Morning Report: Judy Shelton probably done as Fed nominee

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3384 6.25
Oil (WTI) 52.06 0.65
10 year government bond yield 1.60%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.68%

 

Stocks are higher this morning after some strong earnings reports out of the tech sector. Bonds and MBS are flat.

 

Retail Sales came in at 0.3% as expected.

 

It looks like Judy Shelton may not make it through the nomination process as the business press gangs up on her and a couple Republicans voice concerns. The issue with Shelton is that she hasn’t rejected the gold standard and she casts doubt that the conventional wisdom of central banking is correct. This may be unfortunate, as global central banks are prone to groupthink. Given the strength of the US economy (strongest labor market in 50 years) why would the Fed be increasing its balance sheet? I wouldn’t be surprises to see her withdraw her name over the long President’s Day weekend.

 

Inflows to bond funds could hit $1 trillion again in 2020. Investment dollars are flowing to high grade corporate bonds and Treasuries. This wall of money will keep a ceiling on bond yields, and should continue this process of rates slowly grinding lower throughout the year. Good news for the mortgage banking business.

 

The homeownership rate increased to 65.1% in Q4, the highest in six years. The millennial cohort rate increased by 1.1% to 37.6%. Note that the rental vacancy rate at 6.4% is the lowest in 34 years.

 

Fannie Mae reported net income of $14.2 billion in 2019. Under an agreement with Treasury, Fannie will be allowed to keep it as they build up their capital to eventually go for sale.

44 Responses

  1. …even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal Supreme Court justice who has long supported the E.R.A., said this week that she thought the amendment should be scrapped in favor of a new version.

    “I’d like it to start over,” she said at a Georgetown University Law Center event on Monday. “There’s too much controversy about latecomers.”

    Signal to trial court to grant summary judgment dismissing ERA suit?

    She cannot say how she would actually vote, but there is a clue in there somewhere if you don’t look too hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • On RBG:

      “I’d like it to start over,” she said at a Georgetown University Law Center event on Monday.

      My only question for her: Why? In what way are women not already treated equally under the Constitution, such that an ERA would be considered necessary enough for the whole thing to start over instead of simply being scrapped altogether?

      Like

      • Agreed, ERA seems almost an anachronism now.

        Like

      • There is a large contingent of people on the left-of-center and amongst 3rd wave feminists and casual feminists who just take the “women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man earns” at face value. Those people think we need an equal rights amendment because they believe women don’t have equal rights in our society.

        There are issues with that, but there’s a real obvious reason no ERA amendment is going to get traction now. Anything that focuses on the rights of biological women but doesn’t also include carve outs for transwomen, transmen, gender-neutrals, homosexuals and other gender related classes is dead on arrival. An Equal Rights Amendment that provides special protections to biological women only is never going to happen.

        And at least for the next ten or twenty years, an amendment that gives special rights and privileges to transwomen, transmen, alternative genders and homosexuals could not ever possibly pass as an amendment.

        And the amendment would end up getting poisoned pill. Could easily see the “right to self-organize around gender choice” as becoming something that lets women’s sports exclude transwomen, or example, and then the amendment can’t pass.

        I can’t see this happening. RBG out of touch!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Unless the ERA requires equality for men in family court, then i have no interest.

          Liked by 2 people

        • “Those people think we need an equal rights amendment because they believe women don’t have equal rights in our society.”

          Or because they simply want the leverage for lawsuits built around disparate impact and those statistics.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Or because they simply want the leverage for lawsuits built around disparate impact and those statistics.

          Well, that too. Lawyers gotta eat!

          Like

      • The important thing if they do start over is to have an airtight definition of “sex” in the amendment so as to not allow for creative interpretation.

        Like

        • jnc:

          The important thing if they do start over is to have an airtight definition of “sex” in the amendment so as to not allow for creative interpretation.

          It probably wouldn’t matter anyway. If SCOTUS can rule that a legislature can’t define the word “marriage” in any way other than what SCOTUS wants it to mean, it can also rule that an amendment can’t define “sex” in any way other than what SCOTUS wants it to mean.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Now, if I were trying to shape the narrative the way the media does, I think I would go with:

    FBI fed Clinton campaign dirt on Trump

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been sort of hanging back observing and reading your comments while I familiarize myself with some of the issues you’ve been discussing. This is a very interesting place. It always was I thought. I doubt I’ve ever won an argument here, or even persuaded any of you that I had a valid point, so I always wonder if I’m just dumb or a bottomless pit of emotion. 😉

    I just read this little piece about winning arguments on the internet and why it might be so difficult and I couldn’t help but think about why this place both fascinates but also infuriates me.

