JAMES PICKETT WESBERRY Jr >>>> PERSONAL WEBSITE

WEEK OF OCTOBER 5 2009

Introduction to Jim Wesberry
GIVING THANKS
E-Magazines by Jim Wesberry
THE FALTERING EAGLE: Speech made in 1970
MIAMI KEYNOTE: Public Financial Management, 2016
CONFERENCIA: CONTROL INTERNO Y ÉTICA: ESTARÍAN PERTINENTES EN 2025?
CONFERENCIA 6a Conferencia de Auditores Ecuador: El Auditor Interno Frente sus Tres Mayores Desafios
CONFERENCIA CReCER 2015: Empresas Estales en Busca de Etica---State Enterprises in Search of Ethics
CONFERENCIA QUITO HONESTO: Ambiente Etico = Municipio Eficiente: Principios de Conducta Etica, 2014
DOCTORADO HONORIS CAUSA - UNIVERSIDAD INCA GARCILASO DE LA VEGA, LIMA, PERU - 2013
DECORATION BY THE PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT 1972
CONFERENCIA EN HUANUCO, PERU - El Auditor enfrenta la Erupcion de Corrup$ion del Siglo XXI -2013
CONFERENCIAS EN CHILE - 3 Mayores Desafios al Auditor Interno - 2012 - VIDEO y TEXTO
DOLLARCRACY ->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> $$$ COUNT.........PEOPLE DON'T
THE CONTINUING FINANCIAL CRISIS
GEORGIA CORRUPTION ON MY MIND
Personal Information
My Resume (in English)
Mi Curriculum Vitae (en español)
Technology Use in Fighting Corruption
ACTIVITIES & EVENTS INITIATED
The Top Quartile of Life
AMERICA IN DECLINE? The Life Cycle of a Great Power
ACCOUNTANCY & AUDITING: MY CHOSEN PROFESSION
SERVICE AS PAGE IN US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 1949-51
SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR OF CORRUPTION IN STATE GOVERNMENT 1959-60
LEGENDS: Georgians Who Lived Impossible Dreams
Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 US 1 Landmark US House Reapportionment Case
POLITICS - MY FIRST CAMPAIGN 1961
POLITICS - ELECTION TO GEORGIA STATE SENATE 1962
The Best Speech I Ever Made
Why I Quit the Georgia Senate
Activities in the Junior Chamber of Commerce
Contador Benemerito de las Americas (Most Meritorious Accountant of the Americas)
Articles from The Journal of Accountancy
My Credo
Media
Interview about Leadership
ACCOUNTABILITY - RESPONDABILIDAD
THE EVER GROWING, EVER STIFLING BUREACRACY
PONZIS and PIRAMIDES
THE NATIONAL DEBT
GRAPHIC DISPLAY OF US DEBT
CALCULATE YOUR DEBT LIABILITY
Fraud-Corruption-Bribery
Collusion Breaks Internal Controls
FORENSIC AUDITING --- AUDITORIA FORENSE
ETHICS
FRIENDSHIP - AMISTAD
Creencia - Belief
Think -------- Pensar
WOMAN -------------- MUJER
Dawn
Message to Garcia - Mensaje a García
THE GREATEST SPEECHES OF ALL TIME
Education
Interesting!
POEMS
ATLANTA, GEORGIA USA - MY HOME TOWN
WASHINGTON DC - MY OTHER HOME TOWN
PERU
ECUADOR
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
COLOMBIA VS KLEPTOKAKISTOCRACIA: Presentación para el Día Internacional Anti-Corrupción 2011
LECTURE AT MANILA'S UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST: Integrity & Honor, Corruption & Dishonor VIDEO
MANILA LECTURES AT FAR EASTERN & SANTO TOMAS UNIVERSITIES: Good Governance and Social Responsibility
EFFECT OF 2008 GLOBAL CRISIS (JW presentation in English)
SEGUNDA GRAN DEPRESION 2010 (JW presentaciónes en español)
Speeches - English
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Items on this page are from Oct. 5 through 11.  Some links may no longer be active.

Canary -GOLD The Canary in the Coal Mine
Before modern ventilation systems, coal miners would often take a caged canary underground with them. In the presence of deadly gases, the canary would first stop singing and soon die. That was all the evacuation warning early miners needed. The price of gold is a referendum on the quantity and quality of paper money and, like the canary in the coal mine, it is signaling a warning: there’s trouble with the dollar reserve standard. Around the world the alert are looking for ways to abandon it. Americans have had a pretty good, if undeserved, deal since the end of World War ll. First the dollar exchange standard buttressed the value of the US dollar as other nations began to hold their reserves in dollars and issue their own currencies against them – as they once had issued their currencies as a claim check for precious metals. The idea was that they could hold these dollars without fear because the dollar would forever be exchangeable for gold held in the depositories of the United States. That didn’t last. The United States issued more dollars than it could possibly redeem at the fixed rates. In fact, on a single day in March, 1968, private buyers took 400 tons of gold from the London gold pool. With the demand to exchange dollars for gold beyond containment, in 1971 Nixon closed the gold window and abandoned any pretense of dollar convertibility. So what has acted as a restraint on the issuance of more dollars since then? Nothing

READ IT ALL

Larry Kudlow's Solution to Save the Dollar

We know that gold is soaring.

And we know the dollar is slumping. But, did you know that year-to-date, while the S&P 500 is up 18 percent—a great showing no doubt—gold is up even more.

The precious metal is up 21 percent. In other words, measured in true, gold-backed purchasing power, stocks have really done nothing this year. Zip. It is most disappointing.

I try to be optimistic about better earnings, a stock market rally and economic recovery. And I’m sticking to my guns. But what we’re seeing right now is pretty darn close to what we witnessed in the 1970s—the rise in gold and inflation really cuts into the stock market.

So what’s the way out?

  • Well for starters, we need a stable dollar to stop inflationary pressures. And we also need lower tax rates to spur the economy, help it grow, and reduce unemployment. I’ve been calling this the Mundell-Laffer supply-side solution, after Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell and my mentor, former Reagan advisor Arthur Laffer. It was put to work with great success nearly thirty years ago to stop stagflation. It also launched a twenty year bull market recovery.

Put simply, the Mundell-Laffer model exercises monetary restraint to save the dollar—and low marginal tax rates for economic growth incentives that benefit investors, risk takers, small businesses and workers. Right now, for therapy, the Fed should begin moving excess cash from the economy and they should raise their target rate. Take a page from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s playbook and move rates higher.

In addition, the Treasury ought to get out there and buy these unwanted dollars in the marketplace. Just go out there and bid for them. And they need to stop printing so much debt from Congress. All this massive spending and borrowing is killing us. We need to be slashing tax rates on large and small businesses. There’s just no better place to begin job creation. And leave the Bush tax cuts in place for heaven’s sake.

This supply-side shock therapy would save the dollar. And it would put real long-term torque into the recovery.

READ ARTICLE BY KUDLOW

Crisis Hits Europe Harder

Two years ago, Europe was growing more rapidly than the United States, and the Old Continent finally seemed prepared to tackle longstanding economic challenges like rigid labor markets, runaway government spending and a rapidly aging population.

Worldwide trade imbalances have declined by almost half since the recession's beginning.

But as Asia and the United States emerge from the global economic crisis, Europe appears likely to be the world’s laggard, threatening a return to the dark days of “Eurosclerosis.” Leaders who once spoke optimistically of fundamental changes aimed at enhancing productivity have turned to the more prosaic tasks of protecting jobs and avoiding painful political choices.

“It’s worse than being back to Square 1,” said Gilles Moëc, a senior economist in London for Deutsche Bank.

And just when it is needed most, the political will to address Europe’s bigger economic problems seems absent, according to many experts across the region and around the world.

La crisis complicará equidad social en Latinoamérica 

La actual crisis financiera internacional hará más difícil la aplicación de políticas de equidad social para la integración de los pobres a la economía, advirtieron hoy aquí 17 ex presidentes latinoamericanos.

El documento "Hacia una agenda social para la democracia en América Latina para los próximos 20 años", que debatieron en Lima 17 ex gobernantes de la región, reconoció que Latinoamérica enfrenta aún serios problemas económicos y sociales.

Los países del área tienen instituciones "políticamente débiles" para resolver esos problemas, añadió el informe emanado de la reunión del Centro Global para el Desarrollo y la Democracia (CGDD), presidida este viernes por el ex mandatario peruano Alejandro Toledo.

Según los ex gobernantes, algunos líderes proponen continuar con la promoción del crecimiento y las políticas del Consenso de Washington, que han dejado a las economías de América Latina mal estructuradas para competir en los mercados mundiales.

Otros gobiernos están tentados a escoger el camino de la confrontación y la demagogia, en la que el líder, en vez de un proyecto de reforma, se pronuncia a favor del Estado central, afirmaron los ex presidentes latinoamericanos en el documento.

De acuerdo con los 17 ex mandatarios, ni el fundamentalismo del mercado ni el populismo autoritario ayudarán a lograr un desarrollo sostenido, equitativo y de largo plazo y tampoco es probable que profundicen la democracia en Latinoamérica.

LEER TODO

Three Government Reports Point to Fiscal Doomsday


Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.

When our leaders have no awareness of the disastrous consequences of their actions, they can claim ignorance and take no action.

Or when our leaders have no hard evidence as to what might happen in the future, they can at least claim uncertainty.

But when they have full knowledge of an impending disaster … they have proof of its inevitability in ANY scenario … and they so declarein their official reports … but STILL don’t lift a finger to change course … then they have only one remaining claim:

INSANITY!

And, unfortunately, that’s precisely the situation we’re in today: Three recently released government reports now point to fiscal doomsday for America; and one of the reports, issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), says so explicitly:

  • The CBO paints two future scenarios for the U.S. budget deficit and the national debt. But it plainly declares that fiscal disaster will strike in EITHER scenario. Furthermore …

  • The CBO states that its fiscal disaster scenarios could cause severe economic declines for decades to come, including hyperinflation and destruction of retirement savings.

  • The CBO then proceeds to admit that even its worse-case scenario could beunderstated by a wide margin due to panic in the financial markets or vicious cycles that are beyond control.

  • Separately, in its Flow of Funds Report for the second quarter, the Federal Reserve provides irrefutable data that we are already beginning to witness the first of these consequences in the United States: an unprecedented cut-off of credit to businesses and consumers.

  • Meanwhile, the Treasury Department shows that America’s fate remains, as before, in the hands of foreigners, with the U.S. still owing them $7.9 trillion!

  • And despite all this, neither Congress nor the Obama Administration have proposed a plan or a timetable for averting these doomsday scenarios. Their sole solution is to issue more bonds, borrow more, and print more without restraint.

That is the epitome of insanity.

Yes, the great government bailouts of 2008 and 2009 have bought us some time … but they have promptly proceeded to sell us into bondage.

Yes, they have given us safe passage over tough seas … but only to throw our assets onto the global auction block for the highest bidders.

The one bright spot: Unlike some governments, ours does not conceal the evidence of its folly. Quite the contrary, the proof pours forth from these three government reports in relatively blunt language and unmistakably blatant numbers …

Report #1
Congressional Budget Office (CBO): 
The Long-Term Budget Outlook

Report #2
U.S. Federal Reserve: 
Flow of Funds Accounts 
of the United States

Report #3
U.S. Treasury Department: 
Treasury Bulletin
 

READ EXTRACTS FROM EACH OF THE THREE REPORTS

Experts Predict Hard Times for the U.S. Economy


After the job losses in August, things are starting to look bad for the U.S. economy and also for the banking sector, according to Christopher Whalen, managing director at Institutional Risk Analytics.

Whalen says most observers are drawing the wrong economic conclusions from the stock market’s robust rally.

“Why is liquidity going into the financial sector? It’s because the real economy is dying [and] everyone is fleeing into the stocks and bonds because they’re liquid at the moment,” Whalen says. “That’s not a good sign.”

The banking sector’s assets shrunk by about $300 billion per quarter in the first half of 2009, a sign of banks hoarding cash in anticipation of additional future losses, according to Whalen. “The real economy is shrinking because of a lack of credit.”

Whalen also predicts that the shrinkage will continue into 2010, suggesting the banking sector hasn’t yet seen the peak in loan losses.

Institutional Risk Analytics forecasts the FDIC will ultimately need $300 billion to $400 billion to recoup losses from its bank insurance fund. (In other words, the $45 billion the FDIC sought to raise last week by asking banks to prepay fees is just a drop in the bucket.)

“Investors should think about this because the fourth quarter in the banking industry is going to be a bloodbath,” says Whalen.

He also believes smaller and regional banks like Hudson City Bancorp may come into favor versus larger peers, which have dramatically outperformed since the March lows.

“When you see the markets rallying when the real economy is shrinking that tells you this [recovery] is not going to be very enduring,” Whalen says.

In this regard, Whalen finds himself in philosophical agreement with Nouriel Roubini, George Soros, and Meredith Whitney, among other “prophets of the apocalypse” who’ve once again been raising red flags in recent days.

Federal Reserve Bank

Federal Reserve Bank

Whalen´s opinion comes just at the time that New York Fed President Bill Dudley also expressed concerns about several areas of the U.S. economy, including commercial real estate. Financial markets are performing better, but on the negative side, and unemployment is way too high.

Dudley, who spoke earlier this week at Fordham University, said that the recovery will turn out to be “moderate by historical standards,” an outcome he calls “disappointing” and which will not bring the unemployment rate (currently 9.8 percent) down quickly. 

Dudley also said that three restraining factors are at play: “The shock to household net worth seems likely to have several important implications for household behavior; the fiscal outlook, as the stimulus is a temporary fix – ‘it’s no fix at all, actually,’- and banks’ ’still-in-the-dumps’ balance sheets, which makes them capital constrained and hesitant to expand their lending.”

Meanwhile, unemployment in the United States is expected to rise well into next year and probably pass the psychological mark of 10 percent.

The Americano / http://theamericano.com/2009/10/07/experts-predict-hard-times-for-the-u-s-economy/

CBO: Budget deficit hit record $1.4T in 2009

The federal budget deficit tripled to a record $1.4 trillion for the 2009 fiscal year that ended last week, congressional analysts said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate, while expected, is bad news for the White House and its allies in Congress as they press ahead with health care overhaul legislation that could cost $900 billion over the next decade.

The unprecedented flood of red ink flows from several factors, including a big drop in tax revenues due to the recession, $245 billion in emergency spending on the Wall Street bailout and the takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then there is almost $200 billion in costs from President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill, as well as increases in programs such as unemployment benefits and food stamps.

The previous record deficit was $459 billion and was set just last year.

READ IT ALL

  GOLD!   GOLD!   GOLD!   GOLD!   GOLD!   GOLD!   GOLD!  $1,500?

Gold prices continued to surge on Wednesday, hitting a fresh record close to $1,050 a troy ounce as investors bet that trading momentum would push the precious metal still higher.

Barclays Capital said gold prices, which have risen 10.3 per cent since the end of August, could run to as high as $1,500 an ounce if previous technical trading patterns were extrapolated.

“We believe gold has a significant upside potential into 2010,” the bank said, adding current prices “were off the charts”. In spite of a 40 per cent rally in gold prices since Lehman Brothers collapsed a year ago, few traders appeared to be taking profits or betting on a price fall.

gold REAL dollars
courtesy of Bianco Research

READ IT ALL

Reaction against Barack Obama’s “Bail-out Nation” is provoking the emergence of a coalition of conservatives, libertarians and independents increasingly alarmed over the growth of US national debt and budget deficits, according to Michele Bachmann, a rising rightwing star of the Republican party.

READ IT ALL

The Flood of Foreclosures Shows No Sign of Ebbing

EVERY TWELVE SECONDS s in America, there is another foreclosure filing. That's the rhythm of a crisis that threatens to choke off hopes for a recovery in the U.S. housing market as it destroys hundreds of billions of dollars in property values a year.

There are more than 6,600 home foreclosure filings per day, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan watchdog group based in Durham, North Carolina. With nearly two million already this year, the flood of foreclosures shows no sign of abating any time soon.


If anything, the country's worst housing downturn since record-keeping began in the late 19th century may only get worse since foreclosures, which started with subprime borrowers, have now moved on to the much bigger prime loan market on the back of mounting unemployment.

READ IT ALL

china_flag.jpg

Amid the global

 economic crisis

 China

 CONTINUES

 TO RISE

 ^^^^

BEIJING — The auto-parts maker Delphi Corp. is headquartered in Troy, Mich., in the heart of the region that made the United States the car capital of the world. It's a place where the phrase "buy American" is right at home.

Now the 3,000 employees of Delphi's brake and suspension unit are getting a new boss. Battered by weak sales, Delphi is selling the unit to investors led by a company named Shougang Corp.

Shougang is a steel maker owned by the government of China — a government that calls itself communist but espouses a "socialist market economy" as it marches down globalization's road toward a capitalistic future.

"Everyone's so desperate for cash that the Chinese show up with a checkbook and people say, `Yes, please'," says Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Dragonomics, a Beijing research firm.

Explosive growth in China and India, coupled with Japan's clout as the world's No. 2 economy, has long been expected to shift economic power from the United States to Asia as this century progresses. The financial crisis and resulting Great Recession are accelerating that process.

"China certainly comes out of the crisis stronger rather than weaker, and it's the opposite for the United States," says Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.

Even some Americans have begun declaring this the "Chinese century" since it began nearly a decade ago. But while they and others fear the rise of China in international relations and the global economy, the reality is less dramatic: Beijing is still getting its own sprawling, chaotic house in order and is in no position to supplant the United States as global leader in the near future.

At the same time, Beijing's power remains undefined: On an unfamiliar global stage, it is unsure what role it wants to play.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Derivatives Regulation Misses The Mark

There was a hearing this morning held by the House Financial Services Committee titled, "Reform of the Over-the-Counter Derivative Market: Limiting Risk and Ensuring Fairness." Much of the discussion centered on Committee Chairman Barney Frank's (D-MA) proposal to regulate the derivatives market, which differs in significant ways from that offered by the Obama administration. I worry that proposed derivatives regulation misses the mark on a few levels.

Bloomberg has a nice article on that committee hearing, if you want specific details. I'd rather think about the bigger picture and where derivatives regulation really fits in.

Congress has an awful lot on its plate these days, but fixing the financial system should be its chief priority, as it's clearly the timeliest. Yet, finance is big and broad. There are lots of different aspects that politicians might seek to write new rules for. So where should it begin? I think the rather uncontroversial answer is with whatever causes led to the financial crisis that prompted one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.

So far, Congress has done a pretty poor job of adhering to this seemingly obvious strategy: the only financial regulation imposed so far this year was for the credit card industry. It played absolutely no part in the crisis.

READ FULL ARTICLE

The Lehman Myth in the


 Financial Crisis

America’s great corporate and financial crises are usually accompanied by spectacular corporate scandals that provide a simple, roughly accurate storyline for the crisis as a whole. Early in the Great Depression, Franklin D. Rooseveltrailed against the “Ishmael or Insull whose hand is against every man’s” — a reference to Samuel Insull, whose utilities empire had imploded in scandal. The Insull story, along with several other scandals, inspired the securities laws of 1933 and 1934 and other important corporate reforms. Sixty years earlier, the Philadelphia banker and railroad magnate, Jay Cooke, had been the face of the Panic of 1873.

The current crisis has been deficient in these terms. In the absence of obvious, hissable villains and a simple story line, the conventional wisdom seems to focus more on the crisis itself than on its causes, with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy now viewed as its pivotal moment. The Lehman story line is worrisome for at least two reasons: it threatens to distract attention from the causes of the crisis and the story line itself is deeply mistaken.

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'World Bank, IMF Ill Prepared for Financial Crisis'

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were ill prepared to tackle the current global economic crisis, a group of Latin American countries said yesterday. The group comprising Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, Panama, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago said the institutions lagged behind in their lending capacities.

Represented by the Brazilian Minister of Finance Guido Mantega at the ongoing Bank/IMF Annual World conference in Istanbul, Turkey, the group said there is a need to reform IMF.

Mantega said: "The global crisis has shown that the Bretton Woods institutions were ill prepared to face the challenges that arose in 2008 and 2009. Reforms of the IMF, as well as of the World

Bank, were long overdue.

"These institutions were lagging well behind in terms of lending capacity, surveillance, lending instruments and governance. The need to reform the IMF became unmistakably clear."

READ IT ALL

THE FUTURE 
HIGHLIGHT TO READ, WORTH IT


...the coming period of global economic collapse

  a book that seeks to predict the future for more than a year

In the prelude to his classic text Just Yesterday, historian Fredrick Allen asked, “Do you remember what you were doing September 3, 1929?”1 On a similar note, I ask, do you remember what you were doing on October 9, 2007? On that day, the Dow would make its record high of 14,164, and then, echoing 1929, promptly crashed. Regarding September 3rd, Allen said, “If there was any single day when the wave of prosperity—and of speculation—which characterized the nineteen-twenties may be said to have attained its utmost height before it curled over and crashed, September 3, 1929 was that day.”2

Just as September 3, 1929 marked the end of a long and prosperous era in American history, October 9, 2007 marked the end of another era. While 1929 is associated with the end of the post-world war economic boom, it brought more than that. Ending the era of American growth and prosperity as a humble inwardly focused free-market economic power that began after the end of the Civil War, the transition America embarked upon following 1929 brought it into a new period of global supremacy as its economic might ran the world and its suddenly dominant military used the threat of overwhelming force to keep any and all potential enemies at bay. In the ashes of the economic depression following 1929, the great American leviathan state was born.

For decades, the federal government grew steadily larger, consuming more and more of its citizens' time and resources; Americans weren't solely effected, America became a huge drain on the world's economy, endangering the quality of life of many of the world's people. As the saying goes, a trend that can't continue—won't. Though there have been tremors—the crash of 1987, the Asian contagion of 1997, the tech wreck of 2000, the stock market crash of 2008 is the first direct shockwave we've seen originating from the giant earthquake that is about to hit.

Just as the fall of the British economy directly led to the worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s, the conclusive cessation of American economic supremacy is directly responsible for the coming period of global economic collapse. Just as the decline of both the value of and the trust in the British Pound led to the Great Depression, the fall of the American dollar will be the focal point that leads to the realignment of the international economy and political scene. While figuring out the precise timing of the oncoming economic depression is nearly impossible, it is imperative that the dollar be observed, as its further declines are the most obvious harbinger that the great change is occurring.

October 9, 2007 represented more than a mere apex for America's economic power, it also marked the end of the era of big government. From the 1980s onward, America's economic policies have largely been crafted with a focus on kicking the can as far down the road as possible when it comes to dealing with policy-maker's untouchable 1000-pound gorilla: the debt. America's governments have collectively done what they've could to keep the illusion of a strong economy by artificially increasing the monetary supply, lowering interest rates to absurdly low levels and by allowing the outsourcing of key American jobs through a badly misguided “free” trade policy that has sold off the core of American economic vitality in return for better relations with our trade partners and guarantees of more funding of our ever-increasing debt.

While it's never smart to bet against the federal government's ability to find crafty non-solutions that put off the day of reckoning until after the next election, it appears that America is just about out of time. With utterly unfundable entitlement time bombs ticking, America had no margin for error. Then the Iraq War happened, the banking system was backstopped with trillions of dollars of borrowed money and stimulus packages were passed without a prayer of funding. We've passed the Rubicon, the federal government is inarguably bankrupt, and with it, the era of American supremacy has ended. The world has entered a new era, an era of change and transformation in which we'll continue to see America rapidly lose its economic and political power. This book examines how this transformation will play out, and how we can prepare for its numerous effects.

-- Ian Bezek, October 2009.

 

Table of Contents:

 

Chapter 1: America's Decline: More Like Britain Than Rome

Chapter 2: So Long, Big Government: The Imminent Collapse of Global Socialism

Chapter 3: America: The World's Greatest Sub-prime Borrower

Chapter 4: Europe: ...And You Thought America Was Out Of Luck?

Chapter 5: China, The Great Red Mirage

Chapter 6: Globalzation Reversed: The World Isn't Flat After All

Chapter 7: Other Factors: Oil, Demographics and Global Scarcity

Chapter 8: The Next Five Years

Chapter 9: 2035: The World Through Your Children's Eyes

Chapter 10: What We Can (And Can't) Do

Paul Krugman: In Trade, ‘It’s Not


 the Great Depression — It’s Worse’

Princeton University economist, author and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics last year for his work on international trade — so the guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to this subject. And he’s worried.

