In a hearing, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke if he believes that one of the keys to short-term economic growth is a long-term plan to put America's fiscal policy in order. Bernanke replied, "Correct."
On November 2, voters gave Republicans historic gains in the House and above-average gains in the Senate in a vote for reduced spending, less intrusive government, and low taxes. On November 3, the Federal Reserve voted to resume direct purchases of Treasury securities in order to promote economic growth. One downside will be the further depreciation of the dollar. Another will be the spectre of future inflation as all America's bills must come due eventually.
Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, is the only significant public official on record in opposition to the easy-money, zero-interest-rate monetary policy being pursued by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. So there were multiple layers of irony when Hoenig journeyed to Lenexa, Kansas, on September 23 to deliver a dinner speech to the Hope for America Coalition, a local affiliate of the Tea Party movement.
"Bewitched, bothered and bewildered," warbled Ella Fitzgerald, among others. That old song, written in 1940 by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rogers, just about describes what is going on in the American economy.
Concerns over the public debt make it highly unlikely that the government will pass any sort of fiscal stimulus anytime soon. Of course, that might not make much of a difference -- Congress passed stimulus bills in 2008 and 2009 and a much smaller jobs bill this year, and the economy is still sluggish and we still have lost net 2.4 million jobs since February 2009.