May 27, 2010

1Q10 GDP Growth: Predicted Revision Was to an Annualized +3.5%; Actual Is +3.0%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:30 pm

GDPshrinkAsOf052710thru1Q10Well, this caught me by surprise, as I thought the release would be tomorrow. Oops:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the first quarter of 2010, (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP had increased 5.6 percent.

The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.2 percent …

Expectations according to this Atlantic item were for +3.5%:

Of course, 0.2% isn’t much. But it is a little disappointing where most of this revision came from. Spending needs to drive the recovery to create jobs. It’s also unfortunate that restaurants and travel was one of the most downwardly revised components; spending on these non-necessities is also an indicator that consumers are feeling much more comfortable opening their wallets. This component, and spending overall, still showed a healthy increase compared to 2009, but these revisions make their progress a little less impressive.

0.2% “isn’t much,” but trailing expectations by 0.5% borders on it.


The graphic at the right is based on looking at the full release, and comparing it to last month’s advance release (full text; BizzyBlog post).

The “Windows 7 recovery” element I’ve cited as important during 4Q09 and the most recent quarter diminished, though it is still outsized in terms of its contribution to growth (about 4.4% of the economy, about 10% of its reported growth, down from 17.5% as originally reported).

Transportation equipment’s revised improvement is a surprise, because it is such a small component of the economy (this is private company transportation equipment, not purchases of vehicles by individuals and families). The sector is about 0.6% of the economy, but accounted for 5.7% of its growth. A lot of this probably has to do with companies finally replacing worn-out equipment they had deferred buying for as long as possible. That kind of disproportionate contribution to growth doesn’t seem sustainable for more than another quarter, if that.

The relative lack of change in net exports masks pretty big contribution changes from April’s original report in exports (0.16-point increase in contribution from +0.66 to 0.82) and imports (0.20-point decrease in contribution from -1.28 to -1.48). We exported more than originally thought, but we imported even more than that.

The graphic at the top right of this post is a helpful reminder that the economy is still barely 2/3 of the way back from where it was when the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy began doing its damage (roughly June 2008, possibly a bit earlier based on recent employment-related revisions) and the recession As Normal People Define It began (i.e., the third quarter of 2008).


UPDATE: Someone must have put truth serum in Jeannine Aversa’s coffee over at the Associated Press this morning –

So economic growth needs to be a lot stronger – two or three times the current pace- to make a big dent in the nation’s 9.9 percent unemployment rate.

That’s a big slip, Jeannine.

Some simple math: 2-3 times 3% is 6%-9%. The POR Economy, in three quarters of its “Rebound? What Rebound?” recovery, hasn’t hit that target even once. So what you’re telling me, ma’am, is that the Obama Economy’s attempt at a job-growing economic recovery has thus far been an epic fail.

ORPINO Wins Skirmish, Loses Battle; War for Soul of Ohio GOP Still in Progress

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:25 am

The Skirmish: ORPINO (the Republican Party in Name Only) and/or its apparatchiks and/or its sympathizers orchestrated a campaign, complete with yard signs (in a precinct with under 100 eligible voters) and a slick mailer, to oust fellow SOB Alliance blogger Matt Hurley from his seat on Butler County’s GOP Central Committee (the link is to Mark’s passionate pre-election defense of Matt, one of Mark’s finer moments, of which there are many).

The Battle: “Butler County GOP Ousts Leader“:

The Butler County Republican party ousted its incumbent chairman Wednesday, May 26, voting instead for a Liberty Twp. trustee backed by some of the party’s biggest names as its new leader.

David Kern, a Tea Party activist, defeated incumbent chairman Tom Ellis in a 108-98 vote of the GOP’s central committee at Tori’s Station.

Kern had strong support from Congressman John Boehner and state Sen. Gary Cates, both West Chester Twp. Republicans who campaigned on Kern’s behalf earlier this week; Boehner in the form of a “robo-call” Tuesday evening and Cates in the form of a letter to the 298 central committee members.

After the vote was announced, Kern said Wednesday night he was “elated” and “overwhelmed” and that he is prepared to take on the responsibilities ahead. “The primary goal now is to unite the party and prepare for elections in November and beyond,” he said.

“The anger is not against us. The anger is at President (Barack) Obama’s socialist agenda,” Kern said. “Our goal is to do all we can … to save our beloved republic.”

Mr. Cates’s involvement seems more than a little opportunistic, given his intemperate criticisms of insurgent State Auditor candidate Seth Morgan a few months ago, including reference to Morgan’s “so-called ‘Tea Party’ endorsement.”

It’s hard to believe Cates can see a computer keyboard these days, given all the egg that must be on his face. I’ll remind Mr. Cates that Seth Morgan had not one, but more that 50 actual Tea Party, 9/12, and similar organization endorsements, and that Morgan was (contrary to Cates’s direct assertion) endorsed by the Buckeye Firearms Association. Have you directly apologized to Seth Morgan yet, Gary? If not, waiting …

War for Soul of the Ohio GOP Update:

It would be nice if ORPINO’s pre-selected candidates Mike DeWine (Attorney General) and Rob Portman (U.S. Senate) were as interested in saving our beloved republic as Mr. Kern has stated he is. Their careers clearly indicate that they are not.

Both have received career grades from Numbers USA, each based on over a decade of real votes, of D+ (32% DeWine, 35% Portman; also note that John Kasich gets an A at 97%). If DeWine or Portman have had anything to say about Arizona’s recent immigration law-enforcement measure, I haven’t seen it.

DeWine has “an F rating from the National Rifle Association,” and compiled pathetic Club for Growth scorecards in his final two years (2005 – 43%; 2006 – 43%). The list of shortcomings of “Recipe Mike” goes on, and on, and on. Mike DeWine is incurable, and unacceptable (to be clear, so is Richard Cordray).

Portman has two other serious handicaps that aren’t going to go away. I identified them last week:

Washington Post, June 29, 2009

In a political world where candidates are falling all over themselves to tout their “outsider” credentials, Rob Portman is a rare exception.

Portman, a former congressman and Bush administration official, is casting himself as a dealmaking insider in his campaign …

The sensible center-right voters making up the vast majority of the Ohio electorate not only aren’t looking for people who brag about being insiders, they’re justifiably hostile towards them.

It gets worse. Portman has said that when the chips are down, it’s not about country first, it’s about him and his precious political career (from a 2005 Cleveland Plain Dealer interview):

“I probably am a little risk-averse compared to some members [of Congress],” he concedes, “but I think a lot of that is a deliberate decision on my part that some things are worth it for my career and some things aren’t.”

I’m going to continue bringing up these two damning self-indictments of Rob Portman in the coming months in the hope that he walks them back publicly and convincingly.

If that’s inconvenient and uncomfortable, or if it gives the opposition campaign fodder, that’s just too bad, so sad, Rob. You dug the holes; it’s up to you to figure out how to climb out of them. And until you do, you’re also unacceptable (Lee Fisher is also self-evidently unacceptable).

Oh, and Rob — If you think you can coast to November with these two millstones hanging around your neck, let me remind you that Team Fisher and the Democrats will gladly push you off the bridge with said millstones attached in September and October. You should offload them now, so that by the fall, it will be old news, asked and answered.

Waiting …


UPDATE: Hey Rob, I believe there are 800,000 reasons why you won’t have the political courage to do the right thing. Please prove your skeptics wrong.

Waiting …

Positivity: Johnny Cash remembered for his faith-based music

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Rome, and Nashville:

May 26, 2010 / 09:14 pm

Johnny Cash was remembered for how his music “sang the faith” in an article published on Sunday in the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s newspaper Avvenire. Without his faith, the article said, “the voice of Cash would not have been the same.”

The bishops’ newspaper remembered the man who, though he “knew” prison and nearly died of a drug overdose, “still … at a certain point in his life, took from it a possible Meaning, with a capital letter.” Cash dedicated the last of his songs, the paper noted, “to sorrowful, moving hymns to man, inserted within his own faith in a God that gives horizons and hopes to man.”

Avvenire also looked at Cash’s work by reviewing the album “Ain’t No Grave,” which it called an “ulterior and touching witness of art imbued with faith and humanity.”

Looking at the recently released book “The Man in Black—Commentated Texts”, Avvenire saw Cash as a ” young country singer that was educated to respect the earth and believe that there is Someone that governs it.”

Later, the paper recalled, he became a “spokesperson of the rejects” in playing concerts for and representing those in jail, “interpreting their repentances and hardships.”

Distancing himself from the American dream, the newspaper wrote, he highlights the injustices and tragedies, shedding light on his true personality as a man “for the poor” and “for those who’ve never read or listened to the words that Jesus said.”

Citing the authors of the book, Valter and Francesco Binaghi, who note that Cash’s inheritance for the 21st century man is a “voice, guitar and faith,” Avvenire asserted that “without faith, the voice of Cash would not have been the same and we would have an example less of how much, (when) wanting to do so, even a guitar can help (us) to live.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.