Posts Tagged ‘economic stimulus package’

Can the U.S. Afford Another Stimulus Package?

November 18th, 2009 Comments off

I have previously predicted that the Obama administration will almost certainly push for a second stimulus package prior to the 2010 mid-term congressional elections. The upcoming White House  jobs summit, scheduled for December, is probably a set-up to create the PR context for promulgating a new instalment of the previous Economic Recovery Act.

In a recent op ed piece, NYU economist Nouriel Roubini warned that unless “bold action” (meaning more stimulus spending ) is taken, “the damage will be extensive and severe unless bold policy action is undertaken now.” He rightly fears that a continuing growth in the unemployment rate, which he believes will top out at 11% according to U3 measurements, will likely send the U.S. economy back into another recession, the feared “double dip” or W recessionary curve.

Of course, Roubini is correct. But as he himself has previously pointed out, the growing deficits and national debt of the United States in itself is a growing danger to the nation’s long-term economic future. With a staggering national debt, I do not believe the U.S. can absorb the additional debt load required to fund another stimulus package. Irrespective of fiscal realities, however, political expediency will undoubtedly triumph. Which means a new stimulus bill will be approved by Congress in 2010, a few hundred thousand temporary jobs may be created, but when the next banking crisis arises (and it will) a fiscal disaster will confront the U.S. economy, more than wiping out any small gains in employment that will result from allocating several hundred billion dollars of borrowed money for President Barack Obama’s version 2 of stimulus spending.



For More Information on “Global Economic Forecast 2010-2015” please go to the homepage of our website,   

Nouriel Roubini Speaks Truth to Power

July 21st, 2009 Comments off

When media reports surfaced last week claiming that the prophet of doom of the Global Economic Crisis, NYU economics professor Nouriel Roubini, had  “improved” upon his previously gloomy economic forecast and predicted the recession would end by the close of 2009, a stock market rally was ignited. It seems it does not take much to facilitate a bear market sucker’s rally on Wall Street at this time of global economic distress, including false rumours. To his credit, Roubini swiftly set the record straight with the following comment on his blog:

“It has been widely reported today that I have stated that the recession will be over ‘this year’ and that I have ‘improved’ my economic outlook. Despite those reports – however – my views expressed today are no different than the views I have expressed previously. If anything my views were taken out of context.”

Nouriel Roubini has consistently stated that he expected the current recession-by far the worst America has experienced since World War II- to terminate by the close of the year. This has been his longstanding forecast. Thus, when he repeated this consistent prediction of his, the media went wild with excitement, discarding the continuity of his forecast and presenting his belief that by the close of 2009 the recession would end as a surprise revelation. With business journalism like this, no wonder the Dow Jones is searching new highs even as employment numbers continue to plummet.

What is noteworthy about Roubini’s most recent insights on the economic situation are their increasingly gloomy tone related to the mid-term and long-term prospects for the American economy. This is largely predicated on the growing fiscal imbalance in connection with the public indebtedness of the United States. Though a supporter of the vast deficit-driven stimulus programs and expensive bailouts of the financial sector owing to his belief that to negate these policy responses would have resulted in the collapse of the global financial system and the free fall contraction of the U.S. economy, Roubini is not unmindful of the their consequences. In that sense, he parts company from other advocates of deficit-creating economic stimulus packages, including Paul Krugman, who prefer to discard the danger of the vastly-expanding debt of the federal government.

In addition to his concern about the ramifications of unprecedented levels of budget deficits, Roubini is also worried that the end of the recession he has long forecasted will now be only temporary, to be followed by a double dip recession during the latter half of 2010, interrupted by anaemic growth of less than 1%.

The forces contributing to what, at best, will be a weak recovery in 2010 are linked to the uniformly negative statistics on employment which, according to Professor Roubini, have a direct impact on an economy as highly dependent on consumer spending as America’s. According to Roubini, commenting on the latest employment numbers,  “these raw figures on job losses, bad as they are, actually understate the weakness in world labor markets. If you include partially employed workers and discouraged workers who left the U.S. labor force, for example, the unemployment rate is already 16.5 per cent. Monetary and fiscal stimulus in most countries has done little to slow down the rate of job losses. As a result, total labor income — the product of jobs times hours worked times average hourly wages — has fallen dramatically.”

