The Economics Quarterly: 2017Q2

GDP GROWTH DATA

The GDP Growth Rate for 2017 Quarter 1 was officially 1.4%, considerably below the 15-year mean, which includes the 2007-2008 recession that makes that number considerably easier to beat. The 4-year trend from 2013 through Quarter 1 of this year continues to show a downward trend, though 2013 and 2014 were the strongest economic years of Obama’s 8 years in office, and the economy has cooled off considerably since. The Q1 number missed the forecasted number of 2.5% considerably, which proved my concern that poor initial job numbers for March, which have since been revised down even further to 50,000, reflected slower GDP growth in Q1.

GDP Growth Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-gdp-growth

GDP Growth Rate – 4-Year Trend (7/1/2013-7/7/2017)

united-states-gdp-growth-4year

FEDERAL FUNDS RATE DATA

In June, the Federal Reserve announced yet another interest rate hike, bringing the Federal Funds Rate to 1.25%. While still at a historically low level, far below its peak of 5.25% in 2006-2007, and well below the 15-year mean, the Fed seem intent on driving up the Funds Rate as quickly as they can while somewhat positive trends continue. The Interbank Rate is at 1.30%, which is also pretty well below the 15-year mean and has been creeping upward since early 2016.

Federal Funds Rate Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-interest-rate

Interbank Loan Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-interbank-rate

INFLATION RATE DATA

Inflation has cooled down to 1.9% from its high of 2.7% in February and is back below the 15-year mean. Though it remains above the mean since January 2016 (not shown), the trend downward could reflect either a trend down in the market itself or the market’s reaction to a tightening money supply, however, the Fed Funds rate still being very low makes the latter highly unlikely. Regardless, the rate is still on an upward trend since at least 2015.

Inflation Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-inflation-cpi

CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS (Non-Defense) DATA

New Orders of capital goods remains above the 15-year mean, but decreased in March in a reflection of the slowdown in the economy in Q1. There has been an upward trend since mid 2016, however, fairly in line with the up tick in Labor Force Participation.

Capital Goods New Orders – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-new-orders

JOB NUMBER DATA

The jobs numbers for 2017 Quarter 1 totaled 498,000 net jobs, down from the initial Q1 estimate of 533,000, compared to 443,000 net jobs in 2016 Quarter 4 and 588,000 jobs in 2016 Quarter 1, so job numbers in Q1 were a mixed signal. The job numbers for 2017 Quarter 2 totaled 581,000, as of the preliminary numbers for just released yesterday. Presently, Q2 seems to be on track to be slightly below the 4-year average of 210,000 monthly jobs, with the 150,000 May numbers dragging it down, even though the 222,000 jobs (preliminary) in June are on the mark for the 4-year median.

Job Numbers – 4-Year (1/1/2013-7/7/2017)
latest_numbers_CES0000000001_2013_2017_all_period_M06_net_1mth

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE DATA

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) continues to a recent positive trend since April 2015 (not graphed), climbing to 62.8% in June. The LFPR remains at historic lows, however, far below the 15-year mean, with no indication of any increases in the near future. The 4-year trend remains negative with very slow recovery.

Labor Force Participation Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)

united-states-labor-force-participation-rate

Labor Force Participation Rate – 4-Year (4/1/2013-7/7/2017)

 united-states-labor-force-participation-rate-4year

GOVERNMENT DEBT TO GDP DATA

Finally, the National Debt to GDP ratio climbed to 106.10% at the end of 2016. There isn’t any data from 2017, but we should have some indication by the next Economics Quarterly for the first part of this year. Most people reading this will understand what this means, for those that don’t, however, presently the federal debt load is more than all of the wealth that the entire US economy generates in a year. This does not include future obligations (such as Medicare and Social Security).

Debt to GDP – 4-Year (4/1/2013-7/7/2017)
united-states-government-debt-to-gdp

THE READ

 

The read from the previous Economics Quarterly was bearish, and I remain so. The Q1 GDP Growth was considerably lower than the market was predicting, but was in line with a market pumping its brakes through March. Republicans suggest that a lot of this slow down was from inclement weather in the North East, but there really wasn’t that significant an interruption of the economy, having caused days of disruption, not weeks. The biggest news of March was the failure of the GOP American Health Care Act “Repeal & Replace” legislation.

