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At the end of last week, the BEA released its updated version of 4th Quarter GDP.  The short version is simple: there is no good news in this report.

Personal consumption expenditures fell out of bed for the last two quarters, dropping 3.8% and 4.3% respectively. Also note the preceding three quarters (4Q07 - 2Q08) were weak as well, with growth of 1%, .9% and 1.2% respectively. And the two quarters before that (2Q07 and 3Q07) came in at 2%. In other words, PCEs have been weakening for one and a half years.

Let's look at this from two more angles.

The above chart is the chart for the raw total of PCEs. Notice the latest drop-off is the largest in over 45 years. In and of itself, that should raise concern.

But also notice the steep drop-off in the year over year numbers. That's also the largest drop-off we've seen in the last 45 years.

Gross private domestic investment is made-up of three sub-categories: residential and non-residential structures and equipment and software investment. First, here's the total of all real gross private domestic investment:

The macro-number has been weak for 8 of the last 11 quarters. And one of the three positive quarters (3Q08) had a .4% growth rate. In other words, it wasn't anything to write home about.

Let's take a look at the sub-components.

Real private residential fixed investment has fallen off a cliff for the last few years. The reason are clear: residential real estate construction is also falling off a cliff.

It's interesting that on the year over year level we've seen rates of decline at similar levels.

Real private non-residential fixed investment is also dropping, but it is nowhere near the levels of the residential sector. However, also note it has only been dropping since the actual beginning of the current recession (December 2007). As a result

The year over year rate of decline is dropping but isn't at previous levels yet either. However -- I think the operative word there is "yet".

Equipment and software investment has been dropping, both on a quarter over quarter basis and

year over year basis.

So -- the problems in investment started in the residential area, but have since moved to all major subgroups. In addition, at the macro level, the drop in residential investment has been strong enough to make 8 of the last 11 quarters negative. In other words -- it's been bad for sometime.

Exports were the one solid performer -- until last quarter when they dropped over 20%. Imports dropped as well due to the lack of consumer demand.

The bottom line is simple: there is no area of the economy looking good right now.

Originally posted to bonddad on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 04:43 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Obama indicated that this stimulus pkg is Round 1 (36+ / 0-)

      and that we can and will escalate to Round 2 if Round 1 doesn't put a floor under us.

      But he has backed away from that kind of talk now -- he cannot say things to cast doubt on Round 1, because he needs to "sell" Round 1 to its skeptics as being adequate and up to the task at hand.  

      •  Unfortunately, we will need a round 2 and (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, Isara, FightTheFuture, dazed in pa

        probably more. Things will only get worse before they get better.

        They will need to actually increase expenditures on food stamps, increase minimum wages (and all wages for that matter) and increase unemployment benefits amount and length of availability and cover people who have lost health insurance through unemployment who are yet not eligible for medicaid. They will also need to cover state governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy and pass legislation to revive manufactures and cover the mid-west and auto industry.

        Given AIG's insolvency (and that of Citigroup and BOA), nationalisation is the only solution to begin to restructure the industry. Given how idiotically the repugs in the house and senate behaved, I am concerned about their willingness to do what is actually needed.

        The economic crisis is spreading throughout Europe. Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway) are now in recession. Britain is a mess. the Eurozone is constrained in terms of their action due to the constraints imposed by the Bundesbank on deficit spending and will probably have to literally abandon those principles if they are to be able to do Keynesian deficit fiscal spending.

        No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

        by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:24:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As long as Obama insists on paying for (5+ / 0-)

          the giant turd that Paulson and Bush left on his doorstep, there will not be the real Federal ability to "stimulate" anything.

          You can't spend the same dollar twice, and the IRS certainly can't collect it twice, if even once.

          The solvency of the Federal government itself is in question, and wouldn't ya know just who would love that to happen.

          Obama should be looking toward a "soft default" -- perhaps "ring-fencing" the Bush-era debt for delayed rollover and payment -- that aims to prevent a "Sudden Stop" of the U.S. economy and the resulting starvation of many, with the victimization of families with children the inevitable fallout.

          We're talking survival here, and it is possible, just not under the self-imposed obligations he is diddling with these past weeks.

          Reminds me of the LBOs asset-stripping operations of the '80s corporate raiders... (some of whom did some jail time, eh?)

          If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

          by HenryDavid on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 09:10:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with the (0+ / 0-)

            WSJ editorial today.  There is a recovery that is trying to form and the Obama Stimulus plan is blocking it.  However, I also note the articles on AIG in the NYT that indicate a real potential fiasco may be in the offing.

            I think we ought to cancel the Stimulus Plan and let the markets (and, I would guess, the Courts [bankruptcy and otherwise, probably criminal]) unwind AIG.

            The big ticket Stimulus Plan will look even worse if we have to back AIG's insureds.  

          •  I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

            The solvency of the Federal government itself is in question

            That statement is fortunately so far from the truth that it's almost a GOP claim. In 1945 our deficit was running at about 40% of GDP. The national debt was 120% GDP in 1946. A 1945 deficit in today's dollars would be around $6 trillion. So, if the "solvency" (this just isn't a term you can apply to the government) of the US was in doubt in 1945, I don't think it can be be questioned today. What you are suggesting is that the USA might default on its financial commitments. Not going to happen.

            Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

            by Batfish on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 12:00:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree completely and I cannot think of any (0+ / 0-)

            sound economic reason that Obama is insisting on pouring money down the toilet by giving them more money. He just needs to nationalise these insolvent banks that are "too big to fall" and work on putting more money where it will actually do some good into a fiscal stimulus and increasing incomes of the poor, unemployed, working and middle classes who will spend the money and stimulate economic growth; he needs to target programmes that have a significant multiplier effect (e.g., food stamps) on the rest of the economy, not concentrate only on short-term job creation and certainly stop wasting money giving it to these insolvent banks.

            No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

            by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 02:52:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Right (18+ / 0-)

      Hopefully it is a first round of stimulus spending. Next round is universal health care, transportation, and energy development. Hopefully renewable energy.

      We need to fix the problems that have been avoided for the past 50 years.

    •  It is simply not big enough. (14+ / 0-)

      They will have to go back to Congress for more, and that is a recipe for a headache of a magnitude none of us want to feel.  

      I don't want to silence dissent because I don't believe in that, but the time to do this was in the first package as Krugman et all were suggesting.  The ONLY entity large enough to get us out of this is the Federal Government.  

      That is not a convenient pro-liberal point of view, it's merely a fact.

      Trying to shove this through in pieces will be extremely problematic - the only way I can see it working is to get the magic 60.  (A plan that is not quite dead yet, with Franken and Bunning issues).  With the magic 60, Obama would have the ability to do it without the Republicans, and that is exactly what he would need to do.

      Frankly, I hope the Obama administration is playing dirty politics on this one.  They have seen they cannont count on bipartisanship.  They have to blast their way through, and that will likely mean a cranking up of the Chicago Machine tactics.

      And I'm perfectly okay with that.  It's our way of life at stake.  I am no survivalist, but I am not a fool either. I'm stocking up food and water, because without the magic 60, we're basically back to the Wild West of the 19th century.

      I'm sick of GOP SOP!

      by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:35:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  More stimulus will come in the budget (25+ / 0-)

        Obama's budget includes significant increases for a lot of spending areas that will provide stimulus but which were not sufficiently increased in the stimulus bill.  Congress will of course have to fight over the details, but with the economic bad news continuing to come the political environment for more stimulus spending should continue to improve.  It's also important to remember that budget bills can't be filibustered, so the magic 60 vote requirement disappears.

        The spending for the budget won't take effect until fall at the earliest, but that's true of a lot of the stimulus bill as well.  If budget bills pass early this year then at least the funding will be in place and governments can plan to spend as soon as possible.  That will create more lift for the economy come fall '09 through fall '10, which will be very handy for the 2010 elections.

        Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:55:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps, but we took quite a hammering over (5+ / 0-)

          the first one, and by all estimates is was about 1/3 of what we actually need to pull us out of this (again, according to Krugman, Roubini, Tassem, Stiglitz and Baker, my economists of choice).

          So, can you imagine what will happen if they try to ram an even bigger spending/stimulus/budget bill through Congress?

          Holy mackerel.

          I'm sick of GOP SOP!

          by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:02:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who took a hammering? (15+ / 0-)

            Obama and Congressional Dems are as popular or more so than before the stimulus, and Republicans are less so.  Politicians may be craven, corrupt creatures, but they know how to read polls.  Obama's got to keep up the sales job, but we're in good shape for increased stimulus spending in the budget for now.

            Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

            by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:14:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Admittedly, Rahm Emmanuel stated, (5+ / 0-)

              that the GOP caught them off guard and drove the conventional wisdom about the stimulus bill.  And in fact, got it re-framed with more tax cuts than are probably good or appropriate.

              We don't need that discussion again.  It's useless and pointless, when it is clear from the data that spending on infrastructure and the like is clearly a better bang for the buck than tax cuts.

              I'm sick of GOP SOP!

              by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:17:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Obama got what he wanted, for the most part (6+ / 0-)

                He had a campaign promise to fulfill, giving the middle class a tax cut.  That was the largest part of the stimulus tax cut bill.  The AMT fix was a truly wasted opportunity, but it was probably the bottom line price for getting those three Republican votes.

                I strongly suspect Obama will get a lot more of what he wants in the upcoming budget.  He knows the midterm elections are coming, and he's got to produce some economic hope before then.  I'm not worried about government stimulus:  I'm worried about his handling of the banks.

                Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

                by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:20:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Obama and the congressional dems may be as (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              opinionated, Dallasdoc, xysea

              popular or even more so, but the problem is that many really essential things were taken out of the stimulus package and we will need to add to these. The poor and unemployed need more coverage than what was in the bill that was passed.

              I am hoping that you are correct that the craven repugs will see the polls and respond sensibly, but quite honestly they may simply stick to their ideological and obstructionist arguments to ensure the support of their "base" rather than do what is needed. "Principles" and ideology so often overcome sense and pragmatism; shifting position will mean that they would have to admit they have been wrong since Ronnie Reagan and they may not yet be willing to do so.

              No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

              by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:29:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Republicans don't need to respond appropriately (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NY brit expat

                ... and we don't need them to.  We need to keep the Blue Dogs and other corporatist Dems mostly on board, and peel off one or two Senate Republicans for a couple of vital votes.

                Republicans have had their chance to play along.  They will likely be left in the dust if they continue their tantrums.

                Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

                by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:36:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Keeping the blue dogs and corporatist dems (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gogol, opinionated, Dallasdoc, xysea

                  (forget the 1-2 republican votes) on board to support a FDIC seizure of assets is not going to be easy and that is what will be needed for dealing with the collapse of AIG (there should be no compensation for shareholders as we have already put more into the corporation than it is worth; accordingly this will require legislation and a congressional vote. Other problems arise for a full nationalisation if we need to buy the stock according to Burrow Owl (balance sheets and all that). It is also those one or two senate republicans for vital votes that I am worried about for extending Cobra to the recently unemployed and increasing provision to the poor (as they opposed it in the original stimulus bill).

                  I really really hope that a proper stimulus can be pulled off and wish that a 3-line whip actually existed in the states (it is a mandatory vote across party lines leading to censure if you do not follow orders).

                  It is quite interesting to see a mainstream political party commit political suicide; it has been quite a while in the US (unfortunately less so in Italy and Britain) and I am so happy that it is this republican party that is doing so.

                  No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

                  by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:48:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, far too many unnecessary tax cuts (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gogol, NY brit expat

                and not near enough infrastructure and social support spending.  Again, framed by the minority party (the GOP) the Dems capitulated to keep the Blue Dogs in line - and the people will be the ones who will suffer for it.

                I'm sick of GOP SOP!

                by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:15:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am really worried as many more things will (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  need to be done that the blue dogs and republicans (I am speaking of the moderates) will not be comfortable with as they will be of the order of protecting the poor and unemployed and required nationalisations to get the damn banks (and maybe the big three in detroit) all cleaned up and restructured. I am still shocked that Evan Bayh actually supported the amendment not allowing the building of public pools and road beautification; these are obvious things that provide short term employment and have lasting benefit for those who utilise them ... it was literally an amendment that you would expect Scrooge to support; I am awaiting the statement "are there no prisons, are there no workhouses" to pour out of the mouths of these people!

                  No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

                  by NY brit expat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:43:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I think they are just as popular, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              not more popular than ever, if only because the GOP had NO RESPONSE.  Do nothing wasn't what the American people wanted, but this bill is far short of what is needed.

              Round two will be interesting.  We'll see if we keep Blue Dogs on board, but I wouldn't count on it.

              I'm sick of GOP SOP!

              by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:17:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  "spending/stimulus/budget" equates apples, OJs (4+ / 0-)

            as to votes.

            See my note above, explaining that budget votes pass with 51 votes in Senate.

            stimulus numbers were - and will again be - held hostage to the magic 60.

            THAT's why the republicans are so very pissed off at the size of the budget  - they cannot stop it or even truly pare it down...

            Now, does O likely wish he'd starteds with more? I believe so.

            I heard his say perhaps he should have started with 0 tax incentives to stop the Rep from their hypocrisy.

            O was also plagued by the fact that so little of the jobs he wanted to promote were actually shovel ready.

            We will restore science to its rightful place....We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil .... All this we can do. And all this we will do.

            by puffmeister on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:14:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Obama wanted to get something in the pipeline now (9+ / 0-)

              The stimulus bill was subject to filibuster, so Republicans had to be mollified to some degree.  But the stimulus bill was meant to get money out there ASAP.  The budget bills don't begin to kick in until October at the earliest, which was too late for Obama's purposes.

              You're right about the budget, though.  Democrats will likely be much less accommodating to Republican whining in the budget process than they were for the stimulus bill.  They won't have to be.

              Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

              by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:17:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly! Heard B Frank say this brilliant riposte (6+ / 0-)

                bipartisanship is [an important method] but not a goal.

                do not exactly recollect the word/phrase in brackets - but the last part was a gem.

                On Rachel M's show.

                It's just irritating to hear people complain about the insufficiency of the stimulus package - when O's hands were tied so thoroughly to the wishes of three republican senators in that one case - all bebcause of Senate rules on voting numbers.

                thanks god the budget bill will not be hostage to that damn number 60.

                We will restore science to its rightful place....We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil .... All this we can do. And all this we will do.

                by puffmeister on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:52:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  TIme to change the senate rules (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  and go for simple majority rule.  

                  Why can't they just poll the public and go by those numbers?  Us guys on the bottom know better than anyone just how hard it's getting.

                  Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

                  by ggwoman55 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:44:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The only court the GOP has is the court of (3+ / 0-)

              public opinion.  And the media is complacent in helping them 'worry' Americans about the size and scope.  I watched a good 15 mins of that kind of crap on 3 networks this morning before I finally switched to BBC America for some straight news reporting.

              I'm sick of GOP SOP!

              by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:29:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Only true if revenue-neutral, right? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xysea, IreGyre

          It's also important to remember that budget bills can't be filibustered, so the magic 60 vote requirement disappears.

          "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

          by chicago jeff on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:03:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think so (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chicago jeff, xysea

            Bills related to budget and appropriations are not subject to filibuster, IIRC.  Few if any of those are ever revenue-neutral.

            Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

            by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:12:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i'm pretty sure otherwise... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              if cbo scores it as adding to the deficit it takes 60 votes.  i think they can include expected future savings but i'm not sure for how many years.

              "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

              by chicago jeff on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:20:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Here's Ezra Klein: (5+ / 0-)


              It's been frustrating watching the filibuster force a 60 vote supermajority for the stimulus and thus substantially worsening the bill. The spectacle has even led to some calls to eliminate the filibuster. But as David Waldman explains, this one isn't the filibuster's fault (or at least, it isn't solely the filibuster's fault). Rather, the Senate is operating under Pay-Go rules, which state that "it shall not be in order in the Senate to consider any direct spending or revenue legislation that would increase the on-budget deficit or cause an on-budget deficit." That said, you can waive Pay-Go in the event that you need to do some deficit spending. But waiving Pay-Go requires a 3/5ths majority, or 60 votes. Oops.

              Which doesn't obviate the logic of calls to dismantle the filibuster. If Pay-Go wasn't forcing 60 votes, the filibuster would happily take up the charge. This, however, remains David Broder's town; we just live in it. A majority party probably can't abolish the filibuster without substantial media blowback. It's too naked a power grab. But what if they passed legislation that phased the filibuster out after six years, which is to say, a full Senate election cycle? Then it's hard to say who would benefit from the rule change. It wouldn't be partisan. It would be a recognition that the filibuster has been ripped from its original purpose as a rarely invoked minority protection and used to radically transform the United States Senate into a supermajority -- and thus deeply undemocratic -- institution.

              Posted by Ezra Klein on February 8, 2009 3:06 PM | Permalink


              "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

              by chicago jeff on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:24:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for the link (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                opinionated, MD patriot, chicago jeff

                If ever pay-go rules needed suspension, it's during an economic crisis.  Sounds as though the Senate will need to gin up 60 votes one more time, to suspend pay-go.  Once Al Franken takes his seat and Teddy Kennedy returns (or is replaced) that leaves one Republican vote, which ought to be able to be purchased at an acceptable price.

                Once pay-go is suspended, no more 60 vote margins for the budget.

                Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

                by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:29:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Media blowback? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chicago jeff

                I was under the impression that the impossibility of abolishing the filibuster had more to do with the weight of tradition in the Senate Club--it's the Senators themselves who would have a hard time voting it out, not fear of "media blowback."

