Chinese officials have once again publicly stated their intention to buy less U.S. Treasury debt, according to the December 18 Shanghai Daily newspaper. "The U.S. current account deficit is falling as residents' savings increase, so its trade turnover is falling, which means the US is supplying fewer dollars to the rest of the world," Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, said. "The world does not have so much money to buy more U.S. Treasuries."
The Federal Reserve decided on December 16 to keep interest rates at historic lows near zero percent. The Fed released a statement declaring that even though there are signs of improvement, economic conditions “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.”
With the expiration of one of the most turbulent years, economically speaking, in American history, it is not surprising that Time magazine has recognized Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as Man of the Year. In an era of unbridled optimism gone bust, the ubiquitous media presence of the unassuming Princeton economist who has become — in Time’s panegyrical prose — “our mild-mannered economic overlord” and “the most powerful nerd on the planet” would make Bernanke a shoo-in for such recognition.
The economic conventional wisdom of the moment is that the U.S. economy has begun to turn around. According to mainstream economists, a tentative recovery can be found in the third-quarter numbers, and in the drop in new unemployment claims from October to November.
Long-renowned economist Paul Samuelson died on December 13 at his home in Belmont, Massachusetts, at the age of 94. In addition to writing Economics in 1948 — which became the best selling economics textbook for several decades, having been translated into forty-one languages and selling over four million copies — Samuelson also won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1970.
“The Buck knife saved my leg and maybe my life at least once when I carelessly caught a pant leg in the anchor winch.” So writes “Old Fool,” the retired aviator and mariner who writes a colorful blog on various and sundry things at www.oldfool.org.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the Will Rogers of big government: She never met a tax she didn’t like. Her latest pet project is the neither nimbly nor accurately named “Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act of 2009.” The bill, introduced by Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), was referred to various House committees Friday and benefits from the cosponsorship of over 25 Congressmen.
Gold has recently topped the $1,200 per ounce mark, but analyst David Rosenberg sees it going as high as $2,623 per ounce in the not-to-distant future if Communist China follows through on its plans to begin stockpiling the precious metal.