The National Bureau of Economic Statistics has declared that the recession ended in June 2009, eighteen months after the downturn began in December 2007. The recession was the most severe since the Great Depression of the 1930s both in terms of duration and contraction in GDP. Fifteen months after the recession ended, GDP has yet to achieve the peak levels of the prior expansion and unemployment remains elevated. The Wall Street Journal’s article covering this topic includes relevant statistics and graphs that put the recession in historical context. Read this article for additional commentary and analysis.
It is so fashionable these days to read stories about a rising China and declining America that any contrarian feels almost provoked to offer a rebuttal. However, it is increasingly difficult to do so at a time when the Chinese are taking on initiatives to improve infrastructure that make American efforts seem trivial in comparison. China’s plans for high speed rail offer the type of astounding numbers that only reinforce common beliefs regarding China’s rise. Read this article for more details.
Business Week recently published a special report on smart-grid technology, a subject that we have followed closely in the past. The idea of developing an electric grid that can pass information and energy in both directions between utilities and customers seems to be exactly the kind of infrastructure that could provide lasting benefits for society. Read this article for more details.
In an interview today, Warren Buffett stated that a second Federal stimulus bill might be necessary and referred to the first $787 billion bill as the economic equivalent of “taking half a tablet of Viagra and having also a bunch of candy mixed in … “. Read this article for more details.