Economy actually *contracted* 1% in 1Q 2014.

Well, this isn’t good.

Last month, when the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that gross domestic product had grown at a lead-footed rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter, economic analysts could focus on two pillars of hope. The first was that the winter weather was unusually awful, and first-quarter growth probably reflected that. And the second? This was a very preliminary number, and it seemed reasonable to think that it might be revised upward.

The operative word is “seemed.” Now the BEA has provided its first revision, and things only get more dismal: The economy actuallycontracted in the first quarter instead of just lying down on the sofa and feeling all mopey and sad. Key areas of decline were exports, inventories and nonresidential fixed investment. In other words, whatever happened was happening on the business side.

Megan McArdle is not yet ready to say that we’ve hit the iceberg, and that’s fair: after all, it’s not OFFICIALLY a recession until the economy contracts two quarters in a row.  Then again, even if the economy does contract two quarters in a row it still may be a while before we ‘officially’ call it a recession, if you know what I mean (and I think that you do). One of Megan’s points here, though, is that the situation is sufficiently bad that the economy just doesn’t have any margin any more.  Essentially, we’ve been drifting into iceberg-infest waters for some time now.  Will one hit? Will we miss them all?  I don’t know! Neither do you!  And certainly, neither does the President!


Moe Lane

PS: This is one reason why we like to have people with actual executive experience run for President. A governor may or may not know how to fix a problem – see pretty much every Democratic governor in America for examples – but at least he or she understands the parameters of it.  In contrast, Barack Obama is still peevishly waiting for the person to come in and tell him what he has to do while the real experts fix things.  At least, that’s how it’s always worked in the past.


The new C-SPAN video library feature (also: Obama thinks that we’re in recession!).

One of the things that I did as part of attending the Breitbart Awards last weekend was attend a panel on C-Span’s new video library service. It’s actually pretty useful: it allows you to take clips from C-SPAN and email them, Tweet them, embed them and whatnot.

For example: say you wanted to show a clip from today’s disastrous Ohio speech that Obama made. What you’d do then is sign up for a free account, log in, call up the full thing, and find the clip that you wanted. In this case, it’d be this part: (more…)


Failed-plan expert President Obama lectures GOP on plans.

But I’m sure that Barack Obama means well.

Isn’t this just the cutest thing?

If the video doesn’t load, Breitbart TV pulled the relevant quote:

“My plan says we’re going to put teachers back in the classrooms, construction workers back to work… Tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for hiring veterans, tax cuts if you give your worker a raise. That’s my plan. Then you got [the Republican’s] plan which is ‘let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance’… So far I’m feeling better about my plan.”



#rsrh NYT: Second recession may mean proOHMYGODPANICPANICPANIC

I’m going to summarize this NYT article, only with some subtext added:

We’re on the verge of a second recession.  The problem is that the first recession – which got triggered after the Democrats lied and smeared their way into control of Congress in 2006, and then proceeded to show a talent for sober fiscal governance comparable to those of crack-smoking meerkats – was thoroughly mucked up by said addicted meerkats, not least because they had the bad luck after 2008 to have as their figurehead a Democratic community organizer who can’t even do demagoguery properly (it’s surprisingly hard to ritually summon a Mob via Teleprompter).  Couple that with a charmingly naive Cargo Cultist mentality when it comes to Keynesian economic theory, add the amusing detail that the government has run out of solutions to spectacularly mess up, and you end up with an official government economic policy that can be summed up as follows:



Paragraph of the Day, post-Christmas hangover edition.

Although I suspect that the majority of the people reading this didn’t go as overboard this year on Christmas as they have in the past.  Anyway, Samizdata (via Ed Driscoll, in reaction to what was an atypically dumb UK Times article):

It may seem a Scrooge-like message for this time of year to point out that you cannot spend money that you don’t have; businesses cannot invest money that has not been already saved, and that interest rates must reflect the balance of supply and demand for savings. The “Austrian” economic insight that money is a claim on resources, and that two people cannot hold the same claim on a resource at the same time, needs to be relentlessly rammed home.

Because the alternative, of course, is to have objective reality do it for you. And the thing about objective reality? It’s rarely gentle.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.


The only Bennigan’s in Nebraska has closed.

Admittedly, in the grand scheme of things, this is probably not that big a story.  Still, if the Lorax can speak for the trees, I figure that I can at least speak for ailing themed restaurant franchises.  This one was in Lincoln:  it survived the first die-off, but just couldn’t hold on in this current economic climate…

In July 2008, about half the Bennigan’s restaurants closed when owner Metromedia Restaurant Group declared bankruptcy.

About 160 franchised restaurants, including the one in Lincoln, stayed open. That number has since shrunk to fewer than 50 in the U.S. and around 50 internationally, according to the Bennigan’s Web site.

The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the recession.

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index has been growth-negative for 22 straight months, and 68 percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales decline in August.

I hadn’t even realized that the chain was in trouble, but apparently so: the number of restaurants has dropped by two-thirds in just under a year.  Still, customers can always go to Iowa.

For now, at least.

Moe Lane

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