Who Runs This Agency?

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up a dispute over the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a case that could dramatically scale back the agency’s authority to police financial markets or eliminate it altogether. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), considered to be the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, was created in 2010. It was one of a few misdirected responses to the housing bubble that burst in 2008.

Just for the record, I want to review a few facts about the financial collapse of 2008 that the mainstream media somehow missed.

The following video was posted at YouTube in September 2008. The video was essentially a campaign ad, but the information in it is important. The CFPB never addressed the actual problem. (For that matter, neither did Dodd-Frank). The video below tells a story you might not be familiar with:

 

The article reports:

The court said Friday it will hear a challenge from a California-based law firm that argues the CFPB, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is unconstitutionally structured.

Opponents of the CFPB, created in 2010, argue that its structure violates the separation of powers, as Congress gave it broad authority to regulate mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer products, and is helmed by a single director who can’t be removed by the president except for cause.

The court said it will also address whether the entirety of the law that created the CFPB, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that re-ordered the financial regulatory system, should be struck down.

The Trump administration said in a filing with the Supreme Court it concluded the “statutory restriction on the president’s authority to remove the director violates” the Constitution, and “the director of the bureau has since reached the same conclusion.”

Trump tapped Kathy Kraninger to replace Mick Mulvaney, the acting CFPB director, last year.

Congress set up the CFPB as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, and its director is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The director serves a term of five years.

Cases challenging the constitutionality of the agency have been weaving their way through the lower courts. In 2016, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said in a ruling in a similar case the CFPB is a “gross departure from settled historical practice.”

Stay tuned. A decision is expected by the end of June.

Good News For Working Americans

Breitbart posted an article today about the latest economic numbers.

The article reports:

The U.S. economy created 136,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent.

Economists had expected the economy to between 120,000 and 179,000 with the consensus number at 145,000, according to Econoday. Unemployment was expected to remain unchanged at last month’s 3.7 percent.

The jobs data for the two previous months were also revised upward, indicating that the labor market was stronger over the summer than previously indicated. Employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from 159,000 to 166,000, and August was revised up by 38,000 from 130,000 to 168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000 more than previously reported.

The stronger numbers for July and August may also explain the slightly-below expectations figure for September since some of the growth in employment forecast for last month had already occurred.

The last time the rate was this low was in December 1969, when it also was 3.5 percent.

Economic data has been intensely scrutinized this week for signs of economic sluggishness after the Institute for Supply Management’s survey of manufacturing companies suggested the manufacturing sector had unexpectedly contracted for a second consecutive month. Survey data of non-manufacturing companies, however, showed that the services sector continued to expand in September. Similarly, data on private payrolls and unemployment claims suggested that the U.S. economy had cooled but was not near a recession.

The September workforce participation rate remains unchanged at 63.2 percent. This is a chart showing changes in the rate since 2009:

Good Economic News For Americans

According to Investopedia:

A FICO score is a type of credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use borrowers’ FICO scores along with other details on borrowers’ credit reports to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit. FICO scores take into account various factors in five areas to determine creditworthiness: payment history, current level of indebtedness, types of credit used, length of credit history, and new credit accounts.

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about how the Trump economic policies have impacted the FICO scores of Americans.

The article reports:

Americans’ average FICO score has hit an all-time high of 706 on the personal credit rating scale. Ethan Dornhelm, the vice president for scores and analytics at FICO, told CBS News that a score of more than 700 basically qualifies individuals for just about any credit at favorable terms.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850. A score above 700 is considered great, and a score above 760 is considered excellent. This high national credit score may be largely attributed to the strong economy, with its historically low unemployment rate, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“This record-long stretch of economic growth has helped minimize reliance on debt to pay the bills,” said Joel Griffith, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “Low interest rates help ensure a greater portion of loan payment goes to paying down principal rather than merely making interest payments.”

Creditworthiness is now increasing, which means Americans have the ability to rely on their paychecks, not just borrowing from their futures, to fulfill their financial obligations.

Americans’ average FICO score hit a low during the financial downturn of 2008, with a score of 686. After the recession passed, the nation’s average FICO score continuously grew.

Is giving Americans more access to larger lines of credit such a good thing? According to Griffith and Federal Reserve Bank data, U.S. household debt is also declining. Even now that Americans are able to take on more debt, they are not. They’re paying off their credit cards and increasingly lowering their other debt.

Unfortunately, this national accomplishment has not been a topic discussed among 2020 Democratic nominees. Why have the Democratic presidential candidates shied away from talking about the economy? Because, they call for an economy that “works for everyone,” when the current system is working for more people than ever before.

A Gallup poll shows that 88 percent of Americans believe the current U.S. economy is either “fair,” “good,” or “excellent.” That’s because this economy has provided 5.1 million new jobs and dropped the unemployment rate to 3.7 percent — the lowest rate in nearly half a century.

Leadership and economic policies make a difference to ALL Americans. The tax cuts and economic policies of President Trump have ‘worked for everyone.’ The government cannot create an economy the ‘works for everyone’ by taking money from people who earn it and giving it to people who did not earn it. An economy  that ‘works for everyone’ is created when everyone has the opportunity to find a job or start a company and create their own success.

The Real Answer To Poverty

Breitbart posted an article today about the impact the economic policies of President Trump have had on poverty.

The article reports:

Black Americans are experiencing an economic renaissance under President Donald Trump.

Black unemployment hit a new low last week of 5.5% — the level once described in economics textbooks as “full employment” — and the gap between black and white unemployment shrank to its lowest margin ever.

This week, Census data showed that black poverty has dropped to its lowest level ever (18.8%). The reason: wages are climbing, even in low-wage jobs.

This is the Promised Land that left-wing activists have talked about for decades. Except they do not seem to have received the memo.

