Recovery? Check out the Great Lost Decade for Investors

posted at 6:00 pm on February 19, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Let’s provide some fair warning before we dive into the subject. This column deals with economics. Now, to be clear, I have no inherent hatred of economists. I just don’t understand them. Generally, when an economist starts talking, my eyes quickly glaze over and roll back in my head. I’m sure the information is important, but when it comes to these matters it’s much akin to the difference between talking to the emergency room doctor who stitches up your wounds and trying to make out the chants of a witch doctor.

With that said, I found myself drawn into a discussion and analysis of a chart provided by Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider. This is a graph – helpfully updated by Joe after I pressed him with questions – which tracks the value of the S&P 500 divided by the cost of a gallon of gasoline for just over two decades.

Why should a value like that be important to us and our understanding of the state of the economy? When I began this conversation I had no idea. But once Joe finished patiently explaining it to me, it became a bit more clear. So here it is. Please note that the red line is the ratio value described above and the blue line is the average cost of a gallon of gas. (Also please be sure to follow the link, as Joe explains it far better than I will ever be able to, I’m sure, and he will take questions if you submit them.)

Gas PriceIndex Chart

If you’re anywhere near as easily as confused as me, you might be asking, why would we divide the S&P average by the cost of gasoline? What would the resulting figure possibly tell us? Well, it turns out there is some value to it after all.

The short version for the layman goes something like this. If the economy is truly robust, you’d see the value of your investments grow faster than the value of the commodities stripping dollars out of your wallet. What’s worrisome is that for the past decade, investments haven’t been able to keep up with the cost of many basic goods. (To prove the point, Joe also provides a similar index versus the price of coffee and the price of wheat.)

But if the economy is truly sick, even when the prices you pay for these commodities is falling, and your return on investments is doing even worse, then you are experiencing a net loss. With that information in mind, go back and take a look at the the original chart and you’ll get an idea of the real state of the recovery.


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Gas is pushing $3.30-$3.40 here. Love my economic recovery.
///

annoyinglittletwerp on February 19, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Jazz, why must you be so cynical about Obama’s recovery?

listens2glenn on February 19, 2012 at 6:04 PM

O T

annoyinglittletwerp on February 19, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Second thread I’ve asked this; did you see my question to you this morning?

listens2glenn on February 19, 2012 at 6:07 PM

We’ll get Lin, the point guard for the Knicks to help Won in the off season! JugEars only takes Harvard grads…we’ll get him a real one!

KOOLAID2 on February 19, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Gas is $3.65 here today. The coffee I paid $4.95 for six years ago is now over $12.00. Things are great!

Night Owl on February 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Ready-made Republican campaign ads. Not the chart, but simple pictures — a screen shot of a gas pump January 19, 2009 contrasted to a screen shot of a gas pump February 2012. Fade to shots of news stories about shutting down off-shore drilling, number of on-shore permits and leases dropping, rejection of the XL pipeline.

Even your average three-letter news channel watching doofus is going to relate to that.

AZfederalist on February 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Well, who are you going to believe, Obama and his media lap-dogs, or your lying investment statements and the price at the pump?

Syzygy on February 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

a recovery based on the destruction of ones currency is only a shame for a little while before it catches up to us.

losarkos on February 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I fail to see how this relates to anything. Jobs, the economy, the price of gas, all that means nothing.

We should be talking about contraception, and the only way this stuff relates is in how it affects my monthly condom expenditures.

PetecminMd on February 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Home values dropped. Investments and wages stayed stagnant. Grocery and gas bill went through the roof, followed by the tax bill in 2013. What not to love?

galtani on February 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on February 19, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Second thread I’ve asked this; did you see my question to you this morning?

listens2glenn on February 19, 2012 at 6:07 PM

I’ll go rattle her cage.

Lanceman on February 19, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Yesterday, before spring, $3.31 in Wichita Falls, $3.74 in Dallas, go figure.

Yeah, I believe the newsies when they tell me this is a recovery.

cozmo on February 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

This is an old theme, but on gas vs. the market. It’s usually discussed with bonds. Suppose you buy a bond at 5% yield, but the inflation rate is 6%, you’re actually losing 1% in buying power. IOW, you will have 5% more cash per year. But you actually need 6% to buy the same thing as you did a year before. So you will be able to buy less with that increased money in one year than you can right now without that 5%.

With gas vs. the market, it’s the same thing. Suppose you invested in the market back in the 90′s, you can buy as much gas back then pre-investment as you can buy now post-investment even though you’ve made more money. IOW, your buying power hasn’t increased at all even though you may have more actual cash than you did before. When your buying power doesn’t increase with an investment, most investors consider that a wash. Your money sat there for years and didn’t really gain you anything. Yes, it’s better than sitting in a bank account. But your situation hasn’t improved.

MrX on February 19, 2012 at 6:22 PM

The more you have of something, the less it is worth.
The more oil that the USA produced or could produce the less it will cost.
The more money Uncle Ben prints (QE 1 and QE 2), the less it is worth.

ny59giants on February 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

For anyone who’s interested in running their own numbers – here are two tools that will give you key data for the S&P 500 between any two calendar months since January 1871:

The S&P 500 at Your Fingertips

Investing Through Time

Both tools are current through January 2012. The Investing Through Time tool will give you a better sense of how stock prices behaved between the dates you select.

Oh, and since we’re talking about gas prices – if you want to know when the next recession is scheduled to arrive, here you go.

ironman on February 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

the value of the S&P 500 divided by the cost of a gallon of gasoline for just over two decades.

Why do we need a numerical value for S&P 500 divided by the cost of a gallon of gasoline ?

burrata on February 19, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Oh, and since we’re talking about gas prices – if you want to know when the next recession is scheduled to arrive, here you go.

ironman on February 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Needs to arrive sooner than November.

Lanceman on February 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Yesterday, before spring, $3.31 in Wichita Falls, $3.74 in Dallas, go figure.

cozmo on February 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

It was $3.61 in Clarksville (about halfway between DC and Baltimore) yesterday. It will definitely be an ugly spring/summer driving season.

PetecminMd on February 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Out here in Marin Co, Kalifornia gas is over $4.00 a gallon and diesel is approaching $4.50 a gallon. Nice recover Obummer, but you know When GWB was pres. the Lame stream media was pillorying him for $3.00 a gal.
November can’t come soon enough.

2eagles on February 19, 2012 at 6:34 PM

But but…. rubbers or something!

Midas on February 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM

No Recovery, Collapse nearing at a alarming rate of speed. Plan B?

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 6:38 PM

P.S. Diesel this a.m. $3.99 and rising. Can you say super inflation coming to a country near you soon.

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 6:39 PM

I’d like to see (or rather I’d fear to see) the same chart vs. college costs.

I have two boys starting elementary school and I have this fear that I won’t be able to put them through college, even if it’s a local state school where they can commute from home. I don’t think it is possible for us to save enough; there are just too many things chipping away at our paychecks.

SPCOlympics on February 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

listens2glenn on February 19, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Answered it on the open thread. Go look.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Slightly O/T, but does Bore O’Reilly do stories on the greedy”Big Oil”companies now that Bush isn’t in the QB?

tommy-t on February 19, 2012 at 6:42 PM

This graph demonstrates a weak dollar … the higher cost of commodities to americans consumers and the higher cost of american investment assets to foreign investors.

carl todd hand on February 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

s/b WH

tommy-t on February 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Syzygy on February 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Well, the media lap-dogs have ALWAYS acted throughout the course of the Obama regime as if any announcement of bad economic news is “unexpected.”

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Yeah, it’s a relational ratio. When the economy is good, profitability is up compared to the price of gas. When it’s not, profitabiity is down compared to the price of gas.

The higher the price of gas, the worse profitability tends to be, although the price of gas isn’t the only factor (and not necessarily the main one either).

The gas-price spike and profitability plunge in 2008 could not seem to be a sweeter representation of the relationship, but it’s a bit misleading, since profitability didn’t tank because of the gas-price spike.

It’s an interesting depiction, but I think a more important one would plot profitability against regulation. We have got to stop thinking of regulation as a neutral condition. Regulation is, conservatively, more than 50% of what’s preventing our economy from recovering.

J.E. Dyer on February 19, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Slightly O/T, but does Bore O’Reilly do stories on the greedy”Big Oil”companies now that Bush isn’t in the QB?

tommy-t on February 19, 2012 at 6:42 PM

He has no time for such frivolities….he has a book to hawk and a movie to produce while yapping off a telelprompter doing
Inside Edition for bin Talal’s FOX

burrata on February 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM

tommy-t on February 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

What do you expect from someone who is just now figuring out that there is a full blown socialist in the WH. O’Reilly surprising slow and naive.

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Well, who are you going to believe, Obama and his media lap-dogs, or your lying investment statements and the price at the pump?

Syzygy on February 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

(50 % of the people!) Hmmmmmm! Hmmmmm! Ummm!

KOOLAID2 on February 19, 2012 at 6:49 PM

I do understand a little something about economics.

The chart is very interesting and I do think it has some value. There are however two important elements that ARE NOT REFLECTED in the chart that are CRITICALLY IMPORTANT from an investor’s perspective.

First, the S&P value IS NOT adjusted for dividends. While many have bemoaned the “lost decade”, when the value of reinvested dividends is added to the equation overall returns show a different picture.

The second problem is factoring in the value – or in this case the LOSS OF VALUE – for the financial sector of the S&P. Thru much of the second half of the period examined, the financial sector of the index ballooned to an all time high.

While this bubble paled in comparison the the tech bubble in the NASDAQ, it represents a large portion of the S&P underperformance.

The bottom line is that just as investors who were able to avoid overwight in the internet bubble did better than most, so too for investors positioned to focus on dividends and avoid overweight in the financial sector.

Just sayin’…

singlemalt 18 on February 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

The US economy will start to recover when the US consumer has finish deleveraging. Unfortunately the US government will not allow that.

jdun on February 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

surprising=surprisingly

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

$3.99/gal and climbing in Southern California for regular unleaded…

… +$16 Trillion in debt and climbing.

Obowma and the Democrats don’t think a balanced budget is worth the time and effort…

… Iran is about to call out the 12th Imam.

Obowma thinks the US should only have six nuclear weapons…

… Food prices are about to skyrocket due to the higher cost of gas.

But the most important item of the day is free contraception…

.

.

.

.

O_O

Seven Percent Solution on February 19, 2012 at 6:51 PM

bailout bernanke (and his equally despicable predecessor Greenspan) and the other slimebag members of the fed – who’s primarily purpose is to ensue mufti-billion dollar profits for their pals in the BIG BANKS and on Wall Street – are a corrupt bunch of self-serving, insider-trading jackals who deserve to be in prison, rather than manipulating markets to create recurring commodity/asset bubbles.

Congress MUST CONTROL – OR REMOVE – bailout bernanke before he does any more damage by keeping rates at zero and continuing to ignore inflation and the many commodity/asset bubbles his irresponsible actions create – all of which cause great harm and suffering to average middle class and poor Americans.

TeaPartyNation on February 19, 2012 at 6:52 PM

From the linked article:

As we predicted early last week, everyone is talking about gas prices today.

It’s the how new meme: Will gas prices be the thing that suffocates this economy?

We’ll pass on making a guess.

Dude, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to answer THAT question. You’d be lucky NOT to have an international economic catastrophe as Iran begins this lovely new era of nuclear blackmail (and succeeds in nuking Israel in the process).

That means the dollar and the EU will totally collapse in the very near future.

Maybe the Mayans were on to something after all…

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 6:52 PM

I’ll go rattle her cage.

Lanceman on February 19, 2012 at 6:16 PM

ALTwerp lives in a cage? I thought she lived in tank with sharks.
LOL

Not a military Tank, a glass tank.

SparkPlug on February 19, 2012 at 6:53 PM

And of course, Obama will blame Bush for all this, saying he was a victim of economic soicumstance.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Seven Percent Solution on February 19, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Yep.O_O, hard to deliverer goods with though.

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Oh, and since we’re talking about gas prices – if you want to know when the next recession is scheduled to arrive, here you go.

ironman on February 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Needs to arrive sooner than November.

Lanceman on February 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Au contraire, perfectly timed, he will mandate “free gas” for everyone, you just have to re-elect him first!

herm2416 on February 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM

But but…. rubbers or something!

Midas on February 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Haliburton! rubbers Haliburton! rubbers Haliburton! rubbers…

KOOLAID2 on February 19, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Here in Vancouver WA gas has gone up 34 cents in 3 weeks.

tommy-t on February 19, 2012 at 6:57 PM

One thing 0 won’t matter a twit if a collapse occurs. He’s done either way.

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Don’t even look at the S&P to BACON price, just don’t!! It is horrific and foretells the coming of the Apocalypse.

jukin3 on February 19, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Au contraire, perfectly timed, he will mandate “free gas” for everyone, you just have to re-elect him first!

herm2416 on February 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Nah. Obama will encourage the Occu-pests (not directly, but indirectly and with the help of all his surrogates) to cause riots and anarchy in the streets. Demanding, “Peace! Land! Bread!”, of course.

Oh, and to get TRULY free gas, simply go to Taco Bell and order several burritos. Works every time.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Ready-made Republican campaign ads. Not the chart, but simple pictures — a screen shot of a gas pump January 19, 2009 contrasted to a screen shot of a gas pump February 2012. Fade to shots of news stories about shutting down off-shore drilling, number of on-shore permits and leases dropping, rejection of the XL pipeline.

Even your average three-letter news channel watching doofus is going to relate to that.

AZfederalist on February 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Don’t forget the video of little Bammie saying that he is okay with $7 gasoline “as long as it doesn’t get there too quickly”, four years ago.

slickwillie2001 on February 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

There is a huge difference between economists like Krugman from ones like Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell.

You are right about commodities. The only reason to have money is to have the ability to buy goods and services and as the dollar wanes those things made from commodities are going to inflate so that your savings will buy very little.

Money invested in food (ability to grow food) Tools, spare parts, building materials (especially romex cable)and of course guns and ammo is well invested.

If Obamugabe is reelected we will be looking like Cuba by the end of his term and those folks there would kill for a new set of spark plugs, new fabric or a goat.

esnap on February 19, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Try comparing it to 5 year CD rates and it is clear that 0bama is in a war with producers and savers. He is winning that war.

jukin3 on February 19, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Don’t even look at the S&P to BACON price, just don’t!! It is horrific and foretells the coming of the Apocalypse.

jukin3 on February 19, 2012 at 6:59 PM

That thar’s funny, but bacon is a commodity I track seriously, and it’s been relatively stable over the last 20 years.

Still an affordable vice.
I dont’ care what they say –
I won’t stay in a world without Bacon!

massrighty on February 19, 2012 at 7:04 PM

This graph demonstrates a weak dollar … the higher cost of commodities to americans consumers and the higher cost of american investment assets to foreign investors.

carl todd hand

Yes, however, gas as an energy product is integral to our economy if not the core requirement for prosperous economy. It’s not simply a matter of ‘dollars being stripped from one’s wallet,’ it’s that every service and product must necessarily cost more to provide.

And it can’t be said that it only shows the loss of purchasing power of the dollar. Is gas more expensive in other parts of the world in other currencies?

Gas is more expensive even priced in bananas. The dollar’s weakness is certainly part of the matter but not the sole one.

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Gas is pushing $3.30-$3.40 here. Love my economic recovery.
///

annoyinglittletwerp on February 19, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Here in Mesa, AZ I just paid $3.56 today. On 12/7/11 I paid $3.03, that Shell station was about 10-12 cents cheaper than anywhere else and now they’re on par with everyone else. That’s a 50 cent plus increase in 2 months. That’s about a $10 difference per fill up (I don’t fill up until I’m pushing E). Now I’m going to top off every other day to average “the kick to the johnnies” out.

To help overcome this kick, 2 of my friends and I shop at local grocery store here which gives 10 cents off per gallon per $100 you spend at the store. We all use the same phone number to build up the points and then meet at the station to take advantage the discount at the pump.

VikingGoneWild on February 19, 2012 at 7:10 PM

To help overcome this kick, 2 of my friends and I shop at local grocery store here which gives 10 cents off per gallon per $100 you spend at the store. We all use the same phone number to build up the points and then meet at the station to take advantage the discount at the pump.

VikingGoneWild on February 19, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I’d be shocked if that lasts. There comes a point when it’s economically infeasible for the store to offer the discount.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 7:16 PM

If Obamugabe is reelected we will be looking like Cuba by the end of his term and those folks there would kill for a new set of spark plugs, new fabric or a goat.

esnap on February 19, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Probably won’t happen. Iran will subject us to a full-throttle nuclear attack, and wipe either New York, Chicago or Philadelphia off the face of the earth.

We are doomed to total ruin and hopelessness.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 7:28 PM

We have got to stop thinking of regulation as a neutral condition. Regulation is, conservatively, more than 50% of what’s preventing our economy from recovering.

J.E. Dyer

It would be an interesting project. Hit up Townhall for funding.

“[T]he 2010 Federal Register is on pace
for an unadjusted page count of 81,560 pages. That would be the third-most of all time in the Federal Register’s 75-year history.

The record was set in 1980 with an impressive midnight flurry from the Carter administration’s final year. The Clinton era also ended with a bang, pumping out 83,294 unadjusted pages in 2000. The inaugural 1936 Federal Register, published at the height of the Roosevelt administration, was 2,620 pages.”

