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A Swedish Plan to Save the U.S.

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To say that the U.S. government is a profligate spender of OMP – other people’s money – is such an understatement it borders on the hysterical.

Yes, our government has a spending problem. And because of that, it also has a management problem, a waste, fraud and abuse problem, and a taxation problem.

High taxes (well, for some income groups) feed an insatiable federal leviathan that then uses our money to pick certain winners in the corporate world (think incentives) while buying off key voter constituencies with taxpayer money (think welfare, SNAP, Obamacare and other government subsidies).

It’s all gotten quite out of hand. Our government has spent trillions more than it has taken in. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is out of whack (it is projected to be more than 105 percent next year). We have more Americans on food stamps and welfare now than at any time in our history. Means tested federal and state aid programs now number around 80. Through it all, poverty rates have only increased – even though nearly 70 percent of federal spending goes to dependency programs.

Enter Sweden. It, too, used to be an economic basket case. But at some point in the early 1990s, the elected leaders of Sweden decided that the future solvency of their country was a helluva lot more important than partisanship and power, so they got together and did something about it.

As noted in a new report by Per Byland in the Mises Institute’s The Free Market, Keynesian idiots like The New York Times’ Paul Krugman – who adore big welfare states and somehow think “government money” that is forcibly taken from productive Americans and given to unproductive Americans is good for the economy – refuse to acknowledge the historic failure of government to create wealth:

During the recent financial crisis, Sweden has emerged as one of very few financially sound economies. …

In September of 1992 the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, raised the interest rate to five hundred (500) percent in a vain attempt to save the fixed exchange rate of the Swedish krona (Sweden’s currency). This drastic measure was taken in conjunction with large spending cuts and tax increases to address the free-fall of the nation’s economy. The economic meltdown was the culmination of two full decades of decline…

Since that time, Sweden has, across the board, seen consistent government cutbacks while increasing restrictions on welfare policies, deregulating markets, and privatizing former government monopolies. The country has instituted an overall new incentive structure in society making it more favorable to work. The national debt tumbled from almost 80 percent of GDP in 1995 to only 35 percent in 2010.

Sweden is an interesting case to study. We do indeed, as Krugman repeatedly tells us, have much to learn from it: from the long-lasting era of economic growth thanks to free markets to the rise and fall of the welfare state. The country’s recently (re)gained financial strength and its ability to resist a global recession are due, not to a strong welfare state as Krugman claims, but to the long-term rolling back of the expansive welfare that Keynesians so often praise.

There are some members of one party in Washington who still advocates cutting the size of the leviathan, reducing the welfare state, cutting regulatory burdens and getting the government out of the business of trying to run and manage business, and none of them belong to the Democrat Party. But they are regularly dismissed and derided.

If we are to have a prayer of preventing the United States from plunging head first into the fiscal abyss, priority number one has to be getting rid of the lunatics who are running the asylum. And that starts with the leadership in both parties.

While the people of Sweden pushed their leaders to act responsibly to prevent the kind of fiscal disaster that would have meant, literally, the end of Sweden, we know our own Socialist-in-Chief, Barack Obama, and his sycophantic love children in Congress and the federal bureaucracy, won’t willingly do what’s right.

So they will have to be forced to do it.

Becoming fiscally responsible and less reliant on big, fat, bloated government will cause some pain for a while, but it’s a pain we simply have to bear if we are serious about our survival.

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Trump Says Economy ‘Roaring Back’ in June As 4.8 Million Jobs Added

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Trump Says Economy ‘Roaring Back’ in June As 4.8 Million Jobs Added

The economy added back 4.8 million jobs last month, according to the government’s June jobs report released yesterday. That handily beat the 3.7 million jobs forecasted by economists and dropped the unemployment rate down to 11.1%.

After the report was released, President Trump said the economy was “extremely strong” and “roaring back” after the country has regained more than 7.5 million jobs in the last two months. Trump added that the economy will keep growing unless voters elected Democrat Joe Biden in November. He said Biden would raise taxes and hurt the economy and the stock market would “drop down to nothing.”

Jobs Added

Of the jobs added back in June, bars and restaurants hired – or rehired – 1.48 million workers. This comes as many reopened for outdoor dining in the early phases of the reopening. They brought back a similar number of workers in May. It happened after shedding more than 6 million jobs due to the pandemic.

The retail sector regained 740,000 jobs, healthcare added back 358,000 workers, and manufacturing saw 356,000 jobs added.

The energy sector continues to be battered by low oil prices amidst the economic slowdown. Additionally, that industry shed an additional 10,000 jobs last month.

The return of lower-paying jobs like those found in the restaurant and hospitality industry dragged down the average hourly wages for the second straight month.

Many are cautioning against reading too much into reports like average hourly wages while the economy is in such turmoil.

Stephen Stanley, chief economist of Amherst Pierpont Securities, says, “The wage figures will be pretty much useless for a long while until the labor market gets back to some semblance of normality.”

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of the job site Glassdoor, also gave an explanation. He added, “Today’s positive jobs report does provide a powerful signal of how swiftly U.S. job growth can bounce back and how rapidly businesses can reopen once the nation finally brings the coronavirus under control — a reason for optimism in coming months.”

Looking Forward

Unfortunately for many of the workers recently rehired to work in bars and restaurants, the recent spike in new coronavirus cases could lead to those jobs quickly being lost for a second time. Bars in many states are being shut down again in an effort to curb the growing number of cases.

