Quote of the Day: ‘Psychological Recession’

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"Las Vegas Sands Says U.S. in a ‘Psychological Recession’."

Imagine that: Executives who make their living on Americans’ reliably reckless financial decisions are saying that people are too bummed out to gamble.

-Michael Santoli

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Had that been all, then nothing more would need to be said. Unfortunately, Mike kept going — and went far astray:

Easy as it is to ridicule these efforts at uncredentialed economic psychoanalysis, there is something to the point that the prevailing consumer mood seems a good deal more dour than the known and measured economic conditions would suggest. (emphasis added)

That’s a bit of a weasely hedge. Does Santoli recognize that these "measured economic conditions" are farcical?

The public certainly doesn’t buy into them. Mike mentions this in his very next paragraph, but somehow misses the significance of what he cites:

Consider that the University of Michigan’s consumer confidence gauge recently hit depths only registered before in 1980, at the time of double-digit interest rates and a triple-digit Dow. The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism measure has plunged well below any prior low in its 12-year history.

This is not a very complex conundrum. We have two data series, and they are in direct controversy with each other. You only need to select which one you believe is more accurately describing the economic environment: The official data, or the public.

No compromise: Its either one or the other.

If you believe that inflation has been (at least until recently) contained, and that unemployment has been modest, and that growth was robust, well then, you are in the same camp as Phil Gramm, Amity Shlaes, Gerry Bowyers, Larry Kudlow and the Las Vegas Sands. The stock market — still less than a year, and less than 20%, from all time highs — is in this camp also. All of you therefore believe that the economy is mostly fine, and the public are a bunch of whiny bitches.

Or, you might suspect that something fishy is going on. That the public simply does not get this negative for no damned good reason, that we do not see sentiment levels down to 28 years lows on a whim. That much of the recent economic progress has been illusory, dependent upon credit, easy money, and reckless risk taking. That the official data has been monkeyed around with enough over the past decades that it simply fails to do what it purports to do. 

Which do you pick — the public or the official data?

Choose your sides . . . in this debate, there is no middle ground.

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Previously:
Whining US CEOs: Economy is "Dismal"  (July 2008)
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/us-ceos-economy.html

Who is Right: Professionals or the Populace ? (June 2008)   
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/06/whose-right-pro.html

Amity Shlaes Does Not Know What a Recession Is  (July 2008)   
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/amity-shlaes-do.html

Source:
The Psychological Recession
Michael Santoli
Barron’s August 25, 2008
http://online.barrons.com/article/SB121944484431164987.html

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Nihilism commented on Aug 23

    Funny, I was reading this article when you posted it BR.

    and the article says…

    “…We now have the rare condition where typically emotional, volatile and short-term-focused Wall Street has somewhat more equanimity than the stereotypically level-headed Main Street set.”

    ???

    I am losing my equanimity when I read this line.

    Talk about a bunch of wall street mafias (GS, JPM, Mad Money) using slow summer Friday to manipualte the market (sell gold, oil, use an unnamed source in Koria about a Lehman Buyout interest) — in tandem with snakes at Treasury/Fed — and mark things higher!

    How pathetic mass market psychology has become that you have the potential of the biggest lenders/HFs in the world (FNM, FRE) being nationalized in a couple of weeks and marketss end the week on a positive note.

    Or put it other way: the markets are now nationalized and hence wall street is more equanimous.

    Or wall street is indeed short-term focused and emotional and there is no respect for fundamentals

  2. Rich Shinnick commented on Aug 23

    Barry, I am going to Vegas in a couple of weeks and I intend to donate heavily to the cause..

    Seriously, the locals there often kick back their paychecks and I wonder how many of them HELOCED their homes in 05 and 06 and put that back in to the “local economy.” That goes for us Californians too.

    Anyway, you can always count on Vegas to overbuild in any up economy and if you have been their lately you know that this time was no exception.

  3. DavidB commented on Aug 23

    I wish my psychological would receed

  4. Dr. Waterbury commented on Aug 23

    I guess the phony government CPI and GDP stats are going to keep being published and taken seriously by the main stream press as they are now constituted until some high profile personage loudly declares that the BLS has no clothes on. I wish I knew who that will be.

  5. Pat commented on Aug 23

    The average Americans paycheck is lower now than it was in 2000. That’s the poll there interested in and it aint going up!

  6. Al Czervic commented on Aug 23

    Maybe Santoli should invest an hour watching the next airing of Bill Moyer’s PBS show last night which took a look at the current state of the (so called) middle class in Denver as the Democrats (or should I say Republican-lites) prepare to open their convention there.

    He might find it interesting to see what real reporters do. You know, talk to real people; that sort of thing.

  7. Winston Munn commented on Aug 23

    Damned “Whiners” caused another bank to collapse.

    “Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) — Columbian Bank and Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, was closed by U.S. regulators, the nation’s ninth bank to collapse this year amid bad real-estate loans and writedowns stemming from a drop in home prices.”

    Obviously, these banks are simply not reading the right data points or they would still be in business.

  8. VennData commented on Aug 23

    Sheldon Adleson is a GOP genuflector who’s made a huge bet with the public company he runs on the whims of the Chinese dictators with regard to providing travel documents to Macau.

    How those newly tightened restrictions are devastating his revenue numbers isn’t psychological, and his Grammism is obsfucating this. In psychology that’s called it ‘Projection.’

    His and other Grammanistas’ warped psychological picture is this: Bush gave us tax cuts for the rich therefore the economy MUST be doing great.

    This neurosis is best seen in the big-lie GOP media message “We must re-authorize the Bush tax cuts since the economy is doing so well.”

  9. Support FedUpUsa commented on Aug 23

    Here’s the skinny, we’ve all been burned by blatant lies and rumors. The Lehman rumor today was the most obvious. What I’m proposing is a Tickerforum Class Action Fund. We all know that these asshats are not going to be prosecuted criminally, so what we need to do is hit them where it hurts.

    Here’s what we need.

    1) A Bright young Attorney looking to make a name for themselves.
    2) Cash to pay them while they’re hammering out multiple Class Action Lawsuits
    3) Documented Injured parties.

    I’m ponying up $100.00 this evening for it. That’s a lot for me right now, but this is something I believe in. I honestly believe this is the only way we can get the markets to a level playing field again.

    If anyone knows of an attorney or law student willing to get involved, please post. If you can provide a donation for the legal fund, that will work too.

    If we can make this work, we can make a difference.

    http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archi….

  10. Mind commented on Aug 23

    A few anecdotal items from Cape Cod:

    Last year, ATM daily withdrawals at local bank branch were $9k, this year $11k – people maxed out on credit cards, have to spend cash?

    Local Post Office – last year was busy all afternoon, this year dead. Staff was cut from 4 to 3.

    High-end Bed and Breakfasts – bookings down, cancellations because “we just can’t afford it this year”.

    Medium-end and low-end (is there such a thing on the Cape) restaurants, shops, and accommodation doing fairly well. People are more price-conscious. Those with low(er) cost of operations will survive.

  11. DL commented on Aug 23

    No question that the economy is in worse shape than the official government numbers would suggest. But at the same time, I think that if the public believes that the economy is as bad as it was in 1980, then the public is wrong.

    The obvious explanation for sentiment being as bad as it was in 1980 is simply that BY COMPARISON with the recent stretch (2003-2006), the economy isn’t looking so good. But in comparing a “snapshot” of the economy today with a “snapshot” of the economy in 1980, the economic data (whether the real data or the government data) is considerably better now than back then.

  12. b_thunder commented on Aug 23

    I. While the US gov’t encourages people to “shop” – spend, spend spend, without any regard for the future, the Chinese gov’t may be restricting ability of Chinese to waste cash and maybe even (oh, no, what an evil thing to do!) encourage them to save $$$ instead! Too bad for Sheldon, Steve, and the rest…
    II. take a sample of 1000 US residents. for 900+ of them, the real earened income is lower than 9 years ago; stock holdings are lower than 9 years ago; for those who bought a house in the last 4-5 years, it’s now worth less than what they’ve paid for it. So, the incomes are lower, the “wealth” has been deminished. Now compare gas prices, food prices, health insurance prices today and 9 years ago. Anyone wants to gamble more?
    III. Of course, of that 1000 people sample there’s probably 95 out there there who are GOOG engineers, and oil field workers, and maybe lucky house “flippers” who are a lot better off than before, but they’re too smart or too busy to gamble…
    IV. And finally there are the remaining 5, among tham scam-artists (Mozillo), idiots with golden parashtes (Stan O’Neill, Chuck Prince), and speculators of all kinds (Goldman, Renaissance Fund, Boone) and investment bankers – who are probably 10x better off than 10 eyars ago (thanks to the low rates, easy credit, crazy speculative bubbles.) Will they “carry” the economy?

  13. John Thompson commented on Aug 23

    The numbers are hedonic crap. What we need is to simplify.

    Add college graduates of last 30 yrs then divide by good paying
    jobs that last longer than 2 yrs.

  14. thomas commented on Aug 23

    do not wait for help from european consumers ; the french cafés and restaurants have just announced today a shock : july and its tourism was bad of 10 to 20 % …

  15. me commented on Aug 23

    “I think that if the public believes that the economy is as bad as it was in 1980, then the public is wrong.”

    I disagree. I did fine in 1980 and this decade has truly been the lost decade. Worst economy of my lifetime, period.

    Health care and retirement security were fine, today they do not exist and have been stolen.

  16. Steven commented on Aug 23

    The mood of the public has been (over) elevated from participating in the single largest financial bubble in the history of humanity. Anything less than bubbly will have the public feeling bummed out. Things will continue to get worse and the public is going to get depressed.

    We need to solve this symptom immediately. Our government needs to develop a taxpayer funded program to dispense anti-depressants to all people residing in the USA. Voila! Symptom solved. (Never mind the new problems created.)

  17. Jeff M. commented on Aug 23

    What the cadre of sunny perma-bulls STILL to understand is that most Americans who had been living on easy credit are getting the sense of reality slapped on them in a big way that the party is OVER until incomes rise again for the rank in file.

    The reason they fail to understand this is because most of them don’t know or hang around with the average American, so they think everything is just fine because everyone “they know” is doing just fine. They’re simply out of touch and dare I say “ELITIST”?

  18. Joe Klein’s conscience commented on Aug 23

    VennData:
    Glad to know I was correct in thinking that Adelson owns the Sands. The GOP does what Adelson wants. He’s the money behind Freedom’s Watch(Altough it seems to be faring poorly because Adelson is too controlling for the wingnut welfarians he employs there). The Republicans are going to get their butts kicked this November if the Democrats run on the economy and the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

  19. moonoverseattle commented on Aug 23

    Well my business of 30 plus years is stinking up the joint. I just got my property taxes on various properties and they went up by 30 plus percent.Combined with utilities going parabolic and incresed user fees everywhere I can see why people are retrenching. These guys sounds as delusional as our politicians on their ivory hill.

  20. Michael Fowke commented on Aug 23

    Mystical healing is needed, now more than ever. Keith Busby is available.

  21. AGG commented on Aug 23

    If the Fed is not effectively managing liquidity, regulating banks to ensure their solvency and the adequate availability of credit to businesses and consumers, I am not sure the Fed is functioning as a central bank.

    I do know Ben and his friends will enjoy some good food and fine conversation in Jackson Hole.