                "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                by Alice in Florida on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:31:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  both. (0+ / 0-)

                  the force of tradition is in part due to the consequences of deviating from it.

                  traditions are essentially behavioral patterns that make it easy to tell if someone's changing their relationship to some underlying value.

                  some would take it as a sign of commitment to big, progressive legislation; others would take it as a sign of _________ (something else).  Figuring out all those "something elses" is part of the calculation.

                  my guess is that Republicans who sometimes align with Democrats would take it as a sign of disrespect and unwillingness to work with them.  and as a sign that turnabout when they come back into power would be fair play.

                  "I don't dislike all Republicans--just the disingenuous idiot liars."

                  by chicago jeff on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:51:07 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  One more thing - it wasn't filibuster I was (0+ / 0-)

          concerned with, but a clear majority.  He had to rely on 3 Republicans last time.  I don't know if he'll get to rely on them in the future.  

          I'm sick of GOP SOP!

          by xysea on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:04:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but there is also a pretty good possibility that any uptick in growth from the stimulus will be accompanied by higher interest rates from massive borrowing/inflation expectations (and by inflation expectations I mean dollar devaluing).

      •  except that the stimulus was subj to filibuster (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, SlackwareGrrl

        while the actual udget is not.

        This is why some columnist - I believe it was Collins - said that in Washington the stimulus was written [read choked off] by two Main senators, and why the California budget was written byb a Republican broccoli farmer with desings on the State Comptrollers Office.

        The damn cloture number - 60 - is a huge problem right now.

        and things will not get tidier in the next year because the magic 60 is going to be as hard as ever to reach, what with our ineffective Sen Reid and a few others being challenged.

        We will restore science to its rightful place....We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil .... All this we can do. And all this we will do.

        by puffmeister on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:10:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's too big, too slow (0+ / 0-)

        and does not take into account that the recession is already showing signs of ebbing.  

        You can't solve a debt crisis with more debt.  Sometimes, you have to let the patient heal.

    •  Look, our global economy is sick. (14+ / 0-)

      The doctor can help to speed up recovery a bit, and make us more comfortable while we're sick, but we're going to be sick for a while, and there is nothing anybody can do about that.

      •  Personal consumption spending has to bottom (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Deal democrat, MaikeH

        somewhere.  Right now we have almost no food in the house, but I have a grocery list.  My car has 230,000 miles on it; eventually it will expire.  

        Housing sales are the lowest in decades, but housing construction is almost zero, and the inventory of unsold houses is actually declining.  

        Not everybody is out of a job; it just seems that way.  This recession/depression will end and things will get back to normal.  Maybe not the old normal (thank God) but something better than we have now.

        The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

        by MadScientist on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:23:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  WHY is "our" global economy sick? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trillian, orangedem

        Again, here at dKos, things always seem to happen in some sort of mysterious vacuum, with causality seldom looked at or understood.

        there are very definite reasons why our economy is sick. not knowing/understanding those reasons is just plain stupid.

        "People and governments need the courage to do the right thing". Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

        by Superpole on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:21:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is really simple. We (the developed world) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Superpole, wa ma

          lived, on average, beyond our means for many years. Our lifestyles were better, on average, than our wealth could afford. We borrowed, on average, to allow for that lifestyle, and now must go back to living within our means. That retrenchment is going to be painful. I repeated "on average" to clarify that even if YOU don't feel like you were living too large, as a society we were.

          •  Agreed, But (0+ / 0-)

            yes, we are an overly materialistic society.

            however, it's not just that 'we spent beyond our means" for many years- a large part of the problem is the massive wealth inequity we have in the U.S

            income growth for the middle class is basically zero (in terms of real dollars) over the last 30 years. throw in reduced union strength and the dumbing down of wages due to illegal immigration and globalization (NAFTA)and you've got further downward pressure on income.

            what happened in the same time period? the cost of living in the U.S. skyrocketed, i.e. the cost of health care, housing, education, etc. at the same time the banks made easy credit available to more or less everyone- regardless of income or assets.

            here's the MAJOR disconnect: massive increase in the cost of living in the U.S. contrasted with downward pressure on income growth for the middle class-- it clearly became impossible for the middle class to afford even the basics (let alone "luxury" items) without the use of easy (but not cheap, credit).

            In other words, the boom over the last 10-12 years has been fueled, NOT by income growth, but by credit.

            Therefore, the issue is not that we have a credit problem in the U.S., we have an income/wealth problem.

            "People and governments need the courage to do the right thing". Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

            by Superpole on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 12:16:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It is not only not big enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Superpole, Rick Winrod

      it was poorly targeted and will be too slow in reaching the economy.  He really needed to beef up the tax credits part and fund as much shovel ready infrastructure as was presented and cut out anything that was more than 18 months out.  This could end up costing us all big because a second stimulus may be impossible.

      •  Right - THREE Needed Steps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        again, anyone who knows anything about our financial system knows 70% of our economy is driven by consumer spending.

        the middle class needs a massive tax cut, not the paltry one proposed now- it simply does not put enough cash into people's hands for spending.

        in addition, the following must happen:

        NATIONALIZE troubled banks such as Citicorp. fund this bank and immediately begin loaning money (with low interest rates/relaxed payback terms) to people who want to buy cars and homes, and to small to medium sized businesses. emphasis should be put on
        green businesses.

        INSTITUTE A NATIONAL SALES TAX HOLIDAY for the remainder of 2009. either cut the tax in half, or do away with it totally.

        STOP CORPORATE WELFARE. Obama is correct to go after federal subsidies of large agribusiness farms. extend this to ALL big business, not just farming. STOP corporate off-shoring which allows corporations making profits in the U.S. to pay NO federal taxes.

        Unless the president takes these sorts of steps, we are looking at a long, LONG recession.

        "People and governments need the courage to do the right thing". Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

        by Superpole on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:33:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tax credits? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, opinionated, Superpole

          That doesn't cut it, especially for those without jobs and those who fear losing their jobs--people are pulling back on spending because they have no confidence in their income--to increase spending, we have to increase jobs, even if it means temporary government jobs. Also, some fundamental changes have to be worked out--the 70% consumer spending economy was ultimately unsustainable, too much of it based on easy credit. Once we recognize that houses aren't piggy banks, we're going to have to deal with the fact that when you buy a house, that money is basically tied up until you sell the house--liquidity comes from a paycheck and a savings account, not real estate.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:48:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

            as I've said elsewhere here: the issue is not that we have a credit problem (tho' I agree credit has been made too easy) the actual problem we have is a lack of income/wealth growth for the middle class over the last thirty years.

            income growth for the middle class the last thirty years (in terms of real dollars) has been more or less zero.

            at the same time the cost of living (housing, energy, food, health care) has skyrocketed. there's the disconnect.

            if we're not going to get income growth due to downward pressure of globalization, illegal immigrants and destruction of unions, then we must have significantly reduced taxes-- but we don't have that.

            the middle class is getting hammered from every direction, and now we are BROKE.

            "People and governments need the courage to do the right thing". Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

            by Superpole on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 12:20:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Too much global savings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, Rick Winrod

      for years we have heard Americans don't save enough.  But the real problem is that there is a global savings glut.  krugman wrote yesterday:

      the saving glut is still out there. In fact, it’s bigger than ever, now that suddenly impoverished consumers have rediscovered the virtues of thrift and the worldwide property boom, which provided an outlet for all those excess savings, has turned into a worldwide bust.

      One way to look at the international situation right now is that we’re suffering from a global paradox of thrift: around the world, desired saving exceeds the amount businesses are willing to invest. And the result is a global slump that leaves everyone worse off.

      There is not adequate demand to purchase what the world can produce.  Krugman didn't predict when this problem will end, but until it does this recession will continue.  

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:04:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The world drowns in crap (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        we have to find another form of consumption than needless shit from Walmart for $5.99.

        That is all. Individually, I wish you the best, but collectively, my dearest hope is to outlive you - groovetronica

        by Nulwee on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:20:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He's Full of Crap (0+ / 0-)

        Who was saving in the last couple decades?  Was it the working class?  Or was it the owners of the wealth stripped from the working class by enslaving them with huge monthly payments for housing and the skimming and exploitation of their 401k contributions?

        A population growing at about 1% a year coupled with median wage growth pretty much stagnant, at least throughout the 2000's, translates into a very low increase in the amount of money on hand available to buy crap.  What allowed obscene levels of growth was obscene levels of debt, but eventually it must be paid off, and unfortunately it takes a LOT longer to pay off than the 15 minutes to sign the loan in the first place.  The growth was never sustainable and the lucky ones cashed in before the inevitable crash.

    •  Reminder: 4Q GDP happened in the past (5+ / 0-)

      To be specific, 3-5 months ago.

      Only one of bonddad' charts constitutes a "leading economic indicator" which gives us information about where we are going in the future.  That would be the YoY chart of "real private residential investment" (6th from the top), and that is the only one that has stopped plunging, and is meandering sideways.

      "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

      by New Deal democrat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:43:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "No one in this economy is going to spend..." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...except the government.

    •  More Stim and and proper banking plan are needed (0+ / 0-)

      The stimulus plan was definitely on the too small side, but, as importantly, it also still needs to be joined by a plan to fix the banking system to get all of the bang-for-the-buck in the stimulus.

