Department Of Commerce

"Pre-Crime" Returns To America With New Airbnb Law

With stupidity like this so pervasive in government, it’s no wonder why the productive and entrepreneurial spirit is being crushed in the Land of the Free. When a broken system and out-of-touch political class make it more difficult for people to produce, prosperity suffers.

Half Of American Adults Exist In A Government Accessible Facial Recognition Network

One of the key aspects of an increasingly pervasive use of facial recognition technology is the total lack of regulation or informed consent that goes along with the collection and use of this intimate personal information. It’s a total wild, wild west environment where both corporations and government basically think they can do whatever they want. Indeed, they will continue to do exactly that until we the people make enough of a stink about it.

Judge Denies Attempt To Block Transfer Of Internet Oversight

An Obama-appointed federal judge ruled Friday that the transfer of internet domain systems oversight to an international governing body can move forward, overruling opposition from several state attorneys general and lawmakers.

Did US Consumers Finally Tap Out? BofA Internal Card Data Shows Significant July Spending Slowdown

According to Bank of America's internal aggregated credit and debit card data, consumer spending slowed in July, with retail sales ex-autos down 0.3% mom on a seasonally adjusted basis. As the bank concludes, "In our view, this sets up for a softer Census Bureau retail sales report on  Friday – we would not be surprised to see either disappointing July sales and/or a downward revision to June."

US Admits It "Found A Problem" In Calculation Of GDP

For years we have complained against both the BLS' and the BEA's comical seasonal adjustments, which "serve" just one purpose: to goalseek the data to a desired, politically-mandated outcome, and which culminated last May when the Department of Commerce announced it would seasonally adjust last year's woeful Q1 GDP data not once but twice in order to get a better result.  Now, it appears that there indeed was a problem.

Factory Orders Scream Recession... And This Is How A Big Miss Was Avoided

Even without digging too deep into the factory orders number, it was dreadful: while "rising" 1.9% monthly, or in line with expectations, the series posted its 18th consecutive annual decline. A stretch of declines this long has never happened before in US history without the economy being in concurrent recession.

The Stunning Idiocy Of Steel Tariffs

It took these several centuries of learned debate to finally get rid of most of Charlemagne’s extensive and absurd price controls. So essentially, today’s bureaucrats are assuming the role  once played by kings, popes and their representatives in determining “just” prices. It sounds almost as though more than a thousand years of progress have just gone “poof”. Obviously though, the governments involved in this trade spat are only acting in the best interests of steel workers. Just as they are only acting in the best interests of taxi drivers when regulating Uber out of existence in a city. Why, we should actually consider bringing back VHS video while we’re at it. Someone must have made those tape machines and tapes, and obviously they’re all out of a job as well. How are we ever going to have jobs if we don’t stop progress?

US Government "Finds" Americans Had $70 Billion More In Disposable Income

Just one week after the US Department of Commerce quietly slashed historical US capex spending by billions of dollars following a major data revision it was time for another major revision to a series that is nearer and dearer to most Americans' hearts, namely Disposable Personal Income. Here, the US Dept of Commerce just "revised" personal wages high enough to add over $70 billion in disposable income to US pockets over the past 6 months.

Unintended Consequences: Easy Money = Overcapacity = Trade Wars

So what happens to all that Chinese steel that was on its way to the US and EU before slamming into those prohibitively high tariffs? One of three things: Either it’s sold elsewhere, probably at even steeper discounts, thus pricing US and EU steel exports out of those markets. Or it’s stockpiled in China for future use, thus lowering future demand for new steel production and, other things being equal, depressing tomorrow’s prices. Or many of China’s newly-built steel mills will close, and China will eat the losses related to this malinvestment. Each scenario results in lower prices and financial losses somewhere. Put another way, as far as steel is concerned, the world’s fiat currencies are rising in value, which is the common definition of deflation.