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Trump getting some stuff done

Just a reminder. From an editorial at Business Insider – emphasis added:

Border crossings, for example, have plummeted, even though all Trump has done so far is promise to enforce existing laws.

The Supreme Court approved parts of Trump’s travel ban…Trump is busy filling lower court positions with conservative justices…pulled out of the Paris climate change deal

The EPA, meanwhile, is dismantling Obama’s coal-killing, growth-choking Clean Power Plan, and draining the heavy-handed Waters of the United States rule. When a veteran EPA official resigned this week, she complained in a letter to her former colleagues that “the new EPA Administrator already has repeals of 30 rules under consideration,” which the New York Times described as “a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency’s 47-year history.”

Trump promised to kill two regulations for every new one enacted, but in his first six months the ratio was 16-to-1.

Trump also approved the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects held up by Obama. He’s also rolled back a ban on coal mining on public lands.

To be sure, Trump hasn’t scored a major legislative achievement on signature issues like ObamaCare and tax reform.

Every day he’s around is another day we didn’t have #CorruptHillary.

UPDATE: Let’s not forget the progress against ISIS. A month ago, we had the liberation of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. That and other Trump administration changes have contributed to progress in Syria (Raqqa) as well.

…key factors were the Trump administration’s delegation of key decision-making to battlefield commanders, the tactic of “annihilation” in which the ground forces surround the group in its stronghold so foreign fighters cannot escape, and drumming up support for burden-sharing among 73 members—69 countries and four international organizations—of the broad anti-ISIS coalition.

The campaign under Trump has witnessed the near fall of ISIS’s territorial hold. The Obama administration laid the groundwork…

Sure. The Obama team was always “laying the groundwork” – with little or no intention of carrying it out.

Sadly, civilian casualties in these operations have been high – because of ISIS using civilians as human shields, booby-trapping buildings to maximize damage and casualties, attacking civilians to keep them penned (unable to escape), etc. That being so sad, tales of “annihiliation tactics” then become almost heartwarming.

Mr. President, enough about the stock market!

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:21 pm - August 2, 2017.
Filed under: Depression 2.0,Donald Trump,Economy,Unemployment crisis

Sorry to repeat myself, but President Trump keeps hitting the idea that the stock market is making new highs and the media should talk about it. I could post video but, just to keep it text-y, here are Twitter examples from the last couple of days:

Aug 1 – Stock Market could hit all-time high (again) 22,000 today. Was 18,000 only 6 months ago on Election Day. Mainstream media seldom mentions!

Jul 31 – Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!

Big mistake. Why?

  • Candidate Trump understood that the stock market was a Fed-inflated bubble.
  • Candidate Trump understood that the unemployment numbers are fake and disguise the ongoing suffering of Middle America.
  • If President Trump is now tying his reputation to those numbers, what happens when they reverse?

The stock market IS overvalued, and WILL go down eventually, if only for “cyclical” reasons. Maybe down a lot. What happens then?

Consider that Switzerland’s central bank is now a huge holder of U.S. stocks First…Why? Why would they be in the business of propping up the U.S. stock market? Second…What happens when they change their minds, and sell?

Democrat Logic

Posted by V the K at 2:06 pm - July 10, 2017.
Filed under: Economy

Illinois is losing people and businesses because of its highest-in-the-region tax burden. So, their solution is to raise taxes on the remaining people and businesses to offset the lost revenue.

All righty then.

The real coup d’etat?

We’ve had weeks of exciting news elsewhere, but I’m finally updating an earlier post on President Trump’s budget plans. Where we are:

  • The U.S. national debt is at $20 trillion and counting, with an operating cash deficit around $800+ billion per year. (Thanks, Obama!)
  • Trump hasn’t changed anything – yet; he has allowed Congress to pass continuing resolutions that change nothing.
  • Having said that: his proposals are revolutionary.

