January 30, 2016

Bloomberg Writer: ‘Economic Growth Isn’t Everything’

Observers can be excused for thinking that the politicial establishment is preparing the battlespace to convince us plebes that progress and economic growth are overrated. (That’s sort of odd for people who call themselves “progressives,” but making sense is not their strong suit.)

How interesting, for example, that Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon’s book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth was released on January 12, even though, as Bloomberg writer Noah Smith notes, Gordon “has been going around for several years making … (the) case (that) … the golden days of growth are over.” Just in time for the arrival of a more visibly weak economy, Gordon’s premise has been getting wildly disproportionate press attention. Smith goes further in his “Economic Growth Isn’t Everything” column, referring to “the illusion of stagnation” (i.e., don’t believe those weak stats, even if they go negative; everything is really fine), while reminding us of the supposedly marvelous things government has done and supposedly can still do for us.

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Press Predicts How Economy Will ‘Strengthen’ After Weak GDP Report, Ignores How 4th Quarter May Further Weaken

As has been its habit during the Obama administration when the economy turns in a poor performance, the press’s coverage of yesterday’s report on U.S. economic growth focused on how much better next quarter’s news will supposedly be. Especially in this instance, the beat reporters and pundits should have looked at whether or not yesterday’s initial result will hold up, or whether it’s likely to be revised downward.

The government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reported yesterday that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent in last year’s fourth quarter. That’s bad enough, but statements published by a leading GDP prognosticator before the BEA’s release, once applied to yesterday’s data, foreshadow a distinct possilbity that February’s or March’s revision will come in with a minus sign preceding it.

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Press Drags Out ‘Warm Weather’ to Excuse Poor Fourth-Quarter Growth

Friday morning, the government reported that the economy grew at a pathetic annual rate of 0.7 percent in last year’s final quarter.

As it did in covering the disappointing Christmas shopping season, the business press partially blamed yesterday’s awful result on the weather, i.e., warm weather.

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Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (013016)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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: From slavery to model of mercy – the powerful story of Julia Greeley

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver:

Jan 28, 2016 / 03:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Julia Greeley was a familiar sight on the streets of Denver in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Wearing a floppy hat, oversized shoes, and dabbing her bad eye with a handkerchief, Greeley was often seen pulling her red wagon of goods to deliver to the poor and homeless of the city. She had a particularly special devotion to the Sacred Heart, and would deliver images and information about the icon to firefighters throughout Denver every month.

Her charitable work earned her the title of a “one-person St. Vincent de Paul Society” from one writer, and has made her the local model of mercy for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Born a slave in Hannibal, Missouri sometime between 1833 and 1848, Greeley endured some horrific treatment – once, a whip caught her right eye and destroyed it as a slave master beat Greeley’s mother.

One of many slaves freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Greeley’s work with the family of William Gilpin, Colorado’s first territorial governor, brought her to Denver in 1878.

After leaving the Gilpins’ service, Greeley found odd jobs around the city, and came upon the Sacred Heart Parish of Denver, where she would convert to Catholicism in 1880. She was an enthusiastic parishioner, a daily communicant, and became an active member of the Secular Franciscan Order starting in 1901. The Jesuit priests at her parish recognized her as the most fervent promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Despite her own poverty, Greeley spent much of her time collecting food, clothing and other goods for the poor. She would often do her work at night, so as to avoid embarrassing the people she was assisting.

“She stood out because of how extraordinary she was,” David Uebbing, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver, told the Denver Catholic.

“Even though she was only earning $10 to $12 a month cleaning and cooking, she was using it to help other people who were poor,” he said.

“That spoke volumes about the charitable heart she had. In addition, she had great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was known for walking (monthly) to 20 different firehouses to give (felt) badges of the Sacred Heart and tracts to firemen. That brings to life the corporal and spiritual works of mercy this holy year is dedicated to.”

Julia Greeley died on June 7, 1918 – the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Although her death came unexpectedly, she was able to receive last rites. It is estimated that she was around 80 years old, though because she was born into slavery, her exact age was never known.

After her death, her body lay in state in a Catholic parish for five hours, during which a constant stream of people came to pay their last respects to the well-known, well-loved woman. …

Go here for the rest of the story.