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Five reasons to be optimistic about the economy

Thumbnail image for bernanke_back.JPG

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

(Photo Credit: AP)

By Neil Irwin
The economic outlook has become steadily gloomier over the last couple of months. A major deceleration of growth is already under way, and the risk of a dip back into recession is much higher than it was at the beginning of the summer. Financial markets have fallen steadily, reflecting that risk, as has President Obama's approval rating.

On one hand, these weak economic results are to be expected. As economists Carmen and Vincent Reinhart documented in a new paper, recessions triggered by severe financial crises are normally followed by extended periods of weak growth and high unemployment like the one we are now seeing.

On the other hand, however, a certain fatalism -- that a double-dip recession is inevitable--has crept into a lot of economic analysis lately, and it may be overstating the degree to which we are in dire straits. In fact, there are some reasons for at least modest optimism. A roaring recovery is probably not on the way, but here are five reasons that a slow-and-steady recovery is likely to continue.

Savings. Credit. Manufacturing. Housing. Trade.

1. Savings
Part of the reason consumer spending numbers have disappointed over the last few months is that Americans are putting more money away. Recent revisions to data indicate that the savings rate -- the percentage of disposable income not used for consumption expenditures -- has been higher than originally estimated. It rose from 2.7 percent at the start of the recession in the beginning of 2008 to 5.9 percent in July.

The good news: More households are readjusting their spending patterns to match their incomes than was previously realized. That means consumers should be freer to spend more in the months ahead, even if the savings rate remains unchanged.

2. Credit
There is gradual healing going on in the financial sector that is causing modest, slow improvement in loan availability for households and businesses. The most recent edition of the Federal Reserve's senior loan officers survey showed that more banks have eased lending standards for corporate loans over the preceding months than tightened them, although the overwhelming majority of banks left lending standards "basically unchanged." For companies with access to global capital markets, interest rates and credit spreads remain quite low, despite a recent rise in market volatility, which supports growth.

The dramatic tightening of credit in 2007 and 2008 was a major cause of the recession. The easing of credit will aide recovery, making it easier for consumers to spend and businesses to invest. Keep in mind, however, that the effects of loosening or tightening credit aren't usually felt until several months later. When credit tightened in the summer of 2007, for example, the recession didn't start until December of that year.

3. Manufacturing
The industrial sector is actually holding up okay, despite the softening in overall growth. July industrial production was up 1 percent, and early indicators are that expansion held up last month. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of activity in the manufacturing sector rose in August, to 56.3 from 55.5 (numbers above 50 indicate expansion). While manufacturers are no longer benefiting from rebuilding inventories that were slashed during the recession, it appears that they view final demand for their products as steady enough to keep producing.

To understand why, consider the automobile sector. Americans are now buying automobiles at a rate of about 11.6 million a year, down from a high of more than 20 million in mid-2005. Analysts generally say that demand for autos over the long term is in the range of 13 to 15 million per year, which means that there is significantly more room for the auto industry and its suppliers to ramp up production when people have to replace worn-down cars.

4. Housing
This may seem an odd reason for optimism, given the horrendous data on July existing home sales and new home sales released last week. But those numbers have a silver lining. Basically, housing activity has shrunk so much that it would be hard for it to be much of a drain on future growth.

No one is expecting home-building activity to return to its pre-crisis levels for a very long time, and there's a good chance that nationwide prices will fall further. But in July, builders started work on new housing units at only a 546,000 annual rate, far below the 1.3 million or so units of housing a year needed to keep up with population growth. That rate of construction is so low that the nation is rapidly working off its excess supply of housing built during the boom years. And remember that much of that excess supply is concentrated in places where the regional economy is also in terrible shape, such as parts of California and Florida. There's little excess housing in much of the country.

With housing starts at such a low level, there's just not much more room for it to hurt growth. When housing starts fell from a 2.3 million annual rate in early 2006 to the low of 477,000 in April 2009, it was a major drain on the economy. Even if construction levels were to decline a bit from their current 546,000 level, it would be mathematically impossible for residential construction activity to subtract from growth as much as the 2006 to 2009 collapse did.

5. Trade
The economy was dragged down to an unprecedented degree in the second quarter by a steep rise in imports. Even though exports increased, imports rose much faster, subtracting 4.5 percentage points from the gross domestic product. Had trade as a whole been a net neutral, GDP growth would have come in at a healthy 5 percent annual rate, and the current hand-wringing over the economy would be more subdued.

The question, then, is whether that spike in imports was a onetime anomaly or something more lasting. The increase is a bit of a mystery, not attributable to anything obvious like a jump in the price of imported fuel. It may have been triggered by the lull in orders for U.S.-made aircraft or the spike in imports for wildly popular smartphones made in Asia. But few analysts predict that trade will continue to weaken the economic outlook. And with many other world economies doing better than the United States right now, exports may even be set to rise more than imports in the coming quarters, which would help domestic growth.

By Neil Irwin  |  September 1, 2010; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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Next: Economic agenda: Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010

Comments

YES, Exactly a no growth economy based on the need for sustainability and population growth and the end of the population ponzi scheme as we come to the threshold of having to learn how to live within the means of our planet! The get rich quick scheming days are just about over and the days of global basic sustainability are upon us. The gold rush economy is slipping away every day!

Posted by: Wildthing1 | September 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Should the US pursue a weak dollar policy to spur exports and stifle imports? Certainly China is managing its currency with some success.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The liberal media is still drinkling cool aide even though the summer is unofficially over. Barry Soetero's handlers must have called, and said that poor Barry is slip sliding into oblivion, so please tell your devouted readers that the economy will come roaring back.

The fact is, the economy will get worse before it gets better. The private sector isn't hiring because of Barry's socialist agenda, especially the rising cost of healtcare, where Barry is covering his gushing sit around and do nothing diciples on some one else's dime.

Then there is the question of increased taxes to support his asinine programs. The private sector simply doesn't know what to expect, ergo, no jobs.

The European economy which Barry would like to follow, is also falling apart, and the ramifications here in America spell a not so rosy picture.

Perhaps we will recover, but there is an equal chance that we might go the way of Argintina.

Posted by: jemvbcarmagh06 | September 1, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

If a majority of the electorate believes this doo-doo from the WaPo, the economy will continue its downhill slide toward the Cliffs of Insanity. Vote your preference this November!

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | September 1, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

jemvbcarmagh06,

Thanks for proving that the GOP just cant interpret factual data. You should be proud.

Posted by: rharring | September 1, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

IT'S THE TRADE DEFICIT

It has been going on for decades and the more they try to pretend its just a recent anomalously, a great mystery, the more they are telling you they planned it all out to rape and loot the USA.

We Need Tariffs

We Need Limits to Foreign Visa Workers

We Need Limits to the Percentage of US based business that can be Foreign Owned and that drains wealth off the USA.

Posted by: Elisa2 | September 1, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Reason #6: Election day results. The Republicans will retake the House and gain enough Senate seats to filibuster any new Demo-crap initiatives.

Look for a big jump in the stock market the day after Election day.

Once the new session begins, look for an attempt to repeal or "fix" the health care reform law. The first attempt may not fly but eventually we will remedy Obama's socialist centerpiece of doom.

Obamacare requires all small/medium sized businesses to buy health care for all employees. That means each worker now costs another $450-550/month in HMO premiums. Employers will respond by firing as many as they can, refusing to hire anyone new, and buying the cheapest possible (read: largest deductible) HMO for the remainder.

Thankfully, the onset date of this jobs-killer isn't until 2014, two years after Obama is forced from office. We still have time.

Posted by: coakl | September 1, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The ADP National Employment Report revealed a drop of 10,000 private-sector jobs in August, compared with the 19,000 or so increase that economists were anticipating.

Posted by: corebanks1940 | September 1, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, I suppose if I am willing to abdicate all critical thought capabilities, and simply believe what I read in the newspaper, than you are CORRECT!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Wait 'til Obamacare kicks in (See ya'!)

Posted by: jahoby | September 1, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"There is gradual healing going on in the financial sector that is causing modest, slow improvement in loan availability for households and businesses."

This is simply the author's wishful thinking...kind of the journalistic equal of
"jobs created/saved".

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! (paycheck for writing what I am told; no thought required).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Some commenters here are really illiterate. But they sure know how to spell Barry.

Posted by: Marylander4 | September 1, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

This would be an informative piece if the author had taken time to qualify her claims. For example, it is true that people who are employed and saving a higher percentage of their income. Since we have built an economy on consumption, saving money is not good for the economy. Similarly, while there are signs that manufacturing is rebounding, the truth is that no matter how much the economy and manufacturing rebounds it will not generate enough jobs to make a significant impact on unemployment.There are also areas that this writer ignores. Has the way the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies led investors to avoid putting money into troubled companies? Why have American corporations put aside just under 2 trillion dollars rather than investing in new plant, employees, and so forth? If you know the answer to these two questions, you will quickly conclude that things may well not going in the right direction for our economy.

Posted by: jeffreed | September 1, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

THERE IS HOPE BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO TAKE OVER AND THE BUSINESSMEN WILL HAVE SOMEONE THEY CAN TRUST IN OFFICE. WE NEED TO REPEAL ALL OF THE BAD DEMOCRAT BILLS INCLUDING OBAMACARE. WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE DEMOCRATS PAY BACK ALL THE MONEY THEY WASTED AND STOLE.

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | September 1, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Neil, what were you smoking when you wrote this and who in the White House gave you the propaganda subject material?

The economy continues to deteriorate while your messiah vacations...

Posted by: fritz101 | September 1, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Given the very high rate of productivity, (less workers doing more work) how about a "tax-holiday" on all work over 40 HRS?

Any hours worked over 40 would be tax and FICA free so you can put the gross amount of any "over-time" pay in your pocket!

It would stimulate consumer spending & put more people back to work.

Posted by: mikeconville | September 1, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Have you noticed how happy Republicans get when they receive a report that the economy remains sluggish?

Likewise, Republicans seem to go directly into denial when they receive reports that the country is rebounding.

These are the same freaks that refer to themselves as "Americans" and "Patriots" all while they continually pray for the downfall of America.


Posted by: lindalovejones | September 1, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

So, COOLCHILLY, I suppose you'd support the GOP being forced to pay back all the money they wasted and stole by starting two wars, one of which (the far more expensive, I may add) was totally unnecessary?

Posted by: exerda | September 1, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The scenario for some growth in the forseeable future is probably a reasonable one. However, the claims about trends are very uncertain. Between the very sharp inventory cycle since the fall of 2008 and the large stimulus, it is very hard to know whether short term trends are just random noise or whether those trends are part of a sustainable pattern. Between the impact of unemployment, the continuing impact of lost housing wealth, and lower long term returns on investments, many people are likely to still be adjusting to some long term reduction in their lifestyle. Where people actually are in making that adjustment will only be clear in hindsight. We also face a long term struggle over local government services and wages. That struggle is likely to lead to higher taxes, more staff reduction, and probably eventually some loss of expected retirement benefits. The fact that a few months of data points were largely worse than expected probably does weigh strongly against a repeat of the 2003 2007 boom that many optimists were looking for. It is fair to say that those data points don't necessarily imply another near term downturn and that we are likely to see some data points that are better than expected. But it remains to be seen what expectations have actually been priced into asset markets and what expectations actually come to fruition.

Posted by: dnjake | September 1, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Have a little faith in America. Relax. We'll be OK. Don't let the cranks win the day.

Times are tough. Hold on, it won't last forever. Never does.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The FAIRTAX would help a lot. Don't hear about this in the WP. Look it up folks.

Posted by: bandsposs | September 1, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

And the main reason: The Dems are gonna get trounced in November.

Posted by: JAH3 | September 1, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Five reasons NOT to be positive about the economy

1. The US auto industry just had its worst year in more than twenty years.

2. New home sales are at a twenty-three year low.

3. Unemployment continues to increase while the Obama regime and the Fed have pulled out all of the stops.

4. Consumer spending is in the tank and the back-to-school season was the worst in years.

5. Obamacare is just coming on-line and it is increasing the cost of virtually everything.

Posted by: mike85 | September 1, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The biggest reason to be pessimistic about the American economy is the failure so far to make even much of a start in addressing long term problems. Our failure to address our real problems in 2003 did not stop us from experiencing a transitory boom. But, after that boom collapsed, we were in worse economic condition than before it started. This time around we probably are not going to manage a repeat of that last trasitory boom. We well may limp along for a while just on the continued momentum of the short term recovery from a very strong downturn. But, whether it comes this year, next year, or later, unless we make some progress in actually fixing the major structural problems that have been accumulating in our economy for more than a decade, it is only a matter of time until those problems assert themselves again.

Posted by: dnjake | September 1, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

1. Savings has increased overall, but the adjustment in the level is attributable by increases in saving amongst higher income earners. Americans, as a whole, are neither saving more or making more...what incentive do we have to save if interest rates are so low?

