The federal government has taken several steps to assist lenders and borrowers. Interest rates are at historic lows. The Federal Reserve has pumped billions of dollars into banks.
Some Americans are taking advantage of the available credit to buy cars and houses. They are finding tremendous bargains. But to jump-start the economy there will have to be a significant increase in borrowing that, in turn, will generate more spending.
While interest rates are attractive, there is a great deal of hesitancy by many Americans to go further into debt. This caution is a sign that lessons have been learned from the economic meltdown. Would-be borrowers must decide for themselves what effect more debt might have.
That's prudent, but for those who are in a position to obtain loans -- good credit, steady income -- this is probably the best opportunity they will ever have to make major purchases at low financing costs.
To rebuild a thriving economy, Americans will need to start buying again. Automobiles and homes can be had at bargain prices and with low-cost financing. There are indicators -- a high volume of closings on home mortgages scheduled to be completed before year-end, for example -- that indicate savvy purchasers see the advantages of the current situation.
If more Americans start showing a willingness to take this opportunity to make good investments, the economy will surely start to shake off this sluggishness. The result will be more jobs and a stronger stock market -- both crucial to a real economic recovery.