From the Associated Press:

JULY 07, 2017 – The Trump administration aims to further tighten its grip on spending, issuing a memo Friday that calls for eliminating some federal agencies and cutting government jobs as part of the upcoming fiscal 2019 budget.

…the 2019 budget would be a “comprehensive plan” to reduce the number of government workers and merge or terminate federal agencies as requested by an executive order signed in March…

…sharply reduce spending for Medicaid, food stamps and student loan subsidies, among other programs. Even Republican lawmakers called the cuts draconian…

The memo for fiscal 2019 is an initial step for a budget the White House would propose early next year.

FY2019 begins a little over a year from now, in October 2018. That’s a ways off. Trump’s proposals don’t touch Social Security or Medicare, the most fiscally-dangerous entitlements. And Congress will mangle any cuts that he does propose. So, all this is slow progress.

Having said that: It is very different from what Obama or Hillary would have proposed. While the President does not set the budget, he runs OMB and gives important input. Trump has suggested that food stamp recipients should have to work. And here are 66 programs that Trump would want to eliminate.

All this surely adds to the intensity of left-wing and Deep State opposition to Trump. As the saying goes, “Follow the money”.

Re: Deep State, consider that Trump has proposed deep cuts to the State Department and foreign aid. And I’ve heard tales (sorry, I can’t find the link right now) of CIA employees adoring Obama because of the way he boosted their budgets and salaries; if true, of course they would perceive the “unknown”, budget-cutting Trump as an enemy.

Again, the President does not dictate the budget – constitutionally, the Congress does – but the tendency/direction of his proposals has an impact. That we have a President who will propose cuts, is a Regime Change. Let’s hope it sticks.

The real minimum wage is $0

A week ago, Zero Hedge reported on a study that Seattle’s minimum wage law is costing workers their income and jobs.

…boosting pay in low-wage jobs by about 3 percent since 2014 but also resulting in a 9 percent reduction in hours worked in such jobs. That resulted in a 6 percent drop in what employers collectively pay…

The report also estimated that there are about 5,000 fewer low-wage jobs in the city than there would have been…

But St. Louis workers face better times. The Missouri legislature passed a pre-emption law to invalidate that city’s hike.

Preemption laws are becoming increasingly popular in GOP-controlled states as cities – typically bastions of liberal sentiment – try to raise minimum wages above statewide minimum levels…

…at least 17 states have preemption laws that stand in the way of local minimum wage legislation, according to a recent study by the National League of Cities…

Sadly, MO Governor Eric Greitens, who is a gun-toting conservative hunk of delicious beefcake, was less-than-bold about it:

Fearing the political backlash…Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens wouldn’t affix his signature to the bill; Missouri’s constitution stipulates that bills that go unsigned by the governor automatically become law.

What happens in general, when wages go up too far, too fast? China has the answer.

Manufacturers, squeezed by rising labor costs and a paucity of skilled workers, are fueling an unprecedented boom in the adoption of automated technologies to cut down on the number of workers needed on factory floors, according to the latest findings of the China Employer-Employee Survey.

Ironically, the Communist Party’s willingness to support unprofitable businesses is compounding problems for Chinese workers, as many manufacturers are barely profitable to begin with.

Remember that video of China’s parcel-sorting robots? Or, closer to home, we could talk about McDonald’s replacing its cashiers with kiosks.

Will Trump Raise Taxes on the Wealthy?

Posted by V the K at 3:46 pm - July 3, 2017.
Filed under: Economy

It’s an idea the Trump White House is floating.

Steve Bannon is causing a stir inside the administration by pushing an idea that’s anathema to most Republicans: raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for steep middle and working-class tax cuts. (Some officials who’ve heard Bannon’s idea think it’s crazy, but the President’s chief strategist believes it’s a potent populist idea.)
Bannon has told colleagues he wants the top income tax bracket to “have a 4 in front of it.” (The top bracket is currently 39.6% for Americans who earn more than $418,400.)

