Thursday, September 27, 2012

Obama's Economy: GDP 1.3%, Jobless Claims 359K, Durable Goods -13.2%

Obama's economy continues apace- into the toilet.  Out today, Jobless Claims were "at the lowest level since July" (yeah, that's a long time back) at 359,000.  And that was the good news.  GDP, already "growing" at the glacial pace of 1.7% for Q2 was revised downward to a near-dead 1.3%.  Orders for durable goods dropped a jaw-dropping 13%.

Now, it would be easy to make this about the president- and the blame is certainly his.  His party took over the US Congress (both houses) in 2007.  It was their legislative policies which largely controlled what happened to the economy after that date.  The held super-majorities in both houses, plus the presidency, beginning in January 2009 and continuing all the way through 2010.  President Obama got every single thing he asked for, and more.

Despite that, and it's a valid point, I think it is more important to focus on what those numbers mean.

The "good news" from today's numbers is that 359,000 people don't have jobs today who had them this time last week.  That's 359,000 families who are having to cut back- most of them to cut further back.  Many of these, because so many families now are, were one-income families.  Now they are no income families.  Certainly unemployment benefits are available to most of them, and those benefits will do some to help, but long-term unemployment is still a huge factor in today's economy- there are no guarantees that any of these people will find work before their unemployment benefits run out.

The GDP revision, down to 1.3% growth from 1.7% is bad news.  We're at the tipping point of re-entering a recession, if we ever truly came out of the last one.  It's not just our economy that is slowing down, either.  China and Japan are both looking at bleak economic news as well.  That's on top of the economic catastrophes that are Greece and Spain.  All in all, the world is on the cusp of economic disaster, and it may already be too late to prevent it.

If the GDP revision is bad news, the Durable Goods number is catastrophic, and maybe apocalyptic.  Where employment is a trailing indicator, durable goods are a leading indicator of where the economy is heading.  If people and companies purchased 13% less durable goods last month than the month before, it's because they see no need for them, no way to pay for them, or both.  Those are more jobs which will be lost in the future, and fewer current jobless who will be able to find jobs.

Every one of these number is catastrophic for American families.  For four years we've lived in economic horror and insecurity.  In six weeks, we have a chance for change.  Economically, there are only two things that can believed of Barack Obama- he's inept, or he's a menace.  Those are the only two options, and America can afford neither.

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