While indicators of spending and production have been encouraging on balance, the job market has improved only slowly. Following the loss of about 8-3/4 million jobs from early 2008 through 2009, private-sector employment expanded by only a little more than 1 million during 2010, a gain barely sufficient to accommodate the inflow of recent graduates and other entrants to the labor force.
What improvement? The employment rate is at new lows as of the January job report.
Likewise, the housing sector remains exceptionally weak. The overhang of vacant and foreclosed houses is still weighing heavily on prices of new and existing homes, and sales and construction of new single-family homes remain depressed. Although mortgage rates are low and house prices have reached more affordable levels, many potential homebuyers are still finding mortgages difficult to obtain and remain concerned about possible further declines in home values.
The housing market refuses to clear and stabilize because the banks, which you supervise, have not been forced to eat the bad loans on their books. As a consequence the market-clearing prices have not been achieved, inventory is being intentionally manipulated and the market distorted.
This is your responsibility Beernapke.
FOMC participants see inflation remaining low; most project that overall inflation will be about 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 percent this year and in the range of 1 to 2 percent next year and in 2013
Absolutely – there’s no inflation found here:
That’s a one-year chart. Oh yeah, it’s lock-limit up again today.
There’s plenty more of course. But none of this is “inflation.” Well, not yet. What it will be is either inflation or margin collapse. I’m betting on the latter.
Although overall inflation is low, since summer we have seen significant increases in some highly visible prices, including those of gasoline and other commodities. Notably, in the past few weeks, concerns about unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and the possible effects on global oil supplies have led oil and gasoline prices to rise further.
A doubling in the cost of food in Egypt over the last two years didn’t have anything to do with the unrest, right?
That said, sustained rises in the prices of oil or other commodities would represent a threat both to economic growth and to overall price stability, particularly if they were to cause inflation expectations to become less well anchored. We will continue to monitor these developments closely and are prepared to respond as necessary to best support the ongoing recovery in a context of price stability.
How about if they cause riots and destruction of governments via angry mobs that loot and burn everything in sight Would that be a problem for “economic growth”?
My colleagues and I continue to regularly review the asset purchase program in light of incoming information, and we will adjust it as needed to promote the achievement of our mandate from the Congress of maximum employment and stable prices. We also continue to plan for the eventual exit from unusually accommodative monetary policies and the normalization of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. We have all the tools we need to achieve a smooth and effective exit at the appropriate time.
Cessation of QE2 will cause the government to have to actually sell debt into the market, which will cause interest rates to move up, which in turn means that the inability of the government to get its deficit spending under control will become fully-exposed.
And none of these clowns in the Senate has the balls to ask that question. Oh sure, they’re dancing around it, but they’re not asking the question directly.
PS: Ron Paul won’t tomorrow either. Bet on that.
PPS: Bernanke’s voice is quavering when being asked about the debt limit. He knows we’re on the edge of the cliff.