Just Getting By. This was a big weekend. Doing business stuff for The Bob Davis Podcasts, which includes doing some final work on taxes – yes filing late for the first time in many years – and discovered many people who have donated to Mobile Podcast Command who need to be thanked for their generosity. Finally with a complete list, we work our way through the people who have been instrumental to the road trip podcasts both for the sake of travel – a new topic category with The Bob Davis Podcasts – and for covering the 2016 primary campaigns earlier this winter/spring. Another subscriber asked me to talk about the economy, and it’s been awhile, so this podcasts focuses on the Just Getting By economy. We start off with how to inform yourself about economic news, then move onto a discussion of the problem areas with the US and world economy. A slow down in demand and low inflation has hit emerging economies like China, Brazil, Russia as well as basket cases like Venezuela. Meanwhile central banks keep pumping cash into these economies, encouraging more government and corporate debt. In the US, there have been as many corporate defaults this year as 2009. Not a good sign despite economic growth and improved employment numbers. Yes we’re out of recession, no it doesn’t feel like dynamic growth because it isn’t. We’re Just Getting By. Don’t expect the next president, or congress to solve any problems because no one is discussing how to spur the growth of new technologies that will form the building blocks of a new economy and a new society. Our political leaders are still talking like it’s 1999, or maybe even 1909. Employment may be higher, but the quality of those jobs isn’t as good as it was before the 2008 recession, many of them are part time, and don’t cover benefits. Many people are freelancing, which many writers don’t seem to think is a great idea, although some people in the so called 1099 economy love the freedom, and some make pretty good money if they hustle. While companies are hiring they are being more cautious. Stories about the ‘hell’ of the modern workplace proliferate these days, although working is better than not working. Meanwhile autonomous machines, self driving cars, single seat drone aircraft you fly by wire, dirigibles, supersonic airliners, robots who can operate like human beings, artificial intelligence, new advances in communications, anti aging, advances in medicine, compounds used in manufacturing and construction, changes in money, and many more new ideas are coming down the pike at a frightening or exhilarating speed, depending on what your fear level is. The new economy is coming, whether we want it or not, and if the government gets out of the way, it might just be pretty great. Let’s work through it and figure out what to do, because clearly this crop of 1900’s trogolodites doesn’t know what to do. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul, Brush Studio, and Hydrus.
Mitt Quits. Updates for the first week of February. While neighbors enjoy the Superbowl – enjoy their muffled screams through the wall – The Bob Davis Podcasts goes to work. Mitt Romney has decided not to run for President in 2016, provoking the Washington Post to name Jeb Bush as the front runner. Meanwhile a new poll of voters in Iowa, where the nation’s first presidential primary will be held, have picked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the front runner, closely followed by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. If you are an observer of politics, and you have a decidedly anti-government bent, it sure seems like the mainstream moderate wing of the Republican Party is selling policy and tactics from the 1990’s, while voters seem to engage with politicians with newer ideas. While the actual political season for the 2016 cycle is a long way off in political terms, the media seems to want to pick a moderate as the front runner, and the people might have different ideas. Stay Tuned. The new Economic numbers are out, and they aren’t as good as expected. Surprise! After 5 percent GDP ‘growth’ in the third quarter just about everyone ‘figured’ and predicted that we would have at least 3.6 percent ‘growth’ in the fourth quarter, what with gas being cheap and acting ‘like a tax cut’. Even President Obama declared victory over stagnation for weeks, culminating in his over the top State Of The Union Speech which would make the initiated think he was presiding over the most dynamic economy in US History. In reality, President Obama’s recovery doesn’t just lag Bush and Clinton and Reagan, the Obama ‘recovery’ is the worst economic performance of all Presidents in US History. The new growth number? 2.6 percent. What does the media blame it on? Those evil frackers who created all those jobs, and now they’re laying people off ’cause oil is so cheap. In fact the media that couldn’t bring itself to write a positive story about energy growth in the US in the last six years now can’t find enough down-on-their-luck in Williston, North Dakota, stories. Fact is, most of the manufacturing jobs the President likes to tout are energy related. Yeah, cheap gas is great. It acts like a tax cut. Just keep that in mind as the European Zone disaster starts to take hold, and China’s economic slow down begins to bite, realities which the US economy won’t escape. And what are US policies? Not clear away the gordian knot of taxes and regulation that chokes business formation, and the supply side, but continued efforts to stimulate consumption and ballyhooing ‘consumer confidence’. In Silicon Valley they are mixing morning shake cocktails of supplements and additives that are supposedly able to increase your IQ. Body hacks are all the rage, so Podcast 307 ends with an effort to play catch up, with the Broadcast Bunker Juicer. Sponsored by Xgovernment Cars and Depotstar.
Wash Cycle. Updates for the new work week start with laundry in the Broadcast Bunker. You’ve probably been feeling pretty good lately, what with all the stories about how great Christmas Shopping was going and how cheap gas was like a tax cut, and how we’ve finally turned the corner on the economy, with the multitudes heading back to work, right? The toward the end of last week, someone punched the mute button on the celebration. Now, this won’t stop the President from taking credit for ‘booming’ economic growth in the United States in his State of The Union message, but new numbers temper the enthusiasm a little bit and may even explain why more than half of Americans aren’t so sure we’ve got the party started yet. As with almost every development related to President Obama and the economy, the compliant media continues to paper over mistakes, and grasp at green shoots in the economy. Unemployment is 5.6 percent! We’ve created over 250,000 jobs! What they don’t tell you is today’s 5.6 percent isn’t the same as when Bill Clinton was president, since there are 65 million some people who apparently are out of the work force permanently. Moreover wages, which have been rising slightly, are not rising fast enough, or high enough to sustain economic growth, say some analysts. At the end of last week, the compliant media was again surprised – stunned in fact – to see that retail sales actually contracted in December, a whopping .9 percent. Economists (astrologists) had predicted only a .1 percent drop. Remember when cheap gas was supposed to act like a tax cut? Gas stations got hit the hardest. Auto sales got hit. And, even though we ‘created’ two hundred fifty thousand plus jobs last month, there were 314,000 applications for unemployment, up 19,000 and the highest number in four months. Note to self; A tax cut is a permanent reduction in a tax rate, allowing people to plan for the long term future by investing, or purchasing big ticket items, or starting businesses. A reduction in a price is not a tax cut. Meanwhile the energy price and commodity price rout continues, and now banks in the oil patch, manufacturers like CAT, rail roads and energy states are taking the hit. Oh we’ll take the cheaper oil, but the media needs to stop crowing about how great a commodity price collapse is. It should be viewed as a danger sign, because the rest of the world economies apparently got the wrong flu shot. What’s wrong? No one is asking whether or not we should be stimulating supply, rather than demand. Are conservatives proposing dynamic, proven solutions? Finally, the IRS wants more money. They don’t have enough employees. Has anyone bothered to report how many employees the IRS actually has? You’d be surprised. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing.