Congress is a Strange Place These Days

If ever there was a single day that highlighted just how chaotic, conflicting and outright strange a place Congress is, it was Tuesday. At 9 am, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a historic press conference to declare that the Democratic-controlled chamber had prepared two articles of impeachment against President Trump. The commander in chief and his fellow Republicans howled, though they certainly weren’t surprised.

Then, just an hour later, Pelosi surprisingly stepped to the microphones again to announce that she and the Trump administration had reached a deal on a long-stalled free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Talk about a schizophrenic morning! Continue reading “Congress is a Strange Place These Days”

New North American Free Trade Deal Brings Welcome Relief to Businesses

Barring some last-minute hiccups, a deal to ratify the new North American free trade pact appears to be in place, giving President Trump a major political victory and U.S. farmers and businesses some much-needed good news.

Plenty has been said about the politics of the deal, which comes after months of negotiations and amid a divisive impeachment inquiry in Congress. Perhaps the most surprising development was the endorsement of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; anyone with a passing knowledge of U.S. politics knows organized labor is no friend of free trade agreements. Continue reading “New North American Free Trade Deal Brings Welcome Relief to Businesses”

How Population Growth Will Affect Political Power Post-2020

It’s still too soon to say who will win the 2020 presidential election, now less than a year away. But plenty can be said about a major political event that won’t happen until after 2020: Congressional reapportionment, the process of divvying up the 435 seats in the House of Representatives based on population growth, which occurs every decade following the U.S. Census.

At least 16 states will gain or lose seats in Congress after the 2020 Census, based on the latest demographic trends. One thing to keep in mind: Since the number of House seats is fixed at 435, even states that are still adding people, such as Calif., are at risk of losing representation in Congress.

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What To Expect From The Economy This Week

Look for the number of jobs added to the economy in November to top 190,000 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its employment report this Friday at https://www.bls.gov/ces/news.htm. That will be good news for the economy, but remember: The number will be inflated by including 42,000 General Motors workers returning from their now-ended strike. If the Friday release is much below 190k, that would indicate a slowing economy compared with previous reports.

It will also be of interest to see if the unemployment rate ticks up to 3.7% or not. A bump up would signal a bit of a slowdown. Finally, what happens to wage growth will provide an indication of the degree of tightness in the labor market. Wage growth has moderated since August, despite low unemployment. Perhaps companies are holding the line while uncertainty lingers over whether or how much the economy will slow down in 2020.

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