WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain participates in a discussion with members of the Congressional Health Care Caucus on Capitol Hill November 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. Part of the "Thought Leaders Series," Cain and members of the caucus discussed the current health care system and health care initiatives for the future. Cain has been making headlines for the past two days after POLITICO.com reported Sunday that the National Restaurant Association paid settlements to two female employees who accused Cain of harassment when he was president of the association in the 1990s. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
There were several surprising revelations about the pizza peddler/one-time GOP front-runner during Sunday night’s Tea Party rally at a Tampa megachurch. First, while many believe he dropped out of the race due to numerous sexual harassment allegations, he blamed “lies and dirty politics” for his exit. Also, according to his introduction, he possesses “tremendous Reagan-esque qualities” and he isn’t miffed about not getting a speaking role at the Republican National Convention. “It’s not about me, it’s about the grandkids,” he said. “That’s what a lot of people don’t understand about what Herman is upto.”
HUD to investigate if the Trump administration moved to cut off aid from Puerto Rico after Maria
Jeremy Kirkland, counsel to the HUD inspector general’s office, told a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee that the inspector general is meeting congressional lawmakers’ request to probe if the Trump administration has slowed the flow of aid to the island.
“We are in the process of looking into whether there has been any interference and do plan to report back to Congress on what we find‚” Kirkland said in response to questions from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the committee’s chairwoman, later adding that a team of agents and attorneys is looking into the matter. “I know our folks are out there right now doing that.”
The Trump administration has also recently rejected requests for additional aid to Puerto Rico in particular, with Trump privately signaling he will not approve any help for Puerto Rico beyond $600 million in emergency funding for food stamps.
President Trump, the one-man policy contradiction on the Korean peninsula
President Donald Trump last week intended to reverse sanctions imposed on two Chinese shipping companies accused of violating North Korea trade prohibitions – until officials in his administration persuaded him to back off and then devised a misleading explanation of his vague tweet announcing the move.
Trump stunned current and former government officials Friday afternoon with a tweet saying he had “ordered the withdrawal” of “additional large scale sanctions” against North Korea. For hours, officials at the White House and Treasury and State departments wouldn’t explain what he meant.
Later Friday, in the wake of Trump’s tweet, the administration sought to explain away the move with a statement – initially requesting no attribution to anyone – that said the penalties against the Chinese companies hadn’t been reversed but the U.S. wouldn’t pursue additional sanctions against North Korea.
A measles outbreak in the Hudson Valley has caused a county-wide state of emergency
Rockland County declared a countywide State of Emergency relating to the ongoing measles outbreak — the longest outbreak since the disease was eradicated in the United States in 2000, according to officials.
Effective at the stroke of midnight, Wednesday, anyone who is under 18 years of age and unvaccinated against the measles will be barred from public places until this declaration expires in 30 days or until they receive the MMR vaccination.
Rockland County has been grappling with a measles outbreak in recent months — previously asking students who are unvaccinated to not attend school.
Fast-food giant McDonald’s boosted congressional Democrats’ efforts to hike the minimum wage Tuesday by telling the National Restaurant Association that it will no longer participate in lobby efforts against minimum-wage hikes at the federal, state or local level.
“We believe increases should be phased in and that all industries should be treated the same way,” McDonald’s Vice President of Government Relations Genna Gent wrote in the letter. “The conversation about wages is an important one; it’s one we wish to advance, not impede.”
McDonald’s’ decision to quit the National Restaurant Association’s campaign against raising the minimum wage represents a serious blow to the trade group, which reportedly has lobbied against wage increases in more than 30 states.
Boeing didn’t need any more bad news, but it got some
Southwest flight — a Boeing 737 MAX that was grounded after two crashes — with just two pilots aboard made an emergency landing Tuesday afternoon at Orlando International Airport, a spokeswoman said.
The pilots were flying to California when they encountered engine problems about 10 minutes after takeoff, said Rod Johnson, spokesman for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
They turned around and landed safely, Johnson said. It happened around 3 p.m. According to FlightAware, it was going to Victorville, Calif., which is about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
There were no passengers aboard and it was being flown to that airport for storage, Johnson said. According to the FAA order, airlines are allowed to fly the planes without any passengers to a base for a purpose of storage or maintenance.
POTUS also trashed NYT, said it is “the enemy of the people,” said he hoped there would be no leaks from luncheon and then joked that it’s the best way to make sure there are leaks, is saying he hoped there wouldn’t be any.
You wrote today that “yield-curve inversion, seemingly a dull technical matter, can be a strong predictor of a coming recession.” Right now, the yield curve is inverted, which means that, unusually, the interest rate on three-month government bonds is higher than the interest rate on ten-year ones. Taken together with other economic signals, including a weak jobs report this month, how worried should we be that we’re nearing a downturn?
It depends what you mean by “downturn.” There is very good reason to believe that economic growth is slowing down, and that’s a bit clearer than it was a month ago. It’s still not very likely that growth will actually turn negative — meaning a recession — but it’s gotten a little more likely.
And it depends who you ask. Jason Furman, the former Obama economic adviser I spoke with a month ago, who said he’s not worried about a recession, puts very little weight on the recent yield curve number, for a couple of reasons. Some other observers are more bothered by it.
Some people have protested loudly that the Fed is being too hawkish with its interest rates. One of them is PresidentTrump. You hypothesize that he “has caused the yield curve to invert simply by engaging in a public pressure campaign toward the Fed,” between raging against current policy and nominating notorious crank Stephen Moore to its board. Do you really think such a famously independent institution would be so vulnerable to political bullying?
Like the Supreme Court, the Fed is insulated from politics, but it still consists of people who are appointed through a political process and it cannot ignore that side of things entirely.
Additionally, some of the Fed’s political critics happen to be correct on the merits right now, which makes the Fed more inclined to listen to them. When the president’s allies say the Fed screwed up by hiking rates in December and telegraphing too much inflexibility on policy, they have a point. Inflation is stable and below target, so there isn’t a great case for why the Fed needed to raise rates so much. So, when you have political power and a good point, people may listen to you, even if you’re violating norms about how elected officials are supposed to talk about monetary policy.
Normally, what you’d worry about with political influence over the Fed is that it would be pressured to keep rates low for political reasons even when that causes long-run economic damage — usually, by causing inflation. If the markets were worried about that, you’d see long-term interest rates going up to compensate investors for inflation risk. That’s not happening. This is something I discussed with the economist Tim Duy – so long as it looks like the political influence is confined to relatively modest adjustments, pushing the Fed a quarter or a half-point lower than it otherwise might be, that may not spook investors about inflation too much.
But this is also a reason we maybe can’t read as much into the yield curve as economists normally would. Normally, if the yield curve inverts, the message is the Fed’s going to have to cut rates because the economy will be weak. Now, the inverted yield curve might just mean the Fed will acquiesce and cut rates by a quarter or a half point, due to a combination of (1) political pressure and (2) the Fed maybe actually having raised rates too much.
Beyond the next jobs report, what are other key indicators we should be looking out for that might tell us more about what this all means?
Well first, we want to watch to see if the yield curve inversion is persistent. It’s only been inverted for a little while. The usual guidance you see for inversion as a predictor of a recession is that it stays inverted for a quarter.
Which is not to say that if it stays inverted for a quarter, we WILL have a recession. Furman and Ernie Tedeschi both pointed me to some oddities in the bond markets that might mean an inversion doesn’t mean what it used to – in particular, the Fed still holds a lot of long-term bonds it bought as part of QE, so the Fed’s actions directly affect long-term bond yields in a way they normally wouldn’t. There’s also been a decline in what’s called the term-premium for long term bonds, which basically means the yield curve doesn’t slope up as steeply as it used to even under normal conditions.
But if the yield curve flips back in a few weeks – if long-term bond yields start going up again, or the Fed actually goes ahead and cuts short rates – then we may not have been inverted for long.
There’s also the matter of the output data — GDP, retail sales, etc. A big story of the last few months has been a disconnect between output data (pretty week) and employment data (pretty strong). They’ve converged a little —4th Quarter GDP looked okay and the February jobs report didn’t look so good. But you want to watch both sides to see which way they converge, toward a worrying level or toward a pretty good level.
One number that shows why single payer isn’t happening anytime soon
In general, would you prefer to improve the current health care system, or replace the current health care system in the United States with something new? Improve 55% Replace 32% (Quinnipiac U. Poll, RV, 3/21-25/19) see full wording: https://t.co/JkINBm2dAB