September 29, 2016

2Q16 GDP, Third Estimate (092916): An Annualized 1.4 Percent, Revised Up From 1.1 Percent; ‘Health Care’ Is 56 Pct. of Past 4 Quarters’ ‘Growth

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:10 am


The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full release with tables): Oh boy, a slight beat —

Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the second quarter of 2016, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.8 percent.

… With the third estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same. The most notable change from the second to third estimate is that nonresidential fixed investment increased in the second quarter; in the previous estimate, nonresidential fixed investment decreased.

Real gross domestic income (GDI) decreased 0.2 percent in the second quarter, in contrast to an increase of 0.8 percent in the first. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 0.6 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 0.8 percent in the first.

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. These were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The acceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected an acceleration in PCE and upturns in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports. These were partly offset by a larger decrease in private inventory investment, downturns in state and local government spending and in residential fixed investment, and an upturn in imports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 3.7 percent, or $168.5 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $18,450.1 billion. In the first quarter, current dollar GDP increased 1.3 percent, or $58.8 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.1 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 0.2 percent in the first. The PCE price index increased 2.0 percent, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.8 percent, compared with an increase of 2.1 percent.

Updates to GDP

The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and exports.

I’ll have the updated detail shortly.

UPDATE: Here it is:


The critical thing to note, as I’ve highlighted, is that health care costs, which have grown in REAL terms by over 5 percent in the past four quarters, have accounted for 56 percent (0.71 divided by 1.28) of the economy’s “growth.”

Very little of this disproportionate increase represents any kind of genuine improvement in living standards — and it completely explains why so many everyday people who don’t dig into the numbers and are out there living their lives feel that the overall economy and their personal financial situation are each essentially going nowhere.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092916)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Saints and Falcons form circle of unity during national anthem

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From New Orleans:

Sep 27, 2016

Players and coaches from both teams come together at midfield to hold hands

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest the national anthem has sparked lots of conversation as well, and many different NFL players have reacted in many different ways. The Falcons and Saints, ahead of Monday night’s 10th-year anniversary of the first post-Katrina game at the Superdome, chose to honor the anthem in a different way.

All the players for both teams stood in a circle at midfield and formed a ring of unity ahead of the game.

These two teams have formed a pretty heated rivalry over the past decade or so, but they put personal differences aside in order to show respect during a special day for the city of New Orleans and the Saints franchise.

According to Britt McHenry of ESPN, it was actually Sean Payton who reached out to Falcons coach Dan Quinn and broached the idea of a unified approach to the pregame celebration. …

Go here to see the photo and for the rest of the story.

September 28, 2016

Howard Dean Doubles Down on Trump ‘Using Coke?’; Chris Cillizza Says ‘We Should Be Talking More’ About It

During Monday night’s presidential debate, former DNC chairman and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean tweeted: “Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?” Even the tabloid site TMZ described Dean’s tweet as a “low blow.”

Unbowed, Dean doubled down at MSNBC on Tuesday, to the point where a clearly uncomfortable Kate Snow tried to maneuver him into backing away a bit. He wouldn’t, which is fine with Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, who told the network’s Peter Alexander on Wednesday that “we should probably be talking more about” Dean’s speculation.



Media Mostly Ignoring Trump ‘Sexism” Critic Alicia Machado’s Sordid Past

At Monday night’s presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton made a big deal of how Republican nominee Donald Trump supposedly treated Alicia Machado after the 1996 Miss Universe winner gained a significant amount of weight during the year she held the title. Mrs. Clinton alleged that Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Trump denies it, and I could find no news account from that time showing that he used either nickname publicly.

Especially since the Clinton campaign is now actively using Machado to promote Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, even including her “story” in commercials, it’s fair game to consider far heftier matters relating to Machado’s history. The, uh, weight of the evidence leads one to seriously question Team Clinton’s judgment in associating so closely with Ms. Machado. They appear to have been so tantalized by what they thought was low-hanging fruit demonstrating alleged sexism that they clearly failed to adequately investigate their newfound heroine. Now it’s up to the establishment press to protect them.



Durable Goods: The Slide Continues

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:18 am

From the Census Bureau:

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in August decreased $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $226.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 3.6 percent July increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.0 percent.


Shipments of manufactured durable goods in August, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.8 billion or 0.4 percent to $231.7 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged July increase.

Transportation equipment, down three of the last four months, drove the decrease, $0.9 billion or 1.1 percent to $79.9 billion.


Inventories of manufactured durable goods in August, up two consecutive months, increased $0.5 billion or 0.1 percent to $383.7 billion. This followed a 0.4 percent July increase.

July’s 3.6 percent increase is a downward revision from an originally reported 4.4 percent.

Year-to-date orders are down 0.6 percent; year-to-date sales are down 0.9 percent.

Today’s results beat negative expectations, but a goose egg is nothing to brag about, especially with a big-prior-month revision.

Zero Hedge: “Core Durable Goods Orders Contract For 20th Straight Month – Longest Non-Recessionary Streak In US History.” This is durable goods less the volatile transportation category.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s final second-quarter estimate for Gross Domestic Product, the consensus is apparently that it will come in at an annualized 1.3 percent, up from last month’s reported 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile the Atlanta Fed and Moody’s still think that the third quarter will come in at 2.8 percent. Sure it will, guys.


NFL Ratings Down Again in Week 3, and It Wasn’t Just the Monday Night Presidential Debate

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 10:15 am

Since Monday night’s presidential debate muddied the comparative waters a bit, I’m not going to post in detail on the NFL’s week three ratings decline compared to last year, except to know that there was one, it was big, and not even the presence of the Dollas Cowboys in the Sunday Night game could stem the tide.


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092816)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:40 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: This priest, martyred in a concentration camp, is now a blessed

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Würzburg, Germany:

Sep 26, 2016 / 02:29 pm

Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, a priest of the Mariannhill Mission society who was interred in the Nazi’s Dachau concentration camp and has been recognized as a martyr, was beatified during a Mass on Saturday.

Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann of Würzburg said during his homily for the Sept. 24 Mass at the city’s cathedral that Fr. Unzeitig, known as the “Angel of Dachau”, brought the light of God’s goodness to the place where his presence “is least expected.”

Fr. Unzeitig lived under a “dehumanizing dictatorship,” Bishop Hofmann noted, saying, “we can learn from him not to subject ourselves to a dictatorship, even a dictatorship of opinions.”

The following day, before leading pilgrims to Rome in the Angelus, Pope Francis made note of the beatification, saying that “Killed in hatred of the faith” Fr. Unzeitig “opposed hatred with love, and answered ferocity answered with meekness. May his example help us to be witnesses of charity and hope even in the midst of tribulations.”

Fr. Unzeitig was born in what is now the Czech Republic in 1911, and he joined the seminary at the age of 18 and became a priest for the Mariannhill Mission Society, whose motto is: “If no one else will go: I will go!”

He was arrested by the Nazis in 1941, when he was only 30 years old and had been a priest but two years, serving in Germany and Austria.

His crime was having preached against the Third Reich from his pulpit, particularly against their treatment of the Jewish people. He encouraged his congregation to be faithful to God and to resist the lies of the Nazi regime.

As punishment, Fr. Unzeitig was sent to what has been called the “largest monastery in the world”: Dachau concentration camp, which became renowned for the number of ministers and priests within its walls.

The camp housed some 2,700 clergy, roughly 95 percent of whom were Catholic priests from Poland, making it one of the largest residences for priests in the history of the Church – hence the name.

While imprisoned at the camp, Father studied Russian in order to be able to help the influx of prisoners from Eastern Europe, and had a reputation at the camp as a holy man.

For several years, Fr. Unzeitig was able to remain in relatively stable health despite the poor treatment he received. However, when a wave of the often-fatal typhoid fever swept through the camp in 1945, he and 19 other priests volunteered to do what no one else wanted to – care for the sick and dying in the typhoid barracks, an almost-certain death sentence in and of itself. He and his companions spent their days bathing and caring for the sick, praying with them, and offering last rites.

Despite his bleak circumstances, Fr. Unzeitig found his hope and joy in his faith, as evidenced in letters to his sister from the camp …

Go here for the rest of the story.

September 27, 2016

One Set of State Polls Says Trump Is Winning the Electoral College

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:01 pm

This is within-margin-of-error stuff, so it’s not definitive, but it’s the first time I’m aware of that one polling organization effectively has Trump winning the Electoral College, and therefore the presidency.

Start with the 2012 Electoral College map:


Then consider the results posted today by UPI for the following six states:

Set 1: VA +4, FL +4, IA +2

Set 2: NC +3, OH +1, PA +1

Five of those six states are flips from blue to red (NC is not a flip), adding 86 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 2012 total of 206. Hillary Clinton isn’t flipping any red states to blue with UPI. So that gives Trump 292, a majority of the 538 available electoral votes.

Share and AP Falsely Claim That Bill Clinton Has ‘Adamantly Denied’ Raping Juanita Broaddrick

In a narrow sense, the item discussed here really shouldn’t be newsworthy, because it’s based on history which is for all practical purposes long been settled. But now that it’s being treated as news, let’s look into the can of worms at least two media outlets have chosen to open, perhaps without fully grasping the consequences of their doing so.

Leada Gore, an reporter who says she’s “been covering Alabama news for more than 20 years,” reported Tuesday morning that Ed Henry, an Alabama lawmaker who is also the state’s Trump for President co-chair, tweeted a sharp response to accusations of sexism directed at Trump by Hillary Clinton in Monday night’s debate, specifically: “It is ironic that Lying Hillary blast (sic) Trump as a sexist when she is married to Bill, who is likely a rapist.” We’re supposed to believe that this tweet is controversial or over the top. It is, of course, no such thing.

Leada, you may not like it, and the topic may be unpleasant, but Henry’s tweet really isn’t controversial. Nevertheless, the Associated Press has posted an abbreviated story based on Gore’s work at its main national site. Both reports critically err in claiming that “Bill Clinton has adamantly denied” the related rape charge.



Trump Outreach Director Pushes Back at Chris Hayes’ ‘Birther’ Obsession

It’s quite funny in retrospect to remember how the press ridiculed the preoccupation of many people who questioned Barack Obama’s eligibility to become and then to be President over the “birther” issue from late 2008 until early 2011.

Now look at who’s obsessed. The press refuses to recognize that it has lost an issue it thought could use to bury the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. They won’t let it go, even though that train left the station on September 16. It would be hard to find a more obvious example of this obsession than was seen yesterday at MSNBC, when Chris Hayes refused to talk about anything else with Omarosa Manigault, the Trump campaign’s director of African-American outreach.



Even TMZ Calls It a ‘Low Blow’: Howard Dean Speculates That Trump Is a ‘Coke User’

It’s pretty hysterical how the left wants to set the rules for civil discourse over presidential candidates’ health and habits.

To them, it’s really bad to talk, and virtually evil to speculate, about Hillary Clinton’s demonstrations of frailty and other possible illnesses seen during the campaign, which are certainly not limited to her “medical situation” at the 9/11 anniversary ceremony two weeks ago. They think that responsible adults shouldn’t engage in that … with Democrats. But let Donald Trump show up at the first of the three presidential debates with some sniffling, and Howard Dean — former 12-year Governor of Vermont, 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee — couldn’t resist speculating that the GOP nominee was “on coke.”



Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092716)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Mexicans flood the capital to defend marriage – with Pope Francis’ blessing

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Mexico City:

Sep 26, 2016 / 02:15 pm

Some 400,000 people filled the streets of Mexico City on Saturday to protest the Mexican government’s attempt to redefine marriage as anything but a union between one man and one woman.

Juan Dabdoub Giacoman, president of the Mexican Council of the Family, which helped organize the event, told CNA on Sept. 10 that the march was “historic” and an “example of the awakening of Mexico.”

“It is a march to express to politicians and leaders of the country that this is really what Mexican society is searching for, which is not what gender ideology and the international LGBT movement is promoting.”

After Mass on Sept. 25, Pope Francis voiced his support of the Mexican bishops’ role in supporting the march, and their efforts for society “in favor of family and life, which at this time require special pastoral and cultural attention throughout the world.”

The size and reach of the protests came as a surprise, even for event organizers, Dabdoub told CNA.

“Mexico really isn’t characterized as being a country with great social participation,” he explained. “Civically, we have been very apathetic and this awakening to the national level was shocking and surprised us.”

“The family is the fundamental cell of society,” Dabdoub said. “But what the president proposed not only fails to protect it, but shatters it.”

“If we send our message and show that there are many people willing to go out and face what is happening now, we will have the opportunity for politicians to reverse the situation and begin to make the changes Mexicans need,” he asserted.

Sept. 24 marked the country’s second March for the Family. The march brought together more than 400,000 people to protest against efforts by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to push for same-sex marriage and to show the Mexican people’s support for marriage and the family.

Go here for the rest of the story.