Posts filed under “Current Affairs”

Hey, Big Spender

I’ve written about this before, but since Paul Krugman just posted about it, perhaps it’s time to revisit the issue. Professor Krugman’s chart, in my opinion, doesn’t go far enough in that it does not provide sufficient context. While the chart does show the YoY percent decline in Real Government Expenditures & Investment, it does not give us the context of how Obama’s doing versus his predecessors, which I think adds the proper perspective.

So, how is the tax and spend socialist Obama doing on government spending relative to previous White House occupants? Let’s have a look at Real Government Expenditures & Investment and index it to 100 at presidential inaugurations:

(Click through for ginormous)

(Source: St. Louis Fed, Series GCEC1, author calculations)

So, it’s clear to see what spendthrifts the Democrats have been and how fiscally responsible the Republicans are what a canard it is to claim that Obama has been spending like a drunken sailor. In fact, Clinton and Obama have been the most fiscally responsible of the last five administrations – by a long shot (and do we really need to talk about St. Ronnie?). Of course, none of this matters because people just know what they know, notwithstanding the facts.

Oh, and do we really need to discuss what the graph above would look like rendered on a per capita basis?


See also:

Joe Weisenthal, Obama, The Austerity President

Gene Epstein, Where Government Shrinks

And adding a late entrant, H/T to Abnormal Returns: The Government Investment Drought


It’s fairly clear to see what it is I’ve been missing: Obama is a tax and spend Democrat, until the facts prove otherwise, at which point it becomes Congress that is responsible for the country’s purse strings. Except that, predictably, Mitt Romney didn’t get the message:

“So it came as no surprise when he told an Ohio audience Friday that massive government borrowing and spending under President Barack Obama was putting America “on track to becoming Greece.”

“Describing Obama’s “government-dominated society” as a breach of America’s tradition of letting free enterprise thrive, Romney said, “In my view, that takes us down a path to becoming more and more like Europe. And Europe doesn’t work in Europe.”

By the way, while I recognize the issues posed by the debt and deficit, does anyone think that maybe it’s at least a reasonable idea to borrow money at negative real interest rates?

I’m particularly amused by the suggestion that I should “stop posting unsolicited political claptrap and spare us all.” Thanks for that. I’ll take it under advisement. Send your complaint to Ritholtz and by all means don’t drop anything in the tip jar.

And, by the way, I’ve done the per capita chart I alluded to above, and it shows exactly what you’d expect it to show – even more of the same.

And to Joe Friday: Exactly.

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Markets, Politics

Merrill’s Heroes

Invictus here. BR’s comments yesterday, plus some unfortunate softball media coverage, led me to today’s rant. There are few things in the world that annoy me more than revisionist history, especially when it’s done to burnish one’s own damaged legacy. To make a George Bush/Osama bin Laden analogy,  I don’t think that much about Merrill…Read More

Category: Corporate Management, Current Affairs, Really, really bad calls

A Quick (and Belated) Look at Flow of Funds

Though the data are always a bit dated, the Fed’s Flow of Funds report is always of interest to me, as it paints fairly comprehensive pictures.  My favorite part of the release is Table B.100: Balance Sheet of Households and Nonprofit Organizations, in which much can be gleaned about the health of households in the…Read More

Category: Credit, Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Research

Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool…

…than to open it and remove all doubt. Invictus here.  I usually know exactly where I’m going when I sit down to write a post — some numbers tell me a story that I think would be interesting to be share. Not so this time. I’ve wondered often and aloud what it takes these days…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Media, Politics, Think Tank

Invictus here. Interested parties were treated to a fascinating debate on the evening of November 14, as the Munk Debates assembled four estimable economic minds to debate the following resolution: Be it resolved North America faces a Japan-style era of high unemployment and slow growth Arguing the pro side of the resolution were David Rosenberg…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Cycles, Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Federal Reserve, Wages & Income

11/11/11 11:11:11

Today has been called a one-derful day. At eleven seconds past 11:11 am, on this, the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year, we have an unusual date and time: 11/11/11 11:11:11 This is not going to happen again for a while. And 1000 900 years ago, in the year 1111, we…Read More

Category: Current Affairs

Is Occupy Wall Street: Just Noise?

According to a Global Investment Strategy Special Report, the Occupy Wall Street movement symbolizes the fact that political extremism is rapidly becoming mainstream. But is it really extremism? Consider the following, from BCA: The Occupy Wall Street movement is rooted in the secular decline of the American middle class. Judging from the GINI coefficient, the…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Politics

Demand Question for Charlie Rose/GOP Candidates

If I could get one question posed to the candidates at the next debate (Tuesday night), which is to focus solely on the economy, it would be this: “We repeatedly hear about taxes, regulations, and uncertainty standing in the way of job creation. However, the National Federation of Independent Business (“The Voice of Small Business”)…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Politics

Holders of Sovereign Debt

Here’s a great chart just released by the International Monetary Fund.   Note that almost half — 47 percent –  of the US$14.7 trillion U.S. federal government debt is held by the Federal Reserve and the government itself, such as the Social Security trust fund. Add to that the 22 percent foreign official holdings (mainly central…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Current Affairs

Weekend Smorgasbord from Invictus

Herewith a potpourri of unrelated items I’ve found on my never-ending voyage through the internet. Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. Seen This Movie Before First up, an excerpt from a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt in December 1906. I was taken by the opening line and the third paragraph. Indeed,…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Politics, Research, Taxes and Policy