2:28 PM, Oct 31, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
News on the economy had been promising these last few days, especially the GDP increase in the last quarter. Today comes a not-so-good report on consumer spending. As Victoria Stilwell reports at Bloomberg:
Consumer spending in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in September as incomes (PITLCHNG) rose at the slowest pace of the year, indicating the economy will have difficulty sustaining a pickup in growth into the end of the year. Expenditures decreased 0.2 percent last month, weaker than any economist projected in a Bloomberg survey, after rising 0.5 percent in August, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes increased 0.2 percent, the smallest gain since December.
The hard-eyed take on this, from Zero Hedge is:
Goodbye GDP hopes: Consumer Spending tumbled 0.2% against expectations of growing 0.1%, dropping at the fastest pace since October 2009. This is the biggest miss since Jan 2014 - in the middle of the PolarVortex. Did it snow in September, and whatever happened to that spending spree that lower gas prices were supposed to lead to? And whatever happened to that surge in consumer confidence - guess broke Americans can't monetize being "confident" about their rising wages just yet…
Question: How does an apprehensive consumer vote?
9:08 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The indicators for the economy are looking good. For those who view the world through a political prism, this news may be coming too late to help the president and his party in the mid-terms. And for those whose view is long and wide, the skies are not entirely blue. There is the matter of labor force participation, which is historically low. Also home ownership, which is also in a deep trough. And interest rates will soon be rising. Still …
12:24 PM, Oct 28, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The number for September orders of durable goods is one of three that were anticipated as indicators of where the economy is headed … or if it is merely treading water. (Housing prices and consumer confidence are the others.) Expectations were for a modest increase in durables after a bad number last month.
2:04 PM, Oct 27, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Peter Drucker sallies about how government “can only do two things well: wage war and inflate the currency” is being severely tested. Today, we see this headline, over a piece by Jonathan Spicer of Reuters
Treasury’s regulatory non-solution makes a legislative fix much more difficult to achieve.3:01 PM, Oct 21, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
Amidst the cliched rhetoric decrying “unpatriotic” companies that accompanied the Obama administration’s recent move to address corporate inversions, it was easy to miss the fact that there is relatively little of substance that can be remedied via regulation alone, even with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew stretching the limits of executive power.
3:17 PM, Oct 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden talked about the trouble the middle class is having during the Barack Obama presidency at an event earlier today in Philadelphia:
"The middle class is getting killed," Biden said.
"In the last ten years, average salary of the middle class in America according to Standard & Poor's has gone up 14 cents."
10:39 AM, Oct 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
First time claims came in on the low side. Unexpectedly so. Which seems, paradoxically, predictable.
11:32 AM, Oct 12, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama's former defense secretary, Leon Panetta, called for a White House shake-up this morning on CBS:
7:01 AM, Oct 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a Hollywood fundraiser last night in Gwyneth Paltrow's backyard, President Obama explained that the rich are getting richer. "Most of the gains in our economy go to the folks who are in this lovely yard," Obama said.
By contrast, the president explained that income and wages have been stagnant for "the average person."
7:27 AM, Oct 9, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The State Department this week posted a notice that applications are being accepted for Foreign Service Security Protective Specialist positions in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security to provide a "variety of personal protective services to Department officials and employees at overseas locations." While the announcement says there are a "limited number" of positions to fill, elsewhere there are indications that the number may actually be considerable.
8:48 AM, Oct 8, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
If James Carville is still remotely right that “It’s the economy, stupid,” then it’s no wonder that it has been tough sledding for Senate incumbents this fall. Members of the Senate class that’s up for reelection this year were, of course, elected (or reelected) in November 2008 and began their current 6-year terms in January 2009. Using tallies from 2009 as the baseline, therefore, inflation-adjusted median household incomes have actually fallen on these senators’ watch in 11 of the 12 battleground states they represent. That’s a hard thing to explain to voters, especially if your party has been in the majority throughout that time.
12:12 PM, Oct 2, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Carol E. Lee of the Wall Street Journal reports that the president will be turning his attention back (“pivoting,” it is called) to the economy in an effort to get Democrats elected next month.