Listen to the Democratic presidential candidates debate, and you will still hear them complain that the economy is terrible, that the middle class is shrinking, that we need to redistribute income and wealth from the rich to the poor to over come the “white privilege” that is our country’s original sin, dating to slavery in 1619.

All of that is untrue. The economy continues to perform well, despite media-hyped fears of recession. Yes, the pace of hiring is slowing in some sectors, but that is partly because of the scarcity of labor — which is also driving wages up. Yes, the trade war is hurting some individual businesses, and China is retaliating against American agriculture — but the trade war has failed to drive up prices so far, as many people (including me) had expected.

The article notes:

While funding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) declined under President Barack Obama, for example, “under the Trump administration, federal funding for HBCUs has increased by more than $100 million over the last two years, a 17% increase since 2017.”

The above information is a surprise to me. It totally goes against anything the mainstream media is telling us about President Trump. The article reminds us that President Trump’s economic policies have benefited all Americans–a strong economy is the best solution to poverty in minority communities.

The article concludes:

Limited government allows black Americans to do for themselves what government fails to do for anyone.

The Democrats do not get it. They are talking reparations — the brainchild of Al Sharpton, one of the worst racial demagogues in the country, whom Obama rehabilitated to provide political cover within the black community.

The frontrunners, including former vice president Joe Biden, promise to raise taxes, kill the energy industry, and bring back hyperregulation. They claim to be fighting racism. Trump has shown black Americans there is a better way.

Obviously this is not a message Americans will hear from the mainstream media. However, voters are perfectly capable of seeing the positive economic changes in their own lives and the lives of the people around them. That is one of the main reasons the media is trying to convince voters that a recession is right around the corner. Will voters believe what they see or what the media tells them? What voters believe will determine whether or not our economy continues to prosper.

Leadership Matters

Breitbart is reporting today that according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 6.2 million individuals dropped off food stamps since President Donald Trump completed his first full month in office.

The article reports:

The most recent USDA data shows that 6,268,285 individuals discontinued their participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)— the program in charge of food stamps— since February 2017 when Trump finished his first month as president.

Individual and household food stamp participation has consistently declined since 2013 back when the Obama administration was in power and enrollment in the program reached its highest point in U.S. history.

The article concludes:

Trump has stated that he wants to curb the nation’s dependency on food stamps and wants those coming into the country to be self-sufficient.

The president told Breitbart News in an Oval Office interview that he does not want any immigrants coming into the U.S. to be dependent on welfare programs.

“I don’t want to have anyone coming in that’s on welfare,” Trump told Breitbart News in March.

The Trump administration also recently released several policies that would close loopholes for those taking advantage of the nation’s food stamp program.

The USDA issued a proposal in July that would close a “loophole” allowing 3.1 million people who already receive benefits from a non-cash welfare program to receive food stamps through SNAP.

The Trump administration also released a “public charge rule” last month which would deny green cards to immigrants or make it harder for them to obtain them if they have a history of using welfare benefits such as food stamps.

Welfare programs are meant to be a temporary help–not a career choice. Americans need to get back in the habit of working to support themselves and their families. President Trump is moving us in that direction.

Some Presidential Candidates Don’t Understand Economics

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about a recent tweet by Elizabeth Warren.

This is the tweet:

The article includes the following quote from an article posted at The Heartland Institute website on September 19, 2018:

A 2015 Harvard Business School/Boston Consulting Group study estimates fracking supported 2.7 million jobs in 2014, with the potential to grow to 3.8 million jobs by 2030. Similarly, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) prepared a report for the American Petroleum Institute that estimates the oil and natural gas industries supported 10.3 million jobs in 2015, an increase of about 500,00 compared to 2011.  The RAND Corporation projects the industries will support an additional 1.9 million jobs by 2035.  By the same year, a 2012 IHS Markit study estimates fracking will have created 3.5 million jobs. 

A 2016 Chamber of Commerce study projects that if the fracking revolution of the previous decade had not occurred, 4.3 million jobs would not have been created, the U.S. economy would be $500 billion smaller and residential natural gas prices would be 28 percent higher. 

There is also the matter of national security. America now has the freedom to choose its friends without worrying whether or not our oil supply will be cut off. Some of us remember the 1970’s gas lines and high price of gasoline.

The world economy (that includes America) is currently based on fossil fuels. Countries who can supply reasonable priced energy attract manufacturing and businesses which create jobs. The end the production of fossil fuel and fracking in America is to reduce America to the status of a third-world (or lower) country.

Is This The Future We Want For America?

Breitbart posted an article today about a tax crisis in Sweden. The causes are something Americans need to consider as our southern border continues to be seen as a political issue rather than a national security and economic issue.

The article reports:

A Swedish municipality that took in one of the highest numbers of asylum seekers per population faces a crisis as natives move out and decimate the local tax base.

The municipality of Filipstad took in many asylum seekers during the migrant crisis of 2015 and now are facing increasing costs as unemployment among migrants has surged and financial assistance rates have tripled, broadcaster SVT reports.

Claes Hultgren, the local municipal manager, described the situation, saying of the migrant population: “In this group, unemployment and dependency are very high, while education levels are very low. This group runs the risk of ending in an eternal alienation that is already heavily burdening the municipal economy.”

The article concludes:

While many cities across Sweden are facing housing shortages, the rate of unemployment between native Swedes and migrants is stark.

A 2018 report stated that the unemployment rate for native Swedes was a mere 3.6 per cent while the foreign-born rate was much higher at 19.9 per cent. The city of Malmo, which has a high migration-background population, was shown to have double the national unemployment average.

At some point, we need to realize that generosity has to have limits. You can only accept a certain amount of people who are dependent on others for their basic needs before those policies have a negative impact on the people who are working to meet their own basic needs. Charity is a wonderful part of life, but it has to be voluntary and it has to be within the bounds of ability. The number of immigrants coming into Europe and America who have no marketable skills and do not know the language is a burden on the economics of the countries involved. Immigration needs to be controlled, and assimilation needs to be part of immigration.

