“Funny that these graphs consistently show the start of the Russian invasion, apparently a propos of nothing.”

That’s reader JohnH wondering why I put indications of the expanded Russian invasion of Ukraine (recalling the original invasion is in 2014), along with the recession. Well, it seemed like the beginning of the largest land war in Europe since World War II (with major battles not far from Kursk) had an impact on sentiment, etc., to wit:

I hope these graphs answer JohnH’s question.


54 thoughts on ““Funny that these graphs consistently show the start of the Russian invasion, apparently a propos of nothing.”

  1. Macroduck

    Jaonnt can’t seem to separate his political fantasies from reality. He’s not the only commenter with that problem.

  2. James

    I don’t think you will every answer JohnH’s “questions.” I do wonder if some of your trolls are members of the “conservative think tanks” that thought up this scheme to kick older adults and individuals with disabilities making less than $1,800/month off SNAP. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/iowa-to-spend-millions-kicking-families-off-food-stamps-more-states-may-follow/ar-AA19V7De Food processors and grocery chains fought the bill because they know there is a documented economic multiplier effect from SNAP benefits to local communities.
    “More than 200 faith leaders across Iowa signed a letter to Reynolds and legislative leaders saying they oppose the bill “on moral, religious and humanitarian grounds.”” but Republicans responded that this will keep poor people from buying candy and sugary soda – not realizing that a lot of the corn they grow goes into soda/candy in the form of HFCS. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/iowa-lawmakers-pass-new-asset-test-for-snap-benefits-that-could-kick-off-thousands/ar-AA19QVLX
    One of the many ironies of this is that Iowa is a top state for federal farm subsidies – receiving more than $24 billion over the years. https://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php?fips=19000&progcode=totalfarm&yr=mtotal The Grassley Family Farm has received $451,520 from 1995 through 2021 – (Pat is leader of the Iowa legislature and Chuck “I must get another penny of farm subsidies before I die” Grassley has been a fixture of the U.S. Senate longer than most of us have been alive. What are Iowa farmers doing with all this welfare? Growing maize and soya for animal feed exports and enriching themselves on govt. welfare. Meanwhile elderly and individuals with disabilities in Iowa go hungry. Should we impose some type of use-testing on these farmers? I thought the primary mission of USDA funding was to ensure domestic food security?

    1. Anonymous

      “Growing maize and soya for animal feed exports ”

      what do you have against bacon and burgers?

      a good part of the corn i used to watch grow living in indiana was for the hog farms you could tell my scent a mile away!

      and those subsidies for grassley farms would hardly pay for fuel for one big john deere implement made in moline, illinois across the mississippi from davenport, iowa.

  3. JohnH

    Apart from geopolitical risk and oil prices, it’s hard to discern any particular cause and effect…particularly since lots of other things were going on during that period (high inflation starting in early 2021, rate increases in 2022) that could have impacted the numbers.

    Are you suggesting that there is ongoing blowback from the sanctions on Russia, something that (apart from rising oil prices) was not acknowledged as a possibility a year ago?

    1. pgl

      OK – you finally got the fact that Dr. Chinn’s post was about the US economy. And you finally admit that the sanctions did not cause massive harm to the US economy. Well golly get – little Jonny boy finally learned to tell the truth for once.

      Of course if little Jonny boy were not a kept pet poodle in the Kremlin and made his little way to the streets of Moscow – he might figure out how impoverished they are just to make sure Putin lives large. Hope your master gives you another bone.

      1. JohnH

        Obviously the graphs show the long, slow declining growth rate of the US economy? It also shows the date of the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

        Does the graph imply some connection? What is the point?

        Are we to believe that, contrary to a year ago, economists here now believe that there was blowback from US sanctions? Does this also imply that responsibility for the decline could be attributed to nothing else?

        The problem with a graph with no written conclusions is that the reader is left to draw his own conclusions…or be left just wondering.

        1. pgl

          “Obviously the graphs show the long, slow declining growth rate of the US economy?”

          No it doesn’t. But leave it to Putin’s pet poodle to misrepresent as that is what Jonny needs to do to be fed by his Kremlin masters.

        2. baffling

          “Are we to believe that, contrary to a year ago, economists here now believe that there was blowback from US sanctions?”
          once again, a strawman argument. most folks did not believe there would be no ramifications from sanctions in the usa. most good folks were willing to pay that price to put a stop to the evil that is putin. john continues to try and justify his support of putin. evil behavior.

