Where’s That Middle Class?

I would post on that diabolical “caravan” but it seems to have vanished off the news…..go figure……

Now that the Midterms are over and we have a new Democratic House…..there is one question I want to ask them……”whatcha ya gonna do” for the Middle Class?

How many times have you heard a reference to the “Middle Class” by your politicians?

The Middle Class use to be the poster child for capitalism and for the US.  The Middle Class expands and the economic society is healthy and progressing….

Sad to say that the Middle Class nowadays is nothing but a slogan in the same vane as “patriotism, veterans, etc”….a campaign slogan that few believe any longer…..

Like or not the “bourgeois is getting recast as the proletariat”…..interesting concept right?

The American Conservative has a view on the Middle Class that every American should read……

Everyone loves the middle class. Everyone claims to be middle-class—some to put a gloss on their sketchy escutcheons, others to dodge chastisement for their awkward riches. But in fact both the socioeconomic reality and the concept of the middle class have been turned on their heads and, at the same time, trivialized into a mere lifestyle choice.

Economically, the middle classes were once proprietors, self-employed owners of property and their own labor. Morally, they were the equivalent of “solid citizens”: decent, hard-working, law-abiding, temperate, proper, staid, virtuous, and—well, moral. The qualifications for being middle class have gotten a whole lot looser, to say the least.

The European term “middle classes” originally served to describe merchants, tradesmen, investors, and skilled craftsmen. The habitat of these classes was the walled city—the burg, bourg, or borough—hence their appellation, les bourgeois. The bourgeoisie occupied a middle ground between the nobility and the lower classes of peasants and servants.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-middle-class/

Wages flat….not what Trump wants the “Middle Class” to believe…..we are now divided into two distinct classes…..wealthy and worker…..as long as the corruption continues the chances of a reset are looking better and better…..

Things are changing……

“Out of the frying pan, into the fire” is an apt description of our current place in history. No matter what you think of globalization, I believe we’ll soon discover that capitalism without it is much, much worse.

No one needs to convince establishment economists, politicians and pundits that the absence of globalization and growth spells trouble. They’ve pushed globalization as the Viagra of economic growth for years. But globalization has never been popular with everyone. Capitalism’s critics recognize that it generates tremendous wealth and power for a tiny fraction of the Earth’s seven billion people, makes room for some in the middle class, but keeps most of humanity destitute and desperate, while trashing the planet and jeopardizing human survival for generations to come.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/01/catabolism-capitalisms-frightening-future/

The Middle Class is disappearing……what will the new “House” do to change that?

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The Economy–05Nov18

Tomorrow we go to the polls and vote either for dumb or dumber…..and it is important and you would think that since it is important that the Repubs would be looking for the best foot to put forward….and that would be the ECONOMY.

But so far all they have is bullshit anti-immigration slogans….why not emphasize the fact that wages are rising at a good rate……

The last unemployment report before the midterms is a strong one. Employers added 250,000 jobs in October, above the forecast of 188,000, reports the Wall Street Journal. The unemployment rate itself remained at a five-decade low of 3.7%, per the AP. The influx of new job-seekers in October increased the proportion of Americans with jobs to its highest level since January 2009. What’s more, wages rose 3.1% when compared to last October, the best such gain since 2009. It’s the first time since the recession ended that wages rose more than 3% over a year. Average hourly earnings in the private sector increased 5 cents to $27.30.

But so far the president spends all his time recalling 2016, bad mouthing opponents, ripping immigrants, and insulting the press…..not much on the things that are going right……

AS much as Trump would like his lies to find a foothold…..but all is NOT as good as the President would have us believe……

But all the news is not good with the Economy……

There’s mounting anecdotal evidence that President Donald Trump’s trade war is causing trouble for the US economy and businesses. But Friday’s report on third-quarter gross domestic product may be the best hard evidence yet that the tariffs are causing major disruptions in the economy.

GDP rose at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter. But the contribution of net exports of goods and services — the measure of how much trade added or subtracted to GDP growth — was a dismal -1.78 percentage points.

https://www.businessinsider.com/gdp-trump-tariff-trade-war-us-china-2018-10

Trump’s super tax cuts has put the US economy into a deep deep deficit……

It became very clear this month that neither the Trump White House nor its allies on Capitol Hill want you to know that the federal budget is already in very bad shape … and getting worse.

