By Jay Sekulow
The left's outrage over the IRS turns to a plea to 'move on'
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Stock markets around the world suffered through one of the worst days of trading in months Tuesday, as a number of U.S. companies reported weak earnings because of a slowdown in the global economy and as concerns mounted over Spain's role in the European financial crisis.
Just as the outlook for the U.S. economy finally brightened in recent weeks, the darkening clouds in Europe threaten to overshadow budding signs of growth.
The Federal Reserve likely will make life more difficult for Congress this week by affirming the June end of its controversial $900 billion bond-buying program that has financed a large part of the government's record $1.6 trillion budget deficit this year.
Americans are getting hit on all fronts nowadays. Wages are flat or falling. Income-tax bills are due by April 18. Food prices are rising. And gas prices that are soaring toward $4 a gallon now threaten to reverse the nation's economic-growth rate.
Signs of a strengthening job market sent Wall Street stocks soaring Thursday, inspiring hopes that the U.S. economy will see robust growth this year despite surging oil prices.
The White House on Thursday downplayed the danger to the economy from rapidly rising oil prices, which are flirting with $100 a barrel amid rising unrest in the Middle East, but many private economists worried that it might stifle this year's much-anticipated revival of growth and jobs.
The slumping housing market struck a sour note Tuesday, somewhat dampening optimism that the economy is getting a big sugar rush from the best Christmas selling season in three years.
The economic outlook has brightened noticeably in recent days, with a splurge of car-buying by consumers unexpectedly lifting retail sales and businesses putting some of their nearly $2 trillion in stashed cash to work buying other companies with an eye toward growth.
The U.S. economic recovery downshifted dramatically this spring as various stimulus measures enacted by Congress ended or started to wane.
President Obama touts his financial reform bill as the most far-reaching since the Great Depression, but critics are calling it a paper tiger that wouldn't have stopped the last financial crisis while imposing an intricate web of new government regulation on banks that will stifle economic growth for years to come.
Congress' chief budget scorekeeper said yesterday that the recently approved economic-stimulus plan makes a recession less likely, although many private economists say the country already is in recession.
"Clearly, U.S. companies are feeling the pain as a result of the global slowdown," Bernard Baumohl, managing director and chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, told Reuters.
Further danger arises from the close connections between U.S. banks and the European banks that hold most of the European debt that's likely to go into default, he said.