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If you ain't got the Do Re Mi ...Not that you’d know it from the collapse of real estate, manufacturing, finance, retail and basic employment, but America is now officially in a Recession! In the third quarter of this wretched year of Our Lord — which doesn’t even include the 1929-style stock market collapse this month — the economy shrunk by .03%. Not outrageously terrible, as the never-ever-correct people known as economists predicted a half-percent contraction, but it’s still the worse since Our Terrorized Quarter of 9/11. Never forget!

Consumer spending, that perpetually unsatisfied engine of America that makes up two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, fell by 3.1%. Now that’s a serious number, if you like numbers. The last time quarterly consumer spending actually dropped, we were in a magic time known as the 1991 recession. And the last time consumer spending dropped so steeply, it was 1980.

“Disposable personal income,” officially known as “walking around money” plunged 8.7%, the biggest drop since 1947.

Of course, some assholes will perpetually argue that we’re not in a True Recession, as we haven’t had some asshole’s specific definition of a recession perfectly honored by the government GDP reports. (By “some assholes,” of course, we always mean Larry Kudlow.) The only reason the government GDP reports haven’t shown two consecutive steep declines in economic activity is because the government has been printing money at an obnoxious, enormous pace for more than a year straight — economic stimulus checks, Bear Stearns, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac takeover, AIG, and the whole open-ended “$700 billion” bad-securities buyout that has metamorphosed into a $2 trillion bank buyout.

Or, in Reuters’ words, “More spending by the government partly offset a sharp retreat by consumers.”

Stocks are up a little today, because come on, who doesn’t know this?

Economy shrank in third quarter as consumers retreat [Reuters]
Economy shrinks on weak spending [WSJ]

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57 COMMENTS

  1. I think it’s a race between how fast the DOW will collapse and how long Larry Kraplow’s remaining shreds of “sanity” will last.

  2. Government employees will get a 3.9% cost-of-living salary increase. It’s good to see the government take care of its own (ie. fellow employees, not fellow citizens).

  3. I just got the “LOLZ at you if you think you’re getting a raise next year, sucka” memo at work. I guess it’s a sign of where we are that I read this as relatively GOOD news.

  4. I have personally given up a second dirty martini before switching to beer, so I have been fully aware of the recession for some time. It’s the Martini Index.

  5. In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
    Near the relief office – I see my people
    And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
    If this land’s still made for you and me.

    I named one of my cats Woodrow Wilson Guthriepants. Woody for short. He was a stray in the neighborhood, a regular little hobo.

  6. headline and subhead on washingtonpost.com:

    Exxon Posts Record Profit

    Oil giant’s quarterly profit rises 58 percent as higher prices offset hurricanes’ effect.

  7. Kudlow’s right, two consecutive quarters is a recession.

    Therefore, everyone who criticized Bush over the last year was wrong, because he didn’t preside over a recession in his second term.

    The next quarterly GDP report comes out on January 30th. When it reveals a (spoiler alert!) 34% drop in GDP, then we will be in a recession.

    But guess who will be our president then?

    That’s right, it’s BARRY’S RECESSION, you motherfuckas!

    Barry is like Jimmy Carter plus Herbert Hoover times one thousand.

  8. Ok. Gas prices get jacked up to the fucking stratosphere, people stop buying shit, rich people are fucked, economic trend is called a “recssion.” Since rich people can’t afford to swim naked in giant vats of oiled virgins anymore, gas prices drop, people start buying shit, and economic trend is called a “recovery.” Meanwhile, we keep selling ring tones to oiled virgins and getting as drunk as possible on anything we can swallow.

    Yay, I remember everything I learned in college!

  9. ‘Or, in Reuters’ words, “More spending by the government partly offset a sharp retreat by consumers.”’

    Wait, what? Government spending can stimulate the economy? I thought it just went to the blacks, for drugs.

  10. Of course the powers that be are all making this look as good as possible now so that when Barry gets in the that bottom can fall out and the ass-fucking can really start. He is being used as a tool to fail so that they can get “Palin/Joe the Plunber 2012” elected.
    O-B-ama Kenobi’s powers are no match for the dark side.
    I’m all set here, I live on the top of a hill, make my own booze and got alot of guns.
    Luck to the rest of ya sucka’s.

  11. [re=156181]magic titty[/re]: Is this like Bill O’Reilly’s election map that shows places like Oregon (Obama +13 in latest polls) and Minnesota (Hopey +12) as toss-ups, but places like Arizona (McCain +2) and North Carolina (McCain +1) as solid red?

  12. Wait, so last time consumer spending dropped like this current lead balloon, it was 1980…when the Phillies last won the World Series JUST LIKE LAST NIGHT. You know what this means, of course — PHILLIES DID 9/11.

    Should we call a Philadelphia Lawyer? Or build another Grand Coulee Dam?

  13. [re=156102]slappypaddy[/re]: From the deep recesses of my subconscious sometimes come the most truly appalling gaffes. I just realized one line of subtext in what I said earlier, and am mortified. Forgive me, please. (And if you didn’t get what it was, I’m sure not going to point it out.)

  14. Hey! A recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP, which we CLEARLY haven’t experienced. Everything’s fine. Go about your business.

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