Putting Politics Before The Welfare Of Americans

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the coming Congressional session. The title of the editorial is, “Market Turmoil Shows Why Trump’s Pro-Growth Policies Must Continue.”

The editorial explains:

Kudlow (President Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow) tried to calm the waters. “Corrections come and go,” he told reporters at the White House. “I’m reading some of the weirdest stuff how a recession is in the future. Nonsense. Recession is so far in the distance I can’t see it. Keep the faith. It’s a very strong economy.”

Let’s be clear. Economic forecasts have been overly pessimistic for most of the Trump administration, with actual results consistently coming in “unexpectedly” higher than forecast. And Kudlow is right. There’s no sign of a recession on the horizon.

The editorial points out the indications of a strong economy and the steps needed to keep it strong:

Unemployment is at 50-year lows. Wages are growing at the fastest rate since the financial crisis. There are a million more job listings than officially unemployed people. Productivity grew 2.2% in the third quarter, after jumping 3% in the second quarter — the fastest growth rate in four years. Small business optimism and the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index remains at record highs.

After eight long years of sluggish growth under President Obama, the economy has been booming.

Still, the Fed has been raising interest rates, and as we’ve pointed out repeatedly in this space, the risk is always that they will go too far, too fast, and crash the economy. The trade war with China is taking its toll. And the economic expansion is old. The last recession ended 113 months ago, making this the second longest in the post-World War II era.

Which is all the more reason for the federal government to continue wringing every bit of growth-inhibiting policies out of the system. For his part, Trump needs to get a trade deal in place with China when he meets with President Xi Jinping at a G-20 summit later this month. And he needs to continue to deregulate where he can.

Unfortunately the Democrats in Congress have little interest in continuing the policies that have resulted in the current economic growth. They will make every effort to roll back the tax cuts and increase the size and spending of the federal government. Hopefully their efforts will not be successful.

Time For A Change Of Economic Policy

This is a chart from today’s Wall Street Journal:

The article reports:

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of the year, according to the Commerce Department‘s third reading released Wednesday. That was the fastest rate of decline since the first quarter of 2009, when output fell 5.4%, and matches the average pace of declines during the recession.

GDP was recession-like in the first quarter, although most other data clearly signal that the decline is an outlier,” said Jim O’ Sullivan, economist at High Frequency Economics.

In its third GDP reading, based on newly available data, Commerce said first-quarter consumer spending and exports were even weaker than previously estimated. Consumer spending growth was lowered to 1% from 3.1% previously, largely because health-care spending was weaker than previously estimated.

President Obama has been in office since 2009. His economic policies have been in place for more than five years. It is becoming obvious that those policies have not been effective in reviving the American economy. It is time to send people to Washington who have new ideas that will encourage small business growth and turn the American economy around.

Where Has All The Money Gone?

Below is a chart posted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air today:

fred-dc-usa-medianincome

The chart above shows the median household income of the Washington, D.C., area versus the median household income of the rest of the nation.

The article at Hot Air points out a few things about the graph:

From the mid-1980s to around 2007, the median household income rise in DC remained pretty closely linked to that of the nation as a whole.  Anyone remember what happened in 2007, besides the economic slowdown that would turn into the Great RecessionDemocrats took control of Congress and federal spending shot upward ever since.  And at least according to the Fed, that disparity is actually accelerating,  at least to 2012, with DC median income skyrocketing while the rest of us stagnate.

We have a choice to make as Americans. It’s not a Democrat or a Republican choice–it’s an American choice. Do we keep spending ourselves into bankruptcy or do we begin to act like adults and live within our means? The choice is ours. We have an election coming up in about a year. Forget party labels–they really aren’t worth much right now. Find out what the candidate’s position is on spending and formulating a federal budget (we haven’t had one since 2009). Find our what the candidate’s past voting record is on fiscal matters. These things are not hard to find. Thomas.gov is an excellent source of information for votes, sponsors of legislation, and actions of past Congresses. Do your homework–your country depends on it.

