Whenever I see a blaring headline in the MSM screaming how great the economy is doing, my bullshit meter alarm bells go off. This is today’s feel good lie, designed to keep the masses sedated and believing all is well.



When confronted with vacuous MSM cheer leading I always go to the actual data and see what it tells me.

Here is the link to the actual data:

When I peruse the data, I see an entirely different picture than the one portrayed by the talking heads on CNBC and the faux journalist clowns from the financial websites and legacy media. Here are my observations and conclusions:

  • The government loves to get creative with those seasonal adjustments. Luckily, they include the adjusted numbers along with the unadjusted numbers in their press release. Using the ADJUSTED numbers the year over year increase in March was a healthy 3.8%. Using the non government manipulated numbers you get a not so hot 2.5%. This is actually below the real inflation level in the economy, so on a REAL basis retail sales were negative.
  • It gets even worse when you remove automobile sales. You do know that automakers record a sale when they jam their inventory down the throats of their dealers, don’t you? Those sales are not to actual people. And the sales to actual people aren’t really sales. They are subprime debt financed rentals by Americans up to their eyeballs in debt. ADJUSTED retail sales excluding autos were up only 2.6% over last year.
  • The very same MSM that is touting this tremendous retail sales jump was using the bad weather meme as the reason for poor sales in the last four months. There should have been a subsequent rebound if the weather was to blame. The best gauge on how well retail is booming is to look at the first three months of this year versus the first three months of last year. Let’s check it out:
    • Total retail sales are up a pitiful 2.2% YTD and excluding the government subsidized auto sales, up a horrible 1.5%. After real inflation, retail sales are falling by 3% or more. This might explain the thousands of retail store closing announcements and the dreadful profits being reported across the board by retailers.
    • Discretionary retailers are reporting horrific results. People have to eat, cloth themselves, and buy gasoline. They don’t have to buy furniture, electronics, appliances or sporting goods. Furniture stores are -0.3% YTD, Electronics and Appliance stores are -1.5% YTD, and Sporting Goods stores are -6.3% YTD. How could we be having a housing recovery when Furniture and Appliance stores have negative sales?
    • Even more disturbing is that clothing stores are -0.4% YTD and general merchandise stores are -0.1% YTD. Department stores (Pennys, Sears, Kohls) are absolutely imploding with -5.6% YTD sales. This is all before inflation.

Online retailers are the only bright spot at 6.6% YTD sales gains. Even that is weak compared to the 10% to 15% gains seen in prior years. The 4.4% increase in drugstore sales is not a positive, as higher prices and all that free Obamacare is driving sales higher. Retail sales YTD have been atrocious. They are running below the real inflation rate.

The blaring headlines today are nothing more than propaganda designed to sooth the masses and make them buy stocks. Don’t believe what they say. Believe your own eyes as you see more and more SPACE AVAILABLE signs in front of formerly operating retail stores.

See that blip up in late 2007, just before the plunge. Get ready for the next plunge.


  1. BBBBBBBut, the economy has reached “escape velocity”, the new doublespeak phrase officially replacing the previous phrase “green shoots”. And Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon are up 2.5% today in the stock market. Did you buy the dip? God, I hope so, there’s nothing worse than missing a big move in the MoMo momentum stocks.

    And inflation is under control, not an issue, so says the doublespeak from the government (and financial pundits). I guess they don’t have to buy gas, which is almost $4 a gallon now, or buy food, or pay their own health insurance.

    The auto sales increase were driven by the FSA that got their $10,000 earned income tax credit, and ran out and bought a new car to take on their trip to Disney world. I remember when people that worked could afford to buy a car, and take trips. That’s but a distant memory now, they can barely afford to eat, since they aren’t getting free SNAP food every month. Everyone needs to get on the FSA bandwagon, and get their SNAP and EBT cash cards, free housing, and free healthcare, then the economy will really reach escape velocity.

  2. Out of all the chicanery, the automobile shenanigans seem to be the one that 100% of people are missing.

    And why not? Its convoluted as hell.

  3. I’m going to buy an Escalade with no money down, 15 year ARM with a balloon…..or a house. I haven’t decided yet. On a brighter note, its snowing giant flakes, can’t see 1/4 mile. Tomorrow is tax day. It just keeps getting better and better.

  4. I have to admit, I’ll give them a little leeway on the “bad winter” excuse this year. The fact that online sales were up a little bit indicates that people bought what they needed online and had it shipped rather than go out shopping in bad weather. Almost everybody I talk to says they hibernated all winter.

    Tax refunds are also coming in now, which generally sees a small retail rebound in the early months of the year. In recent years, though, a majority of surveys say people use their refund to pay down debt, and just a little to “treat” themselves.

    The kicker for me in this headline is the “Since September” part. If retail sales are jumping at the rate they did last September, what does that say about holiday spending? Increases should have been noted in November and December, and then again in January when “sales” hit and people spent all their gift cards. The fact that we’re not comparing now to then tells me that the holiday season was pretty damn dismal.

  5. Numbers, it’s all about the gov changing the way they calculate numbers to get the numbers they want to report.

    We need over 300,000 jobs added per month to get the real unemployment numbers down, that would require a GDP of 4 or 5%. Even with the new way government calculates the GDP we can’t get it above 2.5%.
    The gov will crow about jobs added, but they wont report they are mostly low paying part time jobs because of obamacare.
    So the only way to solve that problem of course is to raise minimum wage, but then more people would lose their jobs or more hours would be cut.
    Then I suppose the prez will issue a executive order mandating that all employers must follow new strict laws mandating hours worked per employee.

    Round and round we go, to the very end.

  6. Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office

    Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.

    The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.

    “History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

    The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:

    -79 tax increases for FY 2010

    -52 tax increases for FY 2011

    -47 tax increases for FY 2012

    -34 tax increases for FY 2013

    -137 tax increases for FY 2014

    -93 tax increases for FY 2015

    Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.

    In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.

    During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, “I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring.”

    During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was “something that would be novel for the United States.”

    Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.

    “Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. “Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president — limited by congress — did rather than what he wanted to do.”

    Read more:
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  7. The disturbing news missing in the retail sales report

    Opinion: Americans can barely afford discount stores these days

    By Howard Gold

    While everyone’s worried about the sell-off in high-flying tech stocks, the most disturbing news I’ve seen crossed the wire late last week, and then quickly vanished into pixel obscurity.

    Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) , one of the largest discount stores in the U.S., reported that earnings per share declined by a third from the first quarter of 2013. Its critical metric, same-store sales — revenues at stores open at least a year — fell by 3.8%, worse than the 2.8% decline in the fourth quarter of 2013.

    The discount chain, which has over 8,000 stores in the U.S., announced it would cut staff, close 370 underperforming stores and permanently lower prices on about 1,000 basic items.

    Sure, the lousy weather was a factor, as was heightened competition and some operational and strategic mistakes. But as the AP reported, rivals Dollar General (NYSE:DG) and Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) also announced weak earnings, and Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) has had four consecutive quarterly declines in same-store sales.

    Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine said in a statement: “The 2013 holiday season was challenged by a more promotional competitive environment and a more financially constrained consumer.”

    “A more financially constrained consumer.” That is stunning. Remember, dollar-store stocks were great performers coming out of the Great Recession as middle-class consumers who’d lost their jobs or their homes traded down big time.

    But the group has lagged the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year, and Family Dollar and Dollar Tree have trailed the benchmark since late 2012.

    No doubt some of this is because some shoppers have returned to the Macy’s (NYSE:M) of the world. After all, the official unemployment rate has fallen from a peak above 10% in October 2009 to 6.7% last month.

    And retail sales rose 1.1% in March, the largest sales gain since September 2012. General merchandise stores (i.e., department stores) had their biggest increases since March 2007.

    But that recovery is uneven, to say the least. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 20% of households got 80% of income growth between 2008 and 2012 and “accounted for almost half of the total spending gains.”

    The number of long-term unemployed has come down, but it remains about 3.7 million. The labor force participation rate is at a multi-decade low, around 63.2%. Some 7.4 million people work part time because they can’t find full-time work. One in five American households are on food stamps and nearly 11 million are receiving federal disability payments.

    The recovery has been driven by the wealthy, the upper-middle class and the fully employed. The middle class is hanging on by its fingernails. And what was once known as the working class or lower-middle class is in free fall.

    When people can’t afford even dollar stores, where do they shop? Or, even more disturbing, do they shop at all?

  8. Coldwater Creek – women’s clothes retailer is bankrupt and closing all 365 stores immediately.

    Those Neegrows seem to really like those Chrysler 300’s with the subprime loans from Ally.

    There are more single women on SNAP that working women.

    It just keeps getting better and better, every day!

    1. Coldwater Creek stock was $120 per share in 2007. Today it is 10 cents. Wall Street said buy the whole trip down.

  9. There are ten states where there are more people on welfare than have jobs, including the socialist states of New York, Illinois, and California. And Obama has scored another victory, as today it was announced that more women get food stamps than have jobs. Socialism is working out great, free Lobsters and Crab legs for all! Forward!


    Food Stamp Recipients Outnumber Women Who Work Full-Time
    April 14, 2014 By Terence P. Jeffrey

    ( – People participating in the food stamp program outnumbered the women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 2012, according to data from the Department of Agriculture and the Census Bureau.

    In the average month of 2012, according to the Department of Agriculture, there were 46,609,000 people participating in the food stamp program (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). That contrasts with the 44,059,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in 2012, according to the Census Bureau’s report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.

    For each woman who worked full-time, year-round in 2012, there was slightly more than 1 other person collecting food stamps.


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