Good news! The economy added 313k jobs in February!
Like all news, we need some kind of reality check first. Did it really? The long and short of it is that, as always, the ADP employment report is less noisy and thus more accurate. It had a gain of 263k jobs in February, which is probably the right number. Still very good news all around.
But is good news actually bad news? Along with the jobs report we have the increase in wages, which stands at a modest 2.6% over the last year. Does that mean inflation is tamed? We will see what the markets think.
We have in front of us a big week. This may determine the course of the next year or so in the stock market, the economy, and in politics.
A lot is about to happen. Let’s run it down, day by day.
Over the weekend, financial markets were sleeping. They awoke on Monday as if the weekend was a bad dream, filled with chatter about a trade war and how it was actually a good idea.
It’s not a dream, it’s reality. But is this all a stupid attempt to promote a candidate in a tariff-loving industrial district that should be winning a lot bigger? Nevermind the unreality of it, including the fact that the Pennsylvania 18th is certainly going to go away with court-ordered redistricting. There’s a special election on 13 March, and losing it would be very embarrassing.
This might all be a show to avoid losing a place where Trump should be winning bigly.
We’ve made the Barataria position very clear – that current federal policy is doomed to trash the stock market and somewhat damage the overall economy. That wasn’t talking about new tariffs, however. As the mechanism for screwing things up shifts, the predictions as to how it will all go down have to shift.
So here we are, trying to make some sense of the senseless. It’s more of a crapshoot every day.
The long-awaited move has come. Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked the nation’s top political body to amend the “Basic Law” or constitution to allow him to stay for a third five-year term.
The wave of protests in response was anticipated, but still extraordinary. It is China, after all, and the authoritarian government does not allow protests – except when it does. Xi’s action has setup a showdown of sorts in a nation which has experienced more cultural turmoil than perhaps any other and still retained a Confucian sense of order.
But can that last, or is this the start of something different?
“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going’ down.”
Stephen Stills, “For What It’s Worth”
An armed gunman storms into a school, a church, a concert hall, just about anywhere. A steady burst of mechanized explosions sets the tempo for panic. People scream, run for cover – people strop and sink into a puddle of their own blood. Eventually, a deafening quiet settles over the scene as everyone left tries to figure out what just happened.
That’s about how shootings go down in real life, but also in the news cycle. A flurry of activity settles into silence as the world tries to absorb the scene and understand it. But not this time. This time, for some reason, it’s all different.
The most recent school shooting seems to have tipped the balance. This time, students are protesting and there is a new determination to get something done. Certainly , this particular shooter had a long history of trouble that raised a number of alarms. But what, exactly, can and should be done?
The FBI has admitted “bungling” a report on the shooting by not referring it to the Miami office. But what system do they have for tracking people? How is information gathered from many different local agencies? If there is a database, what protections are granted anyone in it? How can you find what it has on you and correct it?
It suggests some kind of national tracking and identification system is necessary. If there is some action from this shooting, it raises questions as to how any new or existing laws might be enforced. Who is allowed to buy a gun? Or to board a plane? To vote? To buy protected medicines like marijuana? To even be in this nation? To work?