Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: GDP

How Do You Spell Apocalyptic? Don’t Ask the Congressional Budget Office

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 11, 2018: 

All one needs to do is view the first page of the CBO’s 166-page report on its 10-year outlook for the U.S. economy and government spending that was released on Monday to see why: it features a graph that shows better than words just where we’re headed. Two lines diverge: one, showing government revenues; the other, government outlays. The gap, instead of narrowing, widens dramatically into the future. Unfortunately, the graph cuts off in 2028, leaving one wondering: what happens next?

The CBO report reflected the new law, happily called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that was passed in December. Its previous projection, made by the CBO last June, showed a deficit of $563 billion for 2018, rising to $689 billion next year. Now, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act behind them, the CBO now projects this year’s deficit to be $804 billion and next year’s to be just a touch below a trillion dollars, at $981 billion.

The CBO, considered by many to be less partisan than projections coming from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), covered itself with this disclaimer:

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Jobs Report for March Beats Forecasters, Again

Private-sector employment jumped by 241,000 jobs in March, beating February’s numbers and forecasters once again. This is the fifth straight month that the U.S. economy has added 200,000 jobs or more, and is far ahead of the paltry jobs growth recorded last September — just 80,000 new jobs that month. Forecasters were expecting just 200,000 new jobs as they anticipated that demand by employers would exceed available supply.

According to ADP/Moody’s Analytics,

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Trump’s Budget a Mixture of Hope, Optimistic Assumptions, and Statistics

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 14, 2018: 

Mark Twain attributed his quote about statistics to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the [freedom] of arranging them myself … there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Mark Mulvaney, Trump’s OMB director, must feel the same way. There’s enough statistical smoke and mirrors in the president’s “An American Budget” to, in the words of Tevye [the dairyman in Fiddler on the Roof] “cross a Rabbi’s eyes.”

First, Mulvaney admits that this MAGA budget won’t balance, ever. The government is too big and growing too fast for the economy that funds it ever to catch up. So he and the president decided to ignore a balanced budget and go for the next best thing: show the economy growing faster than the government is growing and someday, eventually, the deficits will start to shrink when compared to the economy itself.

The numbers “prove” the conclusion: for fiscal year 2018 (which ends this coming September 30), government revenues of $3.3 trillion compared to government spending of $4.2 trillion will leave a gap – a deficit – of $873 billion, equivalent to 4.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In the following years that annual deficit is projected to grow to $987 trillion in 2020, equivalent to 4.5 percent of the country’s GDP. Only by 2022 does that percentage begin to decline based on the assumption that government spending is only $4.9 trillion while tax receipts would hopefully be $4.1 trillion.

That is the crux of the new math in Trump’s budget:

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Trump’s Budget Won’t be Balanced, Just Restrained

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 13, 2018:

In his message to Congress describing “An American Budget,” the president started off accurately enough: “The current fiscal path is unsustainable, and future generations deserve better.” Translation: If this budget isn’t approved, wage earners will not only have to hide their wallets but their grandchildren as well.

He added: “Over the next decade, a steady rate of 3-percent economic growth will infuse trillions of additional dollars into our economy, fueling the dreams of the American people and sustaining a new era of American Greatness.” And, hopefully, enough vastly increased tax receipts to pay for it.

He left his Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Mick Mulvaney to fill in the gaps and pick up the pieces. The budget, apparently, won’t ever be balanced, so we’re changing the goal: grow the economy faster than the budget so that the deficit gap starts to shrink. Said Mulvaney, “As a nation, we face difficult times — challenged by a crumbling infrastructure, growing deficits, rogue nations, and irresponsible Washington spending….  Just like every American family, the budget makes hard choices: fund what we must, cut where we can, and reduce what we borrow.”

Here are the numbers:

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Despite Stock Sell-off, Few See Recession

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 9, 2018: 

Barbara Friedberg must be feeling pretty good right about now. Last October she made “10 Bold Stock Market Predictions for 2018,” and already she is scoring five out of 10:

Value stocks will triumph;

Cash will be king;

Inflation will inch up;

Market volatility will return; and

Bonds will offer higher yields.

The jury is still out on her prediction that “the Bull Market [in stocks] will end in 2018.”

Friedberg is no lightweight. She is a former portfolio manager and has taught finance and investments at several universities. She authored a popular book in 2014, How to Get Rich Without Winning the Lottery.

Despite the mantra that stocks’ performance is often a harbinger for future economic performance, few at present agree with her about the bull market in stocks being over.

The sell-off (which appears to be continuing as this is being written) in stocks is impressive. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA, or The Dow) has lost 3,227 points since its high on January 26, or 12 percent, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has dropped by 290 points, or 10 percent, since then as well. This is into “correction” territory and should be drawing negative outlooks on the future of the U.S. economy from every quarter.

But they can’t be found. Aside from perma-bears Michael Snyder and David Stockman, few of the usual suspects can be found who agree with Friedberg. When the Wall Street Journal polled its economists, they remained adamant about the health of the economy: GDP will continue to grow and unemployment will continue to drop:

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“What Hath God Wrought?” Tax Reform and Deregulation Unleashing an Economic Tsunami

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 31, 2018: 

When Samuel Morse asked for suggestions on what his first message over his telegraph should be on May 24, 1844, Annie Ellworth suggested a verse from Numbers 23:23: “There is no magic charm, no witchcraft, that can be used against the nation of Israel. Now people will say about Israel: Look what God has done!” [Good News Bible translation.]

The same might be said about the effect that the magic elixir of deregulation and cuts in tax rates is having not only in the United States, but globally as well. Economists at the International Monetary Fund just announced that, thanks to the combination of those two potent medicines, it has revised its global economic growth estimates for each of the next two years to 3.9 percent.

This is a staggering 70 percent improvement over the average global GDP growth experienced during the unlamented Obama years.

And it’s just getting started. Walmart, Boeing, Apple, Comcast, and more than 200 other companies have announced what they’re doing with their tax savings, impacting directly the paychecks of an estimated three million workers. Now comes ExxonMobil with its announcement: $35 billion of new money is going to be pumped into its operations in the United States. The company’s CEO, Darren Woods, gave credit where credit is due:

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ExxonMobil Announces $35 Billion in New Investments in U.S. Thanks to Tax Reform

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 30, 2018: 

The chief executive of ExxonMobil, the largest of the seven publicly traded “supermajor” oil companies known as “Big Oil,” Darren Woods, posted a blog on Monday announcing that his company would be redirecting $35 billion that would otherwise be headed for Washington, D.C., into much more potentially profitable projects. He gave credit to the new tax reform law just signed into law by President Trump:

These investments are underpinned by the unique strengths of our company and enhanced by the historic tax reform recently signed into law….

 

These positive developments will mean more jobs and economic expansion across the United States in a myriad of industries.

This $35 billion is on top of the $23 billion to $27 billion the company said last year that it would be investing globally over each of the next three years. And there’s more to come, said Wood: “We’re actively evaluating the impact of the lower tax rate on the economics of several other projects currently in the planning stages.”

Translation: Monday’s announcement is just the beginning for ExxonMobil. The company has 20 billion barrels of proven reserves of crude oil “equivalent” (oil and natural gas) and a refinery capacity of nearly five million barrels a day. Its 20 refineries are spread across 14 countries, and it operates 100 major exploration projects around the world. It recently purchased $6 billion worth of oil leases from the Bass family on top of the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and is expected to expand further its operations in North Dakota above the Bakken Formation.

Wood praised tax reform for providing his company the opportunity to redirect its resources to more profitable opportunities:

These are quality investments for our shareholders that are made even better by tax reform. These are all possible because of the resource base developed by our industry along with sound tax and regulatory policies that create a pro-growth business climate here in the U.S.

Wood estimated that the new investments, once completed, will add an estimated 12,000 new workers to his company which already employs 73,500 people. The implications for the economy are obvious, and enormous: Exxon rarely misses an opportunity to move capital into profitable projects, adding to its already enormous $330 billion asset base. It will still pay taxes on those additional profits, just at a much lower level. Those nearly 90,000 people on the payroll will also be paying taxes, also at lower levels than before.

But what is often missed is that ExxonMobil is just one, although one of the largest, of the companies announcing such investments directly as a result of tax reform and its lower tax rates. Walmart, Apple, Boeing, Comcast, and hundreds of others have announced similar plans to reward their employees through bonuses and/or salary increases or through additional expanded employment opportunities. What also is often missed is the “ripple-effect” of monies being redirected from Washington to places where it is much more profitably employed. Every company does business with dozens if not hundreds of other companies that consider those investments as increased business revenue. That new flow encourages further investment at a micro level. It’s the unseen hand of Adam Smith that improves the standard of living for everyone, even as each individual and company seeks its own best opportunities.

All of this is highly annoying to far-left liberal Democrats, who seem to have a death wish, especially during this mid-term election year. California’s House Democrat Nancy Pelosi seems most skilled at self-immolation by calling those salary increases and bonuses “crumbs,” while former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) dismissed them as “chump change.” To this writer’s knowledge, not a single employee offered either a bonus or a salary increase has turned it down. And $35 billion from ExxonMobil alone is hardly “chump change.”

Not only are these new funds being redirected away from Washington, known for its extravagant wastefulness in spending other peoples’ money, it is very likely to be employed in highly profitable projects that have now become viable thanks to tax reform.

Why, even the International Money Fund (IMF) has been forced to admit that these new investments are of such a magnitude that the ripple effect worldwide will be to drive global GDP to close to four percent in 2018 and years following.

The Coming Avalanche of Repatriated Dollars

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 19, 2018: 

English: Historical GDP per capita for the Uni...

This is an old chart of US GDP. Get ready for the next leg up

On Thursday The New American speculated about the impact of Apple’s repatriation of its overseas profit hoard of some $250 billion and where Apple intends to invest some of it. It raised questions about the $2.5 trillion in profits that is still held overseas by American companies unwilling to subject those profits to the United States’ outrageously high income tax rates.

With Apple’s decision, and the repatriation tax rate of just 15.5 percent in the new tax law, some of those questions can be addressed.

First,

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Apple to Repatriate Its Foreign Profits and Put Them to Work in America

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 18, 2018:  

Apple announced Wednesday that not only would it repatriate nearly all its foreign cash holdings under the new tax reform law, but it was going to put a lot of it to work right away. This puts the lie to anti-capitalists who predicted that such a plan would only further enrich the already rich.

Instead Apple is going to spread the repatriated funds around, announcing that it would not only be creating new jobs but would be building new facilities and expanding its financial commitment to the company’s “innovation” fund. It also is expanding its efforts to reach students in high school to teach them coding language (for free) so that many of them will be able to provide Apple with the coders and software developers it will need as it expands into the future.

In the process it will also pay the largest single tax bill in history:

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What the Latest Jobs Reports Really Mean

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 8, 2018:

There were three jobs reports released last week: two from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (one based on its “household” survey, the other on its “establishment” survey), and one from ADP based upon its payroll data.

ADP’s numbers came in first on Thursday, showing job growth in December exceeding forecasters’ predictions at 250,000. This was followed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on Friday, showing 148,000 new jobs in December. They both said that the unemployment rate held steady at a record low 4.1 percent.

Mark Zandi, the establishment economist at Moody’s, was “disappointed” in Friday’s numbers from the BLS and thinks they’re going to get worse going into the New Year. First,

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Trump Economy Making Democrats Look Increasingly Foolish

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 5, 2018:

The kept media dutifully reported California Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s disgust over President Trump’s tax reform program, even though it made her look foolish. Said Pelosi, “If this goes through, kiss life on earth goodbye. The debate on health care is life/death. This is Armageddon.” This was followed by the media quoting Democrat Chuck Schumer: “Tax breaks don’t lead to job creation … [this bill is a] punch in the gut for the middle class.”

It may be a little early to tell, but at the moment the middle class is doing just fine. Life goes on; if Armageddon occurred, the media missed it. That “punch in the gut for the middle class” is about to be caused by heavier wallets, thanks to tax cuts showing up in their February paychecks.

For hundreds of thousands, that punch in the gut was immediate:

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Dow Smashes Through 25,000; to Smash Dems in November?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 4, 2018:

The surprising thing about the Dow’s volcanic eruption through the 25,000 level on Thursday is that it was matched by all-time highs in other key stock market indexes such as the S&P 500 Index, the NASDAQ, and the Russell 2000. Even more surprising is that this isn’t happening in an American vacuum: Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average hit a new 26-year high, rising above 23,000 for the first time since January 1992. The Hang Seng (Hong Kong) Index just touched a new 10-year high, while major stock market indexes in New Zealand, the Philippines, and Thailand also set new records on Thursday.

The reasons why aren’t surprising:

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U.S. Economy’s Stunning Performance Continues to Bewilder Forecasters

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 14, 2017:

US Retail Sales 1992–2010

US Retail Sales 1992–2010. Threy’ve been on a tear ever since.

Economic forecasters continue to fall behind reality, as shown by the latest numbers from the Commerce Department. Forecasters predicted that November’s retail sales would increase just 0.3 percent over October. Instead, retail sales jumped an astonishing 0.8 percent. In an economy where two-thirds of economic activity is geared toward providing consumers with goods and services, that’s huge miss — on the order of a three-quarters of a billion dollar miss.

October’s numbers dumbfounded them as well:

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Venezuela in Default; Can the U.S. Be Far Behind?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 15, 2017:

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Marxist Dictator Nicolas Maduro

Marxist Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela owes the world an estimated $140 billion. It’s greatly diminished economy, thanks to his socialist policies, generates barely $400 billion in output. That puts its debt-to-GDP ratio at 35 percent.

The United States government, if government agencies are to be believed,

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“Trump’s” Stock Rally Best Since 1945

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 8, 2017: 

Before the market opened on the day after Donald Trump won the election a year ago, futures were predicting a precipitous drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 900 points. By the close of business that day, sentiment reversed and the market closed up 250 points, to 18,500.

That was 5,000 points ago,

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U.S. Economy Continues to Surprise to the Upside

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 31, 2017: 

One measure of how the U.S. economy continues to exceed expectations is the Economic Surprise Index published by Citigroup. It’s a tool that is used to measure how the economy compares to those expectations and, at the moment at least, it reflects the ebullience reported elsewhere. Any reading above zero indicates that the economy’s performance is exceeding projections. On Tuesday it hit 40 — its highest level since April.

That performance has repeatedly been reported in The New American and elsewhere, with these notable results:

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Treasury Department: $666 Billion Deficit; Sixth-highest in History

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 23, 2017:  

The federal government ran a deficit of $666 billion in 2017, reported the U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday, thanks mainly to increases in budget items that supposedly can’t be cut: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt. In addition, military spending is due for substantial increases under the Trump administration.

Translation:

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Herb Stein, Meet Mick Mulvaney

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 23, 2017: 

English: Official portrait of US Rep. Mick Mul...

Mick Mulvaney

University of Virginia professor Herbert Stein, the father of Ben Stein of Ferris Bueller fame, was known as a pragmatic conservative. But he is best known for his cryptic expression, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Mick Mulvaney’s hopeful outlook hasn’t yet been tarnished by his experience in Washington. Serving as a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina prior to accepting the position of President Trump’s Director of Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney really thinks, based on his public statements, that things really can go on forever. All that is needed is a little tweaking: “We need to grow our economy again and get our fiscal house in order. We can do that through smart spending restraint, tax reform, and cutting red tape.”

A closer look at the size of that fiscal deficit, however, reveals Mr. Mulvaney’s naiveté: on Thursday the Treasury Department announced that the deficit for the fiscal year that ended on September 30 was

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Many Surprises in Latest Jobless Claims Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 19, 2017:

The first surprise from the latest jobless claims statistics is that new claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week fell to the lowest level in 44 years, according to the Department of Labor (DOL): “The advance figure … was 222,000 … the lowest level for initial claims since March 31, 1973.”

The second surprise is that the number of continuing claims (those lasting more than a week) also fell to levels not seen since 1974.

The third surprise is

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What if Your Customer Can’t Buy Your Product, but Wants to?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 16, 2017:

There are two basic rules of economics. The first is: if prices go down, more will be demanded. The second is: both sides of any economic transaction must benefit or there’s no deal.

The fracking revolution in the United States has pushed the price of crude oil down to the point where it is threatening the very existence of the OPEC cartel. Consumers are saving at the pump and the energy industry in the U.S. employs more than 10 million people, making up eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

But there’s been an all but invisible transformation taking place in natural gas. At least two of the Big Oil companies sell more natural gas than they do crude oil.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann