Record for longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives breaks this weekend

Record for longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives breaks this weekend

As women at the podium addressed the chamber, men on the House floor would often continue speaking to each other.
“In those days, when a woman went to the floor to speak, it took almost a decade before they would even listen,” she said in a sit-down interview this week with NBC News.
“The House wasn’t called to order.” But earlier this week, that same chamber dedicated floor time between votes to celebrate Kaptur, who on Sunday will become the longest serving woman in the House of Representatives — breaking a record that had stood for nearly 60 years.
The granddaughter of Polish immigrants, Kaptur said she was first spurred to run for office after witnessing the spiking unemployment that hit her home city of Toledo, Ohio during the 1979 oil crisis.
She left her post as a domestic policy advisor for President Jimmy Carter and her doctorate studies at MIT to run for Congress.
Elected in 1982 during the Democratic midterm wave that followed President Ronald Reagan’s election, Kaptur has served alongside eight House Speakers, during the administrations of six presidents.
She said the thought of retiring has yet to cross her mind.
If you come here, it will take a long time,’” to get things done, she said.
And her career has been defined by the long game.
But after more than three decades in Washington, she says, she’s noticed one big shift: Now, congressmen listen when she speaks.

The Fed is hogging the attention, but don’t forget this critical number for the economy

The Fed is hogging the attention, but don’t forget this critical number for the economy

The Fed is widely expected to raise a key interest rate that helps set the cost of borrowing for companies and consumers — business startup loans, mortgages and so forth.
Companies are complaining loudly about growing shortages of skilled workers and it’s just going to get worse.
Read: U.S. job openings hit record high at start of 2018 Now firms have two choices.
Increase pay to win over new workers in a highly competitive jobs market, a potential source of inflation.
Or invest more money in computers and other equipment to help current employees produce more goods and services in the same amount of time.
Read: Why Trump is wrong about a Canada deficit, but not off base in seeking a better deal Investment has tapered off recently to a yearly rate of 6.3%, with lower readings in January and December reflecting the first back-to-back declines since early 2016.
Many executives also said the planned to increase investment in the next six months.
“Core orders have started to slow after surging at the end of last year, but the latest business surveys point to a renewed acceleration soon,” economists at Capital Economics wrote.
So pay close attention to core orders in the broader monthly report on durable goods.
It doesn’t get the same attention as Fed meetings, but it’s also a must-see event this year.

Job openings hit record high at start of 2018

Job openings hit record high at start of 2018

The numbers: The number of job openings in the U.S. surged to a record 6.3 million in January, showing that businesses are still eager to hire nearly nine years into an economic expansion that still appears to have plenty of momentum.
About 5.6 million people were hired and 5.4 million lost their jobs in January, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The share of people who left jobs on their own, known as the quits rate, was unchanged at 2.5% among private-sector employees.
Typically workers who move end up getting better pay.
What happened: White-collar and professional firms posted the most job openings.
Delivery services and utilities were also looking to fill a lot of jobs, with many veteran employees planning to retire in the next few years.
The big picture: Companies are still lots of people despite the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years and growing complaints about a shortage of skilled labor.
The U.S. in February added a whopping 313,000 new jobs to push the unemployment rate down to 4%.
The jobs market is so strong that some Americans receiving disability benefits have rejoined the workforce and companies are even hiring and training people with criminal records.
All of this is helping to keep the U.S. economy expanding nearly nine years after the last recession.

Op-Ed: Expropriation without compensation – The ANC’s next grand lie

Op-Ed: Expropriation without compensation – The ANC’s next grand lie

Land expropriation without compensation is a radical policy stance which the EFF and the ANC are clutching on to like a lifeline in the fight to win back political space and voters ahead of the next election.
And, if there is one relatable truth in South Africa, it is that life is hard.
Another relatable truth – land ownership patterns in South Africa are still skewed.
The narrative that expropriation without compensation will solve our country’s skewed property ownership patterns and empower more black South Africans – by seemingly creating a generation of farmers – relies on those two relatable truths – that life is hard for many young, unemployed black South Africans and that this is the group least likely to own property compared to any other demographic.
The lie that expropriation without compensation will be a solution for this attaches itself to the combination of desperation and aspiration many young South Africans are experiencing.
They are a party that cannot offer any real governance solutions.
We cannot forget that it is the ANC which governs in the eight provinces (and many more local governments) where life is hardest for young black South Africans.
The biggest challenge to land reform is not that more land needs to expropriated.
The people of South Africa need and want to own a house, close to work opportunities, and not everyone wants to farm.
DM Thandeka Mbabama MP is the DA’s Shadow Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform Photo: A farm in the Overberg area in the Western Cape, 15 March 2018.

10 years after the financial crisis, have we learned anything?

10 years after the financial crisis, have we learned anything?

Lawmakers told the Federal Reserve to write rules that would have put a stop to the worst practices.
The crisis unofficially began a decade ago today, with JPMorgan’s shocking deal to rescue Bear Stearns for $2 a share after the investment bank suffered deep losses tied to its mortgage investments. “We got into that mess because of the lack of regulation, and now we’re talking about making banks less accountable.
But this is still a changed country.
Median household net worth remains below where it stood in 1998, according to the Federal Reserve, even as households take on more debt than ever before.
Congress tried to answer this question when it established the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and its 2011 autopsy of the meltdown remains excellent reading today.
A year later, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 established new oversight bodies to coordinate the alphabet soup of regulators that had avoided responsibility by acting in silos.
Many argue that bailouts for homeowners should have been much more generous, in order to avoid more foreclosures and better stabilize neighborhoods, and that banks should have been pushed harder to lend to qualified borrowers once new safeguards were put in place. “But if you want to have a growth-oriented system, then you have to accept that there’s going to be fragility.
A Decade Later: It’s been 10 years since the financial crisis rocked America’s economy.

Eurozone inflation falls, misses forecasts

Eurozone inflation falls, misses forecasts

The eurozone’s annual rate of inflation was even lower than previously estimated in February, as wages continued to grow modestly despite strong economic growth and a steady fall in unemployment.
The European Union’s statistics office Friday said consumer prices were just 1.1% higher in February than a year earlier, a lower rate of inflation that the 1.2% it first estimated.
That marked the third straight month of decline and brought the rate to its lowest level since December 2016.
The European Central Bank targets an inflation rate of just below 2%, and continues to provide substantial stimulus to the eurozone economy in pursuit of that goal.
Higher wages can boost inflation by increasing costs for businesses, which are then passed on to consumers.
But there are few signs of an impending pickup in pay.
In a separate release, Eurostat said wages in the three months through December were 1.7% higher than in the same period of 2016, a slight pickup from the 1.6% rise recorded in the three months to September.
And there are also signs that workers feel their bargaining power has weakened as a result of offshoring and the increased use of robots. “Policy makers have to be more cautious than in the past,” he said.
Weak wage growth has also been a problem for the eurozone’s political establishment, which has faced growing voter discontent as populists party have gained ground.

Millions unemployed, plunging house prices and a global economic crash: Here’s the apocalyptic scenario Britain’s banks will be stress tested against in 2018

Millions unemployed, plunging house prices and a global economic crash: Here’s the apocalyptic scenario Britain’s banks will be stress tested against in 2018

Bank of England releases 2018 stress test scenario, designed to test British banks’ ability to withstand negative shocks. “Overall, the 2018 stress scenario is more severe than the financial crisis,” the Bank of England said.
LONDON – The Bank of England on Friday released the scenario it will test Britain’s banks against this year to ensure they are resilient enough to resist a major negative shock to the global economy. “Overall, the 2018 stress scenario is more severe than the financial crisis,” the Bank of England said.
These are, the BoE says: “A UK and global macroeconomic stress.” “A traded risk stress, linked to a financial market scenario consistent with the content and calibration of the macroeconomic stress scenario.”
The main points of the test are effectively a collapse in the world economy, an even bigger collapse in the UK economy, a huge drop in house prices, and a massive increase in both unemployment and the Bank of England’s base interest rates.
UK GDP falls by 4.7%.
And here’s the BoE’s chart, comparing the test to what actually happened in the financial crisis: “The stress scenario incorporates a synchronised global downturn in output growth. “For the first time since the Bank of England launched its stress tests in 2014, no bank needs to strengthen its capital position as a result of the stress test,” the Bank of England said in a statement at the time.

31,000 Toys ‘R’ Us employees: No job and no severance

31,000 Toys ‘R’ Us employees: No job and no severance

The news that Toys “R” Us is closing might conjure up wistful childhood memories for shoppers.
But for the chain’s 31,000 U.S. employees, it means they’re out of a job. “When they announced 182 stores closing and my store wasn’t on the list, I thought I’d be OK,” said one Florida employee who spoke to CNN.
That employee, a 39-year old mother of three boys, said she’s worked at the store for 12 years and hoped to remain there until her youngest, now 8 years old, was grown. “They loved it,” she said.
Workers were promised 60 days pay, which is required under federal law, and they’ll receive that pay even if they don’t work the full two months.
About 1,100 people work at the company’s headquarters in Wayne, N.J., according to the bankruptcy filing, and about 30,000 at the store’s remaining 791 U.S. locations.
Employment in the retail sector suffered a net decline of 29,300 jobs last year, according to the Labor Department.
But even with so many stores closing, it’s tough for retailers to find help. “We’re actually seeing a competitive job market in retail that really is unprecedented,” said Portell.

Come the Recession, Don’t Count on That Safety Net

Come the Recession, Don’t Count on That Safety Net

What will President Trump’s first recession look like?
The stock market tumble after the government reported an uptick in wages last month suggests just how worried investors on Wall Street are that the Federal Reserve might start increasing interest rates more aggressively to forestall inflation.
It is hardly premature to ask, in this light, how the Trump administration might manage the fallout from the economic downturn that everybody knows will happen.
By slashing taxes while increasing spending, President Trump and his allies in Congress have further boxed the economy into a corner, reducing the space for emergency government action were it to be needed.
Unemployment remained at 9 percent or more for over two years.
What is critical to note is that each of the two programs did more to relieve extreme poverty during the depths of the Great Recession than even the earned-income tax credit, the main source of government support for low-income Americans.
This is a problem for vulnerable Americans bracing for the next economic shock, because if Mr. Trump and his colleagues in Congress have their way, the only surviving bit of the social safety net when the next recession hits will probably require beneficiaries to work.
Assiduously looking for places to cut spending to temper a growing budget deficit, the White House seems more than willing to pare the safety net.
The budget it unveiled this month called for a 27 percent cut to the food stamp budget and a 20 percent cut to Section 8 housing assistance by 2028.
While the Trump administration is unlikely to end unemployment insurance, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired at the end of 2013.

No, Mr. President. The US doesn’t have a trade deficit with Canada

No, Mr. President. The US doesn’t have a trade deficit with Canada

Trump said the inaccurate statement on Wednesday at a fundraiser.
The United States has a trade surplus with Canada, according to statistics from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is a part of the executive branch.
Conversely, a surplus means that Canada bought more goods and services from the United States than the other way around.
The US had a $2.7 billion trade surplus with Canada last year.
Subtract the goods deficit from the services surplus, and you get an overall US trade surplus of $2.7 billion with Canada.
According to the Census Bureau, the United States ran a $17.6 billion deficit with Canada, but it counts only goods.
Globally, the United States has a trade deficit and that makes sense because the US economy is driven by consumer spending.
Americans spending at stores and online make up about two-thirds of US economic activity.
During the financial crisis a decade ago, the trade deficit shrunk.
The United States can stomach such large trade deficits because foreign companies and governments take the money they get from US buyers and often reinvest that cash in US Treasury bonds.