Archive

Posts Tagged ‘U.S. economy’

New Fed Chair Janet Yellen Faces Global Financial Woes From Tapering

February 5th, 2014 Comments off

With Ben Bernanke  now gone (but not forgotten), Janet Yellen replaces him in the role of being the most important central banker on the planet. However, Ms. Yellen does not begin her role as the first woman to serve as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve at the most auspicious of times.

In its latest version of quantitative easing, the Fed had been purchasing 85 billion dollars a month of bonds with money it prints at will, seeking to keep the economy afloat and interest rates artificially low. However, even the architect of this program, Bernanke, knew that this avalanche of manufactured liquidity was unsustainable in the long term. Thus, the Fed began a process known as “tapering,” in effect, slowly winding down the bond buying program and hope and pray that the world financial system doesn’t come apart at the seams.

Thus far, the bond purchasing program has been modestly reduced, initially to 75 billion dollars each month, with an announcement of a forthcoming reduction to 65 billion dollars per month. Despite these modest efforts at tapering its vast money printing operation, the Fed’s moves have already initiated global panic, reflected in wild volatility in equity exchanges all across the world. Stock markets, bloated by easy money printed by the Federal Reserve, are showing their fragility even during this initial, early period of monetary tapering.

Even more worrisome than the wild swings on Wall Street and many other stock markets has been the impact of tapering on major emerging markets. At its peak, quantitative easing had the effect of putting into the hands of major investors cheap money, but with virtual zero interest rates at home . The result of all this was to send this horde of cheap  U.S. dollars overseas, where a higher rate of return was offered by riskier emerging markets. However, the onset of tapering points to higher interests rates in the future for the U.S. economy, leading to the start of a process of repatriation of those cheap dollars back to the United States. As the process begins, emerging markets are already feeling the pinch, with nations such as Turkey, Brazil and South Africa beginning to incur fiscal pressure, leading to significant runs on their currencies concomitant with a rise in interest rates.

Fed Chair Yellen will now face the daunting task of unwinding the monetary mess created by her processor, supposedly for the purpose of saving the U.S. economy from the mistakes made by past policymakers, including former Fed Chairman Bernanke. As we are witnessing with the increasing fragility of emerging markets, the future policies of Yellen will have a decisive impact on the entire global economy, for good or ill.

 

If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:

 

Hillary Clinton Nude

 

Hillary Clinton Nude

HILLARY CLINTON NUDE

Hillary Clinton Nude

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Economy Continues to Suffer High Unemployment

January 14th, 2014 Comments off

The December 2013 jobs reported recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  shows, on paper, a steep decline in the unemployment rate, to 6.7 percent, versus 7 percent for November. Yet, not even the usual happy chorus was cheering what, on the surface, was positive economic news. The BLS also showed that a mere 74,000 jobs were created in December by the U.S. economy.

Depending on various statistical measurements, the American economy must produce at least 150,000 jobs per month, and more realistically 200-250,000 just to keep even with the normal flow of new entrants into the U.S. labor market, based on natural population growth. In other words, based on the statistic of 74,000 jobs created in December, the actual unemployment rate in the United States should have increased rather than decrease. The reason why the official U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent is that a large number of long-term unemployed Americans have left the job market, either voluntarily, or arbitrarily based on the BLS statisticians deciding not to count them among the officially unemployed.

The official numbers can be ignored; in truth the United States continues to suffer the ravages of high unemployment-and underemployment-nearly six years after the onset of the global economic crisis.

 

If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:

 

Hillary Clinton Nude

 

Hillary Clinton Nude

HILLARY CLINTON NUDE

Hillary Clinton Nude

Global Economic Growth Forecast Cut By IMF: Implications Are Sobering

October 27th, 2013 Comments off

While media throughout the world continues to give the impression that the global economic crisis and its related debt and fiscal issues are on the path to recovery, largely  by cherry picking the news, the International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for 2013. In July, the IMF projected global GDP growth for the current year of 3.2 percent; this has now been cut back to only 2.9 percent, despite the continuation of massive fiscal and monetary stimulus by sovereigns and central banks throughout the world.

For 2014 the IMF now projects global economic growth of 3.6 percent, a reduction from an earlier forecast of 3.8 percent. These reductions come despite the IMF boosting its projection of economic growth in the UK. Contrasting with so-called “green shoots” that some pundits have pointed to since 2009, there continues to be an avalanche of bad economic data throughout the world; supposed economic recovery in one region or country is offset by worsening news elsewhere. In the meantime, central banks throughout the world, and especially in developed countries, continue to flood the globe with unprecedented levels of liquidity, all conjured out of thin air. Without this radical level of monetary easing, the already anemic levels of economic growth, typically substantially below the proportion of fiscal deficits to GDP in many sovereigns, would almost certainly collapse.

