Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How we achieved 4.3%

For the first posting since the extended not-so-voluntary vacation, let me hit upon one of General Glut's favorite themes.

You all probably saw the big revision to 2005:III GDP: 4.3%. Maybe you didn't see the whole story, however.

First, consumer spending as a % of GDP rose to 70.2%. After beginning to descend from the heights of early 2003 (peaking at 70.5% in 2003:I) and falling all the way to 69.8% in 2004:II (irony meter reading: HIGH), the dependence of the US economy on the consumer is definitively rising again.

Second, the personal savings rate in 2005:III hit -1.5%, the lowest quarterly figure on record (quarterly figures begin in 1947). Over the first nine months of this year the personal savings rate is -0.4% and the US is set to rack up the first annual negative personal savings rate since 1934.

A foolish man built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Where the hell is General Glut?

He's not dead. Only resting.

Some of you may know, and others may not, that General Glut is an untenured professor at a liberal arts college somewhere in America. I was on sabbatical all last academic year, and thus the reams and reams of blogging which ensued. This fall the glorious freedom of leave came to an end. Students. Lots of them. Demanding students. Grading. Departmental search committee. Other committees. Meetings upon meetings. And then I'm up for tenure next fall -- with the example of the untenured (and recklessly not pseudonymous) megablogger Dan Drezner looming ever-ominously. There is no way Dan spent as little as two hours a week blogging -- or for that matter as much time as it took to pick up his socks.

And yet I feel the tug of old readers missing the Globblog. The very small handful of folks who know both General Glut and the real me have been helpful in thinking this through.

So where does that leave me? Trying to dig my way out of 76 midterm papers to return to regular blogging. An every day appearance is just impossible for me in the short term, but a couple of times a week should be possible. When to begin? Soon, I hope. I'll let you know how much headway I'm making on those papers.

So here's looking at you, kid.