Boots & Sabers

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Category: Economy

Americans Unhappy With Direction of Country

This isn’t surprising.

Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults say the country is on the wrong track, and 79 percent describe the economy as poor, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

 

[…]

 

Even among Democrats, 67 percent call economic conditions poor.

What is surprising, or perhaps not, is how steadfast the Biden Administration is despite these kinds of polls. I think that Obama would have changed course by now, or, at least, pretended to change course. Clinton definitely would have changed. But Biden is still aggressively pursuing the same policies and using the same rhetoric to sell it. He hasn’t moved an inch despite overwhelming evidence that his policies are failing and the people hate it. It says something about a man who has spent his entire adult life as a Washington animal from a safe district.

Workers Alter Behavior to Adjust for High Gas Prices

Remember that many leftists are cheering that people are changing their behavior in this way. This intent is to inflict enough pain to change how people live their lives.

Millions of Americans who rely on their cars for work are changing their habits, signing up for carpools or even ditching their cars for bicycles as gas prices recently hit $5 per gallon for the first time ever. This week, it’s averaging $4.95 per gallon nationwide, up from $3.06 per gallon a year ago, according to AAA.

And the prices are having a huge ripple effect in our economy.

“This is an unwelcome development for those companies that are trying to get people back to the office,” Lewis said. “It is one more reasonable reason why those employees are pushing back.”

 

Lewis has around 100 employees in Norwalk. Before COVID, 85% of them were in the office at least two days a week. Now, maybe 25% of them are. Lewis — and many of his clients — would like to see employees in the office more but say gas prices are a huge barrier.

 

“If you are the company that requires everyone to come in all the time, you’re a pariah,” he said.

Oh, but Biden may send you $100 of your own money in the form of a gas card. That’ll fix it.

Biden’s Thinking About Gas Gimmicks

Our president is trying to replace a coherent American energy policy with gimmicks to ease the political damage to himself. It is also worth noting that he is speaking to reporters about Americans’ pain at the pumps from… the beach. Again.

“I hope to have a decision based on the data I’m looking for by the end the week,” Biden told reporters by the seaside in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when asked whether he was considering backing a gas tax holiday.

Such a pause in the 18.3-cent-per-gallon federal tax would require Congress to act, and there has been little traction among lawmakers on the idea so far. But the administration is eager to find areas of relief for American consumers contending with skyrocketing gas prices as the summer begins. Monday’s nationwide average for gas was just under $5 per gallon.

Biden said he is also weighing whether to back sending Americans gas rebate cards: “That’s part of what we’re considering, that’s part of the whole operation,” he said.

Biden Threatens Oil Companies with Government Interference

Even if one supported the federal government forcing private companies to produce a product, Biden’s record of complete failure in everything he touches should scare the hell out of you.

Biden is also threatening to use his ’emergency power’ if oil companies do not take action to lower prices for a gallon of gas.

 

‘Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied,’ he wrote. ‘Already, I have invoked emergency powers to execute the largest Strategic Petroleum Reserve release in history, expand access to E15 (gasoline with 15% ethanol), and authorize the use of the Defense Production Act to provide reliable inputs into energy production.’

 

‘I am prepared to use all tools at my disposal, as appropriate, to address barriers to providing Americans affordable, secure energy supply,’ he added.

Government Spending is Driving U.S. Inflation

You have to go to the foreign media to wade through the spin. Of course, this used to be common knowledge… printing a lot of money and dumping it into the economy drives up inflation. It happens every time.

Last year, businesses around the world started raising prices at a pace not seen in decades. Among major economies, one country was hit the worst – the United States.

Prices jumped at an annual rate of 4.7% last year – faster than any other country in the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In the UK, for example, inflation was just 2.5%.

 

Last month, inflation in the US hit 8.6%, one of the highest rates in the world.

 

Many of the forces driving inflation last year – such as supply disruptions from Covid and higher food prices after severe storms and drought hurt harvests – were not unique to the US.

 

The reason the US fared worse? In two words – high demand.

That was driven by the massive $5tn (£4.1tn) in spending the US government approved to shield households and businesses from the economic shock of the pandemic.

 

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco concluded that pandemic relief packages probably contributed to 3 percentage points of the rise in inflation until the end of 2021 – a factor that goes a long way to explaining why US inflation outpaced the rest of the world.

