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Obama Economic Adviser Revising History   April 26th, 2009
Claims there were no positive indicators 6-8 weeks ago       

 
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Lawrence Summers, President Obama's economic adviser, made the incredible claim today that 6-8 weeks ago all the economic indicators were negative whereas today there are some positive and some negative.

"Six or eight weeks ago, there were no positive statistics to be found anywhere. The economy felt like it was falling vertically. Today, the picture is much more mixed," Summers said.

"There are some negative indicators, to be sure. There are also some positive indicators. And no one knows what the next turn will be. But I think that sense of unremitting freefall that we had a month or two ago is not present today. And that's something we can take some encouragement from," he added.


Today is April 26th. 6-8 weeks ago was March 1st to March 15th. Referring back to one of my previous articles, here are some of the "no positive statistics to be found anywhere" that could be found in that time frame.

    03/12/2009 January and February retail sales better than expected
    03/10/2009 AT&T to hire 3000 this year
    03/05/2009 Unexpected drop in new jobless claims
    03/02/2009 ISM Manufacturing index rises 2nd month in a row
    03/02/2009 Consumer spending increases in January

Now granted, the administration was making it seem like there was no good news anywhere, but there was already good news to be found. And the above is just the points I had observed between the "6-8 week" timeframe... as you can review in my previous articles, there was documented good news from January 5th all the way through March 27th.

Despite what Obama's economic adviser stated today, there was good and bad news 6-8 weeks ago. And there still is. In fact, on February 4th I wrote an article called "Potentially Good Economic News" which highlighted a number of encouraging economic indicators.

After all, what's changed in the last 6-8 weeks? Certainly the administration isn't implying it has anything to do with the stimulus package since, as of Thursday, only $14.5 billion has been spent. If things are already improving then it would seem that, if anything, the case can be made that the stimulus package wasn't and isn't necessary and should be eliminated before further funds are spent.

Further:

"I suspect the economy will continue to decline for some time to come," Summers said. But he noted that the consensus among economic forecasters suggests the economy will perform better by the end of the year.


That same consensus existed even before the stimulus was passed (see here and here and here and here).

So there were good and bad economic indicators before and after the stimulus, and there was a consensus before and after the stimulus that the recession would end during the second half of 2009. Certainly no-one seems to be moving up their recovery estimates as a result of the stimulus and everyone seems to agree that unemployment will continue to rise for some time... so what was the point of the stimulus again?

It would appear that Lawrence Summers is trying to engage in revisionist history. Personally, it would seem to me that trying to revise history a month or two after it happens is a little soon. People still remember and still notice. It seems like they should at least wait a year or two before they start trying to rewrite history.


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