Monday, July 18, 2005

You've Got to be Kidding

I said at the beginning of this adventure, that I would limit my comments to dividends and dividends only. I did so because I wanted to offer an indepth look at the world of dividends in bite-sized pieces. But something happened on the way in yesterday morning that literally blew my mind, and I feel compelled to pass on my thoughts on the economy. NPR, that bastion of capitalism, provided results of a recent poll that showed 53% of American believe the economy is on the wrong track. My recollection is the reporter said that only 43% think things are good. As I heard the announcer breathlessly discuss the significance of these data for the political races in 2006, I found myself saying out loud, "You have got to be kidding me." Then I heard myself say it again, "You have got to be kidding me." Then,"What planet is this yehhoo from." Then I remembered that the NPR correspondent was from Washington DC, that tiny planet near the earth. But even if the analysis is from another planet, it is just utter nonsense. By almost any historical measure, the US economy is very strong. I'm not talking OK. I'm talking Strong. The following is a short list of recent economic data from, an on-line economic and market research firm. 1. Real GDP is at record levels. 2. GDP growth of 3.8% over the past year is well ahead of the 3.1% average since 1970. 3. The June unemployment rate at 5.0% is below the past 30-year average of 6.6% for June and lower than all but five of those years (the low was 4.0% in the bubble year of 2000). 4. Industrial production is at record levels. 5. Housing starts are running at record levels. 6. Home ownership is at record levels with 69.2% of households owning homes. That includes 53.0% of households that have below average income. 7. The year-over-year increases in total CPI is a very modest 2.5%, despite higher gas prices. 8. The 10-year note yield is at an amazingly low 4.17%. 9. Corporate profits are at record levels, and growing at a 10% annual rate. 10. The dollar has rallied sharply from 1.35 euros to 1.21 euros over the past 6 months 11. The budget deficit forecast has dropped $100 billion due to strong tax receipts the past six months, and the deficit has a percentage of GDP is forecast below 3%. That is lower than most major European countries and Japan. Of course we have terrorism, the war in Iraq, and oil prices approaching $60. These are all problems that have been with us for awhile, and I believe the American people are adapting to them remarkably well. Life is going on. NPR and the East and West coast media can have all the opinions they want. They can even use their dwindling power to put forth their view that things could be better. But they have no right to play fast and loose with the facts of the economy, and in my judgment that is what they are doing. Any developed nation in the world would ring church bells for a week (Thats all they do with Churches in Europe) if they had the kind of strong economic growth coupled with low unemployment rates we have. Our goods friends the French and the Germans, who seem to want to lecture us about how to do things regularly, have economic growth less than a third of ours and unemployment twice our 5% rate. Maybe NPR, the New York Times, the Lost Angeles Times, France, and Germany are, indeed, on another planet, where the miracle of the free market economy is a quaint old-fashioned idea from an eccentric Scotsman. I have no idea how the current "very good" economy will play in the next election. I do know that the American people will not learn about it from the mainstream media. I guess Americans will just have to figure it out for themselves. In that case, we need to pass on the truth to one another. The statistics I show on this page are from one of the most respected research firms I know, and I have double-checked them. Please forward this blog to as many people as you think would benefit from knowing the truth. Let's help get the truth out to counteract the "kidding" that is emanating from the media elite.