Podcast 613-Rising Tide? Trump’s Minimal Economic Impact

We’re Growing Again Right?

Trump ballyhoos new numbers. Seems like the new president is turning our economy around. A rising tide? What does an improving economy look like? Are there actions that cause real economic growth? Do you think new leaders are taking those actions?

Republicans Know How To Fix The Economy Right?

Deregulation. Tax cuts and reform. Infrastructure construction. Campaign Pledges were made. Pledges spurred optimism. Furthermore promises can be kept because republicans are in charge and republicans understand business. So the story goes.

Trump Has Already Started Making Things Better Right?

Trump claims credit for the new numbers. Can a new president have an economic impact after less than 90 days?

What’s Better?

How do you define economic success for the United States? Better job? More money? Saving a job? Getting a loan for business or housing? Seeing your 401K account fatten because of stock performance? Cheaper gas? GDP? Productivity? Improved employment? Interest Rates? Jobs coming back to America? Consequently how do you know when it’s working?

What Has Been Done?

Because of the new numbers coverage exploded. However, what have Trump and the new Congress actually done? Executive orders on regulation. Business and the environment. Pipelines. Budget cuts. Trade and the budget. In conclusion, is there an impact on the economy overall?

How Do You Know?

Who are the people that put these reports together and what methodology do they use? How do economists and traders judge these numbers? Seems like people accept them at face value. Should you place confidence in these reports?

What Actually Works?

Are there specific actions that can be taken to grow our economy? If business and economic philosophy is important, what do our leaders believe? Do you think there is a standard approach to economics and government in Washington? More importantly, we know ideas counter to the current approach exist. Will the new congress and president embrace them?

Back To The ’50’s

Let’s face it. We have a sclerotic, 1950’s style government. People are developing and using new technological tools developed for the 21st Century. Moving fast toward building a new world. Block Chain Currencies. Improved Communication tools. Robotic manufacturing. Higher productivity. Government might be out of step with those developments.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 611-Define Political Progress

When it comes to politics these days noise is the norm. The latest outrage drowns out talk about political progress. Voters in 2016 made their choices for a reason. Not too early to ask whether the politicians are making progress toward addressing those reasons. We talk about it in Podcast 611-Define Political Progress.

ObamaCare Repeal

Number one issue on the campaign trail. Bogged down in congress already. Republicans wanted a full repeal of the ACA. New GOP plan isn’t a full repeal. President Trump has already endorsed it. What happened to promises of a full repeal?

Economy

Somewhere around 96 million people are out of the workforce. Need to create 375,000 new jobs a month for several months to get those people back in the work force. For years we were less than impressed with a quarter of a million jobs each month. Economic growth has been promised. In Podcast 611-Define Political Progress.

Cutting Federal Budget

Smaller government? Proposed budget cuts are accompanied with proposals to shift money to defense. Does this reduce the size of government? A hiring freeze can be considered progress. Corporate tax reductions can be progress. However making up corporate tax reductions with higher taxes somewhere else doesn’t cut the budget.

Foreign Policy and Military Spending

Resurgent Russia. Rising China. Political changes in Turkey. Expanding NATO. Cyber Threats. US troops in Iraq and Syria. ISIS. Terror. Climate Change. How will reducing foreign aid and increasing military spending address these concerns? What should the foreign policy of the US be? It’s all in Podcast 611-Define Political Progress.

Too Early?

First benchmark on progress made by a majority republican government in the United States. Did you vote for republicans? Are they doing what you wanted them to do?

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 595-Money

Money and Controlling the Media Battle Space

Money. Money. Money! Everything the new President says and does is controversial. The latest eruption concerns Trump’s executive order regarding immigrants from several war-torn countries in the middle east region. A handful of court rulings challenging the order are centered on whether due process can be denied people allowed into the United States legally. The court rulings do not suggest the President cannot use executive orders to control departments in the executive branch but whether if the executive orders deny legal rights without due process.