I’m actually not too much opposed to this, depending on how it would be implemented. Under Obama, Bush, and Clinton, the amount of wealth in the upper income ranges grew dramatically while middle-class and working class incomes stagnated (and in many cases declined). Most of those affluent people vote for Democrats, so maybe they should get what’s coming to them. Good and hard.

There are a lot of ways to accomplish this ends through tax reform without dramatically raising rates on the uppermost levels of income. For example, the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes would primarily hit upper income levels in blue states like New York and California. There are all kinds of other carve outs in the tax code that could be also eliminated. Were it up to me, I’d deep-six all deductions except for mortgage interest on your primary residence, and charitable contributions. Of course, were it up to me, there’d be just a flat income tax and a consumption tax. No one listens to Zathros.

Under our current system, taxes are paid primarily by people who aren’t poor enough to avoid them and aren’t rich enough to evade them. This, above all else, is what needs fixing.

OMG!


On a fun note…Milo had a Coming Out Conservative event in New York.

YouTube Preview Image

I’m sure GP readers can relate to idea that nowadays, it is MUCH harder to come out as conservative than as gay.

Why Isn’t the Blue Model Working?

Posted by V the K at 11:11 am - June 28, 2017.
Filed under: Economy,State Politics & Government

Illinois is about to enact a massive tax increase. The Republican governor wanted property tax reform coupled with pension reform to tame the state’s out-of-control debt. But the Democrats who control the legislature only know one tool — tax increases — and it was the only one they were willing to use. Even this massive increase in taxes will only put a small dent in the state’s debts; and that’s if the Democrats don’t use it for more spending, which they will. It’s so bad in Illinois that Megamillions and Powerball are going to suspend lottery ticket sales.

The Blue State of Connecticut enacted major tax increases in 2009 and 2011 and has become even more financially insolvent as state spending outpaced receipts.

People… especially, people with healthy incomes… are fleeing Illinois and Connecticut.

Meanwhile, the states of Florida and Texas, which have no income tax, are not only attracting new residents and new business, but are also fiscally solvent.

How can that be if the Democrat formula of high taxes and lavish Government spending is the optimal formula for success? Democrats claim that people want high taxes to pay for the pensions and fine work of Government bureaucrats. Democrats claim that “investments” (spending) on their pet projects pays off with higher wage earners contributing to a robust economy. But it seems like, given a choice, people prefer to live where taxes and levels of “public services” are lower.

All this time, we’ve been in a Great Depression

A few weeks back, Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse blog looked at U.S. GDP growth rates for the ten years 1930-1939 and the ten years 2007-2016. I didn’t verify his numbers but they seem plausible (referring to “real” or inflation-adjusted GDP). Snyder says:

1930: -8.5%
1931: -6.4%
1932: -12.9%
1933: -1.3%
1934: 10.8%
1935: 8.9%
1936: 12.9%
1937: 5.1%
1938: -3.3%
1939: 8.0%

When you average all of those years together, you get an average rate of economic growth of 1.33 percent.

That is really bad, but it is the kind of number that one would expect from “the Great Depression”.

So then I looked up the numbers for the last ten years…

2007: 1.8%
2008: -0.3%
2009: -2.8%
2010: 2.5%
2011: 1.6%
2012: 2.2%
2013: 1.7%
2014: 2.4%
2015: 2.6%
2016: 1.6%

When you average these years together, you get an average rate of economic growth of 1.33 percent.

The same! But wait, averaging them isn’t quite right. For math-y reasons, it’s better to take a starting index value like 100, then apply the growth rates year by year. I did that, and

  • Real GDP grew 10% from 1930-1939.
  • Real GDP grew 14% from 2007-2016.

Still not much difference! The point remains that the last 10 years have been super lame. President Obama was perhaps the first in U.S. history to never have a single year of real GDP growth over 3%.

And it’s possible that Obama’s record was yet worse. Remember, in recent years they’ve been padding the GDP numbers. They directly added nonsense to GDP. They also under-estimate inflation, which artificially boosts the growth estimates.

