While average Americans have seen their wages and benefits stagnate, decrease, or even vanish altogether in recent years, federal workers have been doing very well for themselves. In August USA Today reported that “federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn” and that these same “workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row.
As world leaders have gathered in Asia for the Group of 20 (G-20) summit to discuss measures to revitalize the frail global economy, tensions have risen over struggling currencies and trade. Likewise, President Obama and other world leaders in Seoul, South Korea for the two-day summit are having to contend with one another's opposing strategies for fostering a more stable economic environment and preventing a looming financial meltdown.
Before the Internet, Robert Zoellick’s brief outline of suggested topics for the G20 meeting this week in Seoul, Korea, might have been considered just an interoffice memo. It appeared in London’s Financial Times, contained obscure references to arcane subjects that would be of interest only to international bankers determined to push their agenda for a world currency, and was written by a certified member of the internationalist “insider” cabal. But when Zoellick wrote that the “cooperative monetary system … should also consider employing gold as an international reference point…,” Internet bloggers picked up on it immediately, and the cover was blown.
Even though 151,000 new real jobs were added in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate stayed at 9.6 percent. This announcement not only successfully masked the fact that fewer people were looking for work, which made the rate look better, but also that more people are staying unemployed longer.
One day after the Federal Reserve Bank's “Federal Open Market Committee” (FOMC) announced it would create an additional $600 billion in currency over the next eight months, commodities markets skyrocketed as investors frantically sought hedges against the coming inflation. The Federal Reserve Bank, staffed with Keynesian and a few Monetarist school economists, calls the move “quantitative easing.”
Central planning seldom makes economic sense. However good a scheme looks on paper in some politician’s office, planned on the taxpayer’s dime, it's probably not worthwhile. If it really was a good scheme, then private enterprise would have already implemented the project.
Government never “stimulates” economic growth. Left quite alone, people engage in rational commerce guided only by enlightened self-interest. More crucially, government cannot predict the real consequences of its efforts to stimulate the economy. Republicans around the country are telling Americans that the ocean of dollars which the federal government spent on the future credit of our children in order to stimulate growth in America is actually being spent in China.
Over the recent clamor of approval for the outcome of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which Beltway insiders are proclaiming a success because of the high rate of repaid funds, a lone voice of comparative sanity reminded Yahoo! Finance’s Aaron Task that the Obama bailout has done far more damage than the government-massaged figures indicate. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who seems to understand finance and banking better than most celebrity economists, told Task that the monies paid back to TARP are “just a drop in the bucket compared to damage done to the economy.”