Morning Report: Mixed jobs report 3/4/16

Stocks are flattish after the jobs report. Bonds and MBS are down.

Jobs report data dump:

  • Nonfarm payrolls +242k
  • Unemployment rate 4.9%
  • Average hourly earnings -0.1%
  • Labor force participation rate 62.9%
  • Average weekly hours 34.4

Overall, an okay report: payrolls were better than expected, but hourly earnings disappoint. The increase in the labor force participation rate is a good thing to see. While it will depress wage growth at least initially, it will make for a stronger economy down the road. FWIW, there may be measurement issues regarding the wage measure that will supposedly be unwound in the next report.

Bonds sold off on the jobs report, with the 10 year and the 2 year bond yields up 3 basis points. I doubt this report will change any minds with regard to the March FOMC meeting, which most people seem to think will have no move in rates and hawkish language.

More evidence of wage inflation: Costco is upping the lower end of their wage scale from $11.50 to $13.00. They announced it on their earnings conference call last night. This will hit their earnings per share by about 1.3% over the next year. Competition for workers is becoming more intense as unemployment stays below 5%.

85 Responses

  1. Military people balk at Trump’s suggestion that, because “leadership”, they would follow illegal orders to target and kill innocents.

    Playing right into Trumps hands? Does this criticism tend to solidify his support?

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    • Trump’s obvious rejoinder is to ask what’s the difference between what he’s proposing and current policy on drone strikes:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/drone-attacks-at-funerals-of-people-killed-in-drone-strikes/280821/

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      • jnc:

        Trump’s obvious rejoinder is to ask what’s the difference between what he’s proposing and current policy on drone strikes:

        You mean pointing out the similarity between his proposed policy and that of the person who he keeps saying is such a horrible leader and foreign policy disaster? Yeah, I suppose that kind of rejoinder just might appeal to the people supporting Trump.

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        • Good point. I meant as a rejoinder to the media for saying that he’s arguing for war crimes, but you are right. His entire campaign is based on not caring what they, or other elites think of him. Giving them a response like that concedes that the question was legitimate and that they were entitled to ask it of him.

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        • Mark:

          This exchange would have felled another candidate at another time, but I don’t expect it will do in Trump.

          It is an Alice-in-Wonderland time we are living in.

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        • Here’s why:

          “At one point it appeared that the debate was between Kelly and Trump, not among Trump and rivals Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.”

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        • jnc:

          Here’s why:

          Do you really think the point would have been more damaging had it been made and pressed by one of the other candidates rather than a moderator? I don’t. In fact such attacks are probably more easily dismissed when they come from other candidates as just more partisan, politicking. (Not to mention that the other candidates wouldn’t have been able to provide video proof on the spot like that.)

          These types of substantive attacks on Trump have such little effect not because of their source, but because Trump supporters aren’t voting for him for any coherent reason that might be subject to rational persuasion. These attacks don’t work for the simple reason that Trump supporters don’t care whether they are true or not.

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        • I think that Haidt would suggest that once people glommed onto Trump for emotional satisfaction almost no amount of fact based criticism would register with them.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mark:

          I think that Haidt would suggest that once people glommed onto Trump for emotional satisfaction almost no amount of fact based criticism would register with them.

          That sounds right to me.

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        • “Do you really think the point would have been more damaging had it been made and pressed by one of the other candidates rather than a moderator?”

          It’s obvious that the moderators and the other candidates are all aligned against Trump. There’s not even a pretense of neutrality. It makes his “Trump vs the establishment” argument that much easier.

          Basically the argument made by Krauthammer here:

          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/03/04/charles_krauthammer_substance-free_debate_was_a_complete_assault_on_trump_from_left_and_right.html

          “but because Trump supporters aren’t voting for him for any coherent reason that might be subject to rational persuasion.”

