Dale Franks’ QandO posts
This week’s podcast us up at the Podcast page.
The final revision to 2nd Quarter GDP was increased to a 4.6% annualized growth rate. The GDP Price Index was unchanged at 2.1%.
After-tax profits for the 2nd Quarter were revised upwards slightly to 4.6%.
The Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for September was unchanged at 84.6.
Durable goods orders fell a sharp -18.2% in August, but ex-transportation orders rose a healthy 0.7%. On a year-over-year basis, new orders rose 8.9% overall, while ex-transportation orders rose 7.3%.
The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose 3 points to 6 in September.
The PMI Services Flash for September was unchanged at 58.5.
Initial weekly jobless claims rose 12,000 to 293,000. The 4-week average fell 1,000 to 298,500. Continuing claims rose 7,000 to 2.439 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.8 points to 35.5 in the latest week, which is a 4-month low.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.5 billion last week, with total assets of $4.459 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $10.1 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $7.4 billion in the latest week.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.1% last week, with purchases down -0.3% and refis down -7.0%.
New home sales for August rose 18.0% to a far better-than-expected 504,000 annual rate. This report is frequently volatile, though, and other housing data has been fairly negative recently.
Dr. Steven Koonin is the director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. Formerly, he was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term. So, not a guy you’d think would be a Koch-funded climate denier. Yet, he writes in the Wall Street Journal that the current state of climate science is not settled, despite what others may say.
After spending several paragraphs highlighting both our lack of scientific understanding of basic climate processes, and the unreliability of the different computer models and their predictions, he concludes:
These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not “minor” issues to be “cleaned up” by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.
Yet a public official reading only the IPCC’s “Summary for Policy Makers” would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that “climate science is settled.”
While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.
This is not coming from some right-wing whack job. It is the sober assessment of the science from a former Obama Administration official. Claims that the “science is settled” are just that: claims. They are claims made to further a specific political agenda, not a realistic summation of what we actually know.
Yet we are told that massive government action is required—usually leavened with a generous dollop of socialism—to prevent disaster. A disaster, by the way, than cannot be confidently predicted. If that is so, the predictions of success for ameliorative actions cannot be confidently predicted either. Indeed, we cannot truly say that massive ameliorative actions are even needed.
“The science is settled,” therefore, is not a factual, scientific statement. It is a political one. It deserves no more respect than any other political assertion.
ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales rose 0.1%, and rose 4.1% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook reports retail sales rose 3.7% on a year-ago basis.
The FHFA House Price Index rose a slight 0.1% in July. On a year-over-year basis, the index is up 4.4%.
The Markit PMI manufacturing index flash for September is unchanged from the August final reading of 57.9.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index rose 2 point to 14 in September.
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to -0.21 in August versus 0.39 in July.
Existing home sales fell a disappointing -1.8% in August to a lower-than-expected annual rate of 5.05 million. On a year-over-year basis, existing home sales are down -5.3%. Nearly all of the recent housing data has been negative, showing a lot of weakness in the housing sector.
So, I got this email from a researcher who’s looking for libertarians to respond to a study:
I am conducting research on ideology and public opinion. Most studies on public opinion ask subjects whether they are liberals or conservatives. Options to identify as “libertarian” (or anything else) are almost always left out. To say that libertarians are underrepresented in academic research wouldn’t be enough; they aren’t even given a chance to identify themselves as such. Therefore, I would like to include libertarians in one of my studies regarding opinions of candidates and their policies. To do this, I need to seek them out through blogs and websites. I was wondering if you would be interested in posting a link to my online survey on your site or in an email distribution.
Some important things to know about this survey:
-All responses are 100% anonymous. There is no way for me to link any identifying information to the survey responses.
-The survey has been cleared by an Institutional Review Board at Stony Brook University. It satisfies all the requirements for a study that uses human subjects.
-It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete
-It does not seek to promote any kind of ideological agenda
The survey can be found here: https://stonybrooksurveys.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_87ChNJu5zdzMgDP
If it’s something you feel like you want to participate in, please feel free. I took it. Seems harmless.
The new podcast is up at the Podcast Page.