Thursday, May 1, 2014

The New Phase In The Obama Recovery: No Growth

     At any other moment in this country's history, the government's release of a Gross Domestic Product growth rate of one tenth of one percent, would be proof positive that our economy is in recession. Yesterday's release by the Obama government of first quarter GDP that dragged itself across the finish line at 0.1%, was hardly noticed by the main stream media and financial markets. But this reaction is par for the course in the age of Obama, where the "recovery" has only managed to average GDP growth that barely touches the 2.0% level, well below the average for the last 70 years of 3.2% a quarter.
     Those in government and the financial industry have blamed Winter weather for the decrease in growth. But even accounting for the "severe" Winter, their expectations for first quarter growth were 1.2%, which is of course 12 times the actual number reported. Talk about a miss. The Winter of 1978-1979 was much worse than this Winter and actually broke more weather related records than this year's Winter season. But listening to the media, you would have thought that the earth had never experienced a Winter with as much snow and as cold of temperatures as this year. And in the first quarter of 1979 the economy grew by well over 1%, and that was during the depths of the Carter malaise.
     So much for the "Winter weather" excuse for a slowing economy. In this upside down world of Obamanomics, the stock market has abandoned any pretense of being tethered to the economy's performance or the earnings of the companies that participate in it. The financial markets have left the tracks of common sense and fundamentals, instead opting for an unholy marriage to the Federal Reserve. And the Fed has also abandon its charter and has willingly allowed itself to acquiesce to its unhealthy union with the market, judging its success based entirely on market performance. A performance the Fed has assured through its ability to print money and pump it into a market that otherwise would be feeling the effects of a flaccid economy.
     It causes me a great amount solicitude to realize that those who I thought occupied positions in the last vestiges of reason and common sense, those in the financial industry, are no more being lead by intellect than a teenage boy at a nude beach. There are a few brave souls in the financial world who are actually ringing the alarm bell of this debilitated economy. But they are called outliers and kooks by the vast majority of the Obama sycophants who occupy positions in the financial media and institutions. 
     This morning, the weekly initial claims for unemployment will be released. The administration and their lapdogs in the markets have been beating themselves senseless with joy because the number of people applying for first time benefits has been dropping. They claim this is a sign of an improving job market. But with a plunging Labor Force Participation Rate, the drop in first time claims only means the economy is operating with a skeleton crew of workers, and there are fewer working people to be laid off. It is like a morbidly obese individual going on a diet and exercise plan. In the early weeks, the pounds melt off in double digits. The more weight that is lost, the fewer pounds remain to be lost.
     This country can hardly afford anymore Obama "growth." But I fear that the American people have forgotten what real prosperity looks like. It has been a long time since the 6-7% growth of the Reagan economy, or even the recent 3-5% growth of the George W. Bush economy. When our financial leaders are so cowed as to not recognize the obvious signs of a slowing economy, then truly the America of prosperity and financial freedom is a foggy quaint memory of a past we have convinced ourselves was a dream.

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