When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that the economy lost only 36,000 jobs in February, the usual choristers took that as good news. Christina Romer, the Chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said, “Today’s report on the employment situation is consistent with the pattern of stabilization and gradual labor market healing we have been seeing in recent months.”
On February 24, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), at a hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee, asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke whether he was aware of allegations that the Federal Reserve had been complicit in the Watergate cover-up and in the illegal funneling of billions of dollars in loans to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein:
On Wednesday, February 10, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke expressed confidence that every cent of the Federal Reserve’s exposure to insurance giant AIG would be repaid. Regarding a combined $116 billion dollars that the Fed provided in emergency loans to shore up AIG and back the purchase of Bear Stearns — an amount that totals about one-fifth of the Fed’s entire balance sheet, Bernanke said that the Fed “expects these exposures to decline gradually over time. The [Federal Reserve] Board continues to anticipate that the Federal Reserve will ultimately incur no loss on these loans as well.”
International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn made a series of headline-grabbing statements late last week, calling for new supervisory authority over world financial markets and even the exploration of a new global reserve currency.
There are further signs that Barrack Obama’s jobless “recovery” is, in fact, no recovery at all. The latest indication of the fundamental unsoundness of the American economy is found in statistics from the Commerce Department. According to that department, the sale of new homes plummeted in January to the lowest rate recorded in fifty years. As The Washington Post reports:
As President Barack Obama’s jobless “recovery” is showing more and more signs of being no recovery at all, the Senate has voted another $15 billion to continuing pursuing their addiction to stimulus, and there are prospects that another $100 billion will be following shortly.
Just when the headline news about the economy was beginning to look good and the talking heads were beginning to sound good, along came a barrage of bad news that was so bad that it couldn’t be covered up. Gallup began with the news that in January nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce “lacked adequate employment”, which was worse than the numbers reported by the Labor Department. According to Reuters, these “findings appear to paint a darker employment picture than official U.S. data,” with about 30 million Americans “underemployed.” And Gallup misses the mark by at least 2 percent, according to John Williams of ShadowStats.com.
“Core consumer prices” fell by a monthly 0.1 percent in January, reported the Wall Street Journal on February 19, noting that the last time core consumer prices fell was in December 1982. However, noted the Journal, citing the U.S. Department of Labor’s statement, the seasonally adjusted consumer price index rose 0.2 percent during the same month, the increase caused mainly by higher energy prices.
"The art of economics," economist Henry Hazlitt wrote nearly seven decades ago, "consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."