More than a few economic hopes were pinned on a Republican Party that’s done nothing but promise “Repeal” for 7 years, and their failure to overcome their own party’s concerns threw cold water on a lot of people’s expectations. Since then, of course, the House finally did push through a slightly modified plan, moving the ball to the Senate where partisan obstacles are even higher. With the Senate plan falling apart in the last week, Republicans are now forced to figure out a new direction.

GDP Growth in Quarter 2 will be stronger than in Quarter 1, but don’t look for any doors to be blown off the hinges. A GDP number of 2.5% to 3.0% is possible by seems very unlikely given other factors in the economy. The rising Fed Funds Rate will cool off the money supply some. The Inflation Rate has cooled down 3 months in a row, and the Core Inflation Rate (not graphed) has cooled off 4 months in a row. Coupled with both a drop in orders of Capital Goods and passable Job Numbers, including a relatively bland number in May, all the stumbling blocks are in place for a brief to moderate correction.

The economy has been expanding for about 5 to 6 years, depending on where the recovery is scored. I believe that ObamaCare is keeping the economy from heating up too much, acting as a heavy tax on the economy, but the steep increase in the Inflation Rate that began in late 2014, early 2015, is pushing is sign that the economy is having trouble finding places to move capital effectively. That indicates that a pull back is imminent, because the market is over priced right now. I believe that this, more so than the very moderate Inflation Rate, is driving the Fed to push up the Federal Funds Rate at such an unusually steep rate.

That’s my read. Be cautious.

One more thing, a lot of noise has been made in the news lately from Republicans about numbers they’ve randomly taken from the political cycle that they flaunt without any benefit of context. I’ll focus on two points that I found extra ridiculous. First, a few weeks ago, Republicans were flaunting “historically low” unemployment number among Black Americans, as if Donald Trump’s policies were the direct cause. This is ludicrous. Below is the unemployment rate among Blacks or African Americans for the last 10 years. Unemployment has clearly and steadily been decreasing in the Black community for years. Let’s celebrate when Black unemployment is the same as White unemployment.

latest_numbers_LNS14000006_2007_2017_all_period_M06_data

Second, Republicans recently shared an article that celebrated a $22 Million cut to the Federal Budget, negotiated under the most recent Omnibus budget deal that passed Congress and was signed by President Trump in early May. To get an idea of how ridiculous touting this is, let’s compare the $22 Million cut to the 2016 budget. The 2016 budget was $3.54 Trillion, with a budget deficit of $552 Billion. That $22 Million cut represents a total of 0.000006214689265536723% cut to the 2016 budget. How much did the Republicans and Democrats cut? 0%. Nothing.

The only thing that’s clear about federal budget right now is that no one in Washington is taking the federal budget seriously. That there are people actually gullible enough to believe that $22 Million represents a significant portion of the budget is simply embarrassing and demonstrates just how uneducated in matters of the economy and the federal budget the American populace is.

This has been the Liberty Is For The Win Economic Quarterly. Catch you all in a few months.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

The Economics Quarterly: 2017Q1

The economy has been moving upward since about 2015, but, from a purely political standpoint, much of this growth could be attributed to the general impression that the political winds were going to change in Washington.

In 2016, I started a monthly article commenting on US economic data called Economics Speed Round. Though I ended up retiring the format this year, since monthly data tends to be so volatile in the short-term, I remained interested in commenting on the economy and the political climate that surrounds it. To that end, I introduce The Economic Quarterly, which will focus on economic data by quarter on a longer 15-year mean and 4-year trend perspective that will ideally allow comparisons of economic climates between previous administrations. This should allow for a broader view of the economic data and better illustrate the impact different governing ideologies have on markets and the economy.

So, without further ado…

GDP GROWTH DATA

The GDP Growth Rate for 2016 Quarter 4 was officially 2.1%, per the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This puts it just above the 15-year mean, which includes the 2007-2008 recession, but below (not shown) the non-recessionary mean. The 4-year trend from 2013 through Quarter 4 of last year shows a slight downward trend, though 2013 and 2014 were the strongest economic years of Obama’s 8 years in office, and the economy cooled off considerably in 2015 and 2016. Presently, the 1st Quarter forecast is a solid 2.5% GDP growth, however poor initial job numbers for March may reflect a possible slower GDP growth at the end of Quarter 1.

