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The Fed rescued the US economy in 2019, but Trump wants more help in 2020 – CNN

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“Would be sooo great if the Fed would further lower interest rates and quantitative ease,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, less than a week after the US central bank signaled it would be hitting the pause button on any more rate cuts going forward. “The Dollar is very strong against other currencies and there is almost no inflation. This is the time to do it. Exports would zoom!”
The President campaigned on promises of 3% growth, and is presiding over somewhat less than that, with a final report issued Friday showing respectable 2.1% growth for the third quarter. But the economy is getting rave reviews, with 76% of respondents in a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS rating economic conditions in the US today as very or somewhat good, significantly more than those who said so at this time last year (67%). This is the highest share to say the economy is good since February 2001, when 80% said so.
CNN Poll: US economy receives its best ranking in nearly 20 years
That’s in part thanks to the Fed’s success in keeping the US economy running smoothly over the last year, with unemployment hovering near 50-year record lows and the stock market hitting record highs.
Nevertheless, there are worrying signs. Business investment has fallen the last two quarters, the first decline in three years, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Manufacturing layoffs have ticked up since the summer, and on Friday US Steel announced plans to close a mill near Detroit and cut 1,500 workers.
In response, the commander-in-chief has pushed unusual economic ideas, including publicly pressuring the Fed to cut rates to zero and even at times, suggesting rates should fall into negative territory. The Fed, however, has shown no signs of taking Trump’s suggestions.
At the Fed’s final meeting of the year, Powell and his colleagues signaled they would be sitting on the sidelines for some time. Powell said the three rates cuts this year were key decisions that helped to support the economy, which was showing signs of potentially tipping into recession over the summer.
“The Fed is basically saying, ‘Things are cool. We don’t really want to change things. We’re going to sit this one out for the foreseeable future,'” said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union. “That means they’ve done their job.”
Powell has himself argued it would take a lot for the Fed to move in either direction next year.
“We took strong measures,” said Powell at his press conference last week, referring to the cuts. “And we do believe that monetary policy operates with a long and variable lags and that it will take some time before the full effects of those actions are seen in the economy. So that’s one reason to hold back and wait.”
All of that could change if the President sparks a new trade war with Europe by imposing auto tariffs next year or if the economy starts to wobble from other shocks, including Boeing’s decision to shut down production of its 737 Max planes.
While the US economy has been a bright spot around the world, other countries have continued to struggle since the Great Recession a decade ago. It’s one of the reasons that inflation and wage growth have remained muted in the US.
“Things have changed radically over the last year,” said Frick. “I can remember when GDP was under 2% and analysts said, ‘There’s a recession around the corner.’ Now that our expectations — and indeed reality — has been taking down to a 2% growth level, we’re OK between 1.5% and 2%. We can go on for years at that rate.”
That may not be enough for Trump.
Trump has threatened to fire Powell on multiple occasions for not doing enough to juice the economy, a radical break with precedent walling off the central bank from political pressure. And while Powell, a sober former investment banker, has repeatedly insisted he was relying on data and not politics to make his decisions, the global economic turbulence stemming from Trump’s own trade wars prompted him to reverse his plans to raise rates this year and instead steadily drive them back down.
Even the President’s closest advisers acknowledge that appears to be over.
Stephen Moore, a conservative economic commentator who Trump considered for a Fed slot earlier this year, met with the President earlier this week at the White House to discuss the US economy and says Trump is still unhappy with the Fed and hankering for more cuts that he’s unlikely to get.
“Trump wants at least a couple more rate cuts from the Fed, and he’s not going to get it, that’s for sure,” said Moore, a former CNN contributor.
David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, said Trump’s public criticism may have made members of the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee hesitate more than they would have before cutting rates this year to counter economic pressures from the President’s turbulent trade war with China.
“It made it harder, and perhaps some people on the FOMC were reluctant to cut rates because among other things they didn’t want to appear to be succumbing to the President’s pressure,” said Wessel. “But bottom line, other than making things uncomfortable, I’m not sure it made a hell of a difference. And a bit of the irony is the President got what he wanted, but he seems unable to declare victory.”

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How our economy recovers: what Canadians need in a throne speech – theglobeandmail.com

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Mark Wiseman is chair of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation.

The economic crisis wrought by COVID-19 has been devastating, and the effects will linger long after a vaccine. In the early days of the pandemic our government quite rightly threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the problem, to protect Canadians physically and economically. The government and the Bank of Canada worked quickly and deployed every fiscal and monetary tool available.

Now, a little more than six months into the crisis, we have racked up hundreds of billions of dollars of debt and monetary policy is quickly reaching its limits. Paying this debt back, especially with the medium-term threat of inflation, will be crippling for a generation of Canadians. To avoid this eventuality, we must embark today on a long-term growth and recovery plan.

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There is no doubt that government must continue to spend aggressively. This path is not one that we chose; the pandemic has thrust it upon us. But now that we are here, it is crucial that dollars are spent efficiently and in ways that will stimulate long-term growth. A sustainable economic recovery needs to see Canada’s long-term GDP growth rate rise to approximately 3 per cent (from a prepandemic 2 per cent) to make certain that we can pay off the billions in necessary expenditures.

