Free Markets, Free People


Economic Statistics for 13 Mar 14

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to -27.6 in the latest week, the highest since last August.

Initial jobless claims fell 9,000 to 315,000. The 4-week average fell 6,000 to 330,500. Continuing claims fell 48,000 to 2.855 million.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.181 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $11.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-13.9 billion in the latest week.

February retail sales rose 0.3% in February across the board, overall, less gas, and less gas and autos.

February export prices rose 0.6%, while import prices rose 0.9%. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell 01.3%, while import prices fell -1.1%.

Business Inventories rose 0.4% in January, while a steep -0.6% drop in sales pushed the stock-to-sales ratio up to a troubling 1.32.

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More business busting regulatory abuse by the imperial President

Market?  What market?  We haven’t had a free market for much of anything in at least the last 75 years:

Business groups and congressional Republicans are blasting regulations President Obama will announce Thursday that could extend overtime pay to as many as 10 million workers who are now ineligible for it.

While liberals lauded the plan as putting more cash in the pockets of millions of workers, business groups warned it would damage the economy and Republicans said it was another example of executive overreach.

That’s right friends, now it appears that the Obama administration has decided … that’s right, “decided” … that in addition to the increase in the minimum wage, now it needs to redefine who is eligible for overtime. And, of course, that redefinition is going to negatively impact who?  Businesses.  And if they have to live with the changes, who then will it effect?

Oh, yeah, those that can least afford it.  Why?  Because it will increase the cost of doing business.  And what do businesses do when their costs increase?  Pass it on to the consumer.

Now, I ask, was that so hard to spell out?  No.  And is it hard to understand?  Again, no.

So why is it liberals can’t follow the logic train to its final destination?

Well that’s fairly simple, they don’t think, they emote.  The bureaucrats, who’ve never had to run a business or turn a profit in order to meet a payroll are experts in what others “need”.  And they’re convinced those who are involved in running a business are just greedy.

“What we’re trying to take a look at is how we can make the labor force as fair as possible for all workers and that people get rewarded for a hard day’s work with a fair wage,” Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters Wednesday.

Right.  Because, you know, the guy who risked everything and has succeeded to the point that he can hire others and thereby give the abysmal unemployment numbers some relief aren’t “fair” – by definition I guess.

“Changing the rules for overtime eligibility will, just like increasing the minimum wage, make employees more expensive and will force employers to look for ways to cover these increased costs,” said Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile in fantasyland:

Stevenson, however, contended that there would likely be an increase in employment as a result of the change, with companies deciding to hire more employees rather than paying existing workers at a higher rate.

Really?  Or perhaps they’ll hire less and use technology to fill the bill.  Technological answers don’t ask for raises, don’t require health care coverage, don’t need overtime, etc.  In fact, it is likely to lead to less employment and more mechanization.

But we should understand the BIG reason:

Proponents say the regulations are an issue of fairness.

“I think that if you put in a full week’s work and you end up being asked by your employer to work longer hours, you deserve to be paid a little extra,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.).

Is that right?  Well, frankly, Rep. Becerra, that’s none of your freakin’ business.  But, I assume you can point out the Constitutional basis for your “thought”, right?

Bunch of idiots.  They are bound and determined to destroy the golden goose because they’re are woefully ignorant of the goose’s anatomy and how it works.


Economic Statistics for 11 Mar 13

Wholesale inventories rose 0.6% in January, while sales plunged -1.9%. That drove the sector’s stock-to-sales ratio up to a hefty 1.20.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 3 points to 91.4 in February.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC Goldman reports a 1.3% weekly sales increase, and a 2.1% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, Redbook says sales rose a weak 2.5% on a year-ago basis.

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President’s FY2015 budget more proof that he lives in a fantasy world

If I’m not mistaken, not a single Obama budget (those few he’s submitted) over the years has gotten even one vote when it hit Congress.  And that includes votes from Democrats.

This year is likely to be no exception.

Veronique De Rugy at George Mason Univerity’s Mercatus Center says:

Much of the president’s proposed budget’s rosy projections will require considerable tax financing and political restraint to come to fruition. If revenues are lower than anticipated or spending is not restricted as planned, the ten-year debt picture will look quite different. I have noted before that President Obama’s later mid-session review budget differed considerably from his early budget projections. Early revenue and outlay projections were higher than actual amounts, while deficit spending surged much higher than anticipated from 2010 to 2012. This budget will likely mis-project critical variables as well. The rosiest projections all too often turn out to be the most disappointing.

Talk about an understatement.  And the rosy projection?  Well here it is compared to the CBO projection:

You have to chuckle at a miss that bad. In the outlying years, look at the percent of GDP the CBO projects vs. Obama.  Any guess as to which projection is most likely of the two?

Go back to a key line ins De Rugy’s analysis:

If revenues are lower than anticipated or spending is not restricted as planned, the ten-year debt picture will look quite different.

Point to a moment in recent history where our profligate politicians have actually followed a restrictive spending plan that would have the effect Obama says it will?

Yeah, I can’t point to it either.

Regardless, however, we’re supposed to believe that if the plan is followed as layed out in the Obama budget, we’ll see long term debt reduction.

Unfortunatly the next chart doesn’t at all support that claim:

In every year projected, spendin is greater than revenue.  So what they’re assuming is massive growth in the eoncomy to make the debt they pile up in the later years a smaller percentage of the GDP.

Really?  Taxes are going to go up, government spending will also go up and yet somehow the private economy is going to surge (10 more “recovery summers”, eh?)?  Obama plans spending and taxation as a percentage of GDP that are at or near historic highs, but we’ll see huge economic growth to support that?

Wow, if you’re not flying the red BS flag, you need to take an Econ 101 class.

Yet this is what the President of the United States is presenting as a functional budget for this country 10 years into the future.



Economic Statistics for 7 Mar 14

The Labor Department reports that 175,000 net new jobs were created in February. The unemployment rate rose a tick to 6.7%. Average hourly earnings rose 0.4%, while the average work week fell from 34.4 to 34.2 hours. The labor force participation rate held steady at 63.0%.  The real unemployment rate, using the historical average rate of labor force participation, rose slightly, from 11.14% to 11.19%.

The nation’s trade deficit was $-39.1 billion in January.

January consumer credit rose by $13.7 billion, though this hides a decline of $0.2 billion in revolving credit.

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Economic Statistics for 6 Mar 14

Those chain stores that still report monthly sales generally reported improved year-on-year sales results in February.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report fell to 41,835 layoffs in February from 45,107 in January and 55,356 a year ago.

Gallup’s U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate was 43.1% in February up from 42.0% in January.

Initial jobless claims fell 26,000 to 323,000. The 4-week average fell 1,750 to 336,500, while continuing claims fell 8,000 to 2.907 million.

Productivity in the 4th quarter of 2013 rose a revised1.8%, more than half a percent below expectations.Unit labor costs fell an annualized -0.1%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.1 points to -28.5 in the latest week, a seven-month high.

Factory orders declined by -0.7% in February, following a January drop that was revised downwards to -2.0%.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $11.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.172 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $6.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-8.1 billion in the latest week.

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Economic Statistics for 5 Mar 14

The Fed’s Beige Book says that unseasonably cold weather reduced economic activity in two districts, but the rest showed modest to moderate improvement.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose wildly, up 9.4% last week, with purchases up 9.0% and re-fis up 10.0%.

ADP employment report estimates that private payrolls will rise by 139,000 in February.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index rose to 21 in February from 19 the previous month.

Markit’s services PMI slowed from 56.7 in January to 53.3 in February.

ISM non-manufacturing data moved lower to 51.6 in February from 54 in January.

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Economic Statistics for 3 Mar 14

US auto sales remained relatively flat for the 3rd straight month, at a 15.3 million annual rate.

Gallup’s self-reported Consumer Spending measure rose to $87 per day in February, vice $78 in January.

Personal income rose 0.3% in February, while spending rose 0.4%. The PCE Price index rose 0.3% overall, but only 0.1% at the core level. On a year-over-year basis, income rose4.1%, while spending rose 3.5%. The PCE Price index rose 1.2% overall, and 1.1% at the core level.

Markit’s PMI Manufacturing Index for February rose to 57.1  from January’s 53.7.

The ISM manufacturing index for February rose to 53.2  from January’s 51.3.

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI was 53.3 for March, up from 53.0 in February.

Construction spending rose 0.1% in January. On a year-ago basis, spending is up 9.3%.

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