Playing Chess With World Trade

America has been on the wrong end of bad trade deals for a long time. We watched our manufacturing jobs leave America after NAFTA. We watched the steel industry disappear after being undercut by Chinese steel held up by subsidies by the Chinese government. President Trump is a businessman. As a businessman, he is trying to level the trade playing field. In some areas he is getting cooperation at home and abroad; in some areas he is not. China has been a difficult country to deal with regarding trade. The uneven playing field they have enjoyed for years has been very profitable for them. Because their economy is based on an uneven playing field, they are reluctant to make changes. Their economy is currently struggling, and if President Trump stands his ground, the Chinese economy could face serious challenges. That’s where we are. There is, however, some positive news about where we might be headed.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a possible breakthrough in the talks with China.

The article reports:

Did China finally blink in Donald Trump’s trade war? Trump himself seems to think so. At the G-7 summit, Trump told reporters that a statement earlier in the day from a top official in Beijing showed that China had finally expressed a real interest in redefining the trade relationship between the world’s top two economies. It’s “the first time” that Trump sees China acting in good faith, he said

The article continues:

After rapid-fire escalations in tariffs by both sides, China’s vice premiere called for “calm.” Liu He also declared Beijing’s willingness to conclude a trade agreement and called for talks to begin immediately:

“We are willing to resolve the issue through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude and resolutely oppose the escalation of the trade war,” Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, said, according to a government transcript.

“We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world,” he added.

U.S. companies are especially welcome in China, and will be treated well, Liu said.

“We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,” he added.

“We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.”

The last time we thought we had a deal, the person who made the deal was executed when he returned home. Hopefully this time will turn out better for everyone.

What The Democrats Are Really Afraid Of

You can dismiss the turnout at Trump rallies versus the turnout for Democrat candidates. You can dismiss the tweets you may not like, but you can’t dismiss what is happening to the President’s approval numbers in minority communities.

The American Spectator posted an article today with the following headline, “Why Trump’s Approval Ratings Are Up Among Minorities.”

The article notes:

A mounting number of voter polls show that, despite shrill denunciations of the President by the Democrats for his alleged racism, Trump is enjoying a dramatic increase in his approval ratings among minorities. This isn’t, as some liberal news outlets and pundits have suggested, wishful thinking based on outlier polls. The trend began showing up in surveys early this year and appears to be gaining momentum. Some polls now show his approval numbers at 25 percent among African-American voters and 50 percent among Hispanic voters. If those figures hold for the next 15 months, they will render Trump unbeatable in November of 2020.

The article notes a number of reasons for the rising approval ratings. Among the Hispanic community, two reasons are the President’s stand on immigration and the economy. Those in the Hispanic community who followed the rules to become Americans do not support endless illegal immigration. Those in the Hispanic community have also seen a dramatic increase in employment opportunities and a decrease in unemployment. In the black community, people are asking why cities that have been controlled by Democrats for decades and given massive amounts of money by the government still look worse than cities in other countries that were totally destroyed during World War II. In other words, after voting Democrat for decades with no visible improvement in their situation, minorities are seeing positive change. Minorities have the lowest unemployment numbers in history. They are seeing employment opportunities they have not seen before. Pocketbook issues are having an impact on the way they view President Trump.

The article concludes:

The main reason for the surge in Trump’s Hispanic support, however, is the economy. As Steve Cortes, a member of the President’s Hispanic Advisory Council, points out:

Hispanics neither desire nor expect a laundry list of deliverables from government, but rather seek the conditions to advance and prosper independently.  As the most statistically entrepreneurial demographic in America, Hispanics have thrived amid the Trump boom as regulatory and tax relief unleashes a small business surge. Every American benefits from this new dynamism, but Hispanics most of all.

Hispanic voters, mind you, will be the largest ethnic minority in the electorate by 2020. They, combined with African Americans, may very well decide who will live in the White House after the next election. Moreover, the days when Democrats could win all of their votes by screeching “racism,” encouraging illegal immigration, and offering massive giveaway programs are probably over. President Trump appears to be building real support among minorities by providing genuine opportunity in a thriving economy. If he receives their support in anywhere near the percentages suggested above, he will win in 2020 no matter who runs against him.

The presidential election of 2020 will be very interesting.

We Have Seen This Play Before

The American economy is based on consumerism. Americans buy things and the economy continues. It is a rather delicate balance that can be manipulated for political purposes. We are currently watching an attempt to manipulate that economy for political purposes–President Trump’s strongest positive for re-election is the impact his administration has had on the economy. If the Democrats can ruin the economy, they might have a chance to win the presidency in 2020. After watching their behavior for the past two years, I am not surprised by any tactic they might use. So how are the Democrats and their friends in the media attempting to impact the economy?

The Associated Press reported today:

The threat of a recession doesn’t seem so remote anymore for investors in financial markets.

The yield on the closely watched 10-year Treasury fell so low Wednesday that, for the first time since 2007, it briefly crossed a threshold that has correctly predicted many past recessions. Weak economic data from Germany and China added to recent signals of a global slowdown.

That spooked investors, who responded by dumping stocks, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average into an 800-point skid, its biggest drop of the year. The S&P 500 index dropped nearly 3% as the market erased all of its gains from a rally the day before. Tech stocks and banks led the broad sell-off. Retailers came under especially heavy selling pressure after Macy’s issued a dismal earnings report and cut its full-year forecast.

The article goes on to list things that the writer is convinced are evidence of an imminent recession. But let’s step back a minute. The American economy is cyclical. We have been in a growth spike for the past two years due to tax cuts and deregulation. Those factors are not changing. Unemployment is at historic lows. There are more jobs than workers. There is no evidence of that changing. We might be due for a correction in the stock market, but it’s not time to panic.

