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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Consumer Confidence

Two headlines above the fold on today's local paper 'Your Money' page...

(on top)
Consumer Confidence falls

(and below that)
Wall Street bonuses shot up in '09

It 'looks' like a disconnect... but I'm not really so sure it is... I think it just clearly shows that since this particular economic storm began there has been a concerted (some might say manipulative) effort, by government and the federal reserve, to find or create positive economic numbers to point at. I would imagine thinking that goosed, manipulated, government/federal reserve spending induced, imaginary, improving economic numbers might improve 'consumer confidence' and spur the Holy Grail of 'consumer spending'.

That many of those positive numbers happen to be showing up on the balance sheets of banks should be no big surprise to anyone... Jeeze...

The government and the federal reserve/central banks have been very busy trying to paint a rosy picture of an economic recovery in progress for many months. I wonder if this is the maturation of those green shoots maybe? Remember those? The government, our government, and the federal reserve, unfortunately also ours, need to do one very important thing...

Prove to the American people that they are relevant!

-Clipped from the AP story- I like to capitalize the words BILLION and TRILLION, just me... so that emphasis is mine)

"Broker-dealer operations associated with the New York Stock Exchange earned a record $49.9 BILLION through the years first three quarters. The firms probably closed out the year $55 BILLION in the black, DiNapoli's office said."

Banks seem to be doing very well.. And why wouldn't they be with all the smothering attention they have received?

From the top story on consumer confidence... also an AP story
(blah, blah, blah)... "That bodes ill for the sort of uptick in 'consumer spending' that normally powers economic recovery, and could raise pressure on the obama administration and congress to create jobs themselves."

Create jobs themselves? WTF does THAT mean? More immigrant gardeners at the White House???

From the article...
"Many economists say business investments and exports can help drive the nascent turn-around in the short term, but a rise in 'consumer spending' is essential to keep it going."

And this is the part that really got me...
"Without a sustained acceleration in 'consumption growth', this recovery will eventually fade," said Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd."

Are these people insane?!

All they ever seem to talk about is 'consumer spending' and 'consumption growth'!

I hope I'm not losing my mind... but isn't that pretty much exactly what got us into this dire situation in the first place?! The fact that our own government and financial system did such a FANTASTIC job of spurring 'consumer spending' and 'consumption growth'?! In cars, housing, every electronic gadget imaginable?!

"...a sustained acceleration in 'consumption growth'"?! What planet are these people on?

Have them go here and look around... Consumer debt statistics

Talk about running around in circles chasing your tail...


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