President Trump by the Numbers (Updated 8/11/2018)

Updated on August 11, 2018
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MY ESOTERIC likes to think of himself as a bit of a polymath with degrees in Statistics, Accounting, Computer Science, & Operations Research

I moved the charts and tables from my Anthology of President Trump in order to unclutter that hub and consolidate my analysis of the State of TrumpAmerica in one place.

How Do We Stand Today?

Below is what is called a stoplight chart. It is intended depict in one place an easy to read picture of the status of a complex set of data; in this case Trump's America. Beside each measure, e.g. GDP, are a pair of colored circles ... the stoplights.

Below is a stoplight chart for the end of President Obama's term of office. This is what the charts tell me about the state of America at that point in time. The colored circles represent the "goodness" of that measure. For example:

  1. Food Stamp Use is Yellow (poor). While food stamp use declined considerably after the Great Recession of 2008 during President Obama's term in office, it was (and still is) way above historic norms.
  2. On the other hand, the Unemployment Rate is Blue (great) because at 4.8%, the economy is near or at full employment and is below what is normal.
  3. Finally, the National Debt is Red (terrible) because, even though the huge increase in debt was the direct result of 1) the cumulative effect of President Bush's tax cuts and the cost of his wars, 2) automatic economic stabilization measures that kicked in with the recession, and 3) the measures President Obama was forced to take to avert a depression, it is nevertheless historically high.

You will see I take a slightly different approach when we get to President Trump's stoplight chart.


Where Things Stood at the Beginning Of Trump's Presidency

CHART 1
CHART 1 | Source

President Trump's Stoplight Chart

We use this management tool a little differently in assessing how President Trump is doing. Instead of looking at how he is doing overall at single points in time, we consider how he is doing relative to how President Obama did. Why this way? Because President Trump and his supporters have made it very clear in words and deeds that they are measuring themselves to Obama's legacy.

Consequently, I organized this chart thusly. There are two sets of stoplights. Both measure whether he is doing better or worse than President Obama for each metric. The one on the left depicts how things stand about ten months into President Trumps term. The right stoplight is how it is now.1 The difference between the two colors tells you where that particular attribute is heading. The totality of color changes (or lack thereof) gives you a good idea how President Trump is doing overall when compared to President Obama's ending position.

For example, take the Dow Jones Industrial Average. I have it rated Blue because Trump is doing much better at the moment than where Obama left it. Likewise, GDP is rated Green because the trajectory of GDP growth has not changed very much between the two administrations. Auto sales are Yellow because they are a little worse than what Obama gave him. Finally, Uninsured Rates is Red because all the turmoil surrounding Obamacare has noticeably increased the number of uninsured Americans.


1 As I wrote this, "now" and "then" are the same date, which is why, if you are looking at this in December 2017, the two sets of stoplights are the same.

Stoplight Chart on Trump's America

CHART 2 - President Trump's Stpplight Chart
CHART 2 - President Trump's Stpplight Chart | Source

A Little History

To put things in perspective, a little historical context is always helpful. This next series of charts provide a look at Public Debt, Debt to GDP ratio, GDP and Per Capita GDP over various periods of time starting with a look at the entire history of the United States.

The first set of charts provide a look at Public Debt as well as the more meaningful Public Debt to GDP Ratio. The reason for the second metric is that it is not very often that a raw number (Public Debt) has any meaning by itself. It is just a number such as the Right throwing around 20 Trillion Dollars as if that was a terrible thing. Well it may be or it may not be. And you won't know until you measure it against some other related metric(s); in this case GDP and Time.

Until you know the size of the economy can you gauge whether $20 trillion is large or small. Because GDP is also around $20 trillion then you can start getting the feeling that the current public debt is pretty big indeed, since it is around 100% of GDP (in other words, it would take the entire American economy to pay off what America owes to itself and others).

Even here, you still don't know if this is situation is "normal" or not until you see what it was in previous years. Again, you can see it is at an all time high (save for WW II). The final piece of context that is helpful is looking back in history at other periods where the Debt-GDP ration was this high and judge if the times were good or bad then. We can't do that here because this is a unique situation in a peace-time economy. So, my conclusion in this case is having a debt this high is not good for economic health.

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CHART PD - 1CHART PD - 2
CHART PD - 1
CHART PD - 1 | Source
CHART PD - 2
CHART PD - 2 | Source

This next set of charts looks at the Debt and Debt-GDP ratio in more detail by taking shorter snapshots in time. Here, to add context, I show some major events that drove changes to public debt. Then, by looking at an even shorter time frame, we can analyze public debt in yet another way - by seeing how it changed from administration to administration and comparing it to the rhetoric of the day.

In that last regard, much has been made of how much President Obama has driven up public debt. Well, you can see from Chart PD-3, that is not really the case because after you get past the terrible effects of the Great 2008 Recession (Obama took office in 2009 and was able to have direct influence on the 2010 budgets and beyond), you see that Obama, at 2.7%, has the second lowest rate of debt growth of the four presidents before him. So when you hear the hyperbolic rhetoric on this subject, you now know what the truth is.

CHART PD - 3
CHART PD - 3 | Source

The Scariest Chart You Will Ever See

Chart POP-1 is a bombshell for anybody who cares about a growing American economy. It says that if something doesn't change regarding population growth then the future for sustained economic growth is bleak. And, that is not the hyperbole mentioned above.

It is a simple chart for sure, just one line heading south, but what a line it is!! You see, as I explain in other hubs, economic growth is intimately intertwined with population growth (plus productivity growth). In the mid- to long-term, economic (GDP) growth is basically equal to the population growth rate plus the productivity growth rate1 plus an error factor that reflects current pressures on the economy. It is no more complicated than that.

Yes, in the short-term other factors (the error term) hold sway which cause monthly, quarterly, and yearly variations in GDP; things like the business cycle and inflation. But after they run their course, what happens with population (creates demand) and productivity (ability to satisfy the demand) take over control.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of why, what must happen to keep the population stable, not increasing or decreasing (like Russia is) is that, on average, each female must produce two offspring during her lifetime in order to replace her and the father. If that doesn't happen, then population (and therefore demand) must decrease over time. Consequently, in order to grow the population one of two things must happen (or a combination of the two); 1) more than two offspring must be produced and/or 2) immigrants (it doesn't make any difference which type) must come into the country. There is no other way.

Look at the note in the middle of the chart pointing to the line at about the 2009 point. It is in this period when native born births fell below the replacement level or 2.08 births per woman. Therefore, it was here when immigration became critical to a growing population because immigration is necessary to replace the babies that aren't being born in sufficient numbers. To put it bluntly, around 2009, the US population started falling. The only reason it is growing now is all the immigrants that arrive and stay in America. Yet that is exactly what President Trump and many other conservatives are trying to stop from happening.

The reason I introduced you to this concept is to keep everything else that follows in context.

1 Today that would be .72% plus 1.2% = 1.97% predicted annual long-term growth. Since the Great 2008 Recession the economy has grown at roughly 2%. For comparison, population growth for the 1990s was around 1.2% and productivity growth was 2.2%. So GDP growth should be around 3.4%. In fact, it was about 3.8%.

Population Growth Rate - The Key to Economic Growth.

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CHART POP-1 The Downward Slopping Growth Rate Curve Indicates a Population in TroubleCHART POP-2 Productivity Growth RateCHART POP-3 Comparing Est GDP using Population and Productivity with Act GDP
CHART POP-1 The Downward Slopping Growth Rate Curve Indicates a Population in Trouble
CHART POP-1 The Downward Slopping Growth Rate Curve Indicates a Population in Trouble | Source
CHART POP-2 Productivity Growth Rate
CHART POP-2 Productivity Growth Rate | Source
CHART POP-3 Comparing Est GDP using Population and Productivity with Act GDP
CHART POP-3 Comparing Est GDP using Population and Productivity with Act GDP | Source

The History of GDP

Let's look at Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it is explained a little later. But just let me say it is a 20,000 foot view of how well the economy is doing. If it is growing, the economy is good, if it is flat, then the economy is under-performing, and if it is decreasing, the economy is in recession. The first chart looks at the whole history of GDP, from 1794 to 2017. In this, and the charts that follow showing finer and finer detail of GDP, I suspect most of you are in for a shock.

The most popular myth held by our conservative friends is that the economy was much better, relatively speaking, than it is today. If you believe that, get ready to have your bubble burst. You see, included on each chart are the major recessions, depressions, and panics that have marred our growth and caused unimaginable suffering and hardship on all but the wealthiest Americans.

The bottom line is that after the Great Depression of 1929 and until the Great Recession of 2008, the quantity and severity of recessions were small by comparison to what came before them. Before 1929, it seems that every time you turned around, America was in another major economic downturn. It is rather "depressing" when you think how one side of the political spectrum paints what has been a pretty good run of prosperity from 1950 to 2007 and 2010 to 2018.

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CHART GDP-1CHART GDP-2CHART GDP-3
CHART GDP-1
CHART GDP-1 | Source
CHART GDP-2
CHART GDP-2 | Source
CHART GDP-3
CHART GDP-3 | Source

Trump by the Numbers

The following set of charts and graphs will describe the ups and downs of Trump's America over the length of his term. He has made many promises regarding how well various sectors of the economy will do, e.g., huge increases in coal jobs.

What this hub is about then is presenting and discussing data that tells us how well he is reaching his goals. Almost all of the data comes from official government sources although a few things such as consumer sentiment come from non-government but nevertheless industry-trusted reports. The sources will be provided.

The charts and graphs will be organized in what I hope are logical groups, starting with Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a general measure of the health of the economy, Included with the GDP are other related measures that provide more insight.

Economic Indicators

Gross Domestic Product

The most common indicator of economic health is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and how it is changing over time. The GDP measures the value of all of the services and end products manufactured in the US. It may seem so, but not coincidentally, this is the same value of all of the wages and taxes paid plus profit earned in the US.

GDP is related to recessions (and depressions) in that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) uses it to determine when the economy is in recession. As a rule-of-thumb if GDP goes negative for two quarters in a row, the economy is in a recession. So Chart GDP-1 is our first gross indicator of Trump's America because we have three quarters under Trump's leadership.

What do we see? Basically no change (therefore a Green stoplight) from the path President Obama charted although if the last two quarters continues (over 3% in both the 2nd and 3rd quarters), he may soon be outperforming Obama.

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CHART GDP-4  Annual GDP (2012$)CHART GDP-5  Annual GDP Growth Rate
CHART GDP-4  Annual GDP (2012$)
CHART GDP-4 Annual GDP (2012$) | Source
CHART GDP-5  Annual GDP Growth Rate
CHART GDP-5 Annual GDP Growth Rate | Source

GDP Components

The next level of detail is look beneath the gross GDP numbers. The GDP is calculated by adding the value of:

  1. Consumer Spending
  2. Business Investment
  3. Government Spending
  4. Exports minus Imports (trade balance)

These components are do not necessarily work together. For the longest time, the trade balance has been negative, meaning it has a depressing effect on GDP. Much is made in today's rhetoric about how bad it is to have a negative trade balance. If fact, as you will see graphically, net trade plays almost no role in determining GDP because it accounts for roughly -3% of total GDP.

It should be a surprise to no one that Consumer Spending accounts for the lion's share of GDP, about 69%. What probably is surprising is that Government Spending is as important as Business Investment, about 17% each.1

It should be easy to tell from Chart GDP-2 below why President Obama's stimulus was needed. If you look at 2007 you should noticed that Consumer Spending and Business started declining while Government Spending and Net Exports improved. You might also notice that the increase in Government Spending (the Stimulus) is about equal to the decrease in Consumer Spending. That was the point of the stimulus, to replace depressed consumer spending with government spending until the consumer spending took off again.

What made this recession drag on so long wasn't President Obama's fiscal policy, but businesses deciding not to invest; in past recessions, business picked up pretty quickly. In this recession, it took consumer spending only 2 years to get back to pre-recession levels, it took business investment an astounding five years just to get back to 2008 levels. If I showed you a graph of corporate cash reserves, which were and still are huge, you would see the explanation of why business took so long to get back on track.



1 Of course this busts another myth that government spending plays no part in economic growth.

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CHART GDP-5  GDP by Component
CHART GDP-5  GDP by Component
CHART GDP-5 GDP by Component | Source

Federal Deficit

The federal deficit is another common measure of how things are going. The deficit is simply the difference between how much money the government gets in and spends. If income exceeds spending, then the "deficit" is a surplus, a very rare occurrence (the last time was in 2000 under President Clinton). More often, spending exceeds income then it really is a deficit. To make up the difference, the government borrows money which is called the National Debt; which today exceeds $20 trillion, a historically high number.

Chart GDP-3 looks at the federal deficit through the Bush 43 and Obama administrations, plus the first three quarters of Trump's. This period of time is unique in the it shows a budget surplus and the effects from an economy that almost fell into a world-wide depression, the worst in history.

If you extend the timeline back to 1980 you will see that average deficit was about $300 million in 2009$. Prior to that it was running around $100 million.

The explanation for the huge spike in 2009-2010 is the 2008 Recession. Much of that spike is the result of automatic stabilization payments (e.g., unemployment benefits) that kick in when the economy tanks. The remainder comes from the Obama stimulus program that replaced depressed consumer spending with more government spending; it worked.

It is also of interest (Chart GDP-4), given today's political rhetoric, that using a little more meaningful metric, Deficit as a percentage of GDP, President Obama is doing quite well when compared to the conservative gold standard, President Reagan.

It was known that the deficit will increase starting in 2016, partly due to higher interest payments brought on by that spike. As you can see, they continue into Trump's administration. Most economists think that the 2018 GOP tax plan will sharply drive up the deficit beginning in 2019. Only time will tell.

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CHART FD - 1  Federal Deficit (2009$)CHART FD - 2  Federal Deficit as a Percent of GDP
CHART FD - 1  Federal Deficit (2009$)
CHART FD - 1 Federal Deficit (2009$) | Source
CHART FD - 2  Federal Deficit as a Percent of GDP
CHART FD - 2 Federal Deficit as a Percent of GDP | Source

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The next chart, GDP - 3, is related to the previous GDP charts in that the outcome of a growing GDP is a growing stock Market as well as the reverse. The DOW is often considered a "leading" indicator because the stock market in general reflects investors "expectations" of how the economy will be doing sometime in the future.

That means if the stock market (as represented by the DJIA or DOW) is heading south for a significant period of times (or collapses in a short period) then the economy is probably going to get worse as well. Likewise, as in March 2009 after Obama announced his stimulus, the plummeting stock market reversed itself rather spectacularly simply based on the optimism generated by the stimulus.

What you see in this February 2018 GDP - 3 chart is a continuously growing stock market in concert with a GDP heading the same direction. With the election of Donald Trump, stock market growth accelerated based on his promise for huge corporate tax cuts1 (which became a reality at the end of 2017).

You will notice in this update is that there is a sharp decline. That may or may not be there the next time I renew this chart, but at the moment it represents the largest sell off in the market (numerically) in its history; 1175 points on Feb 5 and over 7% in the five days preceding that. Because this is a monthly chart (although I make changes throughout the month) we won't know until March whether this is the beginning of a trend or just a blip (a very big blip indeed).

DJIA

CHART GDP - 3 Dow Jones Industrial Average
CHART GDP - 3 Dow Jones Industrial Average | Source

Income Metrics

We will consider two of these. One is Real Median Household Income and the other is Real Disposable Income: Per Capita. The former tracks gross income for the average household and the latter considers average per person disposable (after tax) income.

They both give the reader an idea of the overall standard of living with in America. The theory being, the greater the income, especially after tax income, the more there is to spend on finer things in life.

This first chart looks at Median Household Income,

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CHART INC - 1  Real Median Household Income (2015$)CHART INC - 2  Real Disposable Household Income (per Capita in 2009$)CHART INC - 3  Average Weekly Earnings (2015$) - All EmployeesCHART INC - 4 Average Weekly Earnings (2015$) - Non-Supervisory
CHART INC - 1  Real Median Household Income (2015$)
CHART INC - 1 Real Median Household Income (2015$) | Source
CHART INC - 2  Real Disposable Household Income (per Capita in 2009$)
CHART INC - 2 Real Disposable Household Income (per Capita in 2009$) | Source
CHART INC - 3  Average Weekly Earnings (2015$) - All Employees
CHART INC - 3 Average Weekly Earnings (2015$) - All Employees | Source
CHART INC - 4 Average Weekly Earnings (2015$) - Non-Supervisory
CHART INC - 4 Average Weekly Earnings (2015$) - Non-Supervisory | Source

What is Real Disposable Income-Per Capita really mean (Chart INC - 2)? Let me offer a definition I found on-line that is much more understandable than any I could come up with. In part:

"Personal income in the U.S. consists of all income that is received by U.S. residents in a given year, originating from all sources. Thus personal income is the sum of wage and salary disbursements, other labor income, proprietor's income (rental income), dividend and interest income, and transfer payments to individuals (welfare, unemployment insurance, etc).

Disposable personal income is the portion of personal income that is left after personal taxes are subtracted, and thus is the amount of personal income available to people for consumption spending and saving.

Per capita disposable personal income is found by dividing a country's total disposable personal income by its population.

Finally, real per-capita disposable personal income is found by adjusting per-capita disposable personal income for inflation.

Changes in real per-capita disposable personal income over time indicates trend in a country's material standard of living. Real per-capita disposable income will usually rise when economic growth rates exceed population growth rates[, like it is in the US].

Real per-capita income tends to follow the business cycle, rising in the peaks and falling in the troughs. The greater percentage of real per-capita income in most countries is used for consumption spending rather than saving ...

All else equal, a rise in consumer confidence will tend to increase the percentage of real per-capita income that is allocated to consumption, and decrease the percentage allocated to saving."1

Another term you may see is "Discretionary Income". This is Disposable Income less all of the necessities of life are subtracted, e.g. rent, insurance, alimony, food, etc.2

So what is Chart INC - 2 currently telling us? First, look at each of the yellow triangles which represent a recession. In each case it appears growth in disposable income slowed or declined. Also notice that growth was somewhat better during Democratic administrations - until you get to President Obama's presidency. In 2012, disposable income growth goes into reverse for a quarter; this coincides with a marked slowdown in the economy in the same quarter. The other factor leading to what is an atypical growth record is that unlike all previous recession recoveries, increased GDP and job growth did NOT translate in to income growth for the working class. Instead, the upper class was the only income group to benefit from the growth in America's economy.

President Trump's first year record is on the low end of Republican administrations, but, since at first glance, it looks like growth might be flattening out, it remains to be seen if that can be maintained.

1 Courtesy of https://www.swlearning.com/economics/econ_data/percap_income/percap_income_definition.html ©2004 South-Western. All Rights Reserved DISCLAIMER

2 Since the government does not track what I think is a very important metric, one must rely on 3rd party sources. If you are interested try this one from Motley Fool

Employment Metrics

Another set of measures that tests a different segment of the economy is employment, or more specifically, unemployment numbers. These numbers represent where the rubber meets the road, people. People supply the demand and people supply the workforce to satisfy that demand. It would seem then, how well people are able to create demand becomes very important to the economy as a whole. And what do they have to have to satisfy their demand, a job of course. Therefore, employment and unemployment statistics come to front of the class.

Let's start with an overarching metric of how many work eligible adults are willing to work. This measure is called the Participation Rate (Chart EMP - 1), a number one side of the political debate tried to bash President Obama over the head with to show how poorly he was doing. Actually, as we will see, they were wrong.

The historical Participation Rate (PR) has quite a story to tell including how this nation thought about women. First, consider all of the yellow triangles, they mark the various recessions that have occurred since WW II.1 You should notice that the PR either flattens out or declines during most, but not all, recessions. Another thing that should be obvious is from 1948 until the late 1960s, the PR remained relatively constant and at, by today's standard, low. What happened in the early 1970s? Women joined the workforce (before 1948, they weren't even counted). More and more women joined which explains most of the increase.

But starting in 2000, other demographic changes (we are getting older folks) have taken over. Recent analysis has demonstrated that changes in demographics (gender, age, etc) are the main driving factors for the downward changes in PR and not the forces behind changes in unemployment.

