We're screwed -- happy weekend!
We're screwed #1: Media coverage of the new consumer spending numbers is maddening. "Consumers have thrown in the towel," an economist tells Bloomberg! It's the first quarterly drop in consumer spending since the '91 recession! Oh, the humanity! The implication, unintentional but unmistakable, is that this is now the sole cause of the recession. As if Joe and Jane Average are thinking, "Wow, we better start spending again to get the economy moving." As if George W. Bush is sitting in the White House saying, "Dammit, do I have to give another speech telling people to go shopping and visit Disney World?" Of course for all we know, he is.
We're screwed #2: Dean Baker caught something interesting in the third-quarter GDP numbers — an 18.1% increase in defense spending. Back that out of the overall GDP figure, and he says GDP would have contracted at an annualized 1.2% instead of the 0.3% the Commerce Department wonks came up with. Hey, if the government cooks the economic numbers, how far-fetched is it to think this was done on purpose? (We still sort of like Baker around here despite his nigh-irrational hostility toward I.O.U.S.A. Speaking of which, there's still time to take advantage of the free DVD offer, available only to Agora Financial readers, three months before the official release. Yes, I'll probably remind you again before the offer expires Tuesday; we have bills to pay, too.)
We're screwed #3: McDonald's is scheming to take the double cheeseburger off the dollar menu and replace it with something called the McDouble. Two beef patties, but only one slice of cheese. The real McCoy goes up to $1.19. Hey, I'm off the inflation-deflation fence now: Deflation, my ass!