GDP Growth Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-4/7/2017)
united-states-gdp-growth

GDP Growth Rate – 4-Year Trend (4/1/2013-4/7/2017)
united-states-gdp-growth (4-year)

FEDERAL FUNDS RATE DATA

The Federal Reserve announced another interest rate hike, bringing the Federal Funds Rate to a full percentage point for the first time since the end of 2008. This move reflects a series of positive moves that date back to the end of 2016, though the Fed had been making noises about raising the Federal Funds Rate as far back as 2015. At 1.00%, it is still at a historically low level, far below its peak of 5.25% in 2006-2007, and well below the 15-year mean. The Interbank Rate is at 1.16%, which is also pretty well below the 15-year mean and has been creeping upward since early 2016.

Federal Funds Rate Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-4/7/2017)
united-states-interest-rate

Interbank Loan Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-4/7/2017)
united-states-interbank-rate

INFLATION RATE DATA

Inflation has climbed above the 15-year mean to 2.7% and has been moving steadily upward since 2015, with only a slight hiccup in the first two quarters of 2016. It is still well below the rates seen in 2005-2006 or the hot market leading to the crash in 2008. The last time the inflation rate began climbing like this was in the presidential election year, 2012, cooling off rapidly after Obama’s reelection.

Inflation Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-4/7/2017)
united-states-inflation-cpi

CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS (Non-Defense) DATA

New Orders of capital goods is above the 15-year mean, but measurably below the heights of 2013 to 2014, and even 2015. There has been an upward trend since mid 2016, however, fairly in line with the up tick in Labor Force Participation.

Capital Goods New Orders – 15-Year (1/1/2002-4/7/2017)
united-states-new-orders

JOB NUMBER DATA

The jobs numbers for 2016 Quarter 4 totaled 443,000 net jobs. Compared to 716,000 net jobs in 2016 Quarter 3 and 832,000 jobs in 2015 Quarter 4 a year prior, so job numbers in Q4 were considerably lower. The job numbers for 2017 Quarter 1 totaled just 533,000, as of the preliminary numbers for February, which were revised downward, along with January, and for March. The March numbers of 98,000 jobs is the third time job numbers have dropped below 150,000 mark in last calendar year. It should be noted that annual net jobs have been on a downward trend since 2014, where they peaked at 2,998,000 jobs for the year.

Job Numbers – 4-Year (1/1/2013-4/7/2017)
latest_numbers_CES0000000001_2013_2017_all_period_M03_net_1mth

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE DATA

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) remains at historic lows, hitting its lowest level at 62.4% in September of 2015. This number, which had been at a record high as recently as 2000-2001 at 67%, slid slightly after the 2001 terror attacks but stabilized and was climbing until 2008. From 2008 until the end of 2015, the LFPR dropped 3.5% as older workers retired, experienced workers lost their jobs, and younger workers found few available jobs in their fields. The 4-year trend continues to show a decline, though the trend has been positive since April 2015 (not graphed).

Labor Force Participation Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-4/7/2017)united-states-labor-force-participation-rate

Labor Force Participation Rate – 4-Year (4/1/2013-4/7/2017)united-states-labor-force-participation-rate (4-year)

GOVERNMENT DEBT TO GDP DATA

Finally, a stat that used to be an important conservative political point, but has since dropped off of the political radar, the National Debt to GDP ratio. As of 2012, the National Debt exceeded 100% of the GDP and has not been below 100% since. The last official number for the debt was at $19,959,594,000,000.00, which is technically over the 104.17% Debt to GDP number from 2015 and growing.

Debt to GDP – 4-Year (4/1/2013-4/7/2017)
united-states-government-debt-to-gdp

THE READ

The economy has been moving upward since about 2015, but, from a purely political standpoint, much of this growth could be attributed to the general impression that the political winds were going to change in Washington. Much of the capital that’s been sidelined for much of the Obama administration was starting to move back into the market as it became clear the GOP was assured a political victory in 2016. The primary concern for these investors was ObamaCare, which has been a dead weight around the necks of American companies since its passage in 2010, even before the serious negative economic impacts of the legislation went into effect.

As consensus that a GOP “Repeal and Replace” bill was a foregone conclusion, since Repeal measures have repeatedly passed Congress several times before, the only question employers had was what would the new legislation look like, not if it would pass. With the build up and infighting that was sparked almost as soon as the ill fated American Health Care Act was announced at the beginning of March had to cool the expectations of success, even though the total failure of the GOP to deliver on its single unifying political purpose didn’t come until the end of the month.

