certainly something that anyone of any political persuasion would agree on.
Everybody knew it was coming. With the economy continuing to founder, it was only a matter of time before Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve decided to turn once again — like the proverbial pig to its wallow — to printing money in a vain attempt to jolt the moribund American economy back to life. As with the first two such feckless efforts, they’re dressing this one in fancy verbiage — “quantitative easing” — that fools no one. This third round of quantitative easing — QE3 for short — announced Thursday and set in motion Friday, is just the digital equivalent of printing still more money, money that banks and other financials will either hoard in vaults or pour into equities, driving up stock prices but doing little to enliven the economy as a whole.