Morning Report: Inflation is weighing on small business

Vital Statistics:

S&P futures4,663-1.2
Oil (WTI)79.51.23
10 year government bond yield 1.77%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.66%

Stocks are flattish this morning as we await Jerome Powell’s testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee. Bonds and MBS are down again.

Small business optimism ticked up in December, according to the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. Inflation remains a problem, with a net 22% of respondents saying it was their biggest headache. A net 57% reported raising prices. Small business owners are glum about the outlook as well, with a net negative 35% of respondents seeing worse conditions ahead. A net 49% also announced they have job openings they could not fill. In addition, a net 48% reported raising compensation, which is a record for the index, which goes back almost 50 years.

Mortgage Credit Availability rose by 0.8% in November, the fifth increase in the past six months. “Credit supply increased in December, with growth across both conventional and government segments of the market,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “December’s growth was driven by more ARM and lower credit score loan programs, which was likely due to a combination of the rising rate environment and affordability challenges. Lenders expanded offerings to qualified borrowers who were the most impacted by these market conditions. Additionally, there was an increase in government streamline refinance programs to aid borrowers still looking to refinance before rates rise further.”

That said, credit is still extremely tight historically. Take a look at the chart below. We are closer to bust levels than pre-pandemic levels. I have to imagine this will get worse as the FHFA increases fees for second homes and high balance loans.

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreased in December as home prices and interest rates rise. “The HPSI’s underlying components changed dramatically in the last 12 months – particularly the two related to homebuying and home-selling sentiment – and we have seen the index drift slightly downward since March 2021, an indication that the housing market may begin to soften in the coming year,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Over the past year, low mortgage rates plus government stimulus programs helped increase mortgage demand, but the bidding-up of homes increased prices to record levels, making affordability a greater constraint for both first-time and move-up homebuyers. Among homeowners, the ‘good time to buy’ sentiment fell 30 percentage points over the past year to its current level of 30%; for renters it fell from 37% to 21%. Even though demand remains strong, a majority of consumers clearly have reservations about purchasing a home at current prices.”

26 Responses

    • I have boycotted TV and movies since the 1980s because of this shit.


      • That’s a bit extreme. The authors peg the problem to about 2015.


      • I still don’t boycott movies or TV. Watch a lot of woke stuff, some of which is mildly entertaining. Much of it isn’t, but there you go. My youngest is bingeing Modern Family now and I’ll just see pieces of it as I walk through the living room and say to myself, “Well, you couldn’t do that now . . . ” and it’s an episode from 10 years ago. Or six years ago. That the problem. There’s too much good stuff–very successful stuff–that you watch and have to think, “Well, they couldn’t do that now”. And not just from the 70s or 80s but literally 5 years ago at this point.

        They are radically shrinking their content. And audiences do change with the time but they don’t change that much that fast.

        Look at the ratings for Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert and maybe Noah Trevor on the Daily Show, and you’ve got the entire audience on the planet for that sort of stuff. That’s it. You want to make billions you need to exist in the mainstream. See: Spider-Man: No Way Home.


        • In college, I didn’t have a TV. During my time in the Navy I played guitar and by the mid 90s discovered video games. I haven’t cared about a TV show since Hill St. Blues.

          I have seen 3 movies in the past 30 years: Cars, the Lego movie, and that Star Wars one with the chick. The Star Wars movie was unwatcheable, IMO.


        • Disney couldn’t have done a worse job with Star Wars if they tried. Who knows, maybe they did try.


        • The Mandalorian is worth a watch, as is most of the Disney Marvel stuff.


        • Yeah, I’m out. Have no plans to subscribe to D+, and will generally avoid *most* Disney like the plague (Gina Carrano was the last straw for me but it had been building), except when it involves doing something like taking my kids of the park for a day because I promised that it would happen a long time ago. Or catching Spider-Man: No Way Home on Redbox. I did go see Free Guy in the theater but honestly did not realize it was a Disney property before going.

          Also so Venom: Let Their Be Carnage in the theater but there wasn’t a lot of options, and Sony gets most of that cash, anyway. And frankly Sony seems to be doing a better job with their Marvel licenses now than Marvel is (though Venom: Let There Be Carnage was pretty dumb).


    • The original run of “Will and Grace” (1998-2006), did more to advance the cause of gay marriage than anything else pre-Obergefell.

      Will and Grace played primarily to a blue audience, I think. Elites, too, probably, so no doubt it helped. But I’d credit Modern Family and the very friendly, sympathetic, accessible and very human Cam and Mitchell as moving the needle a lot more than Will and Grace. Before and in the polling afterwards, as well.


      • KW:

        But I’d credit Modern Family and the very friendly, sympathetic, accessible and very human Cam and Mitchell as moving the needle a lot more than Will and Grace.

