How Does This Statement Make Sense?

Yesterday I posted an article that included the following:

…Newly-elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also endorsed impeaching Trump on her first day in office, according to The Nation, which described Tlaib as calling for “immediate steps” to remove the president from the White House.

“Each passing day brings more pain for the people most directly hurt by this president, and these are days we simply cannot get back. The time for impeachment proceedings is now,” Rep. Tlaib declared.

I really am confused about how this president is hurting people. I am further confused by looking at Representative Tlaib’s statement in view of some economic news that was reported today.

For instance, CNN is reporting today:

US employers added 312,000 jobs in December, well above what economists expected and underlining that the American economy remains strong despite recent market turbulence.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% as more people were looking for work. It had been at a 50-year low of 3.7% for two of the last three months.

Employers added 2.6 million jobs in 2018, compared to 2.2 million in 2017. Revisions to the October and November estimates added an additional 58,000 jobs to the 2018 total.

…Paychecks grew as employers raised wages to attract new workers. Average hourly pay was up 3.2% compared to a year earlier. The average number of hours people worked also edged up.

…The unemployment rate rose because more than 400,000 people joined the labor force looking for jobs. The percentage of the working-age people in the work force matched a five-year high.

“Yes, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, but for the best of reasons,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com senior economic analyst. “That’s a deal we’ll take if more people are participating in the workforce.”

The chart that I watch to see how things are going is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the chart of the Workforce Participation Rate. It indicates how many Americans are actually part of the workforce. This is the chart:

Note that we have reached the 63.1 percent participation rate only three times since 2014. When President Obama took office, the rate was 66.2. By the time President Obama left office, the rate was 62.7. That was after the federal deficit doubled due to the stimulus package that was supposed to create jobs.

The House of Representatives has a choice–they can either join in the efforts of President Trump to improve the American economy and the lives of American workers, or they can do everything they can to slow it down. Unfortunately, the new rules they are putting in place will bring us laws and policies that will slow the economy down. That is unfortunate–Americans deserve better, even though they elected these people.

Six Major Challenges In 2019

On December 28th, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial listing what their editors considered would be the top six issues of 2019. The title of the editorial is, “Will 2019 Be Happy? It Depends On How Washington Handles These 6 Challenges.” I suspect that is true.

The editorial lists the six items:

1. The Federal Reserve

2. Trade

3. Immigration

4. The Coming Budget Battle

5. Slaying The Regulatory Dragon

6. Fixing Health Care ‘Reform’

Here are some of the observations from the editorial on each item:

The Fed has raised its benchmark funds rate eight times over two years in pursuit of a “neutral” rate. Its most recent rate hike, coming about a week before Christmas, was followed by a steep decline in stocks and growing concerns that the economy might fall into recession next year if the central bank follows through on its plan to raise rates at least twice more.

It’s of more than academic interest that all 11 of the U.S. recessions since World War II were preceded by a sharp run up in Fed rates. Every one of them. It’s not a record of which to be proud.

…Despite bitter criticisms, President Trump successfully concluded a “new Nafta” deal with both Canada and Mexico covering $1.3 trillion in trade. The deal closes a number of holes in the old Nafta, increasing U.S. access to Canadian dairy markets, for instance, while also making cars tariff-free if 75% of their parts are made in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. All three countries signed off on the deal. The only question is, will it ever go into effect?

With Democrats controlling Congress and just six months for the trade deal to go into effect, some worry that major changes will be requested. President Trump has asked that either the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement be approved outright, or revert to the pre-Nafta trading rules. Congressional Democrats may even challenge Trump’s right to make a deal, putting the so-called USMCA in limbo. Stay tuned.

…With Americans eager to control immigration, as polls repeatedly show, Democrats may decide that negotiation rather than confrontation is a better tactic. That could mean a deal for a pathway to citizenship for the millennial illegal immigrant “dreamers,” many of whom have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives despite not having citizenship. With an estimated 22 million illegals in the U.S., many states are eager to gain some stability in our immigration policy.

…This year’s budget battle over funding the wall will likely pale in comparison to next year’s. The continued growth in entitlements, compounded by the sharp rise in interest payments, thanks to the Fed’s rate hikes, will balloon the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office’s last official projection pegged the deficit for 2019 at $981 billion. It will likely end up topping $1 trillion.

…But as we’ve pointed out many times, the problem isn’t tax cuts, it’s the unwillingness of anyone in Washington — including Trump — to deal with entitlement programs that have swamped the federal budget. Trump and the GOP will have to stand firm on taxes next year, while grappling with a rising tide of debt that will soon surpass $21 trillion.

