Tag Archives: Government

Now Is Not The Time to Forcibly Close Restaurants – There are Interim Alternatives…

Right now, today, the retail food supply-chain is trying to recover from previous panic buying. Across the nation grocery stores are wiped out. Warehouses are emptying trying to replenish the stores. The upstream suppliers are trying to resupply the warehouses.

Supermarkets are closing early and opening late while trying to stem panic and fulfill customer demand.  Now is exactly the wrong time to limit food choices and push more people into those retail food stores.

No advance notice. No time to prepare or plan… just an immediate order.

Imagine what will happen tomorrow morning in Ohio and Illinois at grocery stores.

Notice these orders from short-sighted governors are in effect almost immediately. Meaning no-one has had the time to prepare for this type of a disruption in the total food supply chain.

These governors do not have any experience, policy framework, or previously established state-wide systems (having been tested through experience) for a process of rapid food distribution as a result of a state emergency. They are flying by the seat of their pants, and taking advice from the wrong people with the wrong priorities and the wrong frame-of-reference.

A government cannot just shut down 30 to 50 percent of the way civil society feeds themselves, without planning and advanced preparation for an alternative. Those who ARE the alternative, the retail food grocers, need time to prepare themselves (and their entire logistical system) for the incredible impact.  Without preparation this is a man-made crisis about to get a lot worse.

Some states have emergency food distribution and contingency plans. Those states are hurricane prone states; and those states have experienced the intense demand on the food distribution system when restaurants are closed and people in society need to eat.

Those states have, by necessity, developed massive logistical systems to deal with the food needs of their citizens. These current short-sighted states are not those prepared states.

Any governor who shuts down their restaurant industry without a civil contingency plan is being incredibly, catastrophically, reckless. It really is a terribly dangerous decision.

Any policy that drives more demand, when demand is already outpacing supply, is a bad policy. This is the food supply chain we are talking about. This is not arbitrary stuff being discussed. This supply chain is critical.

People freak out about access to food.

For the past 20 to 30 years there have been exhaustive studies on the growth of the restaurant sector.  It has been well documented that as the pace of society increased, as efficiencies and productivity increased; and as less of the population learned how to cook and prepare meals; approximately 30% of retail food growth dropped.

Multiply the impact of lower food shopping over all those years.  More Americans eat at restaurants now.  Depending on the area, there are estimates that fifty percent of all food consumed is from “dining out” or “food consumed outside the home.”

Most of the current panic shopping is because people are preparing by buying weeks worth of food products.  Closing restaurants will only magnify that panic shopping.

If state officials are going to make these decisions, they need to coordinate closely with the retail grocers and food outlets in their states. The decision to shut down restaurants must be very closely coordinated and timed with a civil society need for alternatives.  Those providing the alternatives need time… not much time…. but they need time.

This is exactly the wrong time to shut restaurants and put additional pressure on a national food supply chain that is trying to meet overwhelming demand.

Either these officials are intentionally trying to create civil unrest, or they are just inexperienced politicians without the ability to think through the logical conclusions to their mandated orders.  I’m not sure which it is.  However, regardless of intent or stupidity, these types of knee-jerk decisions will harm more people than the virus itself.

Drive-thru and curbside services will not work.  Yes, McDonalds and similar do and can provide drive-thru services… but they are not designed for exclusive “drive-thru” services.  Approximately eight percent of all daily fast-food comes from McDonalds imagine a line of cars a mile long for a drive-thru hamburger.   Then imagine that car, after waiting four hours in that line, orders a month’s worth of hamburgers….  and then that supply chain collapses….  See, it ain’t that simple.

These decisions create the snow-ball effect…

Most restaurants are not not set-up for immediate delivery…. Yes, all of these challenges can and will be overcome; restaurants will limit their curbside products, fast food will put a limit on orders, kitchens will modify to adjust to the work-flow, etc.  However, it takes a time to prepare for these necessary shifts and changes.

A more prudent step would be for state officials to provide mitigation directives, simple and prudent changes, during a phase that allows restaurants to adapt:

  • Position all tables 6 feet apart.
  • Provide single use condiments and utensils.
  • Provide disinfecting wipes at the front door and on tables.
  • Limit the opportunity for virus spread by modifying the consumer engagement.

These types of dining out measures can be prudent and allow for the mitigation of the virus without spreading wide-scale panic that only worsens the issues for alternative options.

Arbitrarily shutting down restaurants, effective immediately, is not a good idea and will only increase the panic and anxiety…. Then again, maybe that’s the goal.

Source: by Sundance | The Conservative Tree House

US Government Quietly Cuts Historical Capex Data By Billions Of Dollars

While Wall Street looked upon today’s Durable Goods report with caution, noting the substantial beat in the headline print which was entirely as a result of a surge in non-defense aircraft orders (read Boeing) which soared by 65%, there was substantial weakness below the surface especially in the core CAPEX print, the capital goods orders non-defense ex-aircraft, which disappointed significantly, sliding 0.8% on expectations of a 0.3% rebound.

However, that was just part of the story. A far bigger part was missed by most because as always Wall Street was focused on the sequential change, and not on the absolute number.

As it turns out, the Department of Commerce decided to quietly revise all the core data going back all the way back to 2014. In doing so it stripped away about 4% from the nominal dollar amount in Durable Goods ex-transports, where the March print was slashed from $154.7 Billion to $148.3 Billion…

… and, worse, the government just confirmed what many had said for years, namely that CAPEX spending had been far lower than reported all along when it revised the capital goods orders non-defense ex-aircraft series lower by a whopping 6%, taking down the March print from $66.9 billion to only $62.4 billion, the lowest absolute number since early 2011.

So how did this downward revision to a critical historical series, and key driver of GDP, change the current GDP estimte?  Well, according to the Atlanta Fed, “the GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2016 is 2.9 percent on May 26, up from 2.5 percent on May 17. The forecast for second-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth increased from -0.3 percent to 0.4 percent following this morning’s durable manufacturing release from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Oddly not a word about the sharp revisions to the core data in main stream media.

Source: ZeroHedge

Is the CFPB Out of Control?

So a couple of weeks ago, we did a show about how the CFPB used a site to use names, to determine the race of a borrower.  If you recall, 2 out of 3 of our test subjects came out with the wrong race.  I, Brian Stevens, was the only correct conclusion.  

We use our show, The National Real Estate Post, to point out the absurdity of the lending ecosystem.  The problem is, because we use humor as our conduit, we’re not often taken seriously.  However, when you consider the point that the CFPB uses a site, with an algorithm, to determine a consumer’s race; it’s not funny.  Further, when you consider that the CFPB, a government agency, then uses that information to slander and sue lenders, it becomes less funny. Finally when you consider the fact that a government agency, who uses flawed racially bias information to slander and sue lenders, then tries to hide that information, we’ve got problems that make Donald Trump’s bullshit look like a playground prank.  Yet here we are.  

So the problem is, the CFPB operates as “judge, jury, and executioner” over those they regulate.  For example; did you know the CFPB operates outside of congress, unaccountable to the judicial system, and off the books of taxpayers.  Honestly, the CFPB is not part of the annual budget determined by congress.  They are funded by the Federal Reserve, which means they can receive as little or as much money as they choose.  That must be nice.  

Did you know when the CFPB chooses to seemingly and ambiguously sue a lender, they use predetermined administrative law judges?  In the past, they use judges from the SEC. So in the past, the CFPB gets to pick the judge on the cases they bring against lenders.   How is a government agency allowed to operate under these rules?  Short answer is “you’re not accountable to anyone.” This should infuriate you.  

Good news is, the CFPB is no longer using SEC admin judges.  The bad news is, they have white page job postings looking for their own judges.  In an article by Ballard Spahr, who are probably the best CFPB law minds in the country, posted an article on July 20, that goes as follows:

The CFPB recently posted a job opening for an administrative law judge (ALJ).  According to the government jobs website, the position is closed which suggests that it has been filled.  A recent Politico article indicated that the CFPB posted the opening because it has ended its arrangement with the SEC to borrow ALJs.

OK so it’s time to insert outrage here.  In case you missed it, the CFPB has a posting, on a government site, looking for judges to hire.  To hire to work as the unbiased voice of reason to settle cases the CFPB has brought and will continue to bring against lenders.  How can this happen?  

Fast forward.  It has now been proven that the CFPB has been using an algorithm to determine someone’s race based exclusively on their name.  I proved this absurdity a month ago on my show “The National Real Estate Post,” and I’ll prove it again.  I’m going to ask the first person I see their name, race, and identity.  Here it goes.  

That’s Andrew Strah, he’s a 20 something “tech support” at listing booster.  After our short video clip he went back to his computer and “googled” his name.  After all he was a little perplexed about the nature of my questions and wanted to find the answer to a question he never really considered.  It turns out his name is Greek/Italian.  His last name is Slavonian, which makes this Black/White kid Russian; according to him.  How is it fair for the CFPB to use any system to determine anyone’s race when such issues are personal and complicated.  

Yet this is the system the CFPB is using to pigeon hole guys like Andrew, and then bring lawsuits against lenders for being racist.  If ever there was a system that made no sense this is it.  Again, insert outrage here.  

An agency with an unlimited budget, off the books, and unaccountable to the taxpayer.  The very people they are protecting, while buying judges to bring lawsuits against people, with a protocol that makes no sense.  Yet this is the system that allows the CFPB to force companies like Hudson City Savings and loan to pay 27 Million for Redlining for which they were not guilty.  Insert outrage here.  

Now the best part of the story.  The CFPB knew that their information was bullshit.  In an article from Right Side News.  

Much like using a “ready-fire-aim” approach to shooting at targets, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) appears to have conducted in racial discrimination witch hunt against auto lenders in this same manner. The CFPB investigated and sought racial discrimination charges against auto lenders, as it turns out, on the basis of guessing the race and ethnicity of borrowers based on their last names, and using this “evidence” to prove their allