Here are some updates to prior stories:
1) The AP, via Yahoo Finance, reports that the nation's personal savings rate JUMPED to an annual rate of five percent in January of this year. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Consumer-spending-rises-in-apf-14509525.html. That compares to even lower rates in recent years (the rate was even negative for part of the summer) and is the highest since 1995. In the early 1980s, the rate was 8 percent, falling to 6.5 percent in the lat 1980s. These figures seem to contradict Robert Reich's claim that we have entered a period of secular stagnation, which would entail HIGHER savings rates as real per capita national income grew, as it has certainly done since 1980.
2) Senator Bayh of Indiana has published a superb Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal calling on the Senate to reject the $400 Billion-plus Omnibus Spending Bill. According to Bayh: the proposed bill "lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the Federal Government or the recipients of its largersse." Like this Blog, Bayh also notes that China, Japan and other foreign nations holds large amounts of our debt, raising the prospect that they will be able to unduly influence our policy.
3) David Brooks of the New York Times is expressing buyers remorse regarding President Obama. Brooks now apparently thinks President Obama might be a liberal ! More on Brooks' reasoning and the Obama team's response, in a subsequent post.