…ObamaCare limped along for another year, with premiums for 2019 falling, overall, after years of massive double-digit increases. Trump took several steps to improve ObamaCare. The most important fix was to breathe life back into the short-term insurance market that President Obama tried to snuff out to protect the ObamaCare exchanges. Unfortunately, since Republicans blew their chance at repeal, the best we can hope for is that Trump will continue to tweak the law where he can. But he shouldn’t shy away from fighting for more free-market reforms. Should Democrats resist, or start pushing for socialized “Medicare for all,” it will create an opportunity for Trump to paint Democrats as big-government extremists.

The article concludes:

The coming year will be eventful, with many of Trump’s main initiatives set for action by Congress — a Congress, as we noted, that won’t be as friendly to Trump as the last one. Whether Trump and the Democrats can, as the bumper sticker says, coexist, or whether the Trump agenda founders on a never-ending stream of congressional investigations and hearings on the White House, remains to be seen. We guarantee it won’t be boring.

Get out the popcorn.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

It’s hard to defend the actions of the Federal Reserve right now. The people who propped up the economy under President Obama seem determined to destroy the economy under President Trump. But we know that the Federal Reserve is apolitical. Sure we do. However, there may be some unintended consequences of the current Federal Reserve actions.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today which explains some of those consequences.

The article reports:

The Chinese were relentless in their efforts to obtain Western technology and grow their economy.  They set up trade barriers and manipulated their currency in ways that helped China. The US was at a disadvantage in trade resulting in massive deficits into the billions.

Along comes the Trump Administration, the first administration to address China’s unfair trade advantage.  President Trump is a shrewd negotiator and he obviously believes now is the time to encourage China to make changes to their trade barriers with the US.  China may have no choice but to go with what the US offers to keep its economy afloat.

The more pressing issues for China surround real estate, in a manner similar to the US in 2008.  As China grew, it invested in its infrastructure and in addition it invested in large housing projects throughout the country.  These efforts helped bolster China’s already fast growing economy.

The problem is that China over invested in these random properties all over China and these properties today remain empty.

…Now to add to China’s misery, the Fed is doing all it can to kill the US economy.  China is dependent on the US economy to stay afloat.

…The US debt now stands at $21.8 trillion. A 2.25% interest increase on this amount of debt is an annual increase in debt interest payments of $500 billion!!!

The Fed is doing all it can to destroy President Trump’s economy. What the Fed doesn’t realize is that a flat US economy means disaster to the Chinese.

China’s financial crash may make the 2008 crash in the US look small.  The implications will no doubt impact the entire world.  Jerome Powell at the Fed has no idea what he is doing!

Hang on to your hat, if the Federal Reserve continues on its current path, this may be a very bumpy ride.

Why The Republican Party Is Losing Voters

The 2016 Republican Platform includes the following on Page 8:

Reducing the Federal Debt

Our national debt is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations. A strong economy is one key to debt reduction, but spending restraint is a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.

On May 10, 2018, CNS News reported:

The federal government collected a record $2,007,451,000,000 in total taxes through the first seven months of fiscal 2018 (October through April), but still ran a deficit for that period of $385,444,000,000, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

It’s the spending–not the revenue–that is the problem. So what are Republicans doing about it?

On May 8, 2018, The Washington Times posted the following:

House GOP leaders vowed Tuesday to speed President Trump’s new $15.4 billion spending cuts proposal through their chamber, brushing aside complaints from Democrats and some Republicans over the trims the White House wants to see.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday predicted the House will pass the package, which includes 38 cuts to programs and generally involves money that’s sitting unused.

So what happened when the bill reached the Senate?

The Daily Haymaker posted the story today:

Senators voted Wednesday to block President Trump’s $15.4 billion spending cuts package, with lawmakers saying it trimmed the budget too much.

Brushing aside administration promises that the cuts were chiefly to money that was never going to be spent, the Senate voted 50-48 to keep the bill bottled up. Two Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Burr of North Carolina — joined Democrats to defeat the package.[…]

So if the Republicans won’t even cut spending on money that wasn’t even spent, why in the world should I vote for them? Didn’t they read their own platform? How long could you run up your credit card before creditors would start clamoring for their money? Is the government any different?

 

The Problem Is Not The Income

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday about the amount of tax revenue the federal government collected for fiscal 2015. The good news is that the government collected a record amount of money–$3.249 trillion. That is an 8 percent increase in revenues for the year. The bad news is that the government still managed to spend more than it took in. The budget deficit was $435 billion–a decline of $48 billion. The article notes that although the decline is small, it is huge for the seventh year of what the government claims is an expansion. The article also notes that inflation is growing by less than 2 percent.

