August 2, 2014

The Depression-Era 1930s—1, The Obama ‘Recovery’—Ø

Thanks to the government’s comprehensive revision.


This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.


Rather than allow the establishment press to be the nation’s lone voice on the U.S. economy — predictably chortling that it “has rebounded with vigor” after one supposedly good quarter showing 4 percent annualized growth — let’s take a look at what else the government’s Gross Domestic Product data released Wednesday revealed.

In addition to disclosing that the first quarter’s contraction, at an annualized 2.1 percent, was not quite as awful as once thought, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s comprehensive revisions to previously published annual and quarterly GDP data reconfirmed that the economy during the first four years of the Obama “recovery” underperformed every post-downturn economy since the Great Depression by a wide margin. Most people know that, or should — and if you don’t, here’s the proof.

Beyond that, BEA data now show that Obama’s post-recession economy put in a performance worse than that seen after the Great Depression itself.

To be clear, as I have noted in previous writeups on this comparison, I’m certainly not contending that the level of human suffering during and after the Great Recession has been anywhere near what it was during the 1930s. That said, many of us need to be reminded in this Obama-compliant media world — thank goodness we have the British tabloids to partially fill that void — that, among many other indicators of abject poverty and misery, there has been no meaningful decline in documented homelessness during the past several years.

In early June, I characterized the Obama economy’s recovery during the first four years after the Great Recession’s official end as “awfully close” to being as ugly as that seen after the Great Depression. In late June, after the first quarter’s reported contraction worsened to an annualized 2.9 percent, the Obama economy’s margin narrowed even further.

Wednesday’s news tipped the balance in favor of the 16 quarters after the Depression ended in early 1933 (see the June column for a description of how I interpolated quarterly results during those years). That’s because the BEA’s comprehensive revisions applied to the first 16 post-Great Recession quarters brought down reported growth considerably:


Nine quarters took a hit, three of them quite significant. Only three got revised into an increase, and only one of them was significant.

These revisions lengthened the amount of time it took for the economy to escape a recession under Warren Buffett’s definition. In September 2010, he told CNBC that he wouldn’t consider the recession to have ended “until real per capita GDP gets back to where it was before.” That statistic didn’t return to its fourth quarter 2007 peak until the third quarter of 2013, 23 agonizing quarters later. Before the revisions, the data showed that Buffett’s self-described “common sense” benchmark had been achieved in that year’s second quarter.

The revisions also changed how much larger than its pre-Great Recession peak the economy was after 16 quarters of “recovery” from the 4.6 percent seen at my June column to 4.1 percent.

That revised comparison-to-peak figure officially puts the first 16 quarters of the Obama “recovery” behind the post-Great Depression 1930s (Note: The chart incorporates very small revisions BEA made to all years and quarters involved):


As seen above, and paraphrasing what I noted in June — In every other economic recovery (except in the Obama and Great Depression economies), GDP was at least 10 percent larger than its pre-downturn peak 16 quarters later (or fewer, in several instances when an earlier subsequent recession occurred). The Obama economy — often described by yours truly as the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy to identify the three parties who bear primary responsibility for its pitiful results — has achieved less than half of that, and now comes in worse than the 1930s.

Wednesday’s revisions also worsened the Obama economy’s 16-quarter growth after the recession’s end from 9.2 percent to 8.7 percent, moving it even deeper into the cellar in that category:


As explained in June, this chart nukes the “deep hole” argument Team Obama tirelessly employs to explain away their pathetic economy. In reality, the deeper hole should have led to a stronger recovery. But it didn’t.

In 1938, as it became obvious that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal had failed to ignite a genuine, sustainable recovery, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. lamented: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.” Clearly, it also didn’t work after the Great Recession. But now we have administration apparatchiks and President Obama himself howling with joy after one quarter has come in initially strong.

They would be well-aThe Depression-Era 1930s—1, The Obama ‘Recovery’—Ødvised to curb their enthusiasm. The first quarter’s initial reading of 0.1 percent got knocked down by over 2 percentage points by the time all the dust had settled. More importantly, it would take about five straight years of 4 percent growth to get us even into the neighborhood of truly recovering what misguided fiscal and monetary policies have lost. Does anyone see that happening?

HuffPo Posts Story on Barney Frank’s July Interview Ripping Obama’s ‘You Can Keep Your Plan’ Lie Late Fri. Afternoon

Former Congressman Barney Frank had “a July interview” with the Huffington Post. The liberal blog’s Zach Carter put up a post about it on Friday, August 1 at 3:59 p.m.

How convenient, because Frank ripped President Obama and his administration, who he says “just lied to people” about whether they could keep their existing healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Naturally, despite the fact that most of those “if you like your plan-doctor-provider-drug regimen, you can keep them” promises were made before the law’s passage, whoever interviewed Frank at HuffPo didn’t follow up with the obvious question: “Despite the lies, why are you still comfortable with having voted for it?” Or if they did, they chose not to publish Frank’s response. Excerpts follow the jump.


Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080214)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Bishop Davies — Lourdes shrine a light amid war, death

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Lourdes, France:

Jul 28, 2014 / 10:02 am

This weekend, shortly before today’s centenary of the beginning of World War I, an English bishop has said that the Marian shrine of Lourdes remains “undimmed” and still invites everyone to see the “light of the Gospel,” Jesus Christ.

“A hundred years ago this week, the world descended into what is now called the First World War, the second war would quickly follow and a Cold War would bring humanity to the brink of nuclear extinction,” Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury preached July 26.

“It is hard to believe how in those summer weeks of 1914 the beginnings of this whole catastrophe would be welcomed by ecstatic crowds and enjoy wide, public support.”

He said that Lourdes has “continued its clear witness to the value of every person, especially those most in danger of being discarded” despite global war and ideologies which aim to “strip human life of its value and dignity.”

Bishop Davies preached during a Mass said at the grotto of Lourdes, which marks the spot where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernardette Soubirous 18 times in 1858. The apparition told St. Bernardette, a sickly 13-year-old, to pray for sinners and to drink from a spring.

The shrine and its waters have become a place for many miraculous healings.

Bishop Davies said St. Bernardette “represents all those little ones Pope Francis describes as discarded humanity. Mary of Nazareth greets and gently bows to Bernadette of Lourdes. And Bernadette asks, like Elizabeth: ‘why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?’”

“Mindful of the millions who would fall victim to the wars and inhuman ideologies of the century and a half which followed Lourdes calls us to recognise the Gospel anew,” he said.

The Lourdes shrine shows that the Church is against “everything which demeans the eternal value of the human person” and that the Church is for “the life and dignity of every man, woman and child.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.