This tactic has been used before. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush agreed to a tax bill with the Democrats. The agreement broke his pledge of ‘no new taxes’, but it also did something else. The tax increase on luxury items worked its way through the economy causing a recession. Workers in industries making ‘luxury items’ lost their jobs are sales of these items decreased due to the tax increases. As those workers lost their jobs, they stopped going out to dinner, traveling, and doing the things that people do when economic times are good. People in service industries and tourism lost their jobs. The impact trickled through the economy, and we were in a recession. We were coming out of the recession during the campaign, but the media failed to note that.

In the coming days, watch for a media narrative of ‘the sky is falling’. That narrative will be in play for the next year in order to convince American voters to vote Democrat.

The only way to crash this economy is to panic the public. Large investors in the market with a political agenda can begin that process. The media can fan the flames.

The fundamentals of the American economy are strong. If Americans refuse to play along with a media-created financial panic, all will be well.

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.

The House Of Representatives Accomplished Something Good

On Tuesday The Hill posted an article about the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the bill titled, “Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.” A similar bill was introduced in the Senate, but was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations on March 25, 2019. No further action has been taken on the Senate bill.

The final vote was 398 yeas, 17 nays, 5 voting present, and 12 not voting. (The numbers are from the U.S. House of Representatives website.)

The article at The Hill notes:

The resolution’s opponents included progressive freshmen Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who support the BDS movement.

House Democratic leaders brought the resolution to the floor under a fast-track process that required a two-thirds majority for passage and limited debate to 40 minutes. No one spoke in opposition to the resolution during the allotted debate, but the two progressives delivered floor speeches earlier in the day to express why they’d vote against it.

Tlaib, citing her family’s Palestinian roots, said she “can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government in the state of Israel.”

Someone should point out to Tlaib that Palestinians have full rights in Israel. They are more free and more prosperous than the Palestinians that live anywhere outside of Israel.

The article continues:

Lawmakers opposed to BDS stressed that the boycott movement against Israel is unlike other boycotts in American history, arguing that it espouses anti-Semitic views and undermines the prospects for peace in the long-running Palestinian conflict

“Here’s the thing about the global BDS movement: I don’t believe it promotes racial justice or social change at all. It promotes a one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seeks to marginalize Israel, that would deny the Jewish people the right of national self-determination,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said during floor debate.

“You want to criticize a government, that’s your right. You want to stop buying products from a certain country, that’s also your right. But participating in an international commercial effort that undermines Israel’s legitimacy and scuttles the chances of a two-state solution isn’t the same as an individual exercising First Amendment rights,” Engel added.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians have illustrated the fact in recent years that they are not interested in becoming a positive member of the global community. In 2005 Israel removed its settlers from the Gaza Strip and turned the land over to the Arabs. Up until that point the Gaza Strip was the home of greenhouses that supplied fruit and vegetables around the world and had a flourishing economy. The first thing the Arabs did was destroy the greenhouses (and thus destroyed the basis for the thriving economy). Since that time the Gaza Strip has been used as a base for firing rockets and building terrorist tunnels into Israel. Money given to the Arabs that was earmarked for humanitarian purposes has been instead used to buy weapons and build tunnels. The Palestinians do not want to exist peacefully in a two-state solution–they want to destroy Israel.

The following is taken from an article I posted in January 2018:

Until the Palestinians stop training their children to kill Jews, there will be no peace in the Middle East. The BDS Movement is simply another way to attack Israel. I am glad most of the House of Representatives understood that.

The Arrival Of Robin Hood

Remember teaching your children that money doesn’t grow on trees and that they have to earn it? Evidently some of our members of Congress never learned that lesson.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about some recent statements made by Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Minnesota.

The article reports:

Far-left “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) spoke at the NAACP convention over the weekend and railed against the GOP tax cuts in a pitch for her anti-poverty BOOST Act, promising to take money from the rich and give it “back to the people that earned it.”

Tlaib introduced her anti-poverty legislation – the Building Our Opportunities to Survive and Thrive (BOOST) Act – last month and spoke about it at the NAACP convention over the weekend. The proposal offers a guaranteed income – up to $6,000 per year – to families and individuals under certain financial thresholds via a “refundable tax credit that can be paid monthly.”

The Michigan lawmaker’s BOOST Act serves as her response to what she calls the “GOP Tax Scam,” despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans will pay less in taxes in 2018, thanks to the tax cuts.

“Recently, I introduced the Boost Act. This legislation completely repeals the GOP Tax Scam that is only helping wealthy individuals – the rich, the corporations,” she told the crowd.

“And do you know what I did with that money? Do you know what I said? We’re going to go ahead and put it in the pockets of folks like everyday Americans,” she said, noting that families making less than $100,000 could get up to $6,000 per year.

Taking the moral route, Tlaib said it is important to give money back to the people who actually “earned” it, suggesting that wealthy individuals do not earn or deserve to keep the fruits of their labor.

 I guess the Democrats have decided that class warfare works better than racism. Their playbook is getting very old.

The article notes the impact of the GOP tax cuts:

The economy has seen a boost from the GOP tax cuts, with companies issuing employee bonuses and announcing plans to invest billions in the U.S., thereby providing thousands of new jobs.

Last year, Exxon Mobil announced that it would invest $50 billion in the U.S. economy, adding 12,000 new jobs, thanks to the GOP tax cuts.

Even Starbucks, a notoriously left-leaning company, used millions of its corporate tax cut to raise the wage for existing workers.

Under Tlaib’s economic plan, the people who would benefit are the people who are not working; and the people who would lose are the people who work for a living. How long would it be before those who are working to give those who don’t work a free ride would see the folly of their ways and quit producing? That’s where socialism always winds up.

How Do You Run Against This Record?