    Online, when we can’t see others’ faces or their moods, it’s easy to lose sight of these emotional instincts. Instead of engaging with and respecting others’ feelings, there can be a tendency to bombard those with opposing views with “facts.” But even seemingly solid points of information, such as the periodic table, are often grounded in subjective perspectives; a broad philosophical theory called “social constructivism” argues that facts are always a reflection of socially constructed values. There are often multiple ways of interpreting a single point of information and so, much though some people might like to think they’re right about everything, there are surprisingly few issues to which there’s an unequivocally correct opinion.

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/150-years-ago-a-philosopher-showed-why-it-s-pointless-to-start-arguments-on-the-internet?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Happy Valentine’s Day guys! Walter and I are going away for the weekend and I’m both playing cards and going to the beach…………..heaven for lms!

    Like

    • or even persuaded any of you that I had a valid point.

      A: You often have valid points. Based on what we have to draw on, lots of people have valid points, given the context. Real discussions of issues does tend to involve admitting you might be wrong (I often am) or don’t know anything. Also involves admitting that other people are actually other people, full complete people just like us, and probably have good reasons for thinking and believing what they do.

      I doubt I’ve ever won an argument here

      But you’ve won our hearts!

      Generally, I hope it’s not winning here. People can get riled up but it’s human nature to take a look at we know, see what somebody else says that conflicts with that, and feel: “Gosh, how can you possible think that when blah blah blah?”

      So I always wonder if I’m just dumb or a bottomless pit of emotion. 😉

      You’re definitely not dumb and hopefully not a bottomless pit of emotion!

      Instead of engaging with and respecting others’ feelings, there can be a tendency to bombard those with opposing views with “facts.”

      We often forget the “hey, I like you, this is not a criticism, I just think” part of conversations online, or assume it assumed.

      At least that might be me!

      there are surprisingly few issues to which there’s an unequivocally correct opinion

      While I tend to think there are definitely correct opinions–because there are facts, although people often can confuse their opinions with facts–I think we sometimes confuse categories of fact.

      I say something I just weighed weighs 1lb. This is a fact. There shouldn’t be debate about it–maybe the scale if off or something, but in general, this is what we mean by facts. I’m typing the word “fact”. That’s a fact. What do I mean by that word? Then we get into the realm of opinion, in many cases.

      So there are facts, like the current temperature, our current geographic location, our age, etc. Then there are opinions, like this is the best movie or this is the best sports team, or this person is beautiful and this person is not. Some people feel like those opinions are facts, but they are not objective facts: there’s no agreed upon critieria to asses what the best movie is.

      Then there are “fact-like-things”, or opinion-dipped and partisan-fried facts. There are facts, but they get changed or modified by opinion and bias. But they are still very facty–even though they are often followed by a conclusion, presented as the same kind of fact, but it’s not. For example, I could say:

      Trump asked Russian to hack the DNC/Hillary’s emails and release them. That is a kind of opinion-fried fact. I could then immediately say, “It’s this sort of collusion with Russian that make’s Trump a traitor!” There, I get into more opinion and much less fact. Did the statement I’m assuming equal collusion actually equal collusion? Does it make him a traitor? What exactly constitutes “being a traitor”? And so on.

      In political debate, there tend to be a lot of partisan-fried facts that are followed up by opinion, extrapolation and conjecture as if it’s all part of the same motion. We can think like that too, so we can think about a thing that is generally a fact, and then extrapolate that into our opinion, and very much feel that our opinion about it is just as much a “fact” as the original fact-like portion of the thought.

      I see it all the time with pundits. They factually report at least a portion of something that happened or was said, and then attribute a motivation. This is essentially mind-reading. You may be sure you know what this political figure you’ve never met’s motivation is for saying or doing a thing, but you don’t, and probably nobody does.

      “Climate change is a fact” is, in fact, true. But what the means in terms of factuality varies a great deal. Yes, there is climate change. Does that mean our predictions of the negative impacts of climate change are also “facts”? No, as predictions are never facts. They are guesses. Always. Even with computer models. Yet lots of people feel that what they predict is going to happen, or what other people (experts) predict will happen, are facts. And they aren’t. And arguments ensue, and someone will say some other person is denying facts–when they aren’t. It’s opinion.

      Admittedly, most things we argue about involve mostly opinion. I can say someone did or said something I read about, but already I’m trusting the source to be accurate (as I wasn’t there) and my memory of what I read to be accurate (not always the best strategy).

      But I’m very happy you’re stopping by! And it’s great to see you here.

      Like

      • LOL Kevin, I love your “partisan fried fact” characterization.

        Truth be told I’ve missed this place but it always feels like so much work to keep up and participate. Like I said a few days ago I’m here for the election for now. We’ll see how it goes from there.

