Tomorrow, Kansas City barbeque will be taking a back seat as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, or Big Ben as I like to call him, will be delivering a closely watched speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole Symposium. This could likely be the most important speech he has given.
Here’s the skinny. Each year since 1978 the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has sponsored a symposium on important economic issues facing the U.S. and world economies. The cast of characters is pretty spectacular –prominent central bankers, academics, finance ministers and other financial market experts participate.
*Symposium (sym-poh-zee-uhm) – a meeting or conference for the discussion of some subject, esp a meeting at which several speakers talk on or discuss a topic before an audience.
The Theme this year is, “Macroeconomic Challenges: The Decade Ahead”
It is no surprise the economy is moving about as fast as a snail. While GDP (Gross Domestic Product) shows we are not in a recession, you sure wouldn’t know it by looking at almost everything else around you. Jobs are on life support. Housing is barely breathing. Recent economic data has been pretty disappointing.
And like with your household budget, the government puts out a budget. Their 2010 forecast – which lays out how they see the economy growing – was pretty robust. Jobs are nowhere near their forecast, economy is moving slower than forecasted, and tax receipts are less due to the lack of folks employed. We are running enormous deficits. If things slow down it more, look for that deficit to be even bigger in the future.
The Fed has been highly criticized for lacking leadership and direction. Their communication has stunk out loud. Highly respected business leaders such as Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO, Verizon and Jim Tisch, CEO Loews have expressed concern due to the uncertainty business leaders face.
Bernanke has said very little in recent months about monetary policy, opening the door for hawkish rhetoric from some regional Fed presidents. And they are all over the board when it comes to inflation vs deflation.
Big Ben sure could clear some things up.