Is the GDP Up Because Bush Is Down?


Maybe I’m getting even more cynical in my old age than I thought and am approaching the acid blackness of Twain’s last months, but I gotta say it: Am I the only one who thinks this sudden jump in the economy is a mite, well, suspicious? I mean, 7.2% is A LOT, and it came out of nowhere. We haven’t seen the last few quarters inching up, we haven’t seen any leading indicators leaping out of their cozy beds and doing a jig, we’ve got an Aministration that uses lies and obfuscation the way other people use toothpaste and is in major trouble over practically everything it has ever done, and over it all is a president whose numbers have “stabilized” (yeah, right) at barely the half-way mark. Am I crazy if I think the whole thing could be a Rove-inspired stunt?The timing is a little too convenient, let’s face it. Junior’s numbers are down, the $87B$ for Iraq is giving even Publicans the jitters, the cronyism and back-room business deals are finally getting play in the major media (see Newsweek cover story this week), the Red heartland is wallowing in joblessness and economic stagnation a bare year before the national election while the nation itself is awash in red ink unto the 3rd generation, and Georgie’s getting ready to hit up the Congress to make his tax cuts permanent. It was all looking very iffy for Junior and his Neocon Wonder Boys when suddenly, without warning, from the blue of a cloudless sky, comes a number straight out of a frat-boy’s wet-dream: an economy that appears to have tripled it’s growth rate in the last quarter for no apparent reason

As an old investigator, my instincts are screaming. I don’t believe in such convenient co-incidences. I don’t trust them. The combination of extremely fortuitous timing along with a source that has proved, um, unreliable in the past (to say the least) has set red flags to waving like wind socks in a tornado. “This number isn’t real,” they say. “This number is cooked. Remember, the politicals run EVERYTHING in this Administration. EVERYTHING.”

Krugman seems to think it’s real. I’ll hang onto that for a while, but jeez…. Somethin’ don’t feel right….

UPDATE: Apparently I’m not entirely alone in my skepticism. Digby is having her problems with it as well:

Perhaps I’m being paranoid in thinking that if the entire Wall Street establishment could be hoodwinked by a Texas snake oil hustler into believing that Enron was creating a completely new market that was too complicated for their their pretty little heads to understand, then maybe somebody could be cooking the books a teensy, weensy bit with these economic numbers. Or at least selling them dishonestly. (Nah. They couldn’t get away with that.)The Angry Bear, one of those smart guys, shows how “the BLS has magically discovered a way for jobless claims to drop week after week, without the number of jobless claims ever actually falling.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Alternatively, they could just hang a sign saying “Mission Accomplished.” That’s a good one, too.

It makes me wonder about these rather, shall we say, grandiose productivity and GDP stats. I mean, c’mon. Are people really working that much harder and more efficiently, all of a sudden? Everybody I know spends every spare minute on line, talking on the phone or bitching about how they haven’t had a raise in 2 years. hmmmmm.

Me too.

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