          That’s false. No one is bothering to engage them on the issues by taking their concerns seriously, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t voting the way that they are for a reason. They are convinced that they have gotten a raw deal, that the same Republicans on stage are either complicit in it or unwilling to stop it.

          And that doesn’t make them Ted Cruz conservatives either. They agree with Trump’s stance on entitlements.

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        • jnc:

          No one is bothering to engage them on the issues by taking their concerns seriously

          That’s false. I have. And even when adopting their premises of what is wrong and arguing from there, they have been unwilling or incapable of taking on rational critiques of Trump.

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  2. I think this is a positive economic report in the face of energy industry layoffs.

    I thought last night’s R debate was different and worse than any political debate I can remember.

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    • Mark:

      I thought last night’s R debate was different and worse than any political debate I can remember.

      I can’t stand the debates as a general matter, but I suspect it is impossible to reach even the normal low standard for debates as long as Trump is on the stage. If one participant is committed to debasing (even further) the entire process, there really isn’t much that anyone else – moderators, participants – can do to prevent it. The fact that there is a significant audience celebrating it only makes it worse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Future election cycles will always feature opinion pieces (with short clips of Trump insulting people are talking about the size of his “fingers”) with a erudite explanation of how Trump did us all a favor by revealing the true, ugly, ignorant, childish, petulant, racist face of the average Republican politician/voter. In fact, they may laments Trump’s absence, as now Republicans can hide their true racist/women-hating roots in lofty economic rhetoric! … I thus predict.

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    • I’ve not bothered to watch any of them on either side as I think they are mostly pointless, but I’ll read the summaries the next day.

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  3. To repeat an observation I made elsewhere:

    The other Republican candidates most likely can’t win the nomination outright at this point but by staying in and lowering themselves to Trump’s level they can help to deny him the presidency by preventing him from pivoting to general election mode.

    Trump started to try and do that the night he won the Super Tuesday primaries, but now he’s been pulled right back into the food fight that he started.

    The other remaining candidates are explicitly adopting a “divide and survive” strategy to try and get to the convention and then pull some procedural BS.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-gops-best-bet-against-trump/471996/

    Trump isn’t going to be able to pivot and try and unite Republicans behind him or be able to change his tone under those circumstances.

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    • jnc:

      …and then pull some procedural BS.

      It isn’t procedural “BS” any more than getting all the delegates in a state despite winning only a 35% plurality is procedural “BS”. The process by which a nominee is selected if none get a majority of delegates is part of the exact same process by which the delegates are assigned in the first place. If the latter is legitimate, so is the former.

      Goldberg had a good article on this today:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432335/donald-trump-supporters-2016-republican-convention

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      • Good luck convincing Trump’s voters of that.

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        • jnc:

          Good luck convincing Trump’s voters of that.

          I wasn’t trying to convince Trump’s voters. Since it was you who called it “procedural BS”, it was you who I was trying to convince.

          Is it possible to have a discussion outside of the context of what the reaction of Trump voters will be?

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        • Sure. I’m mostly indifferent to what ends up happening at the convention, outside of the entertainment value.

          I agree that the parties have the right to nominate whomever they want however they want, but since the primary voting process has become ingrained in the popular conscientious and the contests are framed as X won Y state, any result other than the candidate who won the most votes/delegates getting the nomination will be viewed as illegitimate by a substantial number of the primary voters.

          Now, if the primary goal is to stop Trump, that doesn’t matter as he will be effectively stopped at that point.

          If the primary goal is to beat the Democratic candidate, then it’s counterproductive.

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        • jnc:

          Now, if the primary goal is to stop Trump, that doesn’t matter as he will be effectively stopped at that point. If the primary goal is to beat the Democratic candidate, then it’s counterproductive.

          As I said yesterday, I find the whole tactics debate tedious. That said, obviously no one person can speak for the party (a party of which I may not be a part for much longer), but to me the primary goal is to advance the most conservative/libertarian political agenda possible. Trump is neither willing nor capable of advancing an agenda that bears any resemblance to what I would recognize as conservative or libertarian in any way at all, and anyone who thinks that he is the best agent for advancing such an agenda is not anyone that I want to be aligned with. Goodness knows that I am willing to make serious compromises in order to forge a coalition that might advance at least some of my interests and values. I’ve been, after all, a Republican for a long time. But there are limits to what I will accept, and this unprincipled, liberal, obnoxious, adolescent, huckster fraud is beyond those limits. And I find it extremely difficult to muster any respect for people who can’t see Trump for what he so obviously is.

          It is probably true that if forced to choose I would prefer Trump to Hillary, but as I think I said before that is like preferring lung cancer to brain cancer. Neither has an redeeming qualities I wish to be associated with.

          But I do find the general across the board condescension towards his supporters (and to a lesser extent towards him) as far to reflective of the condescension liberals and progressives to everyone else.

          I really don’t know how you can say that. Trump’s entire schtick is to belittle and bully anyone who disagrees with him or challenges him in any way. “Little Marco”. “Loser”. “Lightweight”. And his supporters howl with glee every time he offers up another one. He does it because they are braying for such “straight talk”. But somehow they are ill-done to when people offer up some ‘straight talk” about their support for Trump? Come on.

          This isn’t anything like the standard lefty condescension. This is a direct reaction to the fact that the more outrageous and obnoxious Trump gets, the stronger his support seems to be. You seem to think that Trump supporters are automatically owed respect simply because they have legitimate gripes. But to me the legitimacy of their gripes (and many of them are legitimate) doesn’t automatically lend legitimacy to whoever they support. I can and have made my own judgment about Trump, and that judgement is only heightened when considered within the context of the gripes his supporters seem to have. Their support makes no sense even within the context of their own claimed concerns. That alone makes me lose respect for them. And the thrill they seem to get from his obnoxious bullying and insults and bluster makes me disrespect them all the more.

          Ultimately I think Trump supporters can be and should be judged by the company they keep. It isn’t a kind judgement.

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        • “And I find it extremely difficult to muster any respect for people who can’t see Trump for what he so obviously is.”

          Over 3/4th of the electorate, and pretty much have been for a long time. Only when a Perot comes along do you see them in their full glory, but they also made the Tea Party possible. I know you find electoral tactics tedious, but you have to get elected to implement policy, and a lack of tactical understanding made the Trump phenomenon possible. And I think he could win. Not because he is the best politician ever, but because the Democrats command of electoral tactics is not much stronger than the GOPs at the national level (and the local level, clearly the GOP’s tactics are superior, in terms of getting elected. Their success at policy is more mixed).

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        • “You seem to think that Trump supporters are automatically owed respect simply because they have legitimate gripes.”

          That and that it’s probably a good place to start if you actually want to persuade them to vote for someone else.

          I see this as a reaction to a failure across the board by the Republican party vis-a-vis these voters to deliver promised results.

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        • jnc:

          That and that it’s probably a good place to start if you actually want to persuade them to vote for someone else.

          Except that a) we are a long way from the “start” and b) you presume that they are persuadable, a very dubious assumption and one that experience suggests should be rejected outright. When Trump critiques are immediately and unthinkingly dismissed simply because they are voiced by the “establishment”, or as has happened to me, one is derisively labeled “establishment” just for having critiqued Trump, it’s not the persuader who is showing a lack of respect.

          I see this as a reaction to a failure across the board by the Republican party vis-a-vis these voters to deliver promised results.

          Probably, but that doesn’t make it a sensible reaction or one worthy of respect. Literally everyone in the Republican coalition has been failed in one way or another by the party “establishment”. There is nothing special about Trump voters in that regard. And as far as I am concerned anyone who thinks Donald Trump of all people is the antidote to failed political promises deserves the very contempt about which that they have such a chip on their shoulder.

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        • What if he isn’t their antidote but their punishment?