It happened when the Treasury, the official keeper of Washington’s financial results, issued its monthly statement for the first 10 months of fiscal 2018 about federal revenue, spending and, therefore, the budget deficit.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/08/20/donald-trump-trillion-dollar-plus-deficits-fiscal-ruin-column/986236002/

2008 the housing market led the rush to ruin…and it is once again showing signs of weakness…..

Despite a robust U.S. economy, at least as measured by gross domestic product, real home price growth is locked in a cyclical downturn. If that’s not bad enough, it will likely get worse based on the same approach and factors that correctly flagged the housing bust — in real time — in early 2006.

Home prices are highly cyclical and, as everyone discovered from the last recession, their movements can have material consequences for the broader economy. Yet, according to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Aug. 1 monetary policy meeting, policy makers are only starting to recognize the “possibility” of a significant weakening in the housing sector as a “downside risk.” Our research suggests that real home price growth has already entered a cyclical downturn that is likely to intensify. Data this week is forecast to show a drop in housing starts and existing home sales.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-10-15/housing-prices-may-have-entered-a-cyclical-downturn

Key economic indicators are flashing red:

  • Worker productivity is sluggish. The third quarter marked the “32nd straight quarter of yearly growth below 2%, a long and consistent stretch of anemic growth that hasn’t happened before in the post-World War II era,” the WSJ reports.
  • Manufacturing activity has stalled for the first time in two years, possibly the result of President Trump’s multi-front trade war.
  • Business investment is laggardly. Rather than using their $1.2 trillion tax cut on capital spending, companies are on track for the biggest-ever year of stock buybacks, possibly reaching $1 trillion.

Instead of focusing on a group of slow walking people maybe he should grasp and old saying……

“Mr. President….It is The Economy Stupid!”

Vote Tomorrow!

Shop Local Sunday

I have been thinking about stuff….not important stuff….just stuff in general……Mo has been NO help she keeps thinking my planters are play toys…..

I watch MSNBC and on weekends they have a show about your business and how to make it succeed.  They are big supporters of the “shop locally” movement….this is where people go out on weekends and shop in only Mom and Pop stores….showing them support.

But these days is there truly any way to save those Mom and Pop stores?

Probably not!

If you want to understand “retail death” — and I’m using quotes here because the concept of buying and selling things is very much alive — all you have to do is look at one very specific street.

In the ’90s, the stretch of Bleecker Street that snakes north through New York City’s Greenwich Village was home to dozens of independently owned bookshops, sex shops, antique stores, and framing galleries. But the death knell rang when the luxury fashion house Marc Jacobs decided to settle there in 2001, the year after the nearby Magnolia Bakery was featured in an episode of Sex and the City.

Within the next 10 years, 44 of those original neighborhood businesses would close to make space for the chains and luxury boutiques that followed. By now, the big brands have moved on, leaving nearly a quarter of storefronts sitting vacant for months on end and asking sky-high rents that small businesses can’t afford. The only ones that can are major developers.

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/10/16/17980424/shop-local-jeremiah-moss

Sad for I remember my area and the stores and restaurants that have disappeared and replaced with corporate  crap…..bars, neighborhood bars, are all but gone from the area…..great eateries gone because they could not compete with Pizza Crap all you can eat for 5 bucks…..people did this!

Time to let Mo do her thing and me to try and figure out where to put the radishes….

Peace out guys…..see you tomorrow…..chuq

Gimme Your Money!

Closing Thought–23Oct18

Our Dear Supreme Leader’s infamous tax cuts have exploded the deficit…..

Thanks in large part to Republican tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations, the latest tallies are jaw-dropping.

The U.S. budget deficit is reaching levels that are abnormally high for a robust economy, and lawmakers from both parties are proposing ideas that would make the deficit swell even further.

The government spent $895 billion more than it brought in from taxes and other revenue sources during the past 11 months, the Congressional Budget Office said this week, a 33 percent increase from one year before.

Even the Supreme Leader was shocked and he has a plan to lessen the deficit……

President Trump instructed his cabinet secretaries Wednesday to reduce their departmental spending by 5 percent or more next year.

“Some of you will say, ‘Hey, I can do much more than five,’” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting.

……after the U.S. Treasury reported that the budget deficit hit a 6-year high of $779 billion in fiscal year 2018. The 17 percent year-over-year increase in the deficit was driven in large part by the tax cuts pushed through Congress by Republicans late last year, along with a $300 billion increase in spending for this year and next.

The Trump administration has been hinting recently that it would seek to cut spending for fiscal 2020, with Kevin Hassett, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, saying last week that “deficit is absolutely higher than anyone would like” and that “you’ll see a much more aggressive stance” soon as far as the budget is concerned.

(yahoo news)

Will that include the Pentagon?  If so we can kiss that new Space Force good-bye for now.

I have a feeling that the Pentagon will be exempt.

Now watch the game that the GOP will start about Social Security, Medicare, etc……it is always the fault of so-called “entitlements” that explode the deficit…not the mindless policies of the GOP (that is sarcasm)…..

Closing Thought–04Oct18

I remember when conservatives, Republicans, use to harp and rant about the debt and fiscal policies….those days are gone just recently the new tax cuts will explode the deficit and expand the debt that the GOP use to guard heavily.  According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the bill will add more than $1 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. The annual deficit for fiscal 2017 was $666 billion, or 3.5 percent of the overall U.S. economy. That share, because of the tax bill, will now increase, though by how much is a matter contentious debate.

The news about the state of the debt was released…….

The US spends far more on its military than any other nation on Earth, but very soon, it will not be the top expenditure of the US government. Rather, rising interest rates and years of mounting debts mean that soon, interest on the debt will overtake that.

Interest costs will be $390 billion next year, and more than $900 billion within a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. At present, US military budgets are in the $700 billion range, and themselves constantly growing.

Somewhere, these two growing lines will intersect, and the runaway military spending is a big reason why. There simply is no way for US to keep pouring substantial portions of a trillion dollars down the well annually for the military without borrowing, and that debt is just growing.

The US debt is huge, and that is in no small part because of decades of runaway military spending, and trillions dumped into nuclear weapons. Lawmakers largely are not interested in this matter right now, likely reflecting their unwillingness to cut military spending to try to get the debt back in line.

(antiwar.com)

And the Trump GOP wants another round of tax cuts…..are these toads serious?

Yes they are!

With the nation’s attention rightly transfixed by the Senate GOP’s monstrous efforts to ram through a Supreme Court nominee who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual assault, House Republicans on Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve another $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans just weeks before the November midterms.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/09/28/nation-transfixed-kavanaugh-monstrosity-house-gop-votes-give-rich-another-3-trillion

If the last round of cuts exploded the debt then what will another round do?

If you did not know about this end run by the GOP then you can thank your local media for the lack of coverage.

But if you are such a slow learner that you think the GOP tax cuts are a good thing…..then you are a moron or a wealthy person that is making out like a bandit….but for the wider picture of the cuts…..

Tax Day has come and gone. How are those cuts working out?

Spoiler alert: They’re not. Republicans sold their rush-job bill as a way to boost an already strong economy; my colleague Holden Miller boasted they would be jet fuel for growth and touted the year-end bonuses and wage growth so many got.

I argued that most people weren’t seeing increased paychecks, that the bonuses were one-time and heavily concentrated in a couple industries, and that they weren’t lifting up the economy as promised. Actually, in the long term, they’re putting an already strong economy at risk.

Every month we get more fresh evidence of that.

https://www.debt.com/americas-voice-on-debt/far-trumps-tax-cuts-failing/

Peace Out!

The Promise Of Wages

I follow Speaker Ryan on Twitter because his daily Tweets can get a real person laughing for most of the day.  His Tweets since the tax cuts of 2017 are about how much better off the economy is at this point and occasionally he offers some vague promise of wages.

The truth is these cuts have done little to raise the wages of the working class but did everything to raise the wealth of the already wealthy.

The real truth is that all the tax cuts for the last couple of decades have done nothing to raise the wages of the average working stiff.

The graph on wages is flat and has been that way for many decades……follow the graphs on wages……there are 9 of them that prove my point…..https://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

After checking out the graphs……read this report from the Pew Research……

On the face of it, these should be heady times for American workers. U.S. unemployment is as low as it’s been in nearly two decades (3.9% as of July) and the nation’s private-sector employers have been adding jobs for 101 straight months – 19.5 million since the Great Recession-related cuts finally abated in early 2010, and 1.5 million just since the beginning of the year.

But despite the strong labor market, wage growth has lagged economists’ expectations. In fact, despite some ups and downs over the past several decades, today’s real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. And what wage gains there have been have mostly flowed to the highest-paid tier of workers.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/

So to taunt the tax cuts as working for the working class is a damn lie….a lie that the GOP has become master at selling to the unwitting public.

To fight this growing story…the public is starting to see just how much of a lie the GOP is spreading…..the Right needs a theory to explain the lagging wages…..

