LIVE STREAM: 12:15pm EST – Is the US the “Least Dirty Shirt”?



PIMCO’s Bill Gross calls the U.S. economy the “least dirty shirt.” To borrow from a Flight of the Concords song, you might say that the U.S. is The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room. By virtue of every other economy in the room looking worse and worse, the United States is looking better and better. European economies are struggling with austerity measures and will for months and years ahead. A Greek crisis has turned into an EU sovereign debt crisis,…

What’s Wrong (and Right) With this Recovery



Many people believe that beneath the jitters surrounding the European debt crisis and geopolitical unrest, economic fundamentals are strong and the economy is on a path to a sustainable recovery. But, there are worrying signs that the recovery is fragile and based on temporary government support to consumption and a reflation of some asset markets. Once consumption-oriented stimulus fades, there is a risk that the economy will face a double-dip recession. Last week, I shared our economic outlook with some…

Green jobs: hope or hype?



Even as the entire country shifts gears to health care, some people are still concerned about the devastating numbers of unemployed persons and the government’s efforts to get people back to work. CNN has just run a piece I wrote cautioning the Obama administration on its optimistic assumptions about creating green jobs. WASHINGTON (CNN) — After the release of a miserable June jobs report, President Obama stood with a group of green company CEOs and told reporters that “men and…

Banks use TARP funds to boost lending – NOT!



As Leo Hindery points out on New American Contract’s latest US Economy Talking Points, the Financial Times may be missing the point about a recently released report on TARP’s impact on bank lending. The headline of today’s Financial Times cover story “Banks use Tarp funds to boost lending,” could not be more misleading. As the article itself makes clear, “Some 43 per cent [of banks] said that they had bolstered their capital cushion, 31 per cent made other investments, 14…

Does Team Obama Believe in Manufacturing?



The Obama administration doesn’t put any particular emphasis on rebuilding America’s manufacturing. Manufacturing doesn’t even make the cut for the list of jobs they see growing over the next seven years. A recently released report from the Council on Economic Advisers says: While manufacturing overall is projected to continue to decline as a share of total employment, several manufacturing subsectors – such as aerospace and drugs, along with other similarly-advanced manufacturing industries – are anticipated to grow (but not enough…

Comments on The Washington Note



Folks, I am traveling today and without my principal computer. I have learned that no one has been able to post comments over the last 21 hours. We had a spam attack going on that was attaching “cialis” items to any Facebook uploads from my site — so our web guru adjusted some things on the site, and this has created some unintended results — including apparently blocking comments. We are working on it — and I hope it’s fixed…

War Child



About a year ago, Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier in the Sudanese Civil War and rap artist for peace, performed at a DC nightclub. I was on crutches from a biking injury and hobbled to a space in the back. After months of sitting incapacitated at home, my life seemed grim – until I heard Emmanuel’s story of a seven-year-old orphan with a gun in hand, fighting for revenge for the death of his mother. That night, I danced…

G20 Should Focus on Solutions, Without Obama



Imagine your country is suffering from the worst financial crisis in nearly a century (as in the UK) or that your export market is collapsing along with the promise of prosperity you’ve made to hundreds of millions of peasants (as in China). You have hinged your public support on creating effective regulation and creating the next monetary system (Merkel, Brown, Sarkozy) and you are coming to Washington DC to meet with the leaders of the G20 to accomplish these multilateral…