So the question is, how hot did the the economy get in expectation of the GOP’s move to kill ObamaCare and how much did the economy get chilled after it became clear that there wasn’t a lot of support for the plan the GOP had cobbled together? Does the economy keep its gains made over the last campaign year, now that the central expectation of that political year is back at square one, or do industries walk back their bulking up in expectation of political gridlock in Washington over ObamaCare’s future. If the capital flows out to sea again, so to speak, it won’t come back in until after some sort of clear consensus is found on the job killing ObamaCare.

Look for markets to be split on the question. Some larger players will likely carry the load, expecting some sort of action in the next calendar year. Other players, especially those that can’t carry the extra expense that comes with additional hiring, will likely cut payrolls either through layoffs or reduced hours to run leaner until Washington moves. If the GOP can’t deliver the end of ObamaCare while in control of both halves of Congress and the White House, look for serious downturn potential as markets will have to play defensive in the mid-term. The weak 98,000 net jobs created in March, blamed partly on inclement weather, is also likely from uncertainty over the AHCA misfire.

Taking all of this into consideration, I’m calling bear. I believe the weaker than expected job numbers reflects employers tapping their brakes on growth expectations. Look for the inflation number to cool off as well. I expect the GDP Growth Rate to miss the 2.5% target, though the number may look good with the initial estimate, which will be based on data from January and February, when hopes for action on ObamaCare were higher, with March data cooling that number down by the time the second and third estimates roll out in May and June.

This has been the Liberty Is For The Win Economic Quarterly. Catch you all in a few months.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

Riding the Black Horse

At the very end of a long and costly war against a hated common enemy, two political factions resumed a bloody conflict that would decide the destiny of an ancient empire. On the one side were the intelligentsia: teachers, doctors, lawyers, and professionals of the nation. On the other side were the common men: laborers, workers, and farmers of the nation. In the conflagration of politicking and force of arms, the common man won out, driving the intelligentsia out of power for the next half century.

With a populist “common man” leader who had won the hearts and minds of his nation, the People’s Republic of China was born, and over the next two and a half decades, China’s advance as a 20th Century power was stunted and incomplete and remains a caricature of the western societies that it now seeks to compete against. However even the United Soviet States of Russia experienced more robust economic expansion and modernization than China after the Second World War, even though the Communist Party of China emulated the same Soviet style communist economic reforms.

While he is credited with the modernization of China and steady growth of his nation after the difficult war period, the truth is far more complex, and Mao Zedong’s protectionist industrial policies ultimately lead to the deaths of 60 to 70 million of his countrymen to famine. So why did China’s modernization and economic not only lag behind that of even the USSR, even when they employed the same socialist economy, but lead to the needless deaths of so many millions of the very people they sought to better?

In a word: protectionism.

“The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
-Robin Williams, World’s Greatest Dad-

One of the central pillars of socialism is that government not only can maintain control over every element of the economy but must do so. It would, after all, be a strange form of socialism where people had the freedom to pursue their own economic goals, to contract with whomever they wish, and to make their own productive decisions. In that respect, the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China were largely identical, from the standpoint of bureaucratic control of every aspect of labor, capital investment, and even living arrangements.

The USSR, however, maintained a massive trade base, despite their espoused ideological hostility to western nations. In addition to trade with western European nations, like France and England, the USSR possessed many satellite nations with which it traded goods, services, and other basic commodities. Third world markets, including many countries in the Middle East and Africa, also contributed to the Soviet trade economy. Where their ideological differences did not prevent them, the USSR saw such trade blocs as one of the major ways to spread its political influence.

Mao, however, chose a more traditionally nationalistic path for China, instituting protectionist economic measures that limited trade to capital machinery beyond the capabilities of Chinese manufacturing to produce. As much as was possible, products such as food, basic building material, oil, coal, and other resources were produced domestically, because, presumably, this was best for the development of the Chinese economy. What foreign trade existed was limited to a very specific bloc of trade partners. For a while the Chinese economy grew, though coming from the destruction of the Japanese occupation years, the economy couldn’t have done anything but grow.

When several years of drought crippled the agricultural sector in China, Mao remained firm on his protectionist political policies, and forced his starving nation to depend on domestic sources of food. However his ignorance of the severity of the drought and his mismanagement of farmers exacerbated the food shortage that could have been alleviated by simply importing food from abroad. Instead the nation wide food shortage became the outright famine that claimed tens of millions of Chinese poorest farmers and workers.

This is the legacy of protectionism.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
-Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life-

From an economics standpoint, the one thing that protectionist policies do extremely well is create shortages of goods and services. These are the very same goods and services that the people of a society need to make their lives comfortable and, in some cases, possible. Under normal conditions, increasing prices indicate a increasing demand, either from a new market or a serious shortage. These increasing prices encourage suppliers to provide more of these goods and services to the market in order to meet this demand, because higher prices means increased profitability.

In the case of rising food prices, it means farmers and ranchers can make more money producing more food. More food obviously reduces the threat of hunger. Protectionism, however, eliminates possible foreign suppliers, no matter how inexpensive, from the market, because it is an economic policy designed to create barriers to non-domestic suppliers. So what happens if there aren’t enough domestic farmers and ranchers to meet the needs of the people? We already know what happens.

Worse, protectionism isn’t even a new idea. Trade barriers between nations and empires were the norm for thousands of years. Controlling who and what came into your country was the guiding principle of the Roman Empire. If they found a source of a good or services in a neighboring territory that they needed, they didn’t open trade negotiations. They sent a Roman Legion and claimed it for Rome. The Imperial Chinese were no different, and their armies were sent on “trade missions” across central and east Asia to “negotiate trade” in bloody wars for thousands of years.

The entire reason both Imperial Japan and National Socialist Germany invaded their neighbors in conflicts that ultimately became the Second World War and costing the lives of millions of men and women around the world in the first place was to acquire foreign markets and turn them into domestic markets, making resources that were not available to them through trade, available through conquest. This is the fundamental truth about protectionism and why it is fundamentally unAmerican.

In a land of plenty where the pursuit of happiness is cherished, especially when we consider the alternative, what kind of patriot supports a government policy that provably does more to hamper the pursuit of happiness for poorer Americans and ensures less is generally available for everyone? What kind of patriot uses government power to reduce freedom of commerce, the very definition of socialism? No kind of patriot at all.

Liberty is For The Win!


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A Short Word: You Are Here

American voters have put a gun to the head of America’s future in an ultimate game of Russian Roulette.

I’m a natural born cynic, so I have to at least acknowledge the clouds that surround the silver lining that everyone else seems to be focused on. So while a lot of Republicans seem to be under the impression that things are going to go swimmingly over the next few years and the party is in a great position, I must look at the bigger picture. The Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, which is obviously better than a lot of other options, but the Republicans came two elections shy of losing control of the Senate.

The Republicans went from a 54 to 44 Senator advantage to a 51 to 46 advantage, retaining control of the Senate by their fingertips, which means they need every Republican vote, which invites an absolute mess in compromises and backroom dealing. Even the House of Representatives lost 6 seats, going from 246 majority to a 239 majority. This doesn’t change the game as much as many other obviously much worse possibilities, but it’s still a weakening of the Republican position.

This was the cost of Donald Trump deciding to run for office, just so he could win only after alienating millions of Republican voters then immediately backtrack on practically every campaign promise months before he even gets sworn in. His success will depend on keeping corporate interests happy, with his tax cut program, subsidies, and brute force protectionism, while also keeping working class whites happy, by coming through on his campaign promises to bring back American manufacturing jobs that have all but vanished since the 1970’s.

If he fails to solve illegal immigration, fails to repeal ObamaCare, fails to prosecute Hillary Clinton, and fails to restore the American economy in 4 years, he’s very likely going to lose reelection in 2020 and set the stage for the gutting of what remains of the Republican Party. That’s a tall order, even with the backing of a Republican Congress. He’s already put fixing the deficit and doing anything about the run away US debt on the back burner, betting the nation’s future on his economic vision.

Cutting corporate tax rates is the correct solution to a big part of the equation, but he’s already rolled back on his opposition to increasing the minimum wage, and his promises to working class whites that defected from the Democratic Party is going to hinge on increasing wages and salaries, which are the main reason American manufacturing has been leaving the United States in the first place. It still costs twenty times as much to manufacture anything in the United States, and protectionist tariffs fly in the face of the last 30 years of Republican policy.

American voters have put a gun to the head of America’s future in an ultimate game of Russian Roulette. There’s no turning back now. America rises or falls on the good behavior and business foresight of a man who tried (and failed) to sell $1000.00 meat beside electric nose hair clippers. God help us.

Liberty is For The Win!


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Economics Speed Round: November 2016

As we look toward the end of the year and the 4th Quarter, the change in political leadership could change the economic landscape, depending on how quickly the Congress and White House can enact whatever policy they plan on pushing forward.

