Here is an easy way for any non-economist to tell whether an economy is in dire straits: If investors are looking to their central bankers to get them out of the mess created by over-borrowing, ineffective regulation, and political paralysis. Markets unwilling to lend money at reasonable rates?
Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke now has two reasons to disappoint those who are hoping he will use his speech next week at the conclave of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to launch the good ship QE3.
Robert Shrum is hoping for an assist from Ben Bernanke. Perhaps, Shrum writes, the chairman will have the courage to pull a John Roberts, launch QE3, and keep a staggering economy sufficiently upright that "Obama may actually be able to run on a decidedly more upbeat path through the fall."
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."