Comstock Partners compares the economy after the National Bureau of Economic Research called the end of the Great Recession to that of previous recoveries. The upshot to their survey is stark: THERE IS NO RECOVERY!
1) GDP was up 5.3% and 5.7% at this point in the last two cycles, and is now down 1.3%
2) New home sales were down 8% and up 31%; now down 42%.
3) Industrial production was up 3% and 1%; now down 7%.
4) Retail sales were up 9% and 12%; now down 4%.
5) Payroll employment was flat and down 2%; now down 5%.
6) Personal income was up 11% and 7%; now up 2%.
7) New orders for durable goods were up 5% and 6%; now down 22%.
8) Initial weekly unemployment claims were down 5% and 9%; now up 34%.
Seems they outnumber New York bedbugs…
From the BBC:
A senior al-Qaeda leader has been killed in a suspected US drone missile strike in Pakistan, officials say.
Pakistani security officials said Egyptian national Sheikh Fateh was killed on Saturday in North Waziristan.
The officials said Sheikh Fateh took over as al-Qaeda’s chief of operations for Afghanistan and Pakistan in May after al-Qaeda’s number three leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid was killed.
The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.
The report says Dogan had apparently been “lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time” before being shot in his face.
The forensic evidence that establishes that fact is “tattooing around the wound in his face,” indicating that the shot was “delivered at point blank range.” The report describes the forensic evidence as showing that “the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back.”
A question posed by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism:
Poll ratings show approval levels for the major political perps, meaning the President, Congress, each of the two major parties, at levels so low as to be tantamount to loathing. But while the Tea Party has become a force to be reckoned with by tapping into this wellspring of discontent, those on the left who are unhappy with the lump of coal the Administration and the Democratic party has put in their stocking have no outlet.
We think she assumes what remains to be proven: That there is a possibility of a left alternative to the existing order within the bounds of the existing order; that there is a political alternative to existing politics.
Suppose there isn’t.
Suppose, for instance, that the only alternative to the existing political order is something that is not itself political, but a renunciation of politics itself. If the perfection of politics is universal suffrage, this alternative would consist of the ruthless criticism of universal suffrage itself – a criticism of the notions of The People, of Democracy, of self-government.
Such a view might state, “If there is to be government, then it must be Government of The People; but why is government itself to be tolerated?”
The most contentious questions of the time come down to this very issue. Who decides what person another may marry? Who decides whether a woman should carry a pregnancy to term? Are these to be settled on the basis of one person one vote?
Who decides when the working day shall begin or end?
If the politics of “the left” is the liberation of the individual from the organs of hierarchy and social domination, then government itself is also the enemy, not the means toward this end.
Ireland becomes the first European country to officially enter the second leg down on the heels of government imposed austerity. Greece, Spain and others will follow in short order, as every nation proposes to export its way out of its difficulties by starving its population and selling the resulting surplus product elsewhere.
Thus, the question: Export to whom? If everyone is imposing austerity in order to grow exports, who is going to consume all the excess?
Insight from the strangest of places:
You know, we talked earlier, too — I don’t need to tell you that our customer remains challenged; the Wal-Mart customer is a bit of a microcosm of the US economy. And I say this not to use it as an excuse, but really for us to acknowledge that we have a responsibility and a duty to figure out how to serve that customer in a challenged time, because that is what we do and that is what our business model is for.
Our customers are focused on their savings, and they need us now more than they ever have. Unemployment, we all know, remains mid-9s and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere quickly. Gas prices are high. They don’t appear to be going anywhere. We need to figure out how to operate in this environment.
The paycheck cycle we’ve talked about before remains extreme. It is our responsibility to figure out how to sell in that environment, adjusting pack sizes, large pack at sizes the beginning of the month, small pack sizes at the end of the month. And to figure out how to deal with what is an ever-increasing amount of transactions being paid for with government assistance.
And you need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it’s real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs, and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when electronic — government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.
And if you really think about it, the only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they’ve been waiting for it. Otherwise, we are open 24 hours — come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. – President, CEO of Wal-Mart US