The election is over with a surprise ending that many people, including myself, missed. All of the data, both positive view of the president and positive economic data seemed to give momentum to the Democratic candidate. Given the intensity of the election, this article has been delayed, but, even given the age of the data, it’s important to look back at it.

Highlights from the September Jobs Report

  • Net nonfarm payroll rose by 161,000.
  • the U-3 unemployment was little changed at 4.9 percent, a 0.1 point improvement.
  • the U-6 unemployment dropped 0.1 point in October to 9.2 percent, but there was little change of the seasonally adjusted U-6 of 9.5 percent.
  • labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, changed little.
  • employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, changed little.

Job numbers for August were revised upward to 176,000, and job numbers from September were revised upward to 191,000 net jobs created, even after several downward revisions. Compared to the 2013-2015 average for October, the current number is 60,000 fewer than the 228,000 average of the previous three years, indicating a continuing long term softening in the employment market. Other indicators are changing negligibly.

Highlights from the 2nd Quarter Economic Report

  • 3rd Quarter GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent, in its initial estimate.
  • 2nd Quarter GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.4 percent.

The 3rd Quarter GDP number is +1.5 points higher than the 2nd Quarter GDP number, and a full +2.1 points higher than the 1st Quarter GDP number. While the GDP number is obviously relatively robust (compared to the average for the Obama Administration) in this initial estimate, it is largely based on increases in consumer spending, exports, and federal spending, per the report. In the background are the continued Quantitative Easing monetary policy and a low federal funds rate. Inflation has been increasing (to 1.5% in October from 1.1% in September), but remains very low overall, and is currently projected to be lower in November, which indicates a very low likelihood of any change in Federal Reserve policy.

As we look toward the end of the year and the 4th Quarter, the change in political leadership could change the economic landscape, depending on how quickly the Congress and White House can enact whatever policy they plan on pushing forward. There are significant questions as to the exact policy directions that the incoming leadership will be taking the country, as many of his campaign policies have already been brought into doubt in the days after the election. Time will tell.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

Breaking Through the Wall

As the Chinese discovered thousands of years ago, the building of a wall, or hundreds of walls, as the case may be, does not actually prevent people from entering the country if that’s what they want to do.

We are in the midst of October, with the revelations of misdeeds and incompetence coming thick and fast. As the opposing political factions pull out all the stops in a last ditch effort to destroy their political rivals, it’s become a race to see which candidate can be least reviled. This is what our elections have become, not to say that political ugliness is new to politics, but more time and energy has been spent on the ugliness than actual policy this year than ever before.

So dominating has been the political sideshow of who grabbed who and when did they grab them, the actual political issues driving the angst of the nation have been lost in the maelstrom. These political issues are supposed to be what this whole painful process is about, after all, but now, as the election comes to a close, we remain distracted away from Donald Trump’s unrealistic campaign promises by his own flagrant moral failings. Moral failings, by the way, that should have been obvious to everyone long before now.

Putting aside his repulsive statements about women and his numerous transgressions in dealing with the opposite sex, as well as his numerous ugly outbursts on Twitter and in interviews, and his frequent outlandish accusations about other Republican candidates and let’s look at the meat of Donald Trump’s claim to political fame: his immigration policy. Avoiding talking further about the pure politics of the matter, let’s focus instead on the economic and logistical realities.

“Establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to
ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.”
-Donald J. Trump Website-

At just shy of 2000 miles long, the US-Mexico border presents a distinct logistical challenge. The shared border with Mexico is rough terrain of desert, river basin, hills, and mountains. Assuming he actually intends to go through with this campaign promise, geographical sections of the wall would have to be the largest contiguous structure in the United States other than roads or highways. It would dwarf the Berlin Wall by every conceivable measure, and that is saying quite a bit.

Additionally, there are the problems with private and public ownership of the land through which Donald plans to build his wall, because, naturally, there are literally thousands of properties and principalities through which the wall would pass, requiring a significant amount of legal hassle that has, until today, not been worth the effort. And then there is just the problems associated with having the wall itself, from an operational standpoint.


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As the Chinese discovered thousands of years ago, the building of a wall, or hundreds of walls, as the case may be, does not actually prevent people from entering the country if that’s what they want to do. In addition to just going around the wall, like most illegal immigrants already do, there are such things as ladders, ropes, tunnels, and simply just climbing over the thing. Donald Trump has stated the wall will be 25 feet tall, though he’s also indicated the wall could be 35 feet high (about a two and a half story building).

