November 23, 2003
Economic recovery watch
Looks like the secret to good economic health this holiday season is rich folks buying stuff.
"The stars are aligned for the wealthy," said Howard Davidowitz, president of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting firm in New York. "Who's gained most from capital gains tax cuts? The wealthy. Whose houses have gone up the most? The wealthy. The wealthy are a lot wealthier. Why not buy an $8,000 TV? No problem."
And it's partly because of the strength of the luxury market that retail analysts predict a 4 percent to 5 percent increase in overall holiday spending. Even the average consumer is expected to spend a bit more per gift this year compared to last year.
You know who you are, so get out there and spend. Let this be your inspiration:
Magaly Fuentes is certainly doing her part to bring up the holiday sales numbers.
On Thursday, she picked up a few things at Zadok Jewelers: a $17,700 white gold and diamond Cartier watch and a diamond necklace, totaling 24.5 carats, which cost much more. She bought them "just for fun."
"I made too much money in the last months," explained Fuentes, whose family owns oil and real estate businesses in Mexico and the United States.
Your country thanks you for your sacrifice, bubelah.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 23, 2003 to National news
Part of the country thanks her, specifically that bit of acreage known as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
First, Barefoot and Naked has an excellent series on Bush's economic policies. Check it out.
Second, I heard one of Rush's shorts this morning in which he pointed to several positive economic statistics released this past Friday, including a high in new housing starts (highest in 17 years), lowered interest rates, improved revenues for many states, and lowest number of unemployment filings since 2000. If true, these are indeed more good signs. But this is coming from Rush.
They warrant an honest, objective examination.
Just on a quick analysis, a couple of these don't in and off themselves mean much. First, while new unemployment filings have dropped off, there aren't substantial numbers regaining employment. Second, the number of bankruptcies rose. Third, interest rates are the main tool of controlling the economy and are manipulated. So, the cause/effect argument derived from their lowering means little. Let's remember Nixon's price controls.
Perhaps because of my familiarity with construction, I've always thought that industry was a leading market of the economy. However, I have seen housing starts rise in high unemployment before, so I've lost that belief in the fortune telling aspects of construction. Frankly, this Rushed statistic is one that I'm very dubious of. People are refinancing their existing home loans (which is dropping off now) and getting loans for home improvements. Why would they buy new homes now?