May 13, 2009

STIMULUS: Retail sales fall for second straight month in April, raising doubts about recovery.

UPDATE: More worries:

The “green shoots” theory of economic recovery is starting to look a bit like the herbs in my back yard–the ones I forgot to tell Peter to water while I was in Omaha. Retail sales fell again, despite confident proclamations that consumers had rethought their overreaction last fall. And foreclosures hit another record, which was oddly described as a “levelling off” by a lot of papers. The March numbers showed a big spike, because legislative and corporate moratoriums expired. In that context, a 1% increase in April isn’t a “levelling off”–it’s extraordinarily worrying.

Read the whole thing. Plus, How’s Obama’s foreclosure policy working out? Not so well. What we need is a steady hand on the tiller; what we’re getting is reckless spending and a sharp increase in “regime uncertainty,” which discourages investment and hiring.

And there’s this confidence-inspiring headline from the Post: Fannie Loses $23 Billion, Prompting Even Bigger Bailout: Chance of Repaying Taxpayers Is Slim. So how’re we doing?

MORE: Daniel Harrison thinks retail sales are better than they sound.

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