The markets are set to pause this morning after the big run-up on Friday while presumably, smarter people than us try to figure out what the heck is going on with retail sales figures. The problem is that the most recent Fed Consumer Credit (really, it’s debt, but you know that) report showed a big increase in revolving credit.
The problem is the Fed number was for May. What the market has to digest now is a distinctly weaker report out this morning from Census covering June:
“The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $401.5 billion, a decrease of 0.5 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, but 3.8 percent (±0.7%) above June 2011. Total sales for the April through June 2012 period were up 4.7 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The April to May 2012 percent change was unrevised from -0.2 percent (±0.2%)*.
Retail trade sales were down 0.5 percent (±0.5%)* from May 2012, but 3.5 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 10.9 percent (±3.1%) from June 2011 and furniture and home furnishings stores were up 7.8 percent (±2.8%) from last year. “
So the picture looks like this – but remember, this doesn’t take into account price changes…
It looks like Autos are leading the recovery (year on year) but when 1% growth in the M1 money supply is considered, it’s looking more like a muddle than a recovery. You might call it “Change” but it ain’t much.
Speaking in Roanoke, VA to supporters, president Obama said some suspiciously anti-business sounding things which you can read over here. While taking the tack that business has lots of government help developing infrastructure, we can’t help but notice that it is government which is now in the process of taking back some of that infrastructure.
Where the president mentions roads and bridges, we note an increasing trend toward new and higher tolls, plus awarding fast toll deals to foreign corporations.
When it comes to the Internet, we note that it didn’t start as a “consumer” or “business” project. It came from ARPANET and was not a government gift by any stretch. Moreover, the Internet arguably hasn’t been exactly a “gift” of government to American small business owners: The reality is that the ‘net has provided a platform that facilitate massive outsourcing of American jobs to seemingly everywhere but here.
And when it comes to fire departments? Apparently the administration has missed coverage of cities going bankrupt in California and elsewhere due to bad fiscal policy. A word with Colorado fire victims might be enlightening, too, if you want to talk firefighting.
Cities are meantime looking into policies which would, in effect condemn vacant properties, while fire and police department budgets are being cut, so we have to wonder what drives this level of sophomoric anti-business rhetoric?
The main issue in this election is not whether the glass is half full, or half empty. It’s over basic ownership of the glass.
We the People don’t seem to own it, anymore. Instead our media-labeled “leaders” are even off shoring fundraising, including Obama’s fund-raiser plans (perhaps not surprisingly) in communist China.
Unfortunately, Obama is not alone in outsourcing his funding. Here’s a report Mitt Romney will be doing a fundraiser in Israel.
The bane of voters (if you’ll forgive the cheap word play) is the American presidency is up for bid. Unlike eBay, where a seller can specify they won’t ship products overseas, present election laws encourage half-minded jingoisms, divisiveness and, oh yeah, foreign bidding.
Somehow, that doesn’t seem like what the Founders had in mind, does it?
Why some poly-sci grad student hasn’t proposed the obvious – the Diogenes Party (which would seek honest political candidates, if that’s not an oxymoron) is beyond me.
End-Run in Egypt
I’ve been mentioning how Arab Spring has been blowing up in the face of America’s foreign policy elite. In today’s latest episode of “Oh-oh. What have we done?” we notice that SecState Hillary Clinton’s auto (not her, though) was pelted with tomatoes while she’s was in Egypt talking with the still-clinging military government, presumably about what to do next. Then she jetted of to J’lem.
Meantime, the NY Times dutifully reports that “Clinton sees opportunity as well as uncertainty in the Middle East.” If that’s what she sees, she needs her eyes checked or she needs to grok what a SMFPTW is: Slow-motion foreign policy train-wreck.
Factoid: Data (2010) shows, one-third of US foreign aid goes to Egypt and Israel, though neither country is a developing country. We keep pouring in military hardware to the region and what do you think the outcome is going to be? D’oh!
And, speaking of highly profitable for the defense industry, there’s fresh fighting reported in Syria’s capital, which isn’t surprising since its a kind of open-secret that the West is funding anti-Assad forces, branded variously as “freedom fighters,” “activists,” or “the resistance” and such while the other side (Assad, et al) is supported by Russia. And yes, that helicopter-carrying ship is still moving around.
Russia, for its part, is whining about “elements of blackmail” in the West’s posture and dealings.
So with the Kremlin in background, urging Assad to hold on, the Syrians seem to be preparing a kind of “poison-pill” defense with chemical weapons. The Atlantic has a good summary of the issue here, while other sources (here) note that Israel is readying for this eventuality.
But the sad economic fact continues to be that without permanent warring, the global economy would have imploded months ago, and unemployment would be 3 to 5 percentage points higher.
Ever wonder why gun control for civilians is such a hot issue for liberals when our own government sells so much military hardware? Goose and gander deal, you think?
Bread, Circuses, Ratings
Yes, Heathrow airport is setting new passenger records as the Olympics gear up.
And yes, branding police are out in force.
The Mittster is working his 2002 Salt Lake Olympics background into this. Not to be outdone, Obama’s campaign may be spending $6.5 mil on games airtime. Presumably this will end up in US media coffers, since not too many Brits vote in US elections.
But all this “high bidder” stuff has me wondering if I could run a campaign for office in Anderson County Texas by not raising a single dime inside county. Why, I could go to China, get super-PAC money, and maybe raise some dough from the K-Street mafia. Toss in some right-rich brothers dough and some gun rights money and it begins to pencil out as possible. All I’d have to do then is buy all available airtime and local newspaper space…why I’d be swept into office in a landslide!
Near as I can figure, this is how thin-population district congresscritters work it once they get their hooks in.
While the Olympics have physical competitions, I’m appalled that the world (with its purported rising consciousness on the internet) hasn’t cobbled up some kind of all round “Best Thinking” event.
Humans ought to be looking for the “best and brightest” globally since what runs the world now can’t really be the best there is - Can it? I mean to have a choice between a fast-talking Chicago community activist and a businessman who can’t work a calendar? We fought wars for choices like these?
Wimmen is Smartr
Women have overtaken men in IQ scoring due to better multi-tasking. When men do that it’s called ADHD, lol.
More after this…