2. 1 and 2 are practically mutually exclusive. As savings go up, it means credit usually goes down in the short-term. Higher interest rates means more loans, lower means less savings. You can't typically have both, so this is unsustainable. Furthermore, the high leveraging of consumption is what led to our debt/financial crisis. Is the Washington Post really implying that more of the same will fix our economy?

3. Don't get me started on America's abysmal manufacturing industry. Without production, a country can have no wealth. The profile of our country is beginning to look more and more like that of a third world country every year: high debt, no production, massive imports/low exports.

4. The housing bubble could just have easily been called the credit bubble. A reversion to the inflated housing prices seen in the last decade or so would either never happen or be more disastrous the second time around than the first. Seriously, Washington Post? Improvements in housing is a good thing? WRONG! We need even more depreciation of the housing bubble, and we should never let the Fed raise housing artificially again. Housing should not be an investment, and it should rise only with the rate of inflation.

5. A one-time anomaly? Who is the Post's readership anyway? We haven't had a trade surplus since 1975! The increase in our trade deficit is directly correlated with the loss of our manufacturing industries and jobs. Note: Service-sector jobs have increased nowhere near the rate of decline witnessed in manufacturing jobs.

It seems clear the Post is trying to paint a brighter picture in a very dark scene. Are they trying to perpetuate the polices that led to our economy's destruction? How can you release false positive information like this? Americans need to know the truth of what's going on if we're ever really going to fix our problems.

Oh wait, I forgot. The Washington Post is just another in a long line of interconnected corporate entities with a "free" trade agenda. Their definition of free trade makes protectionism look laizzes-faire.

economyincrisis.org

Posted by: EconomyInCrisis | September 1, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice the worse Democrat ratings get the more articles that mysteriously appear stating that everything is suddenly improving? News says immigration numbers are way down, the economy is improving etc etc. Yes and any statistician worth his/her degree knows you can make numbers say whatever you what them to say. Hey Barry my neighbors say it still sucks to be unemployed. My other neighbors say the same thing. Still waiting for you Barry to keep your laser like focus on jobs. Yo Barry jobs baby. Focus Barry focus. November is going to be a WONDERFUL month.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | September 1, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So, COOLCHILLY, I suppose you'd support the GOP being forced to pay back all the money they wasted and stole by starting two wars, one of which (the far more expensive, I may add) was totally unnecessary?
===================

Obama's anti-stimulus plan cost $862BB in one year and has accomplished virtually nothing. The Iraq war over its seven year life cost $709BB and removed Sadam Hussein from power, which was a major goal of the DEMOCRATS.

Posted by: mike85 | September 1, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Republicans will sweep in to save the day, just like '94 where they came in, shut down the government and spent their energy on special prosecutors instead of legislation.

Boy, I can't wait.

I understand the appeal of divided government, but both sides have to actually want to govern. Does anyone here actually believe that these guys are ready to step up and work with the president to fix what ails us?

All I hear from the right is venom, cynicism, and conspiracy theories. Times are too serious for that immature crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

There will never be any roaring recovery about anything. The bottom line is that fate/ reality has caught up with this nations fragrant use, abuse, exploitation of its manipulations, powerful position, bullying, down right treachery, decadence, fundamentally flawed economics system, cooking its books, the rotten to the core two party political system, the SOB bankers, lawyers, politicians and the five present rich, elite, who own all the money, power and using it to manipulate the system for the rich to get richer and poor poorer.

This whole society is gone hay wire and becoming a police state. There is no limit to governments,use, abuse, exploitation, misappropriation of tax payers money. Wrong priorities both internal and external. Wrong foreign policy of fraud wars like Iraq. The BS untenable war on terror in Afghanistan / Pakistan.

And above all these conservative republican minority of less then 25% of the nation that is pushing around the rest 75% of the people. Because these SOBs the likes of the Bankers, Kock brothers and their Kock Industries, the Murdoch Media Empire, oil / gas, industrial- military-security complex all owned by the same like minded SOB conservative republican malignant narcissists, chronic scapegoaters, uncorrectable grab baggers, their evil modus operandi, their perversity of inequality, rights only of their bigoted kind.
This nations alienation of the rest of the world against its self. On account of totally unacceptable foreign policy during 8 years of Bush/ Cheney secret government of executive privilege, and before that 12 years of Reagan / Bush One fiasco with the Soviets and that other war in Afghanistan , using the Reagan favorite freedom fighter the SOB Bin Landen and his cohorts thousands that were sacrificed for the US Conservative Republican Modus Operandi, and later for political expediency all promises and deals reneged.

In the end what goes around comes around has come to show its real face.

Fiscally it is the so called private entity Federal Reserve, an Mafia like structured organization of 12 Regional banks with a Governors / Board of directors all under the tutelage of the god father the Chairman. The whole private enterprise with no transparency, amenability, rules, regulations and answerable to no body. All in the real interests of the secret and perpetual stock holders.

The impetus was the megalomaniac, compulsive-obsessive, sociopath George W. Bush with his divine religious mandate and being the messenger of this god. Who along with the Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Karl Rove, Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and the five US Supreme court Justices ( hard core conservative republicans) mangled this nation that is bow economic terror besieged, ideologically divided, polarized and on a fast track of self destruction from within.
1St it was the British Empire that fell like a ton of bricks, followed by the disintegration the Soviet Union and now it its is our turn.

Posted by: winemaster2 | September 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Democratic spin! Democratic spin! Democratic spin! Democratic spin! Democratic spin! It's not going to work, people! It's not going to work! The GOP has returned to its roots with a message of fiscal responsibility! Don't believe the Democratic spin!

Posted by: georges2 | September 1, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"Five reasons to be optimistic about the economy" -- Don't try to peddle your propaganda to the guy that just had his house foreclosed or is withdrawing money from his 401K to make house payments.

Or the automotive engineer that just learned that GM is outsourcing it's design work to Germany. ...... thanks to the Stimulus money. (and the UAW)

Sorry, but you've got no creditability. NONE !!

Posted by: richard36 | September 1, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Listening to all this pessimism makes me want to move to Somalia and take my chances as a warlord.

How do you people live with the feeling that the world's coming to an end? It's just plain ludicrous. Grow up and get to work!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Do the Right Thing tells us (without actually saying it) to vote for the republicans in November. So, my question is: do the republicans have the balls to bring back good manufacturing jobs, and get their buddies at the financial institutions to loosen up more credit so as to facilitate small business and manufacturing job growth over the long term? Vote your conscience, not some silly rhetoric, and bring Americans back up! Don't drag the recently and long temr unemployed down further by sending any more good manufacturing jobs to China/Pakistan/etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

More B.S. from the Postie lapdogs.
I don't think the economy will recover until the stupidity is flushed out of Congress and the White House.
These morons are doing more to destroy jobs than they are to promote a pro business environment.
Sheer liberal democrat stupidity.

