The U.S. economy experienced disappointing jobs numbers in May, according to figures released June 3 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), leaving the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent at the end of the month.
This was not a good week for the Federal Reserve. As if Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) congressional subcommittee hearing on the relationship of the Fed to the national debt weren’t bad enough news for the central bank, media mogul and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes has just joined the anti-Fed chorus, telling Human Events that the Fed’s inflationary policies have become so destructive that a return to the gold standard is likely “within the next five years.”
China's Central Bank Chairman Zhou Xiaochuan told a Chinese monetary conference last week that “Foreign-exchange reserves have exceeded the reasonable level that our country actually needs,” which is essentially code for China won't be buying U.S. government debt any more. China's foreign currency reserves exceeded $3 trillion at the end of March, more than $1 trillion of which is U.S. government debt.
The recent decision by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to begin holding press conferences may be one more indication of the increased influence of Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Federal Reserve has long ignored the public and conducted its proceedings in cloister, but the Wall Street Journal reported April 21 that Bernanke will hold the Fed's first scheduled press conference ever after Wednesday April 27 Open Market Committee meeting.
Despite the White House’s contentions that the United States economy is improving, Standard & Poor’s recent decision to change its outlook on U.S. fiscal health over the next two years from “stable” to “negative” tells a different tale. Besides the obvious impact such an announcement would have on the economic recovery, as well as the stock market, it also appears to play a role in the current debate over a potential raise of the debt ceiling.