The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose o.4% last week, with purchases down -4.0% but re-fis up 30%.
The ADP Employment report estimates that private payrolls will rise by 175,000 in January.
Gallup’s Job Creation Index was unchanged in January at 19.
The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose 1 point in January to 54.0.
And no, that’s not a rhetorical question – it’s a real concern.
Even the left knows they’re in trouble for the 2014 midterms … or should be. John Judis of the New Republic:
What I’d point to instead is a comparison between where Obama and the Democrats stood in January 2010 and where they stand today. In January 2010, they were about to lose the Massachusetts senate race, and in November 2010 would lose 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. If Obama and the Democrats’ numbers are better now than they were then, they may not be in trouble; but if they’re worse, the conventional wisdom is right. And they’re worse.
The most recent standard of comparison is the ABC/Washington Post poll that asked some of the same questions in January 2010. First, there are the questions about Obama. These are relevant because midterm elections are often referenda on the president and his party. In January 2010, Obama’s approval ratings were 53 approval to 44 percent disapproval of his “handling his job as president.” Today, 46 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove—a 13-point swing. In January 2010, 47 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of his handling of the economy. Today 43 percent approve and 55 percent disapprove—a seven-point swing.
In January 2010, 57 percent of registered voters thought that Obama understood “the problems of people like you.” Forty-two percent did not. Today, it’s 47 to 52 percent—a 20-point swing. And there is a similar 20-point swing in the question of how much confidence voters have in Obama’s ability to “make the right decisions for the country’s future.” In short, the electorate has far less confidence in Obama now than they did in January 2010.
ABC—Washington Post didn’t ask the same questions about Democrats and Republicans in January 2010 that they asked today, but they did ask these questions in October 2010 on the eve of the Republicans’ sweep. In October 2010, voters thought Democrats would do a better job than Republicans handling the economy by 44 to 37 percent. Today, they think Republicans would do a better job by 44 to 37 percent—a 14-point turnaround. In October 2010, voters said (incredibly) that they preferred Democratic House candidates by 49 to 44 percent. Today, they prefer Republicans by 45 to 46 percent. The number for October 2010 may be inaccurate, but in any case, there is nothing in the current numbers to inspire confidence. In midterm elections, the Republicans have a built-in advantage that allows them to maintain their majority without winning a majority of votes.
To be as succinct as possible, the 2014 midterms are the Republican’s to screw up. And this is where Johnathan Last of the Weekly Standard points us toward the problem (one we’ve been hitting up here lately):
What could have accounted for these diminished prospects for Obama and the Democrats? Oh, it’s hard to say. Probably just tactical brilliance on the part of congressional Republicans. Yes, that’s the ticket. I mean, it’s not like there was a signal event that focused all political attention on a single issue. It’s not like there’s a Topic A that has been demoralizing Democrats, rallying Republicans, moving independents, and providing a constant stream of campaign fodder.
No, no, no, it’s not like there’s one subject which totally unites the Republicans and cuts against Democrats and—mirabile dictu!—where the news keeps getting worse for Obama with every passing week. As Homer Simpson would say, “Right, Lisa. Some wonderful, magical issue.”
So with the wind at their backs and the Democrats in disarray, late last week the Republican leadership decided that this was the perfect moment to change the conversation to…immigration reform!
To again be as succinct as possible, they’re on their way to screwing it up.
And they wonder why people call them the “stupid party.”
A plunge in aircraft orders sent December factory orders down -1.5%, but ex-transportation orders actually rose 0.2%.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index rose to -16 for January, up from -19 in December.
In weekly retail sales, ICSC Goldman reports a 0.3% weekly sales increase, but only a 0% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, Redbook says sales rose a weak 2.7% on a year-ago basis.
