If policymakers were gunfighters, they’d be out of bullets: They have run out of effective policy tools to improve the economy.
So the question is simple: If there is a recession in 2014, and policymakers are out of bullets, how will it play out across the American economy?
Now, before facing up to a possible 2014 recession, let’s ask ourselves: What happened during the last recession?
No one can quite agree as to the specific causes of the 2007–09 recession—and fighting that particular fight isn’t the point of this essay. But we can all more or less agree that global overindebtedness caused a mini-Minsky Moment, whereby borrowers could no longer borrow enough to keep from defaulting on their previous loans. Hence September 2008. Hence the collective global “Ahhh!!!!” moment that we all recall with such sweet and fond nostalgia.
So here we are in Q4 of 2013, staring down the barrel of 2014, suspecting—fearing—that we might have a recession staring right back at us.
Question: What could the Federal government and the Federal Reserve realistically do, to avert a recession in 2014? Or if not avert it, at least ameliorate its effects?
Oh boy . . .
Insofar as the Federal government is concerned, realistically, nothing. In 2008, facing what appeared to be the end of the financial world, Congress was snookered into agreeing to the Bush Administration’s $700 billion TARP bailout. Then in 2009, the incoming Obama Administration had two winds at its back—the Global Financial Crisis, which required the incoming administration to do something, anything; and the fact that Obama was the new prez, who’d won decisively with his deceptive talk of “hope”. Thus the $787 billion stimulus package.
Combined, the Bush TARP and the Obama stimulus were some $1.5 trillion mainlined into the American economy.
Today, five years after his inauguration, and after the Government shutdown and the botched Obamacare launch, Obummer just doesn’t have the pull. More to the point, the Democratic caucus does not trust him. So Democrats on the Hill will not stick their necks out for an Obama stimulus program. So the O-Administration’s economic brain trust might come up with all sorts of plans to preëmptively stop a 2014 recession—but they don’t have the votes to make these plans happen.
As to a repeat of the Henry “Give-us-all-your-money-or-the-banks-will-die!” Paulson scare tactics—they won’t work today, not after the nasty taste left by the one in 2008.
Source Gonzalo Lira