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The flawed logic of the silly Karl Denninger "Downturn Moderating? More LIES!" post

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June 11, 2009 – Comments (41) | RELATED TICKERS: H , CRT

I don't know who this Denninger guy is.  I read a ton of blogs, Calculated Risk, Big Picture, etc... but I've never read his before (I don't read that Mish guy's blog either).  However, a post by him that Gold cut and pasted here on CAPS received a huge number of recs. 

I find this funny because the logic of the post is completely flawed (link).  Let me begin by saying that I am not one who believes that we are headed for a rapid "V" shaped recovery and that everything will return to "normal" soon.  I am fairly bearish on the economy and believe that the recent rally has gotten ahead of itself.  The new "normal" will be much slower economic growth, at least in terms of U.S. GDP, than we have become accustomed to over the past two decades.

On to my criticism of the "Downturn Moderating? More LIES!" post.  Here's the main part that I have a problem with:

The state's [California] revenues from personal income taxes tumbled by 39.3 percent in May from a year earlier while revenues from corporate taxes fell by 52.1 percent and revenues from sales taxes sagged by 7.6 percent, according to a report released by Chiang's office.

The bold part is the important one.

See, sales taxes are (1) almost never gamed as there is little point, (2) , (3) the penalties for cheating are draconian and the audits frequent, and (4) they apply to nearly all goods (except food in some states.)

Therefore, if sales tax revenue is down 7.9%, you can reasonably presume that economic activity at the consumer level is down somewhere around 7.9%.

Since the consumer is 70% of the economy, it is not hard to figure out that we are approaching the 10% "top-to-bottom" decline level that defines economic depression.

California is a huge state with a huge economy that's bigger than the economies of many entire countries.  It is very important to the United States, but it is not representative of the entire U.S.  It is an extreme example of what is happening.  It was one of areas that was hit the hardest by the housing bubble.  One cannot look at the sales tax revenue for the area of the country that is by far in the worst shape and then just assume that it is indicative of what is happening everywhere else.

Doing so would be like only scouting the absolute worst player on a sports team and then assuming that the entire team stinks.  Or drinking a Milwaukee's Best aka Beast Light and assuming that all beer sucks.  One cannot reasonably assume that sales tax revenue is down by nearly 8.0% nationally just because that is the case in one of the areas that is in the worst shape.

Here's another statement in this post that I have a major problem with.  It does not materially impact my previous argument, but it does say something about the author's credibility.  Later on in the message Denninger said:

See, sales taxes are (1) almost never gamed as there is little point, (2) they're paid by consumers but collected by businesses who have little incentive to cheat

Huh?  What a Pollyanna, laughable statement.  What planet does this guy live on?  I have dealt with TONS of businesses over the years that don't collect sales tax.  Businesses have a huge incentive not to report sales.  Any sales that a business collects sales tax on are reported and the business then has to report and pay tax on its income from the transaction.  Have you ever been to a pizza parlor and had the cashier sell you pie without collecting tax?  Have you ever bought a large ticket item or had some work done for you and said "How much if I pay you in cash?"  What a bizzare, incorrect statement to make.

As far as income tax goes.  Of course California's income tax revenues are down, unemployment there is way up.  CA is the fourth worst state in the country in terms of its unemployment rate (11% as of April).  To take the income tax figures from the fourth worst state in the country and apply them to the nation as a whole is absurd.

Talk about a hypocrite.  It's funny that this Denninger fellow calls an overly optimistic and misleading Bloomberg article "outrageous and irresponsible" when he's doing almost exactly the same thing...just on the negative side instead of the positive side.  Oh well, I suppose that his post and the article that he was mocking cancel each other out. 

As it usually does, the real truth lies somewhere in the middle.  This is not the end of the world, but things are not going to recover as quickly or as dramatically as many currently believe.

Deej

41 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 11, 2009 at 2:06 PM, Goronmon (91.69) wrote:

Rec for use of the term "Beast Light".

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#2) On June 11, 2009 at 2:10 PM, portefeuille (99.61) wrote:

I find this "calculation" equally naïve:

----------------

Therefore, if sales tax revenue is down 7.9%, you can reasonably presume that economic activity at the consumer level is down somewhere around 7.9%.

