The Conference Board Index Shows Consumer Confidence Increased Sharply in March

Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects.”

Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released its Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity and reports manufacturers were generally upbeat in March. The index for shipments and new orders both rose and gains in employment were more common.

Looking six months ahead, manufacturing executives were generally optimistic.

Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for March 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for March 2017 and reports factory activity in Texas increased for the ninth consecutive month, according to business executives responding to the survey. The Production Index rose two points, suggesting output picked up pace during the month. The New Orders Index retreated a little bit and the Growth Rate of Orders increased its third positive reading in a row.

Expectations regarding future business conditions continue to improve.

US Raw Steel Production Dropped Last Week

US raw steel production dropped 1.3 percent last week as mills operated at an ACUR of 72.8 percent. In the corresponding week last year mills operated at an ACUR of 72.1 percent. Thus far this year mills have produced prox 21,000,000 tons compared to the prox 20,000,000 tons produced in the like period last year.

Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 according to the “third” and final estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

What is the Midwest Economy Index?

The index is a weighted average of 129 state and regional indicators encompassing the entirety of the five states in the Seventh Federal Reserve District (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin). The index measures growth in nonfarm business activity based on indicators of four broad sectors of the Midwest economy: 1) manufacturing, 2) construction and mining, 3) services, and 4) consumer spending.

Why are there two index values? Over long periods, growth in Midwest economic activity has tended to coincide with growth in national economic activity. However, over shorter periods of time this has not always been the case. To highlight such differences, we construct two separate index values. The MEI captures both national and regional factors driving Midwest growth, and the relative MEI provides a picture of Midwest growth conditions relative to those of the nation.

What do the index numbers mean? A zero value for the MEI indicates that the Midwest economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth; positive values indicate above-average growth (in standard deviation units); and negative values indicate below-average growth.

A zero value for the relative MEI indicates that the Midwest economy is growing at a rate historically consistent with the growth of the national economy; positive values indicate above-average relative growth (in standard deviation units); and negative values indicate below-average relative growth.

Also on Friday the Institute for Supply Management released its Chicago Business Barometer and reports the Barometer remained broadly stable at 57.7 in March following a hefty rise of 7.1 points to 57.4

Following a strong February, firms remained upbeat this month with the increase led by four of the five components of the Barometer.

Demand continued to grow, rising for the second straight month. New Orders rose to touch a four month high. Production increased to keep pace with the rising demand. Order backlogs rose for the third consecutive month but remained just below the breakeven level where it has sat the previous three months.

To keep up with demand companies have increased their stock levels at the fastest pace since March 2015.

What Happened to Health Care

I don’t really understand what was in the healthcare bill which was tabled last week. I do know the Democrats are hell bent on making this administration an unsuccessful one and that my friends, is a very sad state of affairs.

From the bullshit of “they have had seven years” to put together a workable plan…I mean, who is going to massive time in on a plan if they don’t know if and when they will have the opportunity to present it? I mean, had Hillary won, or Bernie, the United States I grew up in would have been gone (and we are far from being out of the woods), I can say this, EVERYONE knows Obamacare is a failure and will continue to be so, likely getting worse and worse.

The Democrats who crafted this masterpiece have also had seven years to fix it and they have done NOTHING. These are all the swamp inhabitants the president wants to drain (on the left and the right), who think only of themselves, their pursuit of power, all at the expense of the American people.

Point #2-Our legislators have been hired by us to defend the Constitution and create the laws necessary to protect and defend America and the American people. This continuous battle for power we have going on between the left and right is NOT in the best interests of the United States or her citizens, it is, in reality, the battle between Capitalism and Socialism.

That the Democrats refused to try and help craft a healthcare bill which will be good for ALL Americans is a sign of the ambivalence they hold to their sworn duties. Yes, I know that not one Republican voted for the ACA, but why? Were they even invited to participate? The bill the Democrats passed, which apparently NO ONE read (“We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.),” was not embraced by conservatives for they apparently knew some of what was in it and deemed it unworkable in the long term.

I have been educated a little bit on the above statement on understanding the AHCA. Excerpts from an editorial in Monday’s Wall Street Journal:

President Trump campaigned on breaking Washington gridlock, increasing economic growth and lifting American incomes. The health bill collapse undermines all of those pledges…less appreciated is that House Speaker Ryan’s reform **included a pro-growth tax cut and major improvements in work incentives. The **3.8 percentage point cut in taxes on capital income would have been a substantial increase in after-tax return on investment…a replacement for the especially high marginal tax-rate cliff built into Obamacare’s subsidies…the Ryan bill **would have seen a significant boost to economic growth and labor participation.