Once upon time, when the GOP was still attempting to dress itself up as a party of ideas, Yuval Levin was considered one of its star intellectuals. As editor of the conservative policy journal National Affairs, he was a wonkish prophet of fiscal doom, who argued that the U.S. would soon face a reckoning over its national debt, and that the only way to avert catastrophe was to radically curtail the modern welfare state. Levin was once described as Paul Ryan’s own “personal philosopher,” and was the sort of guy who could get David Brooks hot and bothered by writing a long-winded argument for slashing entitlement spending.

If a politician like Sen. Marco Rubio or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had become president in 2016, Levin might still be playing a starring role in Washington’s policy discourse. But of course, Donald Trump is president, and Republicans have dropped the charade that they sincerely care about the deficit, or whatever the heck got written about in ponderous thinky policy rags. Levin still gets cited by columnists like Brooks, but his star is a bit fallen.

https://slate.com/business/2018/09/wage-stagnation-new-conservative-theory.html

An interesting read and very eye opening……

The GOP has always been a party for liars and when it comes to screwing the public they are masters at making the public smile while getting humped.

NAFTA Vs USMCA

In 2016 Trump and I had something in common…..we both disliked NAFTA….the only difference was he could do something about it and I could only bitch about it.

US, Canada and Mexico have come to an agreement on trade and NAFTA…..

Canada and the United States reached a deal Sunday night for Canada to stay in a free trade pact with the US and Mexico. In a joint statement late Sunday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the agreement “will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home.” The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the US, will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump had called a job-killing disaster.

The agreement reached Sunday gives US farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the US wanted to jettison and offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks, and auto parts imported into the United States, the AP reports. “It’s a good day for Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he left his office. Canada, the United States’ No. 2 trading partner, was left out when the US and Mexico reached an agreement last month to revamp NAFTA. US-Canada talks bogged down earlier this month, and most trade analysts expected the Sept. 30 deadline to come and go without Canada being reinstated.

Of course Trump’s new replacement for NAFTA has a nice ring to it……USMCA

America’s free trade pact with Mexico and Canada may be alive, but the same can’t be said for the NAFTA moniker. Once the new deal was arrived at Sunday night its new name was announced: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. President Trump weighed in on the name during a Monday press conference, saying, “It has a good ring to it.” It’s also “a great deal,” he said per USA Today, one that should “pass easily, really easily … in theory there should be no trouble.” Congress needs to approve the agreement, and it needs to be ratified in Mexico and Canada as well. As for how one should say the name, Trump didn’t read it as a word a la NAFTA but spelled the letters out: U-S-M-C-A.

CNBC reports that while much of the deal echoes that of NAFTA, there are pivots in terms of how the dairy and auto industries are handled: US dairy producers’ access to Canadian markets will increase, while Mexico and Canada scored a win in terms of an exemption on passenger vehicles, pickups, and auto parts from potential tariffs. CNBC has much more, including details on changes that will could up the price of cars made in Mexico, which could push more of these jobs north of the border.

NYTimes op-ed states that USMCA is worse than NAFTA…….

North American business leaders are breathing a sigh of relief after Canada agreed, at the 11th hour, to join the revised North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Mexico. But before they break out the Champagne, they should look at the details.

Although the revised deal brings much-needed modernization in areas such as e-commerce and intellectual property, the media spotlight on Canada has obscured a bigger problem for the region: Under the new terms, North American trade is headed off the rails and, perhaps along with it, political stability south of the border.

But leave it to the master of business, the grad from the Wharton School, to negotiate a deal that has LESS trade in it……

The United States, Canada, and Mexico have completed their renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Being nothing, if not creative, negotiators named this revamp the “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Trade,” or USMCA for short. While the namers get an F for imagination and creativity, they receive an A for self-evaluation skills, as they aptly removed the term “free trade” from the title. The USMCA does not advance free trade in the world.

There are more than a few labor and manufacturing provisions in this bill that will, no doubt, lead to higher prices for American consumers. There is a sourcing requirement, which mandates that 75 percent of automobile parts be produced in North America, otherwise that automobile cannot enter duty-free. Not only are the costs of auto parts already rising due to President Trump’s trade dispute with China, they will now rise even further due to the requirement that manufacturers use more expensive domestic parts that could have been imported more cheaply.

https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2018/10/02/leave_it_to_trump_to_negotiate_a_deal_that_leads_to_less_trade_103433.html

Is that a technique known only to those that study at Wharton?

How to cut a deal where there is less trade than the previous deal.