Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 27 Feb 13

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Durable goods orders plunged -5.2% in January due to a -19.8% drop in transportation orders. Ex-transportation, orders rose a strong 1.9%.

The Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.4% to 105.9 in January, solidly above expectations.

The MBA reports mortgage applications declined again last week, down -3.8%, with purchase apps falling -5.0% and re-fis down -3.0%.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

How bad do you have to be NOT to be hired?

I wondered, when Barack Obama was re-elected, how bad you had to be to be fired.  Apparently worse than Obama, if that’s possible.

Now, with the confirmation of Chuck Hagel – another politician who has never run a large or complex organization and who was abysmal in his confirmation hearings – I have to wonder how bad you have to be NOT to be hired.

Apparently, worse than Chuck Hagel, if that’s possible:

Republicans siding with Democrats, the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel as President Obama’s secretary of defense, a nomination that drew strong opposition within the Republican former senator’s own party, with some troubled by past statements on Israel and Iran.

GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Mike Johanns, (Nebr.) and Richard Shelby (Ala.) supported Hagel in the 58-41 vote. No Democrats opposed him.

Again, let down by the GOP (the ‘good old boy club’ just couldn’t say no to a former member).

Anyone seeing a pattern here?

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 26 Feb 13

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

New home sales in January rose 15.6% to an annualized 437,000 in January, though large seasonal factors may exaggerate the winter months. Monthly supply dipped to 4.9 months from 5.6 months in December, as supplies constrain sales.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose a steep 10 points in February, to a better than expected 69.6.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rose a strong 0.9% in December, and is up 6.8% on a year-over-year basis. Similarly, the FHFA House Price Index rose 0.6% in December, and is up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook is reporting a respectable 2.7% year-over-year sales growth. ICSC-Goldman Store Sales are up only 0/1% from last week, but up 2.9% from last year.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Why won’t this administration look at this revenue source?

Because of their false agenda, that’s why.   They’re still convinced that, despite 17 years of no warming (as recently admitted by the head of the IPCC), oil is bad and “green” is good and that they’re doing something to save the world.  Disregard the fact that green is still unviable.  Disregard the fact that everywhere it has or is being pushed, energy costs are skyrocketing.  Nevermind the fact that we are sitting on a sea of fossile fuel products that we only need to access.  Screw the fact that science can find no discernable warming.  Their minds are made up.

That said, there’s also the fiscal side of the house.  The debt.  The deficit.  And the demand by Democrats to raise more revenue.

Unfortunately, because of their agenda, they’re likely to completely screw up a golden opportunity to bring in much more revenue and drive energy prices down, because their agenda is against fossile fuel.  And we all know the party agenda comes before what is best for the country.

Enter the administration with a renewed plan to tax oil companies instead of opening access to the vast natural riches we enjoy.  The result?  Well this chart will help you comprehend the vast differences in the two policy choices (full size here):

So the either/or is “tax ‘em or open access”.  The difference:

According to a 2011 study by Wood Mackenzie, increased oil and natural gas activity underpro-access policies would generate an additional $800 billion in cumulative revenue for government by 2030. The chart puts into perspective the size of these accumulating revenues – enough to fund entire federal departments at various points along the timeline. By contrast, Wood Mackenize also found that hiking taxes on oil and natural gas companies would, by 2030, result in $223 billion in cumulative lost revenue to government.

It only proves the old saw -“If you want more of it, reward it and if you want less, tax it”.  Think about it – money to help run government and pay down the debt (not to mention the thousands, if not millions of jobs created) being passed up in the name of false science and agenda politics.

Meanwhile, we’ll be left in the cold and the dark, thanks to agenda driven policies with no foundation in reality.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Damned “Southernomics”

In light of Michal Lind’s fantasy about the South, another indicator of how wrong he is:

State Farm, the nationally-known insurance chain headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, has apparently had its fill of “The Land of Lincoln’s” confiscatory taxes.  The 800 million dollar company is reported to have purchased “substantial workspace” in the Dallas, Texas area. The giant insurance firm’s workers are being kept in the dark reportedly to avoid “alarming them”; but is it their workers or the State of Illinois they would like to keep in the dark about this move? If this doesn’t signal State Farm’s coming dash out of Illinois’s clutches, what could it mean?

A knowledgeable Dallas real estate insider has called this impending move “a major business relocation” of record-breaking proportions. The numbers involved are approximately 2.5 million square feet of workspace and thousands of workers. No company in Dallas’ history has made a move this large.

Texas isn’t the only state State Farm is running to. There has also been a report that it has leased office space in Atlanta. The combined amount of both new locations roughly equals the 3.5 million square feet it has in Bloomington.

