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Economic Recovery? When? Where?

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On April 26 of this year, Blogcritics was kind enough to publish  Where is the Economic Recovery Obama Promised? Comment #20, by Frivolous D, cited this Gross Domestic Product (GDP) source. The only problem is that Frivolous D’s source ended with 2011. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released GDP figures for the first two quarters of 2012, so I thought a GDP update might prove interesting, especially in light of the current campaign season.

First, let’s examine the GDP growth figures (annualized) for the first two quarters of 2012. The GDP grew at a rate of two percent in the first quarter, and a whopping one point five percent in the second quarter (subsequently downgraded to one point three percent). For perspective, a three percent GDP growth rate (or higher) is needed to create jobs. To say that the GDP growth rate for 2012 is anemic is a gross understatement. Soooooo, we just may have found the reason for Obama’s jobs problem.

Economic forecasters are not forecasting GDP growth rate above two percent in the foreseeable future.

Now let’s focus upon the April-May-June, 2012, quarter, with its one point three percent GDP growth rate. Did y’all Democrats/liberals/progressives know that the GDP growth rate is lower than that in economic powerhouses Pakistan, Egypt, Mexico, Jamaica, Albania, and Cuba. Hyscience says:

“As incredibly hard to do as it sounds, Barack Obama has actually done to America in less than four years what it took Castro over 50 years to do to Cuba … and unlike Castro, Obama has done it without complete dictatorial powers (only partial dictatorial powers from his having usurped the power of Congress):”

Refer to this chart about worldwide GDP (as of February 2012). The USA is number 149 of 185, or about 80 percent of the world is ahead of us.

This Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) graph illustrates economic recoveries from previous recessions, but not from the most recent one. Notice that there was an economic recovery after every recession except the most recent one and the one in 1960 (guess what party was in office then). So, blame the recession on Bush, but the lack of economic recovery can, as the graph timeline illustrates, lies squarely within Obama’s time in office, when his economic policies are in effect.

James Pethokoukis says:

“Given anemic growth and a dead-in-the-water labor market, could it be that this is the worst non-recession, non-depression year in modern U.S. economic history? Maybe even since the birth of the Republic?”

Why, y’all ask, does Pethokoukis say that? Well, the US has not, since the Great Depression, had a sustained level of unemployment (over eight percent). And, since 1930, “there has been no single year with GDP growth as weak as 2012 that wasn’t in recession.”

And the end is not in sight. Consumers reduced buying durable good items (those expected to last three years or longer), items such as automobiles and appliances, and on less durable items like clothing and groceries. In fact, August 2012 saw a drop in orders for durable goods items of 13.2 percent. And, business spending on itself, reffered to as capital goods, fell by 24.3 percent during the same period. Is this a trend? Only time will tell. But the consumer spending drop was the largest in almost four years.

But that’s just my opinion.

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  • Baronius

    Such a terrible article. Comparing growth rates of countries is not the same as comparing conditions of countries. In fact, you know what else? The US is lagging way behind African countries in reducing our malaria rate. Other countries have seen their infection rate plummet, but the US rate has stayed the same for years. Boo Obama!

  • Deano

    …and the jobless rate just fell to 7.8% in September down from 8.1%.

    and the stock market is up!

    Must be the apocalypse.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    and make sure you ignore the improvements in the housing market

  • http://brokebackmountaintribute.blogspot.com/ Jet Researcher Gardner

    Just think Warren, all your friends can refer/link to this nonsensical article to back up their own “factual” articles.

    After all-if it’s published on BC it HAS to be true! (regardless of what your garbage is doing to everyone else here’s credibility by being associated to a website that publishes your propaganda.)

    Soon you’ll be the proud dean of all right-wing media!

  • http://brokebackmountaintribute.blogspot.com/ Jet Hussein’s Research Dept.

    CNBC-WASHINGTON-The U.S. unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time since the month President Barack Obama took office, a surprising lift for both the economy and his re-election hopes in the final weeks of the campaign.

