Economics

'Recovering' U.S. Economy Unexpectedly Shrinks by 1 Percent

The last economic contraction was during the first quarter of 2011.

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We know that…err…certain things shrink on contact with the cold, and the winter is among the factors being blamed for an unexpected 1 percent contraction in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). After healthy growth in the fourth quarter of 2013, a slight slowdown was expected at the beginning of 2014, but the downturn caught economists by surprise. The last economic contraction was during the first quarter of 2011.

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis announced:

Real gross domestic product – the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States – decreased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the first quarter according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP was estimated to have increased 0.1 percent. With this second estimate for the first quarter, the decline in private inventory investment was larger than previously estimated.

The Commerce Department announcement attributed the downturn, in part, to low inventory investment by private business, exports, slow nonresidential construction, and reduced state and local government spending.

Government spending boosts GDP measures, even though it represents money taken from taxpayers, rather than economically productive activity.

Some independent economists consider this a temporary chill.

"Severe weather conditions had a deeper impact on first quarter economic activity than previously estimated," according to Robert Hughes, a senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He anticipates that "much of the weakness will likely result in pent-up demand and should reverse in the second quarter."

While economists say it's uncommon for GDP to shrink outside a recession, it's not unknown, and not necessarily a sign of a larger problem. Definitions of recession vary, with two consecutive quarters of contraction often used as an indicator. The National Bureau of Economic Research simply says that "a recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months."

But there's no doubt that recovery from the Great Recession has been sluggish, with unemployment remaining a nagging problem, exacerbated by the the labor force participation rate declining to the lowest levels seen since 1978 (see graph below).

Proposals to hike the minimum wage, politically popular in some circles, have triggered warnings that rising labor costs could further depress hiring and economic activity. Some businesses, including restaurants, have already responded to the threat of such costs by automating tasks that are traditionally performed by people. That should prove a boon to the companies that are able to control their costs, but whether it signals growth or further shrinkage for the larger economy is an open question.

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  1. Yet somehow we in Canada are unaffected by the cold. Are Canadians really The Others?

    1. It’s like reading soviet press releases.

      Somehow, when the economy’s roaring, it’s all due their grand leadership.

      And, when the economy falters, it’s always due to unforeseen circumstances, and circumstances beyond their control.

      1. Storms need to be bigger so they can break more windows.

      2. Cheer up! GDP is notoriously noisy. The thing is to look at the trend. http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/2…..p-economy/

        Brian, how is your 401k doing? Mine’s doing great! Sucked back in 2005-2009 when we had libertarians telling how great the ownership society was and how it was going to make us rich. I ended up sticking my bank with my wife’s upside-down mortgage and laughing at the bank collectors when they asked me if I felt an obligation to pay for my mortgage. Yeah, right, and subsidize your crook bosses’ golden parachute? I know a totally full-of-shit, corrupt economic system when I see one.

        Another Reason reference to an article about automated tellers and it’s ??? Relationship to youth unemployment? It’s the sunspots on the sun cause global warming argument again. I love those!

        1. american socialist|5.29.14 @ 9:26PM|#
          “Cheer up! GDP is notoriously noisy. The thing is to look at the trend. http://money.cnn.com/2014/05/2…..p-economy/”
          Yeah, except during the “recovery” touted by your fave lying bastard, it’s not supposed to go negative.

          “Brian, how is your 401k doing? Mine’s doing great!”
          Commie-kid confuses stock market with economy! No wonder commie gov’ts are so bad at it.

          “I ended up sticking my bank with my wife’s upside-down mortgage and laughing at the bank collectors when they asked me if I felt an obligation to pay for my mortgage. Yeah, right, and subsidize your crook bosses’ golden parachute?”
          So you subsidized your stupidity and laughed about breaking the contract. Not surprising.

          1. Don ‘t get bitter just because you followed the advice of your fellow right-wingers on the radio and put your money in the agonist economy. When GDP goes up by 3% next quarter can I get back to you about how you and Brian suck at analyzing data.

