Ocasio-Cortez is still running — after DC leadership

What does NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mean for the country?

AOC — as she is known — has what many politicians don’t have: charisma and a plan, albeit a disastrous economic plan.

Her Green New Deal platform aims at eliminating carbon emissions in the US within 12 years and is partly funded by tax rates as high as 70 percent for the nation’s wealthiest.

Her idea of combating climate change with punitive tax rates is well received by the far left, which should not be a surprise, but AOC is not happy to stop there. She has taken to social media to push her idea further into the mainstream.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her hands full with this freshman congresswoman. How she handles AOC will dictate plenty on AOC’s future. At 29 she is the youngest person ever in the House of Representatives.

Given her drive to chase Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell around Washington on Wednesday to get an audience with him — press in tow — tells you she has far bigger plans for herself than representing just her Brooklyn and Queens NY constituents.

With just days in office AOC has already made a name for herself and her placement on the House Financial Services committee should give her some more TV air time.

While AOC may be the new face of change in Washington, my guess is that some in the Democratic leadership are looking for someone to run against her in less than two years to get this stinging bee out of their bonnet.

However, by the next election rolls around she may already be running for the Senate from NY. Nothing will surprise me when it comes to AOC.

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Is Wall St. behind the border wall stonewalling?

Let’s look at an alternative view of why the Democrats are fighting so hard to not fund the Mexican border wall.

As I have written before $5-$6 billion in funding is equivalent to running an aircraft carrier  group for a week, so it’s not about the money.

Let’s look at the principals behind this stonewalling (pun intended). Sen. Chuck Schumer is the voice of Wall Street banking in the Senate. Rep. Nancy Pelosi has Silicon Valley just to her south. In this matter it’s the newer financial products, which allow digital transfers, that have a vested interest in cross-border payments.

What would a wall do to the money flows over the border? How would the wall change cash inflows to the US banking system?

President Trump in his Oval Office address last week said: “The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year. Vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.”

Well all that cash winds up in the US banking system eventually.

So between legal and illegal trading profits moving over the border and US banking firms counting on that additional liquidity to fund other revenue streams, you could make a case that larger forces are at play over the funding of the wall to keep the status quo.

This explanation makes more sense from the point of view of the protracted stalemate going on right now.

What’s that old expression? Follow the money.

Liberal media biases ignoring Trump wins at their own peril

Many of the latest drops that came Sunday point to a media bias facing the Trump administration from general journalistic coverage to a specific reporter at the New York Times.

In the general sense the posts point out that the President cannot get coverage of his many successes such as: Demilitarizing North Korea, the economic agenda, which had stock market at all-time highs and lowest unemployment levels in more than 30 years and Trump’s ability to grow an economy that was languishing for eight years by in some quarters doubling output of “The New Normal” of 2% Gross Domestic Product.

On the specific side, the Sunday drops point to a reporter named Maggie Haberman.

Their father, Clyde Haberman, worked at The Post and then was a long-time columnist for the NY Times picking up a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News with a team investigating then-NY Governor Elliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal, which led to his resignation.

The drop brings up Maggie’s infamous mention in the Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Director John Podesta email that was published by Wikileaks. These drops come after ex-Editor of the NY Times Jill Abramson last week cited Maggie’s reporting as being biased against the Trump White House in her new book.

This from Podesta to top campaign staff and Hillary, and was prior to Maggie joining the Times:

“We have has a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. While we should have a larger conversation in the near future about a broader strategy for reengaging the beat press that covers HRC, for this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie.”

Sunday’s drop infers that Maggie has had plenty of recent Tweets citing trains and that she may be dropping coded messages for the liberal Democrats since the language is sometimes odd.

Let’s just say none of these revelations surprise me in the least, since Maggie’s liberal leanings have been well-known for years. My hope is that she is not in over her head as the drops suggest and that there is time for her to get out of any trouble she may be in.

Jobs number shows America First trumps China tariff fears

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The 312,000 new jobs reported for December is a huge green flag for the Trump administration.

To reach that level — almost double the Wall Street estimates — this late in the economic cycle is off the charts. Firms added 2.64 million employees in 2018 with wages climbing 3.2% for the year.

Fed chair Jay Powell blinked yesterday in a speech in Atlanta by making a more dovish statement on 2019 rate rise. As well he should. Powell should take a look at the carnage his December rate rise caused in the stock market.

His talking about the hike in the fall and his press conference comments after the rise took markets took the Dow Jones index the woodshed during the last quarter of 2018.

I have often said that Powell is tilting to windmills searching for inflation in this economy, which at 1.8% is below the Fed’s 2% target. He has pricked the asset bubble of stocks to take away the middle class wealth effect and also hurt them with cheapening home values as mortgage rates rise.

The Fed needs to understand that most of the wage increases in 2018 — while healthy — are more a mechanism of raising minimum wage in many states than overall salary increases for the US workers.

So the inflationary value of the 3.2% is muted at best due to the expendable income these households have.

While the naysayers on Wall Street are still predicting an economic slowdown here in 2019 due to tariff tiffs, Trump’s nationalistic agenda of bringing jobs back to the US is resonating with US companies.

Certainly the employment gains are testament that US companies don’t see China and a trade war as a detriment, in fact it may be creating a boost as more manufacturing jobs are being created here.

I’m sure Powell took notice of the stock market’s explosion higher on his more dovish stance. The 747-point rise erased all of the bad Apple news on Thursday and perhaps set up a new takeoff for shares to soar.

Listen we need to go back to the days when three percent of the US population knew who the Fed chairman was and take ego and hubris out of the monetary equation.

Chinese Apple news is hard to digest

So as I wrote yesterday about the Trump Administration’s hard-line on tariffs with China and its muted effect on US firms.

Well Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the company’s first earnings warnings for the this quarter. Cook cited the slowing Chinese economy, the strong dollar and other economic headwinds. Cook neglected to mention directly that the company is having big troubles trying to sell iPhone models retailing for more than $1,400.

Apple makes good products, but the product line is limited. If you keep bolting new gear onto an older product and jacking up the price, then you will see consumers uninterested in these upgrades.

As my son — soon to be a finance graduate — cited Wednesday night when we were discussing this said: “Apple walks the fine line between utility and luxury,

Well clearly the luxury aspect is suffering since the high-end models are not selling and consumers are keeping their older phones much longer — cracked screens or not.

As the Chinese economy repositions itself an equal trading partner without all the beneficial pricing power it enjoyed from lopsided trade agreements over the last 30 years there will be some pain. But that certainly is better — in the long run — than continuing the status quo.

Maybe the Chinese economy has taken a step back in its progress and many can’t afford $1,400 iPhones or even a $1,000 model. That’s on Apple to come up with a different plan or product for the market.

While I see this as an Apple problem, the stock market will sell off roughly 300 Dow points again on the open Thursday morning on the earnings warning.

I recall something about a butterfly flapping its wings over the Yangtze River and Wall Street feels the storm. It should be short-lived however.