    The rate, the most-watched measure of the country’s economic health, tumbled to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August. It fell because a government survey of households found that 873,000 more people had jobs, the biggest jump since January 2003.

    The government’s other monthly survey, of employers, showed they added a modest 114,000 jobs in September, but it also showed job growth in July and August was stronger than first thought.

    Obama, eager to shift attention from a disappointing performance at the first presidential debate, said Friday that the report showed the country “has come too far to turn back now.”

    The drop brought the jobless rate back to where it was when Obama was sworn in, in January 2009, and snapped a 43-month streak in which unemployment was 8 percent or higher – a run Romney had been emphasizing.

    The October jobs report comes out Nov. 2, four days before the election, so Friday’s report provided one of the final snapshots of the economy as undecided voters make up their minds.

    The government calculates the unemployment rate by calling 60,000 households and asking whether the adults have jobs, and whether those who don’t are looking for work.

    The Labor Department raised its job-creation figures by a total of 86,000 jobs for July and August. The July figure was revised from 141,000 to 181,000, and the August figure from 96,000 to 142,000.

    Taken together, the two surveys suggest the job situation in the United States is better than was thought.

  • http://brokebackmountaintribute.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Lets paraphrase the economy like this. The economy is a big lumbering Boeing 747 flying at 30,000 feet. Terrorist George Bush shoots the flight crew and the jet nosedives towards the ground, in the process burning out one of the engines (housing starts). The passengers (stock Market) panic and give up hope at 8,500. Obama rushes into the cockpit and levels the plane (stock market) and then as the jet gains altitude up to around 15,000 and people calm down and gain hope of a safe landing,

    Bush’s representative Romney starts bitching loudly that the jet isn’t back flying at 30,000 feet where it was before-ignoring the fact the Obama prevented the jet from crashing and the banking and stock markets are still alive and thriving instead of being dead!!!

  • Baronius

    The thing is, Warren’s right that the economy is sickly. Republicans predicted that Obama’s policies would have no effect but to raise the debt and delay the recovery, and sure enough we’ve had unprecedented debt and an anemic recovery. Obama’s economy has been at close to twice the unemployment rate as his recent predecessors. The doctor’s been smothering the patient with a pillow for four years, and we’re supposed to thank him if the patient survives?

    About half the time that there are two sub-2.0% quarters in a row, there’s a recession. That’s not going to happen this time. The reason, sadly, is because the construction industry and housing market haven’t rebounded enough from the last recession to create a shock when they contract. But I could be wrong; the drop in durable goods could trigger the classic business-cycle spasm.

    My problem with the article is that Warren fails to depict what’s actually happening, at least in a fair way. I’m getting sick of people scoring cheap points on either side. The truth is enough to induce the kind of pained, apologetic look that the President showed in the recent debate. There’s no reason to pile on with distortions.

  • Clav

    I’m amused that everyone, from the BLS to the most ignorant man in the street, quotes the U3 rate as THE unemployment rate. The real unemployment rate, the U6; the one that counts “discouraged” workers (who have, after months and months of fruitless search, given up looking altogether), and the workers who are part time, not by choice but because of inability to find full time work. That rate, which did not budge, remains at 14.7 percent.

    And some economists are publicly questioning the sudden drop of the U3 rate in the face of an increase in jobs of only 114,000; the U3 rate should have gone up (or at least remained static) with such an anemic jobs report, but no, even before Obama is finished wiping Wednesday’s egg off his face, the “unemployment rate” miraculously drops.

    Go figure.

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment #7, Baronius, you say, “My problem with the article is that Warren fails to depict what’s actually happening, at least in a fair way.” Does that mean that we can expect an article from you in the near future explaining what has actually happened in a fair way?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Warren, why should Baronius have to do your job for you?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    The real unemployment rate, the U6; the one that counts “discouraged” workers (who have, after months and months of fruitless search, given up looking altogether)

    As I believe I’ve said before, I’m highly sceptical of the U6 figure because it seems unreliable as an indicator of mood among the long-term unemployed.

