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By Phaedrus
#492198
My deepest apologies. Nine including the USA and they know nothing of the sort. No country has the right to establish sovereignty over another.

Beside all of the previous UN resolutions that we have been a signatory to, it is a fundamental part of international law that you cannot conquer a country and absorb its territory regardless of the circumstances that led to acquiring the territory.
User avatar
By eriknben10
#492201
Guess you missed the memo. The UN doesn't own the US any longer. Hopefully our tax dollars get dialed back from the UN so we can build the new embassy.
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By Phaedrus
#492729
Trump claims credit for what is still mostly Obama's economy
Associated Press CHRISTOPHER RUGABER,Associated Press 8 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump relentlessly congratulates himself for the healthy state of the U.S. economy, with its steady growth, low unemployment, busier factories and confident consumers.

But in the year since Trump's inauguration, most analysts tend to agree on this: The economy remains essentially the same sturdy one he inherited from Barack Obama.

Growth has picked up, but it's not yet clear if it can sustain a faster expansion. Hiring and wage growth actually slowed slightly from Obama's last year in office. Consumers and businesses are much more optimistic, but their spending has yet to move meaningfully higher.

"I don't see any noticeable break over the past year," said Michael Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "We tend to overstate the degree to which the president has the ability to control the economy."

The U.S. public appears to have a similar view, according to a Quinnipiac University poll last week. It found that two-thirds of American voters say the economy is "excellent" or "good," the highest since the poll started asking about the economy in 2001.

Yet 49 percent of respondents credited Obama for the economy's health, compared with 40 percent who credited Trump.

Trump's successful push for income and corporate tax cuts and his steps to loosen regulations have helped drive a surging stock market rally fueled by the prospect of higher corporate profits. And most economists are optimistic that growth will continue at a solid pace this year.

"We have created more than 2 million new jobs since the election," Trump said last week in Nashville, Tennessee. "Economic growth has surged past 3 percent, something that wasn't supposed to happen for a long time. We're way ahead of schedule. Unemployment is at a 17-year low."

Those trends aren't very different from what came before. Employers added more jobs in Obama's last year in office — 2.2 million in 2016 — and nearly 3 million in 2014. Economic growth did top 3 percent at an annual rate during the second and third quarters of 2017. But it had surged above 4 percent in the second and third quarters of 2014.

The unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent when Trump took office to 4.1 percent now. It fell by the same amount or more in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

During the presidential campaign, Trump portrayed the economy as floundering and called the unemployment rate "one of the biggest hoaxes in modern politics." Now he accepts the government's data at face value.

When the government reports growth for the October-December quarter next week, it may show the economy expanded at a 3 percent or higher annual rate for the third straight quarter. That could lift growth in 2017 to the fastest pace since it reached 2.9 percent in 2015.

Some of that growth may reflect greater spending by consumers or businesses in anticipation of tax cuts. But most economists expect it will take time for Trump's deregulatory and tax policies to have their full effect.

There's no question that businesses and consumers are more optimistic. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index jumped to a 17-year high in November before slipping a bit last month.

That hasn't yet resulted in more Americans opening their wallets, though. Spending growth in the first nine months of 2017 was slightly slower than in the previous year.

Some economists are growing skeptical of consumer sentiment surveys because the responses seem increasingly skewed by political leanings. People in counties that voted for Trump reported a much brighter outlook on the economy after the election than did people in Clinton counties, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

People in Trump-voting counties were much more likely just after the election to say their financial situation had improved in the past year, the New York Fed said, long before any of Trump's policies were in place. But the change in sentiment didn't produce changes in consumer spending, the report said.

"It does somewhat undermine the message from the confidence surveys," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

American companies have stepped up their investments in machinery, software, and office towers this year after sluggish spending in 2015 and 2016. Such spending increased about 6.2 percent at an annual rate in the first nine months of the year.

Still, business investment topped 9 percent in the first three quarters of 2014.

In both cases, rising oil prices played an outsized role in spurring more corporate spending. When oil prices increase, drilling firms tend to buy more steel pipe and other goods that are used in drilling rigs.

Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, points out that when mining and oil and gas are excluded, investment spending has increased an anemic 3.3 percent this year.

Many economists expect growth to perk up in 2018, with the impact of tax cuts and the Trump administration's deregulatory efforts spurring corporate investment and consumer spending. So far, 15 regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration have been overturned by Congress. The administration has put dozens of others on hold.

"There's just generally the feeling that there's more pro-growth policy coming from Washington," O'Sullivan said.

O'Sullivan forecasts that growth will reach 2.8 percent for all of this year, roughly in line with other projections.

"2017 was largely an Obama economy," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said. "But going forward it will definitely be a Trump economy."

Other factors besides tax cuts and deregulation are playing a role. For the first time since the most recent major recession ended in 2009, the global economy is enjoying widespread growth. That kind of broad expansion helps boost spending on U.S. exports of factory goods, a boon to manufacturers, and also lifts the stock market because it increases profits for U.S. multinational corporations.

Germany's economy expanded 2.2 percent in 2017, the fastest in six years. Business sentiment in Japan is at the highest level in 11 years. China is still growing at nearly a 7 percent annual rate.

Manufacturing executives appear highly optimistic and welcome the attention Trump has lavished on their industry. Factories added 196,000 jobs last year after shedding workers in 2016. Still, manufacturing added 208,000 in 2014 and 207,000 in 2011.

And most of the jobs that have been added this year were outside the Midwestern "Rust Belt" states that swung for Trump in the election. Instead, some of the states with the biggest gains are in the South, Southwest and Northwest.

Factory jobs grew 4 percent in South Carolina from January through November, the largest gain nationwide, followed by South Dakota with 3.9 percent. Iowa, Rhode Island and Texas were next, followed by Wisconsin, which enjoyed a 3.2 percent gain. Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Arkansas closed out the top 10.

Meanwhile, Michigan's manufacturing employment was flat last year, while factory jobs rose just 0.5 percent in Ohio. Pennsylvania lost manufacturing jobs.

Fiat Chrysler said last week that it is moving production of some pickup trucks from Mexico to a factory in Warren, Michigan, near Detroit, which will be expanded. The move will employ 2,500 people. And Toyota and Mazda said they will build a factory in Huntsville, Alabama, that will add 4,000 jobs.

At the same time, 215 more workers were laid off last week at the Carrier Corp. factory in Indianapolis where Trump touted a deal early in his presidency that prevented the plant's closure.

"There are still jobs headed overseas, no question about it," Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said. "You can't tweet jobs back into existence.
User avatar
By Phaedrus
#493361
America’s extraordinary economic gamble
Fiscal policy is adding to demand even as the economy is running hot

Feb 8th 2018

VOLATILITY is back. A long spell of calm, in which America’s stockmarket rose steadily without a big sell-off, ended abruptly this week. The catalyst was a report released on February 2nd showing that wage growth in America had accelerated. The S&P 500 fell by a bit that day, and by a lot on the next trading day. The Vix, an index that reflects how changeable investors expect equity markets to be, spiked from a sleepy 14 at the start of the month to an alarmed 37. In other parts of the world nerves frayed.

Markets later regained some of their composure (see article). But more adrenalin-fuelled sessions lie ahead. That is because a transition is under way in which buoyant global growth causes inflation to replace stagnation as investors’ biggest fear. And that long-awaited shift is being complicated by an extraordinary gamble in the world’s biggest economy. Thanks to the recently enacted tax cuts, America is adding a hefty fiscal boost to juice up an expansion that is already mature. Public borrowing is set to double to $1 trillion, or 5% of GDP, in the next fiscal year. What is more, the team that is steering this experiment, both in the White House and the Federal Reserve, is the most inexperienced in recent memory. Whether the outcome is boom or bust, it is going to be a wild ride.

Fire your engines!

The recent equity-market gyrations by themselves give little cause for concern. The world economy remains in fine fettle, buoyed by a synchronised acceleration in America, Europe and Asia. The violence of the repricing was because of newfangled vehicles that had been caught out betting on low volatility. However, even as they scrambled to react to its re-emergence, the collateral damage to other markets, such as corporate bonds and foreign exchange, was limited. Despite the plunge, American stock prices have fallen back only to where they were at the beginning of the year.

Yet this episode does signal just what may lie ahead. After years in which investors could rely on central banks for support, the safety net of extraordinarily loose monetary policy is slowly being dismantled. America’s Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times already since late 2015 and is set to do so again next month. Ten-year Treasury-bond yields have risen from below 2.1% in September to 2.8%. Stockmarkets are in a tug-of-war between stronger profits, which warrant higher share prices, and higher bond yields, which depress the present value of those earnings and make eye-watering valuations harder to justify.

This tension is an inevitable part of the return of monetary policy to more normal conditions. What is not inevitable is the scale of America’s impending fiscal bet. Economists reckon that Mr Trump’s tax reform, which lowers bills for firms and wealthy Americans—and to a lesser extent for ordinary workers—will jolt consumption and investment to boost growth by around 0.3% this year. And Congress is about to boost government spending, if a budget deal announced this week holds up. Democrats are to get more funds for child care and other goodies; hawks in both parties have won more money for the defence budget. Mr Trump, meanwhile, still wants his border wall and an infrastructure plan. The mood of fiscal insouciance in Washington, DC, is troubling. Add the extra spending to rising pension and health-care costs, and America is set to run deficits above 5% of GDP for the foreseeable future. Excluding the deep recessions of the early 1980s and 2008, the United States is being more profligate than at any time since 1945.

A cocktail of expensive stockmarkets, a maturing business cycle and fiscal largesse would test the mettle of the most experienced policymakers. Instead, American fiscal policy is being run by people who have bought into the mantra that deficits don’t matter. And the central bank has a brand new boss, Jerome Powell, who, unlike his recent predecessors, has no formal expertise in monetary policy.

What will determine how this gamble turns out? In the medium term, America will have to get to grips with its fiscal deficit. Otherwise interest rates will eventually soar, much as they did in the 1980s. But in the short term most hangs on Mr Powell, who must steer between two opposite dangers. One is that he is too doveish, backing away from the gradual (and fairly modest) tightening in the Fed’s current plans as a salve to jittery financial markets. In effect, he would be creating a “Powell put” which would in time lead to financial bubbles. The other danger is that the Fed tightens too much too fast because it fears the economy is overheating.

On balance, hasty tightening is the greater risk. New to his role, Mr Powell may be tempted to establish his inflation-fighting chops—and his independence from the White House—by pushing for higher rates faster. That would be a mistake, for three reasons.

First, it is far from clear that the economy is at full employment. Policymakers tend to consider those who have dropped out of the jobs market as lost to the economy for good. Yet many have been returning to work, and plenty more may yet follow (see article). Second, the risk of a sudden burst of inflation is limited. Wage growth has picked up only gradually in America. There is little evidence of it in Germany and Japan, which also have low unemployment. The wage-bargaining arrangements behind the explosive wage-price spiral of the early 1970s are long gone. Third, there are sizeable benefits from letting the labour market tighten further. Wages are growing fastest at the bottom of the earnings scale. That not only helps the blue-collar workers who have been hit disproportionately hard by technological change and globalisation. It also prompts firms to invest more in capital equipment, giving a boost to productivity growth.

To be clear, this newspaper would not advise a fiscal stimulus of the scale that America is undertaking. It is poorly designed and recklessly large. It will add to financial-market volatility. But now that this experiment is under way, it is even more important that the Fed does not lose its head.
User avatar
By eriknben10
#493362
So the folks over at The Economist don't think Jerome Powell has what it takes? Interesting he received his position on all these votes. On December 5, 2017, the Senate Banking Committee approved Powell's nomination to be Chair in a 22–1 vote, with Senator Elizabeth Warren aka Pocahontas :lol: :lol: :lol: casting the lone dissenting vote.[21] His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on January 23, 2018 by a 84–13 vote.[22] Powell assumed office as Chair on February 5, 2018.
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