Skip to main content

The right-wing talking heads are pouncing on the President today for the annual economic growth rate slowing to 1.5% (still growing BTW), calling it "Worst Recovery Since WWII." This is below the 2-3% growth predicted by "experts" earlier in the year.

I was talking to my sister in St. Louis last night where the heat wave has been relentless. Leaving a meeting on Wednesday, her car thermometer read 117 degrees. She was going to stop at the store for groceries but the heat was so brutal she rushed straight home to the safety and comfort of her air conditioner. It does not mean she will never go to the store again but the weather in this small example affected her buying patterns.

It is common sense that dangerous and unprecedented heat waves would slow the economy (as the more common and more expected extreme winter weather affects the economy). I have seen a number of anecdotal examples of this in recent weeks, including my completely unscientific "parking lot" survey.

Even here in the Southeast where we are prepared and equipped to handle long stretches of summer heat, when the temperature stays above 105 for days on end (as it did at the end of June and beginning of July) just walking outdoors across the parking lot from the car to the store can become a dangerous adventure. This is especially true for those of us who are very young or very old. The extreme heat affects all "parking lot commerce" whether from restaurants or shopping malls or home improvement stores. In addition, unusually high heat overwhelms the ways outdoor workers are accustomed to managing the heat.

We assume a blizzard would defer shopping trips and construction projects until the weather clears. We are finding that the same economic "freeze" can occur during unusually high blasts of heat but we are less accustomed to accounting for the economic slow down from extreme heat. Since the economy is the political justification being offered for replacing the President, we need to know what is truly moving the economy.

I offer one quick example of my parking lot survey. There is a "Big Boy" type restaurant not far from my house. While it has been affected by the larger downturn in the economy, the parking lot is always packed at lunchtime during the week. The cheap "all-you-can-eat" buffet is a huge draw for construction workers, local store clerks and others looking for a bargain lunch. When the temperature was over 105 for the third day in a row I was shocked to see only four cars in the parking lot as I drove by. I stopped in later in the week and asked the owner about business. He said business was down 20% year over year for the month of June and he was very worried about July. He blamed the heat. (Fortunately we have cooled down to our normal high nineties for the last couple of weeks.)

The attacks on the President and his administration for their economic policies are going to be increasing over the coming months. If the economy slows further it will only fan the flames of political heat. We who prefer truth over expedient hyperbole need to stay focused on the true reasons for our economic distress. Worst recovery since WWII? Yes. The worst recovery since WWII is the only result possible after the worst economic collapse since WWII complicated by unpredictable economic consequences of unprecedented climate change. It is still good and right to point to the Bush/Cheney economic policies and to the Bush/Cheney ecological policies (see: Kyoto Protocol) as the responsible parties for our slower than expected economic growth. We still pay dearly for the Republican, Bush/Cheney failures.

Just sayin'.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site