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Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 19 Jun 14

The general conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed Survey rose 2.4 points to a very strong 17.8.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 percent in May, following April’s 0.3% rise.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 6,000 to 312,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 311,750. Continuing claims fell 54,000 to a new recovery low of 2.561 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.6 points to 37.1 in the latest week, near recovery highs.

The Fed’s balance sheet increased $27.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.368 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose by $28.8 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell $-9.3 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 18 Jun 14

The MBA reports that rising mortgage rates sent mortgage applications down -9.2% in the latest week. Purchases fell -5.0%, while re-fis dropped -13.0%.

The nation’s current account deficit the 1st Quarter of 2014 rose to $-111.2 billion from a revised $-87.3 billion in 4Q 2013.

The Federal Open Markets Committee left interest rates unchanged today, with a Fed Funds target rate of 0% – 0.25%.

The FOMC’s June projection for economic growth: 2014: 2.1-2.3%; 2015: 3.0-3.2%; 2016: 2.5-3.0%; longer run: 2.1-2.2%. Again, the prediction is for continuing subpar GDP growth.


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As the polls go …

The polls continue to show an erosion of public support for President Obama.  Here are 4 interesting paragraphs describing the latest:

Foreign crises and domestic economic unease have eroded President Barack Obama‘s public standing, sapping his ability to respond to overseas conflicts and weighing on fellow Democrats heading into the midterm elections.

As clouds gather abroad, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Mr. Obama’s job approval rating at 41%, matching a previous low. Approval of his handling of foreign policy hit a new low of 37%. Both numbers are driven in part by conflicts largely outside the president’s control, including a new wave of sectarian violence in Iraq.

This latest dip in Mr. Obama’s approval runs contrary to signs Americans agree with his policies on climate change and education, and as a divided Republican Party remains far less popular than the president and his party. Despite misgivings toward Mr. Obama, the survey showed the public sides with him and his fellow Democrats on a range of issues, including immigration, education and the environment. (Interactive: Poll Results)

The latest Journal poll of 1,000 adults, conducted between Wednesday and Sunday, highlights what appears to be a lasting slide in the president’s public image. Respondents split in half on whether the Obama administration is competent, lower marks than Americans gave former PresidentGeorge W. Bush‘s administration in 2006, after the war in Iraq and the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina derailed his presidency.

Now you remember that time don’t you?  The time of Katrina and Iraq?  The time when Democrats lined up to get in front of the cameras and declare George Bush “incompetent”?  Yeah, me too.  And now the guy who was all too happy to participate in that labeling, has managed to do worse.

What does that make him?

Note too the attempt to put lipstick on this pig – “…Americans agree with his policies on climate change and education, and as a divided Republican Party remains far less popular than the president and his party. Despite misgivings toward Mr. Obama, the survey showed the public sides with him and his fellow Democrats on a range of issues, including immigration, education and the environment.”

There’s only one problem with this list of issues of “agreement” – they are all low priority issues for the public.  Jobs.  Economy.  War.  Spending.  Those are what top the list.  And then there’s the matter of bungled health care, scandals and of course, the collapse of any semblance of a foreign policy that this administration might have had.  Frankly, I’m being kind with the last one.  If there’s been a real foreign policy at work for these past 6 years, it’s been as well hidden as Lois Lerner’s emails.

I’d love to say, “I told you so”, I’d love to talk about irony and shadenfreude.  But this is too pitiful a performance to be flip about. And the consequences are real. I see articles about how this guy is now “tired” of being president. He’s “bored” with the job. How could he be either bored or tired – he hasn’t done the job at all.

Got to say, in all my years – and I lived through the Carter era – I’ve never seen this country in such pitiful shape. Never. Mr. Obama has done enough damage, in the foreign relations arena, that it will take decades to undo. The only silver lining, and I’ve mentioned it before, is that one of his goals was to prove big government could be competent and beneficial. He has proven precisely the opposite to be true.

Perhaps the Democrats aren’t calling him “incompetent” for a reason.

Incompetent doesn’t begin to cover how bad this President and his administration are.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 16 Jun 14

The Empire State manufacturing index remained strong for June, rising a slight 0.27 points to a strong 19.28.

The Treasury reports that net foreign demand for long-term US securities fell $-24.2 billion in June.

Industrial production rose 0.6% in May, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories rose 0.5% to 79.1%.

The NAHB housing market index for June rose 4 points to 49, just one point under the break-even reading of 50.


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The pathetic bias of the New York Times, summarized in two pics

(This screen cap done at 9:00 AM CST 15 June, 2014)

We’ve known that the New York Times has been part of the palace guard for Democrats for quite a while.* But this is a new low.

If 18 minutes of lost taped conversations in Nixon’s White House is good for weeks of coverage, surely close to two years of lost emails from someone accused targeting the president’s political opponents is even more important.

The story has been on the networks’ web sites since Friday (NBC, CBS, Fox) plus outlets like Forbes, the Fiscal Times, and lots of others. Given that, no serious, objective media outlet would ever ignore the lost IRS email story for two days, and leave it out of their biggest edition of the week. Not the “paper of record”. Not the publication that brags it contains “all the news that’s fit to print”.

But that’s exactly what the Times has done.

The Washington Post is marginally better. No front page story, as the story manifestly deserves. No original reporting, even though the story is in their own backyard. But they do have a couple of Associated Press reports in two sections Politics and Business (yeah, Business – I don’t get it either).

If you still think the Times and Post have not chosen sides politically, then you are a willfully blind, naive fool.

 

*Occasionally a decent article slips through, or perhaps is done as camouflage to bolster the idea that they are serious objective journalists. They stopped fooling anyone connected to reality quite a while back.

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 13 Jun 14

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about Bowe Bergdahl and the economy.

The podcast can be found on Stitcher here. Please remember the feed may take a couple of hours to update after this is first posted.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Stitcher. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.

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Economic Statistics for 13 Jun 14

Producer prices for final demand fell -0.2% in May, and are up 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. PPI-FD less food & energy: -0.1 %, PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services: 0.0 %, PPI-FD Goods: -0.1 %, PPI-FD Services: -0.2 %.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell -0.7 points to 81.2 in June.


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So many debacles, so little time

With the relase of the 5 Taliban leaders for a deserter, we’ve been mostly assured, by the usual suspects, that they won’t go back to war with us and anyone who thinks they will, well that’s “baloney” per John Kerry.  That there has been a “deal” made and we were “promised” that wouldn’t happen.  That’s sort of like believing gun control laws will keep guns out of the hands of criminals … it strains credulity.

And, frankly, we’re apparently pretty good at reseeding terrorist ranks as it turns out.  Take the terrorist organization ISIS which is now brutalizing Iraq:

The United States once had Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in custody at a detention facility in Iraq, but president Barack Obama let him go, it was revealed on Friday.

Al Baghdadi was among the prisoners released in 2009 from the U.S.’s now-closed Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in Iraq.

But now five years later he is leading the army of ruthless extremists bearing down on Baghdad who want to turn the country into an Islamist state by blazing a bloody trail through towns and cities, executing Iraqi soldiers, beheading police officers and gunning down innocent civilians.

Even I remember al Baghdadi’s name and the massive hunt to bring him to ground.  He was murderous scum then, and he’s murderous scum now.  How in the world  we ever let someone like that go is, well, something the Obama administration would have to explain.

Don’t bother asking … the answer is “it’s Bushes fault, you racist”.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 12 Jun 14

Weekly initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 317,000. The 4-week average rose 5,000 to 315,250. Continuing claims rose 11,000 to 2.614 million.

Retail sales for May rose 0.3% overall, but were only up 0.1% less autos, and were unchanged from April less autos & gas.

Both export and import prices rose 0.1% in May. On a year over year basis, export prices rose 0.5%, as import prices rose 0.4%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose o.4 points to 35.5 in the latest week.

Business inventories rose a higher than expected 0.6% in April, but a 0.7% sales increase kept the stock-to-sales ratio at 1.29.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $10.0 billion last week, with total assets of $4.341 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose by $8.8 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose $10.9 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 10-11 Jun 14

The June NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.4 points to 96.6 for the best reading since September 2007.

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales down -2.8%, but up 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook reports an 3.3% rise in retail sales over last year.

Wholesale inventories rose 1.1% in April, while 1.3% sales increase kept the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.18.

May’s US Treasury budget ended in a $-130.0 billion deficit, following April’s $1.03 billion surplus.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 10.3% last week. Purchases rose 9.0% and re-fis rose 11.0%.


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