Free Markets, Free People


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The most important reason the left’s “War on Coal” is wrong

Energy Matters takes a look at the progress of the green energy renewables that were supposed to be saving the day and justifying the “war on coal”:

“So while we can expect that hydro will continue to provide most of the energy generated by renewables for some time to come it isn’t likely to contribute to decarbonizing global energy generation any more than it already has. If decarbonization is to be achieved by expanding renewables the expansion will have to come in wind, solar and biomass. So let’s take hydro out and see how far growth in wind, solar and biomass has carried us along the decarbonization path so far…Clearly they still have a long way to go.”

Ya think?!


Economic Statistics for 17 Jul 14

Housing starts fell a sharp -9.3% in June, following May’s -7.3%, to a 0.893 million annual rate.

The general business conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey jumped 6.1 points to 23.9 in July, which is the highest since March 2011.

Initial jobless claims fell 3,000 last week, to 302,000. The 4-week moving average fell 2,500 to 309,000. Continuing claims fell 79,000 to a recovery low of 2.507 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 0.1 points to 37.5 in the latest week..

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $14.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.398 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $12.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 Money Supply decreased by $-12.4 billion last week.

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Economic Statistics for 16-17 Jul 14

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a 4.1% increase from the previous year. ICSC-Goldman reports a weekly sales increase of 0.1%, and a 4.5% increase on a year-over-year basis.

The government’s retail sales figures for June show a 0.2% sales increase, with sales less autos, and less autos and gas both up 0.4%.

The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index rose from 19.28 to 25.60 for July.

Business inventories rose 0.5% in May, while a 0.4% rise in business sales leaves the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.29.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -3.6% last week, with purchases dowm -8.0% and refinancings down -0.1%.

Producer prices rose a sharp 0.4% in June, but less food and energy rose only 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, the PPI rose 1.9% at the headline level, and 1.7% less food and energy.

The Treasury reported that net foreign demand for US securities rose $19.4 billion in May.

The Fed reported that industrial production rose 0.2% in June, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories was unchanged at 79.1%.

The Atlanta Fed’s Business Inflation Expectations survey for July shows an expected inflation rate of 1.9% for the next year.

The National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index rose 4 points to 53 in July.

In today’s Beige Book report from the Fed, us economic growth was said to be Modest to Moderate.

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CBO budget forecast? Debt, debt and more debt

CBO has extrapolated the budget for the government out to 2039 and using current law paint a picture of the same old crap with a continuing rise in public debt:

Note that the spending an revenue lines are essentially as close as they’re going to get this year, with spending outpacing revenue and widening the gap from now on.

Oh, and this little goodie:

  • Federal spending for Social Security and the government’s major health care programs—Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act—would rise sharply, to a total of 14 percent of GDP by 2039, twice the 7 percent average seen over the past 40 years. That boost in spending is expected to occur because of the aging of the population, growth in per capita spending on health care, and an expansion of federal health care programs.

So much for “and we’ll save every family $2,500 a year on their health care insurance”.   Costs aren’t going anywhere but up.  Of course, you can count on the propagandists to now claim they’ll be going up slower than had they let the market work.  As with most of the “facts” these yahoos throw around, it will be a baseless claim meant to excuse their failure.

And as the debt piles up even more, so does the amount of money it takes to pay the interest:

  • The government’s net interest payments would grow to 4½ percent of GDP by 2039, compared with an average of 2 percent over the past four decades. Net interest payments would be larger than that average mainly because federal debt would be much larger.

No kidding.  Which means:

  • In contrast, total spending on everything other than Social Security, the major health care programs, and net interest payments would decline to 7 percent of GDP by 2039—well below the 11 percent average of the past 40 years and a smaller share of the economy than at any time since the late 1930s.

Can anyone yet guess the solution to this problem?  That’s right, is some form or another, a tax increase.  One of the reasons a carbon tax is so popular among some politicians is it taxes thin air and creates a revenue stream out of it.

This is the continuing situation the incompetents who run this government (and yes that includes both parties) have managed to produce for this once proud nation.  A debtor nation which is slowly dying under the weight of its own debt, brought to us by spendthrift politicians who will all deny they’re the problem.

But that single picture tells a different story doesn’t it?

Here’s our future:

  • The large amount of federal borrowing would draw money away from private investment in productive capital in the long term, because the portion of people’s savings used to buy government securities would not be available to finance private investment. The result would be a smaller stock of capital and lower output and income than would otherwise be the case, all else being equal. (Despite those reductions, the continued growth of productivity would make output and income per person, adjusted for inflation, higher in the future than they are now.)
  • Federal spending on interest payments would rise, thus requiring higher taxes, lower spending for benefits and services, or both to achieve any chosen targets for budget deficits and debt.
  • The large amount of debt would restrict policymakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or financial crises. As a result, those challenges would tend to have larger negative effects on the economy and on people’s well-being than they would otherwise. The large amount of debt could also compromise national security by constraining defense spending in times of international crisis or by limiting the country’s ability to prepare for such a crisis.



Economic Statistics for 10 Jul 14

Chain stores reporting June sales today note generally modest rates of sales growth, with no changes to earnings guidance.

Initial jobless claims fell 11,000 last week to 304,000. The 4-week moving average fell 3,500 to 311,500. Continuing claims rose 10,000 to 2.584 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.2 points to 37.6.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.5% in May, against a 0.7% sales increase, leaving the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at a lean 1.18.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $6.4 billion last week, with total assets of $4.383 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $6.0 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 Money Supply fell by $-3.9 billion last week.

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Economic Statistics for 9 Jul 14

Gallup’s self-reported Consumer Spending measure for June fell $-7 to $91.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell -2.0 points to 95.0 in June.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman reports a 1.7% increase from last week, but down 1.3% to a year-on-year rate of 3.3%. Redbook, however, reports a big 6.0% year-over-year sales increase.

Consumer credit rose $19.6 billion in May, with revolving credit up $1.8 billion. Strong credit card use is a big plus for retailers.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 1.9% last week, with purchases up 4.0% and refinancings up 0.4%.

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Economic Statistics for 3 Jul 14

A net 288,000 new jobs were created in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1%. Average weekly earnings rose 0.2%, but weekly hours were unchanged at 34.5 hours. Underlying fundamentals aren’t great, however. In June, 2013, 89.7 million people were out of the labor force. In June, 2014, it was 92.1 million.  In the same time period, the civilian non-institutional population rose from 245.6 million to 247.8 million, or 2.2 million. So, 2.2 million were added to the working age population, while 2.4 million fewer were in the labor force. In other words, Job growth is still less than population growth, hence the 62.8% labor forces participation rate Since October, 2013, labor force participation has hovered at levels not seen since 1978, as the unemployment rate has “declined”. 

The trade deficit in May shrank to a better-than-expected $-44.4 billion, down from $-47.0 billion in April.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.7 points to 36.4 in the latest week.

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index fell -0.3 points to 56.0.

The US Services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose 1.9 points to 61.0 in June.

JP Morgan reports the global Composite PMI rose 1.1 points to 55.4, while the Services PMI rose 1.2 points to 55.8.

Weekly initial jobless claims rose 3,000 to 315,000. The 4-week average rose 750 to 315,000. Continuing claims rose 10,000 to 2.579 million.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $8.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.377 trillion. Total reserve bank credit fell by $-1.6 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose $43.5 billion in the latest week.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report estimates there were 31,434 layoffs in June, down from 52,961 in May.

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Economic Statistics for 1-2 Jul 14

Motor vehicle sales rose 1.2% in June to a 17.0 million annual rate. That’s the strongest rate since July 2006.

ICSC-Goldman reports retail sales rose 1.0%, while the rear-over-year rate rose to 4.6% in the latest week. Conversely, Redbook says year-over-year retail sales growth fell to 3.1% in the latest week.

The Markit PMI manufacturing index rose 0.3 points to 57.3 in June.

The ISM Manufacturing index fell 0.1 point to 55.3 in June.

Construction Spending rose a less-than-expected 0.1% in May. Spending rose 6.6% on a year-ago basis.

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI rose 0.5 points to 52.7 in June.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index fell -1 point to -15 in June.

The MBA reports that mortgage application fell 0.2% in the latest week, with purchases down -1.0%, but re-fis up 0.1%.

The ADP national employment report estimates that a strong increase of 281,000 private payroll jobs were created in June.

Gallup’s Job Creation Index is unchanged at 27 in June.

Gallup’s Payroll to Population employment rate rose 0.5% to 45.0% in June.

Factory orders fell 0.5% in May, but nondefense orders rose 0.2%. A 0.7% rise in nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft is a positive.

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