Retail sales tumbled 0.8% in January, much more than expected

Consumer spending fell sharply in January, presenting a potential early danger sign for the economy, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Advance retail sales declined 0.8% for the month following a downwardly revised 0.4% gain in December, according to the Census Bureau. A decrease had been expected: Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were looking for a drop of 0.3%, in part to make up for seasonal distortions that probably boosted December’s number.

However, the pullback was considerably more than anticipated. Even excluding autos, sales dropped 0.6%, well below the estimate for a 0.2% gain.

The sales report is adjusted for seasonal factors but not for inflation, so the release showed spending lagging the pace of price increases. On a year-over-year basis, sales were up just 0.6%.

Headline inflation rose 0.3% in January and 0.4% when excluding food and energy prices, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. On a year-over-year basis, the two readings were 3.1% and 3.9%, respectively.

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This is your brain on Marxism.

 Treasury Secretary: “We don’t have to get the prices down because wages are going up.”


Why Americans Have Lost Faith in the Value of College: Three generations of ‘college for all’ in the U.S. has left most families looking for alternatives.

The political turmoil that rocked universities over the past three months and sparked the resignations of two Ivy League presidents has landed like an unwelcome thud on institutions already struggling to maintain the trust of the American public. For three generations, the national aspiration to “college for all” shaped America’s economy and culture, as most high-school graduates took it for granted that they would earn a degree.
That consensus is now collapsing in the face of massive student debt, underemployed degree-holders and political intolerance on campus.
In the past decade, the percentage of Americans who expressed a lot of confidence in higher education fell from 57% to 36%, according to Gallup. A decline in undergraduate enrollment since 2011 has translated into 3 million fewer students on campus.
Nearly half of parents say they would prefer not to send their children to a four-year college after high school, even if there were no obstacles, financial or otherwise. Two-thirds of high-school students think they will be just fine without a college degree.
The pandemic drove home a sobering realization for a lot of middle-class American families: “College for all” is broken for most.
Arthur Levine, president emeritus of Columbia Teachers College and author of “The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present and Uncertain Future,” compares this moment in post-secondary education to the seismic change that followed the Industrial Revolution. That 19th-century wave of disruption washed over schools designed to meet the needs of a sectarian, agricultural society and transformed higher education into a sprawling system of community colleges, land-grant universities and graduate schools.

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 It’s the groceries, stupid: Why the pundits are puzzled by Biden’s putrid polls.

Most feel Christmas and retirement are Scrooged by ‘Bidenomics.’

The financial hurt the people feel from “Bidenomics” is starting to show in their approach to Christmas shopping and fear about running out of money in retirement.

In a new test of the economy, a survey done for the 85 Fund said most people feel they are “worse” off this Christmas than last.

The survey from CRC Research for the fund that supports conservative action groups and shared with Secrets said that 49% feel they are in a “worse position” to buy presents and celebrate the holidays. Some 43% said they are better off.

The 1,600 voters polled said they are very concerned about retirement as the rate hikes by the Federal Reserve rake their savings.

The survey said a whopping 81% are worried they won’t have enough to retire on, a troubling finding since the poll said that a majority, 52%, are thinking about retiring.

The poll, shown below, also found that credit card balances are rising, an early warning sign of economic troubles in the future.

The results are the latest to challenge the Biden administration’s claims that the economy is in a sweet spot of good employment and lower prices. Most people believe prices are significantly higher than during former President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Ordinary Americans are far worse off than one year ago due to the consequences of Bidenomics. Bidenflation has caused a cost-of-living crisis. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes in response have made credit more expensive and difficult to attain,” Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, told Secrets on Wednesday.

“It’s harder and harder to make ends meet, especially for women who generally manage household finances. President Biden and the liberal media continue to claim the economy is great, but real Americans, as this poll reiterates, know otherwise,” he added.

Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research, said, “As the Biden administration continues to force its ineffective economic agenda on the American people, consumers are continuing to feel the strain of inflation and higher prices. American consumers are paying more for less. We need leaders who focus on economic policies that help consumers and stimulate the economy, rather than ones who push bad policies, like climate activism, that are driving up costs.”

Biden Administration Runs Record November Budget Deficit

The Biden administration just ran the largest November budget deficit in history.

And it managed this feat even with a 9% increase in government receipts.

The November budget shortfall came in at $314.01 billion, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. That was 26% higher than the November 2022 deficit.

Just two months into fiscal 2024, the federal government has run up $380.58 billion in red ink. This follows on the heels of the third-largest annual budget deficit in history.

The US government took in $274.83 billion in revenue. That was up from $252.11 billion in November 2022, bucking the trend of generally declining government receipts.

The federal government enjoyed a revenue windfall in fiscal 2022. According to a Tax Foundation analysis of Congressional Budget Office data, federal tax collections were up 21%. Tax collections also came in at a multi-decade high of 19.6% as a share of GDP. But CBO analysts warned at the time that it wouldn’t last.  And it didn’t. Government receipts fell by 9.3% in fiscal 2023.

Government tax revenue will decline even faster as the economy spins into a recession.

But the real problem is on the spending side of the ledger.

The Biden administration blew through $588.84 billion in November, up 18% from November 2022. That pushed total spending to nearly $1.06 trillion through the first two months of fiscal 2024.

This underscores the fact that the fundamental issue isn’t that the US government doesn’t have enough money. The fundamental problem is that the US government spends too much money. Despite the pretend spending cuts, the debt ceiling deal didn’t address that problem. Even with the new plan in place, spending will go up. No matter what you hear about spending cuts, the federal government constantly finds new reasons to spend more money.

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Latest Inflation Report Brings More Bad News for Americans Ahead of the Holidays

The latest print of the Consumer Price Index measuring inflationary pain that continues to be felt by Americans showed that no, inflation is still not coming down. In November, the Consumer Price Index registered another 0.1 percent increase in the costs of goods and services paid by Americans for a 12-month increase of 3.1 percent.

Core CPI inflation — which excludes more volatile food and energy indexes — rose 0.3 percent in November for a 4.0 percent annual increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the largest contributors to November’s still-increasing inflation was the cost of shelter, which has spiked 6.5 percent over the last 12 months. In addition, the food index has risen 2.9 percent in the last year.

As House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) pointed out on Tuesday morning following the release of November’s CPI that showed prices are now 17.4 percent higher than they were when President Joe Biden took office:

This Christmas, thanks to President Biden’s inflation crisis, many parents will struggle to afford that holiday meal with family and friends or presents for their kids. The extra expense of the holidays is an unwelcome reminder of the already high cost families are facing. Instead of doing anything to help families struggling to afford the cost of living, out-of-touch Democrats prefer to pretend that prices are falling and small businesses are thriving. Working families leaving items unchecked on their kid’s Christmas wish list know the truth.

As a result of inflation, American workers’ real wages are down 3.7 percent since Biden took office as a result of more than 24 straight months in which inflation outstripped wage growth, and the Federal Reserve’s reaction to inflation — raising interest rates to their highest levels since early 2001 — means mortgage rates hit a more than two decade-high this fall at 7.8 percent while credit card debt broke records to surpass $1 trillion.

President Biden and Democrats, of course, will ignore the reality of the economic hardship being faced by Americans as a result of their tax-and-spend binge that set off inflation. They, thanks to a heavy assist from its stenographers in the mainstream media, will take an undeserved victory lap on Tuesday’s CPI report.

The Associated Press provided a clear example of ignoring the literal numbers of the CPI report — which showed an increase in headline CPI, core CPI, monthly, and annual numbers — to claim that inflation “ticked down again.”

All eyes now turn to the Federal Reserve as it considers what to do with interest rates this week — whether to maintain a pause in rate increases or turn the pressure up again with another increase for the Fed’s target rates as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell & Co. seek to return inflation to its target of just two percent.

Climate Change Is Not Threatening Human Health

It has become all too common in the media, especially every time another United Nations climate conference like COP28 takes place, to blame every problem on climate change. The media and their go-to climate pundits reach far and wide to connect whatever tragic event is trending in the news to the modest warming of the past hundred or so years, and they do it no matter how tenuous the connection.

Some claims immediately stand out as ridiculous to even the casual observer, like the claim that the oceans are boiling, which is so stupid only someone who has blind trust in favored authorities bordering on pathological would believe it.

Other claims have the appearance of plausibility, at least at first glance, because the logic is relatively straightforward. Even then, existing data often contradicts the climate attribution. Taking a hypothesis, testing it, and then revising it based on the results used to be a thing called the “scientific method,” but apparently many in the media find that too boring and choose to spread unverified claims instead.

One of the common claims made by climate hucksters recently is that climate change is increasingly harming human health.

On the surface this might sound true. One of the examples often cited is that an increase in pollen will torment allergy sufferers. It is true that more plants due to carbon dioxide fertilization and longer stretches of plant-friendly weather certainly results in more pollen from some species. However, alarmism regarding this claim misses the broader point; better growing conditions means a lusher planet that better sustains human and animal life. Allergies are a misery, true, but they are manageable. Starvation is not so easily managed.

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64 US Bank Branches File To Shut Down In A Single Week; Are You Affected?

Big banks such as PNC Bank and JPMorgan Chase have filed to close several branch offices in multiple states amid a troubling pattern of rising branch shutdowns in recent years.

Between Nov. 12 and 18, several banks filed to close branch locations, with PNC Bank with the most filings, according to data from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank filed for 19 branch closures—five in Pennsylvania, four in Illinois, three in Texas, two each in Alabama and New Jersey, and one each in Indiana, Ohio, and Florida.

JPMorgan Chase followed closely with 18 filings—three in Ohio, two each in Connecticut and South Carolina, and one each in 11 states, including New York, Illinois, Florida, and Massachusetts.

Citizens Bank came in third with eight branch closure filings—six in New York, and one each in Massachusetts and Delaware. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank filed for seven closures—three in Tennessee and one each in Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois.

Bank of America made five filings—two in New York and one each in Texas, Massachusetts, and California.

Citibank filed for two branch closures, and Sterling, Bremer, First National Bank of Hughes Springs, Windsor FS&LA, and Aroostook County FS&LA made one filing each.

Altogether, banks filed to shut down 64 branches.

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I remember there were nearly riots when gas hit over $2.50 not all that long ago. It’s like there’s an election coming up, or something………

Gas prices have dropped below $3 per gallon in these 11 states.

Gasoline prices are on a downward trend, with 11 states now averaging below $3 per gallon. The steady decline comes amid falling seasonal demand and use of less-expensive winter-grade gas.

Drivers in the states closest to the Gulf Coast’s oil production and refineries are looking at average pump prices just under $3 per gallon, according to AAA data. Those include:

Alabama: $2.95
Arkansas: $2.95
Georgia: $2.85
Kentucky: $2.99
Louisiana: $2.92
Mississippi: $2.84
Missouri: $2.99
Oklahoma: $2.91
South Carolina: $2.93
Tennessee: $2.96
Texas: $2.80

“These states generally have the lowest excise taxes on gasoline…they are near refining centers where the gasoline is produced cutting down on distribution costs,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates told Yahoo Finance on Monday.

Meanwhile the national average for gasoline sits at $3.36, compared to $3.78 one year ago.

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Some of the Dystopian Tyranny You Can Expect if the Marxists Win

What with WWIII brewing like a much-needed pot of coffee after a night of swilling Mad Dog (don’t judge), I thought today would be a groovy time to point out what our future looks like if we don’t wake up the “communism can’t happen here” crowd. And I do not have to go far because a lot of it is already taking place.

We already know the federal government colluded with Big Tech to censor Americans who dared question the origins of COVID and the efficacy of the clot-shot and even shut down the New York Post for breaking the Hunter Biden laptop story. We’ve seen pro-lifers have their doors kicked in by FBI SWAT teams. This will get even worse if We the People don’t raise our voices.

Your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) score will light up like Hunter’s crackpipe if you tweet that “a man in a dress isn’t a woman,” and your digital currency card will be denied when you try to buy toilet paper.

FACT-O-RAMA! A woman I know, now 81, who moved from Poland to the U.S. in 1974 told me Stalin would stop sending toilet paper to Poland when he was angry at the nation for not falling in line.

Your three-bedroom home will be deemed an extravagance now that your kids have moved out and may be confiscated and handed over to a large family from Sudan. After all, building more housing than necessary is a threat to “climate change.” Besides, you’ll be comfy-cozy in your federally approved living pod.

Check out this Canadian commie prag stating that “you don’t have an absolute right to own private property in Canada.” Stop saying “It can’t happen here.”

Your dog will be killed because we all know puppy kibble makes the weather bad.

Unless you have a herd of cattle, your Sunday steaks will be replaced with a tempting cricket salad.

Enough of my bloviating. Watch this video by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is nothing more than a group of wealthy, unelected jackpuddings who are “predicting” that by 2030 you will be a serf. Your enslavement includes such greatest hits as:

  • we will own nothing and be happy
  • we will stop eating meat
  • the U.S. will not be a superpower because “a handful of countries will dominate”
  • a billion people will be displaced — to the West — otherwise, somehow, the clouds will suffer

FACT-O-RAMA! The mass migration to the West began decades ago. Do you see how far along the WEF plan has come along? Are you waking up yet? If you are reading this, Im sure you are. Now let’s work on our “normie” friends and relatives.

According to KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov, the first step we see after the fall of liberty won’t affect true Americans. Antifa and knuckleheads like the professors who are now waving Hamas flags will be the first to be purged. That “BLM” shirt your lavender-haired, non-binary sibling-in-law wears won’t protect zher from prison, or even a firing squad. It will actually push zhim to the front of the line.

Bezmenov put it this way:

Your leftists in the United States. All these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed anymore. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power, obviously they get offended, they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.

I won’t get into what our Jewish friends and gay community will face if Islam takes over the Western world.

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Burning Down (The Economic) House?
Food Prices UP 20% Under Bidenomics, Credit Card Delinquencies Now Higher Than During Covid As Credit Card Debt Grows To All-time High To Cope With Inflation

Is Biden trying to burn down the economic house? Under Bidenomics, America’s middle class and low wage workers are suffering from a wild, wild life in terms of inflation.

First, food prices are up 20% since December 2020. Talk about destruction of middle class wealth!

That is in addition to gasoline prices are up 64% under Biden while rent growth is up 252%. Well, Biden waived through millions of illegal immigrants and rent had to rise. Biden and Washington DC’s broken borders is Livin’ La Vida Loco.

To cope with inflation (that Paul Krugman claims is over but the last inflation report showed that the tinders of inflation are hard to extinguish), consumers have turned to credit cards to survive. In fact, credit cards have expanded 38% since April 2021 despite rapidly rising interest rates. And credit card delinquency rates are rising and are now above Covid-era economic shutdown levels.

Despite Krugman and Yellen’s screaming that inflation has been crushed, US household are anticipating FASTER inflation. To paraphrase the Emperor of Austria from “Amadeus,” “You are passionate Krugman and Yellen, but you do not persuade.”

And Billions Biden has just recorded the third largest deficit in history.

The Great Reset is a Globalist Trojan Horse using the cover of “Climate Change” to destroy American Economic Power and transfer power to the IMF

The World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” (which Biden is implementing) is Neo Marxism packaged in a way that if you oppose it you either want to destroy the environment or you are a racist.

Supporters of the World Economic Forum and sympathizers of the Fabian Society are using the facade of “Climate Change” to subvert democracies worldwide and impose a “Great Reset”  to eradicate national frameworks and create globalist, borderless, godless, neo-Marxist, multicultural, open societies. The destruction of the centrality of the U.S. dollar in the Global Financial System and the transfer of Economic Power to the International Monetary Fund is key in the Globalist’s strategy. They are using “Climate Change” as a cover to replace democracy and capitalism with a neo-Marxist global tyranny.

The Biden regime has embraced the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. Critical Race Theory is an integral part of the Great Reset by which education and social contracts are being modified.

On December 3, 2020 Justin Haskins wrote in the Hill “According to the Great Reset’s supporters, the plan would fundamentally transform much of society. As World Economic Forum (WEF) head Klaus Schwab wrote back in June, “the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

“Internationally, the Great Reset has already been backed by influential leaders, activists, academics and institutions. In addition to the World Economic Forum and United Nations, the Great Reset movement counts among its the International Monetary Fund, heads of state, Greenpeace and CEOs and presidents of large corporations and financial institutions such as Microsoft and MasterCard…

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Bidenomics! Average American Can’t Afford Homes In 99% Of Country

It’s time for your daily dose of Bidenomics — where the rules are made up and the points don’t matter.

In today’s lesson, we’ll learn how the fact that the average American can’t afford to buy a home in 99% of the country is evidence of a historic economy.

On Thursday, CBS reported that real estate data provider ATTOM reviewed median home prices in 575 counties across the country and concluded that the average income earner — somebody who makes $71,214 a year — could afford to buy a home in just 1% of those areas in 2022.

Chief Economist at Redfin, Daryl Fairweather, told CBS, “The only people who are selling right now are people who really need to move because of a life event — divorce, marriage, new baby, new job, etc. That lack of new inventory is keeping prices high.”

Part of the reason why homeowners are holding onto their homes is because of high interest rates — which were hiked to historic levels in hopes of slowing down runaway Bidenflation.

That inflation was caused in part by massive government spending. The president’s solution has been more government spending.

Last week, Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) blamed part of the problem on corporations buying single-family homes as well.

“They have access to lower interest rates,” Vance told ABC6. “They have access to cheaper money, and they completely crowd out the availability for homes for people who want to just buy a piece of their community.”

Some of those companies have ties to the Chinese Communist Party — something Vance says is nonsensical to allow.

“I look around and say, ‘What are we doing when we’re letting the Communist Chinese Party buy up homes that should be going to Ohio citizens?’ It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Overlooked in the housing crisis has been the role that legal and illegal immigration has played. As flagged by The Washington Examiner last spring, several studies have shown that immigration, lawful or not, impacts both rental and home-owning prices. In short, the millions who enter the country each year drive up demand, which drives up prices.

“I think it’s very hard to talk about the housing crisis in Ohio or across the country without talking about the immigration problem,” Vance said last week “When you let, let’s say, 10 million or 15 million people into the country illegally, those people all need homes.”

Given the fact that one of the most basic elements of the American dream is out of reach for the American people, you’d think Washington might want to address it. Instead, the vast majority are concerned with either making the southern border more accessible, or they’re focused on providing aid to Ukraine. Or both.

Given the enormity of the housing crisis, you would hope that the Republican Party would jump on solving it, thereby securing electoral victories in the process. Aside from Vance and a handful of others, not many in the GOP seem too concerned about it.

So, instead, Biden will continue to bloviate that the American economy is booming, we need to accept millions of foreigners each year, and that we have a duty to spend billions in Ukraine. If you haven’t picked up on it, Bidenomics is code for “America Last.”

Final Second Quarter GDP Estimate Remained Unchanged at 2.1%

The third and final estimate for real gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2023 was unrevised. It showed that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Compared to the first quarter, the deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected a slowdown in consumer spending, a downturn in exports and a deceleration in federal government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment, an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a smaller decrease in residential investment.

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