The Economy Is Booming

Our Dear Leader tells us every Tweet that the economy is booming thanks to him and his policies.  Speaker Ryan Tweets every day that the economy is good and our people are doing better and better…..

I hate to tell these two deluded slugs but just because the wealthy are making money hand over fist does not mean that the rest of us are doing so as well…..no we are not doing good…..for most wage slaves the economy is crummy at best…..

We humans have stopped waiting for the trickle down….it has not made it to us in 30+ years and I do not think it ever will…..and yet the GOP voters keep believing it will eventually get to them as they struggle every day…..I believe that Einstein had something to say about doing the same thing over and over……..

For about a year now, the unemployment rate has been around 4%. That’s supposed mean full employment, labor shortages, and rising pay. But the latest earnings report is the same old story: no gains in real hourly wages from June of 2017 through June of 2018. Most employers have been able to find new workers without having to raise pay offers.

What’s going on? There are screwball right-wing diversions and explanations. A Trump economist, D. J. Norquist, opines that it will take time for the Republican tax-cuts to work their way through the economy. As an explanation, this is nonsense. Just because the lords of creation get more money doesn’t mean more will filter down to workers. We have the evidence of forty years on that issue. Then we have Stephen Moore at the Heritage Foundation. He suggests that the economy might be creating a disproportionate number of low-wage jobs, which could outweigh rising wages higher on the job ladder. But this is not happening. And if it were, we would be right back to asking why a booming labor market was generating more lousy jobs.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/18/the-crummy-good-economy-and-the-new-serfdom/

Will another shoe drop thanks to the tariffs and the trade war that looms?

When it goes to Hell how long before it is Obama’s fault?  (After all that is Dear Leader’s favorite scapegoat)

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The Golden Fleece

Back in the 1970’s a bunch of Senators started a thing called the Golden Fleece Award….it was an award given for the best governmental waste of taxpayer money…..one of the most popular and enduring icons of American politics, Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award embodied both outrage and humor as it put the public spotlight on waste and abuse of taxpayer money.

Maybe it is time for the award to be picked up by the MSM and inform the public of how their money is being pissed away……

Who could forget it? There were the $37 screws (no need to say who was getting screwed), the $2,043 nut (McDonnell Douglas made it specially for the U.S. Navy), the $7,622 coffee pot, the $74,165 aluminum ladder, and the $640 plastic toilet seats for the Air Force. All of those examples of Pentagon waste were from ancient times, the 1970s and 1980s when such revelations still generated literally hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. These days, in the age of America’s never-ending credit-card wars and a Pentagon budget eternally going through the roof, stories of that sort are surprisingly rare. It’s as if that budget and the waste that goes with it has, by now, become such a strikingly bipartisan Washington phenomenon that the details hardly matter. Who’s going to be shocked? Who’s going to complain? Who would possibly contest anything the Pentagon did or spent for American “safety” and “security”?

So I recently felt a wave of almost Trumpian nostalgia for those long-gone days of American “greatness,” or at least well-publicized great wastefulness, when I stumbled across an obscure piece about the $10,000 toilet seats the Air Force is presently buying for its Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport planes. Admit it: even taking inflation into account, that’s impressive! That’s waste on a scale that should make any American proud! Now, imagine that, as TomDispatch regular William Hartung points out today, when it comes to government investment in the American economy and our disintegrating infrastructure, there really is nothing much left but the Pentagon and its $10,000 toilet seats. It should make your heart beat faster to know that if anything is going to lift the economy long term, it’s going to be Pentagon spending. If that isn’t MAGA, what is?

https://original.antiwar.com/william-d-hartung/2018/07/01/weaponized-keynesianism-in-washington/

Maybe focus on the trillions with a “T” from the Pentagon…..

A Department of Defense inspector general’s report released last week offered a jaw-dropping insight into just how bad the military’s auditing system is.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the behemoth Indianapolis-based agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, could not provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.

I am sure that this is NOT the only mismanagement of taxpayers funds……why not focus on those and bring the pain to the waste?

A New Round Of Tariffs

Here we go!

It is not over and promises to get worse……

The trade war has started……Trump’s admin has placed tariffs on China and our European friends…..and a new round has been put into place against China….

The US-China trade war is here—and it’s escalating rapidly. US authorities rolled out a list Tuesday of some $200 billion in Chinese goods that could be hit with 10% tariffs by September, Deutsche Welle reports. The list of more than 6,000 product lines includes food products and many consumer goods, raising fears that the escalation could raise prices significantly for American shoppers, the Wall Street Journal reports. China hit back with its own tariffs on $34 billion in American goods after the US brought in tariffs on the same amount of Chinese goods last week, and Beijing has signalled that it will continue raising tariffs dollar for dollar. No talks are scheduled to resolve the dispute, which the US side blames on unfair Chinese practices.

The latest US tariffs were condemned by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, among others, who called the move “reckless.” China Ministry of Commerce said it was shocked by the escalation, the South China Morning Post reports. “China is shocked by the US move and the Chinese government, as always, will have to react to defend the core interests of our nation and people,” the ministry said. Li Chenggang, assistant minister of commerce, likened the US to a “bull in a China shop” and said tit-for-tat tariffs would “inevitably destroy” US-China trade.

The predictions are that these tariffs will now effect every room of one’s house from the windows and doors to kitchen to bath room….so many household things are made in China and now it will be expensive…..

Something to think about……the attacks on China by Trump could be behind the NK flipping on the “deal” that was supposedly struck in Singapore.

Just a thought.

Tit For Tat Tariffs

Even if you are a Repub you know that Trump has fired the shots of a tit for tat tariff war with China first and others to come…..and China will not roll over for Trump……

The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and Beijing announced it was retaliating against American goods in a technology dispute between the world’s two biggest economies that President Trump says he is prepared to escalate. Washington imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs. Retaliatory measures “took effect immediately,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang. Hu gave no details, but the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily said the customs agency was carrying out a plan announced last month to impose 25% tariffs on a $34 billion list of American goods including soybeans, pork, and electric cars, reports the AP.

The AP reports the first exchange of tariffs is unlikely to inflict much economic harm on either nation. Indeed, Asian financial markets took Friday’s developments in stride. Japan’s main stock index, the Nikkei 225, gained 1.1% while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.8%. But President Trump said Thursday that he’s prepared to impose tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports—a figure that exceeds the $506 billion in goods that China actually shipped to the United States last year. Escalating tariffs would likely raise prices for consumers, inflate costs for companies that rely on imported parts, rattle financial markets, cause some layoffs, and slow business investment. A full-fledged trade war, economists warn, risks tipping the US economy into recession. See the AP for more, including the impacts the tariffs have already had .

I feel this is all just a feel good war…..there will be NO winners…..just workers losing…..

I would think that if someone was a graduate of the Wharton School they would understand the complexities of a trade war….but then I could be mistaken and Wharton does not teach such things.

The EU will be next on the targets of the Trump Tariff Train…..

Int trade4.jpg

Closing Thought–03Jul18

You know that there is humor in DC….you just have to know where to look…..

For months now the big story has been the tariffs that Trump has decided to punish our allies and neighbors with…….his newest attempt…….

Take the Fair & Reciprocal Tariffs Act……what shall we call it for short?  How about the FART Act?

President Trump is no fan of the World Trade Organization, and Axios reports that he ordered his advisers to work up a bill that would give him broad power to circumvent WTO rules and negotiate his own deals. The story by Jonathan Swan uses the words “insane” and “stunning” to describe the bill’s scope, though it adds that the measure has virtually no chance of becoming reality. Trump reportedly was briefed on the working draft in May. CNN confirms the existence of the leaked proposal, called the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act. And, yes, the emergence of that name has led to a barrage of social media jokes and commentary about the FART Act, notes the Guardian. “WTO has its flaws, but the ‘United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act,’ aka the U.S. FART Act, stinks,” writes Anthony Scaramucci. “American consumers pay for tariffs.”

And this from a New York Post staffer: “As an editor who writes some headlines at the NY Post can I just say I’m really psyched about the FART Act,” writes Seth Mandel. The Axios report says most of the Trump officials who worked up the proposal think it’s unrealistic, and that has led to speculation that staffers gave it the unfortunate acronym on purpose, notes Business Insider. A White House spokesperson confirmed that Trump asked his team to work up ideas to “remedy” what he sees as unfair trade laws. “The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to roll out, but it’s not,” says Lindsay Walters. “Principals have not even met to review any text of legislation on reciprocal trade.”