    Peter Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

    This guy gets it; I.E. When you aren’t in the driver’s seat you are out of control.
    Science fiction writers have been postulating since the sixties that the world of the “future” would be run by corporations while a facade of democratic government was what the people saw. Some of these books were pro and some con on the “rule by corporation” theme. Well, it’s here, folks. It’s not just the lack of money that has people down; it’s the obvious impotence of our political leaders. Wind-bagging it just doesn’t cut it for people anymore. People can take bullshit for a long time but then they come to a place where they’d rather fight than continue business as usual. This is where we’re at. The corporations are spinning faster than a hard disk but the people aren’t buying it. The crumbs from the table (stimulus package) are perceived as an insult, not a balm.
    If only the greed of those on top could get tempered by prudence, we might save our country from poverty, slavery and anarchy. We’ll see.
    The question is: If the powerful, wealthy 1% who have the most to gain by living in a healthy, vigorous economy with high employment, adequate safety nets and well cared infrastructure don’t give a damn about our country, why should we?

  22. Brer Jacob commented on Aug 23

    SIGNS OF HARD TIMES

    NOTE: By requesting a new rate plan with rollover, your accumulated AT&T Rollover Minutes in excess of the new plan’s number of monthly anytime minutes will expire at the beginning of your next bill cycle.

    Example: If you currently have 10,000 Rollover Minutes and you change to the Nation 700 with Rollover plan, you can only carry over 700 of your current Rollover Minutes to your new rate plan,
    and will have relinquished 9,300 minutes.

    Do you want to continue with your rate plan change? If you submit, you agree to relinquish your excess rollover minutes.

  23. SteveC commented on Aug 23

    Much of the government “data” we get is massaged and manipulated to give the illusion of prosperity. Nothing is more important to those in power than to retain power. Who’re you going to believe; our data or your lying eyes? Unfortunately for them, people are beginning to figure out that all is not as they have been led to believe.

  24. Brer Bear commented on Aug 23

    Steven:

    “In its study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals in 2005. Of those, 118 million were for antidepressants.

    Between 1995 and 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent, the CDC reported.” (about 7% per year.)

    In other words, as of today more than 214M prescriptions are written every year in the US for anti-depressants and mood elevators.

    “The number of American adults is about 230 million” NYTimes, 2008 BuLaborStats

    Then at any basketball game you attend,
    the guy to your left is on happy pills,
    the guy on your right is on happy pills,
    the guy in front of you is on happy pills, and the poor slob behind you is holding a home-made shank, talking in his head with his imaginary friends when to plunge it into your back to stop your shape-shifting.

    Then add to happy prescriptions, the Red KoolAid you get for free on the Hallibani James Jones Memorial Happy Neo’s Network.

  25. Blackhalo commented on Aug 23

    My hope is that the powers that be are just waiting until after election season to start fixing things.

    My suspicion is that the Dems know that they pretty much have the entire government in the bag, and the Republicans know that their hands are stained with most of the red ink, so are keeping their mouths shut and hoping for the best.

  26. Mark E Hoffer commented on Aug 23

    My hope is that the powers that be are just waiting until after election season to start fixing things.
    Posted by: Blackhalo | Aug 23, 2008 5:46:58

    bh,

    Optimism–for which I’m profoundly grateful– has to be one of the enduring traits of Man, though, seriously, is there any data point, that you can point to, that allows you to Think that, what you hope for, is even plausible?

  27. m3 commented on Aug 23

    mark h-

    i agree.

    what can the new administration do that hasn’t been tried already? (more tax cuts? more rebates? more deficit spending? etc.)

    if there were a decent, simple way out of this mess, they would have found it by now.

    the sad fact that there is none; the problems we are facing are structural and changing these issues will take years.

    the most we can hope for is to get someone in who understands this, and will forgo short term pressures for long term stability; but the likelihood of that happening is low…

  28. DavidB commented on Aug 23

    Then at any basketball game you attend,
    the guy to your left is on happy pills,
    the guy on your right is on happy pills,
    the guy in front of you is on happy pills, and the poor slob behind you is holding a home-made shank, talking in his head with his imaginary friends when to plunge it into your back to stop your shape-shifting.

    Posted by: Brer Bear | Aug 23, 2008 5:39:54 PM

    The solution is simple Brer…..don’t go to basketball games

    My hope is that the powers that be are just waiting until after election season to start fixing things.

