24 February 2009

Mardia Gras News Brief

Clinton recently said that it is time for Obama to begin to talk up the economy. Given that so much of economic activity is a fuction of confidence, it might be worth working on the lowest level of consumer confidence in the history of its measurement (since 1967). This seems like good advice to me. Have we gone from a president who was the master of denial to one who is the master of bad news? How about some hope now that Obama has his stimulus package?

The average home price in Detroit - about $18,500 - is about equal to the average price of a car from Detroit. I don't have the data on this, but this has got to be a first.

Informal poll on CCN Money's site indicates that the average person thinks that the economy is unlikey to turn around until AFTER 2011. We don't forecast - we just project the present into the future.

The San Francisco Chronicle may shut down. This could be due to one of two things: so close to the epicenter of the Internet, it had to be the first old-media casualty; or, people are just tired of bad news and have simply stopped paying to hear how little money they have.

Happy Mardi Gras. Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent. I think that I'll give up on giving up. I recommend that you do the same. This economy is not nearly as bad as the politicians and press would love for you to believe. Politicians are trying to gain license to pass whatever legislation they want. The media are simply trying to get and hold your attention now that one of the most fascinating elections in history is past. During the Great Depression, GDP was halved and unemployment was 25%. Last quarter, our economy dipped about a point. This is NO Great Depression. But just think: once people realize that, the politicians will be busy taking credit and the media will have a great story about the stunning reversal in fortune.

Obama says that he's going to halve the deficit, saying that our budget process has been an exercise in deception. Looking behind this, we see that he's talking about halving the massive $1.3 trillion deficit inherited from Bush. This means that he'll halve the deficit ... or, put more simply, bring it back to the outrageous sum it was just a recently as last year. Good thing that we're moving beyond deception in this process.


Anonymous said...

You said: "This economy is not nearly as bad as the politicians and press would love for you to believe."

Right on, Ron. How many managers in companies have you seen use crises to catapult their agenda? Same thing. Good insight, dude.

Anonymous said...

i agree. i think he's up against a lot, but he's creating more fear than he needs to.

Ron Davison said...

I had overlooked the positive idea here of using a crisis to make things happen.

let's hope that he's turned the corner on the bad news now that he's gotten a lot of his legislation passed. I guess it'll take him awhile to find the balance between warning and hope.