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 1, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

What is with the population Chicken Littles?

The last problem this country, or this continent has, is overpopulation.

The small brains are at it again -- and look what havoc they have sown across human history, from the foot of Mount Sinai to Salem, Mass. to the War of the Worlds broadcast to the Glenn Beck Festival -- when fear drives a person's mouth, nothing good comes out of it.

The problem we have is not too many people.

The problem to too many dollars concentrated in the wrong places. Our people are solid, there's enough of nearly everything, and if we can match our actions to our values, we won't make too much of mess of the environments where we live.

The problem is money, and the inefficient way we push it around, and the way we have let a few with a lust for money ruin it for the rest.

But, first thing do is tell the raving, ranting neighbors overwhelmed by the nameless, illogical, factless fear inside their heads to go take a walk around the block so the adults can get to work.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The One Reason Not to be Optimistic

1) We have a socialist running a Capitalist Country, and an incompetent one at that, not to mention his accomplices in Congress...

Posted by: jblast2000 | September 1, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The Economist has been predicting 2-2.5% for the US for the next 5+ years. This year is on pace for that growth.

The US just isn't going to grow that fast. The growth from 2002-2007 was based on excessive use of cheap credit leading to a bubble that burst in 2007-2008. It takes a long time to recover from a bubble, and the fact that we have positive growth is a far better than the alternative, even if it is painfully slow.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 1, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

georges2 wrote:
"The GOP has returned to its roots with a message of fiscal responsibility!"

Word to the wise -- you should ask for proof, this time, before you believe that.

Cry "Democratic Spin" all you want, but the idea that any member of the Republican Party has 'returned' to anything resembling 'responsibility' is at odds with every fact.

Proof, sir. You'll need plenty of it to convince even one ordinary American that the Republicans are responsibility people in any way.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The voters are not buying the left wing media's and Administration's attempt to talk up the economy! A trillion dollars deeper in debt and higher unemployment tells you they are desperate to try and convince voters to buy their BS!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

jblast2000 wrote:
"We have a socialist running a Capitalist Country, and an incompetent one at that, not to mention his accomplices in Congress..."

Couldn't be more wrong. Dead wrong.

Our country is a republic in a democracy. Read your constitution. We have capitalists, but they don't define our country.

The People do. And they can believe as they wish. Read your constitution.

As for our president, you'll need something other than a hackneyed, repeated rightist-running dog smear propaganda line to prove you understand anything about our free, democratic way of life with defies efforts by braggarts and loudmouths to apply their labels to free men and women.

Socialist, sir? You don't know the meaning of the word.

And Capitalist, sir? No good capitalist would spend so freely of their integrity mouthing lies manufactured by those who seek to recruit weak minds to separate Americans from each other and get Americans to criticize their own government.

The above comment couldn't be more wrong or do more harm if it were uttered by a foreign agent bent on dividing the American people.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous wrote:
"The voters are not buying the left wing media's and Administration's attempt to talk up the economy! A trillion dollars deeper in debt and higher unemployment tells you they are desperate to try and convince voters to buy their BS!"

Apparently you were not one of the smart capitalists that made a bundle in the market today.

Why should we all be victimized by your inability to see what is plain to any ambitious, productive American -- there is opportunity out there, and the number of opportunities are growing.

It's not cockeyed optimism, it's fact. It's in the financial pages every day. That you choose not to see it or understand it doesn't make it true.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Reasons to be optimistic?

Great! Until the Republicans get back in and wreck it all again!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Does everyone really believe that Obama has caused all these financial problems in 18 months? Just maybe, the previous 8 years expenditures without adding the unnecessary war in Iraq or Afghanistan into the budget.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

WELL WITH EACH STATE DIRECTED BY OBAMA HIMSELF TO STICK TO EACH AMERICAN, WITH SKY HIGH TAX ON GAS, WHICH THEN SET SKY HIGH TAX ON HEALTH CARE, WHICH THEN SET SKY HIGH TAX ON FOOD & DRUGS! FRAUDULET GOVERNMENT TIED IN WITH BIG OIL CARTELS, CORRUPT BIG BUSNESS. WE ARE ALL ON SINKING SHIP GOING DOWN. THIS PRESIDENT IS THE WORST IN HISTORY, HE WILL GO DOWN JUST THAT WAY. WHY ALL YOU WHO SEE LIFE THROUGH ROSE COLORED GLASSES WILL SEE IN 122 DAYS THE HIGHEST TAX HIKE IN HISTORY 700 BILLION IS WHAT HE HAS PLANNED FOR US.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

All of the comments about health reform are wrong. It doesn't increase the cost of anything, and it reduces federal spending. Individuals are required to pay for the health care they get. Anyone who could afford half the cost of a policy and doesn't buy one now will put up that half, get half from the feds, and have a policy. That person's half is new money into the system, because at present when that person shows up in an ER with a heart attack, the entire bad debt gets passed on. the taxpayers come out ahead on the deal by the half the patient is now paying through insurance.

no one thinks Obama increased the cost of health care by making people buy insurance. It was increasing so fast without reform that employers were dropping coverage.

Posted by: JoeT1 | September 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry....we are already in Japan mode and stagflation.

A mountain of unrecognized bad debt is sitting in the banks. They'll be washing it out for over a decade.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

IT'S TIME FOR THE MASON'S TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT GONE WILD AN CORRUPT BEYOND COMPREHENTION. I AM EMPLORING THE MASON'S DO WHAT THEY DID IN THE 1920'S DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION. THEY KICKED EVERYONE OUT OF GONGRESS AN PRESIDENT AN ALL GOVERNMENT WORKERS AN TOOK OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THE CROOKS!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

5 Reasons for Economic Optimism! -- #1: We are going farther & farther into DEBT! #2: Our CONGRESS is shipping more & more JOBS Over Seas! #3: "Poverty" is growing leaps-and-bounds-and will grow by another 10% in 2011! #4: The $Rich are getting Richer each & every year,-- while the poor get poorer!! #5: The Dollar's Value / buying power grows less & less every year!! and- #6;- The Criminal private bank called the Federal Reserve continues to create 'funny-money' thru Criminal "Fractional Reserve Banking" USURY INTEREST UPON INTEREST!! #7:- FORECLOSURES WILL GROW BIGGER IN 2011! #8;- tHE U.S. Citizens will continue to follow and obey the RED & BLUE Crooks- owned and managed by the Globalist $BANKsters & WALLsters! #9;- The DERIVATIVE Pushers have NOT been Regulated at all!- FIN-REG Is a "JOKE" America!! #10;- Hundreds of more banks will Fail in 2011!! -- and on and on and on --- --Our Great Republic has been Economically Raped by the $BANKsters,-- and CONGRESS Is in $BED with them!!- How Cozy America!!! Things are really looking up!?-- Yes for the Filthy $RICH!!!

Posted by: jward52 | September 1, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

These are lies - no mention of JOBS!!!!!

Posted by: question-guy | September 1, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Somebody call the police. This author probably believed in 2008 that the problem in housing was going to stay in housing! Beleive it or not we're in a depression evidenced by a massive credit contraction. We're 33 months into it. It never ended. There was a peppy little inventory & stimulus bred rally but that's over. The govnerment can't erase the massive debt load holding everything back. Spending habits have been permanently altered, perhaps for a generation.

1. Savings: Consumers still have too much debt. It will take years at teh present savings rate to pay it down to levels consistent with normal economic consumption rates.

2. Credit: Same as #1. Consumers have too much debt. Lending standards won't do much for consumers who already have debt. Why take on more?

3. Manufacturing hasn't led this economy out of recession since WWII. Consumer spending is 2/3 of GDP growth. Who works at a factory anyways?


4. Housing: Take a look at the shadow inventory out there. There's almost 1 year's worth of inventory currently on the market. If builders stopped building homes today it would take a year just to burn off what's out there. Rents are falling. People have that as an option. This market is dead for the next 5 yars. Look for another 10-15% drop in prices.

Trade: Foreign Governments are curtailing spending. Look for little to know growth in Europe.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

A prophetic article from November 2009:

Anatomy of a Failed Presidency~ Geoffrey P. Hunt
Posted on November 5, 2009

Subject: Another Failed Presidency

An article from American Thinker by Geoffrey P. Hunt

Barack Obama is on track to have the most spectacularly failed presidency since Woodrow Wilson. In the modern era, we’ve seen several failed presidencies–led by Jimmy Carter and LBJ. Failed presidents have one strong common trait– they are repudiated, in the vernacular, spat out. Of course, LBJ wisely took the exit ramp early, avoiding a shove into oncoming traffic by his own party. Richard Nixon indeed resigned in disgrace, yet his reputation as a statesman has been partially restored by his triumphant overture to China 20.

But, Barack Obama is failing. Failing big. Failing fast. And failing everywhere: foreign policy, domestic initiatives, and most importantly, in forging connections with the American people. The incomparable Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal put her finger on it: He is failing because he has no understanding of the American people, and may indeed loathe them. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says he is failing because he has lost control of his message, and is overexposed. Clarice Feldman of American Thinker produced a dispositive commentary showing that Obama is failing because fundamentally he is neither smart nor articulate; his intellectual dishonesty is conspicuous by its audacity and lack of shame.

But, there is something more seriously wrong: How could a new president riding in on a wave of unprecedented promise and goodwill have forfeited his tenure and
become a lame duck in six months?

...more: http://specfriggintacular.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/anatomy-of-a-failed-presidencydr-geoffrey-p-hunt/

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Economic recovery? Bad, bad, bad say Republicans. They've announced that they want President Obama -- and our nation -- to fail.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | September 1, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The European economy which Barry would like to follow, is also falling apart, and the ramifications here in America spell a not so rosy picture.

Perhaps we will recover, but there is an equal chance that we might go the way of Argintina.

Posted by: jemvbcarmagh06
-----------
You left out the fact that Germany is doing much better than we are. You are a perfect epitome of why you can't interpret economic data without having to use GOP talking points just like Boehner.

Posted by: beeker25 | September 1, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Five reasons to be optimistic about the economy

5. americans are becoming aware of obama regimes utter total incompetence

4. obama's failed socialist policies are becoming self evident

3. the traditional news media and its obama worship has become a joke

2. obama's hatred and disdain for free enterprise and america are now known

1. less than 2 months until the elctions--

cleanse the house

and the senate

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile

in the real world

before criticsim of the obama regimes incompetence and failed socialist polices

was forbidden by the wash post

the wash po published:

Depression Obama Victims

in Warren Ohio
excerpts from the Wash Po

“"Let me show you something," says Dallas Root, standing behind the counter with a jeweler's loupe strung around his neck. He holds up a gallon-size Ziploc bag that's two-thirds full of gold -- engagement rings, class rings, promise rings, serpentine chains, St. Christopher medals, bracelets, anklets and earrings.

"This is just this week," Root says.”

...........

“A 48-year-old Youngstown man was charged, accused of stealing $14 worth of food from Rite Aid Pharmacy," reads an entry in the weekly police report published in the Vindicator. "A Youngstown woman, 21, was charged with filling a shopping cart with $154 worth of groceries and leaving an Aldi food store without paying."

++++++++++++++++++++++++

“One of the vets here recently brought in a young female Iraq vet who'd been living under a bridge in Warren. Cmdr. Jack Hilles fed her hot meals for two weeks, and another vet helped her find work at an injection molding plant.

"We even found her some clothes," says Hilles, anger in his voice. "She didn't have any goddamn civilian clothes."

They are everywhere in this Ohio -- under bridges, in basements, at the vast Eastwood Mall complex that sprawls between Warren and Youngstown with a dented vitality.”
........................

“Tom stands up. He is a big man. He wears a Cleveland Cavs T-shirt. His son will soon ship out to Afghanistan. He pushes the kitchen chair in. He doesn't know what to do with himself. He drives downtown to pay the water bill. Debbie watches him go. The small house is a still life of what a union job and hard work once afforded. No second mortgage here or big vacations on the credit card. Their weekly splurge was driving 10 miles outside Warren on Friday nights to their favorite diner.”
...............

But she doesn't know how they will survive if Tom doesn't find work soon.

She has already done the unthinkable.

One afternoon, Debbie -- nice, responsible Debbie, Book-of-the-Month Club member and fan of "Masterpiece Classics" -- gathered up her gold jewelry and put it in the red vinyl lunch bag she used to carry to work when she had a job. She drove to Uptown Gems & Jewels and unloaded everything she had for $876. The money is long gone.”

