The nation's gross domestic product shrank for the first time in three and a half years during the fourth quarter, declining at an annual rate of 0.1% between October and December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a 1.0% annualized growth.
I don't discount the point about mainstream economic forecasting being of questionable value. I also don't discount the point about the potential problems of politicians "tinker[ing] with short-run economic performance" under the current positions of both parties being so out-of-paradigm.
For example, related to the "Fiscal Cliff" and sequestration:
"Government outlays dropped at a 6.6 percent annual pace from October through December, subtracting 1.3 percentage points from GDP. The decrease was led by a 22.2 percent fall in defense that was the biggest since 1972, following the Vietnam War."
"The economy reversed from a 3.1% pace in the third quarter largely because federal government spending fell by 15% and private business inventories also decreased. Those drags and others were too much for solid consumer spending to overcome.
Still, for all of 2012, the gross domestic product advanced 2.2%, an improvement compared with 1.8% growth in 2011."
Also worth noting:
"The GDP estimate is the first of three for the quarter, with the other releases scheduled for February and March when more information becomes available."
"For all of 2012, the economy expanded 2.2 percent after a 1.8 percent increase in the prior year."
he;s talking about how there's too much money in politics and people can just buy votes and yada yada yada.
...There is another challenge we must address – and it is the corrupting force of the vast sums of money necessary to run for office. The unending chase for money, I believe, threatens to steal our democracy itself. I’ve used the word corrupting – and I mean by it not the corruption of individuals, but a corruption of a system itself that all of us are forced to participate in against our will. The alliance of money and the interests it represents, the access it affords those who have it at the expense of those who don’t, the agenda it changes or sets by virtue of its power, is steadily silencing the voice of the vast majority of Americans who have a much harder time competing, or who can’t compete at all.
The insidious intention of that money is to set the agenda, change the agenda, block the agenda, define the agenda of Washington. How else could we possibly have a US tax code of some 76,000 pages? Ask yourself, how many Americans have their own page, their own tax break, their own special deal?
We should not resign ourselves Mr. President to a distorted system that corrodes our democracy. This is what contributes to the justified anger of the American people. They know it. They know we know it. And yet nothing happens. The truth requires that we call the corrosion of money in politics what it is: it is a form of corruption and it muzzles more Americans than it empowers, and it is an imbalance that the world has taught us can only sow the seeds of unrest.
Like the question of comity in the Senate, the influence of money in our politics also influences our credibility around the world. And so too does the difficulty, the unacceptable and extraordinary difficulty, we have in 2013 in operating the machinery of our own democracy here at home. How extraordinary and how diminishing that more than 40 years after the Voting Rights Act, so many of our fellow citizens still have great difficulty when they show up on election day to cast their vote and have their voice heard. That too is an issue that matters to all of us – because for a country that can and should extol the virtues of democracy around the world, our job is made more difficult when through long lines and overt voter suppression, and efforts to suppress people’s ability to exercise the right that we extol, so many struggle still to exercise that right here at home.
The last of these three obstacles that we have the ability, if not yet the will, to overcome is the unbelievable disregard for facts and science in the conduct of our affairs. It, like the first two, degrades our credibility abroad as well as at home.
My friends, the persistent shouting match of the perpetual campaign, one that takes place in parallel universes thanks to our polarized, self-selecting media, makes it harder and harder to build consensus among people. The people don’t know what to believe. So in many ways it encourages an oversimplification of problems that too often retreat to slogans, not ideas for real solutions.
America, I regret to say, is increasingly defaulting rather than choosing — and so we fail to keep pace with other nations in the renewal of our infrastructure, in the improvement of our schools, in the choice of our energy sources, in the care and nurturing of our children, in the fulfillment of our God-given responsibility to protect life here on earth. That too must change or our experiment is at risk.
To remain a great nation, we must do the business of our country. That begins by putting our economic house in order. And it begins by working from the same set of facts.
Though I believe we can’t solve any of these problems unless you really solve all of them, I note these three challenges because I believe the Senate is going to be locked into stalemate or our politics are going to be irreversibly poisoned unless we break out. I do so hopefully, as someone who respects and loves this institution and loves this country and wants to see us move forward....
I know this is sort of like asking Jason if he actually bothered to read something I've linked to, but... In what way did Kerry buy his position as Secretary of State? By being the richest person on Capitol Hill?
Is that accurate? I wonder what the Heinz family trust arrangements look like.
The ATF may be the most ridiculous damn department in the US government. Alcohol, firearms, tobacco and explosives? Sounds like an awesome general store. Isn't the ATF some vestigial anachronism leftover from Prohibition and originally part of the IRS's tax collection division?
Now I have to go post something to help me restore my faith in humanity and Americans in general to offset all that.
You keep posting all these links to British tabloids featuring British families abusing the British social-services net. We already know that Great Britain is a communist empire (Jeremy Clarkson told us so.)
"I am for doing good to the poor, but… I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."