Thursday, May 01, 2008

Glass Half Full Economy - Part II

Fire of Liberty

While the MSM and big mouths in the halls of Congress keep on throwing out invectives about how we're in a "recession" even when the facts as well as the basic rules of economics clearly say we're not even at a point to declare such a verdict. Thankfully, the good folks of the New York Sun editorial board(As well as the WSJ editorial page) have taken a brave stand against such rhetoric and yelled stop with the publication of the most recent editorial "What Recession?". I for one have to say they slugged a stubborn mule square in the jaw when they made the following observation:

We’d like to see stronger growth, like, say, in the third quarter of 2003, when the economy started to get the feel of the Bush tax cuts and grew at an astonishing seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 7.5%. Or the year that began in April of 1983 and ended in March of 1984, when President Reagan’s supply-side measures began to work their incentives and when the American economy grew consistently at a supercharged rate of more than 8%.

But two consecutive quarters of 0.6% growth is not bad, when measured against, say, the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first quarter of 1991, when real GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 3% and 2%. That was negative growth, not merely slow growth. Another genuinely bad patch was in spring and summer of 1980. In the second quarter of 1980, growth was negative 7.8%.

What we’re seeing now — a national unemployment rate of 5.1% in March, a stock market whose indexes are up nearly 5% for the month of April — does not a recession make. In the early 1980s, we saw double-digit unemployment rates. In the early 1990s, the unemployment rate reached 7.8%. A 5.1% national unemployment rate is not a recession. There may yet be a recession, but Mr. Krugman & Co. will have to wait a bit more.

This is not to minimize the pain or hardship felt by those who have been affected by the job losses on Wall Street, who face losing their homes in a foreclosure proceeding, or who have been affected by the flight of manufacturing jobs overseas. But the American economy and the capitalist system and open markets are remarkably robust.

I just wish more people in America would just up a basic economic book and discover for themselves some basic facts about such a science rather than depending on politicians and the misinformed MSM for such info. One is always grateful for informative sources like the New York Sun for breaking through the fog of "recession" and bringing forward such facts.

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