Why?

These moves should come as no surprise to anyone.  In spite of (or maybe because of) raising its corporate and personal income tax rate by 67% in 2010, Illinois has seen its credit rating fall and its deficit raise.  A review of the tax structure in Georgia shows the personal and corporate income tax is 4% as compared to Illinois’ 6.25%.

Texas has no personal or corporate income tax.

But, you know, the South has just replaced physical slavery with economic slavery – and all those Texans and Georgians who will benefit from employment with State Farm after the move know that only too well, don’t they? /sarc

I’m sure the taxes are just part of the reason.  Most likely the complete business atmosphere in the South is more likely the draw.  A welcome mat instead of a outstretched hand have to be appealing.  The same thing is happening in a number of northern states – the difference being the fiscal mess of today coupled with the difference in Blue state remedies vs. Red state remedies has started to turn a trickle exiting Blue states into a flood.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 21 Feb 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Consumer prices were unchanged in January, but the core CPI (ex-food and energy) rose 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis the CPI is up 1.6%, and the core CPI is up 1.9%.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators rose 0.2% in January, though the consumer expectations component is still depressed.

The Philadelphia Fed survey fell from -5.8 to a worse than expected -12.5 for February, as mid-Atlantic regional business conditions worsened.

Initial jobless claims surged by 20,000 to 362,000 last week. The 4-week average rose 8,000 to 360.750, and continuing claims rose 11,000 to 3.148 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -33.4, the highest level of the year so far.

Existing home sales rose slightly, up 0.4% to an annual rate of 4.92 million. Sales are up 9.1% on a year-ago basis.

The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash fell -0.3 points to 55.2, though this is still firmly in positive territory.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Mexico wants tighter gun control in the US and the names of gun owners

Given Fast and Furious, I’d suggest that Mexico ask for the names of gun runners instead.  We’d top that list with the names “Barack Obama” and “Eric Holder”.  However:

On February 18th, Sentinel reported about a new law passed by Mexican legislators – a mandate for a formal request of our US Senate to create and share a gun registry of all commercial firearms in the border states with the Mexican government and police. Private gun ownership names and addresses would then be in the hands of the Mexican government  and police that all agree are filled with corruption.

In the past, I’d unhesitatingly say, “yeah, not going to happen”.  With this administration, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they tried to comply.

Mexican ambassador to the U.S., Eduardo Medina Mora, said he hopes the Newtown shooting “opens a window of opportunity for President Obama” to pass tighter gun control laws.”

“The Second Amendment and the regulations adopted in the U.S. is not, never was and never should be designed to arm foreign criminal groups,” the nervy ambassador said.

Mexican activists in Mexico City have passed in a petition with 54,000 signatures asking for tighter US gun control.

Of course they have – the murder and mayhem among their criminal class is out of control and epidemic and they need someone to blame.  And, of course, this would provide a wonderful premise on which to clamp down on private ownership of firearms, Constitution be damned.

Of course realty says that, stipulated, even if they could and did do this, nothing would change:

George W. Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William and Mary, doubts tighter gun control laws in the U.S. will greatly affect violence in Mexico. Cartels, Grayson said, can easily find AK-47s and other assault weapons on the international market – places such as China, France, Brazil and Israel.

“The lion’s share of weapons used by cartels come from the United States, but having said that, if the Virgin of Guadeloupe were to stop the flow of weapons southward it would be a nuisance for the cartels but it certainly would not end the bloodshed,” Grayson said.

Ultimately, he said, Mexico would do itself a favor by looking domestically for the roots of the drug war – fixes are badly needed to the country’s corrupt judicial system, military and police force.

But reality and facts have never before stopped a political agenda.  Arms such as those the cartels use are readily available from dozens of international arms dealers.  Screwing the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment wouldn’t change that one iota.

And they know that.  But, as pointed out the other day, this isn’t about facts.  This is about a social and political agenda.  In the case of such agendas, pretty much anything is considered fair, to include ignoring facts, science and the Constitution.

Let’s see if anything develops from this.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

What does this headline tell you?

Seen today on an MSN newsfeed:

Gingrich, Rove and the right for the Republican Party

What does it say?  It says the GOP is more screwed than we ever understood.

The “old ladies” are still predominant and now are fighting among themselves and attacking the Tea Party, which should, if you believe GOP propaganda, be a natural ally. 

As long as that condition prevails, the GOP will remain a minority party in national politics.   And yes, I know, there are some new faces attempting to emerge.  But between the left, the media and the old ladies, their chances of emerging anytime soon without having their character assassinated are likely slim and none.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Buy Dale’s Books!