05/31/19

Mexican Tariffs

We woke up today to find out that Free Range, Free Trading, Fair Trading President Trump had imposed a 5% tariff on Mexican goods imported into the United States that will grow to 25%. We imported almost $400,000,000,000 of Mexican goods into the US in 2018.

Do the math — 5% equals $20,000,000,000 while 25% equals $100,000,000,000 in tariff revenue.

I have one thing to say — “What took you so damn long?”

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I will spare you the factual basis for why the US should punish Mexico other than to say that Mexico is the launching pad for illegal immigration into the United States.

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05/28/19

Tariffs Fallout

Everybody is an expert on tariffs, right? We talked about them when we discussed the Canadian Softwoods Lumber Tariffs and how it worked to American advantage. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this blog post.

Here’s some good news — Fiat Chrysler is going to build one of the largest automobile production facilities in the US joining other foreign manufacturers who are making huge investments in the Carolinas (talking to you, BMW and Mercedes).

This new plant has a price tag of $1.6B and will be accompanied by a $0.9B expansion of an adjoining facility.

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04/26/19

The Economy

Big Red Car here back from a nice tour of Savannah. Today, the numbers came out for Q1-2019. Gross Domestic Product is up 3.2%!

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[Special note to “you know who” — yes., the government fiscal year starts in October, so, yes, it would be Q2-2019 of the government year, but this is Q1-2019 of the CALENDAR YEAR 2019. The economic statistics are kept on a calendar year and it is not my fault or a conspiracy. OK?]

Folks were waiting for these numbers with baited breath because of the government shutdown of 35 days — 22 December 2018 until 25 January 2019. In addition, this impacted the first quarter, always the weakest quarter for economic activity.

This is a huge number, y’all.

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03/24/19

Modern Monetary Theory v Magic Money Tree

So, your Big Red Car is taking a break from the NCAA Championship and was reading an excellent article on MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) on Bloomberg Businessweek.

MMT is, of course, the economic theory upon which folks like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez base the idea that the government can afford all the things in her Green New Deal.

Image result for north carolina basketball team images

Can you guess for whom I am rooting?

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01/4/19

Jobs

Big Red Car here on a Jobs Report Friday. Hey, have a great weekend.

So, I was a little concerned about the December jobs report — because of the dipping stock market, the election results, the Fed’s moves, the general tenor in the air.

No reason to be alarmed, apparently.

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11/12/18

Strength of the Economy

Big Red Car here, snowing in the Panhandle and going to be 30F in the ATX tonight? Yes. Snow tonight? Nah.

So, I like to take a look at information below the surface to prove or disprove what the surface currents seem to indicate. One of my favorites is to plumb the depth of the job market and its inverse, unemployment.

Anybody with a brain knows that U-3 — the measure of unemployment that the media uses — is not very accurate for a number of structural reasons. While, folks also know that BLS U-6/7 is a better snapshot.

One other area I like to look at is full time v part time employment.

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09/12/18

Attitude = Altitude

How high you go in life sometimes is created by your attitude, your confidence. Economies have similar linkages.

How confident, how optimistic is American small business – the engine of new job creation in the US – today?

Turns out they’re very confident, very optimistic.

The National Federation of Independent Business has been tracking the optimism of its members for a long time, seventy-five years. They are the voice of small business.

Monthly, they survey their owners to gauge business sentiment.

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09/12/18

Jobs USA

Big Red Car here with a prayer on my lips for the Carolinas and the impending Florence hurricane. Evacuate if y’all are along that coast. Do not risk your life to ride it out.

So, one of the most interesting elements of the current economy is the status of jobs and job openings. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient data to track this back through prior business cycles because the data was simply not collected back in the day.

There are four data points of interest:

 1. Job openings – positions for which a company is seeking an immediate hire

 2. Hires – former job openings for which a company made a hire

 3. Quits – current employees who voluntarily left a job with a company

 4. Layoffs and discharges – company terminated jobs and firings

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