Source:
Wash Po Dec 17, 2009 by Anne Hull page 1

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I love it when the libs and socialist starting seeing their Utopian dream going down in flames becasue react like mature adults and call their foes, racist, bigots, extremist and homophobes. Just accept the fact that American isn't that into your ideology becasue we like being free to live our lives versus having small minded control freaks rule us. BO chains we can believe in!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you anonymous that was a great article. Very insightful how Barry has disintegrated right in front of our eyes. Add in the Mooch-elle vacation fiasco and it certainly has been a summer of "recovery". Recovery of our senses and an urgency to clean up this mess we made by voting him into office.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | September 1, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

reasons to be pessimistic:

1. obamacare

2. regulation

3. higher taxes on capital

4. higher taxes on income

5. dem's demagoguery

Posted by: dummypants | September 1, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

reasons to be pessimistic:

1. obamacare

2. regulation

3. higher taxes on capital

4. higher taxes on income

5. dem's demagoguery

Posted by: dummypants | September 1, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

This all comes back to one thing.

And one thing only.

We need some Trust Busting of the Too Big To Fail banks.

Based on whether or not they loan at least 50 percent of their total capital to US small business and to US consumers who make less than $250,000.

Anything less won't work. That was what got rid of the Great Depression.

Half measures and foreign civil wars of Republican adventure in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan will just drag us down.

Posted by: WillSeattle | September 1, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama lies, our economy dies.

Posted by: JCM-51 | September 1, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Did you draw the spin assignment this week Neil? I know it's imperative for The Powers That Be to cheer up us consumers, but the worst is yet to come. I read plenty, and most experts predict another 20-30% drop in housing, credit expansion is simply moving a decimal point on a computer, and you do not even mention employment, which continues to worsen. Nice try, but without jobs there is only one way we are headed.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

one reason for pessimism:

China

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The writer of this article is delusional. Only a carnival mark believes there is any difference between these two parties. However, as long as the American people continue to vote directly against their interests as they have for the past thirty years, then the neo-cons of both parties will rule with absolute impunity. There will be precious little growth in employment until we re-industrialize this country, by law or by force.

Posted by: garrafa10 | September 1, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

America's elite have been making billions from being the first to sell and the first to buy via their super fast computers based on nothing but money.
When you wake up in California holding your first cup of coffee you think you have gone insane.
Wall Street is nothing more than men prostituting themselves for money and houses they will never live in.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Only a Jewish rag like the Washington Post can sugar coat the corrupt theft of the worlds wealth by the zionist cabal of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi, Bank of America, the IMF, the World Bank, Dueche Bank, The Federal Reserve and every other national banks. The Jewish Bankers have stolen everything of value in the world and there's nothing left to take but the future. I'm sure the world will submit to the austerity programs that will enslave their children and their children for hundreds of years to pander to the Jewish masters. The Washington Post is a good paper when you run out of toilet paper.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

The stock market was up the day after Obama's speech. Everytime Bush made a speech, the market dropped.

Obama is millions of times better than Bush.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | September 1, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama lies, our economy dies.

Posted by: JCM-51 | September 1, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Republicans lie, Americans die.

By the way, the market was up today. Whenever Bush spoke, the market would drop.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | September 1, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

The Compost gets more ridiculous by the day. What are leftists good for, anyway? They've never been right about anything, ever..

Posted by: wewintheylose | September 1, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

WaPo -- Have two more reasons:

6) NEW CONGRESS IN 2011 which will be elected to reign in spending, and look to business, especially small businesses, to create jobs. As opposed to throwing one barrier after another at 'BIG BAD BUSINESS', the new Congress will implement rules and laws that will benefit and encourage growth.

7) NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE IN 2013 with a cabinet that understands business. Obama may not realize it, but China and Australia are BEATING HIM. The stock market rise on September 1 was due to China and Australia -- not the USA!

Posted by: wheeljc | September 1, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

3 Reasons to NOT be Optimistic About the Economy

1. Obama
2. Reid
3. Pelosi
4. Democrat control of both Houses of Congress

Posted by: suenjim | September 1, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Correction: That was FOUR Reasons...sorry 'bout that!

Posted by: suenjim | September 1, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, WaPo.

NOBODY is buying your Obama commercial.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans ruined the economy, yet the wignuts keep crying "Barry Soetoro", "Obamacare," and "Marxism," as if repetition would solidify their lies into reality. DEMENTED!

Still, wingnuts have a history of telling us that Iraq had WMDs, that subprime lending had given us an "ownership society," and that all is well when the stock market goes up while the middle class goes down the drain.

We can see through your lies, you sorry horde of mini-Goebbels!

Posted by: alarico | September 1, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse


These are lies - no mention of JOBS!!!!!

Posted by: question-guy | September 1, 2010 5:40 PM

_______________________________________________________

A little more facts please!

PS: Don't have a hissy fit, it is unbecoming to a stand up Republican.

Posted by: janetal | September 1, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the increase in beer sales.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 1, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I would answer each one of the points made, but every one of them is based on government press releases; information that is so discredited as to be laughable. Consider manufacturing. Last month, manufacturers in the Us laid off more than 10,000 workers. ALL of the manufacturing increase reported took place in Chinese subsidiaries of US corporations --- outsourced jobs! The German's recognized this a couple of months back. China has ben buying enormous quantities of heavy equipment, study it, and establishing the infrastructure and plants to make it in China. Germany is trying to figure out how to not be swallowed by the Chinese juggernaut.

Todays Wall Street rally is a classic risk rally. The sheep being led to the kill are the managers of those enormous public employee pension funds. When Wall Street's flimflam artists get done with that, the states are going to be looking at unfunded liabilities, higher taxes, legal expenses, wrecked budgets, and growing public distrust.

I model the economy for a living and my projections are that Wall Street is going to experience a free fall in late September or early October. To be sure, the government, facing an election, is going to do whatever it takes to inflate this fake doll; that's what hey have been doing for the past 18 months. The doll, though, has weak spots that are going to burst in late December or January and we will enter a full scale depression. This country is trapped between traders and business executives with morals and consciences that have not improved one bit since the worst days of Enron and "representative" that have been bought by them. Everyone knows the game ends soon and tragically, but like a drug addict, they simply cannot stop themselves.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | September 1, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

DEMENTED? Wingnuts? Lies? Sorry Horde? Mini-Goebbels?

Don't you just love the way a cornered leftist resorts to name-calling?

The root of the sub-prime problem that brought this all on was in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Bush and the Republicans in Congress proposed legislation to get them under control, but the Dems weren't about to let their candy jar get closed, so they didn't and the housing market eventually melted down because folks bought houses at sub-prime that they couldn't afford. Many of those "rich New York bankers" who packaged those worthless packages and marketed them are the same ones who supported President Obama in the election.

I don't expect Dems to address such cause and effect. It's much easier for them to just "blame Bush" and call anyone who doesn't agree with them names.

Is there an office in the White House that feeds out the "names" to call conservatives that can be attached to the blame Bush drivel?

Posted by: suenjim | September 1, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

A 5.9 percent savings rate is pathetic, everyone needs to be saving a lot more than that if they don’t want to live their retirement years in poverty. The notion we can spend ourselves back into prosperity is just so “liberal.” Once everyone can figure just what the Govt is going to do next, then we will be able to make plans for the future. At the moment the mixed signals and confusing message emanating from Washington will keep most businesses from investing. If it becomes increasingly obvious that the DEMS are going to lose big this fall, investors may get back to risking their capital, but new employment is going to require greater productivity. The likely outcome with the current administration and the prospects for greater taxes, more regulation, humongous deficits, card check, and anti-business policies, is, at best, a labor situation similar to that prevailing in Europe where 8 to 10 percent unemployment is the new normal.

Posted by: droberts57 | September 1, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

suenjim _ Oh, please! Neither political party has a clue as to what is going on and he very smart traders, the same people who manipulated energy prices for Enron, are busy working at firms like Goldman Sachs. That company, by the way, with absolutely no experience with wind and solar energy bought up virtually all of the available land contracts and has been holding them hostage, completely destroying that program. Other Wall Street firms have, because of the Russian and Ukraine poor wheat harvests, bought up most of the available supply in the US and have been heavily speculating on every other food commodity. As a consequence, this next winter, food prices are going to soar here and across the world. People are going to literally starve as these Enron leftovers artificially create shortages to inflate prices and pit whole governments against each other. In the global economy, your old model of "free enterprise" goes right out the window. And given that most investors, traders, and executives are sociopaths, with no sense of patriotism or community, much less humanity, the amount of harm these international criminals can do is nearly endless.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | September 1, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

of course imports will destroy our recovery. That is how our economy is designed. It is amazing that the pundits are in denial about natural consequences of the very policies they advocated.

After China joined the WTO, America lost 40% of its manufacturing jobs. At the same time there was a tremendous surge of white collar offshore outsourcing. China and India still show strong growth. Through our extravagant trade deficit, our stimulus supports their growth. But not our growth. We've allowed mercantile powers and brain dead 'free market' policies to destroy the Great American Job Machine.

There is no future for the middle class in the country unless the Great American Jobs Machine is brought back. That means deep and wrenching decline, social decay, violence, gangs, hopelessness, acrimony, surging ethnic and racial animosity, etc etc, is our future unless we focus on JOBS. It it requires protectionism, so be it.

The important thing to note is that the welfare of multinational corporations and the American middle class is no longer linked. They are profiting with globalization - at our expense.

Posted by: mminka | September 2, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Five reasons NOT to be optimistic about the economy:

1) OBAMA
2) BIDEN
3) PELOSI
4) REID
5) FRANK

Posted by: ahashburn | September 2, 2010 4:13 AM | Report abuse

One main reason to be optimistic.

1) Its hard to imagine how it could get any worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 4:42 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: aidenjose01 | September 2, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

How can any Patriot U.S. Citizen be Optumistic, as long as the Democrat & Republican Parties are $Owned & Controled behind-the-scenes by $BANKsters & WALLsers? - It does NOT matter if You Vote RED or BLUE.- Both Parties are controled by the same-ol' Crooks,- whom love to see YOU Fight and Bicker among each other.-- but they the Controllers always WIN whether You Vote Democrat or Republican! da! - What a JOKE on the U.S. CITIZENRY!! -- WE need a new Patriot 3rd Party NOW AMERICA!!! -- Enough of this CRAP!! -- Repeal the Criminal Un-Constitutional 'Federal ReserveAct',-- and send those Globalist $BANKster THUGS back to Europe where they came from in 1911-1913! -- END their' immoral $USURY DEBT INTERST from Criminal "FRACTIONAL RESERVE Banking Practices"!!! -- AMERICA- have YOU had Enough of this TRAITOR CRAP? -- Today,- supposedly Your' CONGRESS, both RED & BLUE are in $BED with the Derivative Pusher Globalist Central $BANKster Cartels!!! -- END this Anti-American CRAP NOW!!!

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Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

America's trade deficit with China is $250 Billion/year (a Trillions Dollars every 4 years) and millions of manufacturing jobs that have been Offshored to China. If China wants to sell here; they can invest in manufacturing here just like Korea (Hyundai) and Japan (Honda) or pay a 40% tariff for not doing so. GM and Ford are transferring their technology to China right now.

http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2010

Foreign companies in China sound off on business policies

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/21/AR2010072106001.html?hpid=sec-business

“(China) policies known as "indigenous innovation," which essentially requires firms operating here (in China) to transfer their latest technology to China; it also favors homegrown Chinese companies for government business and contracts.

A foreign company here (in China) "has to register its technology in China, innovate in China and, in some cases, make it in China." Without… safeguards of intellectual property, some foreign business leaders are worried that Chinese companies will copy their technology and use it to compete against the foreign firms in the global marketplace.

Technology-based multinational firms -- particularly those involved in telecommunications, aerospace, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and alternative energy -- are finding China increasingly assertive and more interested than ever in acquiring their know-how. "”

Posted by: Airborne82 | September 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Way to be divisive republican trolls, at a time when we need to work together to come out of this collapse, they instead play politics. The party of ultra wealthy and deep south illiterates speaks again. Please take your leaders Limbaugh, Palin and Beck secede from the union and start your own right wing nutjobtopia in Texas or Alaska.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Headlines in just the past week alone should give pause to any unwarranted optimism on the economy. (1)US birthrate declines, (2)20% drop in illegal immigrant population,(3)movie rentals and attendance post strong gains. All three were prominent stories throughout the period 1932-40.

Posted by: slim2 | September 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Elisa - you are right it is the trade deficit for every 50 billion dollars of debt we lose 1 million jobs.

But tariffs aren't the answer - simply because if we tariff X, X will tariff us.

They answer is cheap energy and there are two ways to get it: 1) social organization - get everyone to vanpool and ride share (aided with economic incentives) that we can driving down our consumption and lowering the cost of oil and 2) investing heavily in renewable energy.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

OK, I see some logic flow there, but all the same signals seem to predict more dismal'ness. So I guess I am on the skeptical side.

What I see alot of is the organizational Democrat response across the board in an all out effort to save the elections. Any glimmer of optimism is out there; every possible "yes, but...." is being used to campaign against the voters revolution thats about to happen. This will be somehow complementary to the Dems machine mantra of "its all Bushs fault!"

I hope the economy changes for the good so we can get millions of Americans back to work. Sadly, they may be better off without a job, the tax rise coming is nothing to close your eyes on.

Posted by: foot0108 | September 2, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Because there is always more BS to fuel a new BS market...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | September 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Marylander4:

"Some commenters here are really illiterate. But they sure know how to spell Barry."

It's 'commentator', not 'commenter'. Before you accuse others of illiteracy, make sure you yourself are literate.


Posted by: princeps2 | September 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"Our country is a republic in a democracy. Read your constitution. We have capitalists, but they don't define our country."

Nowhere does the Constitution talk about redistributing wealth. The Consitution is based on limited government, specifically Freedom from government.

George Washington once famously said "The best government is the least government".

That, my friend, is capitalism.

Posted by: princeps2 | September 2, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody please help me?

I really don't know the answer to this hypothetical question, can anyone help:

Would we get more benefit from cutting taxes $50 billion, or spending $50 billion on infrastructure?

Here's my thinking, and I am totally open minded and concede I may be wrong. If we cut taxes by $50 billion it will go to the rich and businesses/corporations. The tax cuts will mostly go to the rich (I work 20 hours per week and make $12/hr, and I'm taxed around $.75 [yes, seventy-five cents] every two weeks, so the tax cuts won't affect me much.) There's nothing to stop corporations from spending the extra money from the tax cuts in China or India. And there's nothing to ensure the rich spend money (I've read they're more likely to save), especially on goods, which is better for the economy than stocks (right?) But if we spend the $50 billion on infrastructure it creates jobs, and we'll have new/improved infrastructure at the end. And because we're operating with a deficit, any tax cuts would have to paid for with more borrowing, increasing our debt anyway, right? Again, either way we're going to borrow $50 billion (right?)

Posted by: joel2k | September 2, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The richest people & companies prey on the least educated, the least able to evaluate anything analytically. Evidence?

"Obamacare is just coming on-line and it is increasing the cost of virtually everything."

or

"obama's failed socialist policies are becoming self evident"

or

"Obama's anti-stimulus plan cost $862BB in one year and has accomplished virtually nothing."

Its truly sad. Unless the people making these comments are making more than $250k a year, they are among the rest of us whom the plutocracy and the GOP have zero interest in helping.

It's puzzling how folks get from a desire for the economy to get better, who are probably not really impacted by it if they have time to get incendiary and hateful on a blog, to believing that a return to Bush-era policies is both a good thing and going to help them.

The mountain of evidence demonstrates the purest definition of insanity one can imagine - insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Meanwhile, our so-called GOP representatives sit back and revel in the division for no one but themselves. Incite hatred for each other like no time in history.

Look around fellow citizens. Your neighbor might be the same person you disparage fiercely behind the shield of the internet.

Many democrats in Congress aren't helping, but this is not a time to hate. No time is a good time, really, so why waste your energy screaming into the wind?

Go read Teddy Roosevelt's speech from a little more than 100 years ago "A New Nationalism". Here's a conservative republican warning of the very condition we find ourselves in.

Conservatism is upside down because greed has taken over the soul of this country

Forget complaining about the media. Take this test - would you want your hate published with your picture on TV?

It's "we the people" for a reason. Liberal and progressive citizens are no more to blame for what's going than conservative citizens.

Posted by: kewe | September 2, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I don't feel optimistic about the economy even after reading your 5 reasons. I own my own small business, and there are just far more bad signs than the 5 little good ones that you list here. I've been watching my sales fall despite pulling out all the stops to revive it. And I'm in a relatively prosperous area of the country.

Posted by: jpaul2 | September 3, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

1. Savings
People are saving more because they are scared to death.

2. Credit
The greatest threat is the credit scoring formulas, the general lack of knowledge in how that works - because it's a SECRET! And, the length of time bad credit history actually remains on someone's credit record - 7 years! Anyone can have a bad month or two or lose their job. But, SEVEN years of BAD is a real loser for the entire country. Employers look at credit reports although they probable never mention it as they interview people - bad policy -- they'll just show them the door. It's the greatest block to interest in spending money after fear of job loss and the probable future complete failure of both big government and big business to render any fix for the "little people" (a Goldman Sach's term).

3. Manufacturing
Slow except for military. My friend makes bricks - one at a time these days out of his giant factory full of people he refuses to layoff.

4. Housing
More sales for half priced vacation homes in Myrtle Beach, I guess.

5. Trade
If you call trading with China fun? If they could get more lead into more products, we will be the first country to buy more.

6. This is one of my Answers: If more people invested in my media business, I would be able to hire more people, make more products and share more profits with other Americans. They will probably spend it and our economy will grow again.

Bill Myers Opinion
vdoaktv.net

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

This Writer is either an eternal, somewhat unfeeling optimist or just trying to make his quota in writing articles.

CHAIN BREAKS AT WEAKEST LINK

The U.S. economy is on the brink of collapse and decline.

The Stock Market is no longer a reliable leading economic indicator.

Relentless negative pressure persists in the Main Street economy e.g. housing market, foreclosures, joblessness, and the extraordinary deficits.

The U.S. Government provides near zero interest for banks and intentionally devalues the dollar.

This allows NYSE public corporations to keep the price of their products and services competitively cheap in order to stimulate export sales to foreign countries (artificially driving up the Stock Market).

The reality reveals these two economies are separated, disconnected, and thus, as the Main Street economy falls, watch for a Stock Market fall further.

Consequently, in reality, the depressed Main Street economy has replaced the Stock Market as the leading indicator.

Chain Breaks at the Weakest Link -the Main Street economy is now the leading economic indicator and the Stock Market is the (artificial) and soon to be lagging economic indicator.

Severe, unveiled economic consequences are brewing in the U.S. while the Government tells us "we're heading in the right direction - all is well." Fearful, FED Bernanke is in the dark.

The U.S. Economy will break at the weakest link in the chain. The stock market must fall to the level of the Main Street economy. The Main Street economy, if equated with the DOW, is worth 8,000-8,500.


Warmest,

Richard Michael Abraham, Founder
The REDI Foundation

http://www.redii.org

Nationwide Non Profit Research and Educational Foundation
Registered with Attorney General, Massachusetts

Posted by: info96 | September 8, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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