 

Oscar Jorda, senior policy adviser at the bank and one of the people who worked on the study, cautioned against reading too much into the exact percentages, but said the overall picture is clear.

 

“These programmes… were a considerable infusion of liquidity into consumers’ pockets at a time when perhaps industry wasn’t quite ready to respond to an increase in demand,” he said in an interview in May. They “signified a big push of what I would call demand push inflation”.

White House Praises Biden’s Economic Record

So… this is what Biden considers a good economy? I’d hate to see what he think a bad one looks like.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued President Biden actually made historic economic gains, which would help the American people go through these economic ‘challenges.’

 

She blamed inflation – prices in May were 8.6% higher than a year earlier – the greatest increase since 1981 – on the covid pandemic and on Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s war in the Ukraine.

 

‘You know, with this price, high inflation coming, coming out every once in a generation, global pandemic, all of those things play a factor,’ Jean-Pierre said.

 

But, she argued, that America would bounce back under Biden.

 

‘The American people are well positioned to face these challenges because of the economic historic gains that we have made under this president in the last six months,’ she noted.

Biden can’t seem to figure out a message and shifts from day to day. First, the economy is bad and it’s Trump’s fault. Then it’s Putin. Then it’s the pandemic. Then it’s corporate greed. Then the economy is actually great. Then the economy is bad, but Biden can’t do anything about it. Then the economy is good again and it’s because of Biden.

Which is it?

Averagen Gas Prices Surge to $5.10 per Gallon

But… but… Putin or something.

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline spiked 39 cents over the past three weeks to $5.10 per gallon.

 

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the price jump comes amid higher crude oil costs and tight gasoline supplies.

 

The average price at the pump is $1.97 higher than it was one year ago.

When can we all admit that Democrats’ policies are crushing our economy? The only real question left is whether their policies are rooted in malice or stupidity.

Inflation Continues to Worsen

Our economy is collapsing and families are hurting as the politicians and media put on a theater production in D.C.

Inflation accelerated further in May, with prices rising 8.6% from a year ago for the fastest increase since December 1981, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

 

The consumer price index, a wide-ranging measure of goods and services prices, increased even more than the 8.3% Dow Jones estimate. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI was up 6%, slightly higher than the 5.9% estimate.

On a monthly basis, headline CPI was up 1% while core rose 0.6%, compared to respective estimates of 0.7% and 0.5%.

 

Surging shelter, gasoline and food prices all contributed to the increase.

 

Energy prices broadly rose 3.9% from a month ago, bringing the annual gain to 34.6%. Within the category, fuel oil posted a 16.9% monthly gain, pushing the 12-month surge to 106.7%.

 

Shelter costs, which account for about a one-third weighting on the CPI, rose 0.6% for the month and now are 5.5% higher from a year ago.

 

Finally, food costs climbed another 1.2% in May, bringing the year-over-year gain to 10.1%.

Musk’s Companies Go Back to the Office

I, for one, appreciate this.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has ordered staff to return to the office full-time, declaring that working remotely is no longer acceptable.

 

The new policy was shared in emails that were leaked to social media.

 

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on the messages, one of which appeared to be addressed to executives.

 

People who are unwilling to abide by the new rules can “pretend to work somewhere else” Mr Musk said on Twitter, when asked about the policy.

 

“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week,” he wrote in one of the emails. “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”

Don’t get me wrong.. I am not making a statement on the policy. I have been a remote worker for 15+ years and don’t think I would ever go back to work in an office unless 1) I had to, or 2) they paid me a LOT of money. I think remote workers can be very effective, but it is not appropriate for all job roles. It is also not appropriate for all people. It takes some self-discipline.

It is also perfectly acceptable for a company to want workers in the office for the inherent benefits the company gets in terms of culture and collaboration. Musk believes that working in an office is better for his business’ outcomes and is not going to coddle employees who won’t accept that condition of employment. Good for him. And if that stance costs him great employees, then that’s a consequence he will have to manage. We need to get back to having workplaces that are mutually beneficial for all parties. If it isn’t working for one of the parties, then they are free to make adult decisions about their future.

Home Sales Down in SE Wisconsin

Ignore the positive talk from the Realtors. 3.4% decrease in inventory with a 8.2% decrease in sales means that the housing market is slowing. High prices and rising mortgage costs are having an impact and the market is correcting. It needs to happen.

The data released Wednesday by the GMAR says that sales of homes decreased by 8.2% in April compared to April 2021. All four metro Milwaukee counties were hit with Washington County seeing the most significant decrease of 28.3% in April, compared to one year prior. Waukesha County had a decline of 11.9%, followed by Ozaukee County at 11.5%. Of the four counties, Ozaukee County had the smallest decline at 2.8%.

“But no one should panic, because looking at the first four months of the year there were 5,658 units sold, the second most on record. Second only to 2021’s 5,730,” reads the report by Ruzicka. “In fact, much of 2022 will probably appear to be down compared to last year, because 2021 was an exceptionally wild year for residential real estate.”

What has been a major concern for the past few years is the number of home listings. Again, the first period of 2022 showed fewer properties listed for sale. GMAR reported that there were 7,342 listings during the first four months of 2022, which is a 3.4% decrease compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Inflation Up. Wages Down.

Let’s go Brandon. I would ask, what “economic expansion?” Did CNBC not see that the economy contracted in Q1?

Inflation rose again in April, continuing a climb that has pushed consumers to the brink and is threatening the economic expansion, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

 

The consumer price index, a broad-based measure of prices for goods and services, increased 8.3% from a year ago, higher than the Dow Jones estimate for an 8.1% gain. That represented a slight ease from March’s peak but was still close to the highest level since the summer of 1982.

Removing volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI still rose 6.2%, against expectations for a 6% gain, clouding hopes that inflation had peaked in March.

 

The month-over-month gains also were higher than expectations — 0.3% on headline CPI versus the 0.2% estimate and a 0.6% increase for core, against the outlook for a 0.4% gain.

 

The price gains also meant that workers continued to lose ground. Real wages adjusted for inflation decreased 0.1% on the month despite a nominal increase of 0.3% in average hourly earnings. Over the past year, real earnings have

West Bend Girls Soccer Teams Merge Due to Low Participation

Declining enrolment continues apace in the West Bend School District. Do they still have all of those same buildings as when they had 1,000 more kids? (hint: yes)

Despite being rivals in the past, West Bend East and West girls soccer combined this spring to form one co-op team.

 

This year the participation from both schools was low enough that the soccer teams could combine without having high numbers. There is precedent for such a move, as the girls golf team, girls swim and dive, boys swim and dive and snowboarding teams already function as co-ops.

 

“In fact, we were at the point where we would only be able to field a varsity team for each school,” said Erin Felber, the West athletic director. “This is not conducive to helping build a program and it isn’t safe for student-athletes to potentially have to play at the varsity level when they are not ready.”

Returning to the Office is Racist

FYI

A group of Apple employees have accused the big-tech giant of racism over its push for corporate workers to return to the office, saying that the shift back to an in-person model will make the company ‘younger, whiter, [and] more male-dominated.’

 

The employees, organized under the newly-formed group Apple Together, petitioned the company on Friday in an open letter after CEO Tim Cook told staffers that they would need to work from the office one day a week starting on April 11, two days per week after three weeks, and three days per week after May 23.

 

They wrote that the decision to bring employees back to the office was not motivated by a ‘need to commune in person,’ as Cook wrote in his letter to staff, but rather was driven by the company’s ‘fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy [and] fear of losing control.’

 

Economy Contracts

Oof.

Gross domestic product unexpectedly declined at a 1.4% annualized pace in the first quarter, marking an abrupt reversal for an economy coming off its best performance since 1984, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

 

The negative growth rate missed even the subdued Dow Jones estimate of a 1% gain for the quarter. GDP measures the output of goods and services in the U.S. for the three-month period.

Elections have consequences.

Evers Uses Veto to Maintain Arbitrary Authority to Close Businesses

Yup.

MADISON, April 14, 2022 – Today, NFIB is expressing frustration with legislation that would prevent the government from arbitrarily mandating business closures during an emergency has been vetoed by Governor Tony Evers.

 

Assembly Bill 912 would have required businesses be treated equally during an emergency declaration by their government.

 

Bill G. Smith, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Wisconsin, the state’s leading small business organization, said Wisconsin’s small business community is deeply disappointed with the Governor’s decision to veto this important legislation.

 

“The Governor has extraordinary discretion to implement and administer economic relief programs during an emergency,” said Smith, “this legislation did not interfere with the Governor’s ability to target resources or implement programs that would benefit small business during an emergency.”

 

“Unfortunately, as a result of this veto, the government will continue to use its power to choose winners and losers by closing down local small businesses during an emergency, while allowing big box corporate retail establishments to remain open and fully operational,” said Smith.

Inflation Soars Under Biden

Hey, but no mean tweets.

 

 

[…]

 

The government’s report also showed that inflation rose 1.2% from February to March, up from a 0.8% increase from January to February.

 

[…]

 

According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gasoline — $4.10 — is up 43% from a year ago, though it has fallen back in the past couple of weeks.

Teaching the Three R’s: Racism, Racism, Racism

But parents don’t deserve to know what their kids are being taught.

In February, DPI brought in Charlene Carruthers for its equity webinar series to talk about social transformation. Carruthers is a community organizer and PhD student at Northwestern University who specializes in “interrogating historical conjunctures of Black freedom-making post-emancipation and decolonial revolution, Black governance, Black feminist and queer theory,” according to her website.

 

“We’re going up against 300 years plus, at least of it being a formal state, of white supremacy, of patriarchy and of capitalism,” she told the teachers.

 

That’s also the core principle of CRT, which describes all aspects of American history and society within that framework. Although Carruthers’ life is dedicated to that work, she claims she’s not sure what people mean when they refer to CRT.

 

“I’m a black studies scholar, I cannot tell- I think could tell you what critical race theory is, and I can tell you for sure it is not the most radical thing to come out… ha! Wait until you hear what we really think, what we really believe in!”

 

DPI’s in-house education consultant Chrissy Thuli was nodding and laughing as Carruthers made that admission.

 

Carruthers is a vocal advocate of the defund the police movement. She referenced Freedom Inc’s work in Madison for the #PoliceFreeSchools campaign. Freedom Inc. played a key leadership role during the riots that destroyed downtown Madison in 2020.

U.S. Inflation Rate Only Half of Russia’s

We’re closing in fast.

On Wednesday, Russia’s economic ministry said annual inflation had jumped 14.5% in the week ending 18 March – the highest rate since late 2015.

The Federal State Statistics Service said the cost of sugar rose by as much as 37.1% in certain regions of the country and increased by an average 14%.

 

Sugar, which is commonly used to preserve food or make liquor, was the biggest gainer in the week, the government agency found.

The price of onions was the second biggest riser over the week, up 13.7% nationwide and 40.4% in some areas. Meanwhile, nappies were 4.4% more expensivePrices for black tea rose 4% and toilet paper increased by 3%.

The end of globalization?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has ended globalization as we know it, says the head of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink told shareholders in a letter on Thursday that Russia’s “decoupling from the global economy” following its assault on Ukraine has caused governments and companies to examine their reliance on other nations.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” Fink wrote.

The CEO, whose company manages $10 trillion in assets, predicted that Russia’s isolation will “prompt companies and governments worldwide to reevaluate their dependencies and reanalyze their manufacturing and assembly footprints.”

But some countries could benefit from focusing on building up their domestic industries, as companies onshore or “nearshore” their operations, he said.

Fink said that the coronavirus pandemic had already set these wheels in motion.

Businesses that were more self-reliant with full operations incapsulated in each country had an easier time navigating the pandemic and the impact of the war. Other companies see it.

Ford to Ship Incomplete Vehicles

At least it will get some vehicles into the market.

Ford (F) will begin shipping Explorer SUVs without all of its chips to address the tight inventory of vehicles available for sale at dealerships.
The automaker disclosed this weekend that it would build Explorers without rear-seat controls for the air conditioner and heat. The driver and front-seat passenger will still be able to adjust climate controls for backseat passengers — but people in the back won’t be able to change the temperature themselves.
“We’re doing this as a way to get our customers their vehicles sooner,” said Ford spokesperson Said Deep.
[…]
Ford is not the only automaker shipping vehicles without all the features they were designed to include.
Last year General Motors was forced to temporarily stop offering several features, including a fuel management module designed to improve mileage in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups by about one mile per gallon. GM also stopped offering a stop-start feature on some of its heavy-duty pickups.

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