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July 17, 2009

Google It!: Larry Summers Pretty Desperate for Evidence That Stimulus is Working

Stimulus? I meant Stabilization.

Your typical not-so-smart guy would think that the Stimulus -- erm, Stabiization -- is working when it achieves the parameters of success Obama actually specified for it -- to wit, "immediately jumpstart job creation:"

That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth.

-- Barack Hussein Obama

Of the four words in that conditions-of-success summary, I think the four most important words are "immediately," "jumpstart," "job," and "creation."

Or, keeping the unemployment rate below 8%, as they predicted in their notoriously erroneous chart.

But Larry Summers is smarter than the average. He knows that those criteria are meaningless.

What does count? What does indicate the Stimulus -- ehhh, Stabilization -- has worked its stimulative -- um, stabilizing -- magic?

Why, Google search-term statistics, silly!

Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.

The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.

Oh thank God. For months I had been sweating the famously leading economic indicator of Google searches for "economic depression."

Think of all those unemployed, or less than fully employed, search terms... search terms like "Spicy Latina Justica" or "Lace Wigs." They've really been taking it on the nose.

But now that the searches for "economic depression" have declined so markedly, those under-employed search terms will finally get back to work.

Search for the term were up four-fold when the recession deepened in the earlier part of the year, and the recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher, Summers told Peterson Institute for International Economics.

You know what doesn't show that consumer confidence is higher? The actual consumer confidence indices and surveys.

But that's "old thinking."

Summers continued the administration’s push-back against critics of President Barack Obama’s handling of the recession, defending the economic stimulus package against Republicans critics who have tried to paint the program as a failure because it hasn’t stemmed the unemployment rate.

Silly critics, thinking that a spending initiative pledged to "save or create" jobs which hasn't "saved or created" jobs is a failure simply because it didn't do what it was intended to do.

Again, old thinking.

Old thinking, in fact, much like thinking that job losses and job creation were the relevant terms of evaluation vis a vis the unemployment rate and economic health of the nation. Who knew there was a third, more important, statistic lurking out there, "jobs saved"?

But note now that that new-fangled statistic is also discarded as not truly bearing on the current situation. We have a new statistic that proves success.

Google searches.

Thanks to AHFF Geoff.

The Age of Obamanomics: Rob Crawford writes:

I think Larry just created a new form of investment -- search term futures.

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posted by Ace at 03:15 PM

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