The critique that it would not have helped “Trump voters” was willfully false coming from the left and the uninformed (me) on the right…the Ryan bill **would have reduced the budget baseline for tax reform by some $1 trillion over 10 years…

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas trashed the House health bill far and wide but he also represents Wal-Mart, which hates the GOP’s **border adjustment tax proposal that would raise some $1 trillion in revenue to pay for lower tax rates. By helping to kill the Ryan health bill, Mr. Cotton has now killed $1 trillion in tax cuts that would have made it easier to pass a tax reform without the border tax adjustment fee.”

In addition to these points I know the Obamacare mandate would be gone, competition between the state insurers would be created, coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents plans until 26 would also have been preserved and **Medicaid would have been block-granted back to the states which would have put the program on a budget for the first time since it was created in 1965.

I am quite sure I am missing some points to the bill but it appears to me that starting here would have been a better option than keeping the failing ACA. It would have gone to the Senate for them to massage it, once the Senate finished, it would go back to the House for finishing touches prior to heading to the president’s desk, so there existed plenty of opportunity to enhance the program for the BENEFIT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Our elected legislators need to get off their collective asses and start doing the work for which they have been elected. The obstruction by the left and the right, of the good things this president wants to accomplish for the United States is unwarranted and un-American. They are behaving like school children.

And…in an editorial By Karl Rove in Thursday’s WSJ:

….These claims (by the Freedom Caucus, deriding the bill as Obamacare lite) confused the grass roots but were simply untrue. Look at the legislation’s text which CANCELLED Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, HALTED AND REVERSED its Medicaid expansion, KILLED its taxes, and WHACKED its individual and employer mandates.” …The only lines crossed during this debacle were breached by the Freedom Caucusers, who committed political libel against their Republican colleagues, stopped the legislative process dead in its tracks and save Obamacare. Congratulations.”

The inertial forces of government resist any change that means lost power.” WSJ

We’ve got to drain the swamp…


For FIVE months now we have heard the charges of collusion between the Trump team and the Russians…all day…every day for five months and not one person has produced 1 piece of evidence to support these allegations. Why does it continue when there is so much important work to be done?


On another note, Trump, it can be said, certainly misspoke when he accused the Obama administration of wiretapping his phones as he produced no evidence to support, but the information had to come from somewhere as I do not believe he made it up. Anyway, it is now a known fact that people in the Trump transition team and possibly the president himself were surveilled after the election and up to the inauguration.

Strangely, Obama widened the scope of people with access to classified information just prior to his leaving office and there was apparently a FISA warrant issued to proceed with surveillance on foreign and apparently domestic government operatives and Obama had to know about this. Trump’s rant may hold some water but I doubt we will ever know. As bad as things can be, the swamp people always try protect their “club membership” when possible.

On Tuesday President Donald Trump signed an executive order taking steps to unravel the most contentious climate-change policies of his predecessor. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” Mr. Trump said.


Infrastructure X (Keystone & Dakota pipelines) Regulation Reform XX 1 in 2 out
Individual Tax Reform Entitlement Reform
Business Tax Reform Education Reform
Healthcare Reform Veterans Administration Reform
Rebuild our Military X Trade Reform
Secure our Borders (The Wall) XX Lead the world from the front XX
Help for the poor Drain the swamp X as we speak
Peace through unmatchable strength Support Israel X
Destroy ISIS X Extreme Vetting XX
Conservative Supreme Court nominees XX American Jobs XX

I will track these campaign promises and will check them off as each is accomplished adding those I have missed as they become apparent. This is quite an agenda and will be difficult to achieve all in one term but I believe the American people are behind him and know these things need to be done. Now, if he can get our legislators to support him instead of fighting him….


Have a great weekend…. God bless America!

Buy American made products whenever you can, it’s good for you, good for your friends and neighbors and good for our country.

If you are hiring…try to hire a veteran…. they are loyal, disciplined, hardworking…and they deserve our support.

By the way, if you wish to comment on my rants or offer any other insights you may have, you are encouraged to email me.