Here was the headline from CNN — at the very top of their website:
It was splashed across the top of their webpage yesterday morning — presenting the economic news as scary and bad.
But if you look at the story they are actually reporting you find this:
Wall Street economists expected the US economy to add 185,000 jobs in January...and instead it added 517,000. Oh, and the unemployment rate fell to a 53-year low.
Shocking. Astonishing. Remarkable. We're running out of adjectives to describe how stunning this jobs report was.
- The unemployment rate was 3.4%, the lowest since May 1969 — as in, before Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
- After revisions, America gained 4.8 million jobs last year. That's 300,000 more than previously reported.
- Job gains were widespread, in just about every sector. Leading the way: Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 jobs as America continued to rebound from the Covid pandemic.
- Wages grew 4.4% over the past year in January, higher than expected.
What does it all mean? The US economy is not in a recession. Despite the Federal Reserve's efforts to slow the economy to cool inflation, the labor market just refuses to quit.
Friday’s jaw-dropping jobs report should force a bunch of economists and pundits into the corner to think about what they’ve done.
“The economy is further away from recession than ever,” wrote Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at Fwdbonds. “This is one of the days where economists don’t pick up the phone because they simply do not know what to say.”
With hiring far exceeding expectations, the likelihood of an imminent contraction in the US economy is dwindling.
The prospects of a so-called soft landing — in which the Federal Reserve manages to tame inflation without smothering the labor market — have, until very recently, been framed by analysts and economists as a near-impossible feat and an unlikely outcome. But the labor market's strength in the face of the most aggressive monetary tightening in modern history suggests the central bank deserves a bit more credit.
“I’d say the chances of the Fed somehow stumbling ass backwards into a true soft landing, arguably the hardest feat in all of monetary policy, just went up,” tweeted Jordan Weissmann, Washington editor for the news outlet Semafor.
Bottom line: A big, capital-R recession looks increasingly unlikely, at least in the near term.
“Any concern the economy is in recession or close to a recession should be completely dashed by these numbers,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told CNN.
Biden called the latest jobs numbers a “positive sign for the health of the economy going forward,” highlighting declines in the cost of goods and gas.
Responding to critiques that his economic team could not increase jobs while also taming inflation, the president said, “Today’s data makes crystal clear what I’ve always known in my gut: these critics and cynics were wrong. While we may face setbacks along the way … our plan is working because of the grit and resolve of the American worker.”
and stocks? They ended Friday with their fourth weekly gain in five weeks.
Panic sells. Bad new sells.
Biden is doing a phenomenal job with making the most of the economy in really tough times. But the press would rather tell a story of panic.
But don’t believe it! And remember that real news will eventually come out, even if it is first buried in shit. 2023 Democrats are not 2013 Democrats — we fight back and we get the word out there. So take heart and keep going!
Democrats Kick Ass
Biden administration makes it easier for borrowers misled by for-profit colleges to apply for student loan forgiveness
The Biden administration is making it a little easier for borrowers who were misled by their for-profit college to apply for student loan forgiveness.
The Department of Education launched a new webpage this week, providing clearer instructions for people seeking debt forgiveness under a program called borrower defense to repayment.
Borrowers who have been misled by their college have long had the right to request loan forgiveness, but the application process wasn’t clearly established until the Obama administration. Now, the department’s Federal Student Aid office is offering more comprehensive information about how to apply.
Hunter Biden demands investigations and retractions, opening new front against GOP foes
Hunter Biden's legal team went on the offensive Wednesday, demanding state and federal investigations into the dissemination of his personal material — purported to be from his laptop — and threatening a defamation lawsuit against Fox News' Tucker Carlson for allegedly failing to correct false statements.
The flurry of letters to the Delaware attorney general, the Department of Justice, the IRS and attorneys for Fox News and Carlson represent an aggressive new strategy for the president's son, who is facing long-running federal criminal investigations, as well as new probes promised by congressional Republicans, according to a source familiar with Biden's approach.
"This marks a new approach by Hunter Biden and his team," the source told CBS News. "He is not going to sit quietly by as questionable characters continue to violate his rights and media organizations peddling in lies try to defame him."
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement to CBS News that the letters "do not confirm Mac Isaac's or others' versions of a so-called laptop."
"They address their conduct of seeking, manipulating and disseminating what they allege to be Mr. Biden's personal data, wherever they claim to have gotten it," Lowell said.