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner about the 2020 Presidential election. The title of the article is, “Byron York: Dem 2020 task: Convince voters to overlook economy.” He is right assuming that the economy continues to do as well as it has. We need to remember that the Federal Reserve is in a position to undercut our prosperity. A few key interest rate raises would definitely slow down our growth. The fed is already making noises that it might not cut rates this year as previously expected. That might also have a negative impact on our growing economy. I am not convinced that the problem the Democrats have is to convince voters to overlook the economy as much as all Americans need to make sure that political forces do not move to wreck a good economy for political gain.

The article concludes:

“Trump’s tenure is straining one of the most enduring rules in presidential politics: the conviction that a strong economy benefits the party holding the White House,” wrote analyst Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic. “Across many of the key groups in the electorate, from young people to white college graduates, Trump’s job-approval rating consistently runs at least 25 points below the share of voters who hold positive views about either the national economy or their personal financial situation.”

Of course Democrats can’t ignore the economy. So far, when they have addressed it, they haven’t been terribly creative, relying on the standard-issue Democratic critique of Republican presidents — that Trump is creating an economy that only benefits his rich friends.

“Who is this economy really working for?” asked Elizabeth Warren at the first Democratic debate. “It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.”

It’s not clear how well that will work. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board pointed out recently, under Trump, “wages are rising at the fastest rate in a decade for lower-skilled workers, and unemployment among less-educated Americans and minorities is near a record low.” The result of the president’s policies, the Journal argued, “has been faster growth and less inequality.”

Another way to say that is that millions of Americans are better off than they were four years ago. The question in 2020 will be whether that matters.

Actually, if the  Democrat debates continue at their present level of relevance, President Trump may easily cruise into another term as President.

Wrong Again

Remember when the talking heads on television told us that because of the tariffs President Trump had placed on China, the cost of imports would go up. Well, they misread the tea leaves again.

The Gateway Pundit posted the following from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Prices for U.S. imports declined 0.3 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following an increase of 0.1 percent the previous month. Lower fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the May decline in import prices. U.S. export prices fell 0.2 percent in May, after advancing 0.1 percent in April, 0.8 percent in March, and 0.6 percent in February.

Imports

U.S. Import prices fell 0.3 percent in May, the first monthly decline since a 1.4-percent drop in December. Import prices advanced 1.8 percent from December to April before the downturn in May. The price index for overall imports decreased 1.5 percent over the past 12 months, matching the drop in January. These were the largest over-the-year declines since the index fell 2.2 percent in August 2016.

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices declined 1.0 percent in May, after rising 25.4 percent over the previous 4 months. Lower prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the May decline. Petroleum prices fell 0.9 percent in May, after a 4.7-percent advance in April. The May decrease was the first monthly decline since a 15.3-percent drop in December. Natural gas prices fell 6.8 percent in May following a 51.1-percent decline the previous month. Overall fuel prices decreased 1.1 percent over the past year. The decline was driven by a 1.9-percent drop in petroleum prices which more than offset a 2.5-percent rise in natural gas prices.

The Gateway Pundit article concludes:

The lower costs on fuel allowed the overall import costs to go down for the month.  This is in the face of tariffs the Trump Administration put on China as a result of inaction from the Chinese in coming together on a trade agreement with the US.

Despite what all the liberal naysayers said about increasing tariffs costing Americans millions, the costs of imports are actually down.

Overall the US economy is in very solid shape –

The experts seem to be having a very difficult time getting things right under the Trump administration.

The Trump Economy Is Doing Very Well

CNBC posted an article yesterday about the economy under President Trump.

The article reports:

The total number of workers hired rose to a new high in April, according to Labor Department data released Monday. But despite this, the amount of available jobs still vastly outnumbers unemployed workers.

Hirings increased to 5.9 million for the month, a gain of 240,000 from March, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) indicated. The hiring rate rose to 3.9%, an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point. The total hirings was the most recorded in the data series’ history going back to December 2000.

On the openings front, the gap between vacancies and available workers continued to be huge.

The article explains:

“In sum, the labor market remains strong and poised for continued solid job growth,” Ward McCarthy, chief financial U.S. economist at Jefferies, said in a note. “Despite the 21.4 [million] private sector jobs that have been generated to-date this cycle, the private business sector continues to generate a very strong demand for labor that is evidenced by the very large number of job openings that business wants to fill. The biggest threat to job growth is available supply, not demand for labor.”

Separations increased by 70,000 to 5.58 million, a rate of 3.7%, which was unchanged from March.

The JOLTS data lags other employment indicators by a month but is nonetheless watched closely by the White House and the Federal Reserve as an indicator of labor market slack. A large number of available workers compared with job openings would indicate a tight market in which wages should be rising.

The current economy has created wage increases and job opportunities for the middle class, which languished under President Obama. Unemployment among minorities is lower than it has ever been and wages are increasing for minorities. This is a success story the media is working very hard to ignore.

We Need To Get Healthcare Right

Yesterday Issues and Insights posted an article about ObamaCare 10 years out.

The article reports:

Based on polling data, Obamacare has been a miserable failure, and Obama will be far from the last president to grapple with this issue.

The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that health care is at the top of the nation’s priority list, with 24 percent of respondents listing it as their top priority for the federal government. Next on the list is immigration, at 18 percent, and after that, economic growth at 14 percent. 

The poll also found that 42 percent list health care as either their first or second choice on the priority list.

Back in June 2008, when Obama was running for president, only 8 percent rated health care as a top priority, just 20 percent as their first or second priority. Of course, the economy was in a recession and the country at war with Iraq, both of which weighed heavily on the public’s mind at the time.

But even in earlier years when the economy was doing well, health care ranked far lower on the list of priorities than it does today. In June 2006, only 14 percent ranked it as No. 1 on their list. A year later, 15 percent said it was their top priority.

The public has not been impressed with ObamaCare:

An ongoing Gallup survey finds that the public was actually more satisfied with their own coverage and quality of health care in 2007 than they were in 2018. Other surveys find cost remains a major complaint.

The article lists a few problems with ObamaCare:

It has done nothing to slow, much less reverse, the rising cost of health care. In fact, Obamacare itself caused premiums in the individual market to more than double in its first four years.

…National health spending, which was 16.3 percent of GDP in 2008, is now 17.9 percent and is slated to hit 19.4 percent by 2027. Per-capita spending on healthcare jumped from $7,898 to $10,739 over those years.

Far from driving the deficit down, Obamacare is pushing federal red ink up. The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that repealing Obamacare would cut the deficit by some $473 billion in the first 10 years

Rather than admit failure, the Democrats simply want to throw more money at it.

The article concludes:

Naturally, because of these failures, the Democrats’ answer is to dump even more taxpayer money into government-run health care programs, with most now favoring a $32 trillion plan developed by socialist Bernie Sanders to have the government nationalize the entire health insurance industry.

Only in government, and only among fans of big government, are massive failures like Obamacare rewarded with still more government. 

Sad News For The American Economy

One entity that controls the American economy is the Federal Reserve (which is not controlled by the government). It’s board members are nominated by the President and approved by Congress, but it is a private entity. Unfortunately it is part of the globalist cabal that seeks to undermine American sovereignty. President Trump has attempted to put two skilled businessmen on the Federal Reserve recently. The globalists in Congress have caused both men to withdraw their nominations. In the coming year, you can expect the Federal Reserve to subtly move to make the re-election of President Trump more difficult. I expect rate hikes leading up to the election to counter a healthy economy that is rapidly expanding. President Trump is not a globalist, and the globalists really want him gone. Globalists in Congress include both Democrats and Republicans (that is why it is so difficult to secure our borders).

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that Stephen Moore has withdrawn his nomination to the Federal Reserve Board.

The article reports:

Stephen Moore has a distinguished career in leadership roles at Heritage and The Wall Street Journal. Stephen Moore is a founder at the Club for Growth. Moore was an early Trump campaign supporter and wrote the book Trumponomics.

Moore is a presidential adviser and friend and is an architect of the greatest economic boom since Ronald Reagan.

In September Stephen Moore spoke at the Gateway Eagle Council in St. Louis, Missouri.

And in December Steve criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his irresponsible and dangerous rate hikes and threats of rate hikes. Powell was able to unilaterally stall the US economic boom in its tracks and cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

Moore wrote that it was time for Powell to resign. Moore was right.

The article includes excerpts from a World Net Daily article explaining why Jerome Powell should resign:

The Fed had already reduced the monetary thrust that it provides to the economy eight times since Dec. 15, 2015, by raising its federal funds interest rate from 0.25 percent to 2.25 percent. Each time, the Fed claimed that it needed to guard our economic airliner from inflationary “overheating” – as if its job is to prevent too many people from working and to make sure that paychecks aren’t rising too quickly.

Unfortunately, if you cut engine power too far on a jetliner, it will stall and drop out of the sky.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, despite the numerous market-based alarms that were sounding in the cockpit, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his co-pilots on the Federal Open Market Committee – a committee within the Federal Reserve System charged under the United States law with overseeing the nation’s open market operations and which makes key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the U.S. money supply – voted to raise the funds rate to 2.50 percent. This sucks more dollars out of the economy at a time when the world is demanding more dollars – thanks to Trump’s tax-cutting and deregulation policies.

Powell has been entirely tone-deaf to the financial markets he seeks to protect. The Dow Jones Industrial average, which had risen by 382 points on hopes that the Fed would listen to Trump and stop cutting power, plunged by 895 points after the 2 p.m. announcement, and closed the day down 352 points (1.49 percent). Poof. Trillions of dollars of wealth vanished.

The article at The Gateway Pundit concludes:

The Democrats and Deep State apparatus does not want Stephen Moore on the board of the Federal Reserve. Stephen is the perfect pick for the job. Now the deep state is attacking Steve and his family.

Republican Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Lisa Murkowsky (R-AL) and anti-Trumper Mitt Romney (R-UT) expressed reservations this week. The Republican senators effectively killed Steve Moore’s nomination.

The Republicans voiced concerns over Moore’s nomination for comments he made nearly 20 years ago about women earning as much as men in fields like women’s sports.

On Thursday Steve Moore withdrew his nomination for the Federal Reserve Board.

It was a victory for anti-Trump globalists everywhere.

Stephen Moore’s withdrawal of his nomination is America’s loss.

The Latest Economic Numbers

On Friday, Market Watch reported that the U.S. economy did better than expected during the first three months of 2019.

The article reports:

Reports of the demise of the U.S. economy proved unfounded as first-quarter activity showed surprising strength. The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2% annual pace in the first three months of 2019, the government said Friday.

The gain was well above forecasts. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 2.3% increase in gross domestic product. The economy grew at a 2.2% rate in the final three months of 2018.

Inflation moderated a bit in the first quarter.

The article includes other good economic news:

Final sales to domestic purchasers, which excludes trade and inventory behavior, rose 2.3% in the first quarter, the smallest gain in three years, but still well above what economists were expecting.

The value of inventories increased to $128.4 billion from $96.8 billion, adding to GDP.

The trade sector added a little more than 1% to growth in the first quarter. Exports rose 3.7%, while imports dropped by the same amount, leading to a smaller trade deficit.

Offsetting these gains, consumer spending decelerated to a 1.2% gain, the slowest increase in a year.

Business fixed investment decelerated to a relatively slow 2.7% gain, down from a 5.4% gain in the prior quarter. Investment in structures fell 0.8%, the third straight decline.

Investment in new housing was another weak spot. Residential investment dropped 2.8%, the fifth straight quarterly decline.

I believe that the weakness in the housing market is being caused by a number of things. The millennials, the generation that would currently be entering the housing market, are weighed down by student debt. There is also a different attitude among young Americans about owning a house that there was a few generations ago. In the past, many Americans looked at their home as an investment–something that would grow in value over the years. Many older people began with a ‘starter house’–a small house that allowed them to enter into the housing market. Today, couples are having children later than previous generations. Their first house is paid for by two incomes, and they are not dealing with the expense of having children. The concept of a ‘starter house’ is no longer with us. Those facts, along with the price of the home most young people want to own are working to slow down the housing market. I am not convinced any of those factors are going to change.

Trying To Drive A Stake Through The Establishment

On March 22, President Trump nominated Stephen Moore to serve on the Board of the Federal Reserve. The establishment began their attack almost immediately. Why? Because Stephen Moore is a respected economist who will rock the boat of the establishment. He supports the economic policies of President Trump (which incidentally have been successful in reviving a struggling economy). The negative reports and personal attacks are all through the mainstream media–very little is being said about the accomplishments of Stephen Moore.

In December 2018, World Net Daily posted an article by Stephen Moore titled, “Fire the Fed.” Stephen Moore called on Chairman Powell to resign in wake of interest-rate hike.

In the article, Stephen Moore states:

In one of the most remarkable Abbott and Costello routines in modern times, the economic wizards at the Fed again raised interest rates on Tuesday. Their crackerjack logic for doing so is to steer America on a course toward recession so they have the tools in hand to end the recession they themselves created. Can anyone tell us who’s on first?

Worse, this Fed move doubles down on its blunderous interest rate rise in September. President Donald Trump turned out to be exactly right: The central bank pullback on money would slow growth and crush the stock market in order to combat nonexistent inflation.

…Since its peak on Oct. 3, which, not coincidentally, was right after Powell gave a speech suggesting that the Fed might be through tightening money, the Dow has fallen by more than 3,500 points. Market fears about his bad judgment have cut the value of all U.S. stocks by about $4.5 trillion, which is enough to buy 16,000 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The Fed economists use twisted logic that the economy is “strong enough” to absorb the rate hikes – which is simply an admission that their policy will slow growth.

Stephen Moore needs to be on the Board of the Federal Reserve. His presence might prevent the Federal Reserve from raising rates just before the 2020 election in order to cause a recession. Just as the Federal Reserve kept rates low during the Obama administration to give the appearance of a healthy economy, they may raise those rates in the coming year to give the impression that President Trump’s economic policies are not working. They need a watchdog.

Even The Good News Is Clouded With Doom When The Media Reports It

Market Watch posted an article yesterday about the January trade deficit in America. The article notes that the deficit shrank to $51.1 billion in January from almost $60 billion in December. That is really good news. However, the media doesn’t seem to want good economic news.

The article notes:

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a $57.7 billion deficit.

Notice that they were more than a little off.

The article continues:

The lower U.S. trade deficit, if it persists, could provide a small boost in the first quarter to gross domestic product, the official scorecard of the economy. But the drop in imports could also be taken as sign of softening demand in the U.S. that adds to worries about a slower growth.

Whatever the case, the U.S. is coming off the highest annual deficit in a decade and it’s unlikely the gap will shrink much if at all in 2019.

The President is renegotiating trade deals. This is not an ‘instant’ process. His negotiating skills and business acumen are responsible for the growing economy–the unemployment rate is down and the workforce participation rate is up. Can someone in the media please give President Trump a little credit and show a little optimism.

Propping Up A Dictator

One America News is reporting today that two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops. This is reported by a local journalist.

The article reports:

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

It sounds as if the Russians are attempting to duplicate what they did in Cuba many years ago, support an unpopular dictator who will be a thorn in the side of America. The Russians have another reason to want to keep Venezuela indirectly under their control.

On March 22nd The Miami Herald reported:

Cuba would have to spend nearly $2 billion a year to meet its domestic oil needs if Venezuela’s National Assembly and interim president Juan Guaidó manage to stop deliveries to the Caribbean island.

“Cuba’s demand for oil is about 130,000 barrels per day, and Cuba produces about 50,000 barrels per day, which means a deficit of about 80,000 barrels per day,” said Jorge Piñón, director of the Latin American Energy Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Piñón estimates that Cuba has fuel reserves for about 45 days. But the end of deliveries by Venezuela’s PDVSA oil company would force the government to spend nearly $5.2 million per day at the market price of $65 per barrel for the 80,000 barrels per day it would need to import to meet demand.

By the end of one year, that would add up to nearly $2 billion for an economy that economists agree has not reached 2 percent annual growth in recent years and has probably experienced a recession.

The National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, recently ordered a suspension of crude shipments to Cuba, which started under an agreement to exchange oil for medical services negotiated by the late Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.

PDVSA now ships an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day to Cuba, not quite half of what the oil company sent before it spiraled into an unprecedented crisis under the Nicolás Maduro regime.

There is also another aspect of Venezuela’s oil shipments.

In November 2013, I reported:

On Friday the Associated Press reported that PDVSA, the government-owned oil producer in Venezuela, seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

Like it or not, free enterprise generates more wealth for more people than socialism.

It is a safe bet that oil production is only a fraction of what it was before Maduro took over the oil industry. That adds to the financial woes of Venezuela and will also have an impact of Cuba.

Following The Money On Renewable Energy

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the cost of the a green energy proposal in Minnesota. The article illustrates what will happen if this sort of program is attempted on a national scale.

The article reports:

Today Center of the American Experiment released a groundbreaking paper that addresses a relatively mild “green” proposal: legislation that would raise the renewable energy standard in Minnesota from 25% to 50%. Two of my staffers have been working on the paper for months, drawing on publicly available (but rarely consulted) sources to understand what would be necessary to achieve that 50% goal, what it would cost, how it would impact the state’s economy, and what effect it would have on global temperatures.

The paper is titled “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” With appendices, it runs to 75 pages. I am not aware of a similarly comprehensive analysis that has been done of any “green” proposal at either the state or the federal level. The paper is fully transparent: all assumptions, data and calculations are clearly set forth. The appendices are largely spread sheets. If anyone disagrees with the report’s conclusions, it should be easy to identify where and why those disagreements arise. You can read the paper here.

