Saturday, May 5, 2012

What Mattered This Week?

The big domestic news was certainly the mediocre jobs report on Friday. Overall, the economic news of the last few weeks basically keeps the election on the same track: probably close, unless voters heavily discount the economy because of what Barack Obama inherited, in which case he wins comfortably. Of course, that's assuming the economy and other events stay where they are. There's still time for an economic boom -- or an economic crash.

The big international news came in two flavors. In Afghanistan, Obama moved another step on the road to getting the troops out on schedule; it's not going to be clear for a while what exactly that means for post-2104, in my view. And the other big one was China, about which I'll send you to Dan Drezner.

It isn't politics, but: the death of Junior Seau -- is football actually in trouble? Putting aside the question of whether football should be in trouble, that is.

What else? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. Yeah, it's going to be unclear for a long time what that means for post-2104 :)

  2. They're not getting out of Afghanistan until 2104?! Isn't that exactly what Obama accused McCain of in 2008?

  3. >There's still time for an economic boom -- or an economic crash.

    How long from now could that happen and still affect the election? For example, it's generally acknowledged that a bad economy doomed Bush Sr.'s 1992 reelection bid, yet the economic problems that year actually peaked in the summer and were on the decline by the fall. That apparently was too late to save Bush's electoral prospects. Similarly, if an economic boom or crash begins this September, it might be too late to make much of a difference in the election--we might already have a pretty strong idea of the fundamentals of this race in just a couple of months from now.

    1. Ah, but the Bush I recession was a different beast than a "boom" or a "crash." It was relatively minor compared to the 2008 debacle.

      I think the chances that the economy "booms" are slim to none, and slim left town. The chances that it crashes are slim. Now, could we see some moderate sustained growth or a retreat in the jobs/GDP numbers? Yeah, and somewhere betweeen "ugh" and "meh" is probably the best guess at what the economy's going to do...we'll keep puttering along, like we have for months now.

      Anyway, absent a BIG thing, most models use either June or September numbers to get their good fits, so I'd say that the economy on Labor Day is the economy the landscape the race is contested on.

      As a Dem, I'm very concerned that housing data this summer will be very weak, and that'll lead to some economic retrenchment, and the environment will favor Romney somewhat. My expertise for such a claim? Well, just ask Bernstein how often my team wins in fantasy baseball, and you'll have a sense how good my prognostications are.

      (In case Bernstein DOESN'T chime in: I've only placed in the top 4 once in a dozen years, and this year, the computer drafted for me and picked Pujols. So, yeah, I'm that good. :)


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