While economists agonize about unemployment, jobs created, money supply, stimulus, and the budget deficit, they often ignore one number that will in all likelihood matter most to voters in November.
Consumer confidence numbers have been slipping since reaching an anemic high back in February of 2012 according to several measurements of consumer confidence, including the Bloomberg Comfort Index. .
“The index, which asks people to rate the national economy, their personal finances and the buying climate,” reports Bloomberg.com “declined for the third consecutive week. About 56 percent of people rate their personal finances negatively, up from 47 percent three weeks ago and the highest level since last November. The economy added just 115,000 nonfarm jobs in April, the smallest increase since November.”
The index now stands at -40.6.
And it has established a trend that should be worrying to the president.
Bloomberg says that the “measures for registered Democrats and independents have dropped the most over the past two weeks after both reached the highest levels in more than four years.”
Translation: After buying from the White House more of the same Hopey-slash-Changey rhetoric that “the recovery has finally started,” even supporters are recognizing that on economics, this White House hasn’t a clue.
At this point, it’s highly unlikely that even a monetary stimulus will make the type of fleeting impact that can boost consumer sentiment between now and the election. And besides: Who would listen to Obama sing Happy Times are Here Again, again?
How many times as Obama declared that the “recovery” has finally arrived?
We’ve had the same failed Recovery Summer three years in a row, and the odds are that this year will make it four.
In February of 2011, Obama bragged in his State of the Union address: “We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.”
And indeed the economy has grown again, but then, it stopped growing and started up again, then slowed down again. The economy has a way of starting and stopping when the White House is hostile to policies, like, um- I don’t know- stable oil prices, anyone? that fosters actual economic activity.