    My major objection is this: How is the U6 measured? How do you separate out those who have genuinely given up looking for work from those who are still looking but whose unemployment benefits have run out and have stopped reporting their job search efforts because what’s the point if there’s nothing in it for them?

  • Clav

    You raise an interesting issue, Doc, I don’t know how it’s determined or even whether there is a method, or whether, as in so many government endeavors, some nameless minor league bureaucrat deep in the bowels of a federal building in some backwater like Fargo or Helena simply tosses darts at a dart board to get the numbers.

    But, methodical or haphazard, I personally don’t doubt for a moment that the “real” number of unemployed in this country far exceeds that U3 number.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Oh, there undoubtedly is a method, Clav – the feds are very big on formulas. The dartboard, here, is probably the realization that their political masters are going to want the unemployment stats served up every which way, so that they can quote whichever version shows them in the best light.

    Every measure of the unemployment rate is bound to have shortcomings because the differentiation between the unwillingly and voluntarily unemployed has to be, at some point, arbitrary. There’s no special reason why the U6 number should be perceived as having any more (or less) integrity than Us 1 through 5.

    In this case, the stats are most likely compiled from reports by the 50 states, all of whom run their unemployment insurance programs slightly differently.

  • http://brokebackmountaintribute.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    I guess no one read the bold part of comment five…

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 1, Baronius, truth hurts, doesn’t it? And all you can do is try to hide behind a disease that was never a major problem in this country. You remind me of Obama trying to debate, but he had nowhere to hide.

    Re: comment # 2, Deano, first, you must believe that the BLS is on the up-and-up. Then you need to be aware of what fellow Democrat Bill Clinton had to say about unemployment – Obama should have it so good.

    Re: comment # 3, EB, you must be referring to this article.

    Re: comment # 4, Jet, please cite sources to show me how I got my facts incorrect.

    Re: comment # 5, Jet, refer to my response to comment # 2 above. (BTW, Jet, glad to see (seriously) that you are doing better)

    Re: comment # 8, Clav, you are correct – the U-6 rate is much more indicative of what’s truly going on with this economy – if the BLS is to be believed.

    Re: comment # 10, Doc, I obviously can’t do it. Only Baronius can since only he knows what actually happened. (said sarcastically)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Warren’s need to flag his own sarcasm is quite charming, especially since he failed completely to detect Baronius’s in comment #1…

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 16, Doc, WOW! You really put me in my place with your remark. (said sarcastically) Whether Baronius’ comment # 1 was sarcastic or not, it fell flat. If comment # 1 WAS sarcastic, then please help me withn the point Baronius was makiing.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I don’t particularly care whether I put you in your place, Warren, assuming you have one.

    Baronius’s comment fell flat for you because you missed the sarcasm. It didn’t for me.

    His point (which, incidentally, is a conservative one) was that it is unfair and misleading to compare the USA’s GDP growth unfavourably with places like Pakistan and Albania, because those countries have so much more scope for growth. It’s like criticizing a 60-year-old man because he didn’t learn as many new things in the past year as his 7-year-old grandson who’s in first grade.

    There. I do hope the spoon I just fed that to you on wasn’t too large…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Republicans predicted that Obama’s policies would have no effect but to raise the debt and delay the recovery, and sure enough we’ve had unprecedented debt and an anemic recovery.

    And the Republicans did their damnedest to make sure of it, too…or didn’t you notice their lockstep opposition to almost everything that Obama tried to make happen?

    After Obama took the oath of office, the Democrats only had a ‘supermajority’ for 72 congressional in-session days before the Republicans could shut things down at will, so you can’t say that the Democrats had two full years to make things happen.

    And you can’t say that Obama wasn’t being bipartisan. Just last year, John Boehner bragged that he was getting 98% of what he wanted in the debt-ceiling debate…but even then the Tea Party caucus wouldn’t support him because he was giving Obama an inch for the mile that Obama was giving the GOP!

    In other words, Mitch McConnell was absolutely serious when he said that their top priority was making Obama a one-term president, because that mission certainly took priority over little things like working towards bringing our economy back. Why? Because they knew that after the Great Recession, if they HAD worked with the Dems to bring the economy back, they’d have zero hopes of winning the White House at all.

    It was Party-uber-alles…and anything that helped the Party was much more important than anything that would help the economy.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, wny don’t you ever quote the rest of that McConnell interview, where he said that he would work with the President if he brought forward something that they could work with?

    But I guess your memory isn’t 100%. See, I remember back when you used to say that, as a military man, you believed in holding the man at the top responsible. Whatever happens on his watch is his to answer for. Gosh, you seem to have forgotten about that. How long has it been since you said that? More than three years, easily. Not quite four though.

  • Dr Dreadful

    But that gives McConnell a permanent out, Baronius, doesn’t it? Anything the President brings forward he can say it isn’t something they can work with.

  • Baronius

    Dread – Well, obviously he could say that anyway. My point was about the use of that interview. It’s not fair to use an interview to imply that McConnell wouldn’t work with the President when the interview contains a statement to the contrary. If you want to make the case that McConnell didn’t work with the President, feel free, but don’t quote him from an interview in which he said that he’d work with the President.

    Ditto, don’t say that the Republicans wouldn’t work with the President while quoting the Republican Speaker of the House talking about a deal he and the President made. You can argue that the President gave more than he should have, but that’s not the same thing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Glenn, wny don’t you ever quote the rest of that McConnell interview, where he said that he would work with the President if he brought forward something that they could work with?

    Actions speak louder than words. I included Boehner’s “98% declaration” to show just how accurate McConnell’s claim was, and whatever McConnell may have said later in the same speech pales before the actions of the Republicans in Congress since Obama took office.

    I’ve noted many times that Obama’s faced the most obstructionist Congress since the Civil War. No president since then ever had to deal with a Congress so divided, as the record number of filibusters by Republicans – even of bills concerning items that were never controversial before. They filibustered bills that they themselves co-sponsored – like the Cybersecurity Act. Why did they filibuster it? Because they could not include on the bill a rider to defund Obamacare.

    THEN there was the “Bring Jobs Home Act” that gave tax credits to companies that would insource jobs to America from overseas. Why was it filibustered? Because the Dems wouldn’t include a Republican amendment to defund Obamacare. Sound familiar?

    Baronius, the Republicans really, truly did put party above country. The Republicans of Reagan’s day would not have done this – Reagan himself famously worked with the Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to get things done. But now?

    This is something to think about, Baronius. The day he took office, Obama faced a situation that was worse than anything seen by the other presidents except for FDR, Lincoln, and the Founding Fathers – an economy in free fall, two ongoing wars, and a Congress that did NOT give him the traditional ‘honeymoon’, but instead an opposition party that used what was far and away a record number of filibusters…and the examples I provided above should be more than enough to show that yes, the Republicans DID put party above country.

  • Deano

    What I think and know about the BLS doesn’t matter squat. If you believe in the capitalist ethos, then look to your own stock market reaction – it went up on the unemployment news – the market believes in the numbers. If they thought the numbers were subject to scams or manipulation, they would be discounting those stats and responding accordingly.

    If you don’t believe in the veracity of a long-standing and solid statistical analysis structure (that pre-dates Obama), then believe in your own much vaunted “wisdom of the marketplace”…

    It’s interesting that the stupidity level seems to blossom so thoroughly during US election season.

  • Baronius

    No, Glenn, actions speak louder than words in McConnell’s case where the words contradict your argument. Words speak louder than actions in Boehner’s case where the actions contradict your argument. Anything that supports your argument speaks louder than anything that contradicts your argument.

    And your party vs. country dichotomy is false. Republicans and Democrats genuinely believe that their principles are the best for our country’s health, but they do believe different things. It’s not putting party before country when a party does what they think is best for the country. So basically, your argument is “they didn’t do what I would have done, so it was sabotage”. That’s not likely to persuade anyone who disagrees with you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    So basically, your argument is “they didn’t do what I would have done, so it was sabotage”.

