From this story at Der Spiegel comes the terrifying graphic below about the European debt crisis, one that central bankers were no doubt aware of when they acted to boost the availability and lower the cost of U.S. dollars for European banks today.
Not that what was done will make any difference over the long-term, but, it should alleviate some of the current pressure and, by the looks of the stock market today, enable a nice Santa Claus rally, though, European policymakers could still screw that up.
I’ve never heard the phrase “Autumn Statement” before, but, apparently the economic report prepared by Her Majesty’s Treasury over in the U.K. is particularly gloomy this year, at least according to these reports at the Telegraph.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared on Fox Business News yesterday to talk about the nation’s money and a return to the gold standard in the unlikely event that he’s elected president.
His discussion of the U.S. dollar throughout American history reminded me of a Wall Street Journal book review yesterday by James Grant that, from what I could tell, was a lot better than the book – Greenback Planet by H.W. Brands. From the book review:
“Greenback Planet” is the story of this amazing monetary transformation. The narrative begins in the 18th century and races to the present, pausing to catch its breath at some of the great American monetary landmarks: Andrew Jackson’s veto, in 1832, of legislation rechartering a predecessor to the Federal Reserve; Abraham Lincoln’s recourse to greenbacks, or fiat currency, to finance the Civil War; resumption of the gold standard in 1879, with which it once more became possible to exchange gold for paper and vice-versa at a fixed and statutory rate; J.P. Morgan quelling the Panic of 1907; the Federal Reserve not quelling, never mind preventing, the Great Depression; the crazy-quilt monetary improvisations of the 1930s; the halfway gold dollar of the post-World War II era; and the creation, in 1971, of the pure paper (later digital) model of today.
Mr. Brands is a paper-money man, though the subtitle of his book—”How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It”—seems to betray some reservations.
The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence surged from a two-and-a-half year low of 40.9 in October to 56.0 in November, the highest reading since before the debt ceiling debate began over the summer. After six months of declines, the Present Situation Index jumped from 27.1 to 38.3 and the Expectations Index surged from 50.0 to 67.8.
Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased from 3.6 percent to 5.8 percent while those saying jobs are “hard to get” fell from 46.9 percent to 42.1 percent.
Income expectations also improved, those saying they anticipate an increase in their wages over the next six months rose from 11.1 percent to 14.9 percent and business conditions are also expected to be better early next year, that view shared by 13.6 percent of respondents versus 10.2 percent last month.