Domination or Deflation?

Recently I had the opportunity to attend two region meetings hosted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. The meetings were well-planned, well-attended and well-executed. Inside INdiana Business President Gerry Dick presented at both and did a splendid job of showcasing the success of businesses in Indiana vs. other states.

At the first meeting, the featured speaker was Dr. Stephen Happel, associate dean and professor in the College of Business, Arizona State University. I have heard him speak several times during the past decade, and I always look forward to listening to him.

The keynote at the second meeting was John Herrman, senior economist with Capula Investment Management LLP, headquartered in London. I had not heard him speak before. While his delivery was less animated than Dr. Happel’s, I was very interested in what John had to say.

These two economists were as different as night and day, but they arrived at the same conclusion: That the United States is poised on the brink of increasing its economic domination of the world. The only impediment is whether the politicians in Washington will continue to exert their influence negatively, thus killing our recovery and hurling us into a Japan-like 20-year stagflation … or, worse yet, deflation.

On the one hand, Happel — an unapologetic fan of the late Milton Friedman — thinks that everything Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has done, is doing, and likely will continue to do, is wrong. On the other hand, Herrman touts Bernanke as an economic genius who is shepherding the United States out of the recession and into increased world economic domination.

One foe and one fan of Bernanke, but both are bullish on the U.S. economy. A chart displayed at one of the meetings summarizes the story. It depicts the United States making up 21.5 percent of the world gross domestic product (GDP). All of the Euro Zone nations combined amount to 18.8 percent GDP, with China hovering at 10.5 percent. With Europe in economic chaos, and China experiencing economic slowdown, the time is ripe for the United States to snatch more market share.

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