John Ransom

Now that the advance GDP growth number for the first quarter has come in lower than expected, the White House is trotting out their favorite excuse for a slow economy: not enough government spending.

Cue the soundtrack blaming the rich- and bin Laden.

If Obama could only dispatch the rich with the same resolution he bare-handedly killed Osama bin Laden, man, GDP sure would grow then, huh?      

These are probably the same distractions the administration will use next month when they revise downward the first quarter GDP number to 1.9 percent from the disappointing 2.2 percent advance that was reported Friday by the Commerce Department.

The newest GDP numbers have confirmed what the poor numbers in the job market have been telling us: This is a weak economy, not able to create jobs, despite a great deal of available money.   

That’s one reason why we see spurts of economic activity.

The money is there, but the confidence is lacking.

Fourth quarter GDP grew at an annualized rate of around 3 percent. And the slowdown since then is leading some economists to question the government’s numbers on the employment front too.

“Although the economy continued to expand in the first quarter, the GDP data at face value are disappointing but also puzzling,” said John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros of RDQ Economics reports CBSMarketWatch. “Private sector hours worked rose 3.7% in the first quarter — what were these workers producing? The unemployment rate fell from 8.5% in December to 8.2% in March — how can this be if the economy was only growing at around its potential rate?”

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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