February 14, 2008
The W-shaped recession
There’s “a lot of skepticism in the country” about the effectiveness of the just-signed fiscal stimulus package, says Rex Nutting in MarketWatch. But most “economists who’ve crunched the numbers” expect the rebates to act like a midyear “shot of caffeine” for the economy, effectively creating “a second holiday shopping season.” In fact, some think it “might work almost too well,” leading to a W-shaped “double-dip” recovery. This might make for a good summer for retailers, but it poses “a nightmare for the Fed,” which must now gear its monetary policy toward a “big letdown” in early 2009—and it can’t know “how big that letdown will be.”
Don’t mix love and money
Those “looking online for a sweetheart” need to watch out for wolves in Valentines’ clothing, says Michelle Singletary in The Washington Post. A pervasive “Sweetheart Swindle” bilked “lovesick victims” out of more than $3,000 apiece last year by using trust gained through an online courtship to pry cash “loans.” But the same rules that apply to the scam apply to “anyone you’re romantically interested in.” The main rule: never lend or give your honey “a significant amount of cash,” and “certainly don’t ever borrow” to do it. “If your honey needs money,” step back and passively watch how “he or she handles a financial crisis.” You might learn a lot.