It may not be much, but at least it’s something: The number of optimistic CFOs now outnumber the pessimists (though just barely), at least when it comes to the state of the U.S. economy. In a recent survey …
It is a sad statement about either American politics or American sanity that when today’s jobs report showed the unemployment falling below 8% for the first time in Obama’s presidency, the reaction from some administration critics was: The numbers are cooked!
The conspiracy claims are beyond silly, as my colleague David Graham explained today. But the employment-truthers are right about one thing. No number in this jobs report is to be trusted.
They’re all wrong, probably.
Since 2008, the global business community has operated under extraordinary circumstances. After years of crises, extreme volatility and unforeseen events, the extraordinary is now the ordinary and the previously unthinkable is a reality. Companies that once prepared detailed, long-range plans—with budgets based on a stable view of the future—now operate in an environment that presents new and unforeseen challenges every day, week and month.
What are the critical issues leading to more uncertainty?
HOW QE WORKS
Quantitative easing is a horrible term in service of a necessary goal. It is economic stimulus. It’s not like the famous stimulus passed in Obama’s first month, which cut taxes and raised spending by more than $800 billion. Instead, the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates and buy debt from investors to encourage them to lend more money.
My favorite way to understand the purpose of quantitative easing comes from an extended metaphor from Chris Hayes. Imagine the economy as an irrigated farm with the Fed as the farmer in charge of the spigot and the water and the pipes. When things are growing, the Fed must be careful to not drown us with too much money. But when the things are dry, as they are now, it’s the Fed’s responsibility to return the farm to growth.
The Federal Reserve announced a big new round of quantitative easing, or QE, last week, which has the markets positively thrilled.* This is the Federal Reserve using its small but mighty bag of tricks — lowering interest rates and getting cash to big banks with the hopes that they will lend it out — all for the purpose of stimulating the economy.
But does it even work?
Households headed by older adults have made dramatic gains relative to those headed by younger adults in their economic well-being over the past quarter of a century, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of a wide array of government data.
Just don’t call them old.
If you can make your way into the VIP room on the second floor of the Louis Vuitton outlet in Ulan Bator — it’s near the Burberry store, but the Burberry in Central Tower and not the one at theforthcoming Shangri La resort hotel — you’ll be handed a glass of champagne and asked to gaze upon a special, gem-encrusted saddle made just for this store. It symbolizes “the fusion of the brand’s travel heritage and Mongolia’s tradition of expert horseback riding,” according to a Louis Vuittonpress release, and it includes a special container for carrying caviar across the same Mongolian steppe that bred Genghis Khan.
Using metrics that include economic, workplace, community, and personal choice factors, Gallup found what will be the most livable U.S. region 20 years from now.
If you want to find the U.S. states and regions with the brightest future, look west. Gallup analysis shows that the West North Central, Mountain, and Pacific regions are likely to be the best areas to live in 20 years, based on the strong economic, health, and community foundations they are building today.
The Red Queen gets an undeservedly bad rap in most modern theatrical presentations.
Remember though, she is still a queen, able to move in any direction over the entire surface of the chess board, and despite all this talk of running in place, she is there at the end to celebrate Alice’s own promotion to queen as she reaches the edge of the board. This treadmill economy won’t last forever, and with proper preparation, you may even be able to step off yourself before the rest of your industry catches on.
The end of the age of consumption and the decreasing need for labor are more related than you think.
Robots have come to destroy our way of life, just as we saw in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, though not as we expected. They’re taking our jobs, and are forcing us to reexamine how we value ourselves.