February 20, 2012

GAS PRICES ARE GOING UP, and Steve Hayward notes that it’s not because the economy is recovering, since demand for gasoline is actually dropping. Shipping demand isn’t good either.

Speaking of demand, I had dinner last night with a college friend who trades electricity, and he says he’s not seeing any sign of a recovery in his line of work — you’d expect a boost in electricity demand that he’s just not encountering. I wonder, if you were, say, an investor or a foreign intelligence service, what U.S. metrics would you look at to determine if the economy was really recovering, if you didn’t trust the official numbers?

UPDATE: Reader Dean Cheng writes:

The problem that you’re identifying about American statistics (how can electricity consumption not rise if the economy is growing) is exactly the sort of thing that also raises questions about the Chinese economy.

For example, at one point, China was claiming a major increase in the number of cars sold, yet gasoline demand was dropping.

That we now must subject the American economy to the same kind of close scrutiny formerly reserved for places like the People’s Republic of China, must [be] a further reflection of the Hopey-Changey policies of President Obama.

Civil society has taken a beating, hasn’t it?