        I’m enjoying political discussions with my children and their spouses too as we’re as diverse as the country at large…………haha………apparently I raised a bunch of open-minded, think for yourself kids.

        I mailed in my Primary Ballot and couldn’t vote for any of the candidates on the Independent/Undeclared folks running for President. I did my research and they all either seemed like crazy people or too conservative to me.

        Thanks for all the interesting views on opinion vs fact vs assumptions.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There’s always a write in. While you shouldn’t write in someone who cannot be president, I think it’s perfectly fair to write in someone who could be president in theory–so if the nominee is Sanders and you think, I can’t vote for Sanders, then write in Kloubachar or Yang or, my personal favorite, Tom Hanks.

          I just like to try to think about what I’m thinking, and try to recognize: what do I really know here? What do I just think I know? How confident am I in these facts? Is what I am being told manipulative or just delivery of data?

          We often take our communications for granted but they are insanely complex and involve all sorts of assumptions on both sides (I assume you know what I mean, and you also assume you know what I mean, but both our assumptions may be incorrect, even though we both have a generally shared understanding of the definitions of the words we’re using).

          Liked by 1 person

        • KW:

          so if the nominee is Sanders and you think, I can’t vote for Sanders, then write in Kloubachar or Yang or, my personal favorite, Tom Hanks.

          I voted for a dead guy in the last election.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I couldn’t think of anyone to write in with the exception of my daughter and that would probably be the one vote she got.

          Like

        • lms:

          I’m enjoying political discussions with my children and their spouses too as we’re as diverse as the country at large

          Any Trump supporters among them?

          they all either seemed like crazy people or too conservative to me.

          Who is too conservative?

          Like

        • Scott, my son and DIL voted for Trump but regretted their decision fairly quickly. Not sure where they stand this year because I haven’t seen them since October but I doubt they’ll vote for him again although nothing would surprise me.

          My girls are both Democrats, one much more liberal than the other. My youngest daughter thinks mostly along the same lines as I do.

          It would be interesting to hear what she has to say on this ERA thing as she fought very hard for diversity and equality in the workplace the last 5 years. She stepped back last year with the buyout of her company but made quite a bit of progress and was well recognized for her efforts.

          Like

        • lms:

          It would be interesting to hear what she has to say on this ERA thing as she fought very hard for diversity and equality in the workplace the last 5 years.

          Diversity of what?

          I joke, I joke. I am well aware that “diversity” is meant to suggest “anyone but straight, white, males”, although over here in the UK it does seem to mostly mean simply “women”. Just two days ago I had to sit through a 30 minute mandatory “diversity and inclusion” re-edcuation camp training session commanded by the HR department. (Which is comprised, BTW, of 8 females and a gay guy…such “diversity”!)

          A while back I was brought into HR to discuss the low percentages of women candidates that we had interviewed for positions on the trading desk, which was a bit weird since we hadn’t actually conducted any interviews for the trading desk. We were actually firing people (2 straight, white guys), not hiring people. They told me that the firm was committed to a goal of having a 40% female staff. When I suggested that it might be difficult to achieve without actually breaking the law, given that hiring on the basis of sex is illegal here in the UK, they seemed a little irritated, but then let me get back to my job.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I voted against Trump by marking Clinton on my ballot (not to be confused with actually voting for Clinton) as did NoVA. However, in terms of actual policy (as opposed to Tweets and other BS) he’s been better than I expected.

          Of course if you went by the media commentary, the expectation was a stock market crash followed by nuclear war. My biggest issue with him is probably the family separation policy at the border for refugee admissions. But like a lot of other things, he didn’t start it. He just made it worse.

          He would be in dramatically better shape if he had kept Bannon around and listened to him, starting with not firing Comey.

          Like

        • jnc:

          I voted against Trump by marking Clinton on my ballot (not to be confused with actually voting for Clinton)

          I genuinely don’t understand the difference.

          Like

        • As in, it shouldn’t be confused with actually supporting her as a candidate or her positions, but rather simply the most effective anti-Trump vote possible given the circumstances.

          My hope was for a Republican Congress (at least one house) and Clinton to continue gridlock. Continuing the status quo was acceptable.

          Like

        • jnc:

          As in, it shouldn’t be confused with actually supporting her as a candidate or her positions, but rather simply the most effective anti-Trump vote possible given the circumstances.

          I get the desire to make the distinction, but if your ballot counted towards HRC’s vote total in Virginia, then you voted for her. You could have not voted for either her or Trump, which is what I did. But, whatever your calculus for doing so, you did vote for HRC. You should own it. And given that she didn’t get elected, there’s no real downside to owning it anyway.

