December 1, 2008

NBER Goes into the Tank; Says Recession Began and Remained in Effect Through Two Quarters of Growth

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:04 pm

I’m feeling ill and would otherwise comment on this further.

The National Bureau of Economic Research says that a recession began in December 2007.

Economic growth in the first quarter of 2008 was 0.9%.

Economic growth in the second quarter of 2008 was 2.8%.

I could possibly accept a recession call if the second quarter came in at about the same level as the first. But it didn’t. Not even close.

As it is, the NBER is, to use a technical term, officially full of crap, and should once and for all become a national laughingstock. You can’t have nearly 3% growth in a quarter and claim that a recession remained in progress during the entire quarter. Double-dip? Maybe. Continuous recession? Forget it.

Keep in mind that I have been blaming the POR economy led by Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid for the recession that, while not yet official under the normal people definition, more than likely began in June. It would be very easy and politically convenient to retroactively shift the blame to P-O-R all the way back to December 2007, as that month was during the first quarter of the first budget the Pelosi-Reid Congress passed. But I’m not going to do it. Yes, they did some damage in the fourth quarter of 2007, but the economy bounced back, especially, as noted, in the second quarter.

That said, keep in mind that if you want me to surrender on when a recession began, I will also have to surrender on when the POR Economy began. Tempting, but I won’t.


UPDATE: Even with the qualifiers, the NBER has contradicted itself. This is from its official statement

Q: Are there estimates of monthly real GDP?

A: Yes. Macroeconomic Advisers, a consulting firm, prepares estimates of monthly real GDP. Many of the ingredients of the quarterly GDP figures are published at a monthly frequency by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Macroeconomic Advisers aggregates them, and then uses a statistical procedure to adjust the monthly estimates for each quarter to make them consistent with the Commerce Department’s official quarterly figure. The monthly GDP numbers are fairly noisy and are subject to considerable revision. Estimated monthly real GDP reached one peak in January 2008 and another, higher peak in June 2008.

The existence or absence of a recession is all about whether an economy is smaller or larger, respectively. NBER acknowledges that the (imperfect) monthly GDP measurements were bigger in June 2008 than in January 2008, implying of course that they went down, but then up further, in between. This makes the beginnings of a case for a double-dip. Yet NBER has declared that a recession began in December 2007, and hasn’t stopped. This really is stuck on stupid.


Previous Post: As noted here 2-1/2 years ago (March 26, 2006 — On the Timing (and Existence) of the Last (2000-2001) Recession), NBER “somehow” changed its assessment of the timing of the last recession period after the fact. Originally, they had it pegged from July 2000 through March 2001. Then they changed it to March through November, 2001. As I said in the post: How convenient.

Name That Party: Democratic Birmingham Mayor Arrested

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:31 pm

LarryLangfordBirminghamAL1208Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Larry Langford has been arrested.

His party is not mentioned in the story at

Langford is Democrat (even Wikipedia took a while before naming his party).

Here are key paragraphs from the story:

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was arrested this morning on federal charges and is being held at the federal courthouse, the FBI and other federal officials confirm.

…. A special grand jury for several months has been investigating county bond deals and Langford’s financial dealings. Langford was Jefferson County Commission president 2002-06.

….. The Langford, LaPierre and Blount indictments are under seal, so details of the charges are not available.

Langford, LaPierre and Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount are accused in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit of not disclosing $156,000 in payments to Langford. The SEC has accused Blount of paying Langford through LaPierre as part of a plan to secure Jefferson County financial business when Langford was Jefferson County Commission president. (Read the May 2008 story)

The SEC lawsuit against Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford fails to show how friends’ personal payments to Langford led to $6.7 million in government business, their lawyers said in a filing seeking dismissal of the suit this summer.

The point that Democrats seldom have their party identification mentioned in stories about them when they are in trouble has made been made often. It will continue to be made until the treatment of Dems and Repulbicans in stories of this nature is equivalent.

Cross-posted at

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (120108)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 5:55 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Coward of the Day Report — “Gunbattles and airstrikes by NATO and Afghan troops killed 53 militants in Afghanistan, including a wanted Taliban commander who tried to hide from soldiers under a woman’s burqa, officials said Saturday.”
  • Michelle Malkin’s persistence ultimately led to the exposure of a judicial jerk, who should be disciplined. Read the whole thing.
  • had a Black Friday to remember, with a slew of “Read Save the Whole Thing” pieces –

    Stop Covering Up And Kill The CRA
    “The Community Reinvestment Act is to blame for the financial crisis, but it so powerfully serves Democrats’ interests that they’ll do anything to protect it — including revising history. ….. the regulation destroyed credit standards across the mortgage industry, created the subprime market, and caused the housing bubble that has now burst and left us with the worst housing and banking crises since the Great Depression.”

    The Thrill Of Victory
    “Nineteen months after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war “lost,” a freely elected Iraqi Parliament signs a security pact with the United States. We won. It is the terrorists and their appeasers who lost.”

    The Spread Of Nihilism’s Bloody Stain
    “The terrorist assault on Mumbai is the latest clash between civilization and nihilism. From the Somali pirates to the Taliban, this is what the world would be like without America. ….. We certainly can be thankful that the war on terror has prevented similar events here or a repeat of 9/11 since that tragic day the war on terror began. ….. Those who find the very existence of Guantanamo and the FISA statutes an offense to American democracy need to recalibrate their moral outrage. These legacies of 9/11, and the continuing vigilance of the Bush administration, have kept us safe.”

    Then there are the excellent op-eds by George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Larry Elder.

    Great job, folks.