The 2006 Economic Report of the President: Comment on Chapter One (the Year in Review) and Chapter Six (the Capital Account Surplus)
15 Pages Posted: 21 May 2006 Last revised: 14 Jul 2009
Date Written: April 2006
This paper is an analytic comment on two chapters of the Economic Report of the President for 2006. Chapter One deals with the economy in 2005 and the outlook for the future. The chapter provides a detailed analysis of the expansion in 2005 but not an explanation of why the expansion occurred despite the sharp rise in oil prices. I discuss the role of easy money in stimulating mortgage borrowing which generated negative savings in 2005. Looking ahead, I comment on the risk to inflation implied by the rising unit labor costs over the past four years. Chapter six deals with the international position of the United States. It provides a useful analysis of capital flows to the United States and the reasons why other countries have current account surpluses. It does not deal with the role of the dollar or the nature of the adjustment that might occur to reduce the US current account deficit. I present some comments on those issues.
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By Yi Wen