Just So You Know: Watergate and Recession

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue, left log scale), industrial production (red, right log scale). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, Fed via FRED, NBER.

13 thoughts on “Just So You Know: Watergate and Recession

    1. pgl

      “Econ genius Stephen Moore will keep us safe with a little 4% growth happy talk” which begs two questions:

      (1) Is Kudlow feeding Moore some of his cocaine; and
      (2) When will see the blistering reviews of Hassett’s “masterpiece” – the latest Economic Report of the President.

      Krugman gave a very short review but that is all I have seen so far.

  1. Moses Herzog

    I’m guessing this is from the most recent Midwestern floods, but I do not know that for a fact. When I drove semi—YEARS ago, I saw stuff like this often and was the beneficiary of it more than once.

    My wild takeaway thought here is, next time you stop in a truckstop for some soda/coffee/refuel, and you see a truckdriver that looks like he hasn’t slept or showered in 72 hours and he’s kinda grumpy, (Hell, even if the uneducated S-O-B is wearing a MAGA cap) just give them an inkling of an inkling of an inking of respect because them and train engineers keep this country running, whether people choose to believe that fact or not.

  2. pgl

    A two-fer! After all the 1974 recession made sure Nixon’s replacement (Ford) did not get reelected. If we get rid of Trump we do not want to be stuck with Pence for too long. But let’s remember what did Ford in – those stupid WIN buttons.

    1. dilbert dogbert

      I remember the era. WIN = Wilbur Is Naughty
      Something about a car in the tidepool with Wilbur and Fanny Foxy.

  3. Moses Herzog

    The first time I saw this, was on ZeroHedge blog, I wanna say like 3 years ago, but it might have even been before that. If we think about how donald trump thinks playing slumber party with North Korea and Putin is the most fun he’s ever had—kind of brings an added dimension.

    The video is more “engaging” with sound, but you can listen to it without sound if you like and it’s pretty much the same.

  4. Dan

    Fed’ forecast is always over optimistic. Slowing down to what? 0 in the next couple of years. Anything could push us into a recession. Just a matter of time. Stock market PE is too high. We may not see a sharp correction like that in 2008, 2000 and 1991. But a slow painful one.

  5. joseph

    Yeah, I think that the real price of oil going up by more than 150% over a few months might have had a little something to do with that recession. But then that just raises the question why did the price of oil go up so fast. It was an oil embargo as a result of the US position on the Yom Kippur War and perhaps taking advantage of a politically weakened president unable to respond adequately to an oil shock.

    And that is the issue with Trump. You have a corrupt, incompetent and dementia impaired president who is unprepared to cope with whatever unexpected crisis the country might face in the next two years. That is the case regardless of a possible impeachment trial.

  6. Erik Poole

    joseph wrote: “But then that just raises the question why did the price of oil go up so fast. It was an oil embargo as a result of the US position on the Yom Kippur War and perhaps taking advantage of a politically weakened president unable to respond adequately to an oil shock.”

    The Arab Oil embargo lasted no more than 3 months and after it was over, production was ramped up as quickly as possible.

    I recall reading one AER paper from the 1980s (IIRC) that blamed the combination of highly stimulative monetary and fiscal policy that American elites used to sell the Vietnam War gook kill-fest to a reluctant American public who were not so much concerned about the welfare of the Vietnamese but rather wanted to avoid American deaths.

  7. joseph

    Erik, the actual embargo lasted from October 1973 to March 1974, but the effects persisted much longer. Overnight the price in current dollars jumped from $20 to over $50 and it stayed that high all the way through to 1979 when the second oil crisis due to the Iranian revolution sent the price soaring over $100 in current dollars and another recession just in time to install Ronald Reagan in office.

  8. Erik Poole

    joseph, That is the point. The price of oil kept climbing long after the embargo was over. From what I recall reading by January 1974, it was basically over.

    OPEC has never been able to prevent oil prices from going where they want to go. OPEC may have had some success stabilizing oil prices.

    Recall that USA already had the lowest excise taxes on gasoline and diesel among the rich OECD countries. That left the US economy particularly vulnerable to an oil price shock. American voters have democratically chosen to maintain that vulnerability to oil price shocks since then.

    Some additional benefits: low-density suburbs spread across the countryside with wonderful human weeny roasts recently in California where low-density suburbs have pushed back into semi-arid forests.

    37% adult obesity rate. Is this good or bad? I dunno. Pretty darn good if you sell opioids and other medical services. Perhaps it is good for unemployment as the resulting lower productivity creates more opportunities to hire additional workers.

    COPD epidemic. As people with PhDs will tell you, if ya can’t see it, it can’t hurt ya. Except you really cannot see PM<10 let alone PM<2 which result from internal combustion engine 'magic'.

    Then there is anthropogenic climate change but that can be easily fixed with a regional nuclear war which the USA has been hard at work trying to promote.

  9. 2slugbaits

    joseph in current dollars jumped from $20 to over $50

    Small quibble. I think you meant to say “inflation adjusted dollars” rather than “current dollars.” Normally “current” means “then year” price. But I agree with your point. Also, this doesn’t get a lot of attention, but there was a pretty good price spike in the summer of 1973 well before the Yom Kippur war and the oil embargo. Those of us who drove gas guzzling 455 cubic inch engines remember it well. The first gas lines started to show up around Memorial Day weekend in 1973 and the price of WTI spiked a few weeks later and never came down.

Comments are closed.