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  • Econ Data and The Fed’s Dual Mandate

    by coldwarrior ( 126 Comments › )
    Filed under Economy, Open thread at April 19th, 2017 - 6:05 pm

    …To provide for full employment AND price stability…two mutually exclusive goals set by Congress, of course.

    U.S. economic growth was “evenly split” between modest to moderate activity between mid-February and the end of March as labor markets across the Federal Reserve’s 12 districts remained “tight,” the central bank said on Wednesday.

    In its anecdotal Beige Book report, the Fed noted the pickup in economic activity varied across certain regions as manufacturing held steady though freight shipments slowed, non-residential construction remained strong and energy-related businesses continued to improve.

    Though tourism and travel generally showed a pick up during the reporting period, consumer spending fluctuated district by district amid strong vehicle sales but soft spending levels in other retail areas. The data jive with recent government reports that indicate retail sales have slowed from lofty levels in the first part of the year, but are somewhat conflicted with sentiment data that continue to show Americans remain, on average, upbeat about their economic prospects and feeling optimistic about their spending power.

    As prices across the Fed’s districts rose modestly, employment expanded, indicating the labor market remains tight despite data that showed U.S. hiring in March hit its slowest pace in ten months while the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped. Consistent with a tighter labor market, the Fed noted a larger number of firms reported they had more difficulty finding qualified workers and faced increased labor costs. They also forecasted labor demand to rise over the next six months alongside modest wage growth.

    As it continues to eye two more rate rises before the end of the year, the Fed has paid close attention to continued tightening in the labor market and higher levels of inflation – components of its dual mandate from Congress. Though the labor market has made further progress toward the central bank’s goal, inflation continues to run below the 2% target. In February, the Labor Department said its core personal consumption expenditures index – the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation that strips out volatile food and energy prices – rose 1.8% on a year over year basis.

    The retail downturn happens every year in the Q2 because everyone has spent their ‘tax return’in Q1 ; which in and of itself is a false economy.

    Wages have not gone up since Clinton, ain’t NAFTA and GATT GREAT!!! Love those cheap imports, huh?

    Trump’s policies are already working to create real wealth again. Upward wage pressure means more demand for labor, some inflation means demand for goods and services…the velocity of money may be lifting off form the ZERO that it has been at since Bush.

    Let’s Do Some Math

    by coldwarrior ( 155 Comments › )
    Filed under Open thread at April 17th, 2017 - 11:29 am

    There will be a quiz at the end of this

    1 50 year old orthopedic surgeon + several bottles of X Brand Cabernet Sauvignon + 1 hover board =

    Solve For X.

    A Few Words From Commerce

    by coldwarrior ( 122 Comments › )
    Filed under Economy, Open thread at April 15th, 2017 - 8:50 am

    Pay VERY VERY close attention to who is against this. Note where they get their money, understand at a gut level that this current so called ‘free trade’ system that we have been in over the past 25 years is not what Adam Smith had in mind when he wrote “Weath of Nations”. Mr Smith and Milton Friedman would have never agreed to gut our economy like this.

    So, now we begin to fix it:

    Free and Fair Trade for American Workers and Businesses
    Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross

    The United States is the least protectionist country in the world but has the largest trade deficit, while other countries are highly protectionist and have huge trade surpluses. This cannot continue.

    We can no longer afford to be ignorant or naive in the aggressive global marketplace, and there is no reason why we should be forced to singlehandedly absorb the $500 billion trade surplus of the rest of the world.

    Since inauguration, the Administration and the Department of Commerce have been moving rapidly to institute the vision and policies of President Trump. We are acting to vigorously protect the interests of the United States and to restore the primacy of American workers and businesses.

    This administration will not be taken advantage of or cheated through illegal subsidies and market manipulation, and we are acting aggressively against those countries that mock our trade laws.

    To start, we have brought a new energy to enforcement, working to ensure that all countries play fair and by the agreed-upon rules. We have been executing these trade investigations very rapidly.

    In our short time in office, Commerce has opened investigations into dumping or unfair subsidization of over $1 billion dollars of aluminum and metal imports from China and other countries; progressed in investigating over $14 billion in dumped or illegally subsidized imports of steel, chemicals, and other products into the United States; and issued final determinations and imposed duties on imports of steel and other products valued at over $2 billion, including steel from China.

    We have also begun the process of self-initiating trade cases, which speeds up the process of taking corrective action while allowing the Department of Commerce to shield American businesses from retaliation.

    To further these efforts, the President recently issued two executive orders giving the federal government additional tools to ensure fair treatment of American workers and businesses.

    The first order tasks the Department of Commerce with an omnibus review of our nation’s trade deficit. We are now going through country by country, product by product, to identify and study the sources of America’s trade imbalance. While some of this information is already collected by various government agencies, there has never been such a systematic collection, review, and analysis of the data. As we seek to rebalance our trade relationships, this report will be our go-to resource.

    The second executive order provides another more concrete weapon in the fight against unfair trade practices. I was amazed to hear that the government has failed to collect literally billions of dollars in antidumping and countervailing duties that we impose pursuant trade judgements in favor of American industry. Many importers use straw man companies with little or no assets to import their goods, so that when it comes time to collect the duties, there is nothing to collect.

    It makes no sense to expend the time and resources to get an affirmative ruling if you cannot then take the necessary action to punish and deter bad actors. This will no longer occur, as the President’s second executive order empowers the Department of Homeland Security to require companies to put up collateral in the form of cash, insurance bonds, or letters of credit in order to import goods.

    While we will ensure that there is a full and fair assessment of the facts in all enforcement cases, we intend to act swiftly and harshly to halt any unfair or improper trade practices.

    Commerce is also charged with protecting our national security from those who would harm this country. In executing that mission, our Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently led the federal government in imposing a $1.19 billion dollar fine against Chinese telecommunications manufacturer ZTE, the largest fine ever in an export control case. BIS caught ZTE shamelessly exporting sensitive telecommunications products to both Iran and North Korea.

    Our message is simple – the games are over, and improper treatment of the United States will no longer be tolerated. We will approach future negotiations and actions with a clarity of purpose guiding us as we work to establish both free and fair trade. Unfortunately, NAFTA negotiations cannot begin until Congress accepts our 90-day notification letter in compliance with the Trade Promotion Act. But, under President Trump’s leadership, I have no doubt that we will be successful in rebalancing American trade in favor of American workers and businesses.

    Well, He Did Say “Bomb the Shit Out of Them”

    by coldwarrior ( 118 Comments › )
    Filed under Military, Open thread at April 13th, 2017 - 3:02 pm

    And, true to his word, Trump did indeed


    this thread is open too…just like the giant smoking crater left by MOAB.

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