As this Obamanation known as ObamaCare contiunes to unroll and unravell, we find more and more incompetence evident. At this point, you mostly are so in awe (in a negative way) of how badly this was done, that all you’re left to do is shake your head in wonder. The latest:
Amy Goldstein of The Post reveals that the appeals process guaranteed in the Obamacare law does not actually exist. The story outlines an almost comical process that requires citizens who seek a fair hearing to have an innocent, HealthCare.gov-generated mistake corrected to fill out a seven-page paper form that is then inexplicably shipped to Kentucky, where it is entered into a government database that isn’t actually connected to anything. It’s a digital dead end for those who dare to complain. Typical. As a result, 22,000 Americans who have submitted an appeals request remain without proper coverage and they have no recourse. And, according to The Post, in the latest show of non-transparency from this administration, officials have “not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working.” There is “no indication that infrastructure . . . necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings had even been created, let alone become operational,” and administration officials are refusing to give any information as to when the appeals process might start moving. This is an administration that wants to hide things rather than fix things.
So, the appeals process is analogus to filling out a long paper form and then just throwing it into a dumpster for all the good it does the person filling out the form. But has the administration made it clear that the process is – well not broken, how about nonexistent? Nope. People are still required to fill our their appeals forms, submit them and wait. Except there is no mechanism in the current system for anyone to see, much less review, the submission. The appeal is entered into a data base and that’s the end of the process. Those waiting are left without recourse.
One more time for the morons in the establishment GOP – here’s your issue.
Or, if you continue to pursue immigration – here’s your sign.
Motor vehicle sales fell 3.1% overall in January, with just over a million vehicles sold, and only Chrysler and Nissan showing gains. GM: -12%, Ford -7%, Toyota: -7.2%, VW: -19%, Honda: -2.1% Fiat Chrysler: 8%, Nissan: 11.8%.
The Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure fell to $78 of daily spending in January, versus $96 in December.
Markit’s PMI Manufacturing Index fell -1.3 points to 53.7 in January.
The ISM manufacturing composite index is down sharply, by -5.7 points to 51.3 in January.
December Construction Spending rose a slight 0.1% in December, a 5.3% gain from the previous year.
Today’s downbeat economic numbers were no help to US stock markets, already under pressure from overnight slumps in world markets. The Dow Industrials ended the day down -326.05 to 15,372.80.
Yes, I called it a surprise facetiously. Does Obama do anything that doesn’t fail (other than campaign)?
Meanwhile, two-faced government continues because, well you know, telling the real truth outloud just isn’t politically smart – especially with this administration’s record:
Two prominent Republican senators say that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told them — along with 13 other members of a bipartisan congressional delegation — that President Barack Obama’s administration is in need of a new, more assertive, Syria policy; that al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria pose a direct terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland; that Russia is arming the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and is generally subverting chances for a peaceful settlement; that Assad is violating his promise to expeditiously part with his massive stores of chemical weapons; and that, in Kerry’s view, it may be time to consider more dramatic arming of moderate Syrian rebel factions.
Kerry is said to have made these blunt assertions Sunday morning behind the closed doors of a cramped meeting room in the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, as the 50th annual Munich Security Conference was coming to a close in a ballroom two floors below. A day earlier, Kerry, in a joint appearance with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the ballroom stage, gave an uncompromising defense of the Obama administration’s level of foreign engagement: saying that,“I can’t think of a place in the world where we’re retreating.”
Really, Mr. Kerry?
Obama/Kerry’s Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria and Russian policies have been failures. Israel has taken to actually ridiculing US efforts. Saudi Arabia is said to be looking for a new patron in the Middle East.
And yet, given all of that, Kerry is still the loyal waterboy making false claims when anyone with an IQ higher than warm spit can see that during the Obama administration we’ve done nothing but retreat.
Being charitable, maybe Kerry meant we’re no longer retreating because, well, we’ve retreated about as far as is possible to retreat.
Oh, and yes, I saw the Obama/O’Reilly interview. It had the same gripping suspense and entertainment content as the Superbowl. In the case of Denver it was safety, interception, fumble, collapse. Obama was deny, deny, deny, blame, deny reality some more and then cast even more blame.
Today, we celebrated the life of my uncle, Rev. Raymond L. Franks Jr. There are few truly good men in this world–I certainly can’t claim to be one–but Uncle Ray was one of them. He was unfailingly loving, compassionate, and kind. In the 35 years he spent in the ministry in Albuquerque, NM, he touched and bettered an uncounted number of lives. The hundreds of people who came to pay their respects today are the merest tithe of the lives he touched.
Just being near him made you want to be a better person, to be able to live by the standards that he demonstrated in his own life every day. One of the great regrets of my life is that I was unable to be the person he thought I could be. Not once did he ever display anything but love and kindness to me, and occasionally regret that I was unable to spend more time with him in recent years. Now, he is gone, I can never spend time with him again.
Though he left an incredibly rich and lasting legacy, the remainder of my life will be a bit darker and bit more empty. Time, they say, heals all wounds, but for this one, sadly, I fear the healing will never truly be complete.
The world is a measurably poorer place for his passing.
Peggy Noonan pretty much hits a home run today (well, it being Super Bowl weekend, maybe a touchdown analogy would be better). Here’s how she begins:
The State of the Union was a spectacle of delusion and self-congratulation in which a Congress nobody likes rose to cheer a president nobody really likes. It marked the continued degeneration of a great and useful tradition. Viewership was down, to the lowest level since 2000. This year’s innovation was the Parade of Hacks. It used to be the networks only showed the president walking down the aisle after his presence was dramatically announced. Now every cabinet-level officeholder marches in, shaking hands and high-fiving with breathless congressmen. And why not? No matter how bland and banal they may look, they do have the power to destroy your life—to declare the house you just built as in violation of EPA wetland regulations, to pull your kid’s school placement, to define your medical coverage out of existence. So by all means attention must be paid and faces seen.
Dead on. SOTU has become kind of like entertainment industry awards shows I guess … something else I never watch. What government can do to your freedom? Very real.
But she’s right, more and more Washington DC has become Oz. More and more it becomes delusional, more insular and more isolated from the real America. And that’s where Noonan goes – she does a riff on real America – i.e. “reality” – a state of being that progressive try to avoid at all costs:
Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines. The Supreme Court kindly granted them a temporary stay, but their case soon goes to court. The Justice Department brief, which reads like it was written by someone who just saw “Philomena,” suggests the nuns are being ignorant and balky, all they have to do is sign a little, meaningless form and the problem will go away. The sisters don’t see the form as meaningless; they know it’s not. And so they fight, in a suit along with almost 500 Catholic nonprofit groups.
Everyone who says that would never have happened in the past is correct. It never, ever would have under normal American political leadership, Republican or Democratic. No one would’ve defied religious liberty like this.
The president has taken to saying he isn’t ideological but this mandate—his mandate—is purely ideological.
It also is a violation of traditional civic courtesy, sympathy and spaciousness. The state doesn’t tell serious religious groups to do it their way or they’ll be ruined. You don’t make the Little Sisters bow down to you.
This is the great political failure of progressivism: They always go too far. They always try to rub your face in it.
She has other examples, but the way she wrapped up this portion is a pretty good summary of the state of Oz.
And we’re all the poorer and less free because of it.
I am talking about the establishment GOP – those that think compromise on principle is a good thing if it keeps it all collegial in Congress and the left doesn’t call them bad names.
As the deadline for 2014 enrollment nears, Obamacare is increasingly growing unpopular, especially among the uninsured. A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that about twice as many uninsured people have an unfavorable view of the health-care law than have a favorable one.
Among the uninsured, 47 percent view Obamacare in a negative light versus the 24 percent who view it favorably. That’s a change from 43 percent who viewed it unfavorably last month, and 36 percent who viewed it favorably. Overall, half of Americans view Obamacare unfavorably, while just over one-third have a positive take on the law.
More of the uninsured also said Obamacare made them worse off (39 percent) than improved their situation (26 percent), according to the poll.
Got that? The majority of people find ObamaCare to be a travesty and a plurality of those who are uninsured want nothing to do with it.
Looking for an issue GOP (clue: it’s not caving passing immigration “reform”)?
This mess the Democrats have made is the single issue on whichyou can win. That’s right, single issue. This is a subject very near, dear and important to every Americans. And the Democrats have screwed it up royally. You have no need, in the interim, cave on anything. There is nothing which requires you to pass legislation that will piss off your base. None.
Think about it.