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"Consumer" is uttered about 15 times; lots of pronouns and one "Americans" are also employed. But isn't Cohen describing deflationary pressures when he says "consumers" are waiting for incentives to buy and the main incentive is lower prices?


I counted 22 consumer or consumers; I didn't differentiate between the two. Twenty-three total if you count the word consumer in the splash screen "The Consumer Strikes Back!" As Dan mentioned "Americans" was used at least once, maybe twice.


And I love how Cohen is bullish in the short run on home & garden retailers. He states that "now that people realize they are stuck in their current homes" they are more willing to spend money in that area.

Methinks that maybe those folks are planting some gardens so they have something to eat rather than a new pair of jeans or the mighty margarita maker!


I've long considered our nation as having a lack of self-respect. We are always looking never content, never satisfied, always afraid to be out done. Here's one for you Dave, an Antidote du Jour for hump day (of course the antidote is about self-respect and not giving in):


and background...



Dave, I'm not sure that chart shows August's figures. Calculating from the Census Bureau's release, total sales excluding gasoline went up from $326,987M in July to $327,816M in August. The ex-gasoline total in July was slightly down from June's. Does the chart end in July?


Buy the way, isn't paying more for what you buy, factored out (at least partially) by adjusting for inflation in the GDP figure?

Dave Cohen


The chart does show the August retail sales numbers, or Calculated Risk made a mistake. In any case, the ex-gasoline tally tells a different story than total sales does. The large gap between the two narrowed during the recession (assuming it's over) and has widened since. That's not a GOOD trend, is it? But any increase in retail sales is universally celebrated.

I would say that August ex-gasoline sales were flat. (I added the word "essentially" in the text to make you happy.)

Regarding GDP, these sales numbers are not inflation-adjusted. So everybody is celebrating a rise in NOMINAL GDP. Yes, they will be adjusted by means of the GDP deflator when calculating REAL GDP by the BEA. And in fact, to the extent to which retail sales boosted the trade deficit--people bought more imported goods than there were exports--GDP will be lowered (Ex-Im).

But I didn't want to get into all these messy details. I certainly hope you understood the larger point. You seem to be a little too concerned about a preliminary 0.25% rise in retail sales ex-gasoline. On the other hand, I do get a little carried away sometimes when I write this stuff up.

Therefore I removed the text concerning paying more for what you buy raising GDP since, as you point out, that's not true in REAL terms.

-- Dave

Michael Dawson

This "consumer" word is really Orwellian, a true sign of our epoch's subordination to corporate capital.

If anybody's interested, here's my take:


Tony Weddle


Thanks for the adjustments. I'm not really concerned with the minutiae myself, but I know critics jump on any possible error, because it allows them to convince themselves that your stories are all rubbish. So, having noticed a discrepancy in the news reports, from what you wrote here, I felt I ought to check the figures and they didn't appear to paint quite the same picture as you did here.

I often forget to praise your down to earth analyses, which apply to many other developed nations (as the global stuff, like dying oceans, does, anyway). Great work. Your blog is a must read for me and I agree with almost everything you have written so far. However, I do miss the in-depth analyses that you sometimes (weekly, I think) put out for ASPO-USA, in the past.

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