    2. Macroduck

      Johnny? You need to look up “apropos”. You’ve misused it and misspelled it.

      You’ve also tried to put words in Menzie’s mouth, as you so often do in your cheap attempts at debate. You’re the one who drones on about blowback from sanctions.

      Listen up – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the largest military action in Europe since the end of WWII. It resulted in tens of thousands, perhaps over a hundred thousand deaths, food and fuels shortages, mass migration, sharp declines in output in Russia and Ukraine. You’re breezy Lord Haw-Haw routine is all anyone needs to know about who you are and what interests you serve.

      1. pgl

        Jonny boy loves to use BIG terms as a substitute for actual thinking and clarity. Funny thing – he is as bad at the English language as he is at everything else.

      2. JohnH

        Sorry, Ducky, for using the French spelling without the accent aigu…

        As for the word’s meaning, your English as a third language is failing you again, since the phrase expressed exactly what I intended.

        Definition: Without reference to anything.
        Without any apparent reason or purpose.

        1. Noneconomist

          “Without any apparent reason or purpose” pretty much sums up most of your posts on Econbrowser. Your destiny calls. You continue trying to find a way to go. But no matter how hard you try, you’re still you.

        2. Macroduck

          If, in making reference to Russia’s invasion, you meant to say “with reference to nothing”, I’ll accept that you said what you meant to say. It’s logic, not language, at which you’ve failed.

          And you’ve still missed a spelling mistake.

    3. Anonymous

      the start of the smo did little for geopolitical risk, anyone listening to putin since 2014 knew the risks, the smo made one small risk become an ongoing engagement.

      the intensified risks are now posed by usa and overly bellicose poland and old blighty,, aka uk.

      in terms of sanctions: economic deals have two sides either side benefits, you cut the deal and both sides lose. good thing europe had a mild winter!

      1. Macroduck

        Russia invaded Ukraine. You say the real risk is from the U.S. Putin threatened the use of nukes. You say the risk is from Poland. Russian and Wagner Group mercenaries have engaged in widespread war crimes. You blame the UK. And you crib from Yves Smith in calling the UK “old blighty”.

        Seems like you get your ideas wholesale from fellow travelers. Not an original idea among them. You don’t even deserve “thanks for playing”.

        1. Anonymous

          fellow travelers! you are mind reading!

          poland is allegedly considering an anschluss style merge with zelenski and sending forces. should be fun to watch.

          bj allegedly pooh-poohed the peace brokered in istanbul a year ago, and biden’s blank check!

          good thing the russians are gps jamming causing mass jdam failures. if it were that easy to jam the guidance….. the weapon is no good from the outset.

          the operational situation is such russia won’t be the side starting special weapon use.

          keep up, and don’t just go by msn…

  4. Yuriy Gorodnichenko

    Yes, the largest land war in Europe since WW2. How can this not be important?

    1. pgl

      Keep in mind that JohnH is Putin’s pet poodle. If Putin is paying JohnH – then Putin indeed is bankrupting the Russian government.

  5. Macroduck

    The FT runs an opinion piece on the breakdown of French/German cooperation and implications for Europe:


    The bulk of blame is laid to Scholz and Germany, with the fragility of Scholz’s coalition identified as the root of the problem.

    The author, Eurasia Group’s Mujtaba Rahman, recognizes there have been earlier strains between Germany and France in the EU era, but claims this time is different. I’m interested to know if that’s the case, but Rahman only evidence is seeming:

    “Germany’s new power structure seems uninterested or unwilling to think in European terms.”

    That’s it. His entire evidence for a troubling turn in Europe is “German seems”. It’s as if Rahman wanted his piece to sound more important than just an update on EU political gossip, and this is how he did it. Anyone not a member of the troll choir have an insight?

    1. Ulenspiegel

      ““Germany’s new power structure seems uninterested or unwilling to think in European terms.”

      Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and they usually stink. 🙂

      1. Ivan

        I think you nailed it. There always were differences between those two countries and there still is.

    2. Moses Herzog

      @ Macroduck
      I think Germany has come up short in helping Ukraine, both pre-invasion and post-invasion. Whether that is a systemic problem or just some bad judgement, I’m on the fence right now. I could be convinced either way in the systemic sense. But that Germany failed in terms of judgement I think is undoubtably true. Going ahead with the gas pipeline up to the timestamp of war being the obvious example (other bad decisions by Germany related to Ukraine could be enumerated).

