Shopped Out?

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I participated in a discussion in today’s WSJ’s (the free Econoblog) on consumer spending, titled Shopped Out?  My cohort in this was Dartmouth College Professor Andrew A. Samwick, author of Vox Baby. Andrew served as the chief economist
on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in 2003 and 2004.

Its an explanation of why the consumer is almost — but not quite — tapped out, and the repurcussions of that.

Here’s the intro:

For at least the past decade, anyone who has bet against the resiliency and
unending spending capacity of the U.S. consumer has decidedly lost the wager.
Even through the recession of 2000-01, they hardly slowed their profligate ways.
Sept. 11 managed to create a pause in spending — at least for a short time –
but it was more than made up for in the ensuing quarters. Indeed, the careers of
economists who have declared the U.S. consumer to be tapped out litter the
countryside like corpses after a war.

There are early signs, however, that taking the other side of this bet is no
longer a sure thing. We see a variety of factors suggesting that the consumer,
while not yet exhausted, is slowly but surely moving in that direction. While
it’s premature to declare the American consumer "shopped out," I suspect it’s
now quite late in the cycle. Barring a significant improvement in economic
fortunes, including robust job creation and increased personal income levels,
that exhaustion now looks inevitable.

It was a lot of fun doing this with someone the stature of Professor Samwick. I definitely learned a few things . . .
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UPDATE September 6, 2005 6:30 am
To answer a recurrent comment and email about this:  It was written Sunday and Monday, before Katrina made landflall, the levees broke and the magnitude of the disaster was known or understood. The impact of the storm (see this) only exascerbates a deteriorating situation.

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Source:
Shopped Out?
Barry Ritholtz, Andrew A. Samwick
WSJ’s ECONOBLOG  August 31, 2005
http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/econoblog08312005.htm

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Katrina/New Orleans Disaster Relief Aid

It appears the damage to New Orleans region is far worse than originally expected. As we did with the Tsunami, here are numerous resources that you may find helpful in keeping informed about the damage, and making donations to help survivors:

1) Relief Organizations

Americares
Known as the most efficient relief charity in the U.S. (and Non-denominational also)
88 Hamilton Avenue, Stamford, CT USA 06902
Toll Free: 1-800-486-HELP (4357) Phone: 01-203-658-9500

American Red Cross
1-800-HELP-NOW
800-435-7669
http://www.redcross.org/
(You can also donate via Amazon.com or the iTunes Music Store)

Salvation Army
1-800-SAL-ARMY
800-725-2769
http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/

see below for complete list of charities

2) News Coverage

Yahoo! FULL COVERAGE: Hurricanes & Tropical Storms

http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/hurricanes_and_tropical_storms

Google Groups katrina relief aid
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&q=katrina+relief+aid&qt_s=Search

The KatrinaHelp Wiki relief page
http://katrinahelp.info/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

3) Weather Related Resources

National Hurricane Center
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Actual Water Level Measurements, at New Orleans, LA
USGS 073802338 IWW @ I-510 Bridge (Paris Rd) http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=073802338

See this Google Map for location:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Paris+Road,+New+Orleans,+LA+70129
&spn=0.217644,0.317677&hl=en

National Weather Service
http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/ graphicsversion/bigmain.html

Hydrologic Information Center (river flooding)
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hic /index.html

4) Government Resources

Federal Emergency Management Agency
1-800-621-FEMA
http://www.fema.gov/

City of New Orleans
http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx

Louisiana Governor’s Office
http://www.gov.state.la.us/

Mississippi Emergency Management
http://www.msema.org/

Louisiana Homeland Security
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/

5) State Government Resources

Louisiana Emergency Road Closures
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/evacinfo/rdclosureindex.htm

Mississippi Emergency Road Closures
http://www.gomdot.com/

Alabama Emergency Road Closures
http://www.dot.state.al.us/closures/

Florida Emergency Road Closures
http://www.floridadisaster.org/

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Update
http://www.neworleanscvb.com/static/index.cfm/action/group/
contentID/256/sectionID/1/subsectionID/0/

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There is a terrific Dow Jones Chart (1900-2004) for sale at the Minyanville.com gallery. Its along the same concept of a chart we did back in 2003 — only this one includes P/E ratios, which is a very instructive addition to the graph: click for an enormous chart: “Officially licensed and designed by Minyanville’s own…Read More

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