April 17, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Comment (041708)

This doesn’t prove or disprove the existence of a recession, but I don’t recall heavy-hitter companies in the not-actual recession of 2000-2001 (a recession requires two consecutive quarters of negative growth; it didn’t happen), or the real recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s, delivering rosy results and outlooks. But that is what came in from IBM, as well as Coke and Intel, which announced quarterly results yesterday. JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo also beat reduced expectations.


The presidential candidate I refer to as Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters) is back to wearing a flag lapel (HT and verification at Hot Air). Well, yes and no. Neither Obama nor the presidential candidate I refer to HR4C (Hillary Rodham Cackling Crying Complaining Clinton) was, as far as I can tell, wearing one at last night’s debate mutual meltdown (WSJ: “It didn’t take long during last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to see who the winner would be: John McCain”). Perhaps there was a “don’t disturb the lefties; no patriotic displays” rule in effect.

Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Jim Wooten predicted the pin would make a comeback during Obama’s race-relations Jeremiah Wright recovery speech. Wooten was just early on the timing. I guess it took longer for Obama’s slow-on-the-uptake handlers to realize that the Wright-related salvage efforts weren’t working.

Allah at Hot Air’s reminder (link added by me):

Conservatives naturally were blamed for making an issue of this last fall but in fact Obama’s the one who politicized it by investing the pin with such grandiose meaning that he simply had to stop wearing it in good conscience.


Mark Steyn at the Corner noted a case in Canada where, in the process of punishing McDonald’s for failing to accommodate an employee with a disability, the geniuses on the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ignored hundreds if not thousands of years of human experience and scientific data.

It found no evidence that there is a “relationship between food contamination and hand-washing.”


The BBC reports about the world’s biggest polluter:

China has already overtaken the US as the world’s “biggest polluter”, a report to be published next month says.
The research suggests the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have been underestimated, and probably passed those of the US in 2006-2007.

Yours truly noted this situation last June (final item at link; original UK Guardian article is here).

The world’s biggest polluter wants hundreds of billions of dollars from the West (that means the US, for all practical purposes) to help it become less of a polluter.

I would suggest that we have already given it to them in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars in trade surpluses over the years. If it’s that important, the world should be saying “You have the money to do it, so spend it already.” But it won’t.



  1. Tom,

    Don’t know if you noticed, but NRO’s Campaign Spot in talking about last nights debate posted a link to your entries about Obama’s church bulletins. Cool.

    Comment by largebill — April 17, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  2. #2, No I didn’t. My detection methods are sometimes a bit slow.

    Thanks for the heads-up…..

    Just read his entry. OMG, I didn’t know Hillary actually mentioned the church bulletin yours truly originally brought out.

    I think this means I’m not on Tim Russo’s Christmas list. :–>

    Comment by TBlumer — April 17, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  3. Hate to burst your bubble regarding the definition of recessions, but the organization that officially dates them, the NBER (http://www.nber.org/cycles.html) “does not define a recession in terms of two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. Rather, a recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” I’d take their definition — since they actually do the dating — over any website’s. And, for the record, it looks like most of the metrics they rely on have peaked (though this week’s surprise print on Industrial Production was certainly welcome news).

    Comment by Invictus — April 17, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  4. #3, I think the investorwords.com definition, which was universally used until at least the mid-1980s, is right, and NBER isn’t.

    I have blogged on it here in March 2006 (with an Oct. 2007 update) — “On the Timing (and Existence) of the Last Recession.”

    Even if I buy that there was a recession according to NBER’s definition (as I said, I don’t buy their definition), they blew it on the timing.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 17, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  5. Interesting stuff. I noted in your previous post when I clicked through to it that you mentioned “June 2000 through February 2001 (a nine-month period), the economy only added 612,000 jobs — a tepid performance well below the rate of growth in the workforce.” First, it seems that the 612,000 has been revised upward to 645,000, but that’s neither here nor there. What’s interesting is that it was not until January 2001 that the nine month job total actually fell under 1MM jobs (it was 809 in Jan ’01). Other than in that “handoff” month, Clinton did not have ANY nine month period during which nonfarm payrolls summed to less than 1MM. Bush has had 46 such periods (not counting Jan ’01) out of 86 rolling nine month periods, or more than half the time. Clinton also produced about 237k jobs on average, while the Bush Boom has produced less than 65k per month. Impressive performance by W.

    Comment by Invictus — April 18, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  6. #5, I looked at the jobs comparison here in Jan. 2007:

    Bush Economy Long-Term Employment Growth Is Looking Quite ‘Clintonian’

    Re your take:
    - No Bush budget took effect until Oct. 2001, and he didn’t create the bubble that was bursting that year. I have consistently said that you can’t start playing the blame game on an admin or a congress until a budget they passed takes effect.
    - Unless you’re a truther and think Bush is responsible, the 9-11 attacks set the economy back 6-12 months. I would argue 12.
    - Bush 43′s 2001 cuts weren’t structural and investment-oriented, and thus didn’t have the desired impact (unfortunately, we’re mostly making the same mistake again this year instead of cutting rates across the board again, which is what finally got the expansion going full throttle in 2003, and would work this time too). Bush and Congress should have cut rates across the board after 9-11, maybe even retroactively to 1-1-01.
    - Clinton benefitted from the fact that the 1990-1991 recession was already in the rear-view mirror when he took office. Bush 41, to be consistent, deserves the credit for the first three Qs of 1993.

    From current data (updated since the table at the post), I count 8.2 million jobs added in the 4-1/2 years from June 2003, when they finally got the tax structure reasonably right, to Dec. 2007. That’s 150K per month.

    Something that’s never brought up about the Clinton admin job-growth numbers is how much GOP-inspired welfare reform contributed to them. The number of families on welfare dropped by about 2.3 million from 1996-2000, meaning at least that many people entered the workforce (and probably more, since a lot of teen-aged family members probably started getting into the workforce sooner). The multiplier effect of having so many new producers instead of non-producers may have added a million or so more jobs. Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming into signing Welfare Reform, but of course takes credit for it like it was his idea now, and considers it part of his legacy. Go figure.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 18, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

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