Comic Relief

Some of the best TV of the week comes Thursday mornings at 7:30 on CNBC.

There’s always the jobless claims number that comes out and often, as today, another important number or two as well. Rick Santelli at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announces the numbers and then all heck breaks loose. The panel at the CNBC hq launches into a dissection of what the numbers mean. Most of them are liberal Democrats and engage in pro administration spin, while Tea Party founder Santelli let’s them have it.

Today was no different, except Santelli had an ally in Kenneth Langone, sitting on the panel. Langone, Home Depot founder and businessman, had some apt remarks on the jobless claims number and durable goods. The February Durable goods number was down .9% –  a plunge from the January 3.6%. The capital goods orders were down 1.3%. Jobless claims were down 5,000 while the continuing claims number idled at 3.72 million jobless.

CNBC’s Steve Liesman saw things more positively  than Santelli.

“It’s called delusion, isn’t it?” replied Santelli. He ticked off the continuing pessimistic outlook for the economy, encompassing the deficit, job losses and declining GDP.  He cautioned that the perilous economic situation in Portugal is being ignored in the market, too. “The guy in the ivory tower doesn’t know what the businessman knows,” he said. Langone suggested Santelli  might be a good comedian.

“We don’t need comedy at night,” said Santelli. “I just turn on C-Span.” He went on to criticize TARP, differing with Liesman on its effectiveness. “Failure is the only regulation that works.”

Langone agreed that politicians aren’t handling the economy well. “Take away ‘I’ and they can’t talk,” he said, calling for the administration to  address the deficit.

While that doesn’t seem to be happening and the perils mount, at least Thursday morning’s reports offer some comic relief with their insights.


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