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Lots of economic news today: talking to Matt Lauer, with whom he had previously joked about the Super Bowl and Jessica Simpson’ “weight battle,” President Obama says that more banks are likely to fail. But, as we have nothing to fear but fear itself, Obama’s permanent-campaign arm is calling for “economic recovery house meetings,” which sound like house parties except much less festive, as everyone will be nervously watching Virginia Governor Tim Kaine’s video, which “will outline the plan and answer as many of your questions as possible,” which questions you can send Kaine in advance or else yell at the screen.
Maybe, as a patriotic gesture, you should buy a new TV for the occasion, because consumer spending is down, with December’s numbers making for “the worst year for consumer spending since 1961.” Even welfare kings and queens aren’t spending, we assume, because as the Times reports, public assistance remains flat — a triumph of “the end of welfare as we know it,” but also, like many such triumphs over the past few decades, a drag on our current economy. Senate Republicans do their part by vowing to stop the stimulus bill, as soon as they get tax cheat Tom Daschle. Happy days are here again!