Dependable Erection

Friday, November 14, 2008


Sales at retailers suffered a record decline in October, government data on Friday showed, as shoppers reined in spending with home prices falling, although plunging gasoline prices also reduced outlays by consumers.

Sales slumped 2.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted $363.7 billion, the largest decline since the series began in 1992, the U.S. Commerce Department said. This compared with a revised 1.3 percent fall in September, previously reported as a 1.2 percent decrease.

We were chatting with Councilman Mike Woodard on Shooting the Bull last night and learned that, so far, Durham has not seen any decline in sales tax receipts, although everyone expects that to start showing up by the next quarter. Obviously, we won't be alone when that happens. But who can predict what kind of resources are going to be available at the state and local level to help ride this out? Fortunately, we've got strong leadership in the White House:
Bush on Thursday defended his administration's response to the financial crisis, which has included massive amounts of government assistance to banks and outright government takeovers of the country's biggest mortgage finance companies.

"I'm a market-oriented guy, but not when I'm faced with the prospect of a global meltdown," Bush said in a speech in New York.

He put forward a list of modest reform proposals including making accounting rules more transparent but stopped well short of the global market regulator being sought by some European nations.

Oh, wait.

I think we need a Constitutional amendment for the "move inauguration up to the Monday before Thanksgiving" option.

UPDATE: Good to see Josh Marshall is thinking along those lines, too:
It's a question worth considering in very real terms. How much would things be different if Barack Obama had been sworn in on November 5th? The question, to some degree, gets at the very different policy perspectives of Bush and Obama. But at least as much, it points to how much things might be different right now if we had an actual president in office -- one who had some legitimacy, some level of public approval and, most importantly, knew he'd be able to see his policies through years rather than weeks into the future.

It's no one's fault, per se. It's written into our constitutional structure. But though our real and fundamental problems are profound, I think we're paying mightily for having no captain at the helm at one of the most perilous points in our recent national history.

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  • Besides the fact that central NC is in good shape, one reason is that we have Wal-Mart and a lot of value-conscious shoppers. It's the only Dow stock that is up for the year.

    (disclosure: I am long the Jan 2010 50 calls and a longtime shareholder).

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 8:17 AM  

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