Paul A. Samuelson
On the Road to Economic Recovery (c) Drew Sheneman
What Does It Mean and What Does It Not Mean?
The 2006-2009 recession is likely over now (or very soon). So says Federal Reserve Chairman
Just what does this mean? And what does it not necessarily mean?
Using standard dictionary terms, once the perilous drops in production and job opportunity do level off, that's when the macro forecasters will declare that the recession is over.
But this does not mean that a powerful V-shaped recovery in total production and consumer spending will necessarily soon follow.
In fact, most forecasters in government and private agencies warn that there might follow only a rather weak "recovery," which will be slow and where the unemployment rate will continue to rise in the short term.
Republican ideologues do not understand these things. President
The Obama economic team has been a good one. Had Republican
What has made the Obama-Bernanke difference? Only by pouring multiple billions of dollars into rescuing banks and other loan agencies was an utter meltdown averted.
Rather what will be tested is simply whether the democracy of Presidents Washington and Lincoln will be thwarted by the vast dollars that lobbyists nowadays bring to bear against centrist compromises.
Unregulated capitalism has led everywhere to its own self-imposed defeats.
The three major agencies purporting to warn against rash riskiness have given AAA rankings to hundreds of bad mortgage loans, good such loans, and anything in between. Any intelligent auditor who provided honest advice would lose the patronage of the corporation that hired him.
No wonder then the rich have been getting richer these last 40 years, while plain folk are getting a diminishing fraction of the total common economic pie.
The middle way -- regulated private markets plus government stabilizers -- wins out all over the world when given a chance.
I try to be a realist, avoiding both excessive optimism or pessimism.
That's why I award two cheers for Centralism.
Reports Show Mixed Results for Obama's Stimulus
One report shows that the GDP rose about 2.3 percentage points. In Washington, talk of the $787 billion stimulus package has been largely overshadowed by healthcare reform. A recent report by the Council of Economic Advisers could help the Democratic cause, at least when it comes to defending the administration's decisions on fiscal recovery. But taken in conjunction with a Government Accountability Office report that examines states' use of stimulus funding the overall picture remains a mixed bag.
Free Enterprise is Key to Economic Recovery
Kenneth T. Walsh
Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has big plans. In mid-October, his organization, which is one of the most influential advocates for business in the United States, will launch a 'Campaign for Free Enterprise,' a multiyear effort (at an estimated cost of at least $25 million annually) to educate Americans about capitalism and explain the importance of free enterprise.
Pecora Hearings a Model for Financial Crisis Investigation
Congress could learn from Pecora's 1930s investigation of the stock market crash. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission -- created by Congress in May to determine and analyze the origins of the current financial crisis -- is charged with examining no fewer than 20 of its specific causes, including the roles of fraud and abuse, credit rating agencies, and corporate compensation structures. The commission must also examine the collapses of major financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
The Case for Economic Irrelevance
A recession may stunt more than material growth. It can also drain intellectual curiosity. For economic pressure can lead people to settle for what only seems to be security instead of following their dreams. Which can be a tragedy for both the individual and a society that depends on people reaching ever higher, rather than not settling for what only seems safe.
Selling the Economic Recovery
To counter the pessimistic observations of Republicans who haven't been able to come up with their own answer to the economic mess they left to President Obama, he trotted out ever-optimistic Vice President Joe Biden the other day to declare a solid start to a job only barely getting underway.
Why Obama Won't Be Able to Reform Wall Street
Listening to President Obama's heartfelt, well-intentioned, but ultimately naive speech on financial reform, my mind kept flashing on a story I heard the last time Washington, in the wake of the Enron scandal, promised to reform Wall Street.
Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)
With his new movie, 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' Michael Moore is riding the wave of the collapse of trust in our country's financial system. The film is a withering indictment of the current economic order, covering everything from Wall Street's casino mentality to for-profit prisons, from Goldman Sachs' sway in Washington to the poverty-level pay of many airline pilots, from the tidal wave of foreclosures to the tragic consequences of runaway greed.
(c) 2009 PAUL SAMUELSON