Sunday, February 01, 2009
The Shrinking Economy
Are we living in interesting times or what? So many of the economic news, released over the last 1-2 years, are either the worst that we have seen in 3 decades or the absolute worst ever recorded. Can our frayed nerves withstand much more excitement?
Although the government figures, issued late last week , show that during the year 2008 the level of economic activity managed to eek a 1.3% rate of growth the estimates for the fourth quarter were abominable. The decrease in the GDP of 3.8% was the largest decline in over a quarter of a century and the weakness appears to be spreading. No one is expecting a quick reversal of this downward spiral. Actually, the economic consensus seems to expect the contraction in the US economy to accelerate over the foreseeable future. It is against such grim expectations that the new proposed stimulus package will be voted upon by the Congress. Passage of this package by February 17, 2009 is not in doubt, what is in doubt is the margin of victory. Does the opposition to an “imperfect” measure provide sufficient grounds for doing nothing when conditions are so dire?