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'We Are Not Doing Very Well'

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Published : May 03rd, 2012
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In "NBER's Martin Feldstein Bashes The Deplorable US Economy, Says Bernanke Has Engineered Another Stock Bubble," Zero Hedge highlights some less-than-upbeat commentary from a Bloomberg TV interview with economist Martin Feldstein:

Feldstein on the U.S. economy:

"We are not doing very well. The economy is just coming along at a snail's pace. The first quarter numbers that we just got last week were not very good at all. The GDP number was 2.2%. That was a disappointment, but you know, it was all automobiles. 1.6 out of the 2.2 was motor vehicle production. So, people were catching up after not being able to buy them the year before. So, this is a very weak economy. The payroll employment numbers, we are going to get some new ones in April. Let's hope they are better than March where it fell by half. The stock market is, I think, responding to the Fed. I think the real danger is that this is a bubble in the stock market created by low long-term interest rates that the Fed has engineered."

On the danger of a bubble in the stock market:

"The danger is, like all bubbles, they burst at some point. Remember, Ben Bernanke told us in the summer of 2010 that he was going to do QE2 and then ultimately they did Operation Twist. The purpose of that was to make long-term bonds less attractive so that investors would buy into the stock market. That would raise wealth and higher wealth would lead to more consumption. It helped in the fourth quarter of 2010 and maybe that is what is helping to drive consumption during the first quarter of this year. But the danger is you get a market that is not with the reality of what is happening in the economy, which is, as I said a moment ago, is really not very good at all."

I'll be danged -- another economist (see: "No Punches Pulled") who is not afraid to speak the truth.

If this keeps up, you won't need little old me any more.

Michael J. Panzner 


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Michael J. Panzner is a 25-year veteran of the global stock, bond, and currency markets and the author of Financial Armageddon: Protecting Your Future from Four Impending Catastrophes, published by Kaplan Publishing.
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