I just saw a copy of the latest quarterly Orange Book published by Bloomberg, a compendium of anecdotes and comments made by CEOs and CFOs on quarterly earnings calls. It is patterned after the Fed’s Beige Book, which compiles economic and business anecdotes from banks, businesses, economists and other market experts. I was struck by the opening paragraph in the Orange Book: “There is a growing chorus of commentaries from executives regarding the fiscal situation in Washington and the delay or reluctance of the business community to invest or hire at least until some of those uncertainties have lessened. Economic conditions in the final quarter were called ‘recessionary,’ ‘mixed,’ ‘weak,’ ‘soft,’ ‘muted’ and ‘challenging.’ There was a clear deceleration in the economy during the last three months of the year and many anecdotes point to a continuation into the first quarter of 2013.”
Apparently you can’t have an earnings call these days without bemoaning the economy and blaming the government – which deserves to be criticized for its inability to govern. But I question the impact the legislative stalemate is having on the economy.
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