Want to see something spinning faster than a gas turbine engine? Try media coverage of GDP.
Not just here in ‘Merica, but overseas as well.
Take England where the GDP is written of this way: “Brexit latest: GDP growth slumps to 0.3% in first quarter of 2017.” Pretty ballsy conclusion, I’d have to say, since BREXIT hasn’t happened yet. Seems more likely the PTB are using British GDP as a lever to whip the May government out of trying to leave the megalomaniac club (the EU). (Today’s nominee for EU theme song here, although they are not really smooth operators.)
(More after the ad)
Similarly, we have other examples of how easily spun GDP is.
Take the Reuters story about how “Frugal U.S. consumers seen holding back first-quarter GDP.”
On the surface, most people would let it slide right on by. But since I’m one of those dime-a-dozen MBA types, I have been trained to be a bit more clear-headed than allow such conclusions to pass as “reality” unchecked.
Are “Frugal U.S. consumers” to blame?
No, VICTIMIZED U.S. CONSUMERS is more like it.
Want to know why GDP slowed? Higher taxes and the huge bite of OBAMACARE which screwed real disposable incomes. When people have less money to spend that’s not the hashtag for #frugal. No sir, m’am, or none-of-the-above.
The meaning of frugal is a decision not to spend. It might be argued that we made a de facto decision to be poor when we elected idiots to office, but that’s a stretch. Slowing GDP is – in our view – a natural consequence of loading people down to work for the insurance companies who now have a government edict that everyone pay them.
They ain’t doing healthcare for charity.
Then, toss in the most recent Fed rate hike rolling into the economy and where the f*** does frugal figure in? I’m amazed.
But clarity is not well-known in journalism these days. A reporter might hear a term like “frugal consumers” from a source and assume the source has a clue. I lost count, long ago, of the number of sources who knew more about their expertise than the reporter asking reasonable questions.
With my blood pressure resuming more normal readings now, let’s go into the mish-mash of GDP data and see what’s really going on…
“Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017
(table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2016, real GDP increased 2.1 percent.
The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 2). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 26, 2017.
Or Lordy is this exciting, or what? Photo Op, anyone?
Of interest to your checkbook:
Current-dollar personal income increased $161.9 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase
of $154.6 billion in the fourth. The acceleration in personal income primarily reflected an acceleration in
government social benefits to persons that was partly offset by a downturn in personal dividend income.
Disposable personal income increased $121.0 billion, or 3.4 percent, in the first quarter, compared with
an increase of $141.6 billion, or 4.1 percent, in the fourth. Real disposable personal income increased
1.0 percent, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent.
Personal saving was $814.2 billion in the first quarter, compared with $778.9 billion in the fourth. The
personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 5.7 percent
in the first quarter, compared with 5.5 percent in the fourth.
File under “yeah, sure, you betcha…”
UN Korea Talks Coming
From this morning’s WaPo: “UN Security Council to discuss North Korea nuclear program.”
Remember, the Korean war as fought to a stand-still, not a durable peace. Consider productive paranoia, now.
The Angle the NT Times Missed
But they really missed the fun angle to the story. And that is?
Bet me a six-pack that the Secret Service will put everyone entering the speech hall through metal detectors on the way in and they will enforce total no-carry in the vicinity.
So goes the reality of guns and the presidency.
Sanitizing the Facts Dept.
One woman shot and hospitalized and four arrested in an “active terrorism plot: that was disrupted in England overnight. We note that the suspects are not identified by name or religion, but we’re suspicious that it will turn out to be Islamic extremists, yet again. A neighbor at the arrest site was quoted as “...the family who lived at the house were from Somalia.”
To me, that’s a clue.
The Brits, overcome by political correctness disease, and led by people incapable of clear thought, seem unable to follow one of the great lessons of the civil rights movement in America from the 1960’s.
Does the phrase “tell it like it is” mean anything? Well, maybe not in today’s world…but it’s where real change sprang from.
What’s “Wage Equality?”
A couple of data points from the Labor Department Employment Cost Index report out this morning:
Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2017. In March 2016, compensation costs increased 1.9 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.5 percent for the current 12-month period and increased 2.0 percent for the 12-month
period ending in March 2016. Benefit costs increased 2.2 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2017. In March 2016, the increase was 1.7 percent.
Now let’s compare that with…
State and Local Government Workers
Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.6 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2017. In March 2016, the increase was 2.4 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.2 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2017, higher than the March 2016 increase of 1.8 percent. Benefit costs increased 3.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2017. The prior year’s increase was 3.5 percent.
Which again proves, if you really want to get well paid, quit your silly-ass private sector gig and become a government worker as fast as possible. The big money is for the ruling class, as always.
$400,000 Worth of Double Talk
Here’s what I don’t get: Why would ANYONE pay to have a person who started several wars. Even the L.A. Times recalls “He launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.” He has kept his Nobel Peace Prize, too.
Secretly, I’ve started keeping a list of companies that have so much money they can dish out almost half a million per speech. I won’t do business with them, I call it “voting with your wallet.”
If A&E has so much dough they can slosh it around on Obama, why would I toss even more money in that hopper by including them in by TV viewing habits? I won’t. Would I do business with Cantor Fitzgerald now? (Go ahead, see if you can figure the answer without prompting from the assembled multitude…)
The most powerful vote we cast is not at the polls. It’s the election every day where we cast ballots with dollar bills.
How are YOU going to vote today?
Dow futures are pointing to a 25 point jump at the open for God knows why. Except maybe Barnum was right and there is one born every minute.
Well, except Barnum never said it:
Some sources claim the quote is most likely from famous con-man Joseph (“Paper Collar Joe”) Bessimer, and other sources say it was actually uttered by David Hannum, spoken in reference to Barnum’s part in the Cardiff Giant hoax. Hannum, who was exhibiting the “original” giant and had unsuccessfully sued Barnum for exhibiting a copy and claiming it was the original, was referring to the crowds continuing to pay to see Barnum’s exhibit even after both it and the original had been proven to be fakes.
Gonna be that kind of day, eh?