America’s Potemkin Economy

October 29, 2009

That the US economy has stopped shrinking is certainly good news. But what kind of recovery is this? Strip out Cash for Clunkers and 3Q GDP growth came in at 1.6 percent. Also strip out slowing inventory cuts and GDP would have been just 0.6 percent. Then you have a report that the WH has overestimated the number of jobs created by the stimulus.

More from economist Robert Brusca:

1) But the fact is that inventories are still being cut, not being built up. Although less inventory cutting is a technical boost to GDP the fact of cutting tells us that the economy has not yet turned any corner very sharply.

2) Consumer spending spurted at a 3.4% pace this quarter, spurred important by cash for clunkers. But that program has come and gone and spending levels have SUNK BACK. So consumption is not yet on a strong sustainable expansion path.  … Cash for clunkers carried the quarter. It’s gone in Q4 and spending levels will recede, with GDP growth taking a hit. Will other spending pick up and compensate?

3) Business investment spending was a net negative this quarter and commercial real estate is under pressure – it will be no source of growth. Still business spending on equipment and software turned positive for the first time in six quarters.

4) Government spending rose by 2.3% the fifth highest rise in the last seven quarters. This is not a very good return on our stimulus monies spent. About three-quarters of a trillion dollars has been spent and with no discernable impact on GDP or on jobs.

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And we’re just supposed to trust these Government “reports”?

How can they say we’re out of a recession when home foreclosures are surging still (see http://www.foreclosure.com) and auto repossessions are skyrocketing (see http://www.repofinder.com)?

I’ll trust my magic 8 ball over Government “reports”.

Posted by Mikey | Report as abusive

[...] If you’re like me, and you suspect there’s some hot air behind these numbers, you’re not alone (Reuters): [...]

[...] the $8000.00 first time home buyer tax credit. As Reuters Political Risk bloger James Pethokoukis points out when you strip out Cash for Clunkers 3rd quarter GDP was just 1.6 percent. If you  also strip out [...]

[...] If you’re like me, and you suspect there’s some hot air behind these numbers, you’re not alone (Reuters): [...]

We won’t enter a real recovery until we move from consumption mode to production mode. We produce little if anything of any real value. We make nice nick knacks but that’s about it. We can’t cure Cancer, AIDS, dementia, or anything else with a “financial product”. But we can sure watch others out perform the US in these areas with stunning clarity on a nice plasma screen tv made over seas.

We are magnificent killers. Our military is probably the best in the world. But that’s pretty much the only thing we’re any good at. Or at least, that’s the only thing we show the world we’re good at.