      If the banks are not functioning and lending, the normal magnifying ripple effect of the base stimulus plan investment will be somewhat muted.

      I know that helping the banks any more than we already have is not popular with anyone, but, nevertheless, more will be required of us on this front as well as on the stimulus front before things get turned around.

      As the Obama administration has repeatedly said, supporting an economic recovery will require a three-legged-stool approach, with the two most important legs being the stimulus bill and the banking system recovery plan (the third is protecting/growing jobs while promoting trade).


      by UpstateAlan on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 10:21:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the (0+ / 0-)

      problem. If you are worried about losing your job, or have already lost it, you're not going to spend any money on things beyond necessities.

      I wish the idiots that run the companies would realize that they may be making their bottom line look good, by laying off workers, but it's a Very short lived result. Lay off the people, no one has money to buy your products, your bottom line goes down, so lay off more workers and the bottom line goes down again. It just spirals into the toilet.

      Wouldn't it be nice if some company would come out and say that even though they aren't making any money, that they don't want to contribute to the problem, so they aren't going to lay anyone off?

      Fat chance. Not going to happen.

      It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. Voltaire

      by KatGirl on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 11:50:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sweet jesus. (18+ / 0-)

    Those graphs paint a pretty horrible picture.  For those of us already scraping, well, it ain't your fault, you're just the messenger, but damned if I'm not even more pessimistic.


    We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine,

    And the machine is bleeding to death.

    by Marcus Tullius on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 04:50:29 AM PST

  •  You got me as ready as I can be for this (17+ / 0-)

    but I am still extremely fearful.

    Especially after reading this!!


  •  Question: on GDP and definition of "Depression" (7+ / 0-)

    A related question for Bonddad and others...

    The other day I tried to identify the definition of an economic Depression.  One prominent economics website had this to say:

    So how can we tell the difference between a recession and a depression? A good rule of thumb for determining the difference between a recession and a depression is to look at the changes in GNP. A depression is any economic downturn where real GDP declines by more than 10 percent. A recession is an economic downturn that is less severe.

    By this yardstick, the last depression in the United States was from May 1937 to June 1938, where real GDP declined by 18.2 percent. If we use this method then the Great Depression of the 1930s can be seen as two separate events: an incredibly severe depression lasting from August 1929 to March 1933 where real GDP declined by almost 33 percent, a period of recovery, then another less severe depression of 1937-38. The United States hasn’t had anything even close to a depression in the post-war period...

    I am wondering: doesn't GDP include all government spending as well?  So that if a government overspends relative to income, and racks up huge deficits, one side effect can be that the GDP does not look as bad as it would have with a balanced budget?

    If that is true, then our federal government's current pattern of spending way more than it takes in, helps to bolster the GDP figures.  And same goes for quite a few state budgets....

    And so then, what is an accurate way to define a depression versus a recession?   It seems that, at this point in time, we are somewhere in between... teetering.

    •  My read on what you are saying (15+ / 0-)

      and IANAE, but do have some accounting and economics experience before I was reborn as a meteorologist...

      1.  The way you are saying this implies that you don't consider the government a legitimate economic player.  It is, and is part of the GDP and GNP.
      1.  The government is doing deficit spending in a big way right now, to make up for the part of the GDP/GNP that is being lost through contraction in consumption and business investment. This is the heart of demand side, Keynesian economics. The idea is that once private demand picks up again, the deficit spending declines and, sometimes even reverses to a surplus, so that the accumulated debt will be paid down.
      1.  Supply-siders will try to, as part of a "government can do no good" ideology, dismiss public spending (is that the right term for government expenditures?) as a waste of time (e.g. Michael Steele: "The government cannot make jobs").
      1.  The 2nd "depression" you cite was the result of ending the government intervention too soon and too severely in an effort to balance the budget, pushed by fiscal conservatives.

      I would prefer to measure recession versus depression by the length of time involved with the contraction in economic activity and the depth of that contraction.  But again, IANAE.  

      How much is enough? $500K/year?

      by billlaurelMD on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:15:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  GDP equation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trillian, gogol, opinionated

      The basic formula for calculating the GDP is:

      GDP = C + I + E + G


      C = Consumer Spending
      I = Investment made by industry
      E = Excess of Exports over Imports
      G = Government Spending

      If C, I, and E are all falling ... then G is all that's left.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 09:04:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  good lord, the barrage of bad news (7+ / 0-)

    is absolutely unremitting.  Can't remember when I heard my last bit of non-abysmal economic news.

  •  Rhode Island at 10.3% unemployment (10+ / 0-)

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Harold Shippee and his co-workers had one big question after learning in October that the metal plant where they worked for a quarter-century would close as it struggled with a tanking economy.

    "Now what do we do?" said Shippee, who supports a wife and daughter in Warwick, just south of Providence.

    The question vexing Shippee has worried thousands of other Rhode Islanders as the unemployment rate rose to 10.3 percent in January, the highest in more than 30 years and far exceeding the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, according to figures the state government released Tuesday.

    Rhode Island, whose unemployment rate had stood at 9.4 percent a month earlier, fell into a deep recession early and has trailed only Michigan in joblessness.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:00:47 AM PST

  •  Bonddad, A recommendation (12+ / 0-)

    from someone who has filled your tip jar and pressed the recommend button lots of times.

    Yes, there are lots of bad signs out there but you can not ignore there are positive signs out there as well. You just have to look for them.

    Look I am not a progressive but neither am I a Republican (anymore). I am simply your friendly dual national who wants what is best for his former home.

    For the last sixteen years I have heard all sides complaining about the other side talking down the economy.

    Guess what, it is happening right here at Kos.

    May I recommend that when you do a diary, you try to find some shred of good news and post that along with the gloom and doom.

    Frankly, too many posters around here would fit in very well with the right wingers calling for stocking up on spam and ammo.

    I am an ex pat lifelong Republican voting for Obama, dual nat member of New Labour, that works in The City.

    by Libertarian Friend on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:11:47 AM PST

  •  By 4thQ '09? 1st or 2ndQ '10? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What are y'all saying around the table?


    "All other pleasures are not worth its pains." Emerson

    by BenGoshi on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:21:08 AM PST

    •  I don't think it can turn around that (13+ / 0-)

      fast. We are nowhere near a floor on housing prices. there is no consumer demand, so I see lots of small businesses (restaurants, shops, etc.) failing. The first stimulus package is just a downpayment on what needs to be done.

      •  Yeh, I'm not saying "turnaround", just wondering- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Isara, Jampacked

         what bonddad and his colleagues were saying as far as whether the trend would begin reversing by then.  That seems to be the "word on the street" right now; that the slide should stop and things should begin trending better (or, at the least, the slide should begin slowing) within 12 months+/-.

        The question is whether that's just wishful thinking, or whether -- owing to the ARRA, restructuring efforts within the global financial markets, the "natural" swings of the pendulum, and voodoo spirits(1) -- there may be some basis for such a belief?


        (1) My Macroeconomics Professor, from ages ago (during Stagflation times, btw) said that "voodoo spirits" were as much at the basis for affecting the stock market as anything else.  In essence he was saying that we're creatures ruled by emotion (and that HEAVILY influences the market and the economy), notwithstanding our conceit that we (or market people) make "rational" decisions.

        "All other pleasures are not worth its pains." Emerson

        by BenGoshi on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:38:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My best guess: bottom in Q3 2009 (6+ / 0-)

          Despite Bonddad's doom and gloom, this diary is looking in the rear view mirror.

          There are a bunch of monetary indicators that have already turned positive, and some others that look likely to turn positive within the next 3-6 months.  In fact, the official measure of "leading economic indicators" have been positive for the last two months.

          The biggest key, imho, is whether we avoid actual wage deflation.  If yoy CPI bottoms out soon (which looks increasingly likely), 4th of July or thereabouts may be the rock bottom.

          Mind you, I'm not saying the future is rosy.  It's more like the second half of 1933 was a heckuva lot better than 1932.  And I expect any recovery to be tepid and probably somewhat short-lived.

          "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

          by New Deal democrat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:25:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  blue jersey mom is right......... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, irmaly, jjellin, SlackwareGrrl

        the economy can't turn around that fast.  I feel it will be around 18 months to 2 yrs. before we see a noticeable improvement.  At least that long.  It really all depends on when we see the bottom, which we haven't seen yet.  I feel we're getting closer to the bottom, but it's still months away.  When will we see the bottom?  Probably not until fall or early winter.

        When the banking sector finally implodes that's when we'll see the bottom.  That's when the administration will HAVE to nationalize the banks that are on life support and they will have to finally face up to the total failure of AIG.

        The really big problems on the horizon are AIG, Citi, and BOA.  They are the biggest drags on things right now.  I think that the sooner the administration deals seriously with them the better.  

        And get rid of Geithner, he's a big drag on all this too.  He helped cause all these problems in the first place, and he's dragging things out which is not good.  Deal with the bad stuff ASAP and we'll all be better off in the long run.

        If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

        by Mz Kleen on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:55:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  2ndQ '10 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenGoshi, Rick Winrod

      It keeps being pushed out so my gut tells me the worst is still to come but we see the final bottoming in a little over a year...
      Another year of this...i hope not but i think the negative feedback loop is gorging upon itself and there is still enough to feed on for awhile.

      Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. Alfred Adler

      by Hamsun on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:29:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are there actions? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, catfood, Mz Kleen, teachergonz

    You mention two depressions with a mini-recovery in between. My parents got married during the first and had my sister during the second. That's one kind of positive action.

    We've learned that things don't just happen by themselves. Something causes them and something sustains them. That "something" can be massive forces but it can also be actions taken by, well, people.

    Can people in power, including managers of big companies, wealthy individuals, political figures etc., theoretically take specific actions that will help the situation? Actions we can understand?

    Pretend people can be made to do certain things... could they do things that would make a substantial difference? What would those things be?

    Joe Biden: Get up! Al Gore: Pray, and use your feet! Harriet Tubman: Keep going!

    by JG in MD on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:23:49 AM PST

    •  There's a theory about a savings glut (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, sabredance, LI Mike, JG in MD

      Goes like this: there's money out there doing nothing. Let's get it invested and start making things, doing things, helping people, creating jobs.

      ah, if it were only so easy.

      •  I Seem to Remember (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opinionated, teachergonz

        a video showing a mortgage broker who was being pressured to sell mortgages faster and faster because so many people wanted securitized debt packages. That was what was easy.


        Joe Biden: Get up! Al Gore: Pray, and use your feet! Harriet Tubman: Keep going!

        by JG in MD on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:09:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There probably is truth to that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JG in MD

        Have you looked at the portfolio percentages the wealthy have sidelined presently?  About 15-25%.  Another poster said it was in the trillions of dollars...

        Previously they kept a much higher fraction in the stock market, which as I have tried to explain via several comments, doesn't lead to productive activity (apart from IPOs and new offerings).  If the wealthy would buy corporate bonds and do more venture capital then they really would be stimulating the economy...

  •  I'll be fine (12+ / 0-)

    I know how to knap Clovis points myself.

    Tinfoil!'s the new black!

    by mosesfreeman on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:23:53 AM PST

    •  As an archaeologist, I am very impressed. (12+ / 0-)

      I can make Mode 1 (Oldowan) tools, but that is about as far as I get.

      •  I can make (10+ / 0-)

        a mess.

        Knapping is yet another thing on my "to-do" list.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask for initiative rolls.

        by Moody Loner on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:31:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't make or do anything-- (17+ / 0-)

          I'm a psychotherapist--not high on the list of necessary expenditures.  When survival is the prime concern, social and psychological problems don't loom so large.

          Also I'm moving into elder years, a single female, with no real financial security.  I was really in a panic for a while looking at what I could do to prepare for what I could see coming.  But finding no means other than the ususal disaster prep measures (which are puny and ineffectual considering a possible collapse), I finally put myself at ease with accepting the inevitable.  There are some things I can't change or control, and we're all going to die.  If things get as bad as doomers say, I'll probably be one of the casualties.

          There's a certain relief, a peace, that comes with the acceptance of finality.

          My daughters and their men, tho, have time to wait this out--and strength, courage, intelligence to survive, I have no doubt.  I taught them well.

          Find your own voice--the personal is political.

          by In her own Voice on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:56:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have learned one thing (8+ / 0-)

            in this cherry-blossom World, and that is to never give up.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask for initiative rolls.

            by Moody Loner on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:00:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I would think your talents would be more needed (7+ / 0-)

            Now than in good times. With the world turned upside down for so many people, they need to learn how to deal with the new reality.

            "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

            by atlliberal on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:09:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What's that old saying? (4+ / 0-)

              Make lemonade out of the lemons we're dealt.  That's what I'm trying to do.  I'm looking through the seed catalogs now and deciding what food I want to grow this summer.  Start planning your gardens now!!  You'll be glad you did.

              If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

              by Mz Kleen on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:14:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  kind of hard to grow a garden in the city (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                In her own Voice

                especially when you cant afford your rental apt anymore.   There are TWO diasterous economies...  one belongs to those that bought above their means..maxed out their credit and continued buying and are now beyond broke.   then there are those who didnt BUY BUY BUY but saved and worked hard and tried to make due and are still losing their jobs, being priced out of their rentals, losing their healthcare and finding nowhere to turn to get relief.

                planting a garden wont help either group...

                some in our nation are already living in a DEPRESSION, some are living in a recession and SOME lucky ones are still watching it all take place on TV....  hoping or thinking this is something that is happening to other people but NOT them (yet)

                becoming educated is now a Patriotic Act, our President said so!

                by KnotIookin on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:25:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  On the contrary, it's not hard to grow a (4+ / 0-)

                  garden in the city.  Many cities have garden plots for residents to rent during the growing season, it's a very small fee.  I know many innovative people that grow their garden in containers.  You can grow tomatoes and many other veggies in containers.

                  Planting a garden does help people.  Gardening is very therapeutic for the soul and does give you fresh veggies to eat that are very cheap when you grow them yourself.  Many, many people during the depression years had what they called "truck gardens" everywhere and anywhere they could plant a garden.  Here's an article on that subject:

                  If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

                  by Mz Kleen on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:42:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  MzKleen do you live in a multi dwelling HIRISE in (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    opinionated, In her own Voice

                    an overly developed urban area?  the best you can do is start a windowbox garden IF you have a window that gets enough sun and if you are a family of umm say 4 people your window box garden will feed you for umm perehaps LUNCH if you dont eat to much.

                    and yes, there are community gardens in the inner city....but there isnt enough space to accomadate even 1% of the residents of a major city...sadly.

                    we grow stuff in our windows,  we grow tomatoes and lettuce and herbs.  we got 36 cherry tomatoes last summer...  not all of them at the same time.   garden may be a good hobby for apt dwellers but it isnt going to feed them...  wish it could but it cant <sigh>  but if you DO have the space, growing veggies is a good idea.

                    becoming educated is now a Patriotic Act, our President said so!

                    by KnotIookin on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:01:05 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Here's some more articles...... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  In her own Voice

                  If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

                  by Mz Kleen on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:52:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Beans are easy and prolific (6+ / 0-)

                they also fix nitrogen into your soil for next year.

                Parsley stays green and ready to eat for a very long time.

                If you grow greens with a short picking season, stagger your seeding for every two weeks, so you have a ready crop over a longer time. Unless you have "retro" taste, avoid the bibb lettuce and go straight for romaine and mesclun, they're just as easy to grow.

                Cucumbers can climb. Grow plenty of squash, both summer and winter.

                I had good luck with potatoes last year, and don't forget the carrots.

                Tinfoil!'s the new black!

                by mosesfreeman on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:27:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  One more thing (3+ / 0-)

                  Basil is super easy to grow. Grow ginormous quantities of it and make pesto. Pesto can be a staple.

                  You can get pine nuts pretty cheap in bulk quantities from your local middle eastern grocery store.

                  Tinfoil!'s the new black!

                  by mosesfreeman on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:41:36 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  only way I could have a garden is (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mosesfreeman, Mz Kleen, Rick Winrod

                  with participating in a community garden--there's no sun in my yard.  I live in what they like to call here, "the livable forest".  Not many veggies grow in shade.  

                  However the elementary school is not even a block away with a large, open, and sunny space which would make both a community garden and an outdoor science classroom.  

                  Urban Harvest here in Houston has made a name for themselves starting community gardens in low income areas.  It's a good thing.

                  Find your own voice--the personal is political.

                  by In her own Voice on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:49:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You probably have a CSA (3+ / 0-)

                    in your area. If you buy a membership, you share in the crop. Before we had room to garden we shared a membership with friends in a CSA.

                    Tinfoil!'s the new black!

                    by mosesfreeman on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:28:04 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yes a CSA about 35 miles out (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      from where I live.  Easier to go to the farmer's market.  We used to be a part of a neighborhood vegetable coop. We rotated going in to buy large quantities of produce at a discount and distribute among the members.  It was a great little operation.

                      Not that many cooperative neighbors, now...

                      Find your own voice--the personal is political.

                      by In her own Voice on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 10:16:11 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Just signed up for a CSA (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mosesfreeman, In her own Voice

                      $350 up front for 24 weeks of fresh, local, organic produce, some of which I will put by and try to stretch out to the full year. I also will have to volunteer 8 half days of labor at the farm, which is about 18 miles down the road. These are "person days" rather than calendar days, so if I bring one additional adult with me each time, my 8 half days turn into 4 half days, and so forth.

                      So the highest veg. cost for my family of 4 will be $14.58 per week. And we get to get dirty in the fresh air and sunshine for a few days.

                      Best bargain on the planet.

                      •  You'll probably find (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        In her own Voice

                        that you get so much produce that you can't eat it all... that was our experience. We ended up sharing a membership and still had more than plenty.

                        Tinfoil!'s the new black!

                        by mosesfreeman on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 11:08:14 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I have much to learn about putting by... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          ...don't want to get all that great produce and kill ourselves with poor canning, etc.

                          I also have a backyard garden (because you never can have enough basil and tomatoes) so I do think we will be swimming in food by the end of the year.

                          Because I can afford it this year --- perhaps for the last time --- I also am buying a separate CSA share to be donated either to a local family in need, or simply sent over to the local food pantry each week and portioned out from there.

                          All else being equal, if you can keep eating through the recession, you can survive the recession.

                •  Spanish Pipe Dream redux (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mosesfreeman, In her own Voice

                  "Blow up your TV
                  Throw away your paper,
                  Move to the country,
                  build you a home.

                  "Plant a little garden,
                  Eat a lot of peaches,
                  Try to find Jesus,
                  On your own."

            •  Oh I definitely think the (7+ / 0-)

              need is there, just not the discretionary funds.

              There are some needed and expected functions in our economy that have never been given a money value. Those have been traditionally "women's work"--the care and repair of the social fabric is that of the women in the traditional community or tribe. And the elders, be they women or men, are the ones sought out for their wisdom and guidance re the problems of life.

              Psychotherapy/counseling is a function in the social economy of a community, but not always one that is exchanged in the form of a currency.  Kind of like a ministry--those folks are just "taken care of" by their community for what they have to offer that benefits.

              There's clearly something wrong with the structure of our economy and how individual contributions are valued comparatively.

              It needs to change, but I don't think it's going to change in my career lifetime.

              Thanks for the encouragement--both of you!

              Find your own voice--the personal is political.

              by In her own Voice on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:22:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You can always join up as one living group (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            In her own Voice

            Your daughters' families and you. There is always need for a wise old crone. (I'm there myself, no offense ;0).

            Families are going to have to get multigenerational under one roof again to survive. Don't ever shortchange your hard earned skills and wisdom.

            Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

            by ggwoman55 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:30:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  If you have taught them well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            In her own Voice

   have something that you can share with others. I love the confidence that you show when you speak of your greatest accomplishment - instilling character in your children. It tells me that you can make or do anything - but you must discover what this next stage will be.

            Best to you

            ...there's a rose in the fisted glove and the eagle flies with the dove - Stephen Stills

            by NuttyProf on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:33:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  we are almost in Q2 of 2009 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, atlliberal

    and we are still talking about what happened under a previous administration?

    lets move on.

    like Obama and even Warren Buffet (who admitted he screwed up in 2008) said..

    the best days of this nation lie ahead

    the worse the economy gets, the stronger the bounce.  these bad indicators are not necessarily a bad thing.

    Americans are not gonna become an Asian nation where we just save, save, save.  we are people of progress.  we have to buy the newest computer, tv, homes, cars, etc.  its only a matter of time before the growth and innovation catches up to our pace and we begin growing again.

    •  there are those who would argue (20+ / 0-)

      that measuring progress by the amount we consume is not real progress. I would suggest to you that we need a new measure of the quality of our lives that doesn't put so much emphasis on CONSUMPTION, but on quality of life as in life span, health, degree of stress in our lives, the condition of the environment, and so on.

      We need to keep in mind that if everyone in the world had our consumption patterns, we would need 5 earths to support them.

      How much is enough? $500K/year?

      by billlaurelMD on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:38:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think "services" are the future. (8+ / 0-)

        When you hear about a service-based economy, it's usually in the context of people having crummy fast-food jobs. That's not what I mean.

        People need to make money, and we need goods and services. I think it would be great if we consumed a lot less of things that require natural resources and a lot more of what we do for each other.

        What if our economy provided a lot more good-paying jobs in health care, education, home help, counseling, recreation, and the like? Things that use a lot of human power but not so much of our natural resources.

        Wouldn't it be neat if cars were built to last a really long time and every apartment building had a couple of professional massage practitioners? What if McMansions became so expensive nobody would want one, but your old city neighborhood had a really good block party every Friday? What if consumer electronics were in short supply, but every local library was a site for community college courses?

        I'm more or less middle class, but I can't think of many physical items I want to acquire. I have just about all the "stuff" I want--lots of books, two computers, a TV that doesn't get used much, a four-year-old cell phone, that kind of thing. All I want is more opportunities to play and be healthy and socialize.

        As hard resources get more expensive, I think that's the only way we can prosper: doing more for each other.

  •  Education lay-offs will add a percent easily (6+ / 0-)

    and then probably another percent in referred pain, which is the cost to the stores teachers use.

    California's unemployment is over ten percent right now.  Estimates, because nobody really knows, are that school districts will lay-off around one hundred thousand workers, including teachers.  This won't be felt in the economy all at once; the "hit" will be gradual as teachers with pink slips in hand on March 15 slow down their spending.  Then the pay check tap will be turned off in June.

    The Tutoring Room is updated (new diary) on Wed. mornings. 2/25: I challenge the President.

    by algebrateacher on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:37:10 AM PST

  •  All I know is (10+ / 0-)

    the two people at my work in my unit that I thought would be there until the company folded lost their jobs yesterday.

    And I have my postponed global Linux meeting this morning with absolutely no idea who's running the initiative. Maybe I am.

    Fortunately a coworker who knows all these people volunteered to run the meeting.

    But if those two can lose their jobs, none of us are safe. And we spent my unexpected bonus on a Disneyland trip for the Little.

    Well, we'll see. We have food and a roof and power and Internet.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask for initiative rolls.

    by Moody Loner on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:40:20 AM PST

  •  Bread Lines?? Yes, at Whole Foods (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Back In Blue, CrustyPolemicist

    I realize that it is more fun to watch a car clean up along the highway and stock up on Spam and ammo while talking about the depression.

    Let me ask this, if it is so bad out there then how does a firm like Whole Foods manage to not only make a profit but beat expectations?

    Whole Foods posted earnings of $27.8 million, or 20 cents per share, 28.9% below the $39.1 million, or 28 cents per share, reported last year. The quarter included $11.0 million, or 5 cents per share, in legal costs related to its acquisition of grocer Wild Oats; the deal has run into antitrust trouble with the Federal Trade Commission.

    Sales edged up to $2.47 billion from $2.46 billion a year earlier. However, sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, slipped 4.0%.

    Wall Street had expected earnings of 15 cents per share, with sales of $2.49 billion.

    Now I can buy into the "Its so bad WalMart is booming." I can buy into "The dollar menu at McDonalds rocks."

    I did not realize that when Daily Kos readers talked about "bread lines" they were meaning at the bread counter at Whole Foods.

    I am an ex pat lifelong Republican voting for Obama, dual nat member of New Labour, that works in The City.

    by Libertarian Friend on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:42:36 AM PST

    •  Are you serious? (5+ / 0-)

      Are you really denying that the economy is shitwrecked?


      We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine,

      And the machine is bleeding to death.

      by Marcus Tullius on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:45:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's like that. (5+ / 0-)

      The economy is hellish all over, but there are always going to be spots and pockets of goodness. I'm trying to find mine. :-)

    •  We all have to eat...... (10+ / 0-)

      all the grocery chains are doing good right now, sales are up at all of them.  People are cooking more at home now, and eating out a lot less.

      If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

      by Mz Kleen on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:59:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ha! Keep posting, there's more.... (16+ / 0-)

      Whole Foods had been battered by the recession as cost-conscious shoppers moved away from high-end grocers and traded down from pricey organics. The value of the company's shares have fallen nearly 75 percent in the past 52 weeks. But management said the company's decision this summer to cut costs and capital spending and make changes in its stores has helped it manage through the difficult economy.

      So good for WholeFoods.  Seriously I commend them on superb management and, as companies go, I'm rooting for them.  I shop there twice a week.  But post the whole story if you want to posit that they are enjoying days of wine and roses.

      Also I have to add... the bulk bin aisle at my local WF is getting more and more crowded, while the aisle selling $25.00 aromatherapy candles is empty.

      •  I've stopped going there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Torta, ChemBob

        We used to go once a week and buy the "good" coffee and extras. I lost my job in Sept, and that was one of the first things to go. We shop at the regular grocery store now.

        "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

        by atlliberal on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:12:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Believe it or not, the produce section (6+ / 0-)

          at my local WholeFoods is about the same prices as the regular grocery store.  Their own "365" store brand is low cost and high quality for things like pasta sauce or tortilla chips.  And the bulk bins are always a bargain for slow-cook oatmeal, rice, beans etc.

          I don't buy many gourmet items there either, but I stop in twice a week after work to pick up a few things.  It's on my way home by bus.

      •  Whole Foods = Bulk Foods. Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Nearly everyone I know who shops at Whole Foods or stores like it are there for the inexpensive high-quality bulk foods. Rice and beans and beans and rice, as Dave Ramsey likes to say.

        Most mainline groceries are much more expensive for these basic staples. $30 at WF will buy me weeks of lentils, oats, rices, and whole grains. The same $30 at a mainline grocery will buy me a week or so of the same ingredients (actually non-organic, non-US versions of the same ingredients), but less volume of actual food and a greater volume of packaging.

        So yes, it's possible to buy $9 organic twinkie cakes at Whole Foods, but anybody who knows how to cook and is on a budget won't even consider that crap.

      •  WF has also issued an aggressive sales (0+ / 0-)

        strategy--you can, every week, get about 10-15 items at 33%-60% off.

        We shop the sales there; this week it's sirloin roasts and steaks at half off.  We've gotten some great deals on avocados and grapefruit, bringing their organic prices in line with non-organic elsewhere.

        For us, too, WF is the closet grocery store (TJ as well).  So we're saving gas when we go there.

      •  And Illuminations is going bankrupt (0+ / 0-)

        "while the aisle selling $25.00 aromatherapy candles is empty"

    •  The people who still have their jobs (0+ / 0-)

      stopped going out to dinner so much. But they (we) are still high-end foodie snobs, so we go get the good piece of meat and the pretty organic produce. Valentine's Day dinner is cooked at home. We save $$$, and Whole Foods pockets some of that.
      But, just in case you're skimming, we still have jobs; some 10% of workers don't. Thus bread lines are a possibility even in an economy that sees Whole Foods flourishing.

      Q. E. effing D.

  •  As someone who watches the indicators carefully (5+ / 0-)

    This is old news to me.

    We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda

    by BP in NJ on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:43:31 AM PST

  •  Personal Consumption Is Not An Option (14+ / 0-)

    Every dollar I spend on "personal consumption" is a dollar I won't have when I'm eventually laid off. The bean counters and Wall St. speculators have turned the U.S. into a Third World country -- a place where the few who horde all the money tell the majority that they should be happy they have jobs even as they are told to "consume". Live paycheck to paycheck just so you can afford a freaking wide-screen TV and the latest useless over-hyped cell phone.

    I have a remedy for every accountant that advised maximizing profits at the expense of the nation's well being. I probably can't utter it because of legal issues but even if it isn't a remedy, it would be a reckoning.

    The Road to 2010: More Democrats. Better Democrats.

    by Splicer on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:44:37 AM PST

    •  That the IRS would be auditing or hounding... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OpherGopher, ChemBob, Splicer, sabredance

      . . . anybody whose income is obviously under, say, $250,000.00 and not devoting 100% of such resources to turning over every rock -- both professional and personal -- of those in the highest brackets is criminal in and of itself.  O.K., not technically "criminal", but it's a horrifically wrong and inexcusable use of scarce gov't resources.

      Does that mean that those making, say, $30,000.00 or $75,000.00, or $182,000.00 should just be given "Cheat on Your Taxes" amnesty?  No.  Of course not.  But there are much, much, much bigger fish out there and I think that there should be 12-24 month moratorium on waging any kind of bureaucratic war against all but the wealthiest.  

      Now I'm not talking about job discrimination issues, or workplace safety issues or environmental issues:  businesses both small and large should have to comply with Title VII, OSHA standards, and Environmental laws and regulations.  No, I'm just talking about the Dept. of the Treasury and the notion that -- given what's been done to our nation's and world economy by the wealthiest few thousand people/bankers/finaciers/traders/brokers -- for Treasury to be kissing their asses (AIG anyone???) while continuing to persecute low-, middle-, or even upper-middle income earners demonstrates very out-of-whack set of priorities.

      Sorry.  Tax season is upon us and this is just and issue that gets in my crawl.


      "All other pleasures are not worth its pains." Emerson

      by BenGoshi on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:07:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've Told My Accountant To Be Aggressive (0+ / 0-)

        I have many deductions that are job related -- if he needs the receipts, I can get them to him as soon as I create them and print them out.

        The Road to 2010: More Democrats. Better Democrats.

        by Splicer on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:39:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is there any good news, anywhere? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know it may be hard, but do you think you could try to find even the slightest bit of good news for your next diary?

    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:52:28 AM PST

  •  Exports (4+ / 0-)

    Exports were the one solid performer -- until last quarter when they dropped over 20%. Imports dropped as well due to the lack of consumer demand.

    Of course the rise in the dollar is not going to help exports.

    It is perverse that the global financial crisis triggered by American financial engineering gone a muck has made the US dollar stronger.

    While this allows the US to borrow the massive sums it needs, at cheap rates, it is also making it very difficult for American industry to be competitive. This is not sustainable. The end game has not started yet (declining dollar, rising interest rates).

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:52:49 AM PST

  •  we don't need al these charts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, LI Mike, MinervainNH

    to tell us the economy sucks. I don't think there is anyone that hasn't been affected by it.

    Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~James Bryce

    by california keefer on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 05:54:23 AM PST

  •  Obama is failing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dems 2008, CrustyPolemicist

    on restoring confidence to the people (like FDR was able to do almost immediately).  His stimulus package was too small and filled with too many long term goals instead of immediate projects/relief and his budget is really quite risky and optimistic (did anyone else notice how rosy his GDP growth numbers are that get him to get the deficit in half).  We are looking at the real possibility of a deepening recession that could start to see higher interest rates if other countries are unable to buy our massive debt issuances.  I would really like to see our president stop beating on the economy for the sake of his initiatives (I thought that was Bush's gimmick).

    •  It's not parallel (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Isara, fhcec, sabredance, jjellin

      When FDR took the White House, the economy had been tanking for three full years. Even though Bush was laying the groundwork for this catastrophe for a long time, the real fallout did not start until a year or so ago.

      There's a certain inertia that Obama will need to stop before this thing turns around. "Failing"? I hardly think so; he's got a huge amount of good will on the part of voters who elected him, and he is properly letting American's know that the road ahead will be rocky for awhile. You could help by not pissing on his efforts.

    •  FDIC and Social Security (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec, Kimball Cross, sabredance

      form a kind of bedrock today that FDR didn't have in 1932--those two programs are creating baseline of security for people that is helping us not to fall into despair and paralyzing fear

      Imagine if we didn't believe our bank deposits, such as they are, were protected.  This crash would have been a tsunami of epic proportions making 1920-32 look like nothing.

      We may still get there--our government protections may be just slowing down the slide.  I don't know.

      But it is not the same situation today as it was in 1932.

    •  The Geithner give-aways are shredding the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson


    •  It's too soon (0+ / 0-)

      The money from the stimulus is only now reaching states. We expect everything to happen in hours now, but even fast governments take weeks to get things rolling.

      Things in California are starting to look less bad. It's not clear when things will look good again, but the general sense of free-fall has ended in a lot of areas. We have a budget that looks like it will take us through next year, with lots of small hits to households and to services, but nothing we can't live through. Manufacturing and shipping look like hell and may get worse yet, along with construction as there are thousands of projects finishing up, but none starting. Beyond that many other areas appear to have bottomed out, including housing.

      I think everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop on the banks. That's the biggest problem and they need to put a clear plan forward. I don't think it matters terribly what the plan is, but we need to let people chart a new course knowing the road ahead.

      Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

      by johnsonwax on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 09:09:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Will you be having an apocalypse w/that dark age? (7+ / 0-)

    Yes, the economy and the economic indicators are bad, bad, bad. But the better this is understood, thanks to Bonddad and others, by an ever greater number of citizens, the greater will be the support for profound structural change that just a couple of years ago one could not suggest and be taken seriously. I'm sticking with the crisis=opportunity thesis.

    The frog jumped/ Into the old pond--/ Plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:09:48 AM PST

  •  Goes to prove, you can't live on borrowed $$. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, leema

    Dreams have a way of betraying you when you use them to escape. Ask yourself why you dream what you dream.

    by brjzn on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:10:10 AM PST

  •  It's all Obama's fault now! (0+ / 0-)

    As the WSJ notes today:  "The world is awash in liquidity, thanks to monetary ease by the Federal Reserve and other central banks."

    It's easy to get loans.  That's just one reason why it must be Obama's fault now.

  •  Bondad, I love your diaries, but (7+ / 0-)

    I can never read your damn graphs. Seriously, those things are tiny. All I can see are lines going in vaguely menacing manners.

    I'm writing in Lizard People on my next ballot.

    by George Hier on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:30:22 AM PST

  •  Just curious. Why do your graphs start (0+ / 0-)

    at a particular decade?  Was that when the data was first collected?

    It would be interesting to see how the numbers looked through the Great Depression.

  •  Stay healthy, people (5+ / 0-)

    Make it a priority to whatever you can to stay healthy - physically and mentally - the last thing you want is to wind up sick in this social and economic environment.

    Best wishes to all

    ...there's a rose in the fisted glove and the eagle flies with the dove - Stephen Stills

    by NuttyProf on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 06:59:43 AM PST

  •  I'm trying to do what I can to help... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, filby

    We're putting a third bedroom in to make room for our new baby (he's our first), so we've been keeping a few contractors employed these last few weeks.

    Unfortunately, I had to take a substantial chunk of cash out of my stock fund to help pay for the construction. The numbers in the account do not look pretty. (I may have single-handedly crashed the market yesterday.)

