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:

Karma Anyone?

A lot of elected officials have never worked in the private sector. This impacts their view of economics and how it works. Often people who support liberal ideas have not had enough economic experience to understand that ideas that may sound wonderful may not work out as planned.  A recent example of this is a bookstore owner in New York City.

Yesterday Steven Hayward posted an article on Power Line Blog about Chris Doeblin, the owner of Book Culture, a four-location independent bookseller in New York City. The bookstore has a reputation of being a progressive bookstore.

The owner of the bookstore is quoted in the article:

“Our four stores are in danger of closing soon and we need financial assistance or investment on an interim basis to help us find our footing. This is true in spite of the fact that business has been good and we are widely supported and appreciated,” [owner Chris Doeblin] wrote. “In the last 30 months the payroll costs for Book Culture have risen by 50% and it has been difficult to adapt quickly enough. We have now made the structural changes to our company and the cuts that will allow us to move ahead profitably once we find the financial resources we need.”

The operative statement in that quote is that the payroll costs have risen by 50%. The article explains:

Doeblin blamed payroll cost increases on the city’s minimum wage raise, which he says increased hourly wages for his employees “from $10 to $15.25 since December 2016” and forced him to initiate layoffs and reorganizing.

Now Doeblin has a solution for the problem, which further confirms his lack of understanding of how economics and the free market work:

Doeblin explained to Gothamist what he believes the business needs to survive, and his larger ambitions to try to help other small businesses stay alive in an ever-changing city: “I think we need at least $500K in a term loan but I hope to find $750K to a $1M,” he said. “I would like the city to immediately [guarantee] such a loan and then embark on a serious plan to improve the odds of small business in New York. I would like to be on that panel too, because there is a lack of creative optimistic thinking and action.”

This illustrates the reason we need to teach economics and the principles of the free market in high schools and colleges.

Bouncing Back

Yesterday CNBC reported the following:

After a disappointing February in which just 20,000 jobs were added to the economy, the job market is back on track, adding 196,000 jobs in March.

That’s according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statics, which also showed unemployment remaining at 3.8% and wages increasing by 3.2% from a year ago.

“I think the March report will reassure investors after the weak report in February brought about concerns of a possible slowing economy,” Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain tells CNBC Make It. “The report is strong across the board and it’s hard to find any weaknesses. It shows that even after 102 months of positive job gains, the economy still has room to grow.”

At some point the economy will slow down. We have not yet dealt with the debt that runaway spending has created in recent years, and we have not yet fully revised trade deals that were detrimental to our country. However, March was a good month for Americans looking for work and Americans in the workforce.

The article reminds us that there may be a recession in the future, but not in the near future:

Though February’s numbers may have been alarming to some, Hamrick, Gimbel and Chamberlain agree that there’s no need to worry about a recession just yet.

“There’s no sign that one is imminent,” says Hamrick, though he adds, “we know that one is inevitable at some point.”

Gimbel adds that, “In 2018, we created, on average, about 200,000 jobs per month. That is astonishing at this point in the recovery and highly unlikely that the economy is going to keep that up moving forward. So if we drop down to creating 180,000 jobs a month, or 150,000 or even 100,000, that is OK.”

Having a businessman as President has been a good thing for the majority of Americans.

The Coast Guard Will Get Paid

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Concerned about U.S. Coast Guard forces losing a paycheck in the partial government shutdown, President Trump personally urged his team to find a solution that would allow the administration to make this week’s $75 million payroll, according to officials.

Trump stepped in on Wednesday, calling on top lawyers and staffers to determine if the Coast Guard could make payroll despite being included in the shutdown that has impacted about 25 percent of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Coast Guard.

Military personnel under the Department of Defense are not included in the shutdown, because their appropriations were approved earlier in Congress.

Officials said that Trump was keen to find a “way we can fix this” as news media stories about the Coast Guardsmen’s plight started to pile up.

At his urging, the Office of Management and Budget, DHS and the Coast Guard determined that the rules governing pay to Coast Guard forces requires it be made through the end of the year. To make it, the lawyers said that unused funding could be tapped for pay. The service had a bit more than the needed $75 million left over from its past continuing resolution appropriation, enough to make this month’s last payroll check.

“The president is trying to make the shutdown as painless as possible for workers, and this case proved it,” said an official.

Remember that only 1/4 of the government is shut down because President Trump had the forethought to get the rest of the budget passed previously. The Democrats (who in the past voted for a fence (a.k.a. wall) have changed their minds and shut down the government because President Trump wants a wall. At least President Trump is attempting to make the shutdown as painless as possible while Representative Nancy Pelosi (who should be in Washington negotiating) vacations in Hawaii.

What We Didn’t Know About The Senate Payroll Tax Extension Bill

Fox News posted a story yesterday about exactly what was in the payroll tax extension bill passed by the Senate. It seems that the bill that the Senate passed was unworkable.

The article reports:

The Senate bill did not cleanly extend the current Social Security employee share of 4.2 percent for two months. Instead, it created a two-tiered payroll tax with a rate of 4.2 percent for the first $18,350 of income in those 60 days, with a 6.2 percent rate above that.

This establishment of multiple rates of payroll tax presents serious logistical challenges for payroll processors. In fact, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium strongly opposed to the Senate bill based on this feature, writing:

“The difficulty is in establishing a new Social Security Taxable Wage limit of $18,350 for the two-month extension period. More than ten percent of the workforce is likely to meet that limit, and would be subject to the higher 6.2% tax rate for earnings over that amount. However, many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February. The systems affected tend to be highly complex, normally requiring at least ninety days for a change of this magnitude for software testing alone; not to mention analysis, design, coding and implementation.”

To me, that explains why the Senate did not simply pass the House version of the payroll tax extension–they were using the bill as an instrument of class warfare.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It explains the actual process that resulted in a workable bill being passed. This bill was a victory for the taxpayers and for the companies having to deal with payrolls. It was a small victory, but it was a victory.

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In Washington Things Are Never As They Appear To Be

 

English: Aerial photo of Tea Party rally to ou...

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Tampa Bay Online is reporting today that the House of Representatives has voted 229-193 to reject the Senate’s proposal for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. 

The article reports:

The House vote, 229-193, kicks the measure back to the Senate, where the bipartisan two-month measure passed on Saturday by a sweeping 89-10 vote. The Senate then promptly left Washington for the holidays. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he won’t allow bargaining until the House approves the Senate’s short-term measure.

OK. Let’s take a look at this. The Republicans in the Senate need to be taken to the woodshed on this one. First of all, a two-month extension of a tax policy is totally ridiculous. Companies need time to program their payroll software, they need some certainty in the future to allow them to plan expenses. The Republicans in the Senate fell right into the hands of the Democrat politicians on this one. Harry Reid left town in order to avoid negotiations. He knew that the House would reject this bill–this is the Democrat way of avoiding the Keystone Pipeline and blaming the Republicans for the middle class tax increase that is coming.

There will be no payroll tax cut extension. In itself, that is not horrible. (Don’t panic. I am not for higher taxes, I just don’t like the way this was done). The payroll tax cut comes out of the “Social Security Fund” (which is nonexistent)–not the general fund. The payroll tax cut ensures the demise of Social Security sooner rather than later. Raising taxes on millionaires, increasing the cost of mortgages, etc., has no impact on the money not collected because of the payroll tax cut–those things impace the general fund–not the social security fund.

Unfortunately, this battle is totally about politics and the American people are the losers. The correct answer to the entire situation would have been for Congress to pass a real budget–which it has not done for almost three years and proceed from there.

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