Finally, a Federal Reserve official has spoken out on the so-called recovery in the American economy. He’s Eric S. Rosengren, the president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank. [The Fed has its headquarters in D.C. and regional banks that provide input to the Fed’s monetary policy.] Rosengren is known as a maverick by Fed-watchers, and his remarks delivered today in Boston confirm this.
Joanne Butler | All Articles
Last night was a 2016-style Greek Tragedy for Hillary Clinton. The women who claim Bill Clinton abused them and Hillary mocked them were watching, their eyes on Herself. Yes, they were a silent chorus, but their message was clear: your husband physically hurt us and YOU did worse than nothing – you and your toadies smeared us as being less than human. For the first time in her life, Hillary had to look at the people her husband had harmed – and see them as human beings, not ‘bimbos,’ ‘trailer park trash,’ etc. Even if Hillary wins in November, I think she lost the respect of many Americans last night.
Last June, I wrote about how Obama’s EPA was driving stained glass makers out of business. The EPA’s diktat forced firms to install expensive equipment to limit cadmium emissions – without bothering to inspect each firm’s emissions situation. Apparently the EPA found it easier to declare all firms guilty and not bother with inspections. But I did get something wrong in June when I predicted production would move to China. Mexico, not China is the winner for now.
The buzz over Hillary Clinton’s medical condition reminded me of how John F. Kennedy’s campaign successfully covered up his serious adrenal problems – and continued to do so even after his assassination in 1963. JFK’s situation was serious, as according to the National Institutes of Health, adrenal hormones “regulat[e] blood pressure; metabolism, the way the body uses digested food for energy; and the body’s response to stress.” Severe ‘adrenal insufficiency’ can be fatal.
Donald Trump has announced that one of his priorities will be a military buildup – spending more money on the defense sector. Does he realize how that buildup will further subsidize our trading partners, who benefit from needing to spend less on their defense when Uncle Sam picks up the tab? Plus there’s the senior issue: people wonder if Social Security will go broke, yet billions of dollars are available for the military and defense contractors. I wonder when seniors, who have worked a lifetime for their benefits, will ask why they’re being shoved at the back of the line when it comes to national priorities?
What a difference four years can make. In 2012, then-Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels considered running for President, but was scorched over his comments that Republicans needed to have a ‘truce’ on social issues – to have more focus on fiscal ones. At the 2016 GOP national convention, a gay man gave a speech and received a standing ovation. Four years ago, some questioned Daniels’ marital situation; his wife had left him, married another man, divorced him and returned to Daniels. Today, we have a GOP presidential candidate who’s been divorced twice and married thrice. In sum, Donald Trump has made the GOP world safe for a future Mitch Daniels candidacy.
This morning, the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, Janet Yellen, is giving a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she will make a pronouncement on whether the Fed will raise interest rates. Ms. Yellen has a quiet demeanor and looks like a moderately stylish grandmother. But the financial media are covering this event as if Yellen is a rock star.
Aetna announced this week how it’s drastically scaling back participation in Obamacare – just like big insurers Humana and United Health have done. Aetna’s reasons are the usual ones: not enough healthy people signing up, not enough subsidies, and not able to raise rates to cover their losses. Aetna, Humana, United Health and others have made a sound economic decision that Obamacare is not a right fit for their firms. What puzzles me is how they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see this train wreck coming from the beginning.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are using Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign playbook, but they’re reading different chapters. In my opinion, it’s Hillary who’s more Nixonian than the Donald.
Donald Trump’s trade speech this week was an eye-opener for me. It was the first time a politician spoke realistically about trade policy, instead of the globalist nostrums we’ve heard from both parties for decades. Plus: he spoke knowledgeably about using enforcement tools that are already available under U.S. law – tools that, frankly, administrations of both parties have avoided using.
Weekend polling in the United Kingdom has indicated a rise in favor of remaining in the E.U., after last week’s assassination of a ‘Remain’ supporting Member of Parliament by a man with neo-Nazi ties. But the ‘Remain’ faction should not count on a victory over the ‘Leave’ side on Thursday. If they do, they are forgetting how people lie to pollsters when telling the truth is uncomfortable.
Recently, artists were shocked to learn about the upcoming closure of Spectrum, a small business north of Seattle – because for 40 years it’s been a major supplier and exporter of stained glass. Spectrum found it was unable to comply with new diktats from Obama’s EPA while simultaneously coping with a sluggish economy. As a result, 124 workers will lose their jobs when Spectrum closes its doors in July.
When Donald Trump invoked General George S. Patton, Jr. yesterday as a sidebar in his attack on Hillary’s fitness for the Presidency, he was right on the mark, even if he didn’t realize it. When Trump said generals ought not to talk to the media, Patton was the perfect example. Patton’s brilliance in the European theatre in World War II was dimmed by his tic of blabbing to the press. But there are other lessons Patton can teach Trump – especially when it comes to dealing with Mexico.
Trade is a big topic in this election cycle, but I wonder if the trade negotiation process will change when the shouting’s over. Inside-the-Beltway people are used to their old ways. As the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is within the Executive Office of the President, it will be up to the new President to change the negotiation culture. Culture change is hard work: will they have the focus and determination to do it?
After her big win in the New York primary, some are musing on Hillary’s governing style if she became president. My one sentence analysis: she’s the high priestess of the power of experts.
Friday's positive jobs report for March 2016 has some liberals scratching their heads, wondering why voters are so angry. Part of the answer is: the jobs number looks better than it should, as so many people have exited the workforce completely – shrinking the pool of available workers. For example, according to Social Security’s statistics, from January 2012 through last month, about 5.7 million people were awarded Social Security disability benefits.
Rick Santorum needs to enter a 12-step program for those who are addicted to running for president – could someone please start one now? How he can flit around Iowa and tell folks with a straight face that he’ll be the nominee? But I can guess why he does it: he’s still sore over Senate loss ten years ago.
Wednesday’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino prompted the usual reactions: more gun control versus more guns carried by citizens. It’s time we looked at different answers – from the United Kingdom.
As Paul Ryan edges closer to his House speakership decision, which half of his personality will come out? The controller or the corporatist?