            “breaking the contract. Not surprising.”

            Yep… Best economic decision I made. Went from 100k in the red to 200k in the black in the space of 2 years. I know how shit like this makes a corporatist shill like you shake with anger. I suggest you chill out… Stress hormones take years off your life. Yoga, man

            1. american socialist|5.29.14 @ 11:14PM|#
              “Don ‘t get bitter just because you followed the advice of your fellow right-wingers…”
              Sorry, I’m well protected

              “breaking the contract. Not surprising.”
              Yep… Best economic decision I made.”
              Yep, you then gripe about how the banks won’t loan ’em money.
              Slimy assholes are easy to spot.

              1. Hah… I didn’t have any problem. Slimy bankers will sell their granny to make a buck. You think they are going to give up 8 and 9% interest rates they can charge poor people so the CEO can buy another jet?

                http://mobile.reuters.com/arti…..4?irpc=932

                1. american socialist|5.29.14 @ 11:33PM|#
                  “Hah… I didn’t have any problem. ”

                  Immoral slimy bastards rarely do, but it’s strange to find someone who brags about their slimyness.
                  Not surprising.

                  1. I just want to feel more like Cliven Bundy except I don’t want to own slaves. News flash, socialists don’t care about banker’s feeeelings or the proceeds of their bosses or shareholders. I’m contemptuous of them and don’t care about their profits. I signed another contract with them and would renege on it again if it were in my best interest. You don’t think business interests fuck each other over in the same way every day? I thought socialists were supposed to be the naive ones.

                    1. american socialist|5.30.14 @ 9:15AM|#
                      “I just want to feel more like Cliven Bundy except I don’t want to own slaves.”

                      Yeah, starving them to death in labor camps is such fun and socialists are good at it.

                2. Slimy socialists steal money from productive people and whine about fairness. What exactly is your point? Oh, right, you’re entitled to my money (no, I’m not a banker, retardo) because, um, you want it. Just broken window after broken window. And how’s that socialized VA medicine working out? Clear proof of the superiority of gov’t provided health care.

                  1. How did I steal money from anyone? You mean like BofA shareholders? Help me, I’m suddenly overcome with guilt. Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo… Boo hoo hoo hoo.

                    1. So you reject contracts, contract law etc.?

                    2. I followed and used the law at every step. We went to several lawyers during the process .

                    3. american socialist|5.30.14 @ 9:19AM|#
                      “How did I steal money from anyone?”

                      I know you’re stupid, but THAT stupid?
                      Where do you think the money came from?

              2. So it’s bad when bankers socialize losses, but OK when you do. Got it. And your 401k was doing badly from 2005-2007? Really? Hmm, I seem to recall hitting an all time high sometime in 2007. Oh, were you investing in government greenwashing initiatives? Yeah, that probably did suck for you…

            2. american socialist:

              Yep… Best economic decision I made. Went from 100k in the red to 200k in the black in the space of 2 years. I know how shit like this makes a corporatist shill like you shake with anger.

              Actually, I know that $100 thousand and $200 thousand seems like a lot of money to you, but I don’t find that very impressive. Having a net worth of -$100 thousand, or having trouble with a $100 debt on a mortgage sounds like the kind of problem that poor people have, people so poor that I don’t think I know anyone like that.

              If those are your circumstances, I feel sorry for you, and I hope whatever deal you got on your mortgage and whatever victory over the system you think you’ve obtained makes you feel better.

              Enjoy yoga.

              1. It’s ok Brian… I’m doing fine… You don’t need to get passive aggressive. I did what I did for the principle– not for the money. It’s nice though to see the sneering contempt of people like you for people that are in debt. Classy, man. And you claim that you give a shit about unemployment amongst the poor? You are full of shit.

                1. Someone that reneges on contracts and feels qualified to comment on class.

                  How droll.

                2. I should feel ashamed for feeling sorry for you, shouldn’t I?

                  Sorry: I was just trying to channel my inner socialist for you. People like you need help, with your poverty and the debts that you poor people get yourselves into, that you can never pay off. That’s what financial and mortgage relief are for: people who need the government to take care of them, because they can’t do it alone.

