Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Economic Numbers Come Out Just Prior to 2008 Election

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What will their effect be?  I think they will act as a final reminder to folks that the cons’ economic policies need go no further.  People do want change.  They want to be able to afford their groceries, their gas and their healthcare.  None of them are more affordable now than they were 8 years ago.  They want to have money to retire with and they have seen their pensions and 401k’s eviscerated by the cons.  The numbers that were released today show nothing different than what we’ve seen over the past six weeks.  Here they are:

The economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.3% from July through September.  The previous quarter’s number was +2.8%, but you can’t really compare the two.  Remember, the 2nd quarter saw all the economic stimulus checks beings sent out and spent.  It was a one-time deal and that’s confirmed by the 3rd quarter number.  Without those stimulus checks, the 2nd quarter GDP numbers were likely closer to 0.  Economists are predicting the next two quarters will likely be negative also.  We’re already in a recession.  Most Americans have come to this conclusion, I think.  I doubt we’ll get confirmation of it from the cons, however.  Bush’s crew is likely to let that announcement slide to an Obama administration.

Jobless claims for the week again totaled nearly 500,000.  Unemployment is September was reported at 6.1%, but is expected to increase in the months ahead, possibly to 8%.  Unfortunately, the official unemployment number neglects some aspects of the true labor market.  The actual unemployment number is probably a couple percentage points higher.  Tack on underemployment and the actual condition of labor can be assessed – it’s likely to be 12% or greater.

Here’s a headline that should surprise no one: State budget gaps widening as economy slumps.  As a result of the insane tax policies of the cons, the federal budget has been over-allocated.  That has left state budgets stretched thin during the “expansion” of the previous decade.  There wasn’t an expansion and services were required to cover additional people.  Something has to give.  Either the tax-zealots win and services disappear or taxes are raised and services survive (at lower strength perhaps).  This illuminates the biggest problem with cons’ economics: if public services are halted, people will be forced to buy services from the private sector.  Umm, real wages haven’t risen in more than 8 years.  Where exactly are people supposed to get the money to buy those services, because their cost will assuredly increase (that’s what happens in a capital economy, after all).  When people vote, they need to think about how they want to pay for services.  If everybody invests in them with tax dollars, the government can provide them at a low cost.  If everybody is on their own, the private sector will provide them at great cost.  Which means those providing the services will get richer while the rest of us get poorer.  Or people will just be plain unable to get those services.  Services that include education; health care.  How about the police and fire deparments?  Should those be privatized?

[Update]:

Let me present one more economic number: Big Oil Profits for the 3rd quarter.  Remember, the economy went into the crapper, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs and foreclosures are happening at record numbers.  Along with all of that, ExxonMobil once again posted the largest 3-month profit in human history, beating their own record set in the previous quarter.  Just how much did Exxon make in 3 months?  $14.83 billion.  What was their record last quarter?  $11.68 billion.  How about during the 3rd quarter last year?  $9.41 billion.  Did your income go up 58% in the last year?  Because Exxon’s did.  How about 27% more in July-September than April-June?  Exxon did.  And that is only 1 oil corporation – only 1!!  That’s what $4.00 gas did this past summer: it stuffed the pockets of the most profitable corporations even further.  Remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989?  They finally paid some money on that disaster: $170 million.  That’s only 1% of their profit in the last three months.  Pathetic.  Immoral.

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