A society in which everyone, especially the middle class, has an opportunity to increase their compensation level at an annual pace that outpaces inflation, is a dream for just about everyone, regardless of political beliefs. This of course requires a robust economy and a balance of trade such that a country can both produce and consume. But recently, the chatter of “income inequality” among commentators and the news media has grown to a fever pitch. It is also a constant rallying cry of the Presidential candidate pool. In a recent ABC news article, Larry Mishel, Distinguished Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, puts it bluntly: “Working people have taken it on the chin for many decades. They’ve not been able to get the help of government to be on their sides, the employers are suppressing their … [Read more...] about Rethinking Middle Class Manufacturing Income Inequality in North America
Governing Illinois, where Surplus Record is located, is a thankless job. Perhaps that is why at the end of his term, J.B. Pritzker will have been the second billionaire in a row to attempt to do right by his state. And it won’t be easy. Truth in Accounting, a non-profit, ran a calculation in 2018 suggesting that the average Chicago resident, on a per capita basis, is on the hook for nearly $130K in city and state debt. What got the state (and city) into this mess was, in large part, Springfield, the state capital, rubber stamping both budgets and pension schemes for decades without any way to pay for them short of issuing debt. In other words, the checkbook was open, but there was no money in the bank account — except an IOU tucked away in a safe deposit box. The bad news for those governing Illinois is that residents not only can … [Read more...] about Illinois Burdens Manufacturers With Its Latest Get out of Debt Plan
As Surplus Record goes to press, U.S. manufacturers are once again threatened with the potential of having to manage through a new round of China tariffs. Never mind the fact that in 2018, 12 out of 18 manufacturing industries in the U.S. saw record profits, despite tariffs, according to a recent MetalMiner analysis. Regardless, if you ask a typical procurement manager today about tariffs, he/she will generally have nothing but negative things to say about their impact. A recent ISM (Institute for Supply Management) study that asked procurement managers in manufacturing if they “believe that tariffs have raised the price of the goods that you produce and deliver to your customers,” 59% of survey participants said “yes.” According to the ISM findings, the average price of goods raised to customers was 6.8%. However, only 30% of … [Read more...] about Managing Through Tariffs — the End of the China-to-U.S. ‘Chicken Run’
The 2020 Presidential Election promises to be one of the most contested elections in US history. According to The New York Times, 25 candidates (23 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are already running for the highest elected office in the United States. If you’re curious about the other Republican candidate in addition to Donald Trump that is running, it’s none other than libertarian Bill Weld – about as opposite to Trump a candidate can get in terms of trade policy. This may prove more harmful to the Democrat cause within the historic blue-collar base which has been the largest beneficiary of low unemployment and Trump’s approach to trade. From a quantitative perspective, the actual numbers speak to Trump’s comparative success in recent quarters and the impact of his controversial trade policies on the overall economy. From October … [Read more...] about The Coming Presidential Election: More Economic and Trade Debate Needed
For the first time in nearly three years, the PMI (manufacturing index) registered in negative territory, declining to 49.1 for August 2019. This represents a decline of 2.1 points (or percentage points as ISM reports) from the July report. For those not familiar with the ISM indexes, manufacturing (PMI) and non-manufacturing, a number above 50 indicates economic growth within the sector, whereas a number under 50 indicates contraction. This reported number may (or may not) be cause for concern. But it is important to put this information in context. In this regard, ISM indexes are a composite index of underlying components. These individual elements are also measured on the same scale. According to ISM spokesman and chair of the Manufacturing Business Survey Committee for ISM, Timothy Fiore, “the New Orders Index registered 47.2%, a … [Read more...] about Is the August PMI Decline Cause for Concern?