Republicans are a hot mess
this section is looooonnnnngggg because they are really a mess. So pour another cup of coffee (or other beverage — we don’t judge!) and enjoy:
GOP Is Picking Political Losers
“To hold up the debt ceiling to cut social security, that’s just nuts, and the current Republicans are falling into that trap again,” says Elaine Kamarck, director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution.
Republicans go after these popular programs year after year, knowing they won’t gain votes beyond their narrow base of voters who think entitlements are welfare and go to people who don’t deserve them. Democrats are thinking: Make my day.
Republicans overplayed their hand on abortion and they’re about to compound the error by demanding cuts in Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, important and defining policy positions that pit them against huge majorities in the country.
Republicans rally around conservatives who lost their elections
Donald Trump — the former Republican president who lost his 2020 reelection bid — spent last Saturday pinging between New Hampshire and South Carolina in his third effort for the White House.
Kari Lake — the former local news anchor who lost her 2022 Arizona gubernatorial bid — attended the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington as the guest of Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), and is headed to Iowa later this month.
And Jair Bolsonaro — the former president of Brazil who lost his 2022 reelection bid — is scheduled to headline the conservative Turning Points USA’s “Power to the People” event in Miami on Friday.
Unlike in previous decades, where losing candidates largely slunk away, many Republicans have increasingly been celebrating political losers, with certain sections of the GOP base lionizing them as wronged warriors and avatars of legitimate grievances.
Republicans have a big Kari Lake problem
Attend a Kari Lake rally, as I did Sunday night, and you will see why so many conservatives will follow her to the ends of the Earth.
Lake has star power. She lights up a stage and can talk coherently for nearly an hour. She flatters her audiences and knows which buttons to push to rile them up and garner sympathy.
This gift poses massive problems for the Arizona Republican Party.
That Lake continues to spout lies to her adoring fans creates huge problems for the state party. Its leaders know why they lost most statewide races and nearly lost control of the legislature. They know they need to win back the votes of some educated Whites while holding on to the people who backed Trump and Lake. Do that, and Arizona goes from the ultimate purple state to one that clearly leans Republican.
But how do they do that when so many of their voters believe in the voter-fraud myth? The base demands obeisance to faith that the election was stolen, and any statewide candidate will be tempted to pander to those views. But doing so would alienate the swing voters they need to win. Three straight election cycles in which Republicans lost narrowly to Democrats in their Senate and gubernatorial races prove that the hardcore base is not enough to win.
Trump raises nightmare scenario for GOP as he lashes out at potential primary foes
Donald Trump is raising the nightmare scenario for Republicans in the 2024 presidential election – that he might refuse to endorse the party’s nominee if he loses his primary race.
The former president’s warning comes as he escalates efforts to try to scare off or damage potential party rivals who are maneuvering ahead of their own possible campaign launches as a so-far-sleepy GOP contest bursts into life.
Specifically, Trump is turning on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and his former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. These veiled threats foretell his likely attempts to stigmatize their brands in the eyes of Republican primary voters and mirror his successful 2016 caricaturing of rivals.
The House GOP’s sham hearings are fizzling before they even begin
The GOP’s conspiracy theories and unhinged accusations work best when Republicans are in the minority, when they can throw out half-baked accusations and make leaps of logic with little consequence.
When they are in the majority, however, they must show their cards about supposed Democratic scandals. And that is already proving to be a problem for right-wing performance politicians for four reasons.
First, most voters don’t want lawmakers to spend time spinning scandals. A recent CNN poll found that 67 percent of voters (including 74 percent of independents) don’t like the way Republicans are handling their job.
Second, it is hard for Republicans to explain to an audience not already steeped in right-wing conspiracy theories what the heck they are talking about.
Third, Republicans have a problem with evidence — or the lack thereof.
Fourth, there are rakes aplenty for Republicans to step on. Each time a Republican screams that the government has been “weaponized,” Democrats should be prepared to go through the litany of real GOP abuses and outrages while in power:
Trump struggles to fundraise in early weeks of 2024 campaign
Former President Donald Trump’s political operation brought in $9.5 million in the roughly six weeks after he announced his latest White House bid, according to a source familiar with the fundraising numbers.
The haul is smaller than the nearly $11.8 million raised by Trump entities in the six weeks before the Republican’s November 15 campaign announcement, underscoring the challenges Trump faces as he attempts a political comeback.
Manhattan Prosecutors Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury
The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
the developments compound Mr. Trump’s legal woes as he mounts a third presidential campaign. A district attorney in Georgia could seek to indict him for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, and he faces a special counsel investigation into his removal of sensitive documents from the White House as well as his actions during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Mr. Bragg’s decision to impanel a grand jury focused on the hush money — supercharging the longest-running criminal investigation into Mr. Trump — represents a dramatic escalation in an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end.
Trump in Even More Legal Hot Water After Lying to Judge
Former President Donald Trump appears to have lied in sworn court records, opening him up to severe sanctions by a New York judge who has already lost his patience and threatened to punish him before.
Trump claimed he wasn’t the president of the Trump Organization during his four years at the White House, despite previously testifying that he was an “inactive president.” And he claimed that he didn’t have a financial stake in a partnership with the real estate company Vornado, even though he previously testified that he did.
Can Stormy Daniels Be to Trump What Taxes Were to Al Capone?
When legendary mobster Al Capone was finally convicted, it wasn’t for murder and racketeering. It was for a series of tax crimes that included misdemeanor charges.
Now, in the wake of years of delayed criminal accountability for Donald Trump—ranging from inciting violent insurrection, interfering with elections, and mishandling of classified documents—comes news that a first criminal charge against Trump might arise from a similarly unexpected and almost forgotten case.
Like Capone, Trump has bragged of not paying taxes and, like the convictions against Capone, the Stormy Daniels matter may include misdemeanors. But it could be his ultimate downfall.
Reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has convened a grand jury to look into the hush money payments to the adult film star—made nearly seven years ago—to conceal a sexual relationship she had with then-candidate Donald Trump spell new legal peril for Trump, in a case that never should have taken this long to bring.
Trump’s Financial Situation Is Even Shakier Than We Knew
When Donald Trump left office in early 2021, he was apparently on much thinner financial ice than almost anyone knew.
That revelation, which three accounting experts confirmed upon reviewing Trump’s 2020 tax return, may help explain some of the financial and political moves the former president has made in the intervening years. Snowballing legal fees, along with other possible legal settlements and judgments, threaten to consume the cash pile he needs to bankroll his business activity, as well as fund a lavish lifestyle and maintain his image of excess—an emperor atop a golden toilet.
That said, all three tax experts interviewed for this article concurred that Trump’s stash on hand at the end of 2020 does not appear to be quite as generous as the returns might make it seem.
Other Good News
The Alternative, Optimistic Story of Population Decline
The shoe has dropped. The big one. China, the most populous country on the planet for centuries, this month reported its first population decline in six decades, a trend that is almost certainly irreversible. By the end of the century, China may have only around half of the 1.41 billion people it has now, according to U.N. projections, and may already have been overtaken by India.
The news has been met with gloom and doom, often framed as the start of China’s inexorable decline and, more broadly, the harbinger of a demographic and economic time bomb that will strain the world’s capacity to support aging populations.
But the alarmist warnings are often simplistic and premature. The glass is at least half full. Shrinking populations are usually part of a natural, inevitable process, and rather than focus excessively on concerns like labor shortages and pension support, we need to look at the brighter spots for our world.
The population declines seen today in some countries have come about largely as a happy story of greater longevity and freedom. Fertility rates worldwide dropped from more than five births per woman in the early 1960s to 2.3 in 2020. Credit greater investment in child and maternal health everywhere: A mother who successfully brings her child to term and an infant who survives to childhood lower birthrates because parents often don’t feel the need to try again. Greater availability of free or affordable contraception has reduced unwanted births.
Having more women in the work force is a recipe for even greater productivity and prosperity and could help ease labor concerns among falling populations. More women than ever are rising to leadership positions in business, media and politics.
Compared with a half-century ago, people in many countries are richer, healthier and better educated, and women are more empowered. China’s population, for example, is shrinking and aging, but its people are more educated and have a longer life expectancy than at any other time in the country’s history.
Fewer people on the planet, of course, may reduce humanity’s ecological footprint and competition for finite resources. There could even be greater peace as governments are forced to choose between spending on military equipment or on pensions. And as rich nations come to rely more on immigrants from poorer countries, those migrants gain greater access to the global prosperity currently concentrated in the developed world.
Global population will inevitably decline. Rather than try to reverse that, we need to embrace it and adapt.
On the lighter side
I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with all of you. 💖💚💛✊🏽✊🏻✊🏽💛💚💖
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