The Norman Transcript

Opinion

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
Opinion
  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Protect your home from wildfires

    To most people, fuel is what you put into your gas tank. To firefighters, it means something altogether different. To people who make a living putting out fires, fuel is that material that feeds wildfires — and there is an abundance of it ...

    April 12, 2014

  • League of Women Voters meeting

    Editor, The Transcript: On Saturday, May 10, the Norman League of Women Voters will hold its annual meeting at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 601 24th Ave. SW, Norman, OK, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm....

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

Video
Facebook