In his recent observations on declining labor income and its relationship to the continuing financial and economic crisis, Roubini identifies how this factor will exacerbate several interlocking indices. Consumer loan defaults across the board-mortgages, students loans, credit card debt-will continue to increase, adding to the level of toxicity of assets on the balance sheets of banks, and extending the credit crunch. Government revenues will decline while the need to fund unemployment benefits and other social expenditures will grow, further increasing budgetary deficits. Professor Roubini summarizes the growing contradictions in utilizing fiscal and monetary policy responses as the primary sovereign means of countering the worst global economic disaster since the Great Depression as follows:
“The higher the unemployment rate goes, the wider budget deficits will become, as automatic stabilisers reduce revenue and increase spending (for example, on unemployment benefits). Thus, an already unsustainable U.S. fiscal path, with budget deficits above 10 per cent of GDP and public debt expected to double as a share of GDP by 2014, becomes even worse. This leads to a policy dilemma: rising unemployment rates are forcing politicians in the U.S. and other countries to consider additional fiscal stimulus programs to boost sagging demand and falling employment. But, despite persistent deflationary pressure through 2010, rising budget deficits, high financial-sector bailout costs, continued monetisation of deficits, and eventually unsustainable levels of public debt will ultimately lead to higher expected inflation — and thus to higher interest rates, which would stifle the recovery of private demand.”
This leads to what economists refer to as a “W” or double dip recession. In other words, the very policy responses politicians and their advocates claim are vital to restoring the economy may, by the end of 2010, become the principal enabler of forces that will unleash round two of the Global Economic Crisis.

Nouriel Roubini had warned for years that the subprime mortgage sector would bring about financial and economic calamity, and take down much of the investment banking industry. Today we would all be wise to listen carefully to Professor Roubini’s warnings on the growing danger of a double dip recession and the long-term implications of a fiscal roadmap being pursued by our politicians that, in Roubini’s prescient words, is “unsustainable.” Given his track record, we can only discard the truth of which Roubini speaks at our peril.


For More Information on “Global Economic Forecast 2010-2015” please go to the homepage of our website, 



Another Obama Stimulus Spending Bill Looms On the Horizon

July 4th, 2009 Comments off

Only a few weeks ago, the cheerleaders from the financial community and Obama administration were preaching the gospel of “green shoots,” those supposedly subtle indicators that the U.S. recession was bottoming out , and a recovery was just around the corner. However, amid a flood of dire economic and financial news, not the least being the bad unemployment numbers for June, there is increasing talk in Washington that a second dose of deficit-driven stimulus spending  will be required from Washington if the nation’s severe economic contraction is to be reversed.

Not surprisingly, the Republicans are already labelling President Obama’s economic recovery spending package a failure. They point out that Barack Obama’s economic team had envisioned the unemployment rate stabilizing at 8% during 2009, as the impact of nearly $800 billion in borrowed money being unleashed by the Federal government would arrest the free fall in employment numbers. The June statistics released by the Labor department reveal that nearly half a million Americans lost their jobs in June, a significantly higher number than was posted in the previous month, taking the official U3 unemployment rate to 9.5%. However, the disastrous economic performance of the George W. Bush administration, aided and abetted by a  Congress under Republican domination for most of the previous president’s term of office, undercuts the credibility of the GOP’s criticism of the Obama administration on economic policy. Of far greater significance is that much of the criticism is now coming from the left-of-center of the Democratic Party.

Many neo-Keynesian economists  were critical of the original Obama stimulus package for allegedly being too small. Their position was that the  contraction brought on by the Global Economic Crisis required governments across the world, but especially in the United States, to borrow massively in order to compensate for the diminution in private sector economic activity. In a recent op-ed piece in The New York Time, economist Paul Krugman represented this point of view forcefully in labelling the current stimulus package as being  totally inadequate, and emphasizing that a second stimulus spending bill of sizeable dimensions was essential if the U.S. was to avoid slipping into an even worse economic crisis. He drew parallels with the economic downturn that occurred in 1937, when the Roosevelt administration pulled back from New Deal pump-priming in order to bring the Federal budget back under control.

While the Obama administration has been hesitant thus far in committing to a second stimulus spending bill, the combination of growing calls for more deficit spending combined with political realities, namely the 2010 mid-term elections, will likely create accelerating momentum towards another so-called “economic recovery act.” No Democrat wants to run in 2010 with unemployment continuing to rise.

Putting aside political factors, is a second stimulus spending bill a wise course to follow? In my view the answer is no. Just as I disagreed with the wisdom of both the original $800 billion spending bill and the $700 billion TARP Wall Street bailout package of last fall, I fail to see how the at best short-term enhancement of certain economic indicators outweighs the massive liability of further damaging the already frail fiscal health of the country. The neo-Keynesian economists fail to understand that the United States no longer has the luxury of engaging in counter-cyclical economic policy when its bank balance is mired in red ink. The global bond market is already providing early warning signs that  profligate borrowing needs on the part of the U.S. government are simply unsustainable in the long-run. Not only would another stimulus spending orgy  probably not improve the nation’s long-term economic health; the further deterioration in the fiscal viability of the U.S. government will inevitably create its own negative feedback loop, further exacerbating the underlying weaknesses in the American economy.

The fiscal catastrophe  underway in America’s largest state, California, should serve as a brightly-lit red warning lamp for the entire nation. Endless debt by the sovereign does not guarantee long-term economic equilibrium. It is a roadmap to financial and economic Armageddon.


For More Information on “Global Economic Forecast 2010-2015” please go to the homepage of our website,