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

If we basically over turned everything that Obama and the Dummycrats have done over the last 40 years like
End the EPA
let gasoline producers make it the cheapest way they can.
Let coal companies build all the plants and mine all they want.
Let farmers plant and grow anything they want and with out subsidies.
Let fishermen fish
let drillers driller
let seismic companies explore
Let loggers log
let miners mine

end all bullsh1t regulations.

End capital gains and all corporate tax.

Enforce current federal immigration laws.

The economy would get so red hot so fast it would make your head spin

esnap on February 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

What’s worrisome is that for the past decade, investments haven’t been able to keep up with the cost of many basic goods.

It depends on the type of investment you make.

Over the last three years, if your investment is a sufficiently large or bundled campaign contribution to the Obama administration or close affiliate, your rate of return is up many thousand percent over basic goods.

MessesWithTexas on February 19, 2012 at 7:32 PM

esnap on February 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

None of it will ever happen. America will never be truly free, nor prosperous, ever again.

It was nice while it lasted.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 7:40 PM

None of it will ever happen. America will never be truly free, nor prosperous, ever again.

It was nice while it lasted.

Myron Falwell

I’ll take “Shit Not Said In 1776″ for $100, Alex.

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Dems always talk about Republicans doing bad things, but they end up doing them

tomas on February 19, 2012 at 7:48 PM

I think it would be better to include it in relation to a more broad measurement of food and energy rather than just oil. I suspect the statistic would still have the same general trend albeit not as dramatic. I would bet that Canada’s chart is the inverse of the USA or at least the 2 lines have moved in unison over the past decade.

Wigglesworth on February 19, 2012 at 7:49 PM

esnap on February 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Very nicely stated.

GaltBlvnAtty on February 19, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I’ll take “Shit Not Said In 1776″ for $100, Alex.

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Back in 1776, there wasn’t a giant bloc of people forever wedded to government entitlements.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Back in 1776, there wasn’t a giant bloc of people forever wedded to government entitlements.

Myron Falwell

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
J. Wayne

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 8:18 PM

The more you have of something, the less it is worth.

ny59giants on February 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

My knowledge must be worth a lot!

davidk on February 19, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Try comparing it to 5 year CD rates and it is clear that 0bama is in a war with producers and savers. He is winning that war.

jukin3 on February 19, 2012 at 7:03 PM

And Atlas Shrugged…

Who is John Galt on February 19, 2012 at 9:14 PM

RE: This column deals with economics. Now, to be clear, I have no inherent hatred of economists. I just don’t understand them…

Economics is easy; it is just human nature, common sense, people doing what they think is in their best self interests. The one thing economics cannot tell you is when people will act. For example, a bubble will ultimately burst but can last for a ridiculously long period, especially with government contrivance.

Economists are hard; they try to describe common sense thru a series of formulae and will accept any answers spit out even if they make no sense at all.

The political class of both parties have bought into the formulae and abandon common sense ideas of wealth and value. I do not see this changing any time soon.

Laurence on February 19, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Probably won’t happen. Iran will subject us to a full-throttle nuclear attack, and wipe either New York, Chicago or Philadelphia off the face of the earth.

We are doomed to total ruin and hopelessness.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Hmmm…my opinion is…not on the list…and redacted/

Who is John Galt on February 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

The government, Bernacke and the fed, and the Progressives are destroying the middle class.
Economics is really pretty simple and in this case there is, by design, no where to invest to garner returns equal to price increases in necessary goods and services.
Exacerbated by every policy Obama advocates from green energy to Obamacare, no drilling, to electric vehicles.
Drive prices up at every opportunity investment opportunities down and steal the middle class blind making us all poor and beholden.

Its pretty simple Govt is stealing Americans wealth to use to buy votes and voters.

ConcealedKerry on February 19, 2012 at 9:20 PM

I’ll take “Shit Not Said In 1776″ for $100, Alex.

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM

“Don’t (freaking) Tread On Me! is primed for a major comeback.

Who is John Galt on February 19, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Back in 1776, there wasn’t a giant bloc of people forever wedded to government entitlements.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 8:02 PM

They were called the Royalists.
They lost.

AesopFan on February 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

The average price of gas in Oregon is $3.653, and on the rise. Not surprising since they don’t think we are capable of pumping our own gas. However, the other state that treats drivers like children is NJ, and their gas is about $.16 per gallon lower.

Average Gas Prices by State

http://www.oregongasprices.com/Prices_Nationally.aspx

kakypat on February 19, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Thread song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_-VpIVGnc

Bmore on February 19, 2012 at 9:49 PM

Regulation is, conservatively, more than 50% of what’s preventing our economy from recovering.

J.E. Dyer on February 19, 2012 at 6:46 PM

“Conservatively” meaning, of course, “at a conservative estimate”, thus absolutely correct.
However, the haemorrhaging of regulation in Washington is not at all conservative.

AesopFan on February 19, 2012 at 9:57 PM

[A Keynesian economist] is someone who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it would work in theory.
–Ronald Reagan

Speakup on February 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM

We have got to stop thinking of regulation as a neutral condition. Regulation is, conservatively, more than 50% of what’s preventing our economy from recovering.

J.E. Dyer

Then tell us why the economy was so lethargic during the Bush years- before the near collapse of the US economics system and resulting balance sheet recession?

You seem to think that the “good old days” are right around the corner, when in fact the long-term systemic challenges facing the US haven’t changed over the past decade.

bayam on February 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM

The part of that graph that I find most insteresting is how gas prices fell from a high of over $4.00/gal to approximately $1.50/gal in less than 6 months in 2008.

There are reasons for that drop (which I’ll explain later), and Obama did the exact opposite once he got in office, sending the prices right back up again.

ITguy on February 19, 2012 at 10:56 PM

U.S. city average price of unleaded regular gasoline

January 2008: $3.047 per gallon

July 2008: $4.090 per gallon

December 2008: $1.689 per gallon

Source

Current Average: $3.556 per gallon

The actions of President Bush and Congress in July 2008 caused the price of gas to drop almost 60% in five months.

The actions of pResident Obama have caused prices to go back up.

The current average is 17% higher than the January 2008 average. If the same trend happens this year as did in 2008, we’ll be paying $4.77/gal by July. And Obama won’t open up drilling like Bush did in 2008, so we won’t see the 60% drop in prices from July to December.

ITguy on February 19, 2012 at 11:09 PM

I suspect that what this is attempting to show is an “inflation adjusted” S&P500 graph. The problem is that using the price of gas as your adjustment variable makes no sense. Besides, the S&P500 Index is not an indicator of general economic health anyway. And if the purpose is to convince me that I am actually worse off now than I was 10 years ago, a very quick check of my portfolio dispels that notion in a hurry. So basically, I have no idea what this person is talking about.

TouchdownBuddha on February 19, 2012 at 11:09 PM

New York Times spins, spins, spins:

Rising Gas Prices Give G.O.P. Issue to Attack Obama

ITguy on February 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM

chimney sweep on February 19, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Who is John Galt on February 19, 2012 at 9:23 PM

AesopFan on February 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

I wish I shared your optimism. I knew the country was irreversibly doomed the second Obama was elected by a majority of idiots. We basically forfeited our freedom for good.

Unless there is a bloody revolution to forcibly eradicate the liberals and entitlement class, there will be no change. Period.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM

You seem to think that the “good old days” are right around the corner, when in fact the long-term systemic challenges facing the US haven’t changed over the past decade.

bayam on February 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM

I gotta say this for you, bayam, you’ve got more sense than the dunces who think the prosperity of the 50′s will come roaring back after they elect their CINO-of-the-month.

MelonCollie on February 19, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Back in 1776, there wasn’t a giant bloc of people forever wedded to government entitlements.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 8:02 PM

They were called the Royalists.
They lost.

AesopFan on February 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

The Royalists were not wedded to entitlements you thickwit. They were mostly the ruling class, the upper strata of society, and the toadies of the first two. Plus a few people who were just hopeless peaceniks or felt rev-O-lution was suicide.

MelonCollie on February 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM

bayam on February 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM

You have two false premises: first, that the economy was “lethargic” for “years” under Bush, and second, that overregulation is a recent phenomenon.

We had a financial crash in 2008, but it’s some weird definition of “lethargy” to characterize the economy with that word prior to early 2008. No rewriting history allowed. There was a financial crash; there was no systemic economic “lethargy.”

But the answer to your poorly phrased question is that we’ve been overregulated since the 1930s, wildly overregulated since the 1970s, and insanely, grotesquely overregulated since the mid-1990s. Obama didn’t invent legislation any more than he invented deficit spending; he has merely opened the regulatory frontier to the precincts of suicidal regulatory dementia.

J.E. Dyer on February 20, 2012 at 12:07 AM

The AJC spins, spins, spins:

Of presidents, petroleum prices and gas pumps

ITguy on February 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM

The most disturbing part of this is that gas and energy demand is down, due in part to the mild winter but also in part to slow growth, yet the price is rising no matter what scale is used to judge it.

