Nearly everyday for the past 6 to 8 months there have been reports that the recession is over, or that the recession is nearly over. I guess I should jump up and go out and purchase a new Lamborghini!
Just last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the recession is “very likely over”. He then added, “it’s still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time.” What does that mean? Can anyone make any sense of this? Yes I understand that technically speaking the recession ended for a month, but are things actually getting better?
Things are not getting better, in fact things are about to take a turn for the worse. The only question is how long will it take for the government sponsored economic masquerade party to end. Think about it, nearly every positive piece of economic news that we have had in the past 12 months has come from ill conceived government programs that have had the purpose to “jump start” the economy, but have only prolonged the pain.
Take for example the “cash for clunkers” program. This program basically subsidized the UAW and the governments newly acquired possessions of GM and Chrysler to spark the manufacturing sector. This program gave money to people to buy cars, so people bought cars, a lot of cars. Dealers ran out of inventory, UAW members were called back to work, and manufacturing showed improvement for 2 consecutive months, thus the program was declared a huge success. Soon however UAW members will be getting laid off again, and manufacturing is once again stalling. The price tag was $3 Billion, a hefty price tag to prop up an industry for a few months. Check out this article at National Taxpayer Union for a more in depth article.
You and I both could list several other government “prop up programs” that have had short term success only leaving the tax payer flipping the bill. We have been told that these programs have worked, but have they? I’m sure you’ve heard the President take credit for bringing the economy back from “the brink”, but what exactly is he talking about, and how can we know that he is right? They haven’t been right about anything else.
The sad truth is that there are no government programs that can end the economic crisis that we are still facing. Ever since Wilson started the Federal Reserve, and FDR embraced John Maynard Keynes economic model, we have had a date with destiny. Keynesian economics is not a perpetual form of economics, it has a life cycle and we are now nearing the end of this life cycle and the Fed and the government know it.
Every time they reach in their magic bag of tricks and pull out a new bail out, or new “cash for clunkers” program they are acting exactly like an ER doctor getting the defibrillator and trying to shock life back into a dying body. Perhaps this is “the brink” that the President is referring to.
Is the Financial Tsunami Over? What do you think?
As people walk away from homes that are in foreclosure, or are dismissed from jobs that they have enjoyed for years, some may be asking the question, “Why is God allowing this to happen to me?”
Some people are at a loss on how they will pay the bills, or put food on the table for their family.Make no mistake about it, when you have no means by which to meet your responsibilities it can add a tremendous amount of stress to your life.
9 years ago, to no fault of my own, I lost a good job that provided well for my family.I was informed about the layoff on Friday and on Sunday my wife informed me that we would be having our 3rd child in a few short months.
As a Christian I took this in stride, knowing that God would provide for us just as He always had.I would find another job and life would continue just as it always had.
3 months later, we were broke and I was still out of a job.I discovered later that when employers found out that I was on layoff and would be returning to my old job at a better salary that they had no interest in me…except for one company.
The local Hog Processing Plant would take nearly anyone who was willing to work.Reluctantly I took the job and began working on the “kill floor” on the maintenance crew.When I first started I wondered how I would ever get past the smell of death in the air, but soon found out that the smell was the least of my worries.
My first day on the job a “jaw pulling machine” got jammed with a hog jaw and it took 3 of us pulling on a pry bar for 10 minutes to unlock the machine.No sooner that we were done with that we had another call to a conveyor belt.
We literally had to run to the conveyor belt (sliding on “who-knows-what” on the floor), where we found that the belt was stuck because hog guts were jamming the line.Since it was my first day on the job I got the honor of crawling on my stomach under the belt where I pulled the innards out of the machine.Luckily it worked.
On breaks I changed bloody saw blades.When machines broke down I did whatever it took to get those machines up and running again.I learned to become a master plunger when blood and guts clogged the pipes.And I did it all for less then half of my former salary.
At home bill collectors were calling because we simply couldn’t pay our minimum payments.We struggled by, paid what we could and lived on next to nothing.Thankfully the Lord provided for us through the kindness of others.Around Christmas we received an anonymous envelope in the mail with money, a gift from a brother at our local church no doubt.Family members occasionally would provide groceries.This was very humbling and appreciated all at the same time.
Eventually God opened other doors and this time period in my life was over.When we were going through that time, it seemed as if it would never end.It was a painfully tough, pride swallowing time for me and my wife.However I thank God for that time in our life.
It was when we were struggling to make ends meet that we learned some very important lessons about life.We learned the value of a dollar.We learned about the pitfalls of debt.We learned that God does provide exactly what we need exactly when we need it, even if we don’t want it.
I also learned that God is sovereign.It didn’t matter what I wanted, it didn’t matter what I did.God’s will be done.It was His will for me to work at the Hog Processing Plant, and I had to just bow to the will of the King.
That brings me back to the question that we started with.“Why is God allowing this to happen to me?”Perhaps we are not asking the right question.
Perhaps the question should be something like this.“Why has God given me, a rotten sinner, anything?”The only thing that we sinners deserve is death, Hell, and destruction.
I am convinced that if I had not lost my job 9 years ago and went to work at the Hog Plant that I would be making the same foolish mistakes today that I made then.I would be spiritually stagnant and my relationship with Christ and my family would be infantile.
Why is God allowing this to happen to you?Who are we to question God?Consider what God says to Job in this passage from Job 38 1-4.
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?declare, if thou hast understanding”
The stock market has shown 2 consecutive weeks of gains. Are we beginning to see the greatly anticipated bottom of the market, or is this just the Federal Reserve and the government artificially inflating our economy again? Unfortunately most of the “pro’s” think that we are still in deep water. I found the following headlines on CBNC.com
- US is Already ‘Bankrupt’ Technically
The U.S. is already “bankrupt” because it has a debt that is almost four times the size of its economy, says Puru Saxena, CEO of Puru Saxena Wealth Management. He tells CNBC that the U.S. is at risk of hyperinflation.
- Fed to Buy Treasurys is Not a Good Sign
Stephen Roach, chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley does not view the Fed’s plan to buy $300 billion worth of long-dated government debt as a constructive sign for prospects going forward.
- Fed’s Move Unlikely to Help Economy
The Fed pumping money into Treasurys won’t help, says Martin Weiss, president of Weiss Research. He also discusses what can be done to turn the US economy around.
- The US Stuck in Zero-Rate Mode?
America is arrogant to deny their similarity to Japan’s economy, says Stephen Roach, chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley. He tells CNBC that the US economy is in a “zero-interest rate” mode, like Japan.
- Quantitative Easing & the Fed’s Balance Sheet
Thomas Lam, vice president and senior treasury economist at UOB, says the Fed’s latest moves such as to buy long-dated Treasurys will stretch its balance sheet and pump more liquidity into economy.
- The Fed’s Recent Moves are Right
“This decision to purchase long-term assets, mortgages, long-term treasury securities, is the right thing to do. The Fed would clearly rather err on the side of inflation rather then depression,” said Dennis Gartman from the Gartman Letter. He also touches on the housing market in the US as well as the TALF.
- Tackling US Economy
Housing problems need to be tackled before the U.S. economy can pick up, according to Adam Carr, senior economist at ICAP.
- 2010: ‘Real Peak of the Crisis’
“We are going to see real problems in 2010 when the Fed and all the other governments which issued stimulus packages are going to try to reabsorb some of that liquidity,” Nicu Harajchi, CEO & Founder of N1 Asset Management, said Thursday. He considers whether the Fed’s latest move will work.
- Fed’s Actions Bode Well for Asia
The Fed’s bold moves to support the U.S. economy is good news for Asia, believes Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at MasterCard Worldwide.
- Redirecting China’s Foreign Investments
China is unlikely to unload their dollar-denominated reserve as such a move will only hurt themselves at this point, says Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at MasterCard Worldwide. He tells CNBC how its foreign investment strategy may change.
- China Needs Internal Demand
China needs to change its structure to an internal demand driven economy, says Stephen Roach, chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley. He tells CNBC that China is hugely dependent on external demand as a major source of economic growth.
- ECB in “Splendid Isolation”
The ECB should be out there pumping money into the system, says Paul Donovan, MD & head of global economics at UBS. He tells CNBC that the central bank is sitting in “splendid isolation”.
- More Pain Ahead for Europe
There is no cause for optimism in the medium term, despite the better-than-expected data from the ZEW survey, says Par Magnusson, senior analyst at Danske Bank.
- UK Due for Inflation Spike?
The UK economy is facing higher inflation down the road, Andy Hartwill from Quasar told CNBC, as Britain posted its highest ever budget deficit Thursday.
- Deflation Will Hit Mid-Year
Deflation is a near-term risk that may hit global economies in the middle of the year, warns Paul Donovan, MD & head of global economics at UBS.
- Preventing Runaway Inflation
When liquidity floodgates open, global central banks will have to sterilize very aggressively and in time to prevent runaway inflation.
There is an economic crisis in America, but it is not our biggest crisis.
The Associated Press today released some numbers from americanreligionsurvey-aris.org
a national survey on religion in America.
Here are some of the numbers.
- 15% of the respondents said they have no religion. An increase from 14.2% in 2001, and 8.2% in 1990.
- Northern New England Surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious Region.
- 34% of Vermont reported that they have no religion
- The numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state
- Mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17% to 12.9% of the population
- 30% of married couples did not have a religious wedding ceremony
- 27% said they did not want a religious funeral
- 12% of Americans believe in a higher power but not the personal God at the core of monotheistic faiths.
- 1.2% said they were part of new religious movements, including Scientology, Wicca, and Santeria
- Evangelical or born-again Americans make up 34% of all American adults and 45% of all Christians and Catholics.
- Muslim Americans grew to 0.6%
Our biggest crisis in America today is a spiritual crisis. Christians have no where to look but into the mirror when looking at these statistics. If we were at lest discipling our own children these numbers would be increasing for Christ.
Until we take seriously the commandments of God, the economic crisis doesn’t really matter.