Consumer confidence indices have collapsed to levels not seen in years or even decades. Yet the toughest creature out there that no one has yet been able to beat down struck again. Consumer spending increased at an annual rate of 2.4% during the third quarter, though the mood has become outright morose since.
The German parliament has a historic opportunity to say no to the bankers: it gets to vote on expanding the European bailout fund to €1 trillion, though it had just been expanded to €440 billion. Since no one has any money, it will be in form of leverage, the very mechanism that has wreaked so much havoc already.
Berlusconi, waiting for money.
The audit report confirms what we already knew about the financial crisis: during the bailout mania at the Fed, trillions of dollars were handed out based on self-serving interests— “conflicts of interest,” the Government Accountability Office mercifully calls it.
The ugly numbers speak volumes on how the Fed’s policies hurt the real economy. But those policies enable Congress and the White House to run up ruinous budget deficits that make those of the Eurozone look benign.
That’s inflation—not jobs, wages, or GDP.
At $46 billion in August and a hair-raising $376 billion year to date, the trade deficit is a powerful descriptor of what’s wrong with the U.S. economy. By year end, it will amount to half a trillion. Economic activity gone overseas. The cause: an ancient and valid business principle that is now harming the overall economy.
NPR’s report on tonight’s GOP debate covered about everything you can cover in a few minutes: Palin’s and Christie’s exit from the race; Cain’s from-the-outside strategy; Romney’s 25% ceiling; and Perry’s effort to make up ground he lost in the last three debates. But where the heck is Ron Paul? And it’s not just NPR.
“A shame that we can’t see Japan because of the marine layer” is an old joke in San Francisco. The premise that the fog over the Pacific keeps you from seeing Japan is just as false as the premise that running up huge deficits and printing trillions of dollars can create a healthy economy. Yet, that’s the line propagated by the status-quo media and its economists.
During his congressional testimony, Geithner fretted that the crisis in Europe could undermine confidence. Alas, bank stress tests were supposed to inspire confidence—yet one of the “safest” banks just collapsed. If inspiring confidence isn’t based on facts and transparency, it’s a con game.
Deflation phobia broke out again. Fed governor Bullard grumbled about inflation expectations being too low and threatened to print more money, while deflationistas paint the Japanese “deflation spiral” as sheer horror. So here is my experience with that horror.
Alas, in one category, deflation has hounded us for 10 years.
The FOMC’s often and clearly stated policy of creating sufficient inflation has been effective: up 36% from January 2000. But there are victims: the middle class and ultimately the economy.