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CHART EMP - 1: Historical Participation Rate 1948 - 2020CHART EMP - 2: Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate, U-6 RateCHART EMP - 3: Various Measures of Employment and Unemployment Status.
CHART EMP - 1: Historical Participation Rate 1948 - 2020
CHART EMP - 1: Historical Participation Rate 1948 - 2020 | Source
CHART EMP - 2: Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate, U-6 Rate
CHART EMP - 2: Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate, U-6 Rate | Source
CHART EMP - 3: Various Measures of Employment and Unemployment Status.
CHART EMP - 3: Various Measures of Employment and Unemployment Status. | Source

Employment Rates

The next chart, Chart EMP - 2, consists of three metrics, the Participation Rate, which we have already discussed, the Unemployment Rate, and the U-6 Rate. Next. let's consider what is thought of as an "alternative measure". Many people the "official" unemployment rate (U-3) doesn't tell the whole story, that it is missing many people who have stopped looking for work. That is what the U-6 does.

The U-6 adds to the official unemployment definition all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons. If you look at the two metrics, U-3 and U-6, in Chart EMP - 2 you should see that the two lines mimic each other, the only difference is one of magnitude. Eye-balling the chart would appear to show that the U-6 runs roughly 4 percentage points higher than the U-3, consistently over time. That is why it is sort of pointless to use both metrics since you can draw the same conclusions from each. That is why most people use only the U-3. Nevertheless, if you like the more inclusive U-6, it is there for your use.

What does the official (U-3) unemployment (UE) rate figure tell us? The first thing it tells us is that average unemployment, at least since Reagan, has run at about 5%, which most economists consider "full employment"1. We also see that as President Obama left office, the UE rate fell to lows seen in both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Since Trump took office, UE has fallen to 4.1% from.7%. Job growth, on the other hand, is still good but nevertheless somewhat lower than the previous administration.

Employment Numbers

(this may be more detail than you can bear)

For those who enjoy analytical pain, Chart EMP - 3 is right up your alley. It provides you a look at the trends of all of the measures that make up the employment picture.2 The percentages are the growth (or decline) in that measure. The ones in the center are for President Obama and the others are for President Trump.

Now, one needs definitions if one can understand what they are seeing, so here they are:

  • Civilian Non-institutional Population - Individuals, 16 years or older who are not in the Armed Services or are not in institutions such as prisons, mental hospitals, or nursing homes, (not on Chart EMP - 3)
  • Civilian Labor Force - Individuals, 16 years or older who are not in the Armed Services or are not in institutions such as prisons, mental hospitals, or nursing homes, who are employed or unemployed and actively seeking work.
  • Employment Level - Persons in the Civilian Labor Force during the reference time period that did any work at all as paid employees; worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family.
  • Full-Time (FT) - Persons who work 35 hours or more per week.
  • Not in Labor Force - Persons in the Civilian Labor Force who are neither employed nor unemployed due to lack of desire or lack of availability (e.g. in school)
  • Part-Time (PT) - Persons who work less than 35 hours per week.
  • Willing (Marginally Attached) - Persons not in the labor force who want and are available for work, and who have looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Discouraged workers are a subset of the marginally attached.
  • Discouraged - Persons not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but who are not currently looking because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify.

I know there are a lot of numbers on this very busy chart but the story is in each set of three horizontal numbers which represent each president's result for that measure. For example, the top line traces changes in the Civilian non-Institutional Population (CniP), i.e. the set of people, 16 and over, who could work if they wanted to. Also, it makes a good surrogate for population growth overall. We see that CnIP growth is slowly decreasing over time from 1.16%/yr during the Bush administration to 0.4%/yr in Trump's first year (that will probably grow some over the next three years).

That is not good news on two counts. First, it implies the overall population growth is slowing which, in turn, puts downward pressure on GDP growth. Second, using the same logic a slowing CnIP growth rate also suggests a couple of things; 1) inflation as employers vie for fewer employees and 2) less output if the labor pool for workers shrink too much.

The first numbers that reflect current and short-term economic health is what is happening to the labor pool (those people willing to work). You can see that the difference between the Bush and Obama administration reflects the fact that most of the decrease in Civilian Labor Force occurred right after Obama assumed office even though the causes for it happened months earlier. Trump's .55% increase results from inheriting a growing economy.

The same dynamic can be seen with the Employment Level, Full-Time Employment, and Not In Labor Force numbers. The Part-Time numbers, while looking a little different still reflect a declining and then improving economy. This includes the decrease in Part-Time Employment growth which reflects the switch from part-time to full-time.

Of interest is the bottom two measures, Marginally Employed (ME). Marginally employed persons are those who are Willing to work full-time but are working part-time for economic reasons (not shown) or are Discouraged but still looking (the latter two are subsets of ME). Now ME is acting as you would think it would, after the initial plunge into a deep recession, those figures are decreasing as the economy recovers.

But consider the fact that Discouraged workers are increasing during the first year of the Trump administration. That is something to watch as, in isolation, it is not a good sign for future economic growth. Why? Because it says the number of people who are unemployed but haven't found work in a while. While one year doesn't make a trend, it is in agreement with a metric we will consider next.

1 Theoretically "full employment" is that point where employers start competing for labor and driving wages up.

2 These totals are not adjusted for population growth. So please keep in mind when considering Civilian Labor Force and Employment Level, some of the growth is simply due to an increasing population rather than changes in employment dynamics

Weeks Out of Work

There are two measures for how long people have been out of work. One is the "average" number of weeks people have unemployed and the "median" number of weeks out of work. A third metric, a more important one as it turns out, is the difference between those two numbers.

The Average is the sum of the total weeks out of work divided by the number of people out of work; 24.9 weeks at the end of 2017. The Median is the number of weeks where 50% of the people out of work have been so for less than that number and 50% have been out of work longer. At the end of 2017, the median is 10.6 weeks.

Our third metric is the difference between the average and median, which at the end of 2017 was 14.5 weeks. Why is this important? Because whether the difference is getting larger or smaller gives insight on whether employment is betting better or worse. If the median is larger than the average they are getting closer together then the employment picture is getting better because fewer and fewer people are spending long times out of work.

Obviously the opposite is true as well. And if you look carefully at the dashed line in Chart EMP-4 you will see a slight up-tick, or at least a flattening out in the difference. This would correspond to the increasing Discouraged worker number.

One up-tick does not make a trend, so we need to wait for two or three more months of data to come.

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CHART EMP - 4: Mean and Median Weeks Out of Work (dashed line is the difference)CHART EMP - 5:  Various number of weeks out of work
CHART EMP - 4: Mean and Median Weeks Out of Work (dashed line is the difference)
CHART EMP - 4: Mean and Median Weeks Out of Work (dashed line is the difference) | Source
CHART EMP - 5:  Various number of weeks out of work
CHART EMP - 5: Various number of weeks out of work | Source

Since the January 2018 update, things have changed a little bit. While not indicating things are getting worse, it may be that things have stopped getting better. Notice that in Chart EMP - 5, the February numbers for less than 5 weeks and between 15 and 27 weeks out of work have flattened out or have a slight up-tick.

That implies people are starting to find it harder (or simply taking longer on purpose) to find jobs. This is confirmed with the next Chart, EMP - 6 where the difference (dashed line) has also flattened out a bit. At this point in time, these indicators aren't indicating much. But, if it continues into the March update, there will be more significance attached to them.

Food Stamp Use

Hand-in-hand with unemployment is SNAP (Food Stamps) usage. It makes since that as unemployment grows, food stamp use will sooner or later also increase. The same is true when employment grows, food stamp use will ultimately decline.

The take-away is, of course, that if we see in CHART EMP - 6 food stamp use increasing then the economy is probably in trouble. If it is decreasing, then the economy is almost certainly recovering.

Because food stamps is a "lagging" indicator then the forces driving the observed changes are more than likely not going to change in the near future. If they do, such as the last data point in the chart below, then one needs to start paying closer attention to what's happening in the overall economy.

CHART EMP - 6  FOOD STAMP USE
CHART EMP - 6 FOOD STAMP USE | Source

Miscellaneous Metrics

The next set of indicators measure different aspects of forces that drive economic activity or reflect what is going on.

Manufacturing Jobs

Among other things President Trump has made his presidency about bringing back manufacturing which has been declining since 1998. In fact, it began increasing again under Obama in 2010. The upward trend appears to be continuing with Trump.

An increase in manufacturing jobs reflects an increase in higher paying jobs, which America sorely needs.

CHART MISC - 2  Manufacturing Jobs
CHART MISC - 2 Manufacturing Jobs | Source

Consumer Sentiment Index

Consumer Sentiment is thought to be a great indicator of consumer intention to buy things. And that is important because consumer spending is 69% of GDP. Any given measure generally means nothing in particular, but the trend does. Look at the transition between Clinton and Bush (the 2001 recession) and Bush and Obama (2008 recession) to see what I mean.

CHART MISC - 3  Consumer Confidence
CHART MISC - 3 Consumer Confidence | Source
CHART MISC-4  Auto Sales
CHART MISC-4 Auto Sales | Source

Uninsured Rate

While not a true economic indicator, it probably does speak to long-term downward orpressure on the economy. The idea is that as more and more people become uninsured, the sicker America becomes. A sicker America will lead to lower productivity which depresses GDP growth.

The reverse is also true, the healthier America is, the more productive we will be thereby raising GDP.

As we see as soon as Donald Trump took office and began his campaign to do away with Obamacare, the uninsured rate shot up.

CHART MISC - 4  Percentage of Uninsured in America
CHART MISC - 4 Percentage of Uninsured in America | Source

Carbon Footprint in America

This final metric is the carbon footprint in America which means how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere. Conservatives and President Trump think global warming is a hoax, especially that it is man-made. In the near future, like the next 20 or 25 years, atmospheric scientists don't see immediate impact on the worlds economy. But after that time the die will be cast and economic disaster will be unavoidable.

Right now, the carbon footprint is still following the downward path President Obama set. President Trump, however, has ordered the EPA to roll back all of Obama's efforts to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released.

