“U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report was released. The U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs in June, more than the expected 179,000. The unemployment rate came in at 4.4 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile rose 0.2 percent, less than expected.”
OUR TAKE: Just yesterday, the New York Times ran a story with the headline Hopes of ‘Trump Bump’ for U.S. Economy Shrink as Growth Forecasts Fade. Republicans will continue to view the Times as a biased publication and will accuse the media and Democrats of “talking down” the economy. Jobs numbers and wage growth will likely dictate how successful Democrats are in 2018 so expect this messaging war to heat up.
“A bill focused on buttressing the nation’s insurance marketplaces will be needed if the full fledged Republican effort to repeal much of President Barack Obama’s health care law fails, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday. It was one of his most explicit acknowledgments that his party’s top-priority drive to erase much of Obama’s landmark 2010 statutes might fall short.
OUR TAKE: House and Senate leaders have three weeks before Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the summer. If they can’t get Trump legislation to sign – Trump is likely to place blame on a dysfunctional Congress.
“The acting head of the U.S. Export-Import Bank said on Thursday he hoped the trade agency’s full board of directors will be in place by the fall after approval by the Senate Banking Committee. ‘I would expect and hope that all five of those names will be before the Senate Banking committee before the end of this month, that is prior to the August recess of Congress,’ acting EXIM chief Charles Hall told the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.”
OUR TAKE: This may very well end up being the case, but expect Democrats to uniformly oppose Garrett. Democrats dislike him over controversial remarks he has made toward the gay community, while a few moderate Republicans could oppose him because they believe he has no intention of getting the bank fully up and running.
“Just how committed are Republicans to tax cuts for the rich? We’ll find out in the next few weeks. The rumored push by Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s senior strategist, for a more progressive tax code—raising the top marginal rate on the highest earners to ease the burden for everybody else—hasn’t won any GOP fans since word of it broke Sunday.”
OUR TAKE: Hardliner Steve Bannon now wants to raise taxes on the rich. Liberals may not like Bannon as a personality, but his policy prescriptions are pure populist and to the left of almost every Congressional Republican.
“For decades, the National Economic Council has been a home for wonks who have quietly helped grease the policy gears in the White House. But under director Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs banker, the once staid and process-oriented NEC has become a central force in the vicious policy battles playing out in President Donald Trump’s White House.”
OUR TAKE: Cohn (a Democrat who worked at Goldman Sachs) is the free trader and globalist that is largely supportive of traditionally Republican trade positions. While Bannon and Navarro are articulating a new brand of anti-establishment populism. Bannon and Navarro are portrayed as conservative ideologues, but their policy prescriptions would likely have tremendous support with traditionally left leaning constituencies, like unions.
“EU antitrust regulators are weighing another record fine against Google over its Android mobile operating system and have set up a panel of experts to give a second opinion on the case, two people familiar with the matter said. Assuming the panel agrees with the initial case team’s conclusions, it could pave the way for the European Commission to issue a decision against Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google by the end of the year.”
OUR TAKE: Conservative media sites like Drudge continue to celebrate these stories. Voters in the industrial Midwest see the rise of tech as a zero-sum game. For instance, driverless cars mean less jobs for truck drivers. Coastal billionaires are not to be trusted. The White House staff reads Drudge religiously.
“An iffy health care vote. An unresolved budget resolution. A heavy debt ceiling lift. And, of course, there is that tax overhaul plan. Congress has a lot to do, and it doesn’t have much time. So much for a lazy July in Washington. When members of Congress return next week from their Fourth of July break, they will be greeted by a mammoth legislative logjam. Republicans are increasingly skeptical that they can get everything done.”
OUR TAKE: Whether health care passes or fails in the Senate, Republicans must also pass a budget resolution (that includes tax reform instructions) AND pass an increase in the debt limit between now and mid-September. With August being a lost month due to the Congressional recess, Republicans will have to pick up the pace in order to deliver a signature legislative achievement for the President in 2017.
“Like many Trump voters across America, the Alabama couple, vacationing last week with their three children, says they are deeply frustrated with the president’s GOP allies, faulting them for derailing Trump’s plans.”
OUR TAKE: This narrative has officially taken hold with conservatives. The failure to get any major legislation passed and signed into law is not viewed as a “Trump problem” with the base, it is a “GOP-led Congress.”