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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Jacob Kirkegaard
Peer Steinbruck, Chancellor Angela Merkel's leading challenger in national elections later this month, is getting new attention not for his platform but for having directed a universally understood obscene hand gesture at reporters and editors in a recent interview with a top German newspaper.
The world's major economies are in a dangerous race to impose austerity policies that could spill over into another global recession, the new head of one of Washington's most influential think tanks on the economy warned Wednesday.
The International Monetary Fund chief on Monday encouraged U.S. policymakers to look past the "political calendars" of an election year and prevent the "fiscal cliff" from wreaking havoc on the global economy.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday unveiled a long-awaited program to buy up bonds and help bring down the borrowing costs of Europe's struggling governments.
"I think it shows that he has the freedom of the assured loser," said Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "If he really thought he could be chancellor of Germany, he would not have OK'ed the release of that picture."
"The fact is everybody in the euro area has pretty much consolidated at the same time, and you know — surprise, surprise — the euro area in 2012 was in recession," Mr. Kirkegaard said. "If there had been no deal on the fiscal cliff, and the full effect of the [spending cuts] and expiration of tax breaks had actually come to pass, then the U.S. would have been in recession in 2013. There's no doubt about it."