The evidence is piling up.
The Empire Index yesterday was terrible — still showing contraction.
This comes behind three solid months of bad data from Philly and Richmond; Richmond’s data includes services data, which was negative last month as well.
And services are ~70% of our economy.
I noted material deterioration in tourism-related traffic all across the eastern half of the United States in June and July — personally, as I was traveling.
I have multiple freight-related reports (trucking, mostly) showing bad comps. And rail traffic doesn’t look very good either, compared to last year.
The Presidential election doesn’t help. I’m not going to “blame” the candidates for this, for one simple reason — it’s their job to campaign, and calling attention to the distinctions between their intentions and results (in the case of Obama) is how you do that. But it’s inescapable that neither of these candidates are pointing to a way forward that includes the rule of law as a primary item on the agenda — and yet a level playing field, where one can redress their grievances in court and get a fair shake, is a big part of what makes it worthwhile to take risk by starting businesses — and hiring employees.
Governor Johnson isn’t talking about that either; he’s focused on drugs and gay marriage, not financial frauds and special favors. Romney is focused on special favors for banksters; the Biden scream of the season is (like it or not) accurate. But Obama is no better; this morning Obama’s administration modified Fannie and Freddie’s “bailout” further cementing a bailout that was explicitly disavowed when their bonds were issued.
There is no free enterprise without the freedom to fail. MCSNet was built to what it became in no small part because other firms were free to fail, and did fail. I refuse to engage in entrepreneurial activity as I did before because I simply cannot gauge whether the government will protect some firm that I identify as a “good target”, or a “new opportunity” to take apart — piecemeal. I’m more than willing to match wits with anyone else in the private sector, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to take on the government and their guns; that’s suicidal, and I’m not.
“Money printing”, “pump priming”, “ultra low interest rates” and such are all fine and well and have buoyed the financial markets for the last three years. But they have not led to prosperity, nor hiring, nor entrepreneurial activity — because they can’t.
Not until we see the rule of law mean something once again, the crooks go to jail and opportunity returns to America will we see actual progress in our economy.
None of the political candidates for President are talking about any of this.
And as a result our economy is being strangled, whether the mainstream media reports it or not.