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The Jobs Numbers In Perspective

Mort Zuckerman posted an article at the Wall Street Journal yesterday analyzing the latest jobs report. Mort Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report. In the article Mr. Zuckerman points out that the longest and worst recession since the end of World War II has been followed by the weakest recovery from a recession in that period.

The article points out that the jobless rate is actually increasing–not decreasing:

The jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling. In June, the government’s Household Survey reported that since the start of the year, the number of people with jobs increased by 753,000—but there are jobs and then there are “jobs.” No fewer than 557,000 of these positions were only part-time. The survey also reported that in June full-time jobs declined by 240,000, while part-time jobs soared by 360,000 and have now reached an all-time high of 28,059,000—three million more part-time positions than when the recession began at the end of 2007.

That’s just for starters. The survey includes part-time workers who want full-time work but can’t get it, as well as those who want to work but have stopped looking. That puts the real unemployment rate for June at 14.3%, up from 13.8% in May.

That is not a recovery.

The article also points out:

That brings us to a stunning fact about the jobless recovery: The measure of those adults who can work and have jobs, known as the civilian workforce-participation rate, is currently 63.5%—a drop of 2.2% since the recession ended. Such a decline amid a supposedly expanding economy has never happened after previous recessions. Another statistic that underscores why this is such a dysfunctional labor market is that the number of people leaving the workforce during this economic recovery has actually outpaced the number of people finding a new job by a factor of nearly three.

We need a serious change of economic policy to turn this around. ObamaCare is a major part of the problem, but over regulation and over taxation also play a part in this problem. Unemployment numbers of above 7 percent should not be allowed to become the norm.

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I Don’t Believe This, But It Will Make The Discussion More Interesting

CNS News is reporting that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has predicted that federal revenues for 2013 will exceed $2.7 trillion in 2013, slightly higher than the $2.6 trillion the government collected in 2007, when the last recession officially began.

The article reports:

Government revenues had fallen by nearly $500 billion during the recession to $2.1 trillion in 2009, contributing to the $1.5 trillion deficit that year. However, federal revenues have been recovering since the recession ended in June 2009, and the CBO now projects that they will slightly eclipse their pre-recession peak.

In fact, the $2.7 trillion in revenue will be the most money the federal government has collected in history.

Obviously, if government revenue is the highest it has ever been in history, why do we have to increase taxes?

The article reports:

Democrats say we should replace the president’s ‘sequester’ with revenue increases, or delay it.  Republicans say we should replace [it] with responsible reforms that will help put us on a path to balance the budget in 10 years,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Frankly, I would love to see federal revenues increase, but I am not convinced they will. Unemployment is still high, and the number of people working part-time who want to work full-time is at an all time high. Much of the revenue the government gets comes from personal income taxes, and if the unemployment situation does not change, I don’t think the revenues will change significantly. The CBO does its calculations based on the numbers it is given. It would be interesting to know where they got the numbers that convinced them 2013 was going to be a banner year for tax revenue.

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News That Really Does Not Make Me Happy

Bloomberg reported yesterday that incomes in America declined more in the three year expansion since 2009 than during the longest recession since the Great Depression. The ‘great recession’ in America officially ended in 2009. There is a technical definition of a recession, and according to that definition, the recession in America ended in 2009. However, the income and unemployment numbers for Americans have not improved.

The article reports:

“Almost every group is worse off than it was three years ago, and some groups had very large declines in income,” Green (Gordon Green, Sentier Research LLC.), who previously directed work on the Census Bureau’s income and poverty statistics program, said in a phone interview today. “We’re in an unprecedented period of economic stagnation.”

While gains in hourly earnings and average hours worked per week may have had “a minor mitigating effect” on income declines, they couldn’t offset a jobless rate that hasn’t fallen below 8 percent since February 2009 and a record duration of unemployment, according to the Annapolis, Maryland-based firm.

The average duration of unemployment increased to a record 41 weeks in November and remains at 39 weeks, Labor Department data show. Almost 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for at least six months.

This snapshot of the economy does not bode well for the re-election chances of Barack Obama.

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