This is just another in a series of actions and comments by President Trump and his administration that have received wide comment and coverage in the media. While protesters protest and media outlets gas-bag about the latest affront to society, Trump and his people throw another rock into the lake creating new ripples that have to be protested against and reacted to by the already too reactive media. This is a tactic or strategy known as an OODA Loop. Trump is forcing the media and his opponents to react to him. When they react his team observes their reaction, decides on a new initiative and then acts, restarting the loop. In this way the administration controls the media battle space.

About the Money

In Podcast 595-Money: When it comes to Money, once the initial spate of executive orders and stunts at press conferences passes, Congress and the President will get down to work on legislative initiatives to address the moribund economy of the United States. Podcast 595-Money wonders whether what has been talked about by this president on the campaign trail and in the media will indeed, make America Great Again.

No Growth

The United States has grown less than 3 percent a year roughly for the last eight years. Those old enough to remember the early 80’s know that the experience of robust economic growth in that era was real. People didn’t worry so much about getting jobs. As inflation came under control and interest rates came down and as unemployment started to come down, optimism took hold. We have not had that kind of feeling in the United States for a long time.

The question is whether the things Trump wants to do will actually produce economic growth. Middle Class taxes are already historically low. Cutting corporate taxes may result in higher profits which is good for Wall Street but may not translate to jobs. Some parts of clearing out the thicket of Federal Regulations can be done by executive order but most of it will require congressional action. Will a Trillion Dollar Stimulus package to build roads and bridges spur economic growth?

A Republican Stimulus?

President Obama’s Trillion Dollar stimulus was supposed to stimulate economic growth and didn’t. Part of the problem with big federal stimulus efforts is the money has to be block granted to states and the spending becomes political. Another issue is the fact that most people in the United States are employed in services rather than construction trade. Aside from the fact that government spending doesn’t ‘create’ jobs, putting people to work in a small swath of the population usually doesn’t result in a high multiple. This is why the Obama Stimulus produced dubious results.

Another problem is Trump’s Trade Protectionist sentiments. While the trade unions love the idea generally the United States has been a free trade nation. Trade agreements are negotiated because most of our trading partners are trade protectionists. The agreements generally break down borders to our trade. The fact certain kinds of manufacturing is cheaper in Latin America and Asia has actually benefited Americans in the form of cheaper goods. Putting up barriers to manufacturing overseas also means goods in the US will become more expensive.

Most of the jobs lost in the last decade or so have been lost due to information technology, robotics and automation. New manufacturing plants are much more automated these days which means they will not produce the manufacturing jobs expected. When one considers completely automated warehouses like Amazon’s and robotic manufacturing like Elon Musk’s showplace plant, don’t expect ‘bringing manufacturing back to the United States’ means jobs at the factory for Uncle Mike.

If you believe the economy is the sum total of individual’s transactions then an economy can be considered a force of nature. This is the first time in recent memory a ‘conservative’ president has endorsed trade protection and big government spending. Two of the biggest problems economically in the United States are the ongoing budget deficits and the total public debt. One wonders how the cornerstones of the Trump economic policy will produce enough growth to reduce the deficits and public debt.

Finally in Podcast 595-Money, the proof will be in the pudding. With all the other controversies swirling around this president after just two weeks if his policies fail to produce the promised economic growth republicans will have real problems in the 2018 and perhaps the 2020 cycles, especially for the politicians that endorsed Trump. Be careful what you pray for.

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 580-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-56

Podcast 580-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-56. Four mini podcast for your weekend. It’s time to move beyond talk about fake news and false narratives. Time to work on becoming better citizens. We have to get beyond reactions to get what is needed to create better political structures for the future. People have very high expectations about a Trump presidency. Whether you fear the future or can’t wait for it, the President-Elect’s cabinet nominations are moderate and establishment republicans. Trump’s ideas are philosophically all over the road. The new republican administration may end up being just as statist as a Hillary Clinton presidency. One example is Trump’s penchant for roads and bridges and airports. Given the establishment congress of republican moderates expecting a reduction in the cost and power of the federal government is too much to ask for. Fake News is still ‘in the news’. There were suggestions from the CIA at the end of last week that the Russians ‘could have’ been responsible for the Wikileaks hack. Still no proof though. That doesn’t stop the media from feeding into the Clinton camp narrative that Russia put Trump in the White House. It’s impossible to say what influenced voters in Ohio, Pennsyvania, North Carolina and Florida where Trump won by tight margins. None of these facts stop demands to ‘do something’ about ‘fake news’. FaceBook is caving and censorship is suddenly now a big topic. There have also been reports that Electors (members of the electoral college for 2016) have received death threats. What happens if Trump doesn’t have a majority of electors? What is the goal of people supporting the effort to influence the Electoral College? Have you driven around the country lately? If you had, you would know the United States does not have an ‘infrastructure’ problem. Building new airports, roads and bridges will not create enough new jobs to influence a 16 trillion dollar economy. Moreover, trade protection, cutting taxes on the middle class, increasing spending and government power including military spending is fraught with problems and probably won’t result in economic growth. Where does the money come from for these shiny objects? It has to be taxed or borrowed, sooner or later. For those who supported Trump because he ‘isn’t Hillary’, there are no guarantees he’ll be materially different from Clinton, when it comes to results. Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.[Powerpress]

Podcast 450

Beware The Soothsayers. So much of our media these days is caught up in predicting the future. Weather, economics, sports and especially politics, isn’t so much about fact as it is about predictions based on opinion and poorly supported ‘fatcs’. Without a real basis in science or proven facts, we’re constantly told what the ‘future will bring’. It’s a wonder news anchors and ‘commentators’ don’t wear brightly colored head dresses and look into a crystal ball. One of the reasons we are ill served by a modern media possessed of the greatest technology for informing known to man, is its executives exhort their on screen ‘actors’ and so called ‘journalists’ to use opinion and hearsay to ‘predict’ what ‘will’ happen, rather than just report the facts around an event, or ‘the news’. For instance, lower prices for gasoline was going to ‘act like a tax cut’ and we would have economic growth. The Christmas retail shopping season might be a little down, but it would still be good. Donald Trump would be a flash in the pan, and would ‘collapse’ as soon as voters ‘came to their senses’. This is the time of year astrologers make their predictions for 2016, which are about as accurate as the wild ‘predictions’ made by the cable news services, round table discussions, commentary pieces distributed on line, and most of the rest of the media conglomeration complex, especially talk radio and the cable news channels. What do you think would happen if they stopped making predictions? There’d be a lot of dead air. In fact most of what is being broadcast and written these days is little more than fortune telling, and not very good fortune telling at that. In a late night podcast by the fire, as we labor under a winter storm watch in the upper midwest (at least a foot of snow ‘predicted’ with the ‘storm’ starting Monday night), time to air some concerns about what we are being told, and talk about the antidote to it. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance, and by the Mobile Podcast Command Unit of The Bob Davis Podcasts. 

Podcast 441

Shopping, Trump, Lies & Liquor. Welcome back from the big Thanksgiving weekend. The weeks starts with the National Retail Federation, AKA The Propaganda Ministry for the Big Box Retailers. If they’re not making up stories about how many people will shop the day after Thanksgiving, they’re blaming lackluster retail numbers on … wait for it … The Internet and specifically Amazon.com. This is the latest nonsense cooked up to convince lawmakers ‘something has to be done’, and that something is regulation of the Internet, so people will continue to shop at obsolete brick and mortar retailers located inside something called ‘The Mall’. Do we have data that shows the Internet is killing the Mall? Not really. Meanwhile ‘Black Friday’ is more and more an example of all that is wrong in America, and provides a great ‘look at the fat Americans fighting over flat screen TV’s’ story often seen in the foreign media. Maybe people aren’t shopping because they don’t believe the fairy tail about our growing economy, or because the new job only pays half what the old job pays, or because there’s a double digit health insurance premium. Yeah, right. We’re going to ‘spend the savings on two dollar gasoline’ at the mall. You know, like a tax cut. Meanwhile, Political Information Lag produced a lot of surprises at the Thanksgiving table as relatives discovered each other were rooting for Trump, or Bernie Sanders. Both candidates are outside the ‘establishment’ Republican and Democrat story line. Everyone HATES Washington and they HATE mainstream media charlatans who lie to them, while they work for candidates like Hillary Clinton. Once real people actually start voting, we’ll see whether anti-establishmentarianism is a ‘thing’, or not. Jeb! shouldn’t hold his breath tho. Meanwhile the City of Edina’s liquor store apparently can’t complete with ‘cut throat’ discount liquor stores (that actually have a responsibility to their stock holders to make money; how quaint.) Thus, the Mayor of Edina wants a liquor store tax, to make up the loss. “It’s a good business, and we’re going to stay in it”. Why are municipalities in the business of selling liquor? Bottom line, if government can’t even make money selling liquor apparently its incompetence knows no bounds. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Trucks.

Podcast 433

Voting Surprises. Elections held on November 3rd, 2015 show the potential for voters to surprise and even shock media, pundits and commentators. Is a Tea-Party Republican victory in the Kentucky Governor’s race a harbinger of surprises to come once people start actually voting in the primaries and caucuses starting February 1st, 2016? Voters in Ohio rejected legalizing Marijuana, Democrats in Virginia lost their bid to gain control of the State Senate, and LGBT rights legislation failed in Houston, Texas. Is this a conservative voting trend? The next actual election is November 21st in Louisiana, where polls say a Democrat is favored to win the bid to replace Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Is the chattering class underestimating the possibility that conservative voters could show up in large numbers, shifting the country to the right. Same question applies to the grip of establishment republicans on power in the GOP. It is dangerous to believe polls, especially this early in the process. When it comes to real political science, the proof is in the pudding. If there is a trend of angry voters on the right turning out, the punditry is going to be caught flat footed, but the establishment republicans will be shocked. One gets the impression, reporters and commentators covering these elections hear so many stump speeches and have so much red meat thrown at them they get jaded when it comes to the degree of frustration of ordinary voters. The turmoil on the right is a storm brewed up by svengali strategists at the RNC who expected to crown Jeb Bush the nominee. Now Trump, Carson and Cruz threaten the whole house of cards, demanding their own rules for debates or upsetting the carefully constructed plan. Outliers Trump and Sanders on the left are shaking up the status quo and challenging the idea that suzerains in Washington get to decide who the nominee will be on either side. In the real news, things don’t seem to be going so well and the commentariat continues to write tripe. The GDP only ‘grew’ 1.5 percent, but don’t worry growth is expected when consumers, ‘spending the savings from lower gas prices like a tax cut’ finally kicks in. A new study done by Democrat Operatives that says Mergers and Acquisitions are causing ‘inequality’. Is this true? Meanwhile Congressional Republicans lift the debt ceiling and federal spending jumped by 338 billion dollars. Maybe they should be talking about cutting spending rather than cutting taxes? Sponsored by Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Podcast 424

Retail Politics. The 2016 presidential election cycle isn’t yet in the primaries, but campaigns have locked in their rhetoric. Speakers are throwing out red meat at small gatherings of potential voters and political actives across the country, especially in the early caucus and primary states. This podcast takes you inside a political event in Minnesota where a surrogate for the Ted Cruz For President Campaign — The Senator’s Father — makes a speech. Sorry? Did you think these events would include substance, discussion of the issues, details on how to achieve goals, and detailed analysis of opponents? Media focus, polling, ‘cattle call’ debates, a desperate need for money to fuel bare bones campaigns, and propel candidates to the top of the heap before a single vote has been cast, has all but destroyed ‘discussion’ and ‘substance’. It may be early, but it’s already all about firing up the hopeful, the political active, getting the contribution, getting people on the email list, jumping on the plane or bus, and heading to the next event. Even local supporters and state legislators at the event are ‘on message’. The problem with retail politics and red meat is, do people have any better idea of what the candidates actually will do? What is a conservative? What is the plan for the country and why? What do Republicans stand for? Listen and find out. Sponsored by X Government Trucks and Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate. 

Podcast 420

Bob Davis Unplugged. I’ve always admired talk show hosts who can do a good show without notes, preparation or a plan. Certainly walk and talk podcasts fit that bill, but it helps to walk while you talk. In studio is a different story. There have been some interesting developments in the news this week. Commentators are back to following the proverbial bouncing ball and missing some points that I think need to be made. Regarding the Oregon shooting; When I asked people what was going on in the news they said, “There’s the Trump thing, the Pope thing and oh yeah, another mass shooting.” Of course the President didn’t skip a second rushing out to demand Americans surrender their guns. Why do we have a second amendment? Is there a final check on the dangerous power of government? While we don’t generally think of a government that seems to exist to extract money from our paychecks and mail checks to others, including billionaires like Warren Buffett, there’s immense power in spying and militarized police departments. Then there’s the Communist Pope. The left loves Francis, or at least they did until it was reported that the Pope – who would rather talk about the scourge of Capitalism rather than the scourge of pedophilia in the Catholic Church – met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who refused to marry gay couples. Suddenly the ‘amazing’ Pope Francis was tarred and feathered on social media, to the extent that the Vatican this week back pedaled ‘explaining’ the Pope’s meeting with Davis. Then there are the economic pundits and employment numbers. Almost all of them predicted a ‘great’ employment report this week, especially since low gas prices ‘act like a tax cut by stimulating the economy’, until they don’t. Now, if you have been listening to the Bob Davis Podcasts you have been warned about this shibboleth long ago. Lower gas prices don’t ‘act like a tax cut’. Our economy would have to create over 375,000 jobs a month for a long time in order to bring the millions of people who are out of the work force back in. Sadly 375,000 is a number this country’s economy has not been able to attain since the recession back in 2008, despite all the efforts to ‘stimulate’ and ‘prime the pump’ from a trillion dollar stimulus to ‘cars for clunkers’ and every other cockamamie scheme cooked up by President Obama. Moreover, none of the presidential candidates, on both sides of the political spectrum seem to have a clue about how to grow the US Economy other than more stimulus, or tax cuts but no spending cuts. Have we — as in everyone in the world — forgotten how to be capitalists? Could we feed ourselves without a job or government handout if we had to? Maybe this could be one of the positive effects of a future ‘gig economy’ … with everyone freelancing, we might actually learn to create, not take. Sponsored by Pride of Homes and X Government Trucks.

Podcast 407

Killing The Golden Goose. We’ve all heard the parable; The greedy farmer and his wife with the goose that lays the golden egg. As ‘back to school’ looms, the beginning of reengaging in the political process begins with a look at what the real issue might be in our economy and by extension, our politics in the United States. The question is, which is the goose and greedy farmer? Think of the economy – the sum total of all we consume and produce —  as a force of nature, like a hurricane rather than as some kind of Rube Goldberg device with dials and switches and levers. Or, as a golden goose. If the government takes more and more to sustain its operations and debt, where does that money come from? It comes from the individual. Can the government spend too much, and so require too much from the proverbial golden goose? You don’t hear this question discussed too much in the political arena these days. What you hear is a lot of nonsense about individual tax plans for the middle class, or taxing the so called ‘rich’. The fact is, the government takes your income — your wealth if you will — and uses it for its own aims. We’re supposed to have a conversation with our politicians regarding what those aims are, but we usually don’t. If government spending now, without calculating perpetual obligations like social security and other entitlements including medicaid, medicare and the so called Affordable Care Act is almost 40 percent of the country’s total economy, maybe this is the reason why our economy isn’t growing fast enough. Is it possible the greedy farmer is in the process of killing the golden goose? And if so, what do the perfumed princes on the campaign trail intend to do about it? The grey area between what is a public good, and greedy government is the crossroads where we are stuck. If we don’t figure out how to talk about it and to solve the problem, our goose is cooked. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul