U.S. Economy and Stock Markets, November 2017

US real GDP growth from Q1 2009 to Q3 2017. The green line is a linear fit to the GDP over the three years from Q1 2014 to Q1 2017.

US real GDP growth from Q1 2009 to Q3 2017. The green line is a linear fit to the GDP over the three years from Q1 2014 to Q1 2017.
St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank / FRED

I have have just updated  the leading and coincident economic indicators I am following, the first update I have done since last May. That means it is time to take a more analytic view of just what is happening to our economy, and why.

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Do U.S. Companies Need Tax Cuts?

Plot of U.S. GDP growth in percent averaged over ten year periods

Plot of annual Real U.S. GDP per capita growth in percent averaged over ten year periods. This is the major reason why huge U.S. corporate tax cuts are needed!
The Gallup Organization

About a month ago,  I was having a conversation with a gentleman of the progressive persuasion about U.S. corporate tax cuts. I was trying to persuade him the U.S. desperately needed very large corporate tax cuts to restart economic growth. Otherwise we are doomed to secular stagnation, if not indeed secular decline. Being a progressive, he of course did not agree.

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Problems For The Sovereign American People

An 1846 painting by George Caleb Bingham showing a collection of voters before a polling place. A polling judge is administering an oath to a voter.

An 1846 painting by George Caleb Bingham showing a collection of voters before a polling place. A polling judge is administering an oath to a voter.
Wikimedia Commons / George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)

In my last two posts,  the dysfunctional nature and enormous political problems of both the Republican and Democratic parties were examined. With division and discord in the Republican party, and a rush toward the political Left by the Democratic that alienates a growing fraction of the American people, how can legislative progress be made towards solving our increasingly serious problems? How can the electorate respond?

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The American Deep State

The ultimate motto of the deep state, as enunciated by Napoleon the pig, the Supreme Leader of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

The ultimate motto of the deep state, as enunciated by Napoleon the pig, the Supreme Leader of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Image Credit: QuotesGram.com

What is more important in our life on this world?  Is it the confluence of values bound up in the notions of freedom, personal liberty, and freedom of thought and speech? Or is it government guaranteeing us the material conditions of a good life? Is the ability to think what you wish and fearlessly express your opinions openly to the entire world more important than the government providing everyone with healthcare, food, clothing, and other material necessities?

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The Dominican Republic

The view of the Dominican Republic from the front of our condo in Juan Dolio, DR.

Greetings  from the town of Juan Dolio in the Dominican Republic! Having traveled to the Dominican Republic on personal business, I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast developments in this country with those of other developing nations to glean whatever lessons we can from it.

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New York: Another Great Progressive Embarrassment

Lady Liberty in New York harbor looking outwards from New York.

Lady Liberty in New York harbor looking outwards from New York. Is she welcoming the world to New York, or pointing the direction to greater freedom for New Yorkers?
Wikimedia Commons / Elcobbola

Any survey of progressive blue states  losing people and companies to other, predominantly red states would be incomplete, even for a partial list, without a look at New York State. Since we have already examined the exodus from the blue states of Illinois and California, it is New York’s turn to be in the dock.

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The Progressive Disaster That Is Illinois

 

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan speaking to press about the status of the state budget on June 22, 2017 during a special legislative session called by GOP Governor Bruce Rauner
Screenshot of an Illinois News Network video.

No progressive-dominated  state  exemplifies the bleeding of population and resources to red states more than the deep blue state of Illinois. It is a perfect example of the forces described in the post The Ideological Balkanization of the United States.

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The Ideological Balkanization of the United States

The red state – blue state division of  the United States as revealed by the presidential results of the past four presidential elections.
Wikimedia Commons / Angr

This week The Sacramento Bee  reported additional evidence for the ideological balkanization of the United States. The newspaper of California’s capitol reported the state government is now banning publicly funded travel to four more states because the California government views those states’ laws or policies as discriminatory to gay and transgender people. The four new states on the list are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota, all of which are red states according to the map above, i.e. Republican and neoliberal (aka “conservative”). Those four new states join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee, similarly red states. As of now, I am unaware of any similar bans by red states against blue, i.e. predominantly Democratic and progressive states.

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How Is Donald Trump Doing Economically in June 2017?

The time evolution of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank's GDPNow forecast for the second quarter of 2017.

The time evolution of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s GDPNow forecast for the second quarter of 2017.
Image and Data Credit: Atlanta Federal Reserve District Bank / Center for Quantitative Economic Research

Just a few days ago,  in my post U.S. Economy and Stock Markets, May 2017, I noted there were of a number of economic statistics pointing to  current and future economic growth somewhat greater than the stagnant levels to which we became accustomed under Obama. In just those few days, I have found even more economic tea leaves for us all to ponder.

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U.S. Economy and Stock Markets, May 2017

Alas! Real GDP growth is still trending downwards.

Alas! Real GDP growth is still trending downwards.
Data and Image credit: St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank / FRED

It is now time  to take our periodic look at how the U.S. economy fairs. My last survey was last February, with my tardiness in making a new one due to a hope that the new Trump regime would cause something new to happen in the economy. Although there are indeed new signs for hope, nevertheless the new administration’s biggest economic ambitions still await fruition. Given the true enormity of the political and economic problems, I suppose it could be no other way.

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Thomas Piketty and The Iron Law of Wages

Like-minded thinkers: Thomas Robert Malthus (13 February 1766 — 29 December 1834), English cleric, scholar, and economist; and Thomas Piketty (7 May 1971 — ), French economist

Like-minded thinkers: Thomas Robert Malthus (13 February 1766 — 29 December 1834), English cleric, scholar, and economist; and Thomas Piketty (7 May 1971 — ), French economist
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons / John Linnell (1792-1882), and Wikimedia Commons / Gobierno de Chile

Discussing blogging recently  with a couple of high school interns brought to mind the French economist Thomas Piketty, and how much his ideas on income inequality have been seized upon by the political Left to justify further state intervention into the economy. Inevitably, the conversation also brought thoughts of the eighteenth century economist whose thinking Piketty is, consciously or unconsciously, emulating: Thomas Malthus and his Iron Law of Wages.

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The French Elite Is Snubbed

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, winners of the April 23, 2017 first round of the French presidential election

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, winners of the April 23, 2017 first round of the French presidential election, will face off in the second round on May 7, 2017.
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris for Emmanuel Macron on the Left, Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle for Marine Le Pen on the Right.

The French people unmistakably delivered a repudiation of the French political establishment yesterday when they chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen to advance to the second round of the presidential elections.

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The Human Development Index and Economic Freedom

World heat map of the human development index

Wikimedia Commons / User Happenstance

Recently,  I learned  about a figure of merit for countries being promoted by the United Nations that blends economic data with statistics related to the quality of life. Called the Human Development Index (HDI), it was originally developed by the Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq for the UN. The HDI for every country for which there is data is published annually by the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Reports. Comparing countries’ HDI as a function of their economic freedom from government turns out to be a very rewarding exercise.

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Lessons From The Developing World

An Indian plowman in West Bengal working in India's largest industry: Agriculture

An Indian plowman in West Bengal working in India’s largest industry: Agriculture
Wikimedia Commons / ILRI

In my last two posts,  I have taken looks at the history of leftist revolutions and of Europe to glean lessons about what works and does not work in economies. In this essay I will try to explore what the underdeveloped and developing economies of the world have to teach us.

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