GDP: Gross Disapponting Presidency

John Ransom
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Posted: Jan 30, 2015 11:15 AM
GDP: Gross Disapponting Presidency

GDP growth cooled to 2.6% for the fourth quarter according to the Commerce Department's preliminary report.

Economists were expecting growth of around 3 to 3 1/2%.

GDP should be known now as Gross Disappointing Presidency.

While consumer spending was a bright spot thanks to falling oil prices, as we foretold here and on TV and radio, government spending on defense related items plunged 12 1/2% in the quarter.

That doesn't come as a surprise as government spending on defense items increased 16% in the third quarter. This is the kind of government arithmetic that typically comes in an election year.

In their race to make everything look rosy the administration moved up spending for defense related items likely into the third quarter.

That means that for the year we're at 2.4% GDP growth...anemic in other words, which is exactly how to describe Obama's foreign policy.

Weak at home, weaker overseas.

But don't despair market watchers. This is the kind of economic growth that we've come to expect, and it's likely the kind that will continue the market moving higher.

But even if it doesn't just make sure that you have a plan and you follow the plan. Because apparently you're just like economist: you can't predict the future either--- but you can plan for it.

75 years ago tomorrow Miss Ida May Fuller, a legal secretary in Vermont, received the very first Social Security check.

It was for $22.54, dated January 31, 1940.

Miss Fuller who lived to be 100 years old collected $23,000 in benefits over her life, collecting 1,000 times what she paid in, thereby blowing the actuarial tables for Social Security with the very first check.

And so it's all been taxes this and benefits that ever since.

So happy birthday Social Security checks.

Let's hope you live as long as Ms. Fuller did.

Or at least until I am 100.

Jobless claims came in at a 15 year record low.

But wait it's not what you think. Jobless claims were reported at 265,000 new claims for last week, but analysts say that with a shortened holiday week not all claims were processed.

But that's not stopping newspapers and news outlets from trumpeting the fact that we have record low unemployment claims.

Last week I reported that unemployment claims went up a bit surprising economists.

So it shouldn't surprise us that economist were also surprised by this week's report when unemployment claims dropped.

What is surprising however is that economists failed to take into account the shortened holiday week --- since, you know, economists generally work for the government, universities or think tanks, presumably they had a day off too.

I hope they enjoyed it though-- because they apparently needed it.

A new study from Cogent Reports says that more people are participating in 401(k) plans year-over-year. And the surprise in all of this is that Generation X and Generation Y is setting the trend.

Of course a healthy Bull Market has not hurt matters.

Young people are participating more and more in defined contribution plans as they become more aware of what these plans can potentially do for them in retirement, says Cogent.

The key factor could also be the perceived unreliability of the Social Security system for future generations.

Well, this gives me hope for the future. Maybe Generation Y or Generation X could be the greatest generation and we can get rid of Social Security all together.

Or maybe not.