Yesterday, I referenced Matt Trivisonno’s chart on federal withholding taxes in order to defenestrate some wildly inaccurate research from TrimTabs. I don’t know what the specific methodology employed by TrimTabs
actually was, but simply calling 4.1% tax receipt increase proof that the recession is now over, in light of the overall data series, is not only wildly poor math, its awful analysis.
Let’s revisit the issue of federal withholding data, only this time considering a different time frame: If we look at the quarterly data, instead of the shorter term charts, we see something interesting: Quarter-over-Quarter, withholdings are now down 0.09% – the first negative quarterly number since 4Q03.
Note how comparable this first quarterly drop in years is to the first recessionary quarter in 2001.
Chart courtesy of Matt Trivisonno
Here’s the odd thing about this: I went from trashing a horrific quote by Biderman (Blaming the Retail Investor) to praising his intellectual flexibility (Consumer Spendables Indicator) to critiquing his firms flawed analysis (TrimTabs: Its a Recession, and Its Already Over (Wrong)).
I don’t know what the significance of this is, but I thought it was worth pointing out . . .