You may find this hard to believe.
I fell into a catatonic condition, revived only by the prowess of our medical establishment, which, as reports on infant mortality indicate, exceeds the best in sub-Saharan Africa.
We pay twice as much for health care as any nation in the world. At these prices, it must be the best.
Similarly, the ruling political party and its president say our economy is good. Americans, toiling in the real world, sense something amiss. This puzzles the pols.
Cheerleading for the president, AP reported, “The latest reports show healthy increases in economic growth, job creation, home ownership, retail sales and consumer spending. The Dow Jones industrial Average is at a six-year high.”
Let’s start with the easy stuff.
A high in stocks is a peak preceding a pit. Between the two, kiss your money goodbye, and report back to the salt mine for 20 years.
Now for the tougher stuff.
The feds reported that gross domestic product (GDP) was up. A major factor was an increase in federal spending. Great.
The feds routinely cook growth numbers till they are fit for public consumption.
John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics writes, “The primary significance of GDP reporting now is as a political propaganda tool and as a cheerleading prop for Pollyannaish analysts on Wall Street.”
Lest you go catatonic, I will spare you his many examples, except for my favorite.
GDP is adjusted for inflation. “The lower the inflation rate ... the higher will be the resulting inflation-adjusted GDP growth.”
With “hedonics” and “substitution” and other magic made under Clinton, the feds labor to lower the inflation number. It is now understated by “roughly 2.7 percent a year.”
A lower number saves the feds a lot of money. For instance, if the changes had not been made, Social Security checks would be 43 percent higher, Williams says.
Sorry about that, Mom. Hope that government check is working out. By the way, happy Mother’s Day, albeit belatedly. And in case I forget the next one, too, happy Father’s Day, Dad.
The stewards of our federal government would wish you the same if they could take time out from delivering homilies about their concern for the American people.
On employment, the government does two surveys. The feds have never “been able to reconcile the two series within one million jobs,” Williams writes. Also, in the 1990s, 5 million people were removed from the unemployment figures — permanently.
As for home ownership, it has gone up, abetted by credit expansion through government counterfeiting of dollars. USA Today reports, “Nearly 25 percent of mortgages — 10 million — carry adjustable interest rates.”
As the Federal Reserve jacks rates, these homeowners face higher payments.
Citing an expert, USA Today says “up to one million could lose their homes through foreclosure over the next five years.”
Celebrations of retail sales and consumer spending fail to mention that these rise coincident with increases in consumer debt, now at an all-time high.
For readers who have got this far, I will now throw in a statistical bonus. The government reported personal income, adjusted for official inflation, was up for the first time in five years. Included in the calculation is “what the average homeowner would receive from himself in rental income if he charged himself to live in his own house,” Williams writes.
No wonder we are doing so well. If we all charge ourselves double, we can do even better.
The Financial Report of the United States Government shows total federal assets of $1.4 trillion in 2005. Liabilities, including Social Security and Medicare, were $45.6 trillion. The government collected $2.2 trillion in revenue.
That is the equivalent of a household with $950,000 in debt and $50,000 in income.
It is the most unhealthy debt-to-income ratio in the world, making sub-Saharan Africa a shining star of productivity and prudence.
“This economy is powerful, productive and prosperous, and we intend to keep it that way,” Bush said.
Politicians think it’s their job to manage the economy. If they redouble their efforts, we might all get to the poorhouse twice as soon.
It is so funny I can hardly believe it.
I am laughing so hard I am feeling ill. I cannot remember where I put my pistol and hanging rope.
You may find this hard to believe.