March 2017

Trump’s Agenda is as American as Apple Pie

This recent article at The American Conservative is worth commenting on. It compares Donald Trump to Teddy Roosevelt, and suggests that Roosevelt is the President to whom Trump is best likened. Both Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt are complicated and nuanced figures, even by presidential standards, and that makes direct comparisons between the two difficult, but at a broad level at least, the comparison is apt.

How Deep is the Deep State?

Ms. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, first assistant press secretary, said she thinks there is a “very real potential” that Mr. Trump’s allegation about Obama administration wiretaps correspond ds to facts.

Well, you never know what the “deep state” is going to do next, do you?

Actually, this sort of misbelief is something right and left conspiracy theorists have in common. But if both sides of the political spectrum are using the same words to refer to the same thing, that thing’s purposes and principles must be very obscure indeed …

CPI Tamer in February

The Consumer Price Index for February returned to Earth with a 0.1% monthly increase.  January stayed unrevised at 0.6%.  The monthly change was the smallest gain since July 2016.  The main cause was gasoline, again, which dropped -3.0% for the month.  Inflation with food and energy price changes removed increased 0.2%.  From a year ago overall CPI has now risen 2.7%.

February's Unemployment Report Has Little to Write Home About

February's unemployment report is just another no change type of thing.  The unemployment rate is 4.7%, a -0.1 percentage point change from last month.  Those unemployed declined slightly as did those no longer in the labor force.  The labor participation rate finally hit 63.0% which is still very low  The biggest movement was those employed increased by 447 thousand.  Folks, there just isn't much to write home about again.

Prevailing Truths

According to official US economic data, the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has expanded for 22 quarters, raising real GDP 12.1% above its high prior to the 2008-09 economic contraction. Yet, US manufacturing output and US industrial production have not recovered to their pre-contraction high.  So what is driving the real GDP growth?  In my opinion, the rise in real GDP is an illusion produced by the under-measurement of inflation.

Factory Orders Increase 1.2% for January

The Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders report shows factory new orders increased by 1.2% for January.  That's after December new orders rose by 1.3%.  Durable goods new orders by themselves was revised to 2.0% from 1.8%.  Transportation new orders were the monthly increase leader with a gain of 6.2%.  This is after transportation equipment new orders had declined for two months.