Bauble Economy or Babbling Writer? (OR… Ponzi Scheme or Putz?)

November 29, 2005, 2:26 pm


You wouldn’t know how well the U.S. economy is doing if reading Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post (more on that later…).

Remember how Hurricane Katrina was supposed to spell the end of the U.S. economy — and the world? Well, American citizens seem to be ignoring those prognostications by voting affirmatively with their wallets. Three separate economic reports released today showed sky-rocketing home sales, a jump in orders for durable goods, and a surge in consumer confidence, respectively.


New home sales posted a surprising jump in October to the highest rate on record, according to a government report Tuesday that bucked other recent readings suggesting that the white-hot housing market has been cooling.

New homes sold at an annual rate of 1.42 million in October, the Commerce Department said, up from a revised 1.26 million pace in September. The 13 percent increase was the biggest percentage jump since April 1993.

From the U.S. Census Bureau:

New orders for manufactured durable goods in October increased $7.1 billion or 3.4 percent to $214.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This followed a 2.0 percent September decrease.

Note: Durable goods are defined as products with a normal life expectancy of three years or more, like furniture, aircraft, computers, and automobiles.

Again, from

Consumer confidence surged in November thanks to falling gas prices and an improving job outlook, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The board’s consumer confidence index rose to 98.9 for the month, up from a revised 85.2 in October. Economists had expected a rise to 90, according to

But you would never know about these reports if you were reading Eugene Robinson’s latest column at the Washington Post. He says the U.S. has a “bauble economy” — its all just a “giant Ponzi scheme.” I don’t know what’s worse at the Post — all the Bush hatred, or the ivory-tower self-loathers.

Poor Robinson’s paycheck comes from the Post’s advertisers — of course, all members of the “giant Ponzi scheme.” I wonder if, when Robinson cashes his paycheck, he considers those dollars “Ponzi” money? You know — the dollars that bought his car, pay his mortgage, buy that evil gasoline, etc. If you put a “Peace Now” sticker on the back of your SUV, does it filter out the pollution?

Never mind the fact that 4.2 million new jobs have been created in the U.S. over the past 28 months, and the fact that our GDP grew 3.8% in the 3rd quarter. Can Robinson do the math? Would he dare do the simple calculation to determine how much 3.8% is of $11,750,000,000,000 (the U.S.’s GDP)?

It must be nice in the ivory tower, having a tenured faculty position at the Washington Post.

Related: Economy

One Response to “Bauble Economy or Babbling Writer? (OR… Ponzi Scheme or Putz?)”

  1. - The War to Mobilize Democracy » Blog Archive » Amazing U.S. Job Growth Says:

    [...] Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post thinks we have a “bauble economy” — its all just a “giant Ponzi scheme.” The facts just keep contradicting him. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “employment grew by 215,000 in November.” On Wednesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised our national GDP for the 3rd quarter upwards to 4.3% from an initial estimate of 3.8% [...]

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