CHART MISC - 5  U.S. Carbon Footprint
CHART MISC - 5 U.S. Carbon Footprint | Source

Do you think, whether you agree or disagree with his policies, President Trump is accomplishing most of the most of the the things he promised to do?

See results

Do you think most of what President Trump has been able to accomplish to-date has been good for America, even though it might not be exactly what he wanted?

See results

© 2017 My Esoteric

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    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Fair enough, let's see what happened at the end of the year when all 12 months of data are in...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jack, the Times article isn't what this hub is about. I look at metrics over time to how they are changing.

      The April surplus is an annual occurrence and has no meaning in trend analysis. It is simply an indication that on tax day, taxes owed exceed taxes withheld and in this case the difference was a record.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I hope you update this hub with news as they happen...

      For example, did you read this?

      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/may/7/cb...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jack, because Obama didn't, he left it much more stable over all than what Bush left him. If the "he" you are referring to is Obama, then you are right, Obama went after ISIS (a Bush creation) and was very successful in diminishing them. By the time Obama left office, much of Iraq was in friendly hands when prior to that it was in ISIS hands. All Trump did was follow Obama's playbook with a few needed enhancements which has improved the situation even more.

      How is America stronger under Trump, unless you consider being led by the biggest bully in America as being stronger?

      Obama was a strong supporter of Israel, just not the dictator-wanna-be Netanyahu.

      EXPLAIN why Obama provided more military support than any president before him, or Trump (I think).

      Trump guaranteed no peace in the Middle East when he officially recognized Jerusalem. Jerusalem was de facto the capital already, I hope you knew. It had an American embassy there, not just THE American embassy. All Trump did was screw diplomacy up, piss a lot of people off (which he loves to do for the fun of it), and put peace almost out of reach.

      Trump's trade deals will devastate America. Trump's trade policies WILL Cost Jobs and make most Everything more Expensive. He simply has no clue what he is doing (which is what I blamed Democrats for vis-a-vis trade. In that arena, the GOP actually had it right.)

      His so-called "Art of the Deal" simply means bully your opponent into submission. In real estate, that may work but in politics, it does not.

      How is perpetual chaos a sign of a good leader. If it were, an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane would be the best leader in the world.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jack, because Obama didn't, he left it much more stable over all than what Bush left him. If the "he" you are referring to is Obama, then you are right, Obama went after ISIS (a Bush creation) and was very successful in diminishing them. By the time Obama left office, much of Iraq was in friendly hands when prior to that it was in ISIS hands. All Trump did was follow Obama's playbook with a few needed enhancements which has improved the situation even more.

      How is America stronger under Trump, unless you consider being led by the biggest bully in America as being stronger?

      Obama was a strong supporter of Israel, just not the dictator-wanna-be Netanyahu.

      EXPLAIN why Obama provided more military support than any president before him, or Trump (I think).

      Trump guaranteed no peace in the Middle East when he officially recognized Jerusalem. Jerusalem was de facto the capital already, I hope you knew. It had an American embassy there, not just THE American embassy. All Trump did was screw diplomacy up, piss a lot of people off (which he loves to do for the fun of it), and put peace almost out of reach.

      Trump's trade deals will devastate America. Trump's trade policies WILL Cost Jobs and make most Everything more Expensive. He simply has no clue what he is doing (which is what I blamed Democrats for vis-a-vis trade. In that arena, the GOP actually had it right.)

      His so-called "Art of the Deal" simply means bully your opponent into submission. In real estate, that may work but in politics, it does not.

      How is perpetual chaos a sign of a good leader. If it were, an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane would be the best leader in the world.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      How has Trump destabilize the world more than Obama did?

      He went after ISIS and now they are much reduced in influence.

      America is stronger under Trump and that is a good thing.

      He is a strong supporter of Israel and recognized Jerusalem as Capitol. No other president did that - even though they all talked about doing it...

      The trade deals is another one of Trump’s initaitive. We have been taken advantage of for a long time under both Republican and Democratic admin.

      So as you see, Trump is a better leader and has the executive experience and the art of the deal to make a difference.

    • profile image

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago

      Jack, you only addressed one of the two possibilities with "You can be against a bad deal and not for war. ". Since you say "no war", then you must be supporting a nuclear armed Iran given it is well known by all that they were within a year of having "the bomb". Given the WHOLE purpose of the deal that six countries, including Russia, signed on to was to stop Iran from getting the bomb, how can it be a "bad" deal since that is exactly the outcome from the deal? Does Iran have a nuclear bomb? NO. Was Iran going to have a nuclear bomb without the deal (short of the war you say you don't want)? YES.

      Since Iran does not have the bomb, to repeat myself, it by definition must have been a Good Deal.

      There is no doubt that Trump does deserve at least a little credit for the Korean thing, even if it is left-handed credit. I think it is entirely possible that Trump's irresponsible rhetoric sped up Un's time table for developing his nuclear and missile capability. As Un said, he has what he needs now and does not need to further develop his ability to deliver nukes to the US.

      You do know, don't you, that under Trump's watch, Un fired off more missiles than he had under ALL other presidents COMBINED. Un also fired off an H-Bomb under Trump, something else he never did while any other president was in office, only Trump.

      Consequently, it is very possible that Trump helped him get to the position where he now feels invincible and can safely make peace with South Korea and rejoin the world.

      We won't know the answer to that for awhile. Only time will tell if Trump/Pompeo did something else to get Un going down this path. Personally, I doubt it, but I am willing to eat crow if it turns out I am wrong.

      Should have Obama gotten the Nobel? No, and he said as much.

      Should Trump get a Nobel? No, because, assuming actually did something positive to get Un to change his mind, he has done so much other stuff to Destabilize the world, that he clearly doesn't deserve it.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 

      3 months ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      Jack, honestly, the onus of Obama's award was that he brazenly accepted it. Any honest man with humility would have declined to acknowledge that award since he had done NOTHING to deserve it. Time revealed he did many things to justify it should have been revoked, if they would ever do that.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      You can be against a bad deal and not for war. You liberals constantly make this false chioces. It is not a simple either or scenerio.

      While we are on this topic, what do you think of the North/South Korean development of recent days? Will Trump be given credit for this?

      Or will the Nobel comiitee snub him like they snubed Reagan 30 years prior...?

      While giving a Nobel peace prize to Obama in his first year, not having done anything.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      First there is this that lays out what Obama did for the Israeli People, not their version of Trump - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan...

      Meddling? Like when Netanyahu came over and lobbied Congress?

      OK, since you repeated your claim that the deal with Iran to prevent them from developing a nuclear capability, I must believe you prefer WAR or a Nuclear Iran over a non-nuclear Iran.

      You and Trump apparently think a nuclear Iran is a good thing, Jack - SAD

      The money you refer to was THEIR money that we froze, NOT our money that we "gave" them.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      First there is this that lays out what Obama did for the Israeli People, not their version of Trump - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan...

      Meddling? Like when Netanyahu came over and lobbied Congress?

      OK, since you repeated your claim that the deal with Iran to prevent them from developing a nuclear capability, I must believe you prefer WAR or a Nuclear Iran over a non-nuclear Iran.

      You and Trump apparently think a nuclear Iran is a good thing, Jack - SAD

      The money you refer to was THEIR money that we froze, NOT our money that we "gave" them.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I am not wrong. Just ask any Israeli. They knew Obama was not a friend of Israel, in fact a hostile adversary who try to defeat Natanyahoo in their own elections... Isn’t that meddling in a foreign election? Isn’t that against our laws? Obama did it and no one question its legality...

      The Iran deal was the worst deal we can have. He gave away billions of dollars and got nothing in return. Israel is doing fine without the US. They could use our help but don’t need it.

      They have nuclear capability for defense if they are pushed by their neighbors.

      Why do you think Iran wants desparately to possess nuclear weapons?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Even Trump's golf courses are having problems

      https://www.thestreet.com/story/14342704/1/trump-s...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Unfortunately Jack, neither of your observations is correct. Obama did as much or more for the Israeli people than previous presidents, he just wan't going to take Netanyaho's aggression sitting down.

      Without the Iran deal, you would have 1) war with Iran or 2) a nuclear Iran. It would seem you favor one of those two choices.

      Khalil - I don't think I can agree with your assessment that Trump is the stronger of the two. For Trump to have been "stronger", it seems to me he would have had to gone to war with Russia, or at least sent American (Europe wouldn't go) troops into the Crimea. Keep in mind while Trump has no problem giving the rest of the world the finger, Obama had to deal with Europe who was economically dependent (to some degree) on Russia for gas. By keeping us out of war yet imposing crippling sanctions, I find Obama the much more effective president.

      Further, relations with most of the world's powers were pretty well destroyed by the Bush presidency. Obama fixed that over time which resulted in great working relationships with our allies. In the space of 15 months, Trump has torn that to shreds.

      Having said all of that, do I wish Obama had done more to arm the Ukranians, the Kurds, and, if they could figure out who the good guys really were, some of the Syrian rebels. I also wished, like Hillary wanted, he would have imposed a no-fly zone in Syria. But Libya left such a bad taste in his mouth, he wasn't about to do it again.

      I think trying to keep America out of yet another Middle East war using massive amounts of American troops who had no certain mission like what happened in Iraq, did lead Russia to fill the power vacuum. But don't give Trump too much credit, other than being loud mouth and inconsistent. Beyond all of the rhetoric he did little more than carry on the plans that Obama began, with a few small exceptions. He did somewhat increase the number of special operators we had in Syria, he dealt directly with the Kurds rather than trying to work through the Iraq gov't (sort of like Russia working with Alabama, by-passing the American gov't), and he did introduce some small contingents of U.S. conventional forces. I suspect Hillary, who is much more of a hawk that Obama, might of gone the same route. But bottom line, Trump didn't change the fundamental structure of Obama's plan.

      No, Trump has not deterred Russian aggression one iota, from what I can see. What has he stopped Putin from doing? They aren't out of the Ukraine, they aren't out of the Crimea, they aren't out of Syria, they have begun rearming their nuclear capability, and they are still heavily involved in trying to influence our, and other nations', elections (where Trump is not lifting a finger trying to stop, btw)

      No, I think Putin is doing just fine under Trump.

      What Trump didn't tell the world is that ALL previous presidents have urged the same thing regarding NATO, just not so undiplomatically and bullying.

      There is no news coming out of the rest of the world where they say they respect Trump. It's quite the contrary. Consider https://www.factcheck.org/2017/09/world-opinion-tr...

      Why the ambiguity? Because that is Trump's management style - leadership by chaos. I find it interesting that when Trump actually tried to manage his business ventures, rather than receive royalties from his name, they largely failed, and probably for the same reason. This might give you a clue. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/donald-...

      In my mind, Donald Trump is one of the biggest con men in world history.

    • profile image

      khalil serya 

      3 months ago

      Thank you My esoteric for your precious time and for the rich response. Your analysis of the elements mentioned is pretty logical, especially when it comes to the population growth which is being reversed by immigration block. The current domestic numbers especially in the sector of healthcare are not doing great, but when it comes to foreign policy, some argue that Trump’s America is stronger than Obama's America. Obama allowed Russia to expand its influence through threatening Ukraine, joining Crimea, supporting Separatists in Ukraine and expanding further influence in Syria. Thus, a picture of Monster super power Russia began to take shape in the world. However, Trump came and hit Syrian gov (Russia’s most important ally) twice. How could Russia declare that it protects the unity of the Syrian lands from any external aggression and then comes Trump and hit the Russian interest in Syria ignoring Russian vetoes, and Russia did not fire a single bullet in response to the “aggression,” as Russia described the strike. Russia then declared that it protects only its military bases and it will supply defense arsenal to Al-Assad to defend himself.

      My question is Was Trump more effective than Obama in facing the Russian monster? or was Russia only a huge empty Balloon? And why would Kim Un announce that he will stop his nuclear program has been worked on since the 1950s along with so many hostilities and aggressive propaganda. Something extremly unexpected and bizarre. does it have any relation with the strike on Syria ? did Jong Un feared that he may face the fate of Sadam Housain after the last military strike on Syria ?

      On the other hand, other observers say that Trump is right when he urged the NATO to pay their fair share and that they owe the U.S. Doesn’t that seem logical? Isn’t Trump right in getting more respect to U.S. abroad and preventing other nations from taking advantage from it? The same with Iran, isn’t he right in his intention to negotiate a better deal that would ultimately serve the United States? Didn’t Trump bring more money (actually huge sums of money) from Al Saud?

      The last thing (on the other hand), America became undermined and laughed at because of the big contradictions between Trump and his administrations. In many occasions Trump would say something, and his team would do another or the total opposite. Why there is a weak connection between the white house and state departments? Why this ambiguity?

      How would you respond, Mr MyEsoteric

      thank you in advance..

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Recognizing Jerusalem is definitely a positive step.

      The Israel Palestinian issue is never going to be solved. It has been going on for thousands of years.

      It does put Israel on our side as it should. Under Obama, Israel was put as second class and it got us nothing.

      The Itan crisis was created by Obama with the nuclear deal. It was a bad deal Trump should have canceled it.

      North Korean is something we need to fix. We created this monster after the Korean war ended. We need to reunite the two Koreas just like the two Germanies.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      There is a diplomatic reason that 40-years worth of presidents from both parties did not recognize Jerusalem. I suspect by doing so, it eliminates any chance of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Trump's blind bull-in-the-china-shop approach to foreign policy has done nothing but harm America relative to the rest of the world. Specifically to Jerusalem, my bet is he set relations back decades.

      My jury is still out on his moves in North Korea. Based on his past actions, however, I am thinking the outcome will not be good.

      The last airstrike in Syria was necessary. But it will be as wasted as the first one because Trump is incapable of forming long-term plans and strategies and following through with them.

      The America First policy has already shrunk America's position in the world. Yes, America is a huge economic engine but the world, taken together, is much bigger. Therefore, America will lose any fight against the world which seems what Trump is trying to achieve.

      Yes, he will take credit for Un, but I think the South Korean deserves most of it.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Khalil, happy to respond

      Keep in mind as you read on that I my worldview consist of, but is not limited to the following:

      - People have a duty to do no harm to other people, animals (yes, I quietly oppose hunting), and the environment

      - Gov't has a duty, through the people, to ensure one citizen or business does no harm (beyond fair competition) to another

      - To accomplish the above, reasonable gov't regulation is needed and necessary

      - Rights are not unlimited; liberty is not unlimited

      - Within the limits set above, individuals should exercise the greatest amount of liberty they desire

      * "America First". Trump's version translates to isolationism and economic nationalism. It will ultimately and necessarily lead to lower employment and higher prices in the United States as well as in many parts of the world

      * I think Trump is doing an abysmal job on the domestic front. Instead of "doing no harm", his policies are hurting every segment of American society save for wealthy white men. One of the primary non-minority losers from his domestic party are those who voted for him.

      An unintended consequence of his domestic policy is a further tamping of population growth. Already native born population does not replace itself. The only way our population continues its meager growth is the influx on immigrants. Take that away and US population will begin to decline. Because population growth plus productivity growth equals, over the long-term, GDP growth, the GDP will ultimately begin to fail

      * The military budget is a little over half of the $1.3 trillion. Given the disastrous sequester brought on by the conservative elements in American society, the military lost a lot of its preparedness. I lived through a similar draw down beginning with the Bush I administration after we won the Cold War. The cut in funding similarly destroyed military capability culminating in 1999. I saw this first hand working in a DoD readiness office.

      The GOP tax plan will be a "tremendous disaster" as Trump likes to say. It also violated every economic principal the GOP holds dear (except for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations). The likely outcome is an explosion of the national debt, similar to the one achieved by Ronald Reagan and for the same reasons. People will point to the big run-up at the beginning of the Obama administration. But that was do to saving America from a horrible depression brought on by GOP economic policy. Paying for the debt will cut the amount of funds available for investment or, to prevent that, increase inflation substantially. No sane economist believes the minimal, short-term bump, if any, in GDP growth will in no way make up for the huge budget short-falls.

      That is a long enough response for this go-round.

    • profile image

      khalil serya 

      3 months ago

      My Esoteric, thank you for taking time to respond to my last question.

      I would like to give you the first part of my questions concerning U.S. policy in the light of the current issues.

      -How do you generally view Trump’s America first policy?

      -In general, how do you think Trump is doing on the domestic ground ?

      -You know that recently, Donald Trump has signed a tremendous spending bill. $1.3 trillion which is the largest military budget in U.S. history, despite his prior opposition to it. How would you reflect on that?

      -Trump has made two main significant actions towards the Middle East and which had their echo worldwide. First, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A move that may not promote peace and stability in the region. Second, the last airstrike made on Syria which had different interpretations. How would you reflect on that? And how could his act towards Jerusalem serve his “America First”

      -What do you think the possible global repercussions of ‘America First’ policy in the long term? And how would it effect U.S. position as a world power?

      -Do you think that Trump takes credit on what Kim Jong Un has announced recently?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      3 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Khalil - Thanks for taking the time to review and think about this hub.

      The first part of your question regarding favorability, etc is actually displayed in another hub on President Trump but presented here on the stop light chart. They are from various polls which periodically ask questions as to how "favorable" do you view the president, or "do you approve or disapprove of the job Trump is doing in foreign affairs". They ask similar questions for your other subjects.

      As to the Participation Rate, I haven't updated the stoplight chart yet. If you look at the actual chart (EMP - 1) you will see it is colored Green which means no real change from when Obama left office. (The yellow was from the fact that the participation rate was going down several months ago.)

    • profile image

      khalil serya 

      3 months ago

      you have mentioned favorability and direction of country. also, approval/ economy and foreign . what do you mean by them ? and also in Trump's spotlight you mentioned through colored cirlcles that particpation rate is slightly worse than that of Obama's term but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics which you have included, the particpation rate is not that worse during Trump's term . no ?

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 

      6 months ago from Orange County California

      ME

      Brad, I thought you would no that the FAA was doing the job it was supposed to do. Mind reading is not in its job description. Who is at fault is the intel agencies "territory" mindset. Had they had proper communications between agencies, there was a tiny chance they would have put the pieces together in time.

      B:

      The FAA didn't have to mind read they saw it on their radar, 4 planes deviate from the flight plan, and they couldn't or didn't have timely connection with NORAD.

      NORAD's motto is "Deter, Detect, Defend." Deterrence was accomplished simply through the fact of NORAD's existence. "Potential enemies know that they would suffer disastrous consequences at once if they should be so foolish as to launch an attack against the United States or Canada. Full knowledge of these facts is considered the greatest safeguard and deterrent against sneak attack," reads the introduction of a NORAD guidebook published in 1970 [source: ­Hough]. In many ways, the creation of NORAD was an act of Cold War propaganda. This is not to suggest that NORAD wasn't capable of doing the things the United States claimed it could do, just that the claims were at least as important as the technology itself.

      The FACT is not a single government agency did anything to protect the country. Not a single defensive measure was done during 911. What is your definition of Well?

      ---------------------------

      What has Agriculture done? Their job and are doing it well.

      B:

      So you think that they have done a good job protecting the people from bad agricultural food.

      ---------------------------------------------------------------

      FDA? I am guessing, from your comment, that you don't know what the FDA's mission is either. Let me help -

      FDA Mission. The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.Dec 29, 2017.

      Even though FDA is not charted to "create cures", it is charted to make sure they are safe and effective. But just to disprove your hypothesis, the FDA was started in 1906 (Pure Food and Drugs Act) and penicillin use began in 1942. Unless you don't think penicillin is a cure to a major disease, then I would say you are wrong.

      Given your objection to the cost and time to make sure drugs are safe, I would have to guess you would rather testing drugs should be like testing software - let the users do it and fix the bugs that show up.

      B:

      It costs a drug company about 800 million dollars to get their drug through the FDA, and the FDA has no laboratories of their own, and they only use the data provided by the drug company. These FDA approved drugs have been the bread and butter of legal firms because they caused death, and serious side effects. Is that their goal, approve a drug and then let the people be the test rats. They have failed to make them safe or effective. And yes, their job is not finding cures, but they don't really accomplish their primary task either.

