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Memo to Obama: "yes we can" be positive about the economy October 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Today the BBC is reporting that the US recession is over as the economy grew 0.9% from July-September (CNN is reporting this as well, but not as the headline story that the BBC is making it). That’s awesome news (not lost on investors, who’re making today one of the larger gain days in the last few months) and much reason to celebrate. After all, this has been the worst recession in decades (technically the National Bureau of Economic Research hasn’t declared it over yet, so maybe I should say “is the worst”).

But what’s getting my goat on this fine October day is the reaction from our president:

President Obama said while “welcome news”, the US was still a “long way” from recovering from the “deepest downturn since the Great Depression”.

A “long way” huh?

Now before anyone flames me and points out that both articles cite numerous economists direly telling us not to get excited, I’d like to point a few things out:
1. I’m not an idiot.
2. are these the same economists who predicted a stock retreat in September, or who all summer kept telling us that the recent stock gains were not gonna continue? ‘Cause the Dow has jumped 25% since early July and gained about 200 points in September, so I’m not so inclined to believe these folks.

Now I know that the economy is still in the crapper, 1 in 10 people are without jobs and all that stuff. But isn’t the president supposed to lead and also inspire? Especially this president? Remember all the “hope” and “yes we can” when he was running? Or was that just “yes we can” get him elected? Telling us that we’re still a “long way” from seeing anything good in the economy while a whole pound of good news is staring us in the face seems somewhat less than hopeful or inspiring or “yes we can”ish. I wanna hear him calling out the companies that we’ve begun buying stuff from again to start hiring us again. Investors have been showing since July that if it were up to them we’d be out of this recession and they’ve been pumping money into the markets. And sometime in the last quarter consumers caught the same bug and increased spending:

Consumer spending rose at a 3.4% rate, the biggest increase in nearly three years. Spending by consumers accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s economic activity.

Wow, 2/3 of the economy is increasing at a rate above what was expected. Sounds good to me.

Let me repeat those two things:
1. investors are pumping money into companies.
2. consumers are pumping money into companies.

Just because the government is gonna stop pumping money into companies, it doesn’t mean those other two things are gonna stop.

Oh, and you know that housing market that crashed?

Other reports in recent weeks have shown that housing sales, home prices and new home construction rose during the quarter.

Hampel said that the gains in housing go far beyond the impact of the tax credit, however.

It’s time to stop being depressed about the economy. Things are turning around. Sure there’s still stuff that’s not good, 9.8% unemployment is totally not awesome, but stocks are rising, consumer spending is rising, the housing market is recovering, and the numbers look good enough that we can probably say it’s not all entirely the government stimulus money talking. Wouldn’t it be more “hopeful” if our president said some of those things, instead of telling us how awful things still are? Wouldn’t it be more “yes we can”ish if he got out there and reminded companies that people are buying things again and it’s their responsibility to start hiring again?

I think it would.

One Response to “Memo to Obama: "yes we can" be positive about the economy”

  1. Inspiring post. I haven’t been keeping up on economic news, so I appreciate your data and analysis.

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