        That could be true, but it is also true that we have SSM in the US not because the needle was moved, but only because of Obergefell. Recall that even in uber-progressive California, it wasn’t a popular vote, but rather a court ruling overturning the results of a popular vote referendum that made SSM a reality there. Nothing other than SCOTUS can be sensibly credited/blamed for the widespread existence of SSM in the US.


        • He’s a perfect hero in this situation: a kind of obvious “blank” slate, for which they can project whatever they want to craft whatever narrative they want.

          It’s not like he’s constantly Tweeting out his opinions or anything, as far as I know.

          That being said, this seems willfully obtuse. There’s something odd there and the FBI keeps getting caught (although the press mostly covers it up now) staging “plots” so they can break them up. Not sure what the strategy would have been here but still . . . seems very odd. And weird that this guy isn’t in jail. Unless he was working for the FBI or another agency.

          Like this comment: “Republicans both praise the insurrectionists and say it was a false flag.”

          How many Republicans praise the “insurrectionists”? I don’t hear many, although I know there are some. But for the most part I hear that it was a riot, the people who went in were morons, they deserved to be arrested, but they are getting treated very poorly compared to, say, BLM and Antifa rioters.

          I also hear people say it was a false flag, but not simultaneously praising those who either executed or were suckered into participating in the false flag. I can’t think of anyone “praising the insurrection” while also calling it a false flag.

          When you read the comments I gotta say–social media is a poison. The reduction of subtlety and nuance makes everything so that people are individuals, but members of a group, and those groups are embodiments of their worst actors or most absurd ideas–or the most hyperbolic criticisms of them. And this becomes a feedback loop. The progressive left has always had issues, as has the far right, but the most enthusiastic online communicators have the most black-and-white, gaslighting view of everything. And the projection–or the inability to recognize their criticisms of others always equally apply to themselves. So maybe, you know, stop and actually think. Do a little research. Allow for a little nuance.

          But nah.


        • I don’t disagree. I think it would have happened popularly, eventually, but good lord knows that progressives can’t fucking wait for everybody to get on board so they have to act on it now.

          But I think popular referendums could easily pass in a lot of these places–California, obviously–today. Of course, you’re right, but I’m speaking about what changed cultural attitudes–and cultural attitudes have definitely changed. While other court dictates don’t necessarily move the needle that much.

          And–as always–letting the public catch up, and legalize state-by-state by referendum–would have been much better. Because Obergefell leads to our current trans insanity and the increasingly more public attempts to normalize pedophilia. Not because “gay” = “pedophile” but because “their will was imposed on the public, against the public’s will at the time, so why not mine?”

          Ultimately I guess all of this is a multi-pronged attack. Win the culture through entertainment, win the young through control of academia, and then impose your progressive will through the laws. Or work all angles at the same time.


    • Really good article.


    • Re hollywood and the woke eating themselves:


  1. This was a funny and true summation. It’s hilarious that Democrats won’t accept this:

    “EZRA KLEIN: I want to run through a bit of the rest of the Biden agenda. And here, do you think some version — it won’t be called this — but some version of Build Back Better passes in the next six months?

    CHRIS HAYES: I do. I guess I found this whole thing, like everyone, pretty maddening and confusing. Here’s what I don’t quite understand. I don’t quite understand why we haven’t gotten to the point where they say, Senator Manchin, write the bill that you will vote for and we will pass it, because that’s the only way out of this. I mean, I think the people thought — and I don’t blame anyone for trying — we can get him.

    No one has leverage over Joe Manchin. No one. No one. No one. No, let me take that back. No one on the left has leverage over — no one to Joe Manchin’s left has leverage over Joe Manchin. Joe Manchin won in a state that’s plus-30 Trump. His personal approval rating in his state among his constituents is 60 — somewhere around there. We spent four months in which people tried to convince themselves and they tried every way to produce leverage over Joe Manchin that no one has.

    If you accept that no one has leverage over Joe Manchin, Build Back Better becomes whatever Joe Manchin will agree to. If you want a bill, that’s what it’s going to be. Now, you can say I don’t want that to be the case because it is so destructive to our priorities or to political — I don’t know — the integrity of the Democratic Party to let this guy write the bill. At this point, let him write the goddamn bill and pass it. I don’t see any other way out. Or if it’s dead, it’s dead. But I don’t think it is. There’s some outline of some bill he’ll vote for.”


    • The thing I find funny now is the left thinks the Senate is an instrument by which Alabama can impose its will on California.

      No, California can implement whatever tax and spending policies it chooses.

      The Senate prevents California from imposing it’s choices on Alabama.

      I find it amazing the left cannot, will not grasp this.


      • Or they can grasp it perfectly well but the whole point is that California should be able to impose its choices on Alabama, because Alabama is wrong and California is right. More to the point, they want DC to impose their its choices on everybody, California and Alabama alike. So long as progressives are at least nominally in charge of DC, of course. If they aren’t, imposition of choices–or even the increasing of freedoms–is “fascism”.


        • They view the Senate as illegitimate in the first place. Ditto with the electoral college. And the United States itself.


  2. Oh please yes:


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