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        • McWing:

          What if he isn’t their antidote but their punishment?

          Self punishment?

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        • … or even offer a compelling narrative. “Obama is bad” is an insufficiently compelling narrative, absent serious reduction in the size of government or economic policies that can be felt in the pocketbook by the average voter.

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  4. I just found this out:

    March is Women’s History Month

    The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

    I expect that you all will be fully supportive of celebrating the very special history that belongs to women alone. And that means includes no fristing by Kevin Willis!

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  5. Scott, sorry if I come across as defending Trump too often. I really don’t support him due to his policies on things like eminent domain, trade, foreign policy, etc.

    But I do find the general across the board condescension towards his supporters (and to a lesser extent towards him) as far to reflective of the condescension liberals and progressives to everyone else.

    Along with the knee jerk need to attack him as “fascist” and “racist” when a more accurate characterization would better server the argument.

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    • those are homeless voters. i can relate

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    • He’s also all in on the Patriot Act. If he’s being honest about it, which I don’t know that I can credit. Ultimately, Trump is a bad candidate, IMO, because he doesn’t remotely “tell it like it is”. He feels no need to be PC, or fear of saying almost anything, which I absolutely love. On the other hand, I consider him entirely non-ideological and in no way constrained by previous commitments to do what he’s promised, or by principle to promise anything he actually intends to do. It makes it very difficult to guess what kind of chief executive he would be. For the most part, I think he’s the first time in a long time where the protest vote may actually become president.

      On the other hand, I don’t think he’s a fascist or a racist and he certainly isn’t the reincarnation of Hitler. Most of that criticism comes from the left (of course) but is so ineffectual I begin to wonder what the point is. Various Trump constituencies might be siphoned off by attacking him on vertical issues, but none of them will be remotely moved by the idea that “this is how Hitler started”. Ultimately, folks support Trump because nobody else is offering them a compelling alternative. One can be condescending and judgmental of the poor critical skills or political analysis of Trump voters, but in a cycle that’s given us Jeb! and Cruz and Clinton and Sanders, I am less judgmental of them. Were any of their platforms so compelling that support for Trump, whose main appeal is his big mouth, that unbelievable?

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      • KW:

        He feels no need to be PC, or fear of saying almost anything, which I absolutely love.

        There is a difference between avoiding being PC and lacking any sense of decorum, civility, or respect for literally anyone else. As pure entertainment value, I understand the appeal of the latter, but politicians don’t exist in order to entertain. I mean, it might be entertaining to select our representatives by throwing them all in an arena with a few weapons and see who can be the most physically brutal, but I certainly wouldn’t celebrate such a selection process with the glee that so many people seem to find in Trump’s inability and/or unwillingness to control his mouth.

        Were any of their platforms so compelling that support for Trump, whose main appeal is his big mouth, that unbelievable?

        It is the very fact that it is his big mouth that attracts people that makes me so contemptuous of them.

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        • I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying the fact that he can make dick jokes and accuse women of behaving badly when they’re on the rag.

          Now, If he torches a blunt and sips Purple Drank at the next debate we may actually have something here.

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        • He’s a corker, all right. But I think he’d be more likely to have a bartender mix him a martini and bring it to him while he’s on stage.

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        • and accuse women of behaving badly when they’re on the rag

          That’s just the classy kind of comment we’ve come to expect from you, McWing.

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        • He’s a classy guy.

          As a long married man, I can tell you there observable personality changes concomitant with the hormonal shifts that occur with the ovulation/menstrual cycle, in my observation, but its best not to mention them.

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        • Because once again, we have to defer to a women’s emotional state. But I’m the asshole for bringing it up.

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        • Finally, you understand. 🙂

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        • “There is a difference between avoiding being PC and lacking any sense of decorum, civility, or respect for literally anyone else.”

          Well, yes. I’m just pointing out that appeal of his WWF approach to campaigning.

