No wonder most people don’t understand the economy. Often what might seem good on one hand, has bad side effects on the other. For example, the stock market rises- one would think that was good! But that was mostly due to the rising price of oil- bad news. But, often the price of oil rises because the “experts” believe the economy is improving and thus more oil will be needed in production- good news! But that rise in oil prices causes the cost of living to increase- bad news. But that helps the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)- good news! But that then causes inflation- bad news. But that inflation means the economy is improving- good news! But then the Fed becomes concerned about inflation and raises interest rates- bad news! Which causes the value of the dollar to improve- good news! But that hurts exports because now American products cost more overseas- bad news! But that means foreign products cost less in the US- good news! But that hurts American companies competitiveness- bad news!
If we think that political analysis and political chatter is often more hype than anything else, the same can certainly be said about analyzing economic news! You can readily see why economic news often seems co confusing. Economic news often seems confusing because it is – - what is good for one consumer, might be bad for another- what is good for one company, bad for another- what might be good for one sector of economy- bad for others.
The stock market is often the most confusing. On days when there is “bad news,” the market often goes up, while on some “good news” days, the market sometimes goes down! While the Dow, or the S&P, etc., might go up, it does not mean that the stock(s) you own, will follow suit.
Too often, for the sake of a sound-byte, the media tries to over-simplify economic news. Yet the economy is by definition quite complex. The one issue there should be some agreement on is that high unemployment is not good. Yet even in that case, the “experts” can’t agree upon, nor act upon a viable solution.
The best way to think about the economy is this– the difference between a recession and a depression is that it’s a recession when it happens to someone else– it’s a depression when it happens to you!
It is my belief that a healthy economy requires certain factors to be in place – - low joblessness; high consumer confidence; a strong manufacturing sector; and reduced government deficits. That is what we must demand!