The Washington Post reports U.S. economy falls at 3.8 percent rate at year’s end. In the steepest quarterly drop in the GDP since 1982, “new data from the Commerce Department released this morning show the U.S. economy shrank at a 3.8 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate from October through December, compared with the previous three months. The number is an initial estimate that might change as more information is collected.”
The NY Times adds Steep slide in the U.S. Economy as unsold goods pile up. “American consumers, who took on home equity loans and large amounts of credit card debt to finance their lifestyles earlier in the decade, curtailed their spending for a second consecutive quarter. Consumer spending, which typically accounts for two-thirds of economic growth, fell 3.5 percent in the quarter, after decreasing 3.8 percent in the third quarter.” Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the consumer culture?
Meanwhile, Bloomberg notest that Exxon and Chevron Top analyst earnings estimates. “Chevron’s refining earnings jumped 10-fold to $2.08 billion. Exxon Mobil had a gain of more than 6 percent to $2.41 billion as profit margins in overseas markets widened.”
The NY Times underscores Exxon posts record 2008 profit despite slip in 4th quarter. Big oil isn’t hurting.
In what may be a ‘too little, too late’ move, the Washington Post reports Vice President Biden to helm a task force on the Middle Class. “Biden announced that his chief economic adviser, Jared Bernstein, will be the executive director of the task force — a welcome announcement to more liberal economists and the labor movement, who regard Bernstein as one of their greatest allies within the administration. The task force also has its own web site — astrongmiddleclass.gov — that will not only post information but also solicit ideas, Biden said.”
Great! Let us eat website! Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports Richest Americans’ income doubled under Bush tax cuts. 2006 marked the lowest tax rate for the richest 400 people living in the United States and “their average income doubled to $263.3 million… In all, the 400 wealthiest Americans reported a combined $105.3 billion of adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data.” (Hat tip bubbanomics )
The LA Times reports U.S. DEA presence ends in Bolivia. “The last U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents left Bolivia on Thursday after having been ordered out by President Evo Morales… The departure in recent weeks of three dozen agents ends the DEA’s presence here after more than three decades. Senior law enforcement officials said it was the first time a DEA operation had been ordered out of a country en masse.”
Jan 30 2009