You just cannot make up this shit……DC has better than the Late Nite TV shows……they do it all to themselves……gotta love it.

Following the close of a second quarter that will be best remembered by President Trump’s vacillations on trade, Axios has dropped a Sunday night bombshell that may spook markets hoping for a respite from the daily escalating trade war rhetoric as the second half of the year begins: White House reporter Jonathan Swan has obtained a copy of a draft bill, purportedly ordered by Trump himself, that would allow the US to “walk away” from its commitments to the World Trade Organization.

http://theantimedia.com/trump-blow-up-world-trade-organization/

Good times coming!

Closing Thought–25Jun18

The past week the screaming and yelling on the news and in most so-called conserv blogs has been about the border situation….if I need to catch you up then try Google I will not waste my time…..but the news that the corporate Americans would be watching have very little to do with the border…..

Following tariffs recently imposed on steel and aluminum, U.S. businesses have been forced to pay more than $110 million in tariffs in just 13 days according to the Customs and Border Patrol. The U.S. took in $82.2 million in steel tariffs and $28.3 million in aluminum tariffs between June 1-14.

The unintended consequences of tariffs are vast, and have a harmful ripple effect throughout our economy. In just two weeks, U.S. businesses could have spent $110 million in a much different way. Consider the following:

$110 million is enough to hire 2,000 out of work Americans at $55k salaries for an entire year.

$110 million is enough to purchase 4,000 brand new, American made, Jeep Wranglers using the MSRP of $27,495.

https://freedompartners.org/press/report-tariffs-cost-u-s-businesses-more-than-100-million-in-just-two-weeks/

Apparently “Freedom Partners” is not here to cover the horrible policies to this man we call “president”….

I realize that economics is not something most conservs can get a grip on…but all the yelling about the border has done nothing to strengthen our economy and neither has the policies of the dude in the White House.  (Please do not taunt the stock market as proof….there is more to an economy than the markets….if you need a quick refresher course on economics…..https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/economics)

Time for a change…..period!

Closing Thought–08Jun18

Last week Pres. Trump made a statement about the jobs report and the markets were happy….well at least for awhile….

I have a problem with the jobs reports…not because of Trump I have been bitching about them since Poppy Bush’s days……these reports are not accurate and the unemployment figures are off by a lot……

In an article that I found last week there is some saying that as many as 95 million people are no longer in the labor force and as such are not counted in any of these reports……

In what was otherwise a solid jobs report – one which Donald Trump may or may not have leaked in advance – in which the establishment survey reported that a higher than expected 223K jobs were added at a time when numbers below 200K are expected for an economy that is allegedly without slack, the biggest surprise was not in the Establishment survey, but the household, where the unemployment rate tumbled once more, sliding to a new 18 year low of 3.8%, even as the participation rate declined once again, as a result of a stagnant labor force, which was virtually unchanged (161.527MM in April to 161.539MM in May, even as the total civilian non-inst population rose by 182K to 257.454LMM).

What was perhaps more interesting, however, is that for all the talk that the slack in the labor force is set to decline, precisely the opposite is taking place, because in May, the number of people not in the labor force increased by another 170K, rising to 95.915 million, a new all time high.

Adding to this the 6.1 million currently unemployed Americans, there are 102 million Americans who are either unemployed or out of the labor force (and it is also worth noting that of those employed 26.9 million are part-time workers).

In other words, contrary to prevailing economist groupthink, there is a lot of slack in the economy, and if as the latest Beige Book revealed, employers are now hiring drug addicts and felons to make up for the shortage of qualified candidates, a long time will be pass before wages see significant gains.

http://theantimedia.com/americans-no-longer-labor-force/

The figures that are given to the public are not accurate just like the inflation reports…..that is NOT an accurate count…..why?  Food, Gas and Housing are not part of the equation…….how can one get an accurate inflation picture if those sectors are omitted?

The economy may not be as booming as we have thought……just saying a little more accuracy would be helpful….at least to me.

Have a good Friday and I will return for the weekend…..be well, be safe….chuq