Have you heard the great news? The recession is over! It’s true; I saw it on TV. Why fret about growing unemployment lines when banks are paying big-time bonuses again?
Proof of the turn was apparently revealed by the 2nd quarter GDP figures that showed that the economy declined by only 1%. After four consecutive quarters of negative GDP, the green shoots now assume that growth will resume over the summer. But before we pop the corks, it may be worthwhile to ask, “what really has changed, and what is responsible for our new lease on life?” [more]
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, and in congressional testimony later in the week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured all that thanks to his accurate foresight and deft use of the Fed’s policy toolkit, he could maintain near zero percent interest rates for an extended period without creating inflation. With supernatural powers such as these, one wonders if Ben would be better employed by the Justice League rather than the Federal Reserve. [more]
The health care bill unveiled this week by the House of Representatives (with the full support of the Obama administration) is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever drafted. If passed, it will reduce the quality and increase the cost of health care in America. But more importantly, it will severely undermine our already weak economy. To burden a country currently in the throes of a violent recession with such a bureaucratic albatross clearly illustrates the scarcity of economic intelligence in Washington. [more]
In a free market, demand is always a function of price: the higher the price, the lower the demand. What may surprise most politicians is that these rules apply equally to both prices and wages. When employers evaluate their labor and capital needs, cost is a primary factor. When the cost of hiring low-skilled workers moves higher, jobs are lost. Despite this, minimum wage hikes, like the one set to take effect later this month, are always seen as an act of governmental benevolence. Nothing could be further from the truth. [more]