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Our Awesome Economy

August 31, 2006

I saw this on FOX News’ website, describing a video link (upon which I did not click; but from the thumbnail still image, it appeared to be a person-on-the-street interview piece.)

Good News is No News
Americans don’t react to news that the federal budget deficit projection has declined by three digits this year.

Feh. What’d I say in the comments the other day about being an underachiever?

“Under promise and over deliver.” —Me, in the comments the other day.

If you do enjoy such ‘good news’ don’t look more than one month out! (That’s when the fiscal year ends.)

Economists have said this year’s surge in tax receipts indeed reflects a strong economy, but they cautioned that the boost isn’t fully sustainable. The CBO sees the deficit rising to $286 billion in fiscal 2007, and projects cumulative deficits of $1.418 trillion from 2007 to 2011. Over the next decade, the agency sees deficits totaling $1.761 trillion. [Easy bourse: UPDATE: CBO Sees $260 Billion U.S. Deficit In Fiscal 2006]

Economists see a surge in tax receipts, and conclude: a strong economy. So why, as FOX frets, don’t Americans react to this fantastic news? I can’t speak for everyone, nor do I have evidence that these sentiments are widely held amongst non-economist Americans who are not reacting to news of a strong economy, but here’s what goes through my mind when I evaluate the economic situation:

  • Is my job secure from outsourcing, or an economic downturn?
  • Is my wife’s job secure from municipal budget cuts or fickle public priorities?
  • Can I still sell my house without losing the equity I have invested?
  • In the coming years, will I be able to sell my house for enough to just pay off the mortgage?
  • Holy fuck! It costs over $30 to fill the tank of my compact car.
  • What’s it gonna cost to heat the house this winter?
  • What if work dries up at my second job? Will I still be able to make the monthly nut?
  • Hey, why doesn’t my employer match my 401k contributions anymore?
  • Shit. Will I ever be able to retire?
  • My Grandma is paying how much for medications?
  • The fuckin refrigerator’s broken.
  • Is the check engine light in my car supposed to stay on all the time like that?

You know, stuff like that. Stuff that can get lost on big-time newsmakers and economists.

About that mere trifling $260 billion national debt? Not to worry! As long as the alternative minimum tax is allowed to expire end of next year, middle-classers can finally do “their share” and start paying that bad boy down.

[I hope to post my layman’s views about productivity soon as I can. In the meantime there’s this from the New York Times: Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity]

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