As the Obama administration gauges the performance of its $787 billion stimulus package and talk builds of a new program on the way, some economists argue that any government intervention regardless of size will fail to seriously help the economy.
Credit is limited. Plus rising unemployment and a general resistance to spend are dampening consumer demand.
“Many households that want to borrow can’t, and many that can borrow won’t because they now must save for retirement the old-fashioned way,” says Richard Clarida, global strategic adviser at Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s biggest bond-fund manager.
“As a result, the multiplier from even a well-designed stimulus package is likely to be quite modest,” he told Bloomberg News.
The stimulus plan passed in February “is executing pretty much as expected,” yet it “won’t affect the economy’s primary problems, which are falling values of assets like homes and stocks,” says Doug Holtz-Eakin, who was director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2006 and is now president at DHE Consulting in Washington, Bloomberg reported.
The U.S. unemployment rate has hit 9.5 percent, a 26-year high, and has even surpassed 10 percent in 15 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Associated Press.
Rising unemployment rates are fueling home foreclosures, which in turn hampers further economic recovery.
In past recessions, the housing industry helped the country get back on track as cheap home prices bought the buyers out of the woodwork.
"It just doesn't have the makings of a recovery like we saw in the early 1980s," Wells Fargo Securities senior economist Mark Vitner told the Associated Press.
He predicts mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures won't return to normal levels for three more years.
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