J. E. Dyer’s point about regulation is certainly true: regulation is more pernicious and lasting an effect, and any long-term solution to our crippled growth must include real relief. But the effects of gas price hikes are more immediately felt – both directly in reduced discretionary spending for households and businesses and indirectly in the built-in price increases for most goods and services delivered with gas or diesel fuel.

Another indirect effect is the depression of consumer sentiment and the overall judgement of right/wrong direction for the country. People sense the problems high gas pump prices will bring and take preemptive steps to protect themselves. To an extent, this suppresses demand and should have a negative effect on prices, but in practice it doesn’t change things much.

Adjoran on February 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM

You have two false premises: first, that the economy was “lethargic” for “years” under Bush, and second, that overregulation is a recent phenomenon.

We had a financial crash in 2008, but it’s some weird definition of “lethargy” to characterize the economy with that word prior to early 2008. No rewriting history allowed. There was a financial crash; there was no systemic economic “lethargy.”

There’s no false premise in the statement that economic growth during the mid to late 2000′s was upheld if not dependent upon an asset bubble (see % of GDP attributed to financial activity at this time). And despite a record level of debt-fueled government spending and consumer spending sustained by household leverage of inflated asset values, employment growth remained lethargic.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/09/bush-on-jobs-the-worst-track-record-on-record/

Lethargic job growth wasn’t the fault of Bush. Instead, it reflected systemic problems in the US economy including huge trade account imbalances.

But the answer to your poorly phrased question is that we’ve been overregulated since the 1930s, wildly overregulated since the 1970s, and insanely, grotesquely overregulated since the mid-1990s. Obama didn’t invent legislation any more than he invented deficit spending; he has merely opened the regulatory frontier to the precincts of suicidal regulatory dementia.

Where’s the empirical evidence?

Many developed countries with much higher levels of regulation than the US have stronger economic fundamentals. If I were to believe your premise, those countries with even more insanely and grotesquely regulated economies would suffer dramatically. Yet this is not the case in Germany, Japan, Canada, and many northern European countries.

‘Regulation’ is the culprit favored by people who can’t see the bigger, systemic problems behind our trade imbalances and loss of middle class job growth.

bayam on February 20, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Actually some decent news may be in the wing on this crisis at the pump… A couple 30ish guys who were Obama supporters and I were talking over the weekend.
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One of them still buys into the Obama is okay but things were worse than anybody thought meme… But 2 of them are now saying things like “Obama is going to kill us”!
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This is a real quote… more about the nukes and the middle east crap that’s in the making, but when I pressed about the sudden rising price of gas at the pump right after a bottoming out at $3 they ALL agreed… Obama is not making that better but he may make it much worse in the long run.
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If this spreads through the gasoline powered car driving population of the suburbs Obama is toast, and that is our only long term hope; Obama One and Done.
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NEVER miss an opportunity to mention the price at the pump… and tag it to Obama. We must fill in the facts and create the buzz that the MSM is not.
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Hell it can be as simple as asking someone how much it costs to fill their car… ‘Is that twice a week?
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RalphyBoy on February 20, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Unless there is a bloody revolution to forcibly eradicate the liberals and entitlement class, there will be no change. Period.

Myron Falwell on February 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM

I am not alone in my terrible fear that 2012 will be our last chance at a peaceful transition of power. Even if a majority of Americans accept the yoke of oppression, it doesn’t make the oppression right, just or moral. How did we get to the point that so many are content to live on their knees?

swinia sutki on February 20, 2012 at 6:11 AM

Then tell us why the economy was so lethargic during the Bush years- before the near collapse of the US economics system and resulting balance sheet recession?

You seem to think that the “good old days” are right around the corner, when in fact the long-term systemic challenges facing the US haven’t changed over the past decade.

bayam on February 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM

As if you’d listen to real answers, which are that President Bush:

1. Took the wrong stance on illegal immigration, which is detrimental to the economy (continued and accelerated by the current Resident)

2. Failed to veto (and several times supported) anti-business regulations

3. Promoted the early bailouts (continued and accelerated by the current Resident), and began permitting Fed policies which were harmful to the dollar, and which have never improved an economic profile

Sadly, President Bush helped to set the stage for what is happening today. And yet, every last item of the economic agenda which Candidate Obama called out as damaging to the economy, he has continued, and multiplied by several orders of magnitude. If Einstin’s ad-hoc definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then doing the same thing faster and stronger while expecting others to hope that bad results will turn into good results, is the definition of impeachably criminal.

Freelancer on February 20, 2012 at 6:40 AM

swinia sutki on February 20, 2012 at 6:11 AM

Authors who were excoriated as narrow-minded alarmists can now be recognized as prophets. C.S. Lewis answers your question in The Abolition of Man.

The truth that too many even on the Right refuse to acknowledge is that life here on this little dirt ball isn’t lived in a vacuum. There are consequences for actions, and there is a Judge. If this nation does not begin to heed the warning of II Chronicles 7:14, then there will be no healing.

Freelancer on February 20, 2012 at 6:45 AM

If this nation does not begin to heed the warning of II Chronicles 7:14, then there will be no healing.

Freelancer on February 20, 2012 at 6:45 AM

Indeed. Our Founders heeded 2 Chronicles 7:14, and it led to the very founding of this nation.

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Do you know what activity did our Founders do in unison,less than two months before they signed the Declaration of Independence?

On May 17, 1776, they held a unified day of HUMILIATION, FASTING, and PRAYER.

And it was “earnestly recommended” by the Congress…

In CONGRESS,
SATURDAY, March 16, 1776.

IN times of impending calamity and distress; when the Liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive Administration, it becomes the indispensible duty of these hitherto free and happy Colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of Freedom, Virtue and Posterity.

The Congress therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and privileges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees, duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty devoutly to rely in all their lawful enterprizes of his aid and direction–do earnestly recommend, that FRIDAY, the seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said Colonies as a day of HUMILIATION, FASTING, and PRAYER; that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere, repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood. But if continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our Officers and Soldiers with invincible fortitude to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the Continental arms by sea and land with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil Rulers and the Representatives of the People in their several Assemblies and Conventions; to preserve and strengthen their Union, to inspire them with an ardent disinterested love of their Country; to give wisdom and stability to their Councils; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the Rights of America on the most honorable and permanent basis–that he would be graciously pleased to bless all his People in these Colonies with Health and Plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible Patriotism and of pure undefiled Religion may universally prevail; and this Continent be speedily restored to the blessings of Peace and Liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest Posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations to assemble for Public Worship, and abstain from servile Labour on the said Day.

By Order of Congress,
JOHN HANCOCK, President

Attest………..CHARLES THOMPSON, Secretary.

Colony of the
Massachusetts-Bay.

In COUNCIL, April 3, 1776.

READ and accepted, and Ordered, That a suitable Number be printed, in order that each of the religious Assemblies, in this Colony, may be furnished with a Copy of the same.

Sent down for Concurrence………..PEREZ MORTON, Dep. Sec’ry.

In the House of REPRESENTATIVES, April 4, 1776.

Read and concurr’d………..SAMUEL FREEMAN, Speaker, pro Tem.

Consented to,

JAMES OTIS,
BENJAMIN GREENLEAF,
CALEB CUSHING,
JOHN WINTHROP,
JOHN WHETCOMB,
ELDAD TAYLOR,
MICHAEL FARLEY,
JOSEPH PALMER,
SAMUEL HOLTEN,
MOSES GILL,
JOSEPH GERRISH,
BENJAMIN LINCOLN,
CHARLES CHAUNCY,
JOHN TAYLOR,
BENJAMIN WHITE.

GOD SAVE THE PEOPLE.

The Library of Congress Document Image
The Library of Congress Transcript

ITguy on February 20, 2012 at 8:47 AM

This is all just a repeat of the 1970′s. The price of gas and government spending contributing to a 15% inflation rate under Carter. It’s all underway again, but this time the media is so “in the tank” for Obama, they don’t want to report it.

RADIOONE on February 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Huh? This is a GREAT decade for investors. Just ask Buffet and Gore! Buffet made billions from TARP. He also stands to make millions from the blocking of the Keystone pipeline as that oil must be transported on his Burlington Northern railroad. It’s a GREAT decade to be an investor … if you are a “Friend of Barry”.

crosspatch on February 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I read it twice and I am still confused, but that does not matter. The economy runs on oil, and the more we spend on gasoline for our cars and trucks, the less there is for everything else. It’s not as though virtually everything we buy is not delivered by a truck, and the cost of shipping must eventually be passed on to consumers. Obama can claim the economy is recovering all he wants, but if gas soon tops $4.00 per gallon and nears $5.00 by election day, no one will listen to his rosy scenarios but his media sycophants.

Colony14 on February 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM