The End of Economic Exhuberance

The markets as predictions of our economic future have spoken (are speaking might be more accurate) and appear to think the stimulus spending plan … won’t do much.    Optimists can note however that they also are not predicting a finanacial catastrophe – rather we seem to be resetting a lot of economic indicators (DOW, SP, Home Prices, etc) to the levels of ten years ago.

The tendency of economic forces to reset the whole show to 1990’s levels actually makes a lot of sense to me, and a quick look at stock index charts suggests that we may be seeing a very simple thing right now – resetting many metrics to the values they would have if we had simply skipped the economic exhuberance era and grown the economy the good old fashioned way – with real rather than paper wealth.   I’m not saying the big upticks in the indexes and housing were not “natural” – in fact i think they were the natural extension of several factors including reduced regulations (a small factor IMO), personal trading stock investment frenzy (a big factor IMHO), and the speculative real estate bubble combined with low interest rates (the key factor IMO).

As details of the TARP and stimulus plans come out I think many pundits are starting to see what most regular folks have known for some time – the economic groundhog saw his shadow and we’re looking at a lot more economic bad news and trouble before the sun shines again.   But the indexes are predictors of the economy of the future so I think people should not look for things to spring back anytime soon – once we have “reset the economy” to a reasonable level we can reasonably expect things to start growing again at modest historical rates rather than with the exhuberant frenzy of the last 10-20 years.

Is the stock bloodbath over yet?   I’m guessing pretty much yes – we have now about halved the indexes from their highs and returned to the places we’d be without the bubble, and the trillion about to be pumped into the economy will at least add that much to the GDP yielding a modest and expensive but noticeable positive effect.

27 thoughts on “The End of Economic Exhuberance

  1. You forgotten about the fantastic growth industries involved in AGW mitigation and adaptation are about to enjoy!

    Wind power. Solar power. Electric cars. Green housing. Railroads. Light rail. Bus transportation. Cellulosic ethanol. Sea walls. CO2 sequestration, etc.

    People who build McMansions – not so much.

  2. JCH is there a site you go to everyday from the government with instructions for you. Do you need to government to tell you how to do everything in your life?

    Do you really think regulating CO2 is smart? This is another amazingly stupid idea that will destroy any possibility of economic growth and the burdensome cost of supporting and enforcing the EPA clean air act for it will be staggering.

    What will be next a breathing tax?

    The raging left loon environmental terrorists are completely out of control with the Pelosi/Reid/Obama hat-trick.

    Just another bad idea from a bunch of bad apples.

    Why don’t you try to think for yourself?

  3. Everyone should stop paying their mortgages now. Why should we continue doing the “right” thing when we have to pick up the tab for everyone else doing the “wrong” (or “left”) thing.

  4. “What will be next a breathing tax? …”

    That single question perfectly demonstrates how astonishingly ignorant of the facts you are.

  5. the silent majority will now get organized, vocal and will put a stop to this reckless socialist regime gripping DC

    Glenn I’ll believe you when we invade Canada to steal their oil, but until then I’m sending you a bottle of BarackO tax cut pills – it’s going to be OK, I promise, though the stimulus will prove to be a lot of wasted money and I worry that Obama is ignoring what may be our best hope for a quick recovery using successful small business incentives. Of course I’m biased in that direction as a small biz guy.

    JCH do you really think 3 million long lasting jobs will materialize? I bet we’ll see a handful of real job creation 500k to 1M which is a drop in the job bucket at huge cost, and then the pretty spurious claim that we would have lost *2.5 million more jobs without the stimulus*. That’s about as causal as AGW to an Australian Bushfire 😯

    I don’t have a solution but it’s pretty darn clear that spending this much money on the things listed … won’t do much.

    A lot of biz folks seem to think we should approach this more directly and integrate the market better and that makes sense to me: Cash goes to taxpayers – perhaps with some strings that they must invest in things, and toxic assets get bundles and sold off to investors like Buffett (or pools of small investors) who’d be happy to buy discounted properties.

    Heck, I would buy some toxics *right now* under several sets of circumstances. Why are we effectively writing off the very people this plan says it seeks to help the most – responsible, solvent, middle class taxpayers.

  6. (5) JCH regulating CO2 would be like regulating H20 or O2.

    It makes no sense and only someone who doesn’t understand how this planet works would think regulating CO2 is a good idea.

  7. And the cow was about as causal of the Chicago fire as the arsonists was of the Australian bush fire.

    Just wait until all of the bush fire evidence is analyzed by the bush-fire scientists, and they actually have those. They are going to be looking at two gigantic factors: wind speed and the ambient temperature on the days of the fire. And only question will be what brought those two things to be. It was not the arsonist. he cannot create the wind or the temperature. The fuel-load argument is starting to take hits all over the place as this fire burned right throw some areas that had burn offs just recently.

    All of this talk about “won’t do much is clear” is sheer ignorance. When you pay somebody to do something, they take their cash and do several things with it, and every single thing they do stimulates the overall economy. And if there is a small biz person who does not get that, he’s an idiot who doesn’t deserve a dime’s worth of business from the workers who will build the frisbee park.

  8. Wow, we’re getting a Frisbee park! That and related projects justify 787 billion in your mind? By your stimulus logic we should be spending 100 trillion, not a paltry sub trillion.

    Of course people will do things with this money – the questions are how *much* stimulation we’ll get (answer is not much) and how will the unintended consequences shake out such as inflation, failure to do alternative spending, etc etc ad infinitum.

    JCH I still don’t follow your “Arsonists don’t cause fires, Global Warming does” logic. (I’d love to have this debate at RC but Gavin’s moods seem to influence whether he lets me post there – both he and Steve at ClimateAudit use the heavy hand of moderation to stifle dissent. If there is a blog hell they’ll finally get to debate things there for that BS practice). Here, you can call me an idiot as you do above. FYI they fire science folks have already concluded that AGW is not reasonably called a “cause”, though it could reasonably be called a “contributing factor”. I have no beef with that characterization.

    Clearly AGW is very likely to have many (trivial but measureable) impacts on weather events such as fires and hurricanes (best estimate is an extra approx 3mph for Katrina by Chris Landsea – one of the world’s top Hurricane guys). AGW also has a trivial impact on average global temperature and sea level rise. In my increasingly well informed view the arguments for “catastrophic impacts” are spurious and mostly based on a combination of ego investment (e.g. Hansen’s extraordinary assertions), questionable modelling interpretations, and mostly just ignoring how irrelevant it is to talk about 1000 year possible as if they are 10 year likelihoods.

  9. (8) JCH if they took the entire balance of the stimulus and subsidized gasoline only in this country so that everyone could buy really cheap gasoline…that would stimulate the economy far better than what Obama/Pelosi/Reid are trying to do now.

    This process they have started is going to usher in a wave of hyper inflation and we will be right back in the Carter years…we will see where everyone is in 9 months.

    AGW versus arsonists…hmmm…seriously this planet has been around for billions of years and for anyone that think they can claim to understand climatic trends here with our limited historical data and at the same time EVERY single climate scientist agrees we don’t understand the elements that make our climates shift is just theater of the absurd.

    The margin of error is so vast that literally any statement you can make either way could be correct. If we actually understand all the components of our climate/weather, etc than I think it would be credible. We just don’t have enough data, the right data and the correct formulas to even begin to understand it. The fact that we have other planets in our solar system experiencing similar climatic shifts that we are currently experiencing is enough proof to say…wow maybe humans really aren’t the main cause.

    Unfortunately the liberal ideologists think the end justifies the means to get there…regardless we have to protect the environment so it doesn’t matter if what we say is correct or not and at the same time we have corrupt politicians trying to make a buck off all this hysteria while promoting an extreme liberal environmental agenda. I am sorry that Al Gore’s father raped and destroyed the environment but he needs to find a better way to reconcile his demons.

    We need to stop blaming everything else but the real reasons things why things happen. We need to stop rationalizing and dreaming and need to get very serious and to the point to really start solving real, calculable issues we are facing.

  10. SLR – you used to trumpet the IPCC SLR number, which is what now – ancient history? The science is fast moving.

    So the new range is 80 cm to 2 meters by 2100, and that range is not trivial.

    Because you cannot see past 2100, your opinions cannot be well informed.

    Glenn, we regulate the products of combustion. Have been for decades. One of your heroes, Ronald Reagan, was big on regulating the products of combustion. He started doing it when he was a Governor.

  11. (11) Any additional regulation on the source of production for our economy right now will only put additional stress to the system. It isn’t a smart move and quite frankly we don’t even know if curbing CO2 will have any effect at all.

    What about volcano’s, etc…forest fires, etc…how are you going to regulate those?

    CO2 is NOT something you should or can regulate. It is just another far fetched liberal scam to exert control and extort money.

  12. There is just something wrong with the logic path of raging liberals and their environmental agendas.

    Look at the electric car. It is a huge mistake to even manufacture them. From cradle to grave it is a FACT that a Hummer produces less of a carbon and toxic footprint than does a Prius. That includes using the Hummer to drive off road as well…lol.

    So where is the environmental logic in that?

    Now look at an even more important factor, we trade our dependence on foreign oil from the Middle East…to cadmium dependency in South America. Haven’t we learned anything? We also know that cadmium can cause cancer so we don’t even know the long-term impact of having a large amount in a vehicle with you?

    So JCH as a liberal maybe you can shed some light on this…how does this make any sense at all? From an environmental and national security perspective? I just can’t seem to connect the dots here?

    Once again the ideology trumps rational, reasonable ideas even when the method is destined for failure on many levels.

  13. JCH I would agree I’m exaggerating somewhat to call AGW inspired changes “trivial”, when in some cases they would be of moderate negative consequence. AGW is of positive consequence in a small number of regions – though on balance obviously it’s not a good thing.

    An item I’m learning more about now – the effect on the Islands of Tuvalu – may be an example where “catastrophic” is a reasonable term since those Islands are so low lying they may not be able to be inhabitable with even the projected modest levels of SLR. A series of pix is coming out soon to document changes there and I’m hoping somebody will do a study to determine how well those island have adapted to SLR of the past century.

    Glenn where’d you get that Hummer vs Prius stat – surely that can’t be true!

  14. Excerpt from

    Hybrid Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage

    For all you hybrid lovers out there

    This is not an article by a GM friendly writer, just a neutral observer. This is something you won’t hear in most of the biased press that almost refuses to write anything bad about Toyota. Another fun fact is that Toyota had more vehicles recalled last year than they produced, and these were not minor repairs. In talking to a friend of
    mine who runs a dealership, he talked to his local Toyota dealer, who told him that the Toyota store hasn’t had any time to do regular customer repair work because all they are doing is recall work, including new front ends, all new ball joints, etc. These have been major repairs, that the press has chosen not to report on. Even the other Japanese automakers are at a loss as to why Toyota seems to get
    a free pass from the American press. Here is a story worth reading about the Prius.

    Interesting Article from Connecticut State University:

    Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage By Chris Demorro Staff Writer The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care. Unfortunately for them,
    their ultimate ‘green car’ is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer.

    Before we delve into the seedy underworld of hybrids, you must first understand how a hybrid works. For this, we will use the most popular hybrid on the market, the Toyota Prius.

    The Prius is powered by not one, but two engines: a standard 76 horsepower, 1.5-liter gas engine found in most cars today and a battery- powered engine that deals out 67 horsepower and a whooping 295ft/lbs of torque, below 2000 revolutions per minute. Essentially, the Toyota Synergy Drive system, as it is so called, propels the car
    from a dead stop to up to 30mph. This is where the largest percent of gas is consumed. As any physics major can tell you, it takes more energy to get an object moving than to keep it moving. The battery is recharged through the braking system, as well as when the gasoline engine takes over anywhere north of 30mph. It seems like a great
    energy efficient and environmentally sound car, right?

    You would be right if you went by the old government EPA estimates, which netted the Prius an incredible 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 miles per gallon on the highway. Unfortunately for Toyota, the government realized how unrealistic their EPA tests were, which consisted of highway speeds limited to 55mph and acceleration of only
    3.3 mph per second. The new tests which affect all 2008 models give a much more realistic rating with highway speeds of 80mph and acceleration of 8mph per second. This has dropped the Prius’s EPA down by 25 per cent to an average of 45mpg. This now puts the Toyota within spitting distance of cars like the Chevy Aveo, which costs less then
    half what the Prius costs.

    However, if that was the only issue with the Prius, I wouldn’t be writing this article. It gets much worse.

    Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding
    environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

    The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every en vironmentalist’s nightmare. “The acid rain around
    Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

    All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the
    completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery.

    Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

    Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet.

    When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer – the Prius’s arch nemesis.

    Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles – the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

    The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

    So, if you are really an environmentalist – ditch the Prius.
    Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available – a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage – buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.

    One last fun fact for you: it takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses.

    There is a lot of controversy around the CNW dust-to-dust study…the raging loons did their usual hit piece on it. Even with their hit piece they never were able to prove the CNW pieces was 3X off…which is what it would need to be to even it out…even with that the impact that the battery industry has in the creation, maintenance, and disposal of batteries makes the electric car a disaster not to mention the unknowns of being exposed in daily commuting to batteries of this size. Additionally the electric cars just don’t last long enough and we can be in control of the supply on our soil.

    We should have listen to T-Boone…he had it right with CNG. It is abundant, clean, cheap and our country has a lot of infrastructure to support it now.

  15. (15) BTW…the final debate came to light again this summer over the hummer versus the prius…when gas hit $4 a gallon…it was only then that the prius significantly closed the gap – cost wise. Now we all know why extreme left whackos want gasoline to be kept at a minimum of $4 a gallon so bad ideas like the prius sound economically sound – of course only by more bad government regulation or taxation could this occur.

    I agree we need to replace gasoline but only because we can’t control the price, it isn’t cheap and every dollar we spend on it we are funding our enemies. If we can find an alternative that is better for the environment then great…let’s do it. But lets actually solve the problem and not just displace it somewhere else or for future generations to deal with.

    Massive toxic batteries on the road is not the solution to the problem. We might as well build miniature nuclear reactors to power cars (like they tried in the 60’s)…they would be safer and would 100% eliminate the issue…I still like the CNG angle…cheap, clean and we can fill up at home.

  16. Joe check out this article on CNBC…regarding the “tea party” protest that is starting to gain support amongst us evil capitalists…

    Interesting look at the survey…93% said they would join in.

    If people stop playing their mortgages or refuse to pay taxes how will we ever pay for these outrageous liberal programs?

  17. Anyway, the article is total bunk.

    Glenn will believe anything, and there is no lie he will not enthusiastically repeat.

    By the way, the price of gasoline would not alter the environmental damage analysis between the two cars. Only the amount of gasoline required to be combusted to move the vehicle can do that.

  18. (19) JCH even the exec at Toyota stated he thinks they are pushing electric battery driven cars too fast and that selling too many will hurt the environment more than it will help. You might want to subscribe to Automotive News and read the real facts.

    FACT: Toyota stated if too many are sold in China the environmental impact could be devastating. You can even remove the entire Prius from the discussion and still understand the environmental impact because of our dirty methods of producing electricity. If the Prius was successful in China the environmental impact from their dirty coal plants producing the electricity to charge the cars would reap massive damage.

    You need to understand the entire problem instead of being blinded by the ideology and the whole Rodney King “Why can’t we all get along mentality” that is both naive and dangerous.

    Well we can understand the original problem here…the extreme environmentalists that made nuclear power almost impossible. If we had continued to build nuclear power plants around the world we wouldn’t have this problem today – YET ANOTHER LIBERAL IDEA THAT ULTIMATELY HURTS THOSE IT IS TRYING TO HELP.

