Economic Performance

The Wall Street Journal‘s Benn Casselman noted the stagnant condition of our economy.

Note that the graph indicates lowering expectations for our GDP’s performance for the second quarter (just completed): last month, the expectation was for a miserly 1.9% growth; economists’ July forecast is for an even more miserable 1.5% growth.  We’ll know in a few days, when the first official government guess is published.

Casselman also wrote that

There also are signs that consumers—whose spending has helped prop up the economy for much of the past year—are beginning to tighten their belts.  Retail sales grew a paltry 0.4% in June, Commerce Department figures showed, and would have been even worse if higher gasoline prices hadn’t forced drivers to spend more at the pump.

Read that carefully: even this limited consumer spending growth was more about paying higher prices (good for the immediate seller) than it was about buying more stuff (good for actual economic growth).

Things aren’t expected to get any better soon, but, then, neither are this administration’s policies.

Some prognosticators are more optimistic, though, noting for instance that a rebounding housing market remains present.  But I have to ask, against the backdrop of this failed recovery and stagnating economy: a “rebounding housing market” means lots of new mortgages as families buy these expensive assets.  How stable, really, is the families’ income; how certain is their ability to continue paying their mortgages were the present economy, so close to a tipping point into a new recession, actually to tip over?

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