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Newsmakers

ARCHIVE - JANUARY 2017

Issues, News & Views


NEIL GORSUCH
JOINS SCOTUS




Gorsuch
Sworn In
April 10, 2017




A Tremendous Day for
sound jurisprudence and
our Constitution!



Watch the swearing-in and
savor the prospect of a
Supreme Court Justice
who will defend our
Constitution:




Below is our rating of
Supreme Court justices
based upon judgement of
their fidelity to the
Constitution:


As the chart illustrates,
there are too many rogue
justices on the Supreme
Court. These appointed,
life-term judges take it
upon themselves to
arbitrarily unilaterally and
autocratically over-rule the
will of the people. They are
the equivalent of tyrants.

It is crucial to our
Democracy to fill all open
seats on all Courts, as
they arise, with true-to-
the-law judges. With
originalist, textualist
judges who apply the law
as passed by the
representatives of the
people.

It is NOT the role of judges
to over-rule laws they just
happen to dislike. As
Gorsuch said at the
ceremony:

"A judge who likes every
outcome he reaches is
very likely a bad judge..."



Gorsuch
Confirmed
April 07, 2017






A Supreme Court seat
opened with the passing of
Antonin Scalia just months
before the 2016 election.

President Obama
nominated Merrick Garland
as a replacement, but
Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
blocked the nomination,
claiming that the voters
should decide.

Elections have
consequences. Democrats
were certain they would
hold the White House and
regain the Senate in 2016,
thereby giving them full
control of the nomination
process.

But the GOP held the
Senate, and won the
White House, against
all predictions.
Republicans campaigned
on the Supreme Court
issue, and won.

And that's why Democrats
lost the Supreme Court
nomination: because they
didn't win the election. The
people spoke. As it should
be.



Gorsuch
Nominated
January 31, 2017




President Trump has
nominated Neil Gorsuch to
the United States Supreme
Court. View the
proceedings at the White
House:


As the President so
appropriately remarked at
the nomination ceremony:

"I have always felt that
after the defense of our
nation, the most important
decision a president of the
United States can make is
the appointment of a
Supreme Court justice.
Depending on their age, a
justice can be active for 50
years and his or her
decisions can last a
century or more and can
often be permanent."


We anticipate that Neil
Gorsuch will be an
outstanding Supreme
Court Justice, just like
Antonin Scalia, the great
man he will replace.

Neil Gorsuch: a judge who
understands both what a
judge's role is; and what a
judge's role is not.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO CHALPREM - JANUARY 2017 EDITION

2017/01/09 - Herewith we provide Chalprem's semi-annual economic update. Over the last several updates, in an environment of sluggish growth, we have continued to reject recession talk, instead projecting more of the same continued sluggish growth. Our projections have been consistently vindicated, but we can now happily project that prospects are looking up for an accelerating American economy.

For the past eight years the US economy has been the subject of a radical leftist experiment frequently referred to as Obamanomics. The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates near zero, which translates as the most accommodative monetary policy in our nation's history. The Federal Government has spent nearly $10 trillion more than it has taken in, translating into the most accommodative - and indeed, irresponsible - fiscal policy in our nation's history.

Yet we have endured one of the slowest economic expansions in our nation's history. How can that be? It's because we've also had the most constrictive, asphyxiating regulatory policy in our nation's history.

The lesson here is that Big Government just doesn't work. We've doubled our national debt, borrowed ten trillion dollars from the likes of Communist China, with nothing to show for it. If we had only spent the money incentivizing people to do constructive things like, say, building bridges or bicycle trails, those expenditures would at least have some benefit to show for the cost; but instead the money was poured down the regulatory toilet whose express purpose is to prevent people from doing constructive things like, say, building bridges or bicycle trails.

With the sun setting on Obama's Reign of Error we look forward with optimism to the Trump Administration that lies ahead. In our August feature we explored the Trump economic plan - that we might call "Trumponomics" - and we were extremely pleased with the content, a welcome repudiation of the past eight years. Trumponomics represents a disposal of Obamanomics and a return to time-tested ideas that have been proven to work: small government, low taxes, deregulation, and free markets.

So to put it simply, no, there will not be a recession any time soon. Obamanomics mutated into a bottleneck that held back economic activity. The American economic pipeline has become clogged with red tape, much like Europe's. So much economic activity that should have happened, hasn't, or at least hasn't yet. So many jobs not yet created, so much income not yet distributed to workers, dividends not paid to pensioners and retirees. So much prosperity waiting to happen, eager to happen, waiting for someone to unclog the economy, as so many Americans continue to suffer economic hardship.

But help is on the way. As the red tape gets cleared from the pipe we can expect economic activity to flow more smoothly and rapidly, bringing improving incomes to tens of millions of Americans.

The prospects for increasing economic dynamism are being reflected in the stock market as investors ponder the improving environment and reevaluate their models. Is Trumponomics merely a jazzed up Obamanomics 2.0, an incrementally less-worse version of the current Obamanomics 1.0? Kind of like a Microsoft upgrade? Or are we moving to a new Trumponomics world that is both profoundly different from, and much better than, Obamanomics by a full order of magnitude?

Time will tell whether Trumponomics comes to define a public policy package that is a marginally less-worse sibling of Obamanomics, or an entirely different, much better economic approach. If it's the latter, and it may well be, the stock market will keep finding its way up, but, we caution, never without the occasional correction. But if Trumponomics is a new, different, and better world, then stay invested, my friend. And view any pullback as a buying opportunity.

In the past we have pointed out that rising energy prices are at the core of almost every economic downturn the United States experiences. That includes 2008/2009, but would possibly exclude the 2001/2002 downturn which was heavily influenced by the combined impact of the dot-com debacle, and the 9/11 terror attacks.

Thanks to fracking the United States has achieved the ability to produce all the oil it needs, at economically viable prices probably below $60/bbl. At that price everyone should make some money, and some participants a whole lot more. The structure of US oil supply and demand appears to be insulated from global supply shocks, and we should expect prices to settle in the mid $50's for the next few years. We can expect occasional dips triggered by OPEC quota-cheating, but OPEC has no power to push prices above $60/bbl.

There do not appear to be in the short term any threats that could spike domestic energy prices. And recent reports indicate that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is at capacity, providing a further short term cushion. And in the middle term we expect supply circumstances to improve further as cabinet nominees Rick Perry (Energy) and Scott Pruitt (EPA) can be expected to be very helpful in ensuring a consistent and reliable domestic energy supply chain exploration, development, extraction, processing, distribution.

Copper prices have risen significantly of late. This time last year we were looking at prices of approximately $2.00/lb, and by July they had recovered to $2.20/lb. A price surge developed during the fourth quarter, preceding the Trump election but not at all hindered by it. Prices topped $2.75 during December, but settled at $2.54 on Friday. USD commodity prices ought to fall if the dollar goes up; but what we are seeing is price increases in the face of dollar strength, indicating even better circumstances in the commodity space.

If copper prices provide some indication of improving global economic health, than so does global shipping. The Baltic Dry Index, which measures rates for global bulk shipping for commodities as varied as soybeans and iron ore, rose steadily from the 600's in July to the 900's now, with a spike in November to over 1200. Rising shipping rates indicate improvements in global shipping and trade activity.

The Shanghai Composite seems to have stabilized, although how much is the result of direct intervention by the ChiComms is uncertain. After its run to 5000 in 2015 and subsequent crash below 3000 a year ago, the market finally seems to have established a firm footing. The 3000 level formed a ceiling during the first half of this year, with several attempts to break above it that failed to hold. But in the second half, 3000 has developed as a floor, with rapid recoveries from several breaches.

The Yuan continued its slide against the dollar, as did most other currencies. The CNY quickly moved through the 6.70's and 6.80's in November, and nearly broke 7.00 before Christmas. On Friday it closed at 6.91, but a move above 7.00 seems inevitable after Chinese New Year. Similar story for the Euro, sliding from 1.11 to 1.05 since the election, with a move south of 1.00 probable by summer. Sterling has its own unique set of issues, but it is currently near all-time lows of about 1.21 that it previously set in October.

So the sum of our economic expectations for the next six months are as follows:

  • Slow but gradually accelerating economic strength reflected in GDP, employment, incomes, and profits;
  • A rising stock market, occasionally expressing through "corrections", either frustration with Democrats' gridlocking, or concern over continued dollar strength;
  • Slowly rising, but still very low, interest rates and inflation; and
  • The black swan still lurking just beyond the horizon is massive and rapidly growing global government debt, but especially ours and China's. It is unclear how it will be impacted by Trumponomics.

All in all, pretty good. A lot of cause for optimism. Could be way worse. Happy New Year!




Analysis


January 25, 2017 - This morning at the open the DOW stock index bolted out of the blocks like Usain Bolt, exploding through the 20,000 milestone for the first time ever.

President Trump's first two "business" days in office included White House meetings with manufacturing executives and with union heads that left all participants smiling broadly.

Imagine that, a President who engages in growing the economy, in expanding employment, in increasing incomes! What a welcome change after eight years of stupid stuff.

At the dawn of the Trump era there is a lot for investors to be excited about, indeed, for anyone with a vested interest in an expanding economy. And the stock markets have been responding in kind.

Meanwhile, the bitter, disoriented, dishonest far-left media ignores reality, and grills Press Secretary Sean Spicer on inside-the-beltway fake news that no ordinary American cares about.




January 19, 2017 - President Obama's last day. Finally.

A major criticism against this POTUS would be that he has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out our substance.

Oh, by the way, that is a direct quote from the Declaration of Independence, it is one of our indictments against that tyrant King George III. Now we shed another tyrant, President Obama XLIV.

The Declaration of Independence still nails it, 240 years after it was written. The timelessness, the perpetual relevance, of our founding documents, never ceases to amaze.

The last eight years have been mourning in America. January 20, 2017 is Morning in America!



January 16, 2017 - Sometimes smart people do dumb things; sometimes good people do bad things; sometimes bad people do good things. You have to separate the person from the actions.

Life is full of people who are both heroes and bums. It happens in sports - the great athlete who made the disastrous play; or the otherwise mediocre athlete who seized a single moment of greatness - think Bucky Dent.

Valor one day does not entitle villainy the next. Saving someone's life on Tuesday does not entitle you to murder someone on Wednesday.

Military history is filled with heroes-turned-bums - consider the Revolutionary War generals, Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold. Both men were heroes for their parts at Saratoga in 1777. But by 1780 both were bums - Gates at Camden due to incompetence, and Arnold at West Point due to malfeasance.

The political world is rife with hero-bums - and sadly it seems we must now ask whether Rep. John Lewis should be added to the list. That hero from the 1960's who honored our Constitution by demanding equal protections for all citizens, now seems intent on bummifying himself, dishonoring that same Constitution by denouncing the legitimacy of Donald Trump's victory.

So which Constitution does Lewis embrace? The one that declares his civil rights, or the one that declares Donald Trump the President?

Is John Lewis a great man acting like a bum; or a bum who once had a moment of heroism?

What is the measure of this man? Is he a mercenary who accidentally jumped a good cause way back when? Or is he a good man who has sadly lost his way late in life?

In attempting to delegitimize of Donald Trump, John Lewis delegitimizes himself. So sad.


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