To begin, Ottawa should ensure spending on near-term relief programs are highly effective and efficient. Every dollar the government spends needs to be repaid, so it should be extra vigilant with every penny spent. Ottawa needs to quickly revisit existing programs to eliminate unintended consequences and disincentives – ensuring that Canadians get safely back to work as soon as possible.

In regards to the longer term, the private sector will lead the economic recovery. The government’s growth plan ought to be one where it invests aggressively in both physical and human capital to catalyze the private sector and create jobs. Government, labour and business must work together to achieve Canada’s economic growth goals.

Ottawa’s investment in physical and human capital should therefore focus on six priorities:

1. The first is long-term infrastructure that catalyzes economic growth, such as investments in transit, transport, pipelines, ports and communications infrastructure. These are projects that will create jobs today and pay dividends for decades to come.

2. Getting our natural resources, including energy, to market efficiently and safely is imperative. We must invest today to get our products to where the demand is globally. Time is of the essence and our natural resources sectors are imperilled. Wherever possible, Ottawa needs to partner with Indigenous communities to achieve this.

3. We must build resiliency into vital components of our supply chain – COVID-19 taught us the importance of this. We cannot allow ourselves to be at risk again. Both government and the private sector must invest more in our supply chains, especially in critical areas such as agriculture and medical needs.

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4. The government should support start-ups and innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises through tax incentives, specifically encouraging equity investment and ownership in a small number of key areas where we have demonstrated capabilities, including information technology and agribusiness

5. We need more people – a lot more. We need skilled and unskilled labour from all over the world. The government ought to double down on our immigration advantage, especially for getting talent that traditionally has gone to the United States. In the near term, we must increase our immigration target to 500,000 a year and provide guaranteed permanent residency to any foreigner who completes a postsecondary degree or diploma in Canada. Almost all our economic growth since the Second World War is attributable to population growth. Given current birth rates, accelerated growth requires accelerated immigration.

6. As it has done with health care transfers, Ottawa should work aggressively with provincial governments to create a national child-care/early childhood education program that will be in place within 24 months. This program is conceived as an economic initiative, not a social program. It is required in order to a) achieve higher work force participation by making it easier for caregivers, most often women, to work, b) make it easier for Canadians to have children if they choose to do so, and c) focus on the next generation, since it has been proven that early learning is one of the most important components of human success.

Finally, all the above growth initiatives can and should be done through a green lens, even though a green recovery in and of itself is not a recovery plan. Achieving this growth objective will not be easy. But the government can develop a clear and cogent plan and work with partners in business and labour to execute.

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India's Nobel laureate fears upsurge in child labour as pandemic shrivels economy – The Journal Pioneer

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By Sunil Kataria

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – For four decades Indian Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi rescued thousands of children from the scourge of slavery and trafficking but he fears all his efforts could reverse as the coronavirus pandemic forces children into labour.

“The biggest threat is that millions of children may fall back into slavery, trafficking, child labour, child marriage,” said Satyarthi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his work to combat child labour and child trafficking in India.

As the pandemic pummels the Indian economy, pushing millions of people into poverty, families are under pressure to put their children to work to make ends meet.

While rates of child labour have declined over the last few years, about 10.1 million children are still in some form of servitude in India, according to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.

Across India child labourers can be found in a variety of industries such as brick kilns, carpet-weaving, garment-making, domestic service, agriculture, fisheries and mining.

Earlier this month, Satyarthi’s organisation backed by police rescued dozens of girls during a raid on a shrimp processing unit in western India.

“Once children fall into that trap they could be pulled into prostitution and could be trafficked easily … this is another danger which government have to address now,” he said, adding that he believed sexual abuse of children was also on the rise due to the pandemic.

“I cannot be satisfied even if one single child is enslaved … it means there is something wrong in our polity, in our economy, in our society, we have to ensure that not a single child is left out,” he told Reuters.

(Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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India's Nobel laureate fears upsurge in child labour as pandemic shrivels economy – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Sunil Kataria

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – For four decades Indian Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi rescued thousands of children from the scourge of slavery and trafficking but he fears all his efforts could reverse as the coronavirus pandemic forces children into labour.

“The biggest threat is that millions of children may fall back into slavery, trafficking, child labour, child marriage,” said Satyarthi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his work to combat child labour and child trafficking in India.

As the pandemic pummels the Indian economy, pushing millions of people into poverty, families are under pressure to put their children to work to make ends meet.

While rates of child labour have declined over the last few years, about 10.1 million children are still in some form of servitude in India, according to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.

Across India child labourers can be found in a variety of industries such as brick kilns, carpet-weaving, garment-making, domestic service, agriculture, fisheries and mining.

Earlier this month, Satyarthi’s organisation backed by police rescued dozens of girls during a raid on a shrimp processing unit in western India.

“Once children fall into that trap they could be pulled into prostitution and could be trafficked easily … this is another danger which government have to address now,” he said, adding that he believed sexual abuse of children was also on the rise due to the pandemic.

“I cannot be satisfied even if one single child is enslaved … it means there is something wrong in our polity, in our economy, in our society, we have to ensure that not a single child is left out,” he told Reuters.

(Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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