          “It is the very fact that it is his big mouth that attracts people that makes me so contemptuous of them.”

          Then you should also be contemptuous of the politicians incapable of providing a compelling alternative to his loudmouth politics. Nature abhors a vacuum, and Trump is filling one.

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        • KW:

          Then you should also be contemptuous of the politicians incapable of providing a compelling alternative to his loudmouth politics.

          Why? Why should I fault politicians who are not compelling to people who find stupid things compelling? It’s like being contemptuous of conservative politicians for failing to appeal to Bernie Sanders voters, as if socialist priorities are necessarily worth appealing to.

          As I mentioned previously, I understand why politicians seeking to get elected need to pretend to respect the motivations of all voters, even Trump voters. But I don’t see why I or anyone else needs to.

          I just don’t understand this automatic assumption that whatever emotions or thoughts happens to drive a particular constituency are necessarily legitimate and deserves my respect. From a strictly tactical point of view, I get it…politicians must get votes to get elected. But I am not trying to get elected, and so from a substantive point of view, it makes no sense to me at all. If some people find loud, smash mouth politics appealing, the problem in my mind is them, not the politicians who don’t appeal to them.

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        • I’ll get behind any politician who supports the creation of a “Galactic Credit” independent of all currencies, exchangeable into all of them, and spendable on any planet.

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        • Mark:

          If that is his worst idea, we’d be in pretty good shape electing him. If Obama’s worst ideas were on a similar order of badness, we’d be in a lot better shape. (Plus, of course, there is virtually no chance of it happening, even if it were a great idea.)

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        • BTW, this was Milton Friedman on the Gold Standard:

          If an automatic commodity standard were feasible, it would provide an excellent solution to the liberal’s (i.e., classic liberal) dilemma: a stable monetary framework without danger of the irresponsible exercise of monetary powers. If, for example, an honest-to-goodness gold standard, in which 100 percent of the money in a country consisted literally of gold, were widely backed by the public at large, imbued with the mythology of a gold standard and with the belief that it is immoral and improper for government to interfere with its operation, it would provide an effective guarantee against governmental tinkering with the currency and against irresponsible monetary action. Under such a standard, any monetary powers of government would be very minor in scope. But…such an automatic system has historically never proved feasible. It has always tended to develop in the direction of a mixed system containing fiduciary elements such as bank notes and deposits, or government notes in addition to monetary commodity. And once fiduciary elements have been introduced, it has proved difficult to avoid governmental control over them, even when they were initially issued by private individuals…Once fiduciary elements have been introduced, the temptation for government itself to issue fiduciary money is almost irresistible. In practice, therefore, commodity standards have tended to become mixed standards involving extensive intervention by the state…Even during the so-called great days of the gold standard in the nineteenth century, when the Bank of England was supposedly running the gold standard skillfully, the monetary system was far from a fully automatic gold standard. Even then it was a highly managed standard. And certainly the situation is now more extreme as a result of the adoption by country after country of the view that government has responsibility for ‘full employment.’ [A gold standard] is not desirable because it would involve a large cost in the form of resources used to produce the monetary commodity. It is not feasible because the mythology and beliefs required to make it effective do not exist.

          In other words, a Gold standard would be ideal if not for the inevitability of politicians fucking it up.

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        • But, Scott, in a fashion similar to fiat money, the gold standard requires worldwide buy-in to a mythology.

          Think about it. Any commodity standard is subject to the supply and demand for the commodity, so the adoption of a commodity standard requires ignoring that flux and “fixing” the price of the commodity.

          Fiat money is as strong as the mythology – the will to believe – will allow. If the USA is considered to have the strongest economy, then its currency will become the mythological benchmark against which other currencies float. That is how we have managed to get away with unsustainable continuing deficits – by the collective imagination of the world about our strength.

          And so it would be with a commodity standard. Because that is a fiat standard by another name. And if total currency float were limited to the amount of the commodity horded by a government, each government would scramble to use the commodity which it could most easily horde.

