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Economic News, Data and Analysis

A rescue plan for Main Street

Just posted at EPI…

A rescue plan for Main Street

A package that provides funding for infrastructure, aid to states, and other provisions would begin to reverse our economic course by creating jobs while meeting national priorities. The package should also include a down-payment on longer-term reforms, as well. This memo outlines some elements that should be essential components of a more comprehensive recovery package and briefly examines the impact it would have on the economy and job creation.

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The GAO is out with its first report on the Treasury’s TARP/CPP program. Implementing the transparency and accountability requirements should be a high priority for the new administration.
(Also, be sure to check out the nifty TED spread chart on page 50, and the bond-treasury spread on 51. And, if you want to scare yourself, the foreclosure chart on page 55.

Through the capital purchase program (CPP)–a preferred stock and warrant purchase program–Treasury provided more than $150 billion in capital to 52 institutions as of November 25, 2008. GAO recognizes that TARP has existed for less than 60 days and that a new program of such magnitude faces many challenges, especially in this current uncertain economic climate. However, Treasury has yet to address a number of critical issues, including determining how it will ensure that CPP is achieving its intended goals and monitoring compliance with limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. Moreover, further actions are needed to formalize transition planning efforts and establish an effective management structure and an essential system of internal control.

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From the “I told you so” department

Irons/Bivens – May 1, 2008:

While it will be many months before an “official” recession is declared, evidence shows that the economic expansion that began in 2001 has almost surely ended.1 Furthermore, if these trends continue, the start of a new recession will likely be dated either at the end of the last quarter of 2007, or at some point during the first quarter of 2008.

Business Cycle Dating Committee, National Bureau of Economic Research – December 1 2008

The Month of the Peak
The committee identified December 2007 as the peak month, after determining that the subsequent decline in economic activity was large enough to qualify as a recession.

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