After a meeting with his economic team and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on June 29, President Obama announced "the economy is strengthening" and "we are into recovery." The recovery mantra, however, seems to be falling on more and more deaf ears these days.
The one thing that economists seem to agree on is that any economic recovery will be an uphill battle for some time to come. But if you’ve ever pulled a heavy wagon up a hill, you know what happens if your fellow pullers decide to become riders instead and jump on the wagon.
The results of a Gallup poll taken from June 11 through 13 and released on June 17 indicated that more Americans rate the economy and jobs as the nation’s biggest problems than the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
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.
The timing of the sellout by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) could not have been more politically auspicious — or more suspicious. For months the Senator had been denouncing the secrecy of the Federal Reserve’s bailout operations, which have exceeded two trillion dollars. For months he had been pledging that he would push for a genuine audit of the Fed. He authored an amendment in the Senate identical to “Audit the Fed” legislation in the House (H.R. 1207) authored by Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Item: The April 22 Washington Post reported that President Obama was making an “assertive stride into the debate on financial regulatory reform.” The President flew to New York “to deliver a stern address to an audience that included prominent financial executives, telling them that greater government oversight is in the best interest of the industry — and the country. ‘Unless your business model relies on bilking people, there’s little to fear from these new rules,’ he said.”
“Shock and awe” is how the Pentagon described the opening stages of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq: overwhelming force designed to demoralize the enemy into surrendering. Having witnessed how spectacularly that war turned out, the Obama administration decided to employ the same tactic, in a metaphorical sense, to the European debt crisis.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had long worked together on their campaign for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, which emerged last year as H.R. 1207 and S. 604. Dr. Paul's House version of the Audit the Fed bill had 319 cosponsors; Sanders’ Senate version, 32 cosponsors. Despite these bills’ massive popularity with a public grown increasingly suspicious of central banking, efforts to audit our central bank, the Federal Reserve, have been effectively thwarted for the time being.
Quick: What’s a “derivative”? The difference between a “custodial account” and a “trust”? “Listed” versus “unlisted” markets? “Debentures”? How about “price earning ratios”? “Assets” per se, versus “net asset value”? “Capitalism” versus “capitalization”? Stumped? Well, don’t feel badly. Most of your friends and neighbors are stumped, too, unless they majored in economics and are pursuing finance as a career.