September 2016

Some Thoughts on the Ted Cruz Endorsement of Donald Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz has belatedly endorsed Donald Trump. Cruz was in a no win situation, but it was a no win situation of his own making. If he didn't plan to endorse Trump in Cleveland, he should have declined the offer to speak at the Convention. A refusal to endorse from afar, such as with Gov. John Kasich, is less visible than a refusal to endorse during a prime time Convention speaking slot.

So What You’re Saying Is … Pat Buchanan Was Right all Along

A recent Claremont Review of Books article by the obviously pseudonymous Publius Decius Mus, “The Flight 93 Election,” has created quite a stir in the conservative universe. The article is a vigorous defense of Trump and Trumpism, and has been touted widely by Trump supporters. Rush Limbaugh read it aloud on his radio program. It has even inspired its own hashtag, #IAmDecius, but it has also generated a very vociferous reaction from anti-Trumpers.

Conservative Anti-Trumpers Want It Both Ways

In my frequent battles with anti-Trumpers, I have noted two distinct lines of argument. One is that Donald Trump is really just a big government liberal whose policies are barely distinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s. The other is that Trump is so far outside the mainstream that Hillary is closer to traditional Republican thought. The remarkable thing about these competing arguments is that they are often made by the same people or outlets. Well, which is it? Is Trump a typical big government liberal, or is he radically outside the mainstream?

July PCE, Trade Deficit, Construction, and Factory Inventories Point to 3rd Qtr GDP Growth Over 3%

In addition to the Employment Situation Summary for August from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last week also saw the release of four July reports that give us the lion's share of that month's contribution to 3rd quarter GDP, and in some cases suggest revisions to 2nd quarter GDP.  This post reviews those four reports, with an eye to assessing their impact on GDP growth.

Mother Jones Our Hats Are Off To You

How many Americans know that America has privatized prisons, the shares of which are listed on stock exchanges?  Free market ideologues provided cover for corrupt Republican politicians to divert taxpayers’ hard-earned money to favored political insiders with the false claim that prisons run by private owners are more cost effective.  A Mother Jones reporter took a job as a private prison guard and found that private prisons are places of unimaginable violence.

Unemployment Report Shows Hardly Any Change

The August 2016 unemployment report shows a fairly underwhelming month of statistics, yet not as bad as some in the press would have you believe.  The unemployment rate remained the same at 4.9%, the third month in a row.  Generally speaking August was no change from July.  Both the labor participation rate and the civilian to employment ratio did not change.  The number of people employed was low and similar to the number of those unemployed.