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        • Mark:

          Any commodity standard is subject to the supply and demand for the commodity, so the adoption of a commodity standard requires ignoring that flux and “fixing” the price of the commodity.

          It is, of course, subject to the supply and demand of a commodity, but that is why you would need to choose a commodity the supply of which is and will remain relatively scarce and demand relatively constant (and high). That is why a luxury good like gold is a better choice than, say, cigarettes.

          And so it would be with a commodity standard. Because that is a fiat standard by another name.

          A commodity-pegged money system is the exact opposite of fiat money. It is not fiat money by another name.

          The mythology/beliefs that Friedman is talking about is a different sort from the mythology/beliefs you are talking about. You are talking about a belief in the relative value of something, namely that of US economic output. Friedman, I think, was talking about a belief in the impropriety of government involvement in the monetary system. Without that belief, it becomes inevitable that even gold-backed currency will become captured and manipulated by government issued paper money.

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        • I’ll get us cigarettes, booze and rubbers when we’re in the camps.

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        • McWing:

          I’ll get us cigarettes, booze and rubbers when we’re in the camps.

          All good currency in the camps, for sure.

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        • “Is and will remain…scarce” cannot ever work, because the global market is far bigger than any commodity.

          That is, alternatives to money as a medium of exchange will explode, in order to facilitate trade in the many things of value that are not the chosen commodity. In fact, I think they are exploding, as we watch.

          There is no ideal commodity and no ideal value upon which to rely.

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        • Mark:

          That is, alternatives to money as a medium of exchange will explode, in order to facilitate trade in the many things of value that are not the chosen commodity. In fact, I think they are exploding, as we watch.

          I genuinely have no idea what you mean. A gold standard is not an “alternative” to money as a medium of exchange. It is an objective value on which money as a medium exchange can be based. And it is an alternative to fiat money.

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        • Scott, you misunderstood me. If a gold standard were imposed, then money as the medium of exchange would become drastically limited in volume and circulation and that would be detrimental to markets of every kind. Thus alternatives to money as the means of exchange would be found within and by markets. These would of course include barter, and eventually, negotiable instruments backed by faith.

          Not to mention that nations without gold supplies or gold mines would ignore the attempted imposition of this “standard” by nations like Russia and South Africa with huge gold deposits.

          Contracting the cash and currency in circulation by 70% [I am guessing] could square the USA to a gold standard against our own reserves. This would put everyone out of business without barter and informal exchange.

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        • Mark:

          If a gold standard were imposed, then money as the medium of exchange would become drastically limited in volume and circulation and that would be detrimental to markets of every kind.

          Is the world’s supply of gold significantly smaller today relative to economic activity than it was back in, say, 1900 when there was an operational gold standard? I honestly have no idea.

          Of course, limiting the supply of money in circulation is precisely one of the things that makes a gold standard attractive. Government’s can’t simply print money at will. Why do you think limited circulation would necessarily be detrimental to markets rather than simply resulting in lower prices?

          Thus alternatives to money as the means of exchange would be found within and by markets. These would of course include barter, and eventually, negotiable instruments backed by faith.

          But a faith not required by the law, which would be the important part. Although I think Friedman’s point was that any such system would inevitably get co-opted by the government anyway. Hence his reference to a “mixed” system and his conclusion that it can’t work.

          Not to mention that nations without gold supplies or gold mines would ignore the attempted imposition of this “standard”

          I don’t think it would matter to the US whether or not other countries implement a gold standard relative to their own currency. Although if the dollar is the world’s current reserve currency, and the dollar was placed on a gold standard, wouldn’t the rest of the world would be on a gold standard by default?

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        • @scottc1: “If some people find loud, smash mouth politics appealing, the problem in my mind is them, not the politicians who don’t appeal to them.”

          Ultimately, leaders must lead. If everybody was an erudite gentlemen farmer familiar with the works of Livy and John Locke and Adam Smith and had read homer in the original Greek, we’d hardly need any kind of government, anyway. 😉

          Admittedly, Trump is playing to the market and taking the ground as it lays. Yet I think there is as an alternative way, somewhere, yet no one in a position to seem to be willing to advance any alternative past “condemn Trump” … I’m just saying, if there was anyone advancing anything interesting, or useful, or compelling, I don’t think there would be a Trump. Also, I don’t think this phenomenon is remotely new in the electorate or humanity, and the fact that nobody running against Trump seems to have a good idea how to handle his rather mediocre efforts at playing to the anger of the crowd speaks a great deal, to me, of the entitlement of the class of politicians running in this cycle. In the case of Hillary, it simply works out to be more true because apparent super delegates and “coin flip” primaries will mysteriously award her the nomination no matter what, but I still think Trump gets by on bluster because it’s no less substantive than what his opponents have, ultimately (same old, same old) and while I do not think his tactics are brilliant or unstoppable, it seems his opponents just assumed the tactics of past battles would win them the battle of the future.

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        • KW:

          I’m just saying, if there was anyone advancing anything interesting, or useful, or compelling, I don’t think there would be a Trump.

          Why are the whims of Trump voters alone the metric that defines how “interesting”, “useful”, or “compelling” a candidate and his ideas are? Trump has so far received, what, about 35-40% of primary/caucus votes? So that means that a pretty sizable majority of R voters find someone other than Trump to be more “interesting, “useful” or “compelling”. But somehow, since that majority opposition is split among several candidates, that makes them all uninteresting, not useful, and not compelling, or at last less interesting, less useful, and less compelling than Trump?

          Again, I just don’t understand this need/desire to elevate Trump voters and Trump voters alone to this pedestal where the quality of all candidates are measured against what they are looking for. Personally I find most of the other candidates far more compelling than Trump. Cruz, for one, is infinitely more compelling than Trump, especially as an anti-establishment candidate.

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  6. OT: Nice turn of phrase

    “A Republican Red Wedding

    This is not 1976. The major contestants have no interest in preserving the dignity, authority, or even the survival of the Republican Party. Cruz or Trump would be entirely content to blow up the GOP to achieve their personal goals. By the time we get to April, the prospect of Cruz, Trump and Rubio working together toward a sane outcome seems beyond unlikely, bordering on ludicrous. This gets to the reason why the also-rans might stay in the race.

    A vast majority of convention delegates will be “soft-pledged” to a candidate based on primary or caucus results. That means they are only obliged to vote with that candidate on a first ballot. When no one secures a majority on the first ballot, they are free agents.

    So, how does the convention resolve a deadlock? Go back and watch the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones.”

    https://goplifer.com/2016/02/02/a-republican-red-wedding/

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  7. The convention is going to be great:

    “Then, there’s Trump’s list.

    Only two of Trump’s 54 delegates are elected officials. One is the mayor of a single-stoplight country town. The other, his state campaign chair, sits on a downstate community college board. There are also two figures from the financial community in Chicago, including a former Board of Exchange President. Then it gets interesting.

    If Trump wins Illinois he’ll be sending to the RNC a food service manager from a juvenile detention center, a daycare worker from a Christian School, an unemployed paralegal, a grocery store warehouse manager, one brave advocate for urban chicken farming, a dog breeder, and a guy who runs a bait shop. Elsewhere on the slate, Barbara Kois is a minor Christian author whose blog posts are right in line with the hysteria you’d expect from a Trump voter. Nabi Fakruddin is a low-level suburban politico whose claim to fame is being removed from a local transit board position for “double-dipping.” Bob Bednar ran unsuccessfully to head the GOP in Lake County. He’s about as close as you’ll get in that bunch to an active political figure.

    About half of his delegates are more or less unidentifiable from any low-level search beyond the voter rolls. There’s one, a Raja Sadia, who has no online footprint of any kind. Needless to say, that is highly unusual for potential convention delegates.

    One possible explanation for this strange delegate slate is that the campaign paid someone to run the process. These folks do generally fit the profile of paid petition circulators. The problem with that hypothesis is that the ones who can be identified appear to be honest to goodness Trumpists.

    Another explanation seems more credible, though it is also remarkable and perhaps disturbing. In The Politics of Crazy, I explained that a broad devolution of power was weakening our central institutions in ways we never anticipated. Everyone loves democracy, but we are beginning to understand that democracy without effective, responsible institutions is a dangerous mess.

    Figures on the left in particular often complain about low levels of political participation and influence by the poor and marginalized in our society. Well, the times, they are a changin.’ If Trump’s petitions are legitimate and these really are qualified delegates, then his campaign has accomplished a feat of democratic activism on a historic scale. Nursery workers and warehouse foremen with no history of political involvement may be on their way to a national convention – and they are not Sanders’ delegates.”

    https://goplifer.com/2016/01/06/a-survey-of-trumps-illinois-delegates/

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  8. h/t jnc

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heard this morning on WTOP that people are seeking therapy because they can’t handle the idea of a Trump presidency. Why do we enable such nonsense?

      Like

      • Because there are therapists willing to coddle them? Personally, I find that hilarious and stupid in equal parts.

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      • It’s free market capitalism at work. You’ve got to take the bad with the good.

        As to the question of why there are people who can’t handle such an idea, obviously our wealthy time and place allow people to create problems in their imagination because the real world no longer threatens them as it might have a thousand years in the past. But also because we have no civics education to speak of, and I would expect none of those people have any real idea of what a president is actually capable to doing, and what the limitations on their powers are.

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  9. Any violence committed by the left is the right’s fault, apparently…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-violence-to-come/471924/?utm_source=SFTwitter

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    • They are predicting a return to violence on the left, but I think fringe left is not likely to grow to SDS/Black Panther levels again – at least not in reaction to President Trump. There is a complete willingness and complicity by the press [all of it, far left to far right] to espouse the fiction that Presidents are either legislators or Kings.

      Thus many, many Americans pay little attention to Congressional and Senatorial races, and do not know what the legislature does. Or what State and local government do.

      The linked article is trash.

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      • “There is a complete willingness and complicity by the press [all of it, far left to far right] to espouse the fiction that Presidents are either legislators or Kings.”

        And a lack of civics education. It’s difficult to find a pundit or likely voter that doesn’t ultimately seem to believe president’s have king or even God-like powers, suggesting the election of the wrong one demonstrably kills jobs and tanks the economy and starts wars while electing the right one creates jobs and creates peace and prosperity like magic. The Oval Office is not the One Ring to Rule Them All. It’s one office of government, and a very visible office, but still . . .

        Heck, even our politicians buy into it, at least in public and in appealing to voters. The very idea that the main mission of a GOP congress needed to be to “make Obama a one term president” contains and implicit assumption that he’s a demigod like enemy that must be stopped at all costs because of his incredible powers. Instead of, you know, we’re going to pass a bunch of tax cuts and program cuts and regulatory reductions and call it the “American People Assistance Act” and make him veto it.

        I find arguments about the state of the economy on places like PL bewildering. “The economy is terrible, and it’s all Obama’s fault!” “The economy is great, and it’s all Obama’s doing!” … really? Either way, the rest of the government, both elected and bureaucratic appointees, and American workers, technological innovation, market changes, private efforts . . . none of that matters. Just one dude. Does it all. The remaining 390 million Americans are just passive sheep in the wake of a single presidential shepherd?

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    • That’s funny. Bitch, why you make me hit you?

      Like

    • Wishful thinking, that will take individual events completely abstracted from the data that prove their normalcy or even decline, in order to prove the thesis that electing right-wing-sounding populists creates violence.

      Like

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