May 27, 2010
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The M3 figures – which include broad range of bank accounts and are tracked by British and European monetarists for warning signals about the direction of the US economy a year or so in advance – began shrinking last summer. The pace has since quickened.
The stock of money fell from $14.2 trillion to $13.9 trillion in the three months to April, amounting to an annual rate of contraction of 9.6pc. The assets of insitutional money market funds fell at a 37pc rate, the sharpest drop ever.
“It’s frightening,” said Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research. “The plunge in M3 has no precedent since the Great Depression. The dominant reason for this is that regulators across the world are pressing banks to raise capital asset ratios and to shrink their risk assets. This is why the US is not recovering properly,” he said.
The US authorities have an entirely different explanation for the failure of stimulus measures to gain full traction. They are opting instead for yet further doses of Keynesian spending, despite warnings from the IMF that the gross public debt of the US will reach 97pc of GDP next year and 110pc by 2015.
April 27, 2010
By Hibah Yousuf
The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government’s stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday.
In latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years — but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.
NABE conducted the study by polling 68 of its members who work in economic roles at private-sector firms. About 73% of those surveyed said employment at their company is neither higher nor lower as a result of the $787 billion Recovery Act, which the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers says is on track to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.
That sentiment is shared for the recently passed $17.7 billion jobs bill that calls for tax breaks for businesses that hire and additional infrastructure spending. More than two-thirds of those polled believe the measure won’t affect payrolls, while 30% expect it to boost hiring “moderately.”
But the economists see conditions improving. More than half of respondents — 57% — say industrial demand is rising, while just 6% see it declining. A growing number also said their firms are increasing spending and profit margins are widening.
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed forecast that gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, will grow more than 3% in 2010, and 70% of NABE’s respondents expect it to grow more than 2%.
Still, the survey suggested that tight lending conditions remain a concern. Almost half of those polled said the credit crunch hurts their business.
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