Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Recession Is Here, Says Merrill Lynch

They should know; they helped kick start the recession. According to the British Telegraph, Merrill Lynch's the bank's chief North American economist says, this [recession] isn't even a forecast any more but is a present day reality."

He cited growing unemployment and sinking retail and manufacturing sales as well as shrinking real personal income and industrial production. But everyone knows that a main cause of the recession is the subprime mortgage crisis financial firms like Merrill Lynch helped launch.

I am not an expert on economics, so for detailed analysis check out our interview with Art Perlo.

But from what I understand companies like Merrill Lynch made home loans that by any standard of banking they should not have, repackaged those mortgages as investment securities, making hundreds of millions in the process. But when the original loans could not be repaid or the houses resold after repossession, the whole credit scheme fell apart.

Of course, Merrill Lynch's analysis may not be too trustworthy, given its track record on this.

Regardless, Bush has already announced that his main economic "stimulus" will not be to expand public services like S-CHIP or Medicaid in order to give a helping hand to working families as this recession sinks even lower.

He has put the kibosh on state programs who sought to expand their own programs (what happened to states' rights?).

He is threatening to block congressional plans to ease the strain on state budgets by expanding education funding through a renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Earlier this week he promised Chicago area business people that he plans to push to make tax cuts for the rich permanent and to push for ending the estate tax. In other words, Paris Hilton gets recession relief and working families get to eat cake.

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