Mr. Bernanke said recent government spending cuts and tax increases have worked against the Fed’s efforts to encourage more spending, investment and hiring.
“With fiscal and monetary policy working in opposite directions, the recovery is weaker than it otherwise would be,” Mr. Bernanke said, stepping up arguments he has made about recent government efforts to reduce near-term budget deficits.
These comments were taken from the attached WSJ article from January 3, 2014
This article was brought to my attention by my son, Ryan, who also reminded me that KCS had reported nearly 15 months ago that the fiscal drag created by both deficit reduction and tax increases would combine to damp economic activity and the recovery from the great recession. Economists estimate that the US economy grew in 2013 at roughly 2.1%, which is very modest given this many years into the “recovery”.
As a reminder, KCS produces a monthly investment article on a variety of topics. In addition, we occasionally produce a piece titled “Burning Issues”. In the October 2012 Fireside Chat, and again in the January 2013 Burning Issue, we highlighted the potential drag from fiscal tightening. Both articles are available on the KCS website at http://www.kampconsultingsolutions.com.
GDP= C+I+G+(X-M), where C=consumption, I=Investment, G=government spend (deficit) and X-M=net exports
The consumer has been, until recently, reworking their balance sheets, and have reduced debt to roughly 92% of earnings. Corporate investment has been tame, but appears to be growing at a faster pace, and this should continue through 2014. Net exports remain a large drag on GDP, but trade imbalances have improved. The fiscal deficit has been cut nearly in half through spending cuts and tax increases. We are unlikely to see greater fiscal cuts in 2014, so the drag on GDP may be lessened.
We, at KCS, are expecting GDP growth to be slightly greater than current forecasts (2.7%). In fact, it would not surprise us to see GDP growth exceed 3% – 3.5% in 2014. Our hope is that greater investment will continue to strengthen the US labor market, increasing wage growth and spurring demand for goods and services. If this scenario materializes, our GDP forecast may be understated.