The economy is worse than we thought. Yes, we know mass layoffs have jumped upward, unemployment continues to rise, durable-goods orders fell significantly, and housing resales have slumped again, but now we have an even more shocking indicator of economic trouble. Sales of Barack Obama-related merchandise have fallen through the floor, leaving distributors anxious about their future:
They cashed out retirement funds to build their business during the 2008 presidential campaign. Now they have 3,000 jack-in-the-boxes with smiling Barack Obama puppets inside — all sitting in a California warehouse, waiting to be sprung open for $29.95 apiece.
For Barack-in-the-Box creator Heather Courtney and her husband, David Manzo, the Obamamania that drove sales so fast they could barely keep up during the inauguration is over now. Sales have slowed to a “sporadic drizzle,” the 36-year-old artist said, in part because the president’s just not as popular.
On the other hand, perhaps they just missed the curve:
That’s been the biggest shift in Obama merchandising — the rise of anti-Obama sales in recent months.
Online retailer CafePress.com, where users can make and sell their own shirt designs, saw anti-Obama sales boom since June.
I’d call this a political indicator rather than an economic indicator, although the economy has plenty to do with it. Perhaps America has gotten over the Obama fad and started recognizing that we elected a President who is in way over his head and floundering badly.
Besides, we have a better indicator of economic pessimism today:
Americans’ worries about job security flared up in September, causing a widely watched barometer of consumer confidence to dip unexpectedly and raising more concern about the upcoming holiday shopping season and the overall economic recovery.
The New York-based Conference Board, a private research group, said that its Consumer Confidence Index dipped to 53.1 in September, down from the revised 54.5 reading in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a reading of 57.
The index had enjoyed a three-month climb fueled by signs that the economy might be stabilizing. That followed a historic low in February of 25.3 and a bumpy road after June as rising unemployment has caught up with shoppers.
Small wonder people have begun to forsake their Obama souvenir shopping …