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“When watching an unusually exciting football game, I sometimes push the mute button so that I can concentrate on the action on the field. At times, noisy commentary and crowds becloud the game itself, causing one to miss out on some of the more subtle field action.
This is how I feel as I seek to assess the 2019 U.S. economic outlook. There are so many tweets and so much noisy commentary that one can lose sight of what the real economy is doing. It’s time to hit the mute button and see what the facts have to say about 2019’s prospects.
First off, let’s consider economic growth.
As of December, 2018’s real GDP growth seems headed toward 3.0 percent for the year or slightly better. This compares strikingly with 2016’s 1.6 percent and 2017’s 2.2 percent. Driven favorably by tax cuts, relief from regulation, and recently falling energy prices, the trend is definitely positive.
Perhaps more importantly, real per-capita GDP growth is recovering from a recent weak spell, running at 2.3 percent in 2018’s third quarter versus less than 1 percent at the same time in 2016. With some positive wage growth, that proverbial average person is getting better off.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"China’s Hydrogen economy Is coming: The world’s electric-vehicle king is seeking leadership in fuel cells, too. Investors are probably right to be excited."
"It would be the height of naivete to believe the book is closed. Democrats on Capitol Hill are not just going to take the attorney general's conclusions and move on to new things."
"Netanyahu has brazenly allied himself with Trump’s Administration and his family (including the cryptic peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, whose family he has known for years), as well as with the Republican Party and Republican funders..."
"Us is stranger than Get Out, with deeper philosophical undercurrents flowing through it. The rabbit that greets you at the movie’s start is an invitation. Will you follow, like Alice in her Wonderland?"
"Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big."
"Sanctuary, a digital astrology start-up backed by $1.5 million in venture capital, made the considered decision to launch its service on Wednesday — the dawn of the new astrological year, when Pisces gives way to Aries in the astral cycle."
"It is a Vessel for the depths of architectural cynicism, of form without ideology and without substance: an architectural practice that puts the commodifiable image above all else, including the social good..."
"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."
"Perhaps it is time to add parenting to the growing list of “replacement religions” competing for our attention and currency these days, a list that already includes workism and politics."
"Only a fraction of the world’s yeast species have been discovered. The ones still out there could revolutionize health care, green energy, and beer."
"We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths."
"...should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?"