There’s also the problem with paying for the wall in the first place. Donald claims that he will make Mexico pay for it, but we’ve already dealt with why that would be ridiculous. There’s simply no way that Mexico, already struggling with massive unemployment, and with a GDP per capita a fourth of the United States, could afford to pay for it. On top of all of this, under Donald’s plan, Mexico gets an extremely raw deal, and, in reality, Donald wants to punish Mexico for playing by the rules that the United States and Mexico agreed to under NAFTA.

“It’s to defend this very same nation that is hosting you.
This nation is going to fail if it goes into the hands of a crazy guy.”

-Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico-

In the end, this is Donald Trump’s core campaign promise, and, just weeks away from the election, there remain many unanswered specifics. Throughout this hectic political season, Donald has managed to dodge serious scrutiny of any of his political promises, including this one that has carried him past numerous political missteps. Despite all of this, however, it remains a highly dubious campaign promise, because it is simply beyond the authority of the office of President.

Worse still is that the wall will do very little to address the trade problems that Donald promises to solve. Even if Donald does manage to build the wall and kick out all of the illegal immigrants, the fact remains that the jobs these ambitious young men and women were working were not premium market jobs. Contrary to what many believe, illegal workers were not and are not pushing a significant number of American workers out of the job.

In many cases, these jobs wouldn’t exist at all were it not for these immigrants, because, due to current regulation of health benefits and wages, they cost far more than they could possibly produce. For all of his bluster about how much he knows about business, Donald doesn’t seem to understand even rudimentary economics or policy. He just doesn’t get that to repatriate these jobs, all that is necessary is to reduce the cost of hiring an American worker below that of hiring an illegal immigrant.

Instead, Donald and his supporters focus on trying to raise the cost of hiring an illegal immigrant above that of hiring an American worker, which requires more taxes, more regulations, and more government. This is exactly the opposite of the Conservative solution, of less taxes, less regulation, and less government. While his plan will undoubtedly reduce illegal immigration, it will do so only so much as brute force protectionism can.

There are much better options, but they require reasserting capitalist Conservative principles that have long been abandoned by Americans indoctrinated in socialist collectivist dogma for over a century. Donald’s political career may finally be coming off of the rails, but that he got this far only proves how un-American America has become. We are no longer the land of the free or the home of the brave, having traded our economic Liberty for false security long ago.

Liberty is For The Win!


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A Difference Without Significance

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a disaster unfold while fully knowing that it could have and should have been averted.

Confetti and balloons fall from the rafters, music plays, and the atmosphere is jubilant, parked somewhere between a rock concert and a homecoming pep rally. It’s all intended to convey inevitability, invincibility, and, most of all, the moral absolutism of the candidate and the party. Everything the party and the candidate have espoused is right for America, and everything the other party and their candidate have said is wrong for America, even if the two are saying pretty much the same things.

This has been the way of American politics for decades now, without any consideration of what is right or even true. We are living in the age of the sound bite, which appears to be the final act of the Republic, as those with the smallest attention spans seek to hear only what confirms their hyperbolic beliefs, while others do exactly the same for the other side. For those of us in the political wasteland, there is a rare opportunity to listen to both candidates without canned bias, since we find both equally terrible.

In the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there was a lot said, and the debates themselves are about defining differences between the candidates and their platforms. Each candidate attempts to establish the soundness of one political framework while deconstructing the other, always striving to hold the moral and logical high ground. Nothing completely undermines this effort faster, however, than the words “I agree…

“Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second
party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which
make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the
issues troubling the people…”
-Ronald Reagan-


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In the 90 minute presidential debate on September 26th, 2016, Donald agreed with Hillary no less than six times (only once being ironic). With each agreement, Donald not only successfully undermined over thirty years of Republican Party efforts, he may well have also torpedoed his own candidacy. It’s difficult to explain the extent of his total implosion without painfully recounting every statement in its entirety, so, as briefly as possible, here unfolds each concession.

“As far as child care is concerned and so many other things,
I think Hillary and I agree on that…”
-Donald Trump-

Kicking off the entire debate, Hillary proposed the usual litany of socialist entitlement goodies, including federally subsidized child care, federally subsidized college, increasing of the minimum wage, and many other long standing Democratic policy points. After a very stream of consciousness opening statement about how America is losing and other countries are “stealing our companies and our jobs“, Donald inexplicably agreed with Hillary’s point about child care and “so many other things“. This agreement, more so than any other, made it very clear that the debate was between two socialists.

“You go to Ferguson, so many other places. You need better
relationships. 
I agree with Secretary Clinton on this. You need
better relationships…”

-Donald Trump-

A good deal later, with Donald already on the defensive about his business success, the debate turned to racial tensions in the United States. Donald rambled on about lack of law and order in cities where racial tensions have boiled into violence, then comes suddenly to agreeing with Hillary Clinton’s general statement that the breach between police officers and the communities they serve must be healed. This was a very circuitous route, trampling on the toes of the black communities he’s supposedly trying to reach, and he managed to simultaneously damage his own political position while confirming Hillary’s.

I agree with you. When a person is on a watch list or a no-fly list,
and I have the endorsement of the NRA, which I’m very proud of.

-Donald Trump-

Then came the last segment, the portion of the debate more or less dedicated to foreign affairs. Hillary pushed the Democratic “No Fly. No Buy.” policy that violates individual Second Amendment rights by preventing individuals on the federal government’s federal “terrorist watch list” and “no fly list” from being able to legally purchase fire arms, regardless of whether they are an actual Jihadist or a member of the Tea Party. Donald, supposedly some stalwart of the gun rights crowd now, agreed with her, apparently believing that gutting the Second Amendment somehow conserves it.

“As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what secretary Clinton
said
, we should be better than anybody else, 
and perhaps
we’re not…”
-Donald Trump-

On the issue of cyber-terrorism, Hillary pointed out the growing threat of highly skilled, well funded, and coordinated foreign actors conducting espionage over the internet. Donald replied with a rambling, incoherent, and largely ignorant answer that showed he hasn’t completely been paying any attention to his intelligence briefings. After a word salad answer, he paused long enough to agree with Hillary, before continuing his rambling, incoherent, stream of consciousness response that terminated in an evocation of grossly obese internet troll hackers, because the worst insult Donald can come up for someone is apparently “fat“.

I agree with her on one thing. The single greatest problem
the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons…”
-Donald Trump-

By now very much on the defensive, Donald found himself called out on ridiculous statements he’d made during the Republican Primary about arming Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons. Rambling once again, he again agreed with Hillary Clinton’s assessment of foreign policy in the nuclear age, while also attempting an ineffective swipe at an earlier reference to climate change. If he hadn’t already been on his heels for nearly twenty minutes, this attack might have been more effective, but as it was, it simply seemed desperate.

“So she has experience, I agree…”
-Donald Trump-

The final agreement was more or less ironic, in yet another repetitive and ineffective attack on Hillary’s experience. And Donald wanted to make sure everyone knew he was attacking Hillary’s experience, so he said the word “experience” seven times in six sentences. By this point in the debate, Donald was undoubtedly completely off script. Hillary has successfully proven she was far more “presidential” to the lumpkin voters that need to be convinced of such a thing, and far more in control of herself than Donald, as his responses were basically flailing at this point.

 

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
-Robert A. Heinlein-

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a disaster unfold while fully knowing that it could have and should have been averted. Being forced to watch as a crude, banal, narcissistic, self absorbed man ham fisted his way through a debate against a cynical, venal, unscrupulous, self serving politician, simply because he believed he was above preparing for it was torturous. And this is not to mention the three additional times I had to watch the debate just to ensure I could correctly present it.

It’s hard to imagine any of the other potential Republican candidates simply choosing not to prepare for such a critical debate, bragging about not preparing during the debate, and losing the debate so obviously in front of millions of potential voters. Picture practically any of the other Republican candidates on that debate stage, Fiorina, Rubio, Cruz, Carson, Jindal, or even Bush, and that’s all it takes. Unfortunately, we live in the age of the sound bite and reality TV star.

There is no accounting for the unchecked rage of self righteous uneducated voters, who believe fame and wealth indicate, in any way, intelligence or capability. Despite warnings, pleadings, and, at the last, a desperate stand, the “will of the people” brought us one of the most lop sided debate performances since Socrates. Given the ridiculous attempts by Donald Trump and his vain supporters to assert that he had somehow actually won the first debate, it’s clear that we live in a country gone absolutely mad, where the truth simply doesn’t matter anymore.

The true horror of this election is that we know for certainty that ours is no longer a moral nation. No honest nation could produce such a pair of vainglorious louts as these two, and no honest nation would then proceed to bald faced lie about it. Is there a good and noble leader left in these times of universal deceit at all?

The good news is that there is just such a person…

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW