Tag: Donald Trump

Is Obama to Thank for the Trump Economy?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

The stock market is on a historic tear, unemployment is at records low, inflation remains under control, and the labor participation rate may finally began to tick upwards once again.

But should we be thanking Trump? Not according to the partisans.

  • “Here are two words we won’t hear President Trump say tonight about the economy — ‘Thanks Obama‘”   says Chuck Schumer.
  • “I don’t understand why, well, maybe I do why the folks in the Trump administration won’t admit that the economy was doing well under President Obama,” CNN’s Don Lemon. (Humorously, a conservative guest quipped in response that Trump should thank Obama for not being President anymore).
  • In December 2017, Obama himself decided to pat himself on the back for the economic landscape under Trump. “As we took these actions, we saw the U.S. economy grow consistently,” former President Obama “We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far, a streak that still continues by the way.”

While I’d agree that the typical person credits the President (regardless of who it may be) far too much for the positive or negative state of the economy, that doesn’t mean we can’t prove that things are better off than had Obama remained in office.

How do we know? We can look at the Congressional Budget Office’s predictions for economic growth in past reports, and compare them to realized growth under Trump.

For instance, in 2016, the CBO projected real economic growth of 2.2 percent in 2017, and 2.1 percent growth in 2018.

Growth came in relatively close in 2017, at 2.3 percent, but 2018 is where things begin to diverge. Remember, it wasn’t until the end of 2017 that Trump signed his tax package – the main catalyst we’d expect for growth under his presidency.

As one writer for Investors Business Daily noted:

Last June (2017), the CBO said GDP growth for 2018 would be just 2%. Now it figures growth will be 3.3% — a significant upward revision. It also boosted its forecast for 2019 from a meager 1.5% to a respectable 2.4%.

“Underlying economic conditions have improved in some unexpected ways since June,” the CBO says. Unexpected to the CBO, perhaps, but not to those of us who understood that Trump’s tax cuts and deregulatory efforts would boosts growth.

Economists agree too.

The Wall Street Journal polled a number of business, financial and academic economists on if Trump in January 2018 on who was more responsible for the current economy, most of which “suggested Mr. Trump’s election deserves at least some credit” for the upturn. Additionally, a majority said the president had been “somewhat” or “strongly” positive for job creation, gross domestic product growth and the rising stock market.

Are we supposed to believe that it’s a coincidence that business confidence and the stock market didn’t begin their recent liftoff until after Trump was elected? The Dow Jones Index’s 1-year gain following Trump’s victory was the largest post-election bull run since 1945.

If the market loved the Obama presidency, it sure has a weird way of showing it.

 

Does the USPS Lose $1.50 on Every Amazon.com Package?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

President Donald Trump has made it clear that he’s no fan of Amazon.com, attacking them numerous times on his twitter account in recent weeks. In large part, Trump’s disdain for Amazon.com is a disdain for the firm’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also personally owns The Washington Post.

“The Fake News Washington Post, Amazon’s ‘chief lobbyist,’ has another (of many) phony headlines,” Trump complained through Twitter on April 4th. The week prior, Trump attacked Amazon directly, writing that it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon.” In another tweet, Trump added that Amazon would have to pay $2.6 billion extra in shipping costs if the USPS raised their rates to market levels.

So, is it true? After reviewing the source for the claim, my verdict is “half-true.” There’s truth to the sentiment of Trump’s statement, but could be perhaps better described as a classic example “truthful hyperbole” (a term Trump himself coined).

So, What is Trump Referring to?

Amazon has negotiated a “last mile” delivery plan with the USPS, which delivers 2/3rds of their packages. Under this system, Amazon presorts packages and delivers them to a local USPS, which completes delivery.
The statistic Trump is quoting comes from an analysis by Citigroup, which found that the USPS should be charging Amazon $1.46 more per package than the $2 or so they currently do for packages categorized as “competitive products.”

It’s this claim that’s been misinterpreted as a “1.46 loss,” when in reality’s it’s a “$1.46 undercharge.” The USPS is selling above cost – but below the market price.

Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the Postal Office’s “competitive products” must “cover attributable costs and contribute to institutional costs.” In other words, there’s already a law on the books to prevent the USPS from selling below cost. How pathetic is it that it’s necessary for such a law to exist in the first place?

What the Citigroup study is specifically arguing is that the USPS will need to charge $1.46 more on their Amazon packages to cover their operating costs, and to prefund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, which hasn’t been done since 2012. Not like it makes much of a difference, but the $1.46 estimate is for fiscal year 2017. To break-even, the Office would need to charge $1.41 for 2018, and $1.36 in 2019.

Additionally, this is the case for all”competitive products.” The USPS is undercharging across the board, not just Amazon.

Contrary to what any liberal fact checkers say, it is taxpayers subsidizing the USPS for undercharging. While the post office doesn’t receive federal funding, we the taxpayer are on the hook for their pensions. They’ve also borrowed $15 billion from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank – the maximum allowed by law. Who else but the taxpayer does anyone think will inevitably be bailing the USPS out?

While Trump’s claim is “half-true,” it does underscore a larger point about the inefficiency of government. If a private firm learned they should be charging nearly double for a good or service than they already do, they’d do so in an instant. To quote from Citigroup: “We contend that the USPS does not act as a rational price-setter.”

No kidding.

October 19, 2017: Ep. 572 An Absolutely Inexcusable Attack on Trump

In this episode –
Beware of this dangerous liberal scam designed to destroy our Constitutional Republic.

Ted Cruz destroys Bernie Sanders on taxes!

Busted! The disingenuous congresswoman attacking Trump for calling the widow of a heroic serviceman has a spotty record on veteran’s issues.

Federal spending per person has exploded. Check out these disturbing numbers.

The real dangers of the DC “swamp.”

Here’s how to listen to my podcast on your Amazon Echo.