                  We’re all in this together.

                  1. “We’re all in this together.”

                    I get it… You have contempt for poor people. If only they could write a shitty book about self-entitled morons who go out to Nevada to party and/or lick David Koch’s genetalia.

                    1. I should be ashamed, shouldn’t I?

                      It’s funny how socialists always say we need to take care of poor people. They can’t take care of themselves, they need help. They can’t function in a market economy. They can’t make smart decisions. It’s not their fault. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

                      Then, they want to give themselves financial relief and benefits, and then pretend they’re suddenly independent, productive members of a market economy, taking care of themselves.

                      Then, when you point out that they’re on the receiving end of their own philosophy, i.e., one of the poor and downtrodden, who need taking care of, they immediately take it as an insult.

                      I didn’t say it was bad, I didn’t insult poor people. I merely pointed out the obvious and restated your position: you’re one of the poor people who need help, and depend on others and the government for it.

                      Listen, if you’re OK with that, then don’t take it as an insult. Or, if you’re not OK with that, try to make it in a market economy without advocating for handouts. However, if you’re going to both advocate for handouts and then act like you’re being insulted when people point our your receiving handouts, that just sounds like a form of self-delusion or split personality.

                      In other words, if you want to give up on free markets, it would better to embrace it, instead of trying to pretend you’re making it on your own.

                      It’s amazing to hear people act insulted at their own philosophy, described and applied to themselves.

                    2. I don’t recognize my brand of socialism in what you state. I don’t have a patriarchal view of the poor as you describe.

                      I agree with libertarians on much. I don’t agree that my economic decisions should consider what will happen to a financial and banking elite.

                      I don’t like the personal nature of the insults being hurled here so I am retiring from this thread. Have a nice day.

                    3. Maybe you should articulate what brand of socialism you’re advocating for, then, instead of spending your time making lame, sarcastic arguments against straw man libertarianism.

                      Because you seem to be a big fan of the government regulating and distorting the market, if you think it helps people.

                      Somehow, you just feel insulted when it’s pointed out that this is happening. I really don’t get it, and I find it bizarre that you don’t advocate for the government taking care of poor people, when you clearly do (i.e. minimum wages, free healthcare), or that it’s insulting to point out that this is treating the poor paternalistically.

                    4. And two days later, this hypocritical douche returns on another thread with this insult (among others):

                      american socialist|6.1.14 @ 3:59PM|#

                      Booooring. Are your two minutes of hate up yet? Bash that keyboard a little harder next time. Can’t you turn it up a notch… Motherfucker?

                    5. american socialist|5.30.14 @ 3:04PM|#
                      “I get it… You have contempt for poor people.”

                      No, just contempt for slimy thieves.
                      Why don’t you just take the candy from the kids and sell it? You could easily make a could of bucks and they won’t fight back. It’s right up your alley!

              2. So, just one more thing… You don’t know anyone who has less than $100,000 net worth and you “pity” people that have less money than that? That happens to be most people in the United States.

                Most of the people I know don’t have 100k in the bank and I don’t pity them at all.

                What is the angle at which you cock your nose in the morning when you walk down the street?

                1. american socialist|5.30.14 @ 9:24AM|#
                  “So, just one more thing..”

                  That’s OK, slimebag, we’ve heard enough. You’ve proven yourself to be the sort of person who stinks from a mile off; you don’t need to add to it.
                  If your wife’s got any sense (doubtful, since she was stupid enough to marry you) she ought to make sure everything of value is glued down or hidden to keep you from stealing it.

                  1. Boo hoo hoo. I made 300k in 2 years by fucking over a corrupt bank who got TARP funds and then paid off the CEO 2 years later.

                    I can’t distinguish between the way you treat your friends and coworkers with a boob from a collection agency.

                    1. Actually, if a person goes from owing zero, to owing $300 thousand, to owing zero again, most people don’t consider that “making $300 thousand.” Making usually implies some sort of overall gain.

                      Bit hey: poor people gotta feel good where they can.

                    2. Bit hey: poor people gotta feel good where they can.

                      Your sneering at poor people is extremely counterproductive and only serves to reinvigorate the emotional arguments being made by your opponents. Of the people who are poor, many many of them are poor by choice, or by consequence of the sum of their poor choices. A very very small amount of those in poverty in the US, are there by no fault of their own.

                      Generalizing and baselessly assuming is what socialists do, my friend. Don’t accept and reinforce their premises.

                    3. american socialist|5.30.14 @ 11:43AM|#
                      “Boo hoo hoo. I made 300k in 2 years by fucking over a corrupt bank who got TARP funds and then paid off the CEO 2 years later.”

                      Why not just go steal it from the people down the street directly?
                      Rather have others do the dirty work for you, slimebag?

        2. american socialist:

          Brian, how is your 401k doing? Mine’s doing great! Sucked back in 2005-2009 when we had libertarians telling how great the ownership society was and how it was going to make us rich.

          Mine’s doing great. I had no idea that 2005-2009 was the precise window in time during which libertarians were championing home ownership and government subsidization of that. I seem to remember a bunch of socialist groups like ACORN and such advocating for “affordable housing,” and democrats and republicans bragging about how americans had the best home ownership rates in the world. Ah, well. Again, it’s like soviet press releases: it’s all due to their grand leadership, right until the bottom falls out. Then, it’s everyone else’s fault.

          Another Reason reference to an article about automated tellers and it’s ??? Relationship to youth unemployment? It’s the sunspots on the sun cause global warming argument again. I love those!

          In terms of references regarding the minimum wage:
          I know you got schooled when you pretended to know what publication bias was, when you really didn’t.

          Don’t be sore over it. That was, what, weeks ago? And, I think we should put the past behind us. I know I have, and I think you should to. It’s apparently weighing on your mind much more than mine.

          1. Hi. I’ve moved on. I can see the Reason editor hasn’t because they keep posting this ridiculous article as proof of an effect of blue jays in the sky have on manta ray.birthrates in the South Atlantic. Anecdotes= proof of my closest held political viewpoints.

            Here’s two blasts from the past when libertarians told us how great an idea it was to expand home ownership.

            https://reason.com/archives/200…..ty-and-its

            http://www.cato.org/publicatio…..prosperity

            There’s about a billion of them out there from, oh, 2004-2007, yet I can’t find any presently. Underwriting requirements must have been for Mao Zedong back in the Bush administration.

            1. “Here’s two blasts from the past when libertarians told us how great an idea it was to expand home ownership.”

              Yes, it is a good idea.

            2. Expanding the swathes of people who enjoy higher quality of life associated with property ownership is a good thing. Using political coercion to make that happen is a bad a thing. I know the difference is hard for you and your ilk to see.

            3. Because clearly, the lesson from the great recession is that owning things is bad.

              What a coincidence: socialists hate private property.

              I guess you bought the right-wing capitalist propaganda when you signed up for your mortgage in the first place, amiright?

              1. You sign up for that propaganda with every keystroke on the keyboard designed, built, and distributed for profit.

              2. I wouldn’t know from readings things that you guys put out. Home ownership for people that write articles for Koch brothers=good. Home ownership for the “inner-city” (;-), I gotcha brian) poor who get a FHA mortgage=bad.

                1. american socialist:

                  Home ownership for the “inner-city” (;-), I gotcha brian) poor who get a FHA mortgage=bad.

                  As you noticed in your misplaced arguments against ownership, that didn’t work out too well for them.

                  Apparently, there’s a difference between owning something, and owing for something.

                  I’m sure if you stood to make a lot of money on your house, you certainly would keep it.
                  As it stands, you lost money on your house. And that’s clearly a sign of abuse on someone else’s part.

                  So, you private your gains (if any), but socialize your losses. In other words, socialism as usual.

                  What problem do you have with the banking industry, again? Sounds like they’re being good socialists.

                2. american socialist|5.30.14 @ 2:58PM|#
                  “I wouldn’t know from readings things that you guys put out.”

                  I’d know from reading things that you’re a slimebag and this is the best you can offer in support.

        3. I know a totally full-of-shit, corrupt economic system when I see one.

          And you’re part of it. 🙂

    2. Canada connected to Land of Always Winter confirmed.

    3. There are several offshore brokerage firms and at least 1 bank that allow accounts to be opened entirely through the mail, even for Americans, and are non FACTCA participants: http://swisssolution.webs.com

      Updated 2 weeks ago!!

  2. To paraphrase some French asshole if you want capitalism go to California, we’re interested in helping our people.

  3. but the downturn caught economists by surprise

    First time for everything.

    1. But, but.. Krugman!!! He predicte.. What? He didn’t? Oh!! Yes he did!! The stimulus wasn’t big enough. There’s your problem. Wow. Just wow. Econimics:Alchemy

      1. Oops ‘economics’

  4. Let me be the first to blame the economic down turn on Booosh!

    1. What down turn?

      Are you actually reading? Looking at the stock market? Or just finding a speck of data so you can say “I told you so”.. Read the article above….one quote:

      “Severe weather conditions had a deeper impact on first quarter economic activity than previously estimated,”

      Yeah, I know, the Witch Doctor should have been able to prevent that winter…..

      C’mon – show some sense.

      1. What down turn?

        GDP is negative, declining, and declining at an increasing rate. What exactly is your definition of “down turn”?

        Looking at the stock market?

        The stock market is not a proxy for the economy as a whole, and is if anything a lagging indicator.

        Severe weather conditions

        This weather was not especially severe, whether historically or geographically speaking.

        C’mon – show some sense.

        Stones, glass houses, etc.

        1. The Masshole has demonstrable cognitive dissonance on matters of an economic nature.

          Standing by for sputtering from the northeast.

        2. GDP is an awful measure of economic growth and decline since it has special rules for double counting government spending which is nothing but debt and coercively ‘invested’ blood money. A growth in government spending is not good for the economy, yet it qualifies as growth when the feds borrow money and set it on fire.

          The stock market is a shit indicator because of the degree to which the government dumps it’s blood money into the stock market and compels other people to invested their earned wealth into that racket.

      2. Not to mention how punctual the trains are…

        1. Say what you will about the National Socialists…

  5. “Economists” is government jargon for “Psychics”.

    1. I resemble that remark although I wasn’t surprised at the second estimate.

  6. Maybe we should have NOAA predict the economy.

  7. I blame Obama

  8. Stock market hits new record today – almost every day. That’s where my money is…..

    As to the GDP, I think the best thing that could happen is for it to NOT grow. Think about it……

    If health care costs rise by double digits each year, as during the Bush years, the GDP goes WAY up.

    If we crank up the war machine over and over – GDP goes up quickly – of course, we are taking the results of GDP and dumping them over a cliff (same with overpriced health care).

    If our cars were to break down sooner and we needed to replace them – that would increase GDP.

    If we all bought big SUV’s and got worse MPG – or cut holes in our houses to use more heat and A/C, GDP would increase.

    If all fuel costs went through the roof – GDP would go way up.

    If our Tech gadgets gave us less for the $$, we’d have to buy more of them and replace them sooner…..

    On the other hand….

    If people live simpler and enjoy life more – stay local instead of jetting around the world. If they cook their own meals, fix their own houses and care for their own children….GDP goes down or stays steady.

    Please explain why this is bad.

    1. Thomas Piketty would not approve: r \greaterthan g. When g goes down, r is even more \greaterthan g.

      1. It’s funny how you cited this book before as a great example.

        Yet, here you are investing like a capitalist in the stock market (r) while hoping that GDP goes down (g).

        So, you seem to be embracing the opposite of Thomas Piketty’s conclusion as your desired position.

        Strange, you were so eager to cite him before. Still, I’m glad you came around and embraced capitalism.

        1. Except that since I don’t know who that dude is (other than news blurps) nor did I read his book, I have no idea how I cited him!

          You got the wrong guy. At the same time, TP probably has a point. That has little to do with how fast GDP grows, just who gets the results.

          And, yes, I am…by that definition – a “capitalist”, so I tend to benefit more from things than the (currently) working man.

          GDP does not have to grow for the stock market to boom….many companies sell all over the world (I’m a big apple stockholder). Also, companies can improve through efficiency – and therefore be more profitable.

          Lastly, a reasonable profit is enough. I own a number of ETF’s and REITS that pay 6-8% and perhaps grow a little in share value. Nothing to do with wanting the USA not to pray at the altar of growth.

          I think we should measure the “happiness” indexes as well as the stock market. The goal for this country should be for folks to be content and secure and educated. It’s not a matter of “he who dies with the most toys wins”.

          SO, was RFK correct on this matter?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77IdKFqXbUY

        2. Oh, if you read my comment I am quoting a news story – not saying I read the thing.

          The executive summary is quite obvious….and probably true. But that’s past my pay grade.

          When I was a young man I left the big city and went out and lived in a simple cabin in the boonies. We lived on a few bucks a day. It was one of the happiest times in my life.

          Point is – add up the big items I mentioned (defense, health care, fuel and transportation) – and you have a VAST part of our GDP. If you think those should always go up, you are cheering for more pain for many people ….

          1. craiginmass:

            Oh, if you read my comment I am quoting a news story – not saying I read the thing.

            In the future, if you would like for me to tell you the conclusions of the works you are citing, so that you know what you’re saying, let me know. We can work something out.

            The executive summary is quite obvious….and probably true. But that’s past my pay grade.

            If so, then the conclusion of the work itself recommends the exact opposite of your position, i.e., making money on capital investment (i.e. stock), while the economy as a whole contracts.

            When I was a young man I left the big city and went out and lived in a simple cabin in the boonies. We lived on a few bucks a day. It was one of the happiest times in my life.

            Yeah, nature is great, right up until you need medicine. Or run short of food. Or fuel for heating. Or get bitten by a rattle snake. Or, in general, if you want a life expectancy greater than 25 years. If you think the mountain boonies are great, you’re free to wander out in the wilderness for the rest of your life. I suspect I know why you don’t take this option.

            1. The problem is that the population is always growing. This is a form of production, and if it doesn’t result in growing GDP, this usually means that the economy is not functioning efficiently. Arguably, more and more people engaging in productive economic activity should…produce more, hence more GDP. When that doesn’t happen, usually something is wrong.

              Sure, it could be that, with advanced technology and more efficiency, and people deciding to reduce their expectations and be happy with less, GDP could contract and everything would be OK. However, I’m not aware of everyone ratcheting down their expectations sufficiently to offset the growth of the population.

              You’re falling for a similar problem as the glazier fallacy: the difference between seen and unseen costs. If people spend less for healthcare and transportation, they have more wealth to spend on other things. Therefore, there’s no reason to expect GDP to contract unless one knows for relative certainty that the savings wouldn’t be spent or engaged in some other economic activity.

              This explains why fuel efficiency, and technology have all gotten better and cheaper while GDP has also grown. Based on your thesis and examples, one would conclude that these events would have caused GDP to contract. This is not the case.

              Even as we spend more and more on healthcare, we get better and better treatments. If we want the medicine of the 1940’s, trust me, it’s cheap.

            2. “In the future, if you would like for me to tell you the conclusions of the works you are citing, so that you know what you’re saying, let me know. We can work something out.”

              Pretty sure that the nuance of that statement is lost on simplistic ninnies like craig.
              You left out ‘feelings!’ and ‘simple life!’

          2. “Point is – add up the big items I mentioned (defense, health care, fuel and transportation) – and you have a VAST part of our GDP. If you think those should always go up, you are cheering for more pain for many people ….”

            Uh, no. You just lumped random goods and attempt to draw some conclusion?
            The mark of a con man or an idiot.

    2. “Please explain why this is bad.”

      Because not everyone is silly enough to like hair shirts.

      1. But some are silly enough to think a static GDP is a good thing.

        1. Even more are silly enough to think the GDP numbers mean anything at all and represents anything of substance.

    3. If health care costs rise by double digits each year, as during the Bush years, the GDP goes WAY up.

      And the Clinton years, and the Reagan years, and the Obama years, …. Increasing health care costs did not start in 2000 and end in 2008.

      Nevertheless, increased health care spending (i.e., what GDP measures) could reflect the availability and desirability of new treatments, which were not previously available. Of course, it could also reflect increasing costs due to regulatory compliance and artificially constrained markets.

      If we crank up the war machine over and over – GDP goes up quickly – of course, we are taking the results of GDP and dumping them over a cliff

      This is true of the entire G (government) spending part of GDP, not just the military.

      Furthermore, while much of the spending is wasteful, and there are other ways to fund things, many innovations are made by the defense industry with applications outside of warfare.

      If we all bought big SUV’s and got worse MPG – or cut holes in our houses to use more heat and A/C, GDP would increase.

      You can’t spend money you don’t have. It’s hard to say what the optimum way to spend every dollar is, but if the entire population decided to make egregiously suboptimal decisions then it would lead to general impoverishment. You can’t maintain high levels of spending if you’ve got no money to spend.

      1. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

      2. kbolino uses Basic Logic.

        it’s super effective!

    4. You do realize that the cost savings realized from most of those incremental improvements would customarily be either spent on more goods or saved and used to create more capital, both generally leading to an increase in GDP, right? Fucking Christ…

    5. Imagine how much better off we would be if we didn’t waste $2TT on welfare every year. Now that would be a fantastic savings. Barry’s jacking up healthcare spending by his Medicaid expansion and premium subsidies redistribution. But that’s supposed to make us all better off, right? All of the VA healthcare spend is worth it, right? Sure getting our money’s worth there…

    6. Tell that to Al Gore, you twit.

  9. Lies! Pure Koch-o-fabulism! The economy is super-duper-uber-boomin’!! We know, ’cause Chocolate Jesus told us so.

  10. so we just need one more quarter like this and we’ll be back in a recession? Well, its about on time, though I was expecting the next recession to be in 2015, not 2014, so it may just be a temporary burp, or at least the government can still throw enough money at it to temporary bandage up all the unresolved issues from the last recession and hold us over until the real crisis hits in 2015-2016.

  11. Thank God for Global Warming ! Imagine how bad the economic numbers would have been had we not warmed like 10* last year and had a cold winter…..or something.

  12. No worries. Recovery Summer (TM) is right around the corner. Moar roadz and fast choo-chooz for everyone!

    1. And electric cars!

  13. When we assumed the economy was growing it was thanks to Obama, but when we found out it contracted, we realized it was all the obstructionist republicans fault.

    1. Well, really BOOOOOOOOOOOSH!
      It’s his fault. Obo tells me wo.

  14. So Chiberia had a more lasting effect on the US economy?

  15. There’s that word again: “unexpectedly”.

    1. It’s animal spirits all the way down.

      To encourage the intrinsically spontaneous action of irrational, emotional economic actors, we clearly need more monetary stimulus.

  16. Severe weather conditions had a deeper impact on first quarter economic activity than previously estimated

    I’m not sure he’s playing the bit role of an economist suggesting that we should… ‘force’ the weather to more favorable conditions or if he’s a zealot trying to make the case that erratic and unpredictable weather is intrinsically bad, economically speaking.

    *narrows eyes* It must be AGW propaganda!

    1. Naah. Stupidity explains it quite easily.

  17. but whether it signals growth or further shrinkage for the larger economy is an open question.

    No it’s really not an open question whether arbitrary political interference will strengthen or weaken commerce. The answer is obvious and indisputable.

  18. No problem.

    Even if it continues to shrink by 1%/month it will never get to zero!

  19. I don’t believe this. The non-manipulated government published unemployment numbers tells me everything is going great.

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