According to the IMF, a slowdown in economic growth in major emerging markets, in particular China, Russia, India and Mexico is creating a drag on overall global economic expansion. This seems almost a reversal from the onset of the crisis in 2008, when the United States was the major driver of the global economic and financial crisis and China viewed as the primary savior. The IMF now sees the U.S. as being the sovereign most pivotal for facilitating global economic growth, in the wake of the slowdown in China and other major emerging economies. However, as noted  by the International Monetary Fund, political gridlock in the U.S., especially in relation to the extension of the national debt limit, is a foreboding threat for the entire global economy. Even in the absence of political dysfunction, the IMF chose to reduce its forecast of GDP growth in the American economy.

At present, the IMF projects a meager 1.6 percent growth in the U.S. economy for this year, far below the proportion of America’s GDP devoted to deficit spending. In other words, the amount of money Washington borrows to fund the federal government remains far above the nominal growth in the GDP. In addition, the Federal Reserve continues its policy of quantitative easing unabated, despite periodic hints of “tapering” the money printing.

What the IMF does not elaborate on (but should) is this point; how much longer can major economies like the U.S. engage in historically unprecedented levels of monetary and fiscal stimulus that provides, at best, levels of economic growth so unimpressively marginal? If the best that such levels of public indebtedness and central bank money printing can provide is anemic growth approaching stall speed, the next major financial crisis to hit will likely be beyond the powers of even the most creative Treasury Secretary or central banker to contain.

If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:

Hillary Clinton Nude

HILLARY CLINTON NUDE

Hillary Clinton Nude

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Street go in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.

U.S. Politics 2013 Style: “Let’s Kill The Economy”

October 5th, 2013 Comments off

The supposed sole superpower on the globe, the United States of America, has a government largely shut for business-thanks to the nation’s dysfunctional political establishment. It is as though Al-Qaida secretly brainwashed Congress and the White House, and gave them all a script to follow, one that inflicts as much harm as possible on the still-weak American economy.

For the past four days, President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House  John Boehner, have talked past each other, with the government largely mothballed with no budget approved by Congress. The hard-right of the Republican Party is using the shutdown of the government to pressure the Democrats to delay provisions of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” But in all fairness, the entire U.S. political establishment must take responsibility for this example of failed politics. And the worst may be just ahead. If by October 17 Congress does not approve raising the debt ceiling, currently at $16.7 trillion, a financial apocalypse may ensue.  Yet, America’s incompetent politicos seem more fixated on their narrow political agendas than preventing  what may be the mother of all economic crises.

If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:

Hillary Clinton Nude

HILLARY CLINTON NUDE

Hillary Clinton Nude

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Street go in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.

U.S. Economy Growth Is Tepid

August 1st, 2013 Comments off

The U.S. Commerce Department released Q2  results that indicate that, at an annualized rate, the American economy grew at 1.7 percent. And Wall Street and its coterie of experts are ecstatic. Why, I may ask? Because that number supposedly beat the predictions of those same experts, and exceeded that Q1 number, which reflected annual growth of the U.S. GDP at 1.1 percent.

Let’s hold our horses before uncorking the champagne bottles. By any standard, 1.7 percent annual GDP growth is tepid, and it is downright atrocious when one considered the massive fiscal and monetary stimulus being poured into the U.S. economy by the politicians and the Federal Reserve, care of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s quantitative easing and purchases of U.S. securities at the rate of 85 billion dollars per month, facilitated through the Federal Reserve’s printing press.

In addition to the above facts, the comparison with Q1 is misleading. Yes, 1.7 percent looks better than 1.1 percent. But let us recall that the 1.1 percent figure is a corrected number; the original Commerce Department report on Q1 was annual GDP growth of 1.8 percent.  Who can be certain that the Q2 number will not at some point be corrected downward, just as with the Q1 report?

All in all, despite the celebratory hype, I find nothing to cheer about in the report, and find the meager growth figure a pathetic end product derived from unprecedented fiscal deficits and Federal Reserve money printing.

If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:

Hillary Clinton Nude

HILLARY CLINTON NUDE

Hillary Clinton Nude

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Streetgo in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.
photo

Sequestration: Economic Russian Roulette Comes To America

March 7th, 2013 Comments off

Russian roulette is the macabre  game of death, in which a revolver with a single bullet is passed around, each player pointing a gun at his head and pressing the trigger. There is, mathematically speaking, a one in six chance of blowing one’s brains to smithereens. This morbid game of chance, strangely enough, has now been adopted as the primary fiscal model by that once-august body known as the United States Congress.

As numerous commentators have observed, the two-party political oligarchy that dominates American politics has becomes hopelessly polarized. That polarization in turn has morphed into  political paralysis, leading to an inability by policymakers to craft rational economic directives in the midst of an ongoing global economic crisis. The result is tepid economic growth at best, fueled by massive, trillion dollar per annum deficits that require staggering amounts of borrowing by the U.S. Treasury to stave off national insolvency. Therein lies the problem. The Obama administration must periodically come to Congress for authorization to raise the national debt limit; without such congressional approval, the government loses its authority to borrow money.  In a situation where Congress is politically divided, with the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and venting unrestrained hostility towards President Obama,  the entire economy of the United States is held hostage to this political version of sausage-making. 

The last stand-off over the debt limit led to The Budget Control Act of 2011. The GOP acquiesced to raising the debt limit on condition that the Obama administration concurred with over 900 billion dollars in spending cuts over the next decade. And herein lay the minefield.  Since the Democrats and Republicans could not reach consensus on  those precise deficit reduction measures, they did agree  to creating a poison pill for themselves, which has since become known by the non-pharmaceutical name of sequestration. If Congress could not agree on which spending cuts to implement, arbitrary reductions in federal spending outlays would occur automatically, with 85 billion dollars in budget cuts coming into effect in the current fiscal year.

That wasn’t supposed to happen, for this was playing Russian roulette with fiscal policy and management of the overall national economy. Who in their right mind among the two political parties controlling Congress would want the entire globe to witness American legislators playing a game of Russian roulette as their methodology of economic management?  Yet that is exactly what has now happened.

There are arguments currently underway as to how much of an impact 85 billion dollars in arbitrary spending reductions will have on a still fragile economy. These concerns miss the essential point.  The fact that America’s political establishment has allowed such a spectacle to occur presents a discordant image to the global bond market that is essential for lending the credit that keeps the United States solvent. And increasingly, those critical lenders are seeing the fiscal decision-making of the United States being transformed into a farcical display of political expediency. There will come a time when  the bond vigilantes will simply have had enough of an increasingly dysfunctional political system still acting as though it presides over an unassailable superpower. When that time has come, the mother of all sequestrations will have arrived.

U.S. Economy Contracted In Q4 Of 2012

January 31st, 2013 Comments off

 

The U.S. Commerce Department has just released data showing that the American economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the  fourth quarter of 2012. This data is seen as a shocking development, particularly after the claimed growth in GDP of  3.1 percent in Q3 of 2012. The miserable data for Q4 of last year marks the first contraction in GDP of the U.S. economy since the last recession of 2008-2009.

The commentators are already trying to spin the Q4 data, attributing it to, among other things, reduction in inventories and reduced military spending by the Pentagon. However, spin aside, it is clear that nearly five years after the supposed end of the last recession, the U.S. economy is still on life support, depending on a trillion dollars every year in deficit spending to remain afloat, and create artificial “growth” in GDP.  Now, despite the massive borrowing binge by the U.S. government and its policymakers, even tepid growth cannot be assured. At best, the American economy is at stall speed, and with increased talk by politicians in Washington of fiscal consolidation and austerity, the worst may be yet to come.

 

                 

 

 

 

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

 To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Street go in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.

 

photo

U.S. Economy Held Hostage to Fiscal Cliff Shenanigans

December 22nd, 2012 Comments off

The so-called fiscal cliff, a creation of Washington politicians, means that a tsunami of tax increases and spending cuts will batter the American economy, due to, among other things, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. As the United States is still coping with a severe economic  crisis, and depends on structural mega-deficits to keep its economy afloat, the fiscal cliff threatens to derail for what passes for an economic recovery-one that is feeble at best.

The hope of forestalling a major fiscal drag on a weak American economy is a compromise involving increased revenue generation combined with selective spending cuts. But the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, and the Democrats, who control the White House and the Senate, thus far are unable to compromise. Thus, global markets watch in stupefied wonder as the American political establishment morphs into a circular firing squad, as witnessed with the latest shenanigan.

House speaker John Boehner boasted that his GOP caucus would pass his so-called “Plan B,” which offered feeble tax increases along with far more massive social spending cuts, while leaving military spending increases intact. However, even a token tax increase limited to only those earning more than one million dollars per annum, was more than the Tea Party stalwarts of the GOP could stomach. Instead of a vote, Boehner embarrassingly withdrew his own “Plan B,” and in the process turned what passes for the modern-day Republican Party into a laughing stock. Meanwhile, America’s creditors watch nervously, as the political games in Washington continue undiminished, while thoughtful economic policy takes a back seat to ideological priorities.

Amid tepid economic growth that can only be maintained by massive  fiscal deficits, the political establishment in Washington DC, especially within the GOP, is looking increasingly dysfunctional to a world in which  America’s economic dominance is likely to be surpassed by the new emerging economic giants, China and India, perhaps within the next 10-20 years. Unless a moment of sanity can prevail in Washington, whereby economic policy is crafted by real economists instead of fringe ideological movements, the fiscal cliff that will ensue will contribute significantly towards the permanent economic decline of the United States.

 

                 

 

 

 

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

 To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Street go in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.

 

photo

 

 

 

 

Controversy Over U.S. Unemployment Rate Masks The Real Issue Underlying America’s Economic Crisis

October 7th, 2012 Comments off

The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest jobs report suggested  114,000 non-farm jobs were added in September, while the national unemployment rate dropped from  8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. With the U.S. presidential election only one month away, the Republicans naturally claimed that something was fishy about the jobs report. Just as naturally, the Obama administrations maintained that the BLS statistics are compiled by non-partisan professional bureaucrats. So, what’s the answer?

They are both right. The BLS numbers may be honestly compiled, but they are based on abstractions and sampling assumptions, and are frequently corrected long after their original release. Furthermore, the numbers being argued about are the U3 data, which is an incomplete measure of unemployment in the U.S. economy. The more reliable U6 data, which includes part-time workers unable to find fulltime employment, is still well into double digit figures.

The more interesting aspect of the latest LBS data is this; even if the 114,000 new jobs figure is correct, it is below the level required to match new entries into the labor force. In other words, the U3 (and U6) rate should have risen instead of declined. Why didn’t it? Simple explanation: the long-term unemployed are being “removed” from the statistical  measurement of the labor force. If the BLS considers you a “discouraged” worker, you are no longer compiled under the data for unemployed workers. This may look more positive for the upcoming presidential election if you are President Barack Obama, but it does nothing to facilitate economic growth.

There is another dimension to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data which demonstrates its utter irrelevancy to the overall health of the economy. The numbers in the BLS report, or the claims by the Obama campaign regarding total jobs creation since the president took office, not to mention GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s boast that as president, he would somehow “create” 12 million new jobs, miss what is most relevant to a comprehensive economic recovery in the United States.  The real issue is the decline in purchasing power by the U.S. labor force, concomitant with a parallel increase in economic power of a very small financial oligarchy. As is well know by labor statisticians, frequently the new jobs created (or promised) are actually lower paying fulltime jobs, or part-time positions with significantly reduced levels of compensation. The cumulative impact  of this phenomenon has been the erosion in the  size and collective purchasing power of America’s middle-income  labor force, leading to weaker consumer demand and a collapse in housing values.  Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney has on offer a realistic and cogent plan to address the real core issue underlying the factors that have left the U.S. labor force diminished not only in its employee count, but more importantly, in its financial capacity. Until the latter issue is addressed, all the promises made by American politicians for a future economic recovery are political rhetoric and nothing more.

 

          

 

 

 

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

 To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Street go in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.

 

photo

U.S. Economy At Stall Speed: Q2 GDP Figures Revised Downward

September 28th, 2012 Comments off

In its third revision of GDP data for the second quarter of 2012, the Bureau of Economic Analysis  has posted a dismal set of numbers. The U.S. economy “grew” at a tepid rate of 1.3 percent in Q2 in 2012, versus a slightly higher but still weak rate of 2 percent in Q1. A rate of 1.3 percent growth, which is virtually stall speed, was only made possible by America’s massive structural mega-deficits. In FY 2012, the U.S. federal government deficit is projected to run at $1.3 trillion, representing more than 40 percent of the entire federal budget.

The anemic GDP figures for Q2 reflect an economy that remains in deep crisis. The only factor preventing a compete free fall of the U.S. economy are the massive deficits, which are unsustainable. Even a modest reduction of the deficit, however, would plunge the United States into a deep recession.

                 

 

 

 

WALL STREET KILLS--A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT WALL STREET GREED GONE MAD

 To view the official trailer YouTube video for “Wall Street Kills,” click image below:

In a world dominated by high finance, how far would Wall Street go in search of profits? In Sheldon Filger’s terrifying novel about money, sex and murder, Wall Street has no limits. “Wall Street Kills” is the ultimate thriller about greed gone mad. Read “Wall Street Kills” and blow your mind.

 

photo