    Let’s take a look at the brilliance of how the liberal congress in this country and the liberal UN has dealt with Iran – what a farce? Now Iran has enough material for a nuclear bomb…you liberals are a bunch of fools and unfortunately it is going to take millions to die before the rest of the world wakes up and says enough of this continued failed PC approach to the world.

  19. (20) JCH we have clean diesel available in this country where the platform generates in excess of 800hp and achieves over 100MPG and engine maintenance is almost non-existence. It is a great solution, the big 3 said it couldn’t be done…but it has been done.

    In fact Gov Arnold had his Hummer converted to it. But hey we can’t support SUV’s because that doesn’t fit the leftist propaganda.

    You just need to change designer shades so you can see more clearly…suggest you drop those Barney Frank designed glasses so you can improve your perspective.

  20. In come you come again with paragraphs of side stepping nonsense.

    Let’s throw in another wholly unsupportable Barney Frank smear. Loser. He’s fat and gay, so bash away. It doesn’t stick. he is innocent of all the crap you falsely accused him of doing.

    Let’s irrationally conflate electric cars that have to be hooked to the grid with the standard Prius, which does not.

    Let’s misconstrue what I’ve said, that the article that claims the Hummer does less environmental damage than the Prius is total bunk, as to mean that I kneel on a prayer rug pointed toward the Toyota Prius factory. I don’t own a Prius.

    The history of automobiles is chocked full of little guys in garages who have made insane claims about fuel mileage. Never, not once, has it come to be true? There is this thing called physics.

    Why would a GM engineer say it was impossible to put a diesel engine in a Hummer? I grew up on a farm. I could put a diesel on your Lawnboy. I think what they said was impossible is fueling America’s fleet with diesel. Cause see, there is nowhere close to enough diesel to do that. You only get something 9 gallons of diesel out of a barrel of crude. There aren’t enough deep-fat friers in the universe to make up the shortfall.

  21. There aren’t enough deep-fat friers in the universe to make up the shortfall.

    My secret Biodiesel agenda is to fix this problem. More fries mean more happiness for all.

  22. (24) So Barney Frank didn’t tell the world in July that Freddie and Fannie were rock solid and there were NO problems with them? I could care less that Barney Frank is gay, fat or whatever…I do care that his DC Townhouse used for Government business was the HQ of an illegal escort service including underage minors. I do care that his boyfriend was given an executive job at Fannie Mae…for some reason you think he is innocent of everything.

    The Toyota exec is the one that made the statement about the Prius and the environmental impact to the grid – NOT ME.

    The analysis is not bunk comparing the Prius to the Hummer. You choose not to accept the toxic elements of the electric car because of the batteries.

    The GM Engineer said it was impossible to get a 100mpg duramax diesel. Johnathan Goodwin is making it happen. He isn’t insane…he is building a business. The entire point is there are more eco-friendly/infrastructure compatible solutions that we should be embracing. Cars probably should be powered with fuel cells and it should happened 40 years ago – IFC has been powering our space program since the beginning with them.

    I am not a fan of the bio-fuels…I think it creates artificial inflation of food pricing especially for 3rd world countries. But I think flex-fuel type solutions where an engine can run on almost anything is a good idea.

    Ironic the environmental hoopla about the catalytic converter but nothing about these massive batteries that have to be completely replaced every few years. Last I looked the toxic elements within the catalytic converter are pretty small compared to the amount of crap in these batteries.

    (25) Joe if they are good fries you might be on to something…maybe if we could get the vehicles to be turbo-charged with cheese-whiz you really might have something.

  23. Some countries are trying to address the alternative fuel seriously and practically…

    Taking the lessons learned from the development of hydrogen-powered cars and applying them on a larger scale, New Holland Agriculture has developed the impressive NH2, the world’s first hydrogen-powered tractor.

    The NH2 was developed as part of New Holland Agriculture’s Energy Independent Farm concept, a framework for future agriculture in which farmers produce their own compressed hydrogen from water using electricity produced by wind farms, solar panels, or biomass and biogas processes situated on the farm.

    This is a smart design.

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