Moreover, with the stimulus tax rebates just beginning to come to taxpayers and the economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve's interest rate reductions to 2 percent during the past few months to take effect with a typical four- to six-month delay, there is a reasonable expectation that these forces will provide some steady, if modest, lift to the economy through the summer and fall.
But perhaps the most hopeful sign for the near term is not to be found in statistics, but rather in the judgment of two prominent experts who are well-known political opponents of George W. Bush. In the past few days, both the nation's richest (and arguably shrewdest) businessman, Warren Buffett, and The New York Times' Princeton economist columnist, Paul Krugman, announced their belief that the worst of the financial crisis may (repeat: may) be past. Of course, as Buffett pointed out, there is much agony left for homeowners facing foreclosure and ruin. But if at least the short-term crisis is past, then the financial institutions will be able to get back to their function of providing regular liquidity for sound business activity. In recent months, banks have been afraid to lend money even for solid business plans. So with business able to borrow and invest and with consumers not losing their jobs, economic life may progress at least at a modest pace through the year.
If this comes to pass -- and the public confidence in the economy stabilizes or improves a little -- although high gas and food prices will continue to rankle, the acute bite of economic fear may dissipate and thereby deny the Democrats the full power of their economic argument against John McCain and the Republican candidates.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.