Economy Articles

Prospect of Real Immigration Solution Dimmed By President’s Unilateral Action

12:00 AM, Nov 29, 2014

“Give me your tired, your poor … your huddled masses … wretched refuse … the homeless,” implores the Lady in New York harbor. Little can she know that 11.4 million of these “tempest-tost” souls are already here, having arrived illegally, most from Mexico and points south. Some 4-5 million of those illegal, or “undocumented” immigrants to use the description preferred by pro-immigration advocates, no longer are threatened with deportation orders.

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A Very Merry Shopping Season Indeed

3:45 PM, Nov 22, 2014

Some 140 million bargain-hunting customers will descend on retailers on Thanksgiving Day, so-called Black Friday, and throughout next weekend -- or at least those who haven’t shopped already or by early next week will head for the shops. Not so long ago most stores remained closed  on Thanksgiving Day, on the assumption that families preferred to spend the holiday enjoying uninterrupted togetherness, downing some 46 million turkeys and watching football. No longer. Walmart, Macy’s, and many others are opening their doors on the holiday.

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China's Shrewd Maneuvers

12:00 AM, Nov 15, 2014

There is more than might have been, but a lot less than first meets the eye. That describes the climate deal struck this week by President Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping in their private two-day meeting following a gathering of 19 Asian Pacific leaders in Beijing. The very fact of a deal is more than even well-informed observers expected.

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2:48 PM, Nov 13, 2014

Recent news on the economy has been generally encouraging so it is possible that this week’s first time claims number could be a one-off.

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If Obama Were as Tough on China as Republicans ...

An idea for the president.
7:48 AM, Nov 10, 2014

President Obama, an increasingly leaky White House tells us, fears irrelevance. I am still relevant, the president all-but declared at his recent press conference. And to prove it, he told us about his constitutional authority to issue executive orders and to veto bills that he finds in conflict with his progressive agenda. Perhaps.

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Unemployment: So-So

10:10 AM, Nov 07, 2014

The monthly BLS report on unemployment comes in under expectations which were for some 235,000 news jobs.  So the 214,000 is a downside miss.  However, the new benchmark for “good, not great” seems to be a monthly increase in of 200,000.  And the economy has hit that number for nine consecutive months.

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First Time Claims: Lower and Better

10:18 AM, Nov 06, 2014

Lorraine Woellert of Bloomberg reports:

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Jeff Bell's Closing Argument

6:00 PM, Nov 03, 2014

Whether or not Jeff Bell comes from behind to win the New Jersey Senate race, he deserves credit for having run a classy, ideas-focused race. That's epitomized by his "closing argument," reproduced below. If a majority of New Jersey voters actually read this email, I do think Bell would win. The media complain a lot about the low quality of campaigns these days—but when an underdog candidate runs a high-quality campaign, they don’t bother covering it. It would be good if some of them acknowledged Bell's attempt to elevate the political discourse.

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Voters Consider Mixed Economic Signals

11:00 PM, Oct 31, 2014

On Tuesday those of us who have not already availed ourselves of postal ballots or early voting will troop to the polls to elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 36 of the 100 senators, 36 governors, and a host of politicians vying for local office. These old-fashioned voters will cast their votes when consumer confidence in the economy is at its highest level in about seven years. But a vast majority, although now more confident in the economy, also hold the seemingly contradictory view that our country is heading into its future on what pollsters call “the wrong track.”

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Troubling News on Consumer Spending

1:28 PM, Oct 31, 2014

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:

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Gaining Momentum?

8:08 AM, Oct 30, 2014

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 …

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Increased Confidence

7:08 AM, Oct 29, 2014

Producers may be apprehensive about economic prospects, but consumers are upbeat.  As Danielle Trubow of Bloomberg reports:

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Durables Down

11:24 AM, Oct 28, 2014

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.

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Inflation Is Hard

1:04 PM, Oct 27, 2014

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 

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9:15 AM, Oct 27, 2014
The president insists that his programs have done great things for the economy and that, while he is not on the ballot in next week’s elections, his policies are. Well, as Mike Dorning of Bloomberg reports:The typical American worker’s weekly earnings, adjusted for inflation, were lower during the July through September quarter than in the third quarter of 2007, the last such measurement before the recession started, Labor Department datareleased yesterday showed. And:In September, 7.1 million Americans worked part-time for economic reasons, down from a peak of 9.2 million in March 2010, though still higher than the 4.5 million who did so in November 2007, on the eve of the recession. Read more

So Who Does Create Jobs?

11:36 AM, Oct 25, 2014

Hillary Clinton, doing her no-bull, forceful leader number, tells an audience:

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The Rise of the Disrupters

Cable comes next.
11:00 PM, Oct 24, 2014

No longer do innovators style themselves “entrepreneurs.” Too French-effete sounding. Nor do these creators call themselves “capitalists.” Too likely to displease liberal friends who associate that label with exploitation of someone or other. Today’s innovator class prefers “disrupter.” Nothing effete about that word, which evokes visions of tough-guy actors such as Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

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How to Make the Inversion Problem Even Worse

Treasury’s regulatory non-solution makes a legislative fix much more difficult to achieve.
2:01 PM, Oct 21, 2014

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.

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America the Resilient

11:00 PM, Oct 17, 2014

Oh, woe! Ebola has come to America and 150 people from infected countries are landing here every day.

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Biden: 'The Middle Class Is Getting Killed'

2:17 PM, Oct 16, 2014

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."

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Mixed Signals

9:39 AM, Oct 16, 2014

First time claims came in on the low side. Unexpectedly so.  Which seems, paradoxically, predictable. 

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If It Wasn’t For Bad News …

10:46 AM, Oct 15, 2014

As Myles Udland of Business Insider reports:

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Obama: 'Gains in Our Economy Go to the Folks Who Are in This Lovely Yard'

6:01 AM, Oct 10, 2014

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."

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In Battlegrounds States, Incomes Have Dropped on Incumbents’ Watch

7:48 AM, Oct 08, 2014

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.

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No Confidence in Obama's Economic Policies

3:42 PM, Oct 07, 2014

Peter Schroeder of The Hill reports that:

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Europe Chills

11:47 AM, Oct 07, 2014

It is a global economy and Europe is sneezing.  As the FT report:

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A Loss of Confidence in American Institutions

11:00 PM, Oct 03, 2014

The U.S. economy added 248,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent. But the labor force participation rate continued to fall, average hourly earnings seem frozen, and over 13 percent of workers are either out of work, involuntarily working part time or too discouraged to keep hunting for jobs, and 20 percent of teenagers are out of work.

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Getting Better?

11:12 AM, Oct 02, 2014

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.

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Numbers from the Uncertain Economy

8:39 AM, Oct 01, 2014

Coming in ahead of the unemployment figure for September, which will be released on Friday, and tomorrow’s weekly first-time-claims number, the ADP jobs report might be some sort of harbinger.

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What the Long Term Unemployed Need: Jobs

9:03 AM, Sep 30, 2014

This is the conclusion, as Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa of the Wall Street Journal  reports, reached by:

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