October 14, 2015

DWS BS: Schultz Did Not Tell ‘About a Dozen’ Dem Officials About Number of Presidential Campaign Debates

Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has insisted that she consulted with all of her vice-chairs before deciding on the number of Democratic presidential primary debates would be held.

John Heilemann of Bloomberg Politics, in what Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw described as “a rare moment of” someone in the press actually “doing their job” in fact-checking leftists, reported this morning that “I cannot find a vice-chair who was consulted in advance by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.” The rest of the press appears to be completely disinterested in reporting on the DNC chair’s obvious and blatant lie.

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CNNMoney Email Touts ‘Most Ever’ Dem Debate Audience — 40 Pct. Below GOP’s

The last thing the press wants low-information voters to learn is that there has been far more interest in the contest for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination than there has been in the Democrats’.

That disparity has naturally carried over into the size of the audience watching the respective parties’ debates. Despite months of buildup to the first left-side debate of the season and relentless hype all week long in the establishment press, last night’s Democratic debate drew an audience of only 15.3 million compared to 25 million and 23 million in the first two Republican debates. Naturally, CNNMoney’s morning email had no interest in communicating that disappointing (to the left) reality:

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August Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales: Eighth Straight Month of Year-Over-Year Sales Declines; Inventory/Sales Ratio Remains in Dangerous Territory

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:35 am

The predictions focus on what happened to inventories (either flat or up 0.1 percent), but the far more important question is whether sales have picked up.

Here is the opening summary in the Census Bureau’s August report:

Sales. The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for August, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,320.5 billion, down 0.6 percent (±0.2%) from July 2015 and was down 3.1 percent (±0.5%) from August 2014.

Inventories. Manufacturers’ and trade inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,811.0 billion, virtually unchanged (±0.1%)* from July 2015, but were up 2.4 percent (±0.5%) from August 2014.

Inventories/Sales Ratio. The total business inventories/sales ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of August was 1.37. The August 2014 ratio was 1.30.

There is no good news here.

Additionally, regardless of whether the calculations are being done correctly, the results of seasonalization, as bad as they look, are covering up an even worse underlying reality:

MfgAndTradeSalesJanToAug2003to2015

The boxed months of May and August show that actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) 2015 sales came in lower than the figures seen two years earlier — yet seasonally adjusted sales this year are higher than the figures seen two years ago. Again, regardless of whether the calcs have been done correctly, that’s a load of horse manure.

The seasonally adjusted figures are what get loaded into the estimates of GDP growth. From here, it sure looks like third-quarter GDP will be inherently overstated.

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UPDATE: Zero Hedge comments on the Inventory/Sales Ratio (bolds is theirs) —

Recession Looms – Business Inventories-to-Sales Surge To Cycle Highs

… clearly no inventory liquidation has started yet (so the pain is yet to come) and this has driven the inventory-to-sales ratio up to 1.37x – the highest in this cycle. The last 2 times the ratio was at this level, the US was in recession.

Mark Zandi, Head Obama Economy Cheerleader, Goes All-in

It would be nice if Mark Zandi of Moody’s turns out to be right about the direction of the economy.

I don’t think he is, and believe that a significant percentage of his optimism is driven by delusion.

After the jump, I’ve posted his commentary at TheStreet.com in its entirety for fair use and discussion purposes as a marker for the future.

I would prefer that Zandi deliver an “I told you so” a year or so from now, but his ability to do to is off to a slow start. Minutes after his claim that consumers are starting “to flex their muscles,” retail sales disappointed.

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September Retail Sales: Up 0.1 Percent; Previous Month Revised From +0.2 Percent to Zero

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

The predictions were for an overall rise of 0.2 percent and for a 0.1 – 0.2 percent decline “ex-auto.”

Here are the opening paragraphs from the Census Bureau’s 8:30 a.m. release (bolds are mine):

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $447.7 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, and 2.4 percent (±0.7%) above September 2014. Total sales for the July 2015 through September 2015 period were up 2.3 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The July 2015 to August 2015 percent change was revised from +0.2 percent (±0.5%)* to virtually unchanged (±0.2%)*.

Retail trade sales were virtually unchanged (±0.5%)* from August 2015, and 1.7 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Motor vehicle and parts dealers were up 8.8 percent (±2.6%) from last year and food services and drinking places were up 7.9 percent (±3.5%) from September 2014.

That’s two very flat months after an increase of 0.7 percent in July, which is more evidence that the economy is slowing down.

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UPDATE: Zero Hedge has the “ex-autos” figure (bold is theirs) —

Retail Sales (ex Autos) dropped 0.3% in September, the 2nd drop in a row, the biggest drop since January (at the heart of the weather-driven economic weakness).

… Year-over-year data shows sustained stagnant growth in retail sales historically aligned with a recessionary environment.

… most notably, retail sales dropped in 7 of 13 major categories including:

  • Electronics and appliance stores -0.2%
  • Building Materials and Supplies -0.3%
  • Food and beverage -0.3%
  • Gasoline stations -3.2%
  • General merchandise stores -0.1%
  • Miscellaneous store retailers -1.3%
  • Online -0.2%

NewsBusted (101315)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 8:28 am

Here we go:

Topics:
– Russia’s Syrian Airstrikes
– President Obama
– German President Joachim Gauck
– Hillary Clinton
– ObamaTrade
– Dr. Ben Carson
– 911 calls
– National Enquirer
– Governor Jerry Brown
– Assisted Suicide

Best Lines:

  • “At the White House last week, President Obama met with German President Joachim Gauck. The two presidents have very different worldview. For example, Gauck is pro-democracy.”
  • “Hillary Clinton now opposes Obamatrade after supporting it 45 times. So it’s official; her authenticity phase is now over.”
  • “Speaking of Hillary, she says she is the most transparent person in American history. And she has a point. 63% of Americans say they can see right through her.”

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101415)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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: Jaxon Taylor Injury — Toddler’s Head Reattached After Internal Decapitation (‘It’s a Miracle’)

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From New South Wales, Australia (video at link; reproduced in full due to relative brevity; HT to Julie Prince at PJ Media):

A toddler in Australia is smiling and learning to walk again after surgeons reattached his spine to his head following a high-speed car accident.

The 16-month-old boy, Jaxon Taylor, was riding in a car with his mother and 9-year-old sister last month when they collided head-on with another car at about 70 mph in northern New South Wales. The force of the impact tore apart Jaxon’s upper vertebrae, leaving his head internally severed.

“The second I pulled him out, I knew that he — I knew that his neck was broken,” Jaxon Taylor’s mother, Rylea Taylor, told 7 News Melbourne.

Jaxon was airlifted to a hospital in Brisbane, and ended up in the care of spinal surgeon Geoff Askin.

“A lot of children wouldn’t survive that injury in the first place,” Askin said. “And if they did and they were resuscitated they may never move or breathe again.”

In a six-hour operation, surgeons used a fragment of one of Jaxon’s ribs to graft the severed vertebrae together, 7 News Melbourne reported.

He will have to wear a neck brace for a couple months to allow the tissues and nerves connecting his head to his spine to heal, according to the channel.

But the boy seems to be making a remarkable recovery, kicking a balloon, laughing and hugging his parents.

“It is a miracle,” Rylea Taylor said.