The Economy Continues To Move In A Positive Direction

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about the latest economic numbers. As usual when a Republican is President, the ‘experts’ were surprised that the numbers were better than expected.

The article reports:

It’s not great news for the White House, but it could have been a lot worse. The US economy’s growth slowed to 2.1% in the second quarter, down a full point from Q1. However, with economists predicting a recession right around the corner, the growth is still substantial enough to look positive:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

The Bureau’s second-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 2). The “second” estimate for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on August 29, 2019.

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter reflected downturns in inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. These downturns were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and federal government spending.

President Trump weighed in on Twitter:

The article at Hot Air concludes:

“Not bad” is a little bit of an understatement, actually. It’s pretty good, especially in the context of the global economy. That’s the bigger anchor, especially the trade disputes that at least for one quarter hit our exports hard.

The steady growth with low inflation should result in the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates in the near future.

President Trump’s Economy

Today The Daily Signal posted an article showing four aspects of economic growth under President Trump.

This is their list:

1. Growth Gets Closer to 4 Percent  –  remember when President Obama said that we would not see growth of 3 percent again (that is probably true under Democratic economic policies).

2. Stock Market Hits Record Highs – this is important because many working Americans have 401k retirement accounts. This helps all of those Americans–not only the ‘rich.’

3. Companies Are ‘Coming Back Fast’ – part of this is due to pending lower corporate tax rates and part of this is due to the continued low cost of energy as America moves toward energy independence.

4. Healthy Consumer and Employer Confidence –  optimism can be contagious, and President Trump understands that and projects optimism.

If the Republicans in Congress would cooperate and pass tax reform, we will all be even better off.

Elections Do Have Consequences

In November, the American voters elected Donald Trump as President. I am not sure that the political left has yet recovered from what they would consider their worst nightmare. However, we are where we are. So where are we?

On October 7th, Wayne Allyn Root posted a story at Townhall describing the current state of the American economy.

Here are some highlights from the article:

The DOW has risen almost 25% since Election Day. That’s an increase of over 4,300 points in about 11 months. That’s the biggest increase in that period of time in the history of the stock market.

The S&P 500 has passed $20 trillion in value for the first time in history.

Because most middle-income Americans now have 401k plans because they are smart enough not to rely on Social Security, this is important to the average American.

More highlights:

As I’ve always argued, GDP is a far more important economic indicator than the stock market. GDP is hard evidence of how “mom and pop” are doing on Main Street. Under Obama, America suffered the eight worst consecutive GDP years in history. Obama’s eight-year GDP average was 1.3%- the exact same GDP number as the period of the Great Depression.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. GDP has now been adjusted to a remarkable 3.1% growth in the second quarter (Trump’s first full quarter as president). That’s almost THREE TIMES HIGHER than Obama’s average GDP over his two terms.

Then there is job growth:

President Trump added 1.33 million jobs from January through September versus Obama’s record of losing 4.59 million jobs in that same first nine months. Remarkable.

But the latest jobs report just came out on Friday. According to the Bureau of Labor Household Survey, the number of employed Americans increased by an amazing 906,000 for the month of September. But that’s not even the highlight.

Remember that almost every single job created in eight years under Obama was a crappy, low-wage, part-time job. Well under President Trump last month, full-time jobs (the kind we all want and need) increased by 935,000- the most in one month in the 21st century. 

You would think that this sort of economic growth would put a damper on ‘Trump derangement syndrome.’ However, it seems to have had exactly the opposite effect. I think that is the result of the fact that the Washington establishment is working very hard to make sure President Trump does not succeed. Why? He is not a globalist, and he is not a Washington insider. His success would be a threat to the Washington establishment’s ability to come to Washington as middle-class Americans and leave twenty or thirty years later as  millionaires. As President Trump begins to accomplish things that have a positive impact on average Americans, expect the Washington establishment in both parties to become louder and more shrill.

The Economic Recovery In One Graph

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted a story about the latest Gross Domestic Product numbers. The article included the following graph:

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Gross Domestic Product grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.1% in the first quarter of 2014.

The article in the Wall Street Journal explains some of the factors responsible for the low economic growth. Some suggested causes were the extremely cold winter which slowed consumer spending, and the sudden drop in exports, declining at a 7.6% pace in the first quarter.

Obviously, this is not the robust economy the President has been claiming.

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The Revised Numbers Tell A Different Story

On Friday the Washington Times posted a story about the Obama economy. As I am sure you remember, when the government announced that the economy had grown 3.2 percent in the last months of 2013, economists announced that America was well on its way to prosperity. Well, not so fast.

The article reports:

However, according to a revised estimate released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, that 3.2 percent figure was a wild exaggeration.

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of our country’s entire economic output, grew no more than 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter — a pitifully low growth rate for the largest economy in the world.

“Averaged across the four quarters of last year, real GDP added 1.9 percent in 2013 from 2012,” said Forbes’ website reported.

So what happened? Part of the reason for the lack of growth is that personal income has not grown for several months, putting a damper on consumer demand. Also, 2013 brought higher taxes to all income levels–some hidden taxes included in ObamaCare like the medical devices tax. High earners also faced increased capital gains taxes, which slowed risk taking and job growth. In February, contracts to buy new homes fell for the eighth month in a row.

Unless something happens to cause President Obama to change his policies, we will have three more years of a non-recovery recovery., If you are not happy with the direction the country is moving in, you need to voice your opinion at the ballot box in November. A Republican Senate may be able to reverse enough of this to get the economy moving.

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At Some Point, Even Low-Information Voters Will Laugh At These Reports

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about recent economic growth in America. The Bureau of Economic Analysis claimed a moderate economic annualized growth rate of 3.2% last month. The Bureau has now adjusted its numbers, saying that the economy only grew at the stagnation level of 2.4%:

The article reports the following from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.2 percent. With this second estimate for the fourth quarter, an increase in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) was smaller than previously estimated.

Reuters reports the following:

Consumer spending was cut to a 2.6 percent rate, still the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2012. It had previously been reported to have grown at a 3.3 percent pace. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, contributed 1.73 percentage points to GDP growth, down from the previously reported 2.26 percentage points.

As a result, final domestic demand was lowered two-tenths of a percentage point to a 1.2 percent rate. The loss of momentum appears to have spilled over into in the first quarter of 2014, with an unusually cold winter weighing on retail sales, home building and sales, hiring and industrial production.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

Weather will be a factor in 2014 Q1, but it wasn’t in 2013 Q4. The economy was stagnating well before the polar vortices arrived, and has been ever since the June 2009 technical recovery. This is just more of the same.

President Obama’s economic policies are not working. Can we please try something else?

 

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How To Make Things Look Better When They Aren’t

Yesterday the Financial Times posted an article explaining that Brent Moulton, who manages the Bureau of Economic Analysis, has told the Financial Times that in July, government statistics will be updated to include such things as royalties and spending on research and development. Including those things will increase the size of the United States economy by 3 percent–making it appear that the economy has grown.

The article states:

“We are carrying these major changes all the way back in time – which for us means to 1929 – so we are essentially rewriting economic history,” said Mr Moulton.

This move represents a new international standard for Gross Domestic Product accounting. Considering the state of the world’s finances in general, I can’t help but wonder if this is simply a step into denial of the fiscal collapse that surrounds us at the present moment.

There is one aspect of the changes being made that I think is positive. The article reports that deficits in pension plans will also have to be included–what is promised will be measured as well as what is paid. These unfunded liabilities are something that federal, state, and local governments have kept below the radar for years–it will be good to see them brought out into the open.

The changes coming in July move us closer to worldwide accounting practices. I have very mixed emotions about that. The changes in July will also lull the low-information voters in America into believing the economy is growing at at least 3 percent. Believing that should be a stretch for anyone.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is an interesting read.

 

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Upside Down Priorities

Yesterday the Washington Examiner pointed out the lack of logic in two of President Obama’s recent decisions. Last week, President Obama announced drastic cuts to the military budget–cutting the number of troops and cutting the spending on new weapons and weapon systems.

The article reminds us:

First, Obama claimed that “even as our troops continue to fight in Afghanistan, the tide of war is receding.” What logically should have followed such an assertion was something about the surrender of an enemy and assurance that his defeat was so total and comprehensive that decades, if not centuries, will pass before he might again threaten the safety and security of the American people.

Obama could say nothing like that because no such surrender has been tendered, and it is clear to anybody with open eyes that the aggressors in the War on Terror are — Osama bin Laden’s death notwithstanding — planning lethal new attacks on Americans here at home and American interests around the world. It is as though FDR had said in April 1943 that the tide of World War II was receding and therefore it was time to slash American defense spending because American pilots had shot down a plane carrying Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, chief planner behind the attack on Pearl Harbor. No matter that Japanese troops still occupied half of the Pacific and would continue to wage war against the U.S.

The world is as dangerous (or more dangerous) as it was the day President Obama took office. Cutting our defense as Iran spreads its influence into Latin America and works to develop nuclear weapons is simply not smart.

At the same time he was cutting the jobs for thousands of our military, President Obama promised pay raises for federal employees. The raise is only a half-percent, but it is still a raise.

The article reminds us of a series of reports in USA Today by Dennis Cauchon in 2010. The article at the Washington Examiner states:

“The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade,” Cauchon found. “Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009, while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.” If anything, Obama should freeze federal pay indefinitely so private-sector employees can catch up with the bureaucrats.
 
It’s an election year, this is only the beginning.

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