The article cites a few highlights from the report:

* Building and maintaining “green” wind and solar facilities, along with transmission lines and necessary natural gas complementary plants (to provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. 60% of the time), would cost $80.2 billion through 2050. For a state like Minnesota, that number is out of the question.

* Every household in Minnesota would pay an average of $1,200 per year, in 2016 dollars, through higher electricity rates and otherwise.

* Electricity prices would rise by 40.2%.

* Electricity-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, manufacturing and health care would be hurt the most. Once again, urban greenies are hammering rural, and physically productive, America. [That last is my commentary, not found in the executive summary.]

* Higher electricity prices are a dead loss that will reduce spending in other areas as household budgets are squeezed. Therefore, according to economist John Phelan, using the generally accepted IMPLAN software, achieving the 50% renewable goal would cost Minnesota 21,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s GDP by $3.1 billion annually. It is one small step on the road to Venezuela.

This really does not sound like a good idea. The push for green energy has always been about government power–whether at the state or federal level. It is interesting that the political left has chosen to attack fossil fuels just at the time when America has achieved energy independence because of fossil fuels and fossil fuels are driving our economic success. Economic success is the enemy of those who espouse socialism–if people are become prosperous, why would they want something different?

Facts Are Such Inconvenient Things

The biggest advantage the Republicans will have in 2020 is a strong economy. Because the Democrats know this, they are trying very hard to downplay the economic recovery that is currently taking place. They have invented some interesting facts in their attempt to do this. However, the alternative media has learned to fact check these attempts to downplay President Trump’s economic success.

Townhall posted an article today that includes some recent fact checking.

The article reports on some recent statement by Kamala Harris:

First, I’m not sure many economists or Republicans cite the stock market as the top indicator of economic health, despite her initial straw man claim. There are many other metrics that are more indicative and more helpful to building that argument, which we’ll mention in a moment.  But it’s also worth pointing out that a robust stock market is not merely good news for people who own stocks, as Harris sarcastically says.  Plenty of workers’ benefit and retirement funds, including those of many public sector employees, are tied into the performance of the stock market — so it’s not just investors who benefit when markets are humming along, and it’s not just investors who feel pain when markets sustain hits. 

Second, in her attempt to downplay the impressive, stable and low US unemployment rate, Harris recycles a claim for which AOC was slapped down by fact-checkers a few months ago.  Even left-leaning Politifact assigned her a “pants on fire” rating.  Harris’ spin is less explicitly clumsy and wrong than AOC’s, as she didn’t specifically state that the low rate is directly attributable to people working more than one job, which makes absolutely no sense — but she does use this argument to undercut the (compelling) argument that the economy is in good shape because so many Americans are employed.  While it’s certainly true that a substantial number of people are working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, it’s not accurate to pretend that this phenomenon is sufficiently widespread as to justify Harris’ talking point.

The article further reports:

The February jobs report found that just five percent of the employed population is working more than one job, down from 5.2 percent one year ago.  The experiences of the people who constitute that five percent matter, of course, but they are not evidence of a larger trend — and certainly not a trend that represents a real basis to shrug off the historically-low unemployment rate.  The jobs report that came out on Friday was a major ‘miss’ on a key number, with the US economy adding only 20,000 jobs last month; economists were expecting 180,000.  That’s a potentially concerning data point, underscoring the folly of simply assuming that the current prosperity streak will continue unabated.  But there were positive statistics, too.  The previous two months’ job creation data was revised upward by 12,000, and the overall unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent.  That marks 12 consecutive months, a full year, with the U3 figure at or below four percent, which is unambiguously good.

The article concludes:

Sustainability is a fair worry for the White House, but as of this moment, the most useful measuring sticks of the US economy are unemployment (3.8 percent), GDP growth (3.1 percent Q4 to Q4), and wage growth (3.4 percent).  All three are impressive.  Harris’ snarky point, therefore, is weak.  

As wages and jobs increase, voters will have to decide whether to believe what they are experiencing or what they are being told.

This Lady Needs To Read American History

The Herald Mail Media reported yesterday that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, stated the following:

“Capitalism is an ideology of capital — the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit,” Ocasio-Cortez said. And that comes at any cost to people and to the environment, she said, “so to me capitalism is irredeemable.”

Although she said she doesn’t think all parts of capitalism should be abandoned, “we’re reckoning with the consequences of putting profit above everything else in society. And what that means is people can’t afford to live. For me, it’s a question of priorities and right now I don’t think our model is sustainable.”

…While America is wealthier than ever, wealth is enjoyed “by fewer than ever,” she said.

“It doesn’t feel good to live in an unequal society,” she said, citing an increase in homelessness in New York City among veterans and the elderly while penthouses sit empty. “It doesn’t feel good to live in a society like that.”

Let’s look at those statements through the lens of American history. In November 2005, the Heritage Foundation published an article about communism in America.

The article included the following notes on American history:

Recalling the story of the Pilgrims is a Thanksgiving tradition, but do you know the real story behind their triumph over hunger and poverty at Plymouth Colony nearly four centuries ago? Their salvation stemmed not so much from the charitable gestures of local Indians, but from their courageous decision to embrace the free-market principle of private property ownership a century and a half before Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an “injustice” that they were paid the same as those “not able to do a quarter the other could.” Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of “slavery.”

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

There will always be inequities in wealth. A person who works 12-hour days will generally earn more than a person who works a 6-hour day. People who invent things or have new ideas generally do very well financially. Rewarding innovation provides an incentive for progress. Capitalism (or the free market economy) is not perfect, but it creates fewer problems than any other economic system. Those touting the wonders of socialism need only look at the economic history of Venezuela during the past ten years. Once the wealthiest country in South America, now a place of unspeakable poverty. That is the fruit of socialism or communism.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez, please learn your history.