This week, a WTF pair of plots were published on some economic data, namely US retail sales and consumer confidence.
I have a theory about that…
Note that consumer confidence, which is generally taken to be a coincident economic indicator, declines sharply, while retail sales increased.
So, clearly, this is
because there were 5 weekends in the reporting period because costs per item on essentials are up because of the Andelkrag Effect from Prince Valiant!
In an early Prince Valiant story, which I vividly recall reading in the Original Icelandic as a child, Valiant travels to Castle Andelkrag under siege by Attila the Hun and, for reasons I do not recall, breaks through the lines to join Prince Camoran and the castle defenders who wait for word of reinforcements who will break the siege.
There are no reinforcements coming, and Camoran knows that.
So each day the knights fight, and each night they feast.
Valiant asks Camoran why he does not conserve their supplies, and Camoran essentially replies that there is no point – they are going out in style!
One day, no food remains for the feast.
The women go up the hightower, carrying small knives at their belt.
Prince Camoran torches the castle, and the knights charge the Hun lines.
Except of course our hero, who, like a true Norse hero, serendipitously survives, heroically, and escapes to tell the tale. And exact brutal revenge…
That explains the “WTF” economy.
I don’t recall the story telling us anything about the non-noble non-combatants.
They are rarely in the stories.
The other interesting thing about the plots, is that:
1) the consumer confidence drop and level seem to be strong predictors of imminent recession
2) incumbent Presidents, in recent times, consistently lose re-election when this happens shortly before election (yes, both times, ok 3 times if you count Gore… – I’m an astrophysicist we extrapolate from sparser data than that all the time!).
Be interesting to see if this dip is short enough and early enough for Obama to get out of it, and, of course, whether any republican candidate who can beat Obama can survive the primaries.