Cartoon for December 20, 2008

The media reports the truth–after the fact.

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11 Responses to “Cartoon for December 20, 2008”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Either they’re afraid of a panic or they just don’t give a damn. I’m guessing the latter.

    – Strelnikov

  2. Anonymous Says:

    …Or, you can’t officially declare a recession until a number of time-dependent conditions have been met.

    Sorry, Ted, this was kind of dumb.

  3. Ted Rall Says:

    The contemporary notion that you can’t declare a recession until after two consecutive quarters of GDP drop is what’s stupid. I know recession when I see it and so does everyone else.

  4. Ted Rall Says:

    The contemporary notion that you can’t declare a recession until after two consecutive quarters of GDP drop is what’s stupid. I know recession when I see it and so does everyone else.

  5. Marion Delgado Says:

    More precisely, what Ted could have said was, that that definition:

    • Can incorporate as needed only the negative so-called growth indicators that Robert F. Kennedy drew attention to in 1968*

    • Like our shifting definitions of unemployment and inflation, depends too much on accurate reporting and a consistent use of terms – neither of which exist.

    Therefore, it can simply be gamed forever until the time is right. Hence, his cartoon is not dumb, especially for a modern semi-editorial cartoon. Plus, he's talking about the version of reality we get 2nd-hand via the media from the politicians adjudicating the matter.

    There is a complex issue here, how do you know a recession, usefully, when you see one? Why weren't the Republicans right (they weren't) when they said that even though there were no quarters of no growth before Bush II took office, nonetheless Clinton had started a recession? For one thing, they said centrally that Clinton caused the recession, and the collapse of the dot com boom, by letting the government's antitrust suit proceed against Microsoft – as if only that company could do what it did – proving they don't understand their own economic religion.

         *Gross National Product counts air pollution and
         cigarette advertising, and ambulances to
         clear our highways of carnage. It counts special
         locks for our doors and the jails for the people
         who break them. It counts the destruction of the
         redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in
         chaotic sprawl.

         Yet the gross national product does not allow for the
         health of our children, the quality of their education
         or the joy of their play. It does not include the
         beauty of our poetry or the strength of our
         marriages, the intelligence of our public debate
         or the integrity of our public officials. It measures
         neither our wit nor our courage, neither our
         wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor
         our devotion to our country. It measures everything,
         in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
         ,And it can tell us everything about America except
         why we are proud that we are Americans

         RFK, March 18, 1968

  6. nobody Says:

    The definition of a recession is the GDP has declined and not recovered for six months.

    Now before you hit the six-month mark, you could say “the economy has declined and not recovered for five months,” but that’s not a recession.

    Why six months? Why not, you gotta draw the line somewhere. The GDP declining for two months happens all the time, it wiggles up and down like any real-world measurement.

    People saying “we are not in a recession” are always wrong. You never know whether you are in a recession NOW until the numbers come in later. People saying “We ARE in a recession now” are also wrong, because we don’t know when we’ve passed the low point until the numbers come in later.

    What’s dumb is anybody making declarations of recession or not-recession for any time period less than six months ago. Whether we’re in a recession today is unknowable, and anybody can guess and make anecdotal arguments about it.

    There was a recession that started a year ago and lasted at least until whatever the monthly low GDP was since then. It may or may not still be going on right this minute.

  7. Aggie Dude Says:

    Ted, how does arguing over this silly label . . . and it is a silly label . . . change the reality of rising unemployment, rising hunger, rising foreclosure rates, increasing number of bankrupt companies, etc etc etc. . . ?

    This is classic economic BS…well, there’s a reality out there, but what we’re really concerned about is making sure we get this economic theory right before we do anything.

    WTF? There are very easy answers to how to help PEOPLE who are suffering economically, but we’re not even talking about that, and never will.

    The whole discourse is framed in such a way to eliminate discussion of what actually needs to happen. That way no heads have to roll, that way no poor people have to be attended to, that way we don’t have to actually change anything.

    The reality is that the rich people are doing just fine and they don’t want to change anything, they just to ride this out and drag their feet on every single adjustment that might narrow inequality and unequal access in this country and in the world.

  8. Incitatus Says:

    Aggie, I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but can you write one post where someone else’s discourse is not framed in any way?
    You konw, that sociology BS gets tiresome after some time…

  9. Incitatus Says:

    Aggie, I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but can you write one post where someone else’s discourse is not framed in any way?
    You konw, that sociology BS gets tiresome after some time…

  10. norse by northwest Says:

    “Discourse” may be borrowed Latin trash, but “frame” is a good, native English word. There’s nothing tiresome about that, brother. Don’t be a hater.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Most of the English vocabulary is from Latin via French, or just from Latin directly. Judging from the author’s chosen pseudonym, it’s difficult to interpret the phrase “Latin trash” as anything but plain old trashy racism.

    Ted, don’t you have any standards at all for approving these things? Or did you just not notice?

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