Paul Krugman. (Getty Images)

First, he offered a few comments about the U.S. economy:

1 - Based on GDP, “the recession is over, we’re back to a world of growth”

2 - But, “the jobs picture is continuing to deteriorate. The recession may be over, but the bad times are nowhere near over.”

3 - “This could be bad. Financial crises tend to produce prolonged hits to growth…and this is the mother of all synchronized financial crises so we almost certainly have a long, long slog before we’re fully recovered.”

Then, he turned to the topic of world trade. And the picture he painted was not a pretty one.

“When it comes to international trade, actually it’s not the Great Depression, it’s worse,” he said, presenting charts showing the decline in global trade activity falling much more steeply in the current downturn than during the Depression.

“The scale of the collapse of world trade has been so large that it has produced a degree of international linkage that surpasses what even the pessimists imagined,” he said. “World trade acted as a transmission mechanism,” spreading economic distress “even to those countries that had relatively healthy financial systems,” such as Germany.

“We really are one world economy in a way that has never been true before,” he said.

READ IT ALL

Krugman alerta de una caída del comercio internacional peor que en la Gran Depresión


El premio Nobel de Economía Paul Krugman advirtió de que, con motivo de la crisis, el comercio internacional ha sufrido su mayor caída, peor incluso que la de la Gran Depresión, y expresó sus dudas sobre su pronta recuperación.

"En materia de comercio internacional, esto no es como en la Gran Depresión, es peor", dijo el columnista de 'The New York Times' durante su intervención en la última jornada del World Business Forum celebrado en Nueva York.

El también economista de la Universidad de Princeton, que ganó el Nobel precisamente por sus trabajos en esta materia, argumentó que la crisis económica ha ido acompañada de una fuerte caída del comercio internacional, más aguda que la registrada en la recesión de la década de los treinta y que además ha contribuido a endurecer los efectos de la recesión.

"El comercio mundial ha actuado como un mecanismo de transmisión de la recesión, incluso hasta los países con sistemas financieros relativamente saludables", explicó Krugman, para el que este fenómeno era un claro ejemplo del grado de globalización de la economía.

Reconoció que la Administración estadounidense se ha comportado como un "estabilizador" y ha evitado un "apocalipsis" desencadenado por una excesiva ingeniería financiera, que llenó los mercados de un tipo de deuda que es "como la carne picada: Uno no puede saber realmente lo que se está comiendo en la hamburguesa".

"Basándonos en los datos del PIB (estadounidense), la recesión ya ha terminado, puesto que hemos vuelto al crecimiento. El riesgo de depresión ya ha pasado, y todos los indicadores apuntan a la recuperación, pero el mercado laboral sigue deteriorándose, así que la recesión puede haber acabado, pero los malos tiempos en absoluto", apuntó Krugman.

En ese sentido explicó que normalmente las crisis financieras van acompañadas de "largos periodos malos" para el crecimiento económico, por lo que "con ésta, que es la madre de todas las crisis financieras sincronizadas", es previsible que la plena recuperación se haga esperar varios años.
Para superar los efectos de la crisis en el empleo y en el comercio internacional, Krugman rechazó la conveniencia de acudir al proteccionismo de los mercados, una medida que a menudo se ha dicho que contribuyó a empeorar la situación durante la Gran Depresión.

LEER TODO

El colapso 

La pareja detrás de la crisis 'subprime'

 Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac, los dos gigantes hipotecarios en EE.UU., agudizó la crisis financiera global.

Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac parecen una pareja hogareña del medio Oeste, interdependiente, quizá ligeramente aburrida.

Pero estas dos instituciones casi destruyeron el mercado inmobiliario estadounidense y su caída es vista por muchos como la apertura de la crisis financiera global.

LEER TODO

Jeffrey Sachs critica dúramente a Alan Greenspan

Jeffrey Sachs, un economista prolífico, que es además autor y profesor de la Universidad de Columbia, usó palabras inusualmente duras en un discurso el martes para referirse al ex presidente de la Reserva Federal Alan Greenspan, a quien atribuyó una gran parte de la culpa por la crisis financiera actual.

"La esencia de la caída actual son las finanzas", dijo Sachs en un discurso en el World Business Forum en Nueva York. "Es una crisis de Wall Street. Una crisis hecha calle abajo", señaló, y agregó que "si uno observa bajo los escombros uno puede darse cuenta de lo que ocurrió y por qué".

En primer lugar, "un largo brote de crédito fácil defendido por Alan Greenspan y la Fed fuera de los límites normales de política monetaria", que estuvo acompañado por "una desregulación casi completa del sector financiero contraria a casi todo lo que sabemos sobre los riesgos de un sistema financiero altamente apalancado".

"Esto es irresponsabilidad flagrante", señaló. "Esta no es una cuestión de la filosofía del mercado de uno, simplemente profunda irresponsabilidad". Sin embargo, agregó posteriormente que la ideología de Greenspan posiblemente era responsable dada su filosofía "Ayn Rand" de que los mercados se cuidan a sí mismos "hasta que descubrió posteriormente la falla de su teoría".

Sachs también criticó duramente a los gobiernos de los ex presidentes Bill Clinton y George W. Bush. "Arribamos a este acantilado mediante la agresiva irresponsabilidad de dos Gobiernos estadounidenses consecutivos", dijo, a los que acusó de ceder ante la presión del mayor grupo cabildero del país: el sector financiero.

LEER TODO

La AIE dice que la crisis financiera bajó hasta un 3% las emisiones de gases

La AIE precisó que se trata del recorte "más pronunciado en los últimos 40 años" y conseguirá que el volumen de emisiones en 2020 sea un 5 por ciento más bajo de lo que la agencia multilateral calculó hace doce meses.

LEER TODO

CALCULATE DOLLAR INFLATION SINCE 1913 >>> Historical Inflation Calculator will calculate the amount of CPI price inflation between any two dates from 1913 up to the latest month reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Chart of U.S. Consumer Inflation (CPI)

FINAL REPORT: Strategic Plan for Fraud Prevention, Fraud Detection, and Fraud Deterrence >>> Vonya Global surveyed Executives and Internal Auditors from private, public, and not-for-profit organizations, spanning many industries to gather opinions on strategic planning for fraud prevention, fraud detection, and fraud deterrence. Historically, there have been several studies conducted about fraud and fraud statistics, but none that deal directly with the strategic plans to manage fraud risks. The timing of this study is appropriate due to the heightened sensitivity to fraud due to the economic conditions. It seems more groups, including regulatory bodies, investors, clients, and suppliers are increasingly concerned about the ability to demonstrate effective fraud prevention and fraud detection strategies.

Chart of U.S. Money Supply Growth

Regulation: Doubts over political resolve for reform >>> As the worlds banking system teetered on the brink of collapse just about a year ago, there were widespread, heartfelt, calls for reform. Politicians of all stripes on both sides of the Atlantic, spurred on by taxpayers outrage at the cost of bailing out those who ought to need help least, vowed to get tough. No longer would banks be allowed to become too big to fail, or bankers be rewarded for taking risks that prove the undoing of their institutions. But just one year later, as the worlds economy begins to emerge from a severe recession and some big banks once again appear profitable, it is not clear that the political resolve remains as strong. To this end G20 finance ministers, meeting in London, agreed the broad outlines of a future regulatory structure designed to ensure that banks cannot take risks they do not understand or offer senior employees rich rewards for activities that, years later, prove the systems undoing. We cannot put the world in the position where things go back to where they were at the height of the boom, Tim Geithner, the US Treasury secretary, said at that meeting. But, already, things appear to be heading that way. In the US, a newly emboldened banking sector has succeeded in beating back modest initiatives to alter rules allowing bankrupt homeowners to remain in their homes. It is also making fierce headway against a new consumer protection agency for the financial sector and is pushing back hard against efforts to force OTC derivatives trading to go through clearing houses to limit the counterparty risk. Of those three initiatives, only the last is directly relevant to the international banking community, but banks successful efforts illustrate starkly the gap between what regulators say needs to be done and what is likely to happen on the bank supervision front.

DR. DOOM: UNEMPLOYMENT TO RISE >>> High unemployment and a lack of stimulus for private demand by countries like Japan and Germany could slow down the world recovery, famous bear Nouriel Roubini, chairman of RGE Monitor, told CNBC Monday. "I see the unemployment rate rising through most of 2010," Roubini told CNBC. "Not just is going to go above 10 percent but the risk is it's going to stay above this level and return to more normal only more gradually and that's going to be one of the important sources of weakness for an economic recovery," he added.

Chart of U.S. Unemployment

UN calls for new reserve currency >>> The United Nations called on Tuesday for a new global reserve currency to end dollar supremacy which has allowed the United States the "privilege" of building a huge trade deficit. "Important progress in managing imbalances can be made by reducing the reserve currency country's 'privilege' to run external deficits in order to provide international liquidity," UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, Sha Zukang, said. Speaking at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Istanbul, he said: "It is timely to emphasise that such a system also creates a more equitable method of sharing the seigniorage derived from providing global liquidity." He said: "Greater use of a truly global reserve currency, such as the IMF's special drawing rights (SDRs), enables the seigniorage gained to be deployed for development purposes," he said. The SDRs are the asset used in IMF transactions and are based on a basket of four currencies -- the dollar, euro, yen and pound -- which is calculated daily.

Economy Losing 11,000 Jobs per day since December of 2007 >>> 824,000 Jobs Lost in Statistical Revision: 8 Million Jobs Lost Since Start of Recession. Nationwide Unemployment Rate at 17 Percent. That is, in February of 2010 (sic) when revisions are made some additional 824,000 jobs were lost! That is correct, some 824,000 jobs have been lost and these do not show up in the current BLS data....This revision if incorporated today would put the official number of jobs lost during this recession at 8 million, or 10 percent higher than what is being fed in the headline numbers. The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve sold the American people that banks needed money to lend out in the so-called liquidity crisis. What really happened is banks got money to protect themselves from additional losses that they know they will face....Banks are holding tight to this money because we have many issues coming down the pipeline including the $3 trillion in commercial real estate that will cause further problems.

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Chart of U.S. Unemployment


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Finger of Instability

...where are the fingers of instability today? Where are the fault lines that could trigger another crisis? Are there any early warning signs? I see two possibilities, one positive and one negative.

Chad Starliper sent me the following graph. It shows the debt-to-GDP ratio for the US, adding in various levels of debt. For instance, the ratio of debt to GDP for all levels of government debt is 87%. But if you add household and business debt along with the GSE (government-sponsored enterprises) like Fannie and Freddie, the ratio rises to 331%. If you add in future benefits of Social Security and Medicare, the number becomes more like 1,000%.

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The Obama administration tells us that the government deficit is going to be well over $1 trillion a year for at least ten years. And that does not take into account the outlier years in the 2020s when the really heavy lifting of Social Security and Medicare kicks in.

There is a truism that goes a little like, "If something can't happen, then it won't." Let me make a prediction. We won't have a trillion-dollar deficit in ten years. Why? Because it can't happen. The market will simply not allow it.

As I have written, we can run large deficits almost forever, as long as the deficits are less than nominal GDP. While it may not be the wise thing to do, it does not bring down the system.

But when you start adding to the deficit in amounts significantly larger than nominal GDP, there is a limit. Each dollar, like the grains of sand, adds to the potential instability of the system. Is it $2 trillion more? $3 trillion? No one can know, but the longer it goes, the worse the ensuing financial earthquake will be.

The current political class and their intentions are dangerously close to killing the golden goose. It is one thing to steal the eggs; it is an altogether different thing to kill the goose through ignorance of the consequences. And the size of the deficit, for as long as they plan to have it, will most assuredly kill the goose.

READ THE FULL ANALYSIS



Stiglitz Deflation Threat

 Pushes Fed to Stay at Zero 

The U.S. faces the possibility of deflation for the first time since the Eisenhower administration, a threat that may prompt the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero through next year. Executives at Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain, blamed deflation for a 7 percent drop in earnings in the second quarter, while falling prices for food, gasoline, and electronics left August sales unchanged at Costco Wholesale Corp. A sustained price drop might set off a chain reaction in which lower profits force employers to pare wages and payrolls. That would erode consumer demand, exacerbating wage cuts and firings. Such a spiral led to Japan’s “lost decade” of slow economic growth in the 1990s. A more vicious version in the U.S. helped create the Great Depression six decades earlier. Bond investors are forecasting retreating consumer prices, as shown by the yield they demand to hold a one-year bond versus a similar inflation-protected bond.

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Stiglitz contra los responsables d
e la crisis global El premio Nobel de Economía Joseph Stiglitz salió a golpear a los responsables de la crisis financiera internacional que ha llevado al mundo a la recesión económica.

Como modo de remediar los males que ha generado el sistema financiero en la economía real, Stiglitz recomendó imponer un impuesto a las transacciones financieras para evitar el comportamiento disfuncional de los mercados y ayudar a pagar el daño que la crisis ha generado sobre los pobres.

En el marco de la Asamblea anual del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI) y el Banco Mundial en Estambul, Stiglitz decía: “El sector financiero contaminó la economía global con activos tóxicos y ahora deben limpiarla”.

Para Stiglitz, dicho impuesto debería cubrir todo tipo de activos y su recaudación podría destinarse a ayudar a los países pobres que fueron las víctimas inocentes de la crisis.

En referencia a la decisión del gobierno estadounidense de aprobar un paquete de estímulo por US$ 700.000 de principios de año, el economista consideró que ello invalida el argumento de que no hay dinero para el desarrollo.

Los principales responsables de la crisis financiera internacional, están claramente identificados. ¿Se animarán los gobiernos a hacerles pagar por sus culpas?


Fuente: www.latinforme.com

Global capital markets: Entering a new era - September 2009

Global capital markets: Entering a new eraThe current financial crisis and worldwide recession have abruptly halted a nearly three-decade-long expansion of global capital markets. After nearly quadrupling in size since 1980, world financial assets—including equities, private and public debt, and bank deposits—fell by $16 trillion last year to $178 trillion in 2008, the largest setback on record.

MGI research suggests that the forces fueling growth in financial markets have changed. For the past 30 years, most of the overall increase in financial depth—the ratio of assets to GDP—was driven by rapid growth of equities and private debt in mature markets. By 2007, the total value of global financial assets reached a peak of $194 trillion, equal to 343 percent of GDP. But the upheaval in financial markets in late 2008 marked a break in this trend. e lens of global financial assets and capital flows.

Although the full ramifications of the financial crisis will take years to play out, it is already clear that the financial landscape has shifted in several ways. Most notably, MGI finds that:

  • Falling equities accounted for virtually all of the drop in global financial assets. The world's equities lost almost half their value in 2008, declining by $28 trillion. Markets have regained some ground in recent months, replacing $4.6 trillion in value between December 2008 and the end of July 2009. Global residential real estate values fell by $3.4 trillion in 2008 and nearly $2 trillion more in the first quarter of 2009. Combining these figures, we see that declines in equity and real estate wiped out $28.8 trillion of global wealth in 2008 and the first half of 2009.
  • Credit bubbles grew both in the United States and Europe before the crisis. Contrary to popular perceptions, credit in Europe grew larger as a percent of GDP than in the United States. Total US credit outstanding rose from 221 percent of GDP in 2000 to 291 percent in 2008, reaching $42 trillion. Eurozone indebtedness rose higher, to 304 percent of GDP by the end of 2008, while UK borrowing climbed even higher, to 320 percent.
  • Financial globalization has reversed, with cross-border capital flows falling by more than 80 percent. It is unclear how quickly capital flows will revive or whether financial markets will become less globally integrated.
  • Some global imbalances may be receding. The U.S. current account deficit—and the surpluses in China, Germany, and Japan that helped fund it—has narrowed. However, this may be a temporary effect of the crisis rather than a long-term structural shift.
  • Mature financial markets may be headed for slower growth in the years to come. Private debt and equity are likely to grow more slowly as households and businesses reduce their debt burdens and as corporate earnings fall back to long-term trends. In contrast, large fiscal deficits will cause government debt to soar.
  • For emerging markets, the current crisis is likely to be no more than a temporary interruption in their financial market development, because the underlying sources of growth remain strong. For investors and financial intermediaries alike, emerging markets will become more important as their share of global capital markets continues to expand.

Read the full summary (PDF - 3.2 MB)

The demise of the dollar

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

//Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars.

Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars


In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

"These plans will change the face of international financial transactions," one Chinese banker said. "America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate."

The end of the dollar spells the rise of a new order


It is not hard to see the motivation for oil exporters to move away from the dollar. The value of the US currency has fallen sharply since last year's meltdown. And fears are growing, in the light of a spiralling US government deficit, that a further depreciation is likely. They do not want to sell their wares in return for a currency with an uncertain future...


...the significance of this development goes much further. Since the end of the Second World War the dollar has been the bedrock of world trade. The pre-eminence of the American currency flowed naturally from the economic dominance of the US. Virtually everyone traded with America so it made sense to use their currency.

But the US is not the dominant power that it once was. The financial crisis has left it hobbled with significant government and household debts and sharply reduced prospects for growth. Developing nations such as China, Brazil and India, on the other hand, have weathered the economic storm significantly better. So while this latest proposal is born of financial calculation, it is also a reflection of a new economic world order.

We should not be sentimental for the dollar. It makes economic sense for world trade to be conducted in a variety of currencies. Relying on one only has the advantage of clarity, but it also creates instability if the economy that underpins it faces uncertain prospects.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

China will overtake America, the only question is when

Roubini Says Stocks Have Risen ‘Too Soon, Too Fast’
Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis, said stock and commodity markets may drop in coming months as the gradual pace of the economic recovery disappoints investors.

“Markets have gone up too much, too soon, too fast,” Roubini said in an interview in Istanbul on Oct. 3. “I see the risk of a correction, especially when the markets now realize that the recovery is not rapid and V-shaped, but more like U- shaped. That might be in the fourth quarter or the first quarter of next year.”

Stocks have surged around the world in the past six months as evidence mounts that the economy is emerging from its deepest recession since the 1930s. TheStandard & Poor’s 500 Index has soared 51 percent from a 12-year low in March while Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up 48 percent. The euphoria contrasts with warnings from policy makers and investors like billionaire George Soros, who said today that the U.S. economic recovery will be “very slow.”

U.S. consumers are “overdebted” and the banking system has been “basically bankrupt,” Soros said in Istanbul. “The United States has a long way to go.”

Group of Seven policy makers, who met in the Turkish city over the weekend, said prospects for global growth “remain fragile.”

‘Growing Gap’

“The real economy is barely recovering while markets are going this way,” Roubini said. If growth doesn’t rebound rapidly, “eventually markets are going to flatten out and correct to valuations that are justified. I see a growing gap between what markets are doing and the weaker real economic activities.”

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WORLD BANK RUNNING OUT OF MONEY >>> The Bank, whose job it is to support low-income countries, has had to hand out so much cash in the wake of the financial crisis that its resources could run dry within 12 months. By the middle of next year we will face serious constraints, said its president Robert Zoellick, as he launched a major campaign to persuade rich nations to pour more money into the Washington-based institution. Related Articles Banks and traders threatened by new international tax He conceded that such a task was likely to be extremely difficult, given the difficulties facing countries in the wake of the developed worlds biggest recession since the Second World War.

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Does money contraction signal serious trouble? >>> "...zero rates are playing havoc with the indicators, so nobody really know what is going on and that includes the central banks. You have to trust your instincts here. We are in the field of psychology and anthropology. Econometric models are useless once events take a dramatic turn. They are dangerous, allowing ideologues to push their theories beyond the point of common sense. Ben Bernanke, of course, stopped paying any attention to M3 broad money a long time ago. He was largely responsible for abolishing the data at the Fed (though it is easily reconstructed). This was another of his grave errors. Had he been watching M3, he would have known that the bubble was getting out of hand in 2005 to 2006, and equally that the banking system was going to start collapsing in 2007, and to disintegrate in 2008. It was all there, as clear as daylight. It took some cheek for Bernanke to say at Jackson Hole this August that nobody could have seen the banking crisis coming. They did it fact see it, and shrieked from the rooftops. He had cloth over his ears. In as much as he pays any attention to money, it is only to narrow M1. I fear that this is going to take him and the world smack into another crisis. You need to look at everything." - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Recession's End Begins State Budget Woes >>> The recession is probably over, which means states' financial troubles have only begun. History suggests it could take six or more years for sales and income taxes which make up roughly two-thirds of states' revenue to return to pre-recession levels. That augurs deeper cuts to state jobs and services in order to maintain funding for core programs such as public schools and Medicaid. What's different from the three previous recessions, which took states three to five years to recover from, is that employment and consumer spending aren't expected to bounce back as quickly.

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Greenspan Foresees a Rise in Unemployment >>> Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve board, said on Sunday that the latest job report showing the nations unemployment at 9.8 percent was pretty awful and said he expected the figure to climb even higher. Related Times Topics: Alan Greenspan My own suspicion is that were going to penetrate the 10 percent barrier and stay there for a while before we start down, he said in an appearance on This Week With George Stephanopoulos on ABC. He said he was particularly concerned about data in the employment report, released Friday, indicating that an increasing number of Americans have been unemployed for more than six months. That number increased in September by 450,000, reaching 5.4 million, according to the report from the Labor Department. Prolonged unemployment means the economy loses skills, Mr. Greenspan said. And people who are out of work for very protracted periods of time lose their skills eventually. He went on: And remember that what makes an economy great is a combination of the capital assets of the economy and the people who run it. And if you erode the human skills that are involved there, there is a real and in one sense an irretrievable loss.

How close did we come to the Great Depression

Christina Romer, the head of President Obama's Council ofAdvisers, already has an answer: pretty darn close

Comparing 1929 with 2007-09, Romer finds the initial blow to confidence far greater now than then. True, stock prices fell a third from September to December of 1929; but fewer Americans then owned stocks, and prices had risen early in the year. Moreover, home prices barely dropember 2008 was 17 percent -- more than five times as large. Both stocksion mainly reflects, as Romer argues, countervailing government actions. Private markets for goods, services, labor and securities do mostly self-correct; but panic, driven by the acute fear of the unknown, feeds on itself and disarms thped. From December 1928 to December 1929, total household wealth declined only 3 percent. By contrast, the loss in household wealth between December 2007 and Decese stabilizing tendencies. In this situation, only government can protect the economy as a whole, because most individuals and companies are involved in the self-defeating behavior of self-protection.,,

Government's failure to perform this role in the early 1930s transformed recession into depression. That changed when newly inaugurated Franklin Roosevelt closed all banks on March 5, 1933.

Something analogous Happened over the past year. Scholars will debate which interventions -- the Federal Reserve propping up a failing credit system, the Troubled Assets Relief Program, Obama's "stimulus" plan and bank "stress test" -- counted most. Regardless, they all aimed to reassure people th the free fall would stop and thereby curb the fear perpetuating the free fall. Confidence had to be restored so the economy's normal recovery mechanisms could operate. This seems to have happened. By last month, the consumer confidence index had rebounded to 53.1. Housing prices had stopped falling. By the Case-Shiller index, they've increased for three months. Many were already shut, having suffered massive withdrawals by terrified depositors who feared their funds would be lost. Yet when banks reopened in mid-month, Americans redeposited most of that money. The reason was not just Roosevelt's first calming fireside chat ("It is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank than under the mattress"), argues a study by economist William Silber of New York University. FDR's pledge was credible because the Federal Reserve was authorized to supply currency to any reopened bank equal to 100 percent of its deposits.

But this improved confidence is not optimism. It is the absence of terror. The consumer sentiment index is still weak. Unemployment (9.8 percent) is abysmal, the recovery's strength unclear. Here, too, there is an echo from the 1930s. Despite bottoming in 1933, the Depression didn't really end until World War II. Government didn't ensure recovery. Some policies helped, some hurt. The good news today is simply that the bad news is not worse.

READ FULL ARTICLE

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Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect

                     --- Mark Twain

We have never observed a great civilization with a population as old as the United States will have in the twenty-first century; we have never observed a great civilization that is as secular as we are apparently going to become; and we have had only half a century of experience with advanced welfare states...Charles Murray

Kella
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