With the weight of the housing, credit and financial woes that are threatening to push the country into a deep recession on his back, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke climbed Capital Hill on Wednesday with some bad news. He told the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that "It now appears likely that gross domestic product (GDP) will not grow much, if at all, over the first half of 2008 and could even contract slightly." By one definition of the word, six consecutive months of decline in the GDP (the value of all goods and services produced in the United States) constitutes a recession.
The news, however, was not all bad. Bernanke also voiced his optimism for the second half of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. "Much necessary economic and financial adjustment has already taken place, and monetary and fiscal policies are in train that should support a return to growth in the second half of this year and next year," Bernanke said. He was referring, in part, to the recently passed $168 billio... [Read Full Article]