Before the economic meltdown was in full swing, a Florida real-estate developer named William Pitts correctly read the signs pointing toward tough times ahead. In an effort to preserve some of his savings, he bought financial products that would increase in value as real-estate and banking collapsed. It seemed like the sensible thing to do. But though his analysis was correct, his investments went bust — because the U.S. Federal Reserve made them go bust.
The Wall Street Journal took another look at the $13 trillion national debt written about here last week and announced that, according to a study by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, the economy has now reached the tipping point, the Reinhart-Rogoff Line, better known as the point of no return.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its employment figures for the month of May, and they would appear to be very encouraging indeed: 431,000 new jobs were created, and the unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent. President Obama hailed this as proof that his economic policies are succeeding, saying, “This report is a sign that our economy is getting stronger by the day.”
When CNBC announced that the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week while private employers added new jobs in May, this was “further evidence [that] the labor market was improving.” In more muted fashion, the Associated Press called it a “slow-motion recovery,” but a recovery nevertheless.
Bank closures throughout the United States continue to be telling of the state of the economy. Friday witnessed the closing of three more banks in Florida and one in Nevada and California, totaling 78 failed banks in this year alone.