Since the consumer is 70% of the economy, it is not hard to figure out that we are approaching the 10% "top-to-bottom" decline level that defines economic depression.

---------------- 

 

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#3) On June 11, 2009 at 2:15 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

The fact that you fail to understand Denninger, a very successful business person, and Mish....is what makes you a Deej.

I am certain one day you will mature....or life will mature you as you keep blogging along;)

Keep up the great work.......we all need the other side of a trade.

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#4) On June 11, 2009 at 2:21 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

You may disagree with this part of the post, but the overall theme of the post (that the Fed report being spun as positive new is a lie) is 100% accurate.

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#5) On June 11, 2009 at 2:28 PM, TMFDeej (99.25) wrote:

Karl Denninger is just a normal guy.  Admittedly I don't know much about him, but by the looks of his resume, he's an independent computer programmer who's looking for work.  I certainly wouldn't consider that to be more successful than myself or many other people here on CAPS.  We're not talking about JP Morgan, Bill Gates, Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, or Milton Friedman here.

Besides, flawed logic is flawed logic no matter who it comes from.

Deej

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#6) On June 11, 2009 at 2:49 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

Karl just happened to build up a successful dot .com company and sold if for a decent amount of coin....my guess is was some multiple larger than the collective earnings of your entire life......

if you feel that equates your success to his.....that explains a lot to me with the quality of your logic.

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#7) On June 11, 2009 at 2:54 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

nice blog.

Alstry, that may be the first time i've heard you get cross with someone. 

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#8) On June 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM, WillSurfForFood (75.71) wrote:

I caught a little of Mish's tech talk at Google and found it interesting he is also a former computer programmer turned blog-economist "blogomist?" . He has been right about a lot of stuff but I do find it funny when he talks about how social trends are changing. He is a nerd, what does he know about social trends? I say this with respect since I also write software for a living. I guess my point is even though he is a bright guy and has been right about a lot he is probably over followed at this point.

 

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#9) On June 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM, StopLaughing (< 20) wrote:

The problem with the aggressive Bears is that they are constantly calling a top only to be refuted by the market. They tend to use the same old tired arguements that are not working.

The time will come when they get lucky and pick the top (after calling a hundred other) but by that time no one will take them seriously. The constant drumbeat of doom, gloom and 666 or worse gets numbing as the market keeps running.

Sooner or later real inflation, rising interest rates, higher taxes and bigger deficits will overwhelm the green weeds. Note, I did not say yellow weeds.

The recovery is real. The key question is when will it be over burdened by bad government and fall back into a W bottom.

I think this market will run up to 1100 on the S&P. I will be very cautious at 1000.  If it manages to pull thru 1100 it is a real BULL market and not a bounce.  In the meantime I am watching the commodities as they lead. I am also watching the emerging markets and manuvers by key countries.

The market seems to indicate it is going up at least for a while.

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#10) On June 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM, TMFDeej (99.25) wrote:

Hi Dave.  I absolutely agree with him in that the press is putting way too positive a spin on many pieces of economic data.  Having dealt with the media on a frequent basis in my current job I can tell you that many reporters are either vultures or have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.  They'll be writing about food one week and cars the next.  Even worse, they'll take a quote that you give them and then twist it to mean whatever they need it to, or worse misquote you.  It happens all the time.  After seeing reporters in action, I learned a looong time ago to take everything that I read in the media with a huge grain of salt.I still contend that we're not talking about Albert Einstein here.  Even if he did start his own company and sell it.  Denninger's no more successful than millions of other people out there who did the exact same thing.It doesn't matter who he is, you can't take data from one of the worst areas of the country that had the biggest housing bubble and bust and just assume that it translates to everywhere else.  How can one not see doing this is wrong?I understand what Denninger is saying, he's just drawing incorrect conclusions using faulty logic, which is as bad or worse than the Bloomberg article that he's criticizing.As far as Mish goes, I never said that I don't understand him...just that I don't read him.Deej

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#11) On June 11, 2009 at 3:11 PM, jstegma (29.35) wrote:

I definitely agree with the idea that the data has been spun to support this "green shoots" theory that the recession is ending soon.

California's percentage of decline may be higher, but most other states are in decline as well.  It's not that ridiculous of a generalization given how huge and diverse California's economy is.  

I agree that the logic behind idea that businesses have no incentive to cheat by not collecting sales tax is completely flawed.  That said, I still think sales tax is a good proxy for sales because most businesses don't do that pay in cash thing with no sales tax.  It only works in businesses where you deal directly with the owner.  Otherwise, if you pay in cash under the table it doesn't even count as "sales" at all as far as the business is concerned because they never see the cash.  It just gets recorded as merchandise that was stolen, but the employee who you handed the cash to is happy.

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#12) On June 11, 2009 at 3:11 PM, TMFDeej (99.25) wrote:

Hmmm, I'm not sure why the text in my previous reply became some mega block.  Oh well.

Thanks checklist34That's nothing.  If you want to see cross, keep stopping by here.  At least he didn't say anything about my family or my underwear this time.

Deej

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#13) On June 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

I know check....but some analysis is simply so far off it is almost embarrassing.

If Deej spent a little effort....he would see that sales tax is down all across America.....in some area...a lot MORE than CA.

And as far as business that don't collect sales tax...they make up such a small portion of GDP.....such calculation is not material.

And the with income tax...if he just opened his eyes he would have realized that tax to the FEDERAL govt is DOWN 44% thru April.

So if Denninger is a hyprocrite.....then one must logically conclude that DEEJ is ignorant....as defined as not knowing the facts.

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#14) On June 11, 2009 at 4:11 PM, TMFDeej (99.25) wrote:

Ignorant, embarrassing...sure attack the messenger to deflect the fact that you don't have a solid rebuttal for the message.  I don't hang around your blog, yet you seem attracted to mine like flies to honey.

Of course sales tax receipts are down nationwide, we're in the midst of a terrible recession in an economy where consumer spending accounted for 70% of GDP.  I'm not saying that sales tax receipts were up.  I know that consumers are spending less and will likely to continue to do so for a long time.  I have personally stayed far away from consumer discretionary stocks, much to my detriment during their recent rally.

I'm saying that the logic of extrapolating the economic activity across an entire nation by only using data from one of the sections that was hardest hit by the housing bubble is flawed.  It doesn't make sense to look at the sales tax revenue of one of the worst states in the country and somehow morph it into a "10% "top-to-bottom" decline level that defines economic depression."

I could do the same thing with Colorado's sales tax receipts, which were only down 16% in Q1 and make the situation look a whole lot better...but I wouldn't do that because the logic of using such a small sample size is flawed.

If Denninger used the data to say that California is screwed, I wouldn't have had any problem with that.  Cali is really messed up.

The fact is that the California economy is worse than the economy of most other states so to take data from there and assume that it is the same country-wide is incorrect.

Deej

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#15) On June 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

If you know Karl, unlike you, he and Alstry are very aware of the national data.....VERY AWARE.

It was your blog not understanding Karl's basic assumptions which he expected his regular readers to view as a given that was logically flawed......trust me on this one, further to compare yourself to Karl.....you are so far out of your league......you wouldn't even qualify for waterboy at his level.

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#16) On June 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

 "...you don't have a solid rebuttal for the message"

Now Logic:

Deej: 

It is an extreme example of what is happening.  It was one of areas that was hit the hardest by the housing bubble.  One cannot look at the sales tax revenue for the area of the country that is by far in the worst shape and then just assume that it is indicative of what is happening everywhere else.

Anti Deej:

Of course sales tax receipts are down nationwide, we're in the midst of a terrible recession in an economy where consumer spending accounted for 70% of GDP.

Logical Conclusion for those that know the facts:

CA's sales tax decline is representative for the nation as a whole and in many areas, declines are much worse due to the fact that CA is such a liberal welfare distribution state which is serving to butress CA's economy and sales tax!!!!!!!!!

Deej...which do you prefer.....attack the messenger or solid rebuttal???????????????????????????????????????????

both styles can be effective depending on your goal.

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#17) On June 11, 2009 at 5:07 PM, TMFDeej (99.25) wrote:

"you wouldn't even qualify for waterboy at his level."

I have come to expect such statements from you and you didn't disappoint.  Great stuff.  Keep 'em coming.

