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Friday, May 2, 2008

Heckova Job Bushies

posted by on May 2 at 22:33 PM

Correlation is not causation, but…

(The blue line is US GDP in billions of barrels of oil, at “current” dollars/prices for the given year. The red line is a four year moving average of the same. Values for 2008 are the current estimate for annual GDP over last week’s oil price.)

… check out the nifty inflection points in 1993 and 2001.

Now I want to do per-capita GDP in barrels of oil….

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It's a nice picture but, unfortunately, it doesn't tell us anything other than that the price of oil has risen.

Posted by Timothy Hicks | May 2, 2008 11:00 PM

Correlation is not causation . . . but maybe you could tell us what the fuck you're getting at? Nobody wants to think that hard at quarter to midnight on a friday.

Posted by idaho | May 2, 2008 11:41 PM

You could do the same with pork bellies or gold and get a similar curve.

But Excel 2007 makes really pretty graphs!

Posted by bma | May 2, 2008 11:41 PM

Mr. Golob, your name is weird, but I love you.

Posted by Fnarf | May 3, 2008 1:09 AM

What does "moving average" mean, exactly? Is it the predicted average for that year?

Posted by Patrick | May 3, 2008 4:19 AM


Posted by j4zz3rgrl | May 3, 2008 5:24 AM

so basically this is a graph of x, and a blended average of x? the point completely escapes me too...

Posted by freshnycman | May 3, 2008 6:38 AM

@7 the moving average of data correlates, but is not necessarily caused by, the data itself.

Posted by Giffy | May 3, 2008 7:40 AM

Are you saying that the real measure of standard of living is how much oil one can buy? How about food, ipods, laptops, cashmere sweaters, etc.

Are you sure Giffy? I would think that the moving average is directly caused by the data. Moving averages smooth out the data.

Posted by McG | May 3, 2008 8:13 AM

@9 it was a joke...

Posted by Giffy | May 3, 2008 8:20 AM

ouch, i'm laughing on the inside.

Posted by McG | May 3, 2008 8:41 AM

I called up some of my Republican friends to explain this one to me.

Apparently, GDP was greatly excited about the Bush administration coming to power. Like a young lady waiting for their prom date to arrive, GDP got all exuberant during GWB's campaign and totally maxed out on the day day he took the Oath. ( Hell yeah! lets make out!)

...but then, GDP kinda got all depressed and feeling sad as it realized in no more then 8 years, Bush will have to leave and someone else, like a yucky Dem, will be in the white house. I mean, it's hard to stay happy and upbeat when all you can think about is that you're gonna have to say 'goodnight and goodbye'.

...makes sense.

Posted by SeanD | May 3, 2008 9:11 AM

GDP is bullshit, you know. just like inflation excluding food & energy.

Posted by maxsolomon@home | May 3, 2008 10:45 AM

A rolling, or moving, average is just taking the average of the past few samples. Here I did the past four years. It's a mathematical technique to smooth out data and make longer term trends more obvious. You've probably heard of "tracking polls." They use this technique too.

What am I trying to prove? I don't know. I'm a gigantic nerd, who makes charts on Friday nights for fun. Surprised?

Talking about the economy in terms of barrels of oil is just another way of converting "current" or nominal dollar amounts into inflation-adjusted real dollars.

I kinda dig using the cost of oil. Oil is arguably the most intrinsically valuable substance on Earth right now--far more valuable than gold and more valuable than just a source of energy.

This is kinda nifty to me. The US economy in terms of barrels of oil, after growing each year under the Clinton administration, shrunk each year under the Bush administration. It doesn't prove what *caused* this to happen, but it happened.

Nor is this the same as graphing oil prices. There were years during the Clinton administration when oil prices went up; the economy just grew quicker.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | May 3, 2008 11:24 AM

Oh, I get it. That is really quite interesting.

Posted by Patrick | May 3, 2008 11:34 AM

The more important question is who said "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics"? I can never remember if it was Mark Twain or Disraeli.

Posted by Mark at YVR | May 3, 2008 12:42 PM

The graph is interesting because GOP energy lobbyists have tried for years to convince us that the absolute tonnage of C02 released into the atmosphere doesn't matter, only tons of C02 per dollar of GDP -- they've called this "carbon intensity" or something like that. Of course this was a transparently flimsy attempt to lower the bar.

But even when judged against the meaningless carbon intensity metric, this graph shows that Bush administration energy policy has failed (at least for C02 due to oil).

Posted by scotto | May 3, 2008 4:47 PM

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