      I’ve been on the record on this, here on the blog pre-war, and have argued with UlenRussky about this exact thing.

  6. pgl


    Why is the Australian Tax Office so much better than the IRS when it comes to transfer pricing enforcement. Now if you enjoy a Coke in Europe or a Pepsi in Australia, be aware that these sellers of concentrate make absurdly high profits (the third party bottlers not so much) but find all sorts of clever ways of noting paying their fair share of income taxes.

  7. w

    I’d say that JohnH has a good point. Those graphs do not show any particularly significant inflection related to that event – certainly nothing in proportion to the news hysteria at the time of the event.
    The war has turned out to be a long-term bleeding down of Russian military and economic (and human) resources at some material cost to western countries and grievous cost to the Ukraine. The build-up of emotion at the time was very necessary to secure some degree of western unity; it takes a crisis to do that. Some cracks are beginning to show but, so far, the resolve has been quite good (though the US contributions have far outweighed the European… as should have been expected).
    And, as ever, the war is a developing ground for weaponry… drones now clearly trump WWII style armor and that is a profound shift (and one that was predictable).

    1. Macroduck

      “Those graphs do not show any particularly significant inflection related to that event – certainly nothing in proportion to the news hysteria at the time of the event.”

      All in the eye of the beholder. “Particularly”, “significant”, “proportion” and “hysteria” are all open to debate. Otherwise, I agree with you.

  8. pgl

    Now I get it. JohnH has to be the most gullible Putin poodle ever. But wait – Faux News has their own version of JohnH!


    Fox News’s top-rated host, Tucker Carlson, accused the media and U.S. government of lying about the war in Ukraine, reportedly on the basis of altered versions of leaked military documents shared by a well-known pro-Russian propagandist.

  9. Anonymous


    export more product import less crude!

    i was looking into the retrospective of usa oil export/imports at the eia long term charts.


    crude imports tended higher than under trump first year of biden term and deflected lower post feb 2022. usa less demand for imports, partly due to release from the national petroleum reserve. 191* million barrels less in the reserve compared to 8 apr 2022.


    usa has been a net exporter of petroleum products since 2011, largest export margins since feb 2022!


    the consolidated charts shows usa much better exporter of petroleum than under trump’s usa energy boom!

    what if usa had done as china and early on restricted export of refined petroleum product?

    *https://ir.eia.gov/wpsr/overview.pdf table 1 “strategic petroleum reserve” line

  10. Econned

    Menzie Chinn,
    From the original post it doesn’t seem the trend in WEI from Lewis-Mertens-Stock changes much if you extend the time series (didn’t look at the other series because WEI is sufficient in this point). In fact, the post-invasion period looks to be more or less a continuing reversion from COVID-related impacts. It’s extremely sloppy and disingenuous to cherry-pick these series to exclude the dates impacted by COVID considering WEI is an index showing changes relative to the prior year. Beginning the data in Jan2022 is a dishonest attempt at analyses considering the rather drastic dynamics the series exhibited throughout the year prior. At least in this post you decided to start in Jan2019.

      1. Econned

        Menzie Chinn,
        I don’t understand. Yes, WEI is y/y. Your graphs even say y/y%. What is m/m? Are your graphs labeled incorrectly?

          1. Econned

            Menzie Chinn,
            This still doesn’t make sense. It’s an index expressed as y/y (as you indicate in the graphs in the post). What in the world are you taking about?

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            EConned: In the post you left the comment on (four graphs, with oil prices), the data are monthly levels. You referred to a *different* post with WEI, which is y/y. y/y calculations will show little of a sharp break since you’re average weekly changes over an entire year. So just because you don’t see a sharp break in the WEI doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on in February 2022. That’s why I like looking at *levels* of variables.

          3. Econned

            Menzie Chinn,
            I clearly am referencing the original post and WEI:
            “From the original post it doesn’t seem the trend in WEI from Lewis-Mertens-Stock changes much if you extend the time series”.
            Also, if you like looking at the *levels* why did you post an index representing Y/Y values? In this new post you’re trying to defend the old post and doing a very poor job at it.

    1. Macroduck

      “In fact, the post-invasion period looks to be more or less a continuing reversion from COVID-related impacts.”

      This relies on the sloppy and disingenuous assumption that CoVid’s impact remains constant over time. All of the net loss of jobs from Covid has been recovered, plus more. Essentially all of the Covid-related government support programs have expired. The Fed has engaged units most aggressive monetary tightening ever. Reversion from Covid-related impact? That’s it? Nobody with any grasp of how economies work would write what you wrote.

      Your mania to find fault with Menzie leads you into the stupidest, Johnny-level errors. Keep this up and the self-inflicted brain rot will become irreversible.

      1. Econned

        1) my comment absolutely doesn’t rely on an “assumption that CoVid’s impact remains constant over time” – please go understand basic statistics
        2) there’s more than just jobs represented in WEI – please go understand the data you’ve decided to opine on
        3) a full recovery in jobs wouldn’t negate the usefulness of expanding the time series – please go understand the data you’ve decide to opine on
        4) “Essentially all of the Covid-related government support programs have expired” – this is relevant precisely because it would change the factors impacting y/y changes in the data so please go understand the data you’ve decided to opine on
        5) the FOMC’s actions would further support my claim – please go understand basic economics
        6) the irony in your last paragraph’s first sentence following its preceding paragraph is worthy of a Hollywood comedy screenplay. Very “well done”.

        1. Macroduck

          Seriously? Pile all the words together that you want. You’re making no sense. Which is usually why truculant types like you pile words up.

          Anyone can claim they have a point. Can you state the point you claim to be making? A simple, falsifiable declarative statement? I don’t think you can.

          1. Econned

            I stated the point: “From the original post it doesn’t seem the trend in WEI from Lewis-Mertens-Stock changes much if you extend the time series (didn’t look at the other series because WEI is sufficient in this point). In fact, the post-invasion period looks to be more or less a continuing reversion from COVID-related impacts.”
            It’s not my responsibility (or interest) to ensure every internet rando understands try comment. The target is aware of their sloppiness.

  11. pgl

    Federal Net Outlays as Percent of Gross Domestic Product

    Less than 17.5% in Clinton’s last year. Up under Bush43 and then way up from the Great Depression. Obama got this back to 20% by 2016 and then came Trump and it spiked about 31%. Biden has been bringing this down.

    Facts to remember when Republicans refuse to extend the debt ceiling over a hissy fit over spending.

    1. Macroduck

      McCarthy is still unable to pull his own caucus together behind a set of blackmail demands. This is more or less what was expected when McCarthy had to beg his way into the speakership.

      This is the big risk in using default for blackmail – the House won’t be able to get past the usual posturing before the clock runs out. McCarthy could rely on Democratic votes, but that would probably end his speakership and it’s perfectly obvious that McCarthy puts his own aggrandizement ahead of the good of the country.

      1. pgl

        Kevin McCarthy brought his show to Manhattan today. He flopped so fast that it was the short running show in Broadway history.

      2. Ivan

        You wonder what all those Florida retirees will do when they are told that the GOP will refuse to pay their social security checks and insist on making the government go bankrupt?

        That is not actually true, but “not true” never stopped Fox news and GOPsters from saying something it it was politically beneficial. I can already see the adds.

        “Members of GOP refuse to allow government to pay its bills! They would rather bankrupt the government, social security and MediCare! Call your GOP representative and let them know that you paid for those benefits and you want them!”

        The GOP black mail strategy has always been assuming that “Democrats would never be as irresponsible as we are”. Time to show the nihilists what nihilism does. Then demand a clean bill that once and for all authorize the administration to borrow as much as needed to pay the bills for congressional authorized spending. End the blackmail circus, but let it hammer the GOP one last time.

  12. David O'Rear

    Food exports are another way economies can import water.
    China, the Middle East and many other places simply do not have the water they need.
    Rather than ship water around the world, we ship food and things like cotton.

    Call it value-added water.

      1. Macroduck

        Now, take the scramble for relocated water in Western U.S. in the context of Mr. O’Rear’s point. Western agriculture is not exporting its own endowment, impounded in food. It’s exporting someone else’s endowment and collecting economic rents from that rndowment. Seems like time to reassess.

        Oh, and what do we know about optimal taxation and rents?

  13. Anonymous

    about 30 days after the smo start the fed peaked QE and began QT. along with rising fed funds rates.

    monetary interventions can imply trends in brent and wti.

  14. mp123

    It had an impact on sentiment, and on oil via risk premium. Though, Russian oil exports haven’t been disrupted, and the risk premium in oil has eroded.

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