But for now, let’s stick with official numbers (where Obama’s overall record is nearly as bad as a Great Depression), and pivot to look at unemployment.

You may wonder: if we’ve been in a depression, how could the unemployment rate be down at 5%? The difference from the 1930s is that, in our time, the Establishment (or Political-Financial Complex) has been determined to fool people – to boil the frog (us) slowly, so to speak – and to cover for President Lightworker. Thus,

  • They let him jack the national debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion. Even a monkey could make GDP seem halfway-OK for 8 years, if you gave him a $10 trillion credit card.
  • They had the central bank (Federal Reserve) conjure trillions of new money from thin air and inject it into the financial markets. It’s chicanery, but people say “At least my home and 401k are up.”
  • And they baked the unemployment statistics. Remember, the official 5% number hides a huge decline in Labor Force Participation, plus full-time jobs being replaced with crappy part-time jobs.
    • If you add back the people who left the labor force in despair these last ten years, real unemployment is 11-12%.
    • And if you add the extra part-timers (assuming they would rather be full-time), it’s even worse.

Depression 2.0 has been with us, all this time. It’s part of why people were so unhappy with Queen Cersei in 2016 (who ran as the Establishment’s poster child).

What does all this bode for President Trump? Probably not well.

  • He’s trimmed back some of Obama’s growth-killing regulations. That will help.
  • And his infrastructure spending may go to productive works (unlike Obama’s 2009 “Porkulus” package), if he can get it passed. He wants to revive American manufacturing, which would be good.
  • BUT, with so much debt on the books and so many Americans expecting handouts, our underlying economic problems are worse than ever.

Trump has inherited a sinking ship. The next recession should be a roller-coaster. If the American Left is krazy and violent now, just you wait.

Then again, maybe our leadership will hit on the solution quickly (a Free Enterprise system with smaller government, Rule of Law, sound money, cutting the Welfare-Warfare State, letting Washington and Wall Street fail, letting Main Street pick up the pieces). And maybe our leadership will use the media skillfully (plus a few well-placed arrests) to transition people’s minds to all that. Don’t tell me I’m dreaming.

OK, I’m dreaming. Time to buy more ammo.

A mistake from Trump

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 8:55 pm - June 4, 2017.
Filed under: Depression 2.0,Donald Trump,Economy

President Trump keeps saying (in speeches) or tweeting things like this:

Donald J. Trump Retweeted FOX & friends‏ – Wall Street hits record highs after Trump pulls out of Climate pact

Donald J. Trump Retweeted Eric Trump – Eric Trump Retweeted Reuters Business – JUST IN: Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record closing highs.

I wish he wouldn’t. Let’s be clear.

  • Stock market numbers matter to individuals; not the nation.
  • Low numbers don’t mean a President is doing a bad job, and high numbers don’t mean he’s doing a good job.
  • The stock and bond markets are bubbles, fueled by the Federal Reserve Bank.
    • As I said under President Obama, way back at Dow 14,000.
    • We also have bubbles in the real estate, auto loan, student loan, forex (USD) and cryptocurrency markets. But I digress.
  • During the 2016 campaign, Trump knew it and correctly said “We are in a bubble.”

Now Trump is taking credit for the high (bubble) numbers. Big mistake.

Instead, he should be warning Americans about how poor the economy’s fundamentals still are (thanks to Obama – until a lot more of Trump’s reforms get enacted). And readying us for hard times in the next recession.

“Live by the sword, die by the sword.” If Trump is going to take credit for high stock markets now, people will slam him when they fall.

He will propose spending cuts?

A few weeks ago, I took a dim view of President Trump’s tax proposal:

The true level of taxation is the government’s spending level. All spending must be paid for, one way or another. There are 3 possibilities.

1. Overt taxes.
2. Borrowing. This is a covert tax, a tax on the future (when either the debt must be repudiated, or more and more government revenues must be diverted to servicing it).
3. Money-printing. Another hidden tax, this time on the real value (the purchasing power) of everyone’s wages and savings. Also known as “inflation”.

So really, it isn’t a tax cut unless it’s a spending cut also. Trump wants to cut the overt taxes. So, what? Without spending cuts, it’s only a corresponding increase in the hidden taxes: borrowing and/or money-printing.

I gotta give credit where it’s due. It looks like Trump is going to propose spending cuts?

More details from President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal are trickling out via a flurry of overnight reports from The Washington Post, Associated Press and Bloomberg News…

The budget will slash $1.7 trillion in spending on entitlement programs, according to Bloomberg.
Trump’s budget will include a massive nearly $200 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the modern version of food stamps, over the next 10 years – what amounts to a 25% reduction, according to The Washington Post.
The food stamp cuts are part of a broader $274 billion welfare-reform effort, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The budget calls for about $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid for fiscal year 2018, WaPo reported.
The budget is also expected to propose major domestic discretionary spending cuts – an earlier version of the budget called for $54 billion in such cuts next year alone.

Whether the Republicans in Congress will tolerate any cuts, is another matter.

Note that these cuts are hardly draconian. OK, the numbers sound large. But only because:

  1. some of the numbers are totals across many fiscal years, and
  2. the government IS large. Spending and promises (entitlements) skyrocketed under Bush 43 and Obama.

But the Controlled Media is sure to make them sound like the Entropic Heat Death of the Universe.

Why socialism always puts bad people in charge

In Monday night’s Venezuela post, our wise commenters said:

socialism doesn’t work because it is an unjust economic system. the people in power take things from people that work…

The wrong people will ALWAYS be in charge, because for socialism to work you have to have completely altruistic people in charge…

Yes. Except, it’s even worse than that 😉 The biggest problems with socialism are:

  1. It wrecks the Price Mechanism. Even if you had truly altruistic people in charge, such an economy still can’t function.
  2. Only bad-or-stupid people want a wrecked price mechanism. Thus, only bad-or-stupid people advocate socialism. And the bad people know how to shepherd the stupid people; thus, the bad people always end up in charge.

By Price Mechanism, I mean free markets discovering and signalling the prices of things. To review how that works:

  • All goods and services must be rationed, by one means or another.
    • because human needs are infinite
    • whereas human time (used to produce goods and services) is not
  • Markets ration things by having people pay a market price for the available supply.
    • If something is in short supply, those who have the highest “score” in terms of being both able and willing to pay, will get it.
    • “Willing” as in, free will / the person’s choice.
  • The market price moves up and down, accomplishing two big things as it does so.
    1. It coordinates people’s consumption activities. (Those who are unwilling or unable to pay for a thing at its current price, look for substitutes.)
    2. It coordinates people’s production activities. (As a thing’s price moves higher, it induces people to produce more of it.)
  • The coordination is spontaneous and responsive to changing conditions, because it is voluntary.
  • If you interfere with the price mechanism, you interfere with (or even block) that coordination.

OK, so the price mechanism is objectively great. It induces voluntary coordination among vast numbers of people – thus enabling the Division of Labor. Who would want to mess with that?

The answer is: People who gain by interactions that are not voluntary. People such as moochers, thieves, thugs, politicians and bureaucrats. People who lack the ability or willingness to produce. People who hope to live by altering or preventing market outcomes. People who think they can plan and control others better than those others can. People who are willing to gain by keeping others down.

In short: People who gain by dictatorship. Arrogant people who enjoy using force on others to prevent the peaceful activities and outcomes that people would otherwise create on their own.

That’s the nature of socialism. It’s not a noble ideal. It’s a curse, an evil. Like the Mafia, it’s always led by bad people because it *is* bad, in its nature. It can never be desired by people who are both good-hearted and knowledgeable. Therefore, it can never be led by them. And, even if it were somehow, it still wouldn’t function – because of the wrecked price mechanism.

This feeds into how the term “socialism” is defined.

  • An old, strict definition is: public ownership of the means of production.
  • But people today use the word with a much broader meaning: Any system where a governing authority intervenes in markets, preventing the market price mechanism from operating.

The socialist planners always proclaim their good intentions. And they always make things worse. And it’s not an accident or a failure to apply socialism; it’s inherent in socialism.

Wrecking the price mechanism kills spontaneous, voluntary coordination; and that’s the point of the thing. It’s why stupid-or-bad people love socialism. They WANT to control others and prevent market outcomes. It’s not a proverbial “unforeseen consequence”; it’s the point.

(more…)

Trump’s tax plan

Yesterday, President Trump outlined his tax plan. Key features:

  • Slightly lower personal income tax rates. (Top rate from near-40% to 35%.)
  • Eliminating almost all income tax deductions, except mortgage interest and charitable contributions. (No more deduction for your State or property taxes, among other things.) Increase in the “standard deduction”.
  • Much lower corporate income tax rates. (Top rate from 35%, one of the world’s highest, to 15%.)
  • A one-time tax on overseas business profits. (That haven’t been repatriated to the U.S. Apple has a lot.)
  • A “territorial system” where future profits that corporations earn abroad, are not taxed.
  • Repealing a bunch of taxes and complications, most notably the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and the estate tax.

Of course, Congress still has to chew on it.

Taking Trump’s proposals by themselves, I have little objection. Rates should be lower. High income taxes are a form of slavery. Corporate income taxes are stupid because they are an indirect, distorted sales tax (that is, a tax paid ultimately by consumers). Estate taxes destroy many small businesses (forcing families to liquidate the business in order to pay the 50% tax or whatever).

Nonetheless, I can’t praise this plan. Because it will reduce revenues at first, without being matched by spending cuts. Our budget will come no closer to balance.

President Obama already doubled the U.S. national debt in his 8 years, from roughly $10 trillion to roughly $20 trillion, for an average real annual deficit around $1.25 trillion. Is Trump going to beat Obama’s record? I sure hope not.

This is an important point. The true level of taxation is the government’s spending level. All spending must be paid for, one way or another. There are 3 possibilities.

  1. Overt taxes.
  2. Borrowing. This is a covert tax, a tax on the future (when either the debt must be repudiated, or more and more government revenues must be diverted to servicing it).
  3. Money-printing. Another hidden tax, this time on the real value (the purchasing power) of everyone’s wages and savings. Also known as “inflation”.

So really, it isn’t a tax cut unless it’s a spending cut also. Trump wants to cut the overt taxes. So, what? Without spending cuts, it’s only a corresponding increase in the hidden taxes: borrowing and/or money-printing.

And what happens when we add (say) a Trump infrastructure spending package and a Syria or North Korea war on top of that? More of the hidden taxes: borrowing and/or money-printing.

Obama Debt Roundup

I meant to do this awhile back, updating previous posts in the series.

When President Obama left office on January 20, 2017, the U.S. national debt was $19.9 trillion. ($14.4 trillion held by the public; $5.5 trillion “intragovernmental”, for example, Treasury bonds held by Social Security.)

When Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the U.S. national debt was $10.6 trillion. ($6.3 trillion held by the public; $4.3 intragovernmental)

Obama more-than-doubled the part of the U.S. national debt that everyone agrees is important (what’s “held by the public”). And he nearly doubled the total.

And for what? Eight years of the weakest economy “recovery” on record.

Serving them right

On certain issues, leftist harping is especially odious. One is the minimum wage.

Anyone who has met a payroll knows that, when higher wages are simply dictated from on high, then employees (or hours or salaries) must be cut back elsewhere – assuming the business can survive at all. It’s math. We’ve seen it before,

Leftists like to deny math and other facts of business and economics. What makes it odious is, they’re also smug about it. It isn’t just their ignorance; it’s their aggressive pride in staying ignorant.

Via HotAir, now a study confirms that San Francisco’s minimum wage does indeed injure the businesses and workers of that city.

San Francisco’s higher minimum wage is causing an increasing number of restaurants to go out of business even before it is fully phased in, a new study by the Harvard Business School found.

The closings were concentrated among struggling, lower-rated restaurants. The higher minimum also caused fewer new restaurants to open, it found.

“We provide suggestive evidence that higher minimum wage increases overall exit rates among restaurants, where a $1 increase in the minimum wage leads to approximately a 4 to 10 percent increase in the likelihood of exit,” report Dara Lee and Michael Luca, authors of “Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit.” The study used as a case study San Francisco, which has an estimated 6,000 restaurants in the Bay Area and is ratcheting up its minimum wage.

So, Nancy Pelosi and her fellow limousine-socialists are looking at fewer restaurant selections for themselves – and more unemployed people. Do they understand that? Or even notice it?

There is only one time when the minimum wage doesn’t hurt employment: When it’s low enough, in real terms, to be ineffectual. For example, if we have a period of inflation – and no minimum wage increases – then its real value will go down, and employers can afford to hire the low-end workers again. But the higher the minimum wage is, in real terms: the more low-end workers can’t get work.

Democrats Appalled That Policy Achieved Desired Results

Posted by V the K at 7:13 pm - February 26, 2017.
Filed under: Economy

The Democrat-Run city of Philadelphia passed a massive tax on beverages last year, to the cheers and applause of the Democrat Media Complex and left-wingers everywhere. However, increasing the cost of these beverages by 100% has had economic consequences.

Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs.

One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.

This is what they wanted, right? To get people … in particular, poor people… to stop drinking beverages they didn’t approve of.

But now, the same people who passed the tax are getting all nasty about the effects of their tax.

“I didn’t think it was possible for the soda industry to be any greedier,” Kenney said in an emailed statement. “ … They are so committed to stopping this tax from spreading to other cities, that they are not only passing the tax they should be paying onto their customer, they are actually willing to threaten working men and women’s jobs rather than marginally reduce their seven figure bonuses.”

So, these Democrat geniuses passed a massive tax increase with the intention that by making soda less expensive, people would consume less of it. Now, they are feigning outrage that the tax is actually making soda more expensive and people are consuming less of it. But businesses, I guess, are supposed to just eat their losses and not realign their workforces in response?

This is like the people who gleefully passed minimum wage hikes and are wondering why all the restaurants are closing.

 

The Experts Called It Wrong

Posted by V the K at 10:01 am - January 7, 2017.
Filed under: Economy

What the Economic Experts Said Would Happen If BREXIT Passed: “In the run-up to Britain’s historic vote on whether to leave the EU, the consensus among economists was clear: Brexit will hurt growth. Even many committed supporters acknowledged the prospect of a short-term economic hit.”

What Actually Happened: “Britain ended last year as the strongest of the world’s advanced economies with growth accelerating in the six months after the Brexit vote.”

One is almost tempted to believe that economists prior to BREXIT were trying to hype gloomy scenarios in order to encourage the outcome demanded by those with whom they were in political alignment.

But that could never happen, right? Because economists are scientists, and scientists are never influenced by politics at all.

Macy’s and Sears Closing Stores as Old Retail Model Fails

Posted by V the K at 10:25 am - January 5, 2017.
Filed under: Economy

Macy’s yesterday announced it was closing a whole bunch of stores across the country. Sears is rumored to be on the edge of total collapse. Management at both companies is blaming the internet for their travails.

I spent some time in Macy’s and Sears over the holiday shopping season. I don’t think their problem is competition with online retailers. I think a lot of it is their merchandise just isn’t appealing. (In addition to Christmas shopping, I’m renovating a 5,000 SF church, so I need all kinds of stuff.) Their retail model is dated, especially Sears which just seems to pile up stuff haphazardly throughout their stores. It’s just not fun shopping in a store where it looks like no one gives a crap. It probably didn’t help Macy’s that they dropped their Donald Trump line of menswear (because the management assumed since they hated Trump, everybody else did too), or that Sears outsourced production of Craftsman tools to China.

I’m not an expert in “Retail Science,” but if I were in charge of either chain, my strategy would be to fall back and regroup. Forget about being a national retailer for a while and become a strong regional retailer. Hire local people as buyers and tailor inventory to regional tastes. I would also invest in the ‘shopping experience.’ One of the reason chains like Wegmans, Publix, and Nordstrom seem to weather the change is that they make coming into their stores a pleasing experience.

I’m an outlier, but I don’t think the internet spells doom for all brick-and-mortar retailers. But the companies that run them need to recognize that shopping habits have changed. Shopping at a store in the mall is no longer a necessity, so you better give people a reason to come out and recognize that shopping patterns have changed. If I am shopping for bed linens, I want to be able to touch and feel them. I also want a pretty big selection to choose from. OTOH, if I am shopping for power tools, then I’m going to go online, read reviews, and go for the best value.  There are also things I just want right away, and don’t want to wait for delivery of. e.g. If I’m painting a room, I’m going to buy brushes and tape locally. That kind of stuff.

So, clean up your damn stores, have better merchandise, and teach your employees to be nice but not pushy, and you’ll get through this.

An Objectivist Perspective on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Posted by V the K at 2:31 pm - December 10, 2016.
Filed under: Economy,Holidays

Tom Mullen at the Foundation for Economic Education has an interesting (and quite supportable) perspective on Frank Capra’s enduring holiday public domain classic: George Bailey was a huckster running a socialist Ponzi scheme and playing his customers for chumps. (Bailey Building and Loan being sort of the Bedford Falls version of OneUnited Bank). The real hero of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was Old Man Potter.

The inescapable truth is Potter is wealthy because he provides a product that most satisfies his customers’ preferences for quality and price. If there were an opportunity to provide a higher quality product at a lower price than Potter was charging, a competitor would do so and take market share away from Potter, until Potter either raised his quality, lowered his price, or both.

The Baileys burn with resentment that so many residents of Bedford Falls prudently choose to live in Potter’s less expensive housing than buy a house they can’t afford, financed by the Baileys’ Ponzi scheme. Thus, even after shirking their fiduciary duty to run the business properly, the Baileys spend decades assaulting Potter’s character in a transparent attempt to lure away his customers.

Without Potter, a large portion of Bedford Falls would be unemployed. When the Depression hits and the Bailey Building and Loan is exposed for the fractional reserve fraud it is, Potter offers to come to the rescue with a generous offer to buy out its customers. It is noteworthy there is a run on the Bailey Building and Loan and the local bank, but Potter is financially secure enough to save them both, proving once again he is the only honorable businessman in the film.

Read the whole thing.

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My Brief, Inexpert Opinion on the Carrier Jobs Deal

Posted by V the K at 10:47 am - December 3, 2016.
Filed under: Economy

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I’ve been reading a lot of discussion in comment threads about the Trump-Pence deal that saved 1,000 manufacturing jobs at the Carrier Air Conditioning manufacturing plant in Indiana. A lot of people are attacking the tax relief as “crony capitalism,” (even those who were perfectly fine with the billions Obama pumped into crony green energy companies like Solyndra) while others praise that it’s the first small step in Trump’s program to “Make America Great Again.” I side more toward the latter camp. Carrier is a small PR win that can be leveraged into a broader program of tax and regulatory form that will be good for the economy. I hope that’s what Trump is planning.

If you remember, Obama mocked the idea that the 1,400  job the Carrier Air Conditioning jobs could ever be saved. He would have chosen instead to fall back on the “job training” and more welfare. Handouts and Government spending are the lazy man’s solution. Job training programs are not very effective, but they keep left-wing bureaucrats employed. The view of the left is too often, “Oh, you didn’t want those icky manufacturing jobs anyway, We’ll train you to polish windmills and coordinate safe spaces.”  Or, as they call them, “The jobs of tomorrow.”