    I own half a house- it's a duo.

    by EsnRedshirt on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:33:22 AM PST

  •  Oh sure... (4+ / 0-)

    if you wanna put a negative spin on it.


    I need to bring this post to the grocery store with me and pull it out when my 4 year old asks for fancy cereal.

    ..."in conlusion, that's why you can't have Count Chocula cereal."

    Maybe there's a god above, but all I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who out-drew ya. -5.75, -5.03

    by Muskegon Critic on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 07:36:34 AM PST

  •  This is good news for John McCain. :-) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, filby


    by Lupin on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:07:27 AM PST

  •  A Rising Blue-Collar Tide Floats All Yachts (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, opinionated, oortdust, revgerry

    whether real or imaginary.

  •  Dodged the layoff notices. (6+ / 0-)

    Waiting to see if a pay reduction as rumored will hit. Will resume spending when it's responsible to do so.

    - Signed, everyone still employed

    Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

    by johnsonwax on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 08:55:37 AM PST

  •  This is very depressing. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Summary: GOPs GDP is DOA (0+ / 0-)

    Political Correctness Police: may your puckered, disapproving lips forever cover your donuts.

    by FeloniousMonk on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 09:24:58 AM PST

  •  sounds like a good time to cut military spending (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, opinionated

    That's some good old fashioned sacrifice for the good of the country. I think Lockheed and KBR and Xe could survive if we chopped their budgets in half.

  •  I just posted a diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opinionated, Paper Cup, filby

    that shows that the Bush prosperity was a fiction even before the crash -- if you value the economy in euros rather than dollars.

  •  A question on econometric practices (0+ / 0-)

    Several questions, actually.

    When you look at the Percentage Change From Preceding Quarter in Real Personal Consumption Expenditures versus Percentage Change From Preceding Quarter in Gross Private Domestic Investment, each chart appears to be only large enough to accommodate the largest bar.

    Is there no standardization of scale in published econometric charts from quarter to quarter when comparing like quantities?  

    What is the purpose of a chart if not to give a visual impression and proportion to numerical data?  And the visual impression is that the changes are of roughly equal magnitude.  Yet that's not at all the case, because the scales on the charts are so different (and almost illegible here).  So the real news is in the narrative, not the charts.  It's like watching a TV ad of an SUV climbing a hill and then having to refer to the tiny text that appears on the screen for 2 seconds at the end of the ad: "Do not attempt.  SUV was unable to climb this hill.  Professional driver and crew were all killed when the vehicle tumbled end-over-end back down the hill."  The key to the true interpretation (the tiny scale numbers for a chart, the tiny text for the SUV ad) tends to be overwhelmed by the visual message.  So what is the real value of the visual message?  

    This is especially true if you line up a bunch of previous-quarter charts for a single quanity side by side and they have different scales.  The distinctive characteristic of the chart, its visual presentation, becomes completely misleading, something one must strive to actively ignore.

    Do professional economic publications normalize their charts or is it just standard practice to mix things up this way?

    And do most professionals watching for instance day charts of market indices pay any attention to the scale?  Do they even pay any attention to the charts themselves or do the charts serve a mostly decorative and ceremonial function -- I mean given that the the the graph of a not-so-bad Tuesday could actually look much more volatile and worse at the end of the day than the next day's graph for a really bad Wednesday, all depending on the minuscule scale labels.

    I'm not ragging on bonddad.  I give bonddad's detailed coming-meltdown analyses over the last few years the lion's share of the credit for persuading me to get completely out of stocks in good time before disaster hit and to stay out during much of the run-up despite some moments of profound doubt and near-regret.  

    I'm just curious about how economists and financial pros look at these charts.  It's like they only tell you what you already know.  They do put things in perspective, but it seems the perspective is most often a misleading one that your brain has to instruct itself to override.

    Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

    by Alden on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 09:55:07 AM PST

  •  The Obama (and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paper Cup

    Bush) Administration concept does not seem to be working.  Based on recent articles in the NYT, I think our problem is AIG and its misuse of the insurance business "AAA" rating.  

  •  What I am most concerned about is that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Deal democrat

    people are being really bad advice.  I went to a financial planner(30 years old) and he keep spouting the same crap that they all spout, dollar cost averaging...blah, blah blah.  He had a huge chart on his wall that charted the bond market and stock market for the last hundred years but keep referring to 1973 as the comparable year.  I pointed out that based on everything we know..1929 to 1935 is more of the comparable timeframe and he just blanked just didn't compute.  I asked him if he had done any comparisons or overlays for the timeframe and he said that was for economists.  I can't believe it, they are spouting historical comparisons left and right when they want you to invest but when there historical comparisons would indicate that you stay in cash, those they can't be bothered with.  

    •  There are some great inflation-adjusted charts (0+ / 0-)

      of stock market returns from 1900.  I can't access them right now, I'll post them later at

      Suffice it to say, there have been several periods in the last 110 years when in real terms stocks were down over an entire 15 year period.

      buy and hold is great, as long as you can hold for at least 20 years (or you get in and out during a long-term bull market).

      "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

      by New Deal democrat on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 10:18:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, the 1974-5 recession (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      probably is more comparable.  This is not as bad and probably won't get as bad.

    •  How is 1929 more comparable than 1973? (0+ / 0-)

      Honestly, if a financial planner told me this was comparable to 1929, I would find a new financial planner.

      •  Don't you think both the volatility and the (0+ / 0-)

        time frames are more comparable to 29 through 40 than to the recession of 73-75? I think the dips are deeper and more permanent and the recovery time will be greater.  If not, I look forward to seeing the charts on to convince me otherwise.  The other issue is that we are no where near the bottom, so advising people to get back into the market right now seems reckless especially anyone over 45 (I agree with the New Deal Democrat about the 20 year timeframes)  

  •  Fuck it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm buying stocks.  Yeah, they'll probably go down some more, but now seems like the "buy low" part of the equation.

    I didn't sell high (this time) so really, what have I got to lose?

    In 1993, NO Republicans voted for the most successful economic program in history. NOT ONE. Wrong then, wrong now.

    by The Creator on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 10:31:52 AM PST

  •  What people fail to realize (0+ / 0-)

    is that maybe a stimulus package per se - regardless of size - isn't the solution.  It's an old tried-and-true way for governments to boost their economies and give them a kick-start.

    This is not your father's recession.  The old methods of dealing with it might not work.

    There's a real danger IMO if these current stimulus packages (which our grandkids are already going to be paying for) don't have the desired effect and people conclude "the amount wasn't big enough".

  •  Maybe everyone thought it was Lent and not Xmas. (0+ / 0-)

    So maybe will start spending like gangbusters, mistakenly thinking that it is Christmas, in March and April.

    "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." -- Albert Einstein

    by ohwilleke on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 10:42:00 AM PST

  •  IT all comes back to JOBS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Very few in the private sector are in a job expansion mode in a down market.

    If anything they are cutting back to cover their
    own co. finance demands or projected earnings est. objectives.

    The question becomes this.

    If the Gov. doesn't hire
    or support with projects that will require more people to do the work, where will the new jobs come from?

    Without JOBs there is no home, there is no income. All while services for food, shelter, and health will expand.

    Ecosystems empowerment for the rural poor.

    by 1Eco on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 10:45:44 AM PST

  •  We need happy songs like they wrote in the Big Un (0+ / 0-)

    Like Sunny Side of the Street and I'm in the Money
    and I've Got Rythmn, Who Could Ask for Anything More?
    coz for a lot of people that is all they are going to have for awhile.  Ouch!!

    The 30's are back with a vengeance.

    Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice won't get fooled again. George Bush

    by ganymeade on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 11:29:14 AM PST

  •  result of living within our means (0+ / 0-)

    If , as has been said, Americans have been living off of home equity lines and credit cards and saving very little, isn't a drop in PCE an inevitable consequence of that coming to an end and people having to live without incurring futher debt (and repaying current debt). The current situation seems like a dilemma, we are told that Americans overspent and took out too muhc debt, and on the same hand told that in order for the economy to get better, Americans must spend more to lift the economy up. This seems to be contradictory. If people are already in too much debt, they shouldn't spend yet more.

  •  Can someone tell me why (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we want this old economy revitalized? Don't we need to go in a different more sustainable direction? When I see the banks, stock brokers, home builders and big car companies going bankrupt I feel that things are finally getting back on track in this world, the last thing I want to do is restimulate those industries. Rather I would like us to take this opportunity to create new more sustainable industries that complement rather than destroy our environment. We are missing out on a golden opportunity here. It's so fucking stupid to ignore the fact that if we get our economy going again it's going to slam directly in the path of peak oil and global warming disaster. This is the only time in history that we truly have nothing to lose by changing direction - and Obama is blowing it because he wants to be FDR. Stop looking backwards Obama and you'll FINALLY move this country forward.

    Now, people had lost their fear. From that moment I knew we would win. - Oscar Olivera

    by Josh Prophet on Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 12:34:18 PM PST

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