Resuscitation Order

Did we just talk about a “phony economic recovery”? Or did we talk about phonies and their “economic recovery”? The following is what U.S. readers were subjected to yesterday, although no one – no one – was named as the source of the information:

“(NEW YORK) American shoppers came back in force for the holidays, right to the end. After two dreary rears, Christmas 2010 will go down as the holiday Americans rediscovered how much they like to shop. People spent more than expected on family and friends and splurged on themselves, too, an ingredient missing for two years … Consumer confidence is rising.”-

Sounds promising, right? Not really. Today’s report from – yes, NEW YORK – reads like this:

“NEW YORK – US consumer confidence unexpectedly deteriorated in December, hurt by increasing worries about the jobs market, according to a private report released on Tuesday. The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes slipped to 52.5 in December from an upwardly revised 54.3 in November …

“Consumers’ labor market assessment worsened. The ‘jobs hard to get’ index rose in December, while the ‘jobs plentiful’ index dropped – REUTERS” –

So, who should we believe? How about Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, Chairman of the Boston University Department of Economics?

When the Congressional Budget Office projected a budget deficit figure lower than last year’s record $ 1.4 trillion – and mentioned $ 13.3 trillion as the official, and growing, national debt – Professor Kotlikoff stated that the situation is actually much, much worse.

“Forget the official debt,” he said. “The real debt is actually $ 202 trillion, or about 15 times the official numbers.

“Congress has engaged in ‘Enron’ accounting,” said the professor who recently penned an op-ed piece for Bloomberg entitled: “The U.S. is bankrupt and we don’t even know it.”

“Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt,” the article began. “Last month, the International Monetary Fund released its annual review of U.S. economic policy. It’s summary contained these bland words about U.S. fiscal policy: ‘Directors welcomed the authorities’ commitment to fiscal stabilization,’ – but the IMF effectively pronounced the U.S. bankrupt.”

“We need heart surgery on this economy, not putting on more band-aids which is what we’ve been doing,” the professor cautioned. “Barring that, your hard-earned dollars will soon be worthless.”

Heart surgery? Only an Emergency Shipbuilding Program could resuscitate this dying patient.