    Posted by: Blackhalo | Aug 23, 2008 5:46:58 PM

    First off, the powers that be have fixed things. The economic objective is going their way and the middle class is so busy trying to survive they are no longer able to spend five minutes looking at what the big boys at PTB corp. are doing any more. That is the ideal

    My suspicion is that the Dems know that they pretty much have the entire government in the bag, and the Republicans know that their hands are stained with most of the red ink, so are keeping their mouths shut and hoping for the best.

    Posted by: Blackhalo | Aug 23, 2008 5:46:58 PM

    That is the time to be the most concerned Bh. Politicians, even more than businesses, need competitors. When there is no one across the aisle with which the public can fire them and replace them with. When the public ‘servants’ know that they have a long leash with which to do what they want, they tend to be less open to the public’s desires than normal. Sometimes it works out for the better. Most times though I’ve seen that it just leads to more ideological wish lists being fulfilled and not the needs of those that gave them the majority they need to do what is needed.

    A good but extreme example is uncle Hugo in Venezuela. He had huge public support to do what was needed when he came to power. His brand of socialism is turning the nation to trash now. In Britain the Labor party with no credible opposition created a police-cam state. There is no reason to believe a democratic ‘revolution’ will be any different. I suppose there is always hope.

    My advice would be to expect disappointment(the same type that Bush delivered to his ‘believers’) and then anything else will be an upside bonus

  29. DaveM commented on Aug 23

    adjusted and smoothed numbers aside; and please correct me if I am wrong but, the DJIA has only been down 2 pres. election years since the 1920’s. 1940 & 2000. each time it was about 9% off for the year. We are down now with the Fed saying some credit conditions are worse than any time in memory. Fundamentals, the trend, and psychology are all pointing down….forgetting the structural issues in credit markets. Does anyone think a GSE bailout will help revive us? or another $600 check? And agreeing with Blackhalo, the Dem’s agent of change just picked a career insider. I’m betting on Mr. Market…whatever he does.

  30. VJ commented on Aug 24

    DavidB,

    A good but extreme example is uncle Hugo in Venezuela. He had huge public support to do what was needed when he came to power. His brand of socialism is turning the nation to trash now.

    Quite the contrary.

    Far be it for me to come to the defense of Venezuela, but facts are facts:

    * Prior to President Chavez being elected, the Poverty Rate in Venezuela was 43.9%. The latest numbers from the first half of 2007 have the Poverty Rate at 27.5%. A 37 percent drop.

    * The Venezuelan Unemployment Rate has dropped to 9.3% in the first half of 2007, the lowest level in more than a decade, compared to a 15.3% Unemployment Rate prior to President Chavez being elected.

    * The national labor force has also expanded significantly since President Chavez was elected, increasing from 45.4% to 50.6% of population.

    Interestingly, all of these same stats have done exactly the opposite in our own country since after 2000. Poverty has increased every year, the number of jobless workers has increased every year, and the national labor force has shrunk.

    Of course, the former oligarchs are not happy with these results and despise President Chavez, so they attempt to misrepresent reality (now why does that sound so familiar ?).

    Oh, and by American standards, President Chavez still has “huge public support” from the large majorities that elected him.
    .

  31. Blackhalo commented on Aug 24

    mark h-

    “is there any data point, that you can point to, that allows you to Think that, what you hope for, is even plausible”

    Only wishful thinking. Washington dug this hole and their only solution seems to be to keep on digging.

  32. Blackhalo commented on Aug 24

    mark h-

    “is there any data point, that you can point to, that allows you to Think that, what you hope for, is even plausible”

    Only wishful thinking. Washington dug this hole and their only solution seems to be to keep on digging.

  33. Paul Jones commented on Aug 24

    It’s also that this no-growth economy can only barely hang on with massive borrowing and intervention. Imagine what the real numbers would be if the government wasn’t pumping trillions into the economy!

  34. Fred S. commented on Aug 24

    There is no doubt that the ‘ordinary’ American is hurting and feeling the economic pain. The US is shrinking so if u are on the margins you are feeling it.
    Most of the perma-bull(shiters), Kudlow, Boyers, Luskin, are not close to the margins so they rely on the gov. stats and other historical models. These people have a vested interest in the existing status-quo including the propagation, continuation of the ‘supply-side’ fantasy. The truth is not obvious.

  35. ms commented on Aug 24

    ” weasely ”

    good one BR

    just like the rest of those dopes at Barrons … especially Abelson

  36. Global Depression commented on Aug 24

    The United States has been in a Welfare-Warfare Police State for the last 30 years.

    Taxes are a massive 30%-50%. Inflation is a massive 10%. Real unemployment is 15%. Incomes have decreased substantially. Economic sector volatility has been massive.

    The Global recession began in 2007 followed by the Global depression in 2008 which we are now in. Going forward the election this year will be the most important since 1928. If the Republicans win like Hoover did the depression will deepen dramatically. If Democrats win the depression will be short lived but we will see 1970s style inflation.

  37. leftback commented on Aug 24

    The Psychological Recession is fact – it has been a slowly moving wave and it depends on who you are and where you are sitting. That inflation has long been “misunderestimated” by this administration is clear, even though the worst of inflation is now passing.

    If you are a factory worker in Michigan you have been in recession for 20 years or more. If you are in real estate in the Central Valley, for 2 years. If you are in the financial service industry in the Northeast, the psychological recession is going to jump out at you this Christmas in the shape of a much smaller bonus.

    The tsunami is about to hit Manhattan. What we are seeing this August during these quiet low volume days is like that eerie moment when all of the water begins slowly draining out of the bay before the big wave hits for the first time. If you look quickly you can see who has been swimming naked, before they are obliterated.

  38. Francois commented on Aug 24

    “If the powerful, wealthy 1% who have the most to gain by living in a healthy, vigorous economy with high employment, adequate safety nets and well cared infrastructure don’t give a damn about our country, why should we?”

    AGG,

    We tend to forget that the wealthy are human too. :-D

    By that, I mean they also suffer from cognitive dissonance.

    Case in point: Wal Mart top brass.
    Wal Mart’s customers are middle/low income and prudent/tightwad people. Now, which party has a better track record of listening to these people?

    Without a doubt, the Democrats. BTW, I’m not starting a debate here; I’m merely stating a fact. Those who wish to argue this point can google the topic.

    So, what are WM executives thinking when they’re literally telling (without saying so that plainly, of course) their employees that voting for the Republicans is, ahem, shall we say “preferable”?

    An interesting paradox isn’t it? Republicans would be better for their own personal finances, (a.k.a. tax cuts and loopholes version GW II) BUT, Dems would be better for WM customers.

    Either their customers are NOT the source of WM revenues, or we have here a rather pathetic case of cognitive dissonance at work.

  39. DavidB commented on Aug 24

    @ Posted by: VJ | Aug 24, 2008 12:05:57 AM

    VJ,

    emphasis on the phrase ‘turning to trash now’. Chavez has spent his country’s goodwill and oil wealth surplus. The savings account is now running dry and the cracks will begin to show any day. Momentum is a big thing in countries and sometimes it takes a while for them to show signs of extreme stress when the game is up. I assure you though, like RE in the US in 2006, the game is up. Check out the blog of one happy citizen for Hugo here:

    Caracas Chronicles

    I’ll give it a few years max before either real market mechanisms are enacted in the country or they are at each other’s throats. There are only so many blank socialist checks and promises you can write before people want to start cashing them. Hugo benefited greatly from the ridiculous run up in oil prices. Unfortunately for his people, he has spent all that and more

  40. Parky commented on Aug 24

    At times of significant change in the economy, surveys- which are current or forward-looking – always give a better steer on direction that the official data, which are backward-looking. Its as simple as that.

  41. VJ commented on Aug 24

    DavidB,

    emphasis on the phrase ‘turning to trash now’

    Where’s the evidence ?

    Chavez has spent his country’s goodwill and oil wealth surplus. The savings account is now running dry and the cracks will begin to show any day.

    Hardly.

    The government is currently taking in more revenue that it can spend.

    The Venezuelan public debt has been declining as a percentage of GDP, the government has about $34 billion, or about 15% of GDP in international reserves (which rises to more than $60 billion if you add in the National Treasury and the FONDEN accounts), and the country is running a very large current account surplus.

    I assure you though, like RE in the US in 2006, the game is up. Check out the blog of one happy citizen for Hugo here:

    Caracas Chronicles

    I as mentioned, those that were disproportionately benefited previously, are NOT happy.

    I’ll give it a few years max before either real market mechanisms are enacted in the country or they are at each other’s throats.

    From what ?

    Poverty is down dramatically, unemployment is down dramatically, inflation is down dramatically, the government debt is down dramatically, and there has been a very large expansion of medical care, education, and food/nutrition subsidies for the citizenry.

    There are only so many blank socialist checks and promises you can write before people want to start cashing them.

    Our current administration DREAMS of being in as good of fiscal shape as Venezuela. The Bushies are the ones cutting huge worthless blank checks.

    Hugo benefited greatly from the ridiculous run up in oil prices. Unfortunately for his people, he has spent all that and more

    As to oil revenues, the government has budgeted very conservatively, utilizing an assumed price of $29/barrel. The likelihood of an economic decline brought on by falling oil prices is extremely tiny.

    ~~~

    Your unsubstantiated assertions seem to be based more on wish than fact.
    .

  42. Max commented on Aug 24

    Ola VJ,

    Hugo just stole er, nationalized two Cemex cement plants in a continuing series of thefts. Sooner than you think he is going to run out of things to steal from foreigners. What then?

  43. Rudy Perpich commented on Aug 25

    VJ,

    Thanks for providing facts to back your assertions.

    The media used to do that.

    You’ve made me nostalgic.

    Rudy

  44. DavidB commented on Aug 25

    VJ,

    Maybe you need to peruse the link I provided.

    Any government that has to confiscate businesses, enact currency and price controls and suspend media broadcast licenses is either paranoid or desperate. Time will tell which it is. I’m just glad I’m not a member of the country who will have to pay if the experiment goes bad

  45. VJ commented on Aug 25

    Max

    Hugo just stole er, nationalized two Cemex cement plants in a continuing series of thefts. Sooner than you think he is going to run out of things to steal from foreigners. What then?

    If you check the intro to my initial post, I specified that I was NOT defending the government of Venezuela. As an outside observer, I have merely defended reality.
    .

  46. VJ commented on Aug 25

    DavidB,

    Maybe you need to peruse the link I provided.

    I did.

    Maybe you need to read something other than propaganda from ideological sources.

    Any government that has to confiscate businesses, enact currency and price controls and suspend media broadcast licenses is either paranoid or desperate.

    We could get into contrasting what different governments do, but as I stipulated, I was NOT defending anything the Venezuelan government does, but instead merely defending reality, with which you seem to be unfamiliar.
    .

  47. Greg0658 commented on Aug 25

    DavidB I’ve been following this thread and this macro topic my whole life. System A vs. System B.
    President Reagan telling President Gorbachev to tear down this wall seems to have put Russia (hind-site) in a spot of not providing for their citizens. I see this financial ideology war as a detriment to each others existance. Seems one must convert the other to survive the long haul. I admit I’m not totally informed on these matters and know facts presented almost always are someone talking their book (you’all know that terminoloogy) but since I have to vote, buy and live I’m try’g to understand.

  48. Joe Klein’s conscience commented on May 23

    VennData:
    Glad to know I was correct in thinking that Adelson owns the Sands. The GOP does what Adelson wants. He’s the money behind Freedom’s Watch(Altough it seems to be faring poorly because Adelson is too controlling for the wingnut welfarians he employs there). The Republicans are going to get their butts kicked this November if the Democrats run on the economy and the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

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