The unemployment rate fell for the second straight month. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is trying to fix a reporting error that, if corrected, would increase the unemployment rate by 1%.

The problem is how households respond to the monthly survey that is used to calculate the unemployment rate. The jobless rate would have been 1 point higher if not for continued problems in how respondents answer the question about their employment status.

What many consider the “real” unemployment rate, which is the U6 rate, includes workers who can only find part-time jobs. It also includes those who’ve become too discouraged to look for jobs because so few are available. Using that measurement, the unemployment rate stands at 18% in June, down from 21.2% in May.

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Trump Favors Larger Stimulus Checks, Says ‘Tremendous’ Market Crash if Biden Wins

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Trump Favors Larger Stimulus Checks, Says ‘Tremendous’ Market Crash if Biden Wins

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox Business News, President Trump mentioned his support for another round of stimulus checks and says should Joe Biden win the election in November, we should expect the stock market to crash “a tremendous amount.”

On Stimulus Checks

Speaking with Blake Burman, the president says he is in favor of another round of stimulus checks, but wants to make sure that there is a financial incentive for Americans to return to work.

“I support it, but it has to be done properly. I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly. We had something where it gave you a disincentive to work last time. And it was still money going to people, and helping people, so I was all for that. But we want to create a very great incentive to work.”

Trump also mentioned he wants the checks to arrive quickly and spent quickly, without the Democrats adding complications.

“I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it, I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion. And they wanted to make it too complicated, also it was an incentive not to go to work,” said Trump.

Returning to work is what hard-working Americans are looking forward to, says Trump, and he wants there to be a financial incentive to do so.

“You’d make more money if you don’t go to work. That’s not what the country is all about. And people didn’t want that. They wanted to go to work but it didn’t make sense because they make more money if they didn’t… we want people to get out and we want to create a tremendous incentive for people to want to go back to work.”

On Biden and Taxes

When asked about Joe Biden’s recently announced plans to raise corporate taxes if he becomes President, Trump said “You’re going to crash the market. 401(k)s will be down the tubes, the wealth of the country will be down.”

He added “That will kill the market. It will kill everything we are doing, it will kill jobs, and it will be very bad. Frankly, the stock market is doing well, but it’s an overhang. If he got elected, and they say this, that’s an overhang over the market, because the market would crash. Would absolutely crash.”

When asked what he means by crash, Trump responded, “Markets would go down by tremendous amounts. He’d raise taxes, he’d raise regulations. Look, one of the biggest things I’ve done is I’ve cut regulations more than any President in history. We still have regulations, but they’re much less. His people, the people around him (Biden) are radical left. They’re going to raise taxes, they’re going to raise regulations, and they’re going to put everyone out of business. It would be a disaster.”

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Fed to Keep Rates At Zero, Worried About Market Crash Later This Year

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Fed Will Keep Rates At Zero, Worried About Market Crash Later This Year

The Federal Reserve will keep rates at near zero percent for the foreseeable future. Also, a few members feel worried about a second wave of the coronavirus crashing the markets later this year. These are according to the minutes of the June 9-10 meeting.

Near-Zero Rates

Federal Open Market Committee members voted to keep the benchmark short-term borrowing rate in a range of 0%-0.25%. They also said that, until the economy “had weathered recent events,” they would keep it there. Without providing specifics, the notes also mention that “a number” of members believe there is a high probability of additional “waves of outbreaks” of the coronavirus.

This worry over additional outbreak waves and the economic damage it could bring led the FOMC committee to downgrade their economic outlook from the April meeting. The said meeting had predicted a more benign baseline forecast.

The members also indicated that they will begin providing the markets with stronger guidance about future interest rate moves. However, Fed watchers don’t expect the committee to begin providing this guidance any earlier than the September meeting.

“In particular, most participants commented that the Committee should communicate a more explicit form of forward guidance for the path of the federal funds rate and provide more clarity regarding purchases of Treasury securities and agency [mortgage-backed securities] as more information about the trajectory of the economy becomes available,” the minutes said.

Milestones and Metrics

The committee also discussed what milestones they will use to determine an appropriate time to start raising interest rates. When they did, the metrics proposed has split the committee.

In 2012 for example, the Fed said it would keep rates at zero until the unemployment rate fell below 6.5%. Alternatively, they also said it would keep zero rates until the inflation goes above 2.5%.

In June’s meeting, a “number” of members said any interest rate increases should be tied to the Fed’s 2% inflation target. Meanwhile, a “couple” favored using the unemployment rate. A “few” members suggested the committee set a specific date.

The FOMC also released its expectations for GDP over the next few years. The median GDP projection for 2020 was a contraction of 6.5%. A 5% increase in 2021 and a 3.5% in 2022 will follow this. However, they acknowledged “that there remained an extraordinary amount of uncertainty and considerable risks to the economic outlook.”

Trump on Powell

Meanwhile, there’s a bit of good news for Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell. It appears he has slowly won over his most vocal critic, President Trump.

During an interview on Fox Business News, Trump said Powell has “stepped up to the plate” and he’s happy with Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for the work they’ve done to help the economy recover.

“I would say that I was not happy with him at the beginning, and I’m getting more and more happy with him, I think he’s stepped up to the plate. He’s done a good job, he’s had to liquify a little bit, let us liquify, put out the money that you needed, and I would say over the last period of 6 months he’s really stepped up to the plate.

“I can tell you I’m very happy with his performance, and Steve Mnuchin, I think they’ve both done a very good job, they’re working together very closely.”

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