February 2016

CPI Index Shows Overall Inflation Had No Change for January 2016

The Consumer Price Index had no change for January as energy prices declined once again.  Gasoline alone plunged by -4.8% for the month.  Inflation without food or energy prices considered increased 0.3% with shelter and medical costs leading the charge.  From a year ago overall CPI has increased 1.4%, which is double the annual rate of last month.

Kevin Williamson Gets Conservatism Wrong

If the Donald Trump campaign has done nothing else, it has revealed some serious fault lines in the American movement that calls itself conservative. Trump advisor Stephen Miller correctly assessed that the rise of Trump (and to some degree Bernie Sanders) has made this election about globalism both left and right vs. nationalism.

Spare Me Your Protests About Trump and Decorum

A common theme I have seen lately is the contention that Donald Trump is too uncouth and his populism too inchoate to be worthy of support from serious conservatives. This was a major theme of the recent National Review Against Trump issue. His behavior is not Presidential and his policies are not coherent enough we are repeatedly lectured by the self-appointed gatekeepers of movement conservatism, often derisively (but accurately) referred to as Conservative Inc.

Unemployment Report Starts the Year By Breaking the 5% Unemployment Rate Barrier, Big Deal

The January 2016 unemployment report is being reported as nothing but good news.  The official unemployment rate is 4.9%, a rate not seen since February 2008.  This is the weird month where annual population adjustments are applied and not backwards adjusted.

ISM Survey Says Manufacturing Still In Contraction

The January 2016 ISM Manufacturing Survey is yet month of awful.  Manufacturing is in a 4th month of contraction.  This time is a smidgen better than December.  PMI was 48.2%, 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous revised month.  New orders did come out of contraction, but barely, while employment continued to plunge.  Only eight sectors showed any growth according to the survey.

Record Oil and Gasoline Inventory; Gas Use Down...& a Russian-OPEC Cartel?

A number of on again, off again, stories that Russia was planning to meet with the members of the OPEC cartel to negotiate production cuts drove oil prices higher last week, but even now it's still not clear if there was any actual communication between any leaders of the countries to bring about such a meeting