The Norman Transcript

Editorials

February 11, 2013

Decline in GDP serves as message to Washington

NORMAN — The nation’s economic data revealed a surprise for the last three months of 2012. America’s Gross Domestic Product, the broadest measure of economic activity, fell slightly in the final quarter of the year.

While the decrease was a small 0.1 percent, it definitely is not the direction we want to see the economy heading.

We suppose you can take comfort in the assessment by many economists who said that data was a bit of a fluke. Two key areas weighing heavily on the GDP figure were a drop in inventories — likely linked to the Christmas season after merchants had built up supplies — and a decrease in government spending. That’s something not expected to reoccur.

But is that true? Remember all that talk at the end of the year about the fiscal cliff and scheduled cuts in government spending if Republicans and Democrats couldn’t get their acts together in Washington? The deadline for those cuts was delayed for a couple of months, not resolved.

It’s worth asking why consumers, amid an apparent recovery, would express a lack of confidence. The explanation is obvious: Consumers were reacting to the nonsense in Washington. The fiscal cliff debacle would shake anyone’s confidence in this nation’s political leadership.

That’s the lesson here for federal officials. They may like to posture for their perceived constituencies. But we suspect those constituencies will evaporate if Washington’s intransigence produces a return to recession.

What happens in Washington isn’t simply politics and entertainment. It plays a major role in terms of where the nation as a whole is headed.

If individuals and businesses are worried about government direction (or the lack of one), they will scale back and go into defensive mode. That will have harmful consequences.

Meanwhile, we also would point out last quarter’s GDP decline was linked to decreased government spending. For America to reduce its deficit, federal spending cuts are necessary.

But they need to proceed in a rational, sensible manner. Haphazard actions such as the fiscal cliff aren’t the results of sound public policy. They are symbols of failed leadership.

— New Castle,

Pa., News

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Tax free starts today

    A few years ago, Oklahoma shoppers were getting used to driving south to take advantage of Texas’ tax-free weekend. The outlet mall on Interstate 35 near Gainesville was packed with as many Oklahoma tagged cars as those from Texas....

    August 1, 2014

  • Top conservatives, liberals

    Three local lawmakers made the lists of top 10 conservatives and top 10 liberals in the Oklahoma Constitution’s 2014 Conservative Index. Editor Steve Byas reported that it’s the 36th year for the publication’s index....

    August 1, 2014

  • Marijuana a gateway for new OK voters

    A poll this past year showed significant Oklahoma support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The poll showed that more than 71 percent of those surveyed thought medical marijuana was appropriate for patients who ...

    July 31, 2014

  • America paying the piper

    Every third American you pass on the street has debts that have been turned over to a collection agency whose 140,000 workers are keeping the phones ringing....

    July 31, 2014

  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014