Stan Collender's blog
Andrew, Pete...Help me out here.
When Wal-Mart this week reported a better-than-expected 3.2 percent increase in same-store sales, many on Wall Street said it was a sign that consumer spending was picking up.
That doesn't seem right to me.
My impression is that Wal-Mart is the shopping equivalent of what economist's call an "inferior good." This is not a qualitative comment on the store or what it sells but rather an economic observation: people are more likely to shop more often at discounters like Wal-Mart when times are tough and they're watching their pennies.
(ironically, the example that was used when I first learned the inferior goods concept was that consumers would shift from meat to potatoes and rice when their income fell. In light of the current increase in the price of rice, my guess is that it's no longer included on this list.)
Diane Lim Rogers, a long-time budget watcher in Washington, D.C. with one of the best fiscal backgrounds in town, is launching her own blog tomorrow called EconomistMom. It is launching, appropriately enough, on Mother's Day.
And not a moment too soon. As the chief economist at the House Budget Committee, Diane couldn't participate in the debate as personally as we needed her to do. Now, as the chief economist at The Concord Coalition and someone with her own blog, she'll be able to added another rational voice to a discussion that needs as many as possible.
For those of you too young to remember or too lazy to use Google, Rosemary Woods, President Nixon's personal assistant, was the one who infamously (and supposedly inadvertently) erased 18 and a half minutes of conversations from the Oval Office taping system.
Forty years or so later, this article appeared in today's Washington Post. Here's the money quote:
The Bush administration has not found disaster recovery files for White House e-mails from a three-month time period in 2003, according to court documents filed this week, raising the possibility that messages sent before and after the invasion of Iraq may never be recovered.
Here's my weekly column from Roll Call.
Bill M., a devoted CG&G reader, wrote that this commercial (click through to the full post to watch) may have been one of the reasons the Democratic candidate won the Louisiana special election over the weekend. As a former campaign manager who has had candidates with tough names, I can tell you that while this brilliant ad may not have been the difference-maker, it sure didn’t hurt.