|To: TopCat who wrote (653483)||5/2/2012 2:00:22 AM|
|US Economy Faces Risk of 'Fiscal Cliff': Fed Officials|
Posted By: Margo D. Beller | Special to CNBC.com
| 01 May 2012 | 02:32 PM ET
Two Federal Reserve officials warned Tuesday that the U.S. could be heading for a "fiscal cliff" at year's end if mandated tax increases and spending cuts are implemented.
Charles Evans of the Chicago Fed called the cliff a "big uncertainty" while Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said there could be a "financial shock" if markets begin to anticipate that Congress and
the White House do little to address this situation.
The expected tax increases and spending cuts were triggered when a congressional "super committee" failed to come up with a way of closing the federal budget deficit.
Both Fed officials spoke during the Milken conference in Los Angeles. Earlier Tuesday, on CNBC, both agreed the slowing U.S. economy is disappointing, but differed on the need for continued
"I’d like nothing better than to start raising rates before late 2014 on the strength of a stronger economy," Evans told Squawk on the Street.
Noting there's "tremendous room" for more accommodation, the Chicago Fed chief said that "more liquidity would be helpful. It would ratify the idea that [Fed] policy is going to be accommodative for a
very long time to get things going. Look, we might get lucky in the sense that ... the channel opens up and we get a greater lift in the economy."
Rather than keeping rates low until late 2014, Evans thinks the Fed should use "economic triggers" on which to base accommodation such as keeping low rates if the unemployment rate is above 7.5
percent "unless inflation unexpectedly goes up to a very high level, say 3 percent."
Lockhart is more skeptical and also concerned about triggering higher inflation . The Atlanta Fed president said that while the firstquarter GDP and March jobs data were disappointing, "I am a bit
reticent to pull the trigger on any action. We have to see how the economy evolves. Pulling a number out of the air is a bit too simplistic."
He added, "There’s only so much we can do to stimulate loan demand, and to change the risk appetite of the financial system or banks, so I’m not sure that more really active stimulus in the form of
quantitative easing , for example, would have that much of an effect. But the longerterm costs have to be kept in mind, costs related to inflation expectations, for example."
Both Fed presidents said they know the continued low interest rates are hurting savers.
"We're in a tough situation and the current slow recovery is hurting everybody," said Evans.
Lockhart noted that "we can only have one policy, and that policy is designed to support the recovery. So unfortunately there are winners and losers."
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|From: bentway||5/2/2012 2:06:14 AM|
| Political Animal Blog |
May 01, 2012 3:26 PM
Fallows Barbecues Romney on Carter Slur
By Ed Kilgore
In his reaction to reminders of his 2007 statement suggesting a pursuit of Osama bin Laden was a waste of time and money, Mitt Romney suggested the decision to pull the trigger on the operation was such a no-brainer that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
This got the attention of Washington Monthly alumnus (and former Carter speechwriter) James Fallows, who took Mitt to the woodshed in a column for The Atlantic:
Jimmy Carter is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who spent ten years in the uniformed service of his country. As far as I can tell, this is ten years more than the cumulative service of all members of the Romney clan. Obviously you don’t have to be a veteran to have judgments about military policy or criticisms of others’ views. But when it comes to casual slurs about someone else’s strength or resolve, you want to be careful, as a guy on the sidelines, sounding this way about people who have served.
Jimmy Carter did indeed make a gutsy go/no-go call. It turned out to be a tactical, strategic, and political disaster. You can read the blow-by-blow in Mark Bowden’s retrospective of “The Desert One Debacle.” With another helicopter, the mission to rescue U.S. diplomats then captive in Teheran might well have succeeded — and Carter is known still to believe that if the raid had succeeded, he would probably have been re-elected. Full discussion another time, but I think he’s right. (Even with the fiasco, and a miserable “stagflation” economy, the 1980 presidential race was very close until the very end.)
But here’s the main point about Carter. Deciding to go ahead with that raid was a close call. Carter’s own Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, had opposed the raid and handed in his resignation even before the results were known. And it was a daring call — a choice in favor of a risky possible solution to a festering problem, knowing that if it went wrong there would be bad consequences all around, including for Carter himself. So if you say “even Jimmy Carter” to mean “even a wimp,” as Romney clearly did, you’re showing that you don’t know the first thing about the choice he really made.Since Romney in particular and Republicans generally keep trying to make this election a rerun of 1980, they’d probably do well to get their facts a little straighter about Jimmy Carter (and while they are at it, about Ronald Reagan the serial tax-hiker).
UPDATE: At Ten Miles Square, Mark Kleiman also gives Romney a good roasting:
The only reason I can think of for Romney to say what he said is that the statement, as he made it, is obviously false, and Romney is addicted to lying. We know what Jimmy Carter would have done, because we know what he actually did do, under parallel circumstances: allow himself to be talked into going in without enough resources, risking having to scrub the mission if three out of eight helicopters failed (compared to a predicted two out of eight). Obama, by contrast, personally insisted on what turned out to be the essential extra chopper going into Abbotabad.
Moreover, of course, while making the final call was indeed dramatic, the key moves that Obama took - and Bush didn’t take - involved putting in motion the machinery that got us to the place where the final call was there to be made. Obama got bin Laden because Obama wanted to get bin Laden. There’s no evidence on the record that any of the Republicans - Bush, McCain, or Romney - shared that desire.
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|To: jlallen who wrote (653488)||5/2/2012 8:12:58 AM|
|Cleveland Occupiers, occupying a prison cell. |
FBI: Men unknowingly put fake bombs at Ohio bridge
By THOMAS J. SHEERAN and KANTELE FRANKO Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — The FBI alleges five men charged in a bomb plot put what they thought were real explosives beneath an Ohio bridge and repeatedly tried to detonate them using text messages from cellphones.
Authorities say the suspects arrested Monday were anarchists who were angry with corporate America and unknowingly worked with an FBI informant for months. They were charged with conspiracy and trying to bomb property used in interstate commerce.
They're being held without bond.
Authorities say the explosives were fakes and were controlled by an undercover FBI employee. The target was a highway bridge over the Cuyahoga (keye-uh-HOH'-guh) Valley National Park, about 15 miles south of downtown Cleveland. The bridge links two wealthy suburbs.
The Occupy Cleveland group says the men were associated with the movement but don't represent Occupy Cleveland or its nonviolent views.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
After unknowingly working with an FBI informant for months, five men have been charged with plotting to bomb an Ohio bridge linking two wealthy Cleveland suburbs.
Federal authorities Tuesday described the men as anarchists who are angry with corporate America and the government. They say the alleged plotters researched explosives and obtained what they thought was C-4 explosives. The material, in fact, was harmless and the public was never at risk because the men got it from the informant, officials said.
Their arrests Monday night marked the latest case in which FBI agents planned fake terrorism plots alongside targeted suspects, an indication it continues to be a top strategy for the government in preventing terrorism.
"They talked about making a statement against corporate America and the government as some of the motivations for their actions," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in announcing the arrests with the head of the FBI in Cleveland, Stephen Anthony.
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