January 2017

But What About My True Conservatism?

Once you get past all the noise on both sides, Donald Trump is clearly a different kind of Republican and he succeeded in the Republican primary and with swing voters in Flyover Country precisely because he isn’t a typical Republican. Too what degree Trump has fundamentally changed the GOP in his image remains to be seen, but Trump has clearly moved the party in a more economic populist direction. The party has become more overtly a party of the working class that better reflects its actual voting base.

Trump's Third Day

On Trump’s third day Trump is one up on the Establishment.  Can this last?  I am not a Trump booster.  I am a scorekeeper.

On the third day of his presidency Donald Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacificic Partnership (TPP).  Based on this we must assume he will also deep-six the Trans-Atlantic Partnership.

Trump and his advisors regard the Pacific and Atlantic partnerships as trade deals like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that sent American jobs to Mexico at the expense of Americans.

Q4 GDP A Bumbling 1.9%

The GDP initial estimate reports a weak 1.9% economic growth for the 4th quarter.  Imports really hammered GDP, just in time to validate now President Trump.  Consumer spending was lower while changes in private inventories added a full percentage point to Q4 GDP.  Generally speaking this report shows just how much imports can slow economic growth.  U.S. Exports curtailed and as a result, -1.7 percentage points of GDP were lost in Q4.

The Deniers

There are all kinds of facts: historical facts, judicial facts, scientific facts, among others. And now there are “alternative facts.” The difference is there are rules for determining historical, judicial, and scientific facts. The rules of evidence, for example, control what kinds of things a finder of fact (judge or jury) can hear or see in reaching a verdict (from the Latin roots for “truth” and “say”).

China Moves to Curb Bitcoin following Capital Flight

Bitcoin – the world’s largest cryptocurrency- has become embroiled in a burgeoning currency war. Chinese traders have reportedly been discovered utilizing the blockchain money in order to bypass the remnants of the once-stringent capital controls designed to prevent capital-flight from the chaotic Far-Eastern economy.

Industrial Production Pops On Bad Weather

The Federal Reserve Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization report shows industrial production soared 0.8% in December after a November -0.7% decline.  The reason for the December increase was utilities.  Utilities jumped up by 6.6% on colder weather in December and very warm weather in November.  Manufacturing production by itself increased 0.2% and mining was unchanged.

Trump's Cabinet of Peers

When Trump first started naming his cabinet picks, there was a lot of noise from both sides complaining about some of his choices. The liberal mainstream media, who clearly don’t like Trump, was obviously trying to cause dissension in the ranks of Trump supporters by declaring certain of his nominees a betrayal of his campaign promises and his base (Puzder, Mnuchin, Priebus). This was transparently disingenuous. Do they really expect me to believe that they wouldn’t be perfectly happy for Trump to betray his base?

Forgotten Again

How quickly they forget!

In its first executive action last Friday, within the hour after Trump took the oath of office, his administration suspended the implementation of a rule that would have reduced the cost of mortgage insurance for FHA-backed loans. The backing helps first-time buyers, people with poor credit, and those who lack funds for a 20% down payment obtain private loans.

About 16% of new mortgages are FHA insured. The premium rate would have been reduced from 0.85% to 0.60%, saving borrowers about $29 monthly on a $200,000 mortgage.