      Maybe we would be better off if their job was to find a cure for major diseases, or maybe some new agency.

      By the way since congress gave the FDA the job of monitoring the drug industry, not a single cure for a major disease has been found, only long term and expensive treatments.

      The last major cure was POLIO and it was before the FDA took over the monitoring.

      And people are different than software because software has rules, and people don't. The reason that defect management can use the same tools that you do for political polls is that the processes are defined and sampling works because product is uniform. When one fails, it means that the process has failed. What does sampling in political polls do? People are not uniform, and the type of questions can be changed and the results changed, Meaning that you can lead to whatever results you want by asking people questions and having them not be people representing the total.

      =================

      The bottom line is that the entire government failed to prevent, and then failed to stop an attack in progress. That is a FACT. And the 911 scenario was known as a possible way for terrorists to attack. The US government has never been proactive, they are only reactive. And while they try to prevent another 911 that uses the same scenario, the terrorists are thinking of new ways to attack us on our soil.

      -------------------------------------------------

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      You are quite wrong, Jack, both the far-Right and the far-Left fit perfectly with the characteristics that define what is called a Right-Wing Authoritarian (RWA) follower (http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/)

      The 12 traits of high scoring RWAs are:

      1. Irrational (without reason) Fear - You are afraid Obama is a socialist when there is no rational evidence that he is.

      2. Self-Righteousness - As in a more patriotic than thou mindset.

      3. Dogmatic - What you believe to be true is set in stone and no amount of fact will change your mind, as in Obama is a socialist.

      4. Authoritarian Submission - The kind of person who will let a Dr. talk them into increasing the level of shock they are delivering to a subject despite the protests of the shockee.

      5. You get the idea. You can find the rest at https://hubpages.com/politics/An-Analysis-of-the-R... (and even take the test to see how you score.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I am willing to bet that most voters on the democratic side does not follow the issues and just vote democratic as a matter of doing what they are expected...

      The reason Trump won is because on the side of the GOP, they are engaged and are active and wants genuine change.

      I will pit these voters against any group you can come up with. The reason Trump got a large majority of the electoral votes should give you pause. It is easy to have a few large population states like NY and Calif. to swing the popular vote. Most average people live across middle america and they are smarter than you give then credit for.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jack, you do realize that Trump got ONLY 46% of the popular vote, Hillary got 48% and others got 6%. That tells me 54% of the voting population DIDN'T want Trump.

      Further, the Right (who like Trump) had the highest turnout ever while many minorities (who don't like Trump) didn't vote. Add those together and you get MORE than 54% of adults Don't Like Trump.

      So, if you are right, more than 54% of Americans (which is majority, btw) are "... a coalition of elites, career politicians, media, Hollywood celebrities, intellectuals ".

      Since there are very few "elites, career politicians, media, and Hollywood celebrities" that means the majority of Americans are "intellectuals", i.e., thinking people. On that last point, the world would be much better off if there were even more intellectuals who actually think about and analyze the issues rather than blindly follow their chosen authority figure (that applies to the far-Right and the far-Left).

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      6 months ago from Arizona

      33% of the votes elected him

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Your last paragraph is telling.

      You claim there are plenty of Americans that want Trump taken down. I disagree. There is a coalition of elites, career politicians, media, Hollywood celebrities, intellectuals who are what you claim but they are by no means the majority.

      They have influence and they created the image of hatred for Trump.

      The rest of Americs voted for Trump and want him to succeeed and support his policies and are liking what he is trying to do.

      Here lies the problem. The more Trump succeeds in MAGA, the less power people will have on the other side. There credibility is in the tank. The media being a prime example.

      As an observer of human condition, it is a tough position to be at. Your success is based on America’s failure under Trump...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      You are correct so far as the WH staff and Congress are concerned. But Mueller's team knows so much more than any of them do - and his team is not leaking. So no, it wouldn't be out already.

      You use the word "plenty" when talking about Trump-haters (which is easy to do given the low character of the man). Yes, there are many but you direct your reference to the FBI. Unless you think 3 is "plenty" then you need to name more. In fact, assuming 10% constitutes plenty, then you will need to find 7,000 more who actually "hate" Trump as opposed to think he is "dangerous" to our way of life.

      There is no question most Americans want Trump taken down (before he brings down America), but the people who work at the FBI and State Department are professionals who rarely let their personal feelings get in the way of their job

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, it is very simple. With all the leaking going on since his inauguration, if something of substance was found by Mueller, it would have come out already. There are plenty of Trump haters out there as we’ve seen in the FBI and the state department... They can’t wait to take down Trump. There is nothing... He was a businessman and Holywood star... before he was a politician. What credible person in our government or Russian government would get involved?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      If it is as fake as you say, then why have parts of it already been verified, verified circumstantial evidence of the most salacious, and NONE of if found to be false?

      BTW, do you know the what the definition of #FakeNews is? You might be surprised when you google it.

      Actually it is eight months for Mueller and how do You know they haven't found anything? Just because they haven't leaked anything doesn't mean they have found nothing. Add to the fact that they have now brought charges against four of Trump's cronies tells me they have found something. How come it doesn't you?

      I am reading Fire and Fury now. I will get back to you on how credible it seems.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The dossier is a fake created by Steele. Just like the book Fire and Fury is a rumor book with little verification. I am just stating the obvious. Afte a year of investigation by the Mueller team, nothing was found relating to Trump and Russian collusion...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jack, you are presuming there is ubiquitous corruption in DOJ. I don't see any evidence of it. What are you basing your claim on? Where there is ubiquitous corruption is throughout the WH and some of the cabinet heads, e.g., Ben Carson and his nepotism.

      You haven't read the dossier; I have. Here's a link - https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Tr... BTW, there are a number of other sources, e.g. Papadopolous, that lead to the same conclusions.

      And what will you say when the Ds take over the House?

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My prediction for the mid term election, Democrats will continue to loose seats both in House and Senate.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, I hope sometimes at the end of Mueller’s investigation, we learn what is in this dossier that is so devestating... what was in it, true or false, that created this sordid affair, that took our country down this path? I only hope there is something more than a distraction.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Someone needs to go to jail so that things like this don’t happen again. Else, we need major reform in the FISA oversight. We can’t have people using our intelligence agency for advancing personal agenda.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      You are missing the bigger story of the memo and it is bigger than Trump, or the Russian connection, or DNC and Hillary...

      It is exposing a corruption at our Justice department. The DOJ and the FBI has been politicized by one party. This is 10 times worse than Watergate. My only question is this, with all these help by the FBI, how did Hillary still lost the election?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Unfortunately, Jack, the Nunes' Memo is turning out to be Nunes' #FakeMemo https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/03/politics/memo-dossi...

      Besides lying about what was not said to the FISA court, it mischaracterizes several things. For example, the line that says "...including that research that went into the dossier was funded "in part" by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee." This is a very misleading and disingenuous claim.

      - While "technically: true "after the fact", it WASN'T "before the fact". All that Clinton and the DNC paid for was to CARRY ON the opposition research work started by Trump's GOP opponents.

      Unknown to Clinton and the DNC, at the time, was that Fusion GPS hired Steele as part of their research.

      What would have been a moral and ethical claim to make would be "...including that research that went into the dossier was funded "indirectly" by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee." That tiny change makes a world of difference in what is implied.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The Nunes memo will vindicate Trump and put the FBI in very bad light. The rats are running around abandoning ship...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Ptosis, the reference is interesting and the qualifications of the author are impressive. But any single economist must be taken with a grain of salt because they are subject to political bias just as everyone else is - even the most famous. Consequently, when one evaluates their product it must pass the common sense test as well as measuring them in relation to how they are used.

      For example, the various CPI indexes Williams offers can mean something or may be immaterial, depending on the situation. In one case, the fact that there are two distinct inflation rates (2% & 5%) may not mean anything if it is the pattern (which are nearly identical) that is important.

      In another case, using transforms, can make either one useful. Finally, in a third case, it may be very important if one using the official rate or an alternative rate.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      BTW, I saved your reference.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Ptosis, it depends on whether you are talking about Chart 1 or the other charts. I explain the difference in the text.

      Whatever "skewness" that is in the colors would be due to my subjective opinion of unbiased data. I also offer in the text what objective measures I use to subjectively assign a color.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Jack, you repeated the same debunked story "The corruption at the highest level started with Obama. He used the FISA court to spy on a political opponent of Trump." - Prove It.

      Boy, you have fallen for this conservative alternate reality hook, line, and sinker. What proof do you have of any of this ... I'll tell you ... none!

      I certainly do agree that corruption is corruption and that it undermines the integrity of the government. But that is different from figuring out who is corrupt and it certainly isn't Obama.

      Trump was (is) a corrupt businessman probably under control of the Russian oligarchs and he is going to be proven he is a corrupt president; still under the control of Russian oligarchs.

      I suspect that when he leaves office, NY state will have Trump up on money laundering charges (most of which Mueller probably already knows about) and most likely will be charged with obstruction of justice by the feds, regardless of whether he is impeached or not.

      BTW, Fusion GPS was first hired by you conservatives.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, here is some reality check for you. It is a crucial moment for you personally. If you can’t see the destructive nature of what happened in the run up to the 2016 election, then you are hopeless. Regardless of which party, corruption is corruption. We need to root them out whereever we find them. It undermines the integrity of our government. Don’t you agree?

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      What investigation? The Mueller scam? It was fake news and dossier that created this mess. It was an “insurance policy” by top FBI secret society to stop Trump...

      You think Obama is innocent? Why do you think Hilary was not indicted for miss handling our top secret documents? Because Obama was aware of her private email unsecured server and he would have a lot to answer for if she was charged. He is up to his neck with all this. Don’t tell me he knew nothing. As smart as he is, he is too arrogant and people who are arrogant make mistakes. He could go down in history as one of the most corrupt President of modern times.

      For the last time, there is no Russian collusion, and it was manufactured by Fusion GPS paid for by the DNC.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Unlike Trump, Jack, Obama kept his nose out of DOJ business. He had nothing to do with the FISA court. Your claim has been debunked numerous times.

      You may not know this but civil servants are allowed to have opinions and they are allowed to talk to one another. But, we, with very few exceptions, leave that when we get on the clock and do our jobs IAW the oaths we took. There were many things I had to do for political appointees with which I disagreed, sometimes strongly. Nevertheless, I did my best to comply. Those who work for the FBI take their job even more seriously and are proud of to protect, as best they can, the independence they are required to maintain.

      #ChildTrump is making that much more difficult by obstructing their job and trying to pressure them to do something illegal like dropping investigations.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      6 months ago from Arizona

      A green stoplight? ;/ skewed depends on how you count. http://www.shadowstats.com/

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The corruption at the highest level started with Obama. He used the FISA court to spy on a political opponent of Trump. This is a violation of our first Amendment and an abuse of power. These agents are not rogues as claimed. They were deeply involved with the investigation of the Hillary email scandal.

      This is very similar but much worse than the abuse at the IRS a few years ago. We were told a rogue office worker did the stuff on their own, scrutinizing conservative organizations applying for 501c status... Meanwhile Lois Lerner were allowed to destroy her computers which is government owned and alloow to retire with full pension. You claim to be impartial but clearly are blinded to the miss deeds of your party.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Terry, please be more specific - how are the charts skewed?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Brad, I thought you would no that the FAA was doing the job it was supposed to do. Mind reading is not in its job description. Who is at fault is the intel agencies "territory" mindset. Had they had proper communications between agencies, there was a tiny chance they would have put the pieces together in time.

      What has Agriculture done? Their job and are doing it well.

      FDA? I am guessing, from your comment, that you don't know what the FDA's mission is either. Let me help -

      FDA Mission. The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.Dec 29, 2017.

      Even though FDA is not charted to "create cures", it is charted to make sure they are safe and effective. But just to disprove your hypothesis, the FDA was started in 1906 (Pure Food and Drugs Act) and penicillin use began in 1942. Unless you don't think penicillin is a cure to a major disease, then I would say you are wrong.

      Given your objection to the cost and time to make sure drugs are safe, I would have to guess you would rather testing drugs should be like testing software - let the users do it and fix the bugs that show up.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      6 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      LOL, Jack. Obama DIDN'T appoint the people #ChildTrump wants to fire, e.g. Sessions, Wray, Rostenstein ... he did. Trying to pin this on PBO is rather desperate, don't you think?

      As to the memo, no doubt what it says, even the altered version Nunes sent to Trump, is true - as far as it goes. If the Ds are right, Nunes cherry-picked certain facts to back up his coordinated effort with the WH to discredit the Mueller investigation into all of Trump's probable crimes.

      BTW, what "corruption" are you referring to? Emails between lovers who have every right not to like Trump and think, like a majority of Americans, that Trump is an existential threat to our nation? You do know, don't you, that Mueller properly took those people off his team EARLY in the investigation.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      If the memo that is being released is true, Obama has a bigger problem. He has corrupted our federal agencies including the FBI and the DOJ. This is scary stuff. Our democracy is in jeopardy if one party can use the forces of our justice system to undermine another party in power. This is corruption on the highest order, much worse than watergate. We will see what comes out of this very soon.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 

      6 months ago from Orange County California

      "Agencies doing a good job:Defense Dept CDC FAA FRA Dept of Ag"

      You can't be serious, Where was the FAA during 911? Where was the defense of the country on 911? Not a single defensive move against 19 terrorists that successfully attacked the US at home.

      The demt of AG, what have they done?

      You might as well throw in FDA, and since they were commissioned by congress to oversee the drug industry, not a single cure for a major disease has happened. And it takes about $800 million to get a drug approved by the FDA, and they don't even have independent laboratories, they just look over data given them by the drug companies. Then after approval, the lawyers come and sue some of these approved drugs in class action suits.

      What about the NSA, FBI, DOJ have they been doing a good job?

    • profile image

      Terry 

      6 months ago

      I can respect your effort, but it takes more than a few charts to conduct correct analysis. Your numbers are skewed, especially when looking at areas such as Obama's GDP, Income, Employment, etc.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      The Supreme Court. It is their job to decide if, when challenged, a law exceeds the limits set in the Constitution.

      Keep in mind, only a few of the signers thought the Bill of Rights was even necessary. Madison finally promised, near the end of the ratification process to bring NY and VA on board, to have the first Congress bring up adding the first set of Amendments (that Madison wrote). He never believed they were needed in the first place.

      The amendment process recognized the Constitution was a living document and was provided to let future generations leave their imprint if needed.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      True but that is why they added the amendment process. Otherwise, who gets to decide what should be included and what not?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      To answer your question, try reading those for sources I gave you. Madison is particularly erudite about why you cannot give a complete enumerated list. In short, it is impossible to make one that will stand the test of time.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      The Constitution is clear. The powers given to the federal government are enumerated. After all, why list them if they were not meant to be complete. What is left is federalism and deferred to state and local government. Why is this not sufficient?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I would argue making it up as you go along is what your side does, Jack. Show me where in the Constitution that "limited" is "well defined". I have read it many times and have never found it myself.

      I would suggest you read Madison's Notes from the Constitutional Convention, The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers, and Original Meanings to get a good idea what our founders had in mind. Having read them myself, it isn't what you profess.

      Do you know who espouses your side's philosophy? It was those who argued against the ratification of the Constitution. Just read their arguments for opposing the Constitution, it sounds very much like the same complaints the Right has today.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      So what is the point of having a Constitution if you are just going to make it up as you go? The limited government was well defined. You just choose to ignore it. It is clear to most of us Constitutionalist. That which was not enumerated belongs to the juristiction of the States.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      "The federal government was suppose to be limited and be kept in check. They did not want an all powerful government controlling every aspect of our lives."

      Yes, every person (save one, I think) at the Constitutional Convention that Madison recorded agreed that gov't should be "limited". But, nobody then, as nobody does today, agree what that means. Because there are now over 300 million different ideas as to the meaning of "limited", it is effectively meaningless.

      That is why I subscribed to the idea that you need as much gov't (federal) as needed to fulfill the promise of the Constitution as laid out in the Preamble.

      Unlike what I suspect you presume to be true, there are two things most of the delegates to the Convention agreed on:

      1) that the gov't was about the People of the United States and NOT the states themselves.

      2) the structure of the gov't is designed to prevent the tyranny of the majority.

      Not many know that at there was debate for having a single gov't and do away with the states altogether. Also, James Madison and many others (not enough as it turns out) argued to the very end that the Congress must have an ultimate "negative" on all State laws. That idea came within a few votes of actually being part of the Constitution. Simply put, Madison and others did not trust the states to do right by 1) the nation as a whole or 2) its citizens.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for reading Mike. Numbers can never tell the whole story because they are objective. They need real world context to understand them for sure.

      There are more numbers coming as I move them over from another hub (and I come up with a few more).

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Save for the VA, what is your evidence, Jack, that the others are doing a terrible job. (You can say the SEC was back in the mid-2000s when it refused to provide proper oversight to the financial institutions). But since then, they have done a good job preventing financial institutions from gambling with your money as they did in the past.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 

      7 months ago

      I would have to say that numbers don't tell the whole story, but only a part of it. In some cases, a small part of it.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      By the way, I disagree with your list of agencies that is doing a good job. At best, they are so so. For everyone of those, I can point to 5 others that are doing a terrible job such as the VA, the EPA, the IRS, SEC, NSA...

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      You are missing the main point. A budget has to work regardless a person, a business or government local state and federal. A responsible government takes those uncontroled factors into account but does not throw everything out the window. Yes, there are wars and natural disasters that can affect a budget but we have that in my family as well. I have been laid off unexpectedly and had to tighten my belt... I have been burglarized and had to replace some items...

      I do agree that our founders designed our democracy to be slow and deliberate...that is why most of the stuff was left to local and states to handle. The federal government was suppose to be limited and be kept in check. They did not want an all powerful government controlling every aspect of our lives.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      But Jack, how a budget works in your or anybody else's home is much, much different than how it works in local, state, or federal works. The dynamics are entirely different, especially at the federal level. The sad thing is, most people on your side (and many on mine) don't understand that.

      The same is true between gasoline and rocket engines. They both do the same thing, supply power for acceleration, but the specific nature of the thing drives different solutions which are not analogs of each other save at the top level ... they both supply power.

      "... and stick to it" is the differentiater. You and your family have almost total control over how you earn money and spend it. Those things you do not have control over, e.g. hurricanes, deep recessions, etc are few and far between. That is NOT the case with governments. The reality is they have little control over what drives the revenues and expenditures.

      Further, you and your family can determine how efficient your budgeting process is. One of the first things I was taught when I started going to management training is that the government was DESIGNED to be slow and inefficient by our founders. The purpose was to protect the minority from the majority. That theme flows throughout the debate at the Constitutional Convention.

      Agencies doing a good job:

      Defense Dept

      CDC

      FAA

      FRA

      Dept of Ag

      to name a few.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, you don’t need to explain to me about how budget works. I have been doimg it in my own home for 60 years and have done quite well. The problem is our government that does not know how to do a budget and stick to it. It expects things to go up year after year and as we all know thst is not the case. In times of high inflation, yes, cost rises. However, in times of recession, costs goes down. This is exactly why the government cannot run a house in order. It assumes everything will go up and built it into its budget. It defies logic how a smart person like you cannot figure that out. You defend our government at every turn and make excuses... you fail to see the inefficiencies and fraud that pervails our social programs. Name one agency that is doing a good job? You can’t.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Now to your CBO article full of anti-aca talking points that are either outright lies, out of context, half-truths, or red herrings. So, let me offer the truth, with sources.

      SUBSIDIES: The CBO pretty much nailed this for 2014 and 2015. See figure 1 in https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-20...

      The Sep 2017 baseline (which considers all available new information that wasn't there for previous baselines, projections of the overall subsidy requirements are much lower than previously forecast.

      For new eligible enrollees for Medicaid, in terms of dollars and people, the CBO was dead on with its Mar 2010 projections. See figure 3.

      The May 2013 projection came in much lower than the Mar 2010 because it incorporates the SC decision on Medicaid. They missed on two counts: 1) more states did not expand their Medicaid than predicted (they didn't think so many red states would screw their citizens) but 2) in those states that did, many more people signed up for it than anticipated. The result put the Sep 2017 baseline on top of the Mar 2010

      The CBO did a very good job of estimating the amount of federal spending per enrollee, see last chart of figure 3.

      The CBO missed their mark on the number of subsidized enrollees for 2016; consequently they also overestimated the cost to the gov't. Another area that overestimated, a good thing, was the cost per subsidized enrollee through 2016. But, largely because of the conservative-caused turmoil in the marketplace, insurers raised their rates in correctly anticipating losing the individual mandate and cost-sharing reimbursements. Therefore, the CBOs Sep 2017 estimates coincide with their Mar 2010 and May 2013 baselines.

      All-in-all, unbiased researches have concluded the CBO has done reasonable job.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      "Your analysis does not take into account the growth in GDP and jobs which will bring revenue into the treasury" - Please reread, you will find where it does.

      " it does not take into the account of savings from cutting government regulations and spending... all this will lead to a reduced deficit instead of increase" - You asked what the impact of the GOP tax plan was and that is what I gave you. These red herrings are beside the point to that analysis besides, I have seen no analysis of how much tax payers money will be saved from cutting regulations. More than likely it will cause increased gov't spending from repairing the the damage corporations will cause from lack of regulations.

      "Based on zero based budgeting," - do you even know what that is? Carter believed in it, tried it when he became President and it failed miserably.

      Also, "only in government is a budget increase from one year to the next count ad a cut."; that is simply conservative fake hyperbole. Show me an example.

      Do you know what a budget is even for and how things are measured. Let me help you.

      Let's say we have a very simple one line item budget of say $1,000,000 per year for every year for the next 10 years (assume zero percent inflation so I won't have to get into the time value of money) for maintaining roads. To pay for that budget, taxes are set to bring in that amount of money.

      OK, that works for the upcoming fiscal year, and maybe the year after.

      Then, the private contractor hired to repair the roads raise their prices for what ever reason and he is the only contractor because the gov't picked the lowest bidder and nobody else was close. Gov't, to keep the roads in good repair. must increase their budget for the third year and all years after that (and raise taxes accordingly if you want to avoid a deficit) ... say to $1,100,000 per year. That would be a budget increase for every year of the next seven years in the previous budget's time horizon.

      The following year (year 4 now) the gov't finds another contractor who will charge the original million. The gov't modifies its budget and taxes accordingly. For years 5 through 10, even though that money hasn't been actually spent yet, you nevertheless have a budget decrease.

      I hope that made sense.

      "The problem is our government is bloated from 8 years of drunken spending. " - Beyond automatic economic stabilizers and saving America from a depression, what did Obama bloat?

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Your analysis does not take into account the growth in GDP and jobs which will bring revenue into the treasury. Also, it does not take into the account of savings from cutting government regulations and spending... all this will lead to a reduced deficit instead of increase. Based on zero based budgeting, only in government is a budget increase from one year to the next count ad a cut. The problem is our government is bloated from 8 years of drunken spending. Time to cut it back to size.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I'll answer your tax question first since there is so much material to go through to refute your CBO assertion.

      While I have the education, experience, and temperament to model and analyze the GOP tax plan, I have neither the time nor tools to tackle such a complex issue. Consequently, I rely on popularly trusted sources who do have the expertise, time, and tools.

      They would be the unbiased Tax Policy Center, the somewhat Right-leaning Tax Foundation, and the Bi-partisan Committee on Taxation. Note there are no left-leaning think-tanks in the group. For each, however, I do analyze their methodologies to make sure there are no obvious errors.

      I believe neither the Rs or the Ds. They both have reason to and will lie.

      This is what the experts say:

      - Most, but not all, upper-middle, middle, and lower income classes will see some minimal to moderate growth in after-tax income.

      - Between 2018 and 2026, fewer and fewer people earning less than $200,000 will see lower after-tax income

      - Virtually all taxpayers earning less than $200,000 will see smaller after-tax income after 2026.

      - Virtually all taxpayers earning more than $400,000 will see the highest percent increase in after-tax income, regardless of when we are talking about

      - None of the estimates forecast noticeable growth. in GDP, maybe 0.25%/year. The reason is stimulating a growing economy has never worked in the past and the economic dynamics mitigate against growth.

      - Many corporations will see windfall profits on top of already record profits

      - Many large corporations will once again be able to avoid any tax at all (as will many wealthy people), thanks to repealing the alternative minimum tax

      - The Tax Foundation's rosiest jobs estimate forecasts job growth that gets lost in the noise as a result of the massively increased corporate profits

      - Other analysis shows that the very wealthy cannot spend all of their excess money now, let alone when they bet their huge increase in after-tax income. What they do and will do with this excess capital does not help America's GDP or jobs.

      - Ditto with the new corporate profits. Early indications are these additional funds will be used, as they have in the recent past, to buy back stock, increase dividends, and increase executive management pay.

      Will the law hurt our economy - Probably, because of the massive increase in the deficit and debt and service on the debt.

      Will the debt change? Yes, it will go up ... a lot. The reason is nobody, except politicians, is predicting sufficient economic growth to make up for the $1.5 trillion in lost tax revenue.

      As to the repeal of the individual mandate, it is unknown how much, if any, health premiums will rise. It depends on how much of the 2018 price increases were because the insurance companies anticipated this outcome.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My Esoteric, just curious of your analysis of the new Trump tax reform law. Will the bulk of the people have their taxes cut or raised? Who should we belief, the GOP or the Democrats? Will this law help or hurt our economy or neutral? Will the deficits go up or down or stay the same? All important questions.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Here is article among others that details the faulures of the CBO -

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2017/01...

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      That is the problem. The CBO based their estimates on assumptions 10 years out. As we all know, things change every year and to assume they won’t is not common sense. So their projections for the ACA bill was off by a factor of two. My point being why rely on these expert projections? Common sense will tell you the math does not work. You cannot give health coverage to 20 million new people and expect it to cost the tax payer nothing. As we found out, over 80% of the newly insured are being subdized.

      I am not against education or training...just against people who rely on experts to rule their lives. I put climate change scientists in that basket as well. Call me crazy but they have been wrong in their dire projections...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      So you maintain that Clinton lost because the economy wasn't growing at an unsustainable 3% rather than the stable 2% Obama achieved? I do agree she ran as Obama's third term, but from most voters' point of view, that was a good thing. Instead, we have this debacle #UnpresidentTrump has gotten America into.

      If "common sense" is all that is needed, why have any education at all? Obviously, that doesn't pass the common sense test just as not believing experts cost and economic analysis doesn't.

      Prove to me how CBO has been wildly wrong in their estimates based on their initial assumptions and constraints.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      My esoteric, my degree is in common sense. When it walks like a duck and quack like a duck and swims like a duck... it is a duck.

      You degree may be economic analyst, but if the CBO is full of those people with the same degrees, then they are wrong in their estimates and analysis year after year...

      I disagree with your list of why Clinton lost. If the economy was as rosy as you painted it, she should have won by 50 points... She ran as the 3rd Obama term...

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Brad, actually the polls had it right, save for Wisconsin, I think. The poll of polls in each state got it right or was within the margin of error. I believe only Wisconsin showed Clinton a probable winner.

      So my faith in polls continues, you just have to understand them and know how they work.

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      BTW, Jack, I am a certified, professional cost and economic analyst with years of experience in economic analysis. What are your degrees in?

    • My Esoteric profile imageAUTHOR

      My Esoteric 

      7 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks for the comments, Jack, keep coming back as I add more to it.

      "These are undeniable facts" ... I hardly think so. Obama left on a very high note, the only people who thought otherwise are of your political persuasion (around 36% as I recall) and therefore had nothing to do with Trump's skimpy win.

      What led to Trump's unbelievable win is a combination, in order of importance from most to least.

      1. Hillary Clinton's inability to make her policies understandable to Joe Six-pack

      2. Clinton's bad decision about the email server and trying to minimize the importance of it

      3. The Russian info war against Clinton and for Trump

      4. Trump's populist message

      5. Clinton's and DNC stupidly not campaigning outside the urban and suburban areas

      6. Comey's reopening of her investigation a few days before the election

      7. DNC's incompetency of putting together a ground game.

      Absent any one of those seven reasons, Clinton would have won.

      Explain why Trump's popularity in all areas, save the economy, is at all time lows ... for any president; and even for the economy which is doing (and has been doing) just fine thank you, he is slightly upside down.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 

      7 months ago from Orange County California

      ME

      Didn't you learn anything from the 2016 election is that polls and statistics are not useful when it comes to humans.

      Why don't you chart what the democrats have done in the last 2 years. O accomplishments.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Your assessment of the Trump administration, 1st year, is fair.

      However, you are missing the whole reason for Trump’s success. He is a popularist. He came to power when the public was fed up with Washington insiders of both parties. He tapped into the anger of the people who voted for change and got the same results year after year. Trump is not your typicsl politician. He does not owe anything to big donors. He is doing what he thinks will help America. The failure to repeal the ACA was a prime example of how politics does not work. People like John McCain lost all credibility when he grandstanded to vote down the repeal bill. He is representative of all that is wrong with Washington. The others are Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi...

      Here is my prediction. If things continue, Trump will be reelected with a bigger majority come 2020. He has demostrated how to govern without being caught in the political in fighting. He is a bold leader willing to make the bold moves and the one example is the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 

      7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Very interesting analysis. Spoken like a career government bureaucrat and not an economist in the private sector. What you are missing in all your analysis is the fact that Obama was a terrible political leader. In the 8 years of his administration, he has taken the country down two notches by design. In the process, he lost the House and Senate majority and many state houses and governorships... His idealogy trumped the well being of the American people and his own party. It lead directly to the election of Trump in 2016. These are undeniable facts. You can put all kinds of chart together but it won’t change the fact that we were in economic malaise with high real unemployment, high food stamps, high disability payments...all due to the anemic recovery. Yes we had a recession in 2008 but Obama’s policies created a slow recovery that never raise the GDP above 3% in all the subsequent years of his administration. His biggest sin in my opinion was allowing ISIS to spread causing the refuge crisis in Syria...That affected millions of people.

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