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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Explaining America to the NYT

Neil Irwin is a senior economics correspondent for the New York Times. He showcased his ignorance in his latest offering to the public, "Everything Is Awful. So Why Is the Stock Market Booming?"

The column is the gloom and doom the left has churned out throughout my lifetime. Ever since the Great Depression brought us FDR, they have rooted for another one. Obama disappointed them. But this time -- under the charismatic, super-intelligent, and definitely not senile Joe Biden -- the nation will finally capitulate and embrace communism, er, um, socialism.

Irwin wrote, "What on earth is the stock market doing?

"Death and despair are all around. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits each of the last two weeks was about 10 times the previous record — and is probably being artificially held back by overloaded government systems. Vast swaths of American business are shuttered indefinitely. The economic quarter now underway will most likely feature Great Depression-caliber shrinkage in economic activity.

"Yet at Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 was up 25% from its recent low on March 23. It is down only about 14% this year — and is up from its levels of just 11 months ago. There are answers as to why. But that doesn’t take away the extremity of the juxtaposition between an economy in free fall and a stock market that is, in the scheme of things, doing just fine."

Much of this is the Federal Reserve pumping money into the stock market. But mainly this is simply Americans being American. We are an optimistic people. We had to be. You don't endure months at sea crammed into a ship traveling to an unexplored land without tons of faith. 102 people were aboard the Mayflower, which was 80 feet long and 24 feet wide. The trip took 66 days.

Stocks are purchased on faith that the company will grow.

Irwin wrote, "Stock prices are always based on what the world will look like in the future, not the present. In the global financial crisis, stock prices bottomed out in March 2009. The economy did not begin expanding again until July, and the unemployment rate would not peak until October.

"But current market pricing suggests that investors are counting on a speedy rebound."

Why would they not be? The economy was solid before COVID-19 hit. After decades of decline under inferior presidents, manufacturing grew and actually added 601,000 jobs since we elected Donald John Trump president.

Under Obama we lost 901,000 manufacturing jobs.

Gloom and doom just are not the American way. The music of the 1930s included mostly uplifting and happy songs. For "Swing Time," the ultimate Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire musical, Jerome Kern and lyricist Dorothy Fields gave us "Pick Yourself Up," which was deployed when Rogers taught Astaire to dance.

She sang:
Nothing's impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
Start all over again.
And of course he miraculously learned to dance like Fred Astaire.

By the time she realized she was conned she was smitten. It was a happy movie without zombies, vampires, or Marvel characters.

Americans are happy people, something the staff at the New York Times repeatedly miss. Americans also are industrious.

In 1953, MGM paired Gene Kelly with a young gymnast named Debbie Reynolds for "Singin’ in the Rain." She was not then a dancer and Kelly bullied her.

Maria Carter wrote, "During dance rehearsals, she once ducked into one of MGM's rehearsal rooms and sat under a piano crying. Another legendary dancer, Fred Astaire, then in his early 50s, was the one to comfort her. 'You're not going to die,' he told her. 'That's what it's like to learn to dance. If you're not sweating, you're not doing it right.'"

So we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. And we sweat like Fred Astaire did for days on end so that it looks smooth and easy for a 2 minutes in a film.

And doing so in "Swing Time" led to the most graceful dance MGM RKO ever produced.


  1. Or, in the immortal words of the Duke of Wayne in several pictures, "What are you gonna do? Quit?".

    1. Another favorite line from the Duke: "Life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid!" Or to put it in a three word bumper sticker: "Stupid SHOULD Hurt!"
      If you didn't catch the press conference yesterday, go watch it on YouTube. Trump gave us a spectacular, epic smackdown of the media like we've been dreaming of.

  2. Hoover's and FDR's poor decisions turned a recession into a depression that only ended because of World War 2. Obama’s actions ensured that a routine recession would last for 8 years that ended with Trump’s election. The current market is a reflection of the fact that Trump is not Hoover, FDR, or Obama. And thank God for that.

  3. As usual you are so right again. Those who love God and others are very happy. There is a word for those who hate God, family, marriage, freedom and those who love these things. EVIL is the word. Evil people enjoy hurting others.

  4. I remember the line from years ago about Fred and Ginger's dancing: "She does it backwards in high heels".


  5. When he told that one snotty gotcha reporter How do you know? No, how do you know? You're fake... You'd be the last person I'd tell...


    Do watch yesterday's conference - he moidoored 'em, over and over again - with video, with wit, with intelligence. They're doomed.

  6. I wonder if this guy is putting his money where his mouth is. Has he cashed out all his personal portfolio, his IRA's and 401K? Then taking it all and shoving it up his butt?

  7. MGM never produced that dance. All of Fred and Ginger's movies from the 1930s were produced by RKO. By the time "Singing In the Rain" was released, RKO had been run into the ground by its last owner Howard Hughes.

    1. No worries, sir. This is my second favorite Astaire-Rogers dance. The first is, "Isn't it a Lovely Day to Get Caught in the Rain." Not flashy. Just smooth and adorable that they don't touch hands until the very end.

    2. Thank you very much for "Isn't It a Lovely Day to Get Caught in the Rain". I had not seen it before. The best part is when they sit down on the floor of the gazebo after their last step, and Ginger Rogers is beaming at Fred Astaire, and he turns to her, notices her, and replies with the biggest grin.

  8. I just got yelled at for putting the tumeric with the herbs and not with the spices and getting the spices out of alphabetical order. Then I got yelled at for putting a green pepper on the granite island without washing it first (COVID-19 can be on peppers, you know.)
    Pick myself up. Dust myself off. Starting all over again. Can't wait to go back to work for some peace & quiet!

  9. Looks like Irwin is a disciple of the NYT’s great economist Paulie “The Beard” Krugman.

    1. Always remember that Krugman was a financial advisor to Enron.

  10. I don't know Neil Irwin, but I do know several Timesmen. They viscerally hate Trump. At least once a month since the inauguration, I've heard the pronouncement, "Trump has really stepped in it now!"

    The last real discussion I had--after the Mueller Report was released--I was assured there was surely more evidence of Russian collusion.

    Their motto appears to be: Never let facts get in the way of a good story.

    They've been operating this way for so long--they've ventured off the path so far--they can't find their way back to reality. They don't even know the correct direction to go, to return to the path.

    As I've long repeated: If a tree falls in the wood, and the NYT doesn't report it, did it make a sound?