All the chairman of the Federal Reserve has done in his latest announcement of a new bond-buying program is give himself and his Federal Open Market Committee permission to buy government bonds forever.
Despite his firm defense of his call that the U.S. economy entered into another recession in July this year, Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) continued to be scorned by his critics.
But his call was shown to be on the mark when the National Federation of Independent Business issued its Optimism Index today and noted that it decreased an astonishing 5.6 points to 87.5, the lowest reading since March of 2010 and the biggest monthly drop going back to 1986.
Each year 24/7 Wall St. publishes the results of its survey of all 50 states and then ranks them from top to bottom — from “best run” to “worst run.” CNBC does the same, only with a more concentrated focus on the business environment in each state, and then ranks the states on their overall “measure of competitiveness.” The Mercatus Center at George Mason University looks at all 50 states from the perspective of individual freedom and then ranks the states based on its Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.
The parallels and correlations between economic and business performance and personal freedom are clear and persuasive: When state governments stay within their limits of protecting lives and enforcing contracts, the states thrive. And vice versa.
A Heritage Foundation study has concluded that a full employment recovery from the Great Recession isn't likely until after the next presidential election in 2016, and even that may be too optimistic.
In the wake of the November 6 elections, voters have approved a number of contentious state initiatives, including a $6-billion-a-year bundle of tax increases sponsored by California Governor Jerry Brown. Proposition 30, a focal point of Brown’s administration, would increase the sales tax by 0.25 cent for the next four years, while raising income taxes on those earning more than $250,000 for the next seven years.
On January 1, 2013, many new taxes are set to begin. Unless Congress and the White House can agree by year's end on an extension of tax cuts that have been in place for most of the past decade, workers will see an increase in the taxes taken out of their paychecks next year and a loss in the amount they claim for deductions when it comes time to pay their 2013 taxes.
According to an October 16 memorandum prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) for the Senate Budget Committee, the federal government spent $746 billion on means-tested welfare programs in 2011. As the U.S. Census Bureau notes, there were 16.8 million households living below the poverty level in America in 2011. In other words, if the federal government were to give this money directly to the impoverished households, all 16.8 million households would have received over $44,000. This is double the 2011 federal poverty rate of $22,350 for a family of four, and nearly double the 2012 poverty rate of $23,050 for a family of four.
As the deadline to extend the Bush-era tax cuts looms, economists have agreed that the pending tax hikes would be devastating to the economy, and that permitting their expiration would have about twice the impact on economic growth as government spending cuts under the sequester.
Former U.S. Comptroller General of the United States David Walker just finished another tour across the country promoting “fiscal reform and responsibility,” according to Forrest Jones, writer for MoneyNews.com. And what he learned is that most people are frightened at the immensity of the fiscal and financial challenges facing the country, but almost no one has any confidence that things can be fixed.
U.S. unemployment slid from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), giving the Obama campaign ammunition to tout job growth right before the November election. But as soon as the numbers were released, critics asserted a slew of criticisms over the BLS report, claiming the numbers were cooked to favor the president’s plot for reelection.
Waiting for the economy to improve before turning off the printing presses is likely to take a very long time. The August numbers on the economy were disheartening for those waiting for such an improvement: U.S. durable goods production fell for the third month in a row, astonishing economists who had predicted much better numbers. GDP continues to slow, and companies such as Caterpillar, the world’s biggest construction and mining equipment manufacturer, cut its earnings outlook because of the continuing slowdown in the world economy.