          (To be fair, I was “lucky” enough to be in a state with a foregone conclusion so I had the luxury of issuing a vanity vote. If I was in a place where my vote might actually matter, I would have voted for Trump….not because I supported him, but in the hope of preventing what would certainly have been the continued ruin of Constitutional law in the country under yet another Democrat. In 2020, now that Trump has proven to be much better policy-wise than I expected, and has indeed started the process of hopefully reversing the Constitutional decay with his judicial nominations, I will ignore his manifest character flaws and his insipid tweeting and will be voting for him regardless.)

          Liked by 1 person

        • and will be voting for him regardless

          I’m going to do write-in or vote 3rd party, because Tennessee is a foregone conclusion for Trump. If it weren’t, then I’d for Trump. In both cases the vote would be less for the candidate than either for an abstract idea (3rd party, someone other than what our process serves up) or against something else (in this case, the kind of candidates the Democrats serve us up, the wokeness of the party generally, Adam Schiff and The Squad amongst other things that I find more distasteful and destructive than the GOP, although I’d love to have an alternative to voting for the GOP).

          Like

    • “It always was I thought. I doubt I’ve ever won an argument here, or even persuaded any of you that I had a valid point”

      Speaking for myself you have persuaded me you’ve had valid points, even if they weren’t the final word.

      I doubt I’ve been any more successful than you have if “winning the argument” consists of getting someone to change their mind on a preexisting conclusion.

      The other amusing thing is that prior to your return, I think Mark and myself represented the “left wing” of ATIM, which is really amusing if you think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL jnc………..so you guys need me here to represent the crazy left wing………..hahaha. The funny thing is, except for when I’m really consumed in social equal rights or medical insurance issues and probably immigration crap………….I might be less left than you.

        Right now I’m staying away from RBG and the ERA because I really need to collect my thoughts.

        Like

        • LOL jnc………..so you guys need me here to represent the crazy left wing

          Actually I’d argue we need to you to represent the “not crazy” left wing. Originally (with mixed results) the idea was to have people who disagree discuss things peaceably, not necessarily win arguments but perhaps refine them, and deepen understanding. I’ve found my opinion on the Barr/Stone thing change with each post I read!

          And also to benefit from expertise. I’m always going to trust Scott on banking issues and Mark on legal issues generally, because they both know far more about those things than I do. I trust Brent more on the economy than I’d trust myself. I can talk intelligently about IT stuff (the stuff you hear about Russian “hacking” is just wrong, but that kind of stuff is almost always wrong but the mainstream media doesn’t have an understanding of how the nitty-gritty of networks work and what happens on them, but thinks it does) and public school districts.

          I like hearing what people think. It’s just hard to find areas where the discussion goes deeper than “Trump is Great!” and “Orange Man Bad”, if you know what I mean.

          Like

      • jnc:

        I doubt I’ve been any more successful than you have if “winning the argument” consists of getting someone to change their mind on a preexisting conclusion.

        I have been discussing and debating politics on the internet for over 20 years, and only once have I had someone tell me that I changed their mind about something. And it wasn’t at ATiM!

        The other amusing thing is that prior to your return, I think Mark and myself represented the “left wing” of ATIM,

        I would never characterize you as left wing, even when you agree with a left wing position on something, because when you do I think it is always defensible on libertarian principles. I think you are a pretty principled libertarian, even when I disagree with your conclusions on what I think are libertarian grounds. Usually it is a result of holding different premises.

        Like

  4. Oh this is great. It’s not satire:

    “The Democratic primary is a real-time demonstration of the hierarchy of oppression”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/02/14/democratic-primary-is-real-time-demonstration-hierarchy-oppression/

    Like

    • he Democratic primary has been a dispiriting experience for black Americans. The party spent months boasting about its multicultural representation, only to have all that diversity wiped out of the field of candidates before a single primary vote was cast. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) didn’t make it to 2020.

      Harris could not keep her campaign together, was a bad steward of her funds, and apparently had a real campaign manager and then a relative in constant conflict and didn’t do anything to address that situation.

      That wasn’t “a hierarchy of oppression”–that was poor management.

      What’s that? Just the sound of the left eating itself.

      Like

  5. When it comes to the National Election I will write someone in but it seemed rather pointless in the primary as an Independent.

    Thanks for all the interesting views on “internet debate”.

    Have a great weekend guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an amusing read:

    “Chasing Colombia’s ‘cocaine hippos’

    Descendants of the original four hippos that belonged to cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar inhabit Colombia’s Magdalena River: “In 20 to 40 years, there will be thousands.”

    By Peter Rowe
    Feb. 9, 2020”

    https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-02-09/uc-san-diego-biologist-colombia-cocaine-hippos-pablo-escobar

    Liked by 1 person

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