If I have the time at some point I'll look up the sales tax revenue declines in other states.  I bet you a buck that California's decline is amongst the 10 worst...likely amongst the five worst.  To take one state that is in worse shape than the rest of the country and to apply data from it universally is flawed.

Until then, I'm done with the name calling contest.

Deej

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#18) On June 11, 2009 at 5:29 PM, eldemonio (98.64) wrote:

Here is the difference from 2007 to 2008 in Sales Tax and Gross Receipts for the states that posted a loss, (in thousands.) 

-1318760 Florida

-694371  California

-298149  South Carolina

-195612  Nevada

-165901  Georgia

-135065  Arizona

-123832  Michigan

-76491  Arkansas

-53532  Ilinois

-43867  Missouri

-22295  Oregon

-13916  Mississippi

-2607  Virginia

I have to say that I am not all that surprised.  May I please be waterboy?

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#19) On June 11, 2009 at 5:30 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

Fair enough....I take that bet;)

PS:  For some perspective....I consider Karl a friend of mine.

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#20) On June 11, 2009 at 5:34 PM, eldemonio (98.64) wrote:

P.S. Karl's a D Bag.

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#21) On June 11, 2009 at 5:35 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

elde,

It is percentage decline that is at issue......a nominal 1% decline in CA would be more than a 10% decline in many states. 

Depression is calculated on a percentage basis.  Further, it is 08 vs. 09 numbers that are relevant....NOT 07 vs 08.

So to answer your question....you can't even qualify to enter the stadium yet......Mrs. Fools kindergarten class dismissed.

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#22) On June 11, 2009 at 5:38 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

elde,

If we assume Karl is what you represent......I can't imagine how you view yourself after what you just posted....I am sure I could guess what anyone with any basic understanding of business would think.

 

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#23) On June 11, 2009 at 5:44 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

Point: Deej.  I'm not going to pull out some numbers or anything, cause I don't know where to find them, but if Alstry wants to prove his point, it sounds like he knows where to get them. 

Alstry has yet to provide an actual reason, let alone any valid evidence, that the economy of California is reflective of the US economy at large.  All I hear is Alstry saying "It is!" over and over in slightly different ways.  Alstry needs to put some facts where his mouth is, otherwise Alstry is going to lose this debate.

Wow, talking in the 3rd person like that is as annoying when I'm the one doing it as it is when Alstry does it.

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#24) On June 11, 2009 at 5:59 PM, UKIAHED (34.59) wrote:

revenues from sales taxes sagged by 7.6 percent, according to a report released by Chiang's office.

 

The quote that I could find from the release was:

 “Sales taxes were $259 million lower (-7.6%) than last May”

 

According to Mr. Chaing – sales tax receipts are down by 7.6% for this May as compared to last May.  Some would suggest that this is because the consumer is not spending and that the economy is in collapse here in the great state of California.  I believe that I have found the reason (at least part of it) for this drop. 

If memory serves, gas was a tad more expensive last year.  So, I did a bit of calculation to see what I could see.

It turns out that California burns 20 Billion gallons of gas a year.  For easy math – I divided that by 12 to get 1.7 Billion gallons per month.  Last year – gas was $4.50/gallon.  This year – gas is $2.75/gallon.  To keep it simple – I use sales tax at 8% for 2008 and 9% for 2009 as we changed the rates in April.  The math:

1.7 Billion gallons X $4.50 X .08 = $608 Million in sales tax May 2008

1.7 Billion gallons X $2.75 X .09 = $414 Million in sales tax May 2009

 

$608 – 414 = $194 Million

 

Sooo, non-gas sales are down in this state for May 2009 by about $259 – 194 = $65 Million.  Hardly a depression for a $1.7 Trillion (ish) economy.

 

See, sales taxes are (1) almost never gamed as there is little point, (2) , (3) the penalties for cheating are draconian and the audits frequent, and (4) they apply to nearly all goods (except food in some states.)

 

Oh come on.  As a retired accountant in California, I can assure you that one of the first things to go underreported when money gets tight are sales figures.  If you cheat on sales numbers - then you save on sales tax and income tax.  With an audit rate of less than 2% - don’t think for a second that a self-employed owner is not doing a bit of risk Vs. reward when they report the sales numbers…

That is my .02 worth (or .04 if you think that hyperinflation is happening this year)

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#25) On June 11, 2009 at 5:59 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

Trust Alstry....Alstrynomics is all about being right......SORRY THAT IS JUST THE FACT ABOUT ALSTRY AND THE INSTITUTE OF ALSTRYNOMICS

Let's see if Deej can defend his blog calling one of Alstry's friends silly.....

Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Washington.....and lot's more....anyone with a pulse knows that sales taxes are deteriorating materially across America....many within a few points of each other.....AND IT IS NOT JUST SALES TAX!!!!!!!!

Preliminary tax collection data for the January-March quarter

of 2009 show widespread and sharp declines for most states

for all three major sources of tax revenue, as well as total

taxes.

Total tax revenue declined in 45 of 47 early reporting states.

We expect revenue collections, particularly collections from the

personal income tax, to deteriorate even further in the April-June

quarter based in large part on declines in financial markets and income

tax returns due in April. We will provide a full report on the

January-March quarter and further analysis of the 2009 outlook

for the states after Census Bureau data for the quarter are

available.

The Rockefeller Institute’s compilation of data from individual

states shows collections from major tax sources were $134.6 billion

in the first quarter of 2009 compared to $154 billion in the same

quarter of 2008. Personal income tax declines represented a $10.1

billion loss for the period. Overall tax revenue declined by 12.6

percent in nominal terms. The corporate income tax had the

sharpest decline at 16.2 percent, followed by personal income tax

and sales tax at 15.8 and 7.6 percent, respectively. After adjusting

for inflation, overall tax revenues declined by 14 percent in the

first quarter compared to the same quarter of 2008.

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#26) On June 11, 2009 at 6:03 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

uki,

You know May's numbers were better than than normal because of the tax push back in CA......you even cited this to me in one of your comments a little while back....

You must have been a good accountant, you know how to twist the numbers....but my memory is better.

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#27) On June 11, 2009 at 6:13 PM, UKIAHED (34.59) wrote:

You know May's numbers were better than than normal because of the tax push back in CA......you even cited this to me in one of your comments a little while back....

Actually, that was March numbers that were pushed because rates went up by 1% effective April 1 (remember - I talked about all the adverts about "buy now - save sales tax...").  But keep trying.

Come to think of it - didn't we get a stimulus check sometime in there that may have raised 2008 numbers?  Yes, I believe that it was in May...

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#28) On June 11, 2009 at 6:14 PM, eldemonio (98.64) wrote:

Al,

2007 - 2008 numbers are the numbers that are readily available.  If you find numbers for 2009 - please share them.  

The relevant point isn't the percentage - the relevant point is that out of 50 states, only 13 posted a decline.

My conclusion that Karl must be a D Bag is based wholly on the fact that he is your friend. 

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#29) On June 11, 2009 at 6:15 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

YUP...that too;)

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#30) On June 11, 2009 at 6:19 PM, alstry (36.08) wrote:

elde,

As an attorney, may I please recomend that you invoke your right to silence so as to protect yourself from yourself.

Percentage is the ONLY relevant issue when it comes to defining a DEPRESSION....a 10% decline in GDP......

as for the rest, it is easy to see in my comment #25 from the Rockefeller Institute.

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#31) On June 11, 2009 at 6:55 PM, eldemonio (98.64) wrote:

I didn't realize we were defining a depression.  

The Rockefeller report is eye opening.

Karl's still a D Bag. 

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#32) On June 11, 2009 at 7:03 PM, goldminingXpert (29.52) wrote:

Cali is 1/6th of the US by population alone and much of the country (the upper Midwest) is in worse shape. I find his sample to be a very useful analogy for the whole country.

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#33) On June 11, 2009 at 7:06 PM, checklist34 (99.71) wrote:

its worth noting, as a comment aside from the current discussion, that the most liberal, most welfarish, most completely convinced that liberal welfarism is great and most bent on forcing that on the rest of the country - california - is broke.

There is no recession in the comparatively quite, comapratively tiny midwestern conservative/libertarian state from which I post.

Something to think about

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#34) On June 11, 2009 at 9:01 PM, StopLaughing (< 20) wrote:

If history is any guide, this may be the beginning of a massive Bull Market. The average return during the first month of a new Bull (1930-2008) is 12 %, for the first 3 months is 18%, first 6 months is 27 %, first 9 months 33% and first year is 45%.

If 666 is the bottom on the S&P, the first month return is predicting a market run to about 2100 on the S&P over about 3 years. The return on the first 3 months is predicting a run to 2300 on the S&P over about 3 years.

I have a hard time believing we will reach those predictions in 3 years. However, if this is a real Bull market, history is very favorable.  Maybe with massive devaluation and inflation perhaps it is feasible but I would expect the market to crash under the inflation and attempts to stop the inflation.

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#35) On June 11, 2009 at 9:20 PM, SirCharms (< 20) wrote:

Karl is hard for me to read sometimes and flat out wrong a lot of the time, but I still at least skim all of his posts. Occasionally he nails things that other people seem to be completely oblivious to. He's crass and very partisan, but worth the few minutes to look over.

Mish on the other hand has a better command of economics and what's been happening for the last few years than any other blogger out there (obviously IMO). Even if you disagree, it's worth your time to consider what he's saying and why it's wrong. I would strongly consider adding him to your daily reading (only 1-2 posts a day and they're all pretty in depth with plenty of details/sources).

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#36) On June 11, 2009 at 10:24 PM, Tastylunch (29.38) wrote:

I gotta agree with you Deej

Denninger is a bit too wrapped in his understandable outrage over what has happened to our country to see things clearly.

There are plenty of problems but the conclusions he draws from this are not supported by the evidence he's using.

He has a seriously naive view of sales tax collection.

Denninger can have useful things to say, but he is far too ranty for me to find useful.

 

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#37) On June 12, 2009 at 12:41 AM, edbbear (< 20) wrote:

I don't really understand why this thread is populated with people who think they know it all and enjoy trying to act superior, but I'm going to put in my 2 cents anyway.  

I think his article as a whole makes a good point.  He readily points out California is not the entire country.  They are 13% of the U.S. GDP, however, and his overall point was that 7 of 12 districts were reporting faster deterioration (and that California was one of them) and yet the headline is that the economic fall is moderating. 

And while I question the accuracy and relevant of his opinions on whether people cheat sales taxes, the conclusion that the fall in sales is a good measure to estimate economic activity by the consumer is not a bad one.  I'm not ready to believe there has been a large increase in cheating in the new period to cause that 7% decline.    

The author is making a very simplistic extrapolation that could turn out to be completely wrong if more investigation is done, but his point on it's face is not invalid. 

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#38) On June 12, 2009 at 3:11 AM, buildgreen (< 20) wrote:

Is anybody going to debate the gas sales tax situation brought to the table by UKIAHED

 

Seemed like a pretty powerful piece of information to ignore. 

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#39) On June 12, 2009 at 8:54 AM, OldEnglish (28.21) wrote:

I wonder if Alstry actually knows Karl D. or if he's "a friend" in the same way the Mark David Chapman was a friend of John Lennon. 

Anyway, that's beside the point. Karl's calculations are specious and random but the overall point is accurate. The positive spin, ie. noble lies, being put out is absolutely laughable. We need to build up those "animal spirits" by telling more lies! Keynesians make me laugh. Enjoy the stagflation Americans.

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#40) On June 12, 2009 at 9:07 AM, portefeuille (99.61) wrote:

And while I question the accuracy and relevant of his opinions on whether people cheat sales taxes, the conclusion that the fall in sales is a good measure to estimate economic activity by the consumer is not a bad one.

Yes, by the consumer. But this part:

----------------

Since the consumer is 70% of the economy, it is not hard to figure out that we are approaching the 10% "top-to-bottom" decline level that defines economic depression.

---------------- 

is naïve as I said above.

It is very hard to figure that out, because it is not true ...

 

 

 

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#41) On June 12, 2009 at 11:40 AM, UKIAHED (34.59) wrote:

Is anybody going to debate the gas sales tax situation brought to the table by UKIAHED

Seemed like a pretty powerful piece of information to ignore. 

 

Thanks  buildgreen,

I guess not - maybe the why this may be happening is not as important as the who said what about what was happening...

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