    That would have been a good argument if the examples I pointed out hadn’t all been instances where the normal Republican or conservative should have been jumping up and down with joy to support what they wound up filibustering instead.

    Any normal Republican SHOULD have been ecstatic to get 98% of a negotiation with the president – as Boehner certainly was – but the Tea Party would not go along with the remaining 2%.

    Any normal Republican SHOULD have been more than happy with the “Bring Jobs Home Act”…but they filibustered it instead.

    Any normal Republican SHOULD have been happy to fund the health care for the 9/11 first responders, which would have been funded by taking away the tax breaks that some companies get for outsourcing jobs overseas…but they filibustered it instead.

    And let’s not forget that it wasn’t until Obama’s election that the conservatives really rejected what had been their own ideas: the individual mandate and cap-and-trade.

    What happened, Baronius, was that the Republican elite knew very well that if Obama was able to bring the economy back, then the pattern would have been set: Hoover’s Great Depression, and FDR’s (eventual) recovery. Bush 41’s recession, and Clinton’s 1990’s boom. Add a third instance to that, and there’s suddenly a pattern that even low-information voters can see. In order to save the future of the Republican party, they had to damage the Obama presidency as much as they could get away with.

    Yes, they told themselves that this was for the good of the country…and they believed it. Their belief allowed them to reject and oppose everything Obama supported even when it was a purely Republican idea or was always part of the Republican mindset.

    They didn’t believe that they were putting party above country…but that’s what they did.

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Not the liberal actor

    Have any of y’all noticed themes in Glenn’s comments? They are ALL (1) nonsensical and off-subject, or (2) about how Republicans filibustered every bill Obama and Democrats offered (never mind that Obama had a filibuster-proof Congress during his first two years), or (3) how his version of history somehow differs from what actually happened, or (4) combinations of the above.

  • Baronius

    Boehner was, by all accounts, not happy at all with the final deal. If you’ve ever been in a negotiation, you know that the guy who walks out saying that he got 98% of what he wanted is trying to put a good face on something he didn’t like, trying to sell something to skeptics.

    But more to the point: you say that “the Republican elite knew very well that if Obama was able to bring the economy back, then the pattern would have been set…”. What are you referring to? Not health care for the 9/11 first responders or cap-and-trade. They weren’t going to turn around the economy. Maybe you’re referring to the Bring Jobs Home Act – but typically a piece of legislation that’s supported by the AFL-CIO and opposed by the US Chamber of Commerce isn’t a natural for Republican support. So that leaves the individual mandate. Surely you can admit that there was more to the health care act than the individual mandate? Some things that the Republicans have consistently objected to?

    I don’t believe that you can accuse someone of bad faith for doing something that’s consistent with his beliefs.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Warren –

    (1) nonsensical and off-subject,

    Or perhaps you either don’t have the wherewithal to understand my points, or you choose not to do so. I’d say it’s probably the latter.

    or (2) about how Republicans filibustered every bill Obama and Democrats offered (never mind that Obama had a filibuster-proof Congress during his first two years),

    Actually, while Obama had a majority in the Senate for two years, he only had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for about four months and nine days, wherein the Senate was in session about 72 days. But don’t let little things like FACTS get in your way now, Warren.

    or (3) how his version of history somehow differs from what actually happened,

    Such as? Feel free to point out my errors.

    or (4) combinations of the above.

    Warren, everything I say IS wrong…IF you are unable to listen to anything outside the right-wing echo chamber.

    Here’s a bit of a lesson in humanity for you. Everyone is right sometimes, and wrong sometimes. To claim that this or that person is always wrong is in and of itself a fallacious claim. That said, more than anyone else here on BC, I’ve owned up to my own errors and been thankful to those who pointed them out. You might say that it’s pride in my humility, but I’d rather think it’s that I’m secure enough within myself to own up to what I do that is wrong. I look at it like chess – very few people can improve their game if they never lose. That’s why I like Clavos – he’s sometimes able to metaphorically take me out behind the woodshed (which is how I tend to learn), and I’ve got no problem saying his skills are greater than my own…but he’s also able to laugh at himself. That counts for a lot in my book.

    So what does that say about you? Are you always right? No? Then why don’t you own up to when you’re wrong? After all, we’ve pointed it out enough times. Why can you not admit when you’re wrong? Is it pride? Or insecurity? Or both?

    It’s not for me to answer that question, Warren. It’s for you, the very next time you look in the mirror.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    I don’t believe that you can accuse someone of bad faith for doing something that’s consistent with his beliefs.

    I listed several examples of items that were quite consistent with Republican beliefs, yet were filibustered by the Republicans anyway. Yes, I do accuse them of ‘bad faith’.

    I didn’t claim that any one of those would have turned the American economy around. Here’s one that would have made a significant difference – the American Jobs Act:

    – Moody’s Analytics estimated the American Jobs Act would create 1.9 million jobs and add two percent to gross domestic product.
    – The Economic Policy Institute estimated it would create 2.6 million jobs and protect an addition 1.6 million existing jobs.
    – Macroeconomic Advisers predicted it would create 2.1 million jobs and boost GDP by 1.5 percent.
    – Goldman Sachs estimated it would add 1.5 percent to GDP.

    Of course it was successfully filibustered by the Republicans. Again, Obama faced a situation when he took the oath of office, the severity of which was not faced by any other president except for FDR, Lincoln, and the Founding Fathers. Do you dispute that?

    I’ll let you answer that before I continue.

  • Dr Dreadful

    If you’ve ever been in a negotiation, you know that the guy who walks out saying that he got 98% of what he wanted is trying to put a good face on something he didn’t like, trying to sell something to skeptics.

    That may be so, but if you’ve ever been in a negotiation you also know the whole point is that there are two (and perhaps more) sides around the table who want different things but are at least marginally prepared to accept that they might have to compromise a bit. Except on very rare occasions, you’re not going to get everything you wanted. If you won’t accept that simple truth, you might as well go to war instead.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, we’re going in circles. You say that McConnell and Boehner had no intention of working with Obama. When I cite that they did, you say that the Republicans purposefully sabotaged the President’s economic plan. When I point out that most of your examples have nothing to do with the President’s economic plan and question whether the health care bill really was so Republican-friendly, you deny that that’s what you said, modify your claim, and switch examples. So what happens next? My guess is that I’d look into your latest claim and find it false, then you’d pivot a little bit again and throw another accusation at me. It’s boring.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    No, we’re not going around in circles. You’re simply trying your level best to find ways to excuse what the GOP elites have done. It’s only ‘boring’ to you because I keep shooting down those excuses.

    You say that McConnell and Boehner had no intention of working with Obama. When I cite that they did, you say that the Republicans purposefully sabotaged the President’s economic plan.

    Oh? If they were so intent on working with Obama, then explain why they used a number of filibusters unprecedented in American history…including on every economics-related bill I can think of over the past three years.

    When I point out that most of your examples have nothing to do with the President’s economic plan and question whether the health care bill really was so Republican-friendly, you deny that that’s what you said, modify your claim, and switch examples.

    No, YOU asserted that I claimed the initial examples I listed – cap-and-trade, individual mandate and whatever – were going to ‘turn around the economy’. I said no such thing before a single such example in comment #30 – go back and read our various comments again, slowly and carefully. The examples I listed were to show that Republicans were going against issues that they had supported or were their ideas to begin with, all to oppose Obama.

    And when it comes to Obamacare, do you not know that one of the ROMNEY advisers who helped design Romneycare for Massachusetts said about Obamacare as compared to Romneycare, “It’s the same fucking bill.”

    So are you going to try to tell me that Obamacare is really such an antithesis to the GOP when it’s a virtual copy of the one implemented by the GOP presidential nominee – the putative HEAD of the GOP? C’mon, Baronius – get real, please!