- Below are three commentaries on what the shrinking GDP in the last quarter means. Time will tell as to whether this is the beginning of a double-dip recession.
- Paul Krugman: Austerity Is So Wrong!
Jack Rasmus, Jon Queally, Martin Hutchinson, It's Our Economy
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Kevin Zeese
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On January 30, 2013 for the fourth quarter 2012 showed a decline in GDP of -0.1% for the last three months of 2012, thus raising the specter of the US economy, facing still further deficit spending cuts in 2013 amidst declining consumer confidence, may be on track for a possible double dip recession in 2013 or 2014 along with other economies in Europe, the UK, and Japan.
In the fourth quarter GDP numbers, government and business inventory spending led the decline. To the extent consumer spending played a positive role at all in the 4th quarter, it was largely driven by auto sales—stimulated by auto dealers offering buyers deep price discounts, virtually free credit with near 0% auto loan interest rates, as well new auto purchases in the northeast as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction of existing auto stock. 2012 Holiday season retail sales data, in contrast, were otherwise not particularly notable and would have been much worse without the auto sales exception. How much longer auto companies can continue the deep price discounts and free credit remains a question going forward. Net export sales continued to sag in the last quarter, as the slowdown in world manufacturing and trade continued. And, as others have noted, an important source of past consumer spending and GDP growth—i.e. health care services—began to slow ominously at the end of 2012 as well, promising to continue that trend into 2013.
Paul Krugman: Austerity Is So Wrong! Paul Krugman, Daily Beast
- In a new book, End This Depression Now!, Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman says the current economic problems can be fixed both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines. But politicians’ desire to slash spending is deeply destructive, and he details why austerity is so appealing even to Very Serious People—and why it’s such a bad idea.
- Scott Walker's Austerity Agenda Yields 'Worst Job Losses in US'
- Our Best Minds Are Failing Us