Yeah, you read it right – fugly – a slangerific hot word meaning ‘effing ugly’ among its users who are most likely younger than you and me. And what makes this morning’s GDP Report qualify?
“Real gross domestic product – the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.
The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was also 1.8 percent (see “Revisions” on page 3).
The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
“Not great, Ure, but not the end of the world…“
Well, yes, in a sense it is: comparing the GDP to the nation’s money supply gives (at a gross level) an indication of inflation. If money supply is going up much faster than GDP, then you’ve got the seeds of inflation. If money sup0ply dries up then the opposite holds.
Which gets us to now: Prices are going up – but on average less than the implied monetary inflation rate.
You could think of it this way: If GDP is up only 1.8 percent as in this morning’s report from BEA, but at the same time we know that M1 is up a whopping 11.8 percent in the past year, and the general prevailing price level is up maybe 3.41 percent, where’s the other 6.59% going?
Answer: systemic inflation characteristic of Great Depressions. You know, like this one.
Which explains the lack of jobs. And speaking of which…
“In the week ending May 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 424,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 414,000. The 4-week moving average was 438,500, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 440,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending May 14, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.0 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 14 was 3,690,000, a decrease of 46,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,736,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,742,250, an increase of 7,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,734,500. “
The good news is what? Well on matters economic, hard to come up with any. The situation is just fugly.
Terrorism: In China?
Three government buildings were the target of explosives in eastern China overnight. Several things are remarkable about the event: One is that it was covered by state media. Two, that it underscores the domestic pressures building in ‘China, and three: None of the reports I read called it ‘terrorism.’
Not saying I read everything on the story that’s out there. It’s just China hasn’t monetized Terrorism and turned it into an economic policy tool like the West has. So in that part of the world, the cause is likely to be criminals, thugs, dissidents or other local label.
In the West you know what the label would be…”Terrorism! Everyone run from street!…and no doubt that labeling would be accompanied with yet more intrusive search & seizure rules…more no bid contracts and…well, you got the picture… which gets us to our next item…
Texas Caves to TSA
Been an interesting show of ‘federal force’ going on in Austin. Story is that the Texas state House passed a bill which would have banned TSA from doing aggressive pat-downs (like genital gropes) absent probable cause.
As you’d expect, that didn’t sit too well with with TSA which sent a communiqué via a number of US Attorneys General that said, in so many words “If Texas does this, we’ll yank all air traffic control and canel flights to Texas…”
Now it comes to light that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (or was it the doings of one-time bill sponsor state senator Dan Partick(?).
This whole case is being touted by the Texas Nationalist Movement as being an example of Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement as their site headline “The Feds Came For It and Texas Gave It.“
Honestly, I was a bit surprised at thje lack of gumption by the state lawmakers.
The obvious response to an airline cancellation threat would be a simple turn-about it fair play: Texas could pull oil and gas exports to the US, cancel beef sales, and no more photos of the Dallas Cheerleaders. That’d fix ‘em….
Of course the feds would have escalated by threatening highway or education funding, maybe both. But then would have come the obvious push-back on that: “Ya’ll still want income tax revenue?”
For now, crisis averted…sort of.
Actions Speak Louder, Dept.
Texas guv’ner Rick Perry is “rethinking his pledge not to run for president…“
Why imagine that! A politician thinking about breaking a pledge! Look shocked, please.
Tacit Endorsement: Noted the Washington Examiner headline: “Poll: Palin near top of re-shaped GOP field.” Pretty clear tacit endorsement when the poll leader Mitt Romney is not the lead.
They at least could have put in “George Ure absolute dead last in presidential wannabe’s!” At least that’d let them cover the story without prompting Palin, know what I’m sayin’?
Gun Control in the Wings?
A lot of us who have small, metal burglar repellers are wondering what the headline means “Obama: We’re Work on Gun Control ‘Under the Radar.“
Prediction: The federal government,. all bound and hamstrung by the Constitution will likely try a regulatory approach to gun control. And since congress doesn’t do much anyway, probably no one would notice…
SEAL Trademark Pulled?
The PR blowback has apparently been too much: Reports are that Disney has reportedly pulled it’s application for trademark to cover “SEAL Team 6.”
No so fat…until the Trademark database shows it (which it hadn’t as of 6:04 AM today) call me skeptical…
Food Price Watch
Interesting read from China’s Xinhua news agency: “China faces challenges in grain production despite bumper summer harvest…”
High Cost of Commuting
Say, here’s one” The Health Cost of traffic – like the stuff you get stuck in from time to time – costs America 2,200 premature deaths and $17.8 billion in 2010 alone per the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis….
“The study, “The Public Health Costs of Traffic Congestion: A Health Risk Assessment,” was published in the scientific journal “Environmental Health.” It is the first to attempt to quantify the public health implications of growing traffic congestion in America.
“Our estimates of the total public health costs of traffic congestion in the U.S. are likely conservative,” the study authors write. They point out their research considers “only the impacts in 83 urban areas and only the cost of related mortality and not the costs that could be associated with related morbidity, health care, insurance, accidents, and other factors.”
As might be expected, the public health toll of traffic congestion was estimated to be highest in some of the nation’s largest urban areas. The Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana, California, area was first, with an estimated additional 426 premature deaths and $3.3 billion in public health costs. It was followed by: New York City/Newark, New Jersey (+337 premature deaths, +$2.6 billion in costs); Chicago/Northern Indiana (+251 premature deaths, $2 billion costs); and San Francisco/Oakland, California (+124 premature deaths, +$1 billion in costs). “
Once again, a reason not to live in a big urban-sprawly area. Now, if we could just find jobs that pay as well in undeveloped areas…
(more after this…)