The article reports:

The reason for the small decline is that spending for the fiscal year climbed 5.2% to $3.685 trillion. That increase came even though defense spending fell $16 billion, or 2.7%, thanks to the drawdown in Afghanistan.

The spending burst included a 16.1%, or $49 billion, increase in Medicaid for the first full year of ObamaCare. Medicaid spending has climbed $85 billion to $350 billion in two years, and that’s with 19 states declining to join.

The Congressional Budget Office also cites a $30 billion, or 51%, spending increase for the Department of Education—“mostly because of an $18 billion upward revision in the estimated net subsidy costs of student loans and loan guarantees issued in past years.” Translation: Mr. Obama’s takeover of the student-loan business is costing far more money than advertised, probably due to growing defaults.

Let’s put these numbers together. Inflation is less than 2 percent. There was an 8 percent increase in revenues collected by the federal government. There was a $435 billion deficit. These numbers are unsustainable. They will assure the destruction of America. We need to elect people to Congress and the White House who will cut government spending. It is a national disgrace to have an 8 percent increase in revenues and still have a deficit. It is time for any rational members of Congress to demand a spending cut.

Some Notes On The Current Budget Debate

The super committee is desperately trying to find a way to cut the budget deficit. I am not alone in believing that no solution will be reached.

On Friday Heritage.org posted an article about what exactly is being discussed. Some basic facts pointed out in the article:

Words can’t even begin to describe the scope of borrowed federal spending, but it is no doubt a staggering figure that has risen dramatically in the last decade and is more than $4 trillion higher than when President Barack Obama took office less than three years ago.

Federal spending, at about 24 percent today, is significantly over the average of 20 percent of GDP, but in a decade it will top 26 percent.  Within a generation it will reach nearly 35 percent of GDP.

The facts are simple: Entitlements are going to generate European style debt levels unless they are reformed. Paying for it without bringing down their spending would require constant, crushing tax hikes on all taxpayers — not just the top 1 percent.

And there are some in the House and Senate who understand the problem and are advocating significant action. Seventy-two Members of the House and 33 Senators are standing against continued overspending, over-borrowing, and overtaxing. In a letter yesterday to the super committee, the House Members wrote, “It is evident that America has a fiscal crisis because Washington spends too much, not because it taxes too little,” and warned, “Increasing taxes on Americans would destroy jobs, erase all hope of an economic recovery, and simply serve to feed out-of-control spending in Washington.”

If those in Washington do not have the courage to cut the spending, we need to elect people who do.

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Are The Republicans About To Get Rolled In Washington Again ?

We had an election in 2010. The Republicans made historic gains. The message from the American voters was ‘we want smaller government.’ ‘get the government out of our lives and our pockets,’ and ‘get rid of professional politicians.’ That may not be exactly right, but it’s close. The Democrats have ignored that message and governed as if it never happened. If the Republicans don’t hear the message and differentiate themselves from the Democrats, the Republican Party as we know it will cease to exist.

Now we are at a point in history in Washington that will determine the survival of the Republican party. Because the Republicans did not have the intestinal fortitude to stand their ground on the budget deficit discussions, they formed a ‘super committee.’ The super committee has no guts either, and they are supposed to come up with debt solutions by November 23. That deadline is fast approaching and it doesn’t look good.

On Thursday, CNS News reported that the Democrats on the super committee have offered a deal–Democrats are proposing to match any spending cuts with new tax increases, attempting to find $1 trillion in savings to match $1 trillion in new taxes. This offer comes after Democrats turned down an offer by Republicans for $1 trillion in projected spending cuts over the next 10 years and raise taxes by $1 trillion over 10 years. Either one of these deals would be a mistake for Republicans. Spending cuts over the next ten years never happen–this present Congress does not have the power to control the actions (and spending) of any future Congress. Also, under baseline budgeting–if the $1 million budget for my department does not increase at the going rate (whatever that is), and stays the same for the coming year, that is considered a spending cut. You will note that there was no savings involved, but it was still considered a spending cut.

It’s time to put the government on a starvation diet. Unfortunately, the powers that be that are currently in Washington have no desire to do that. The election of 2010 brought many small government Tea Party types to Washington, but it did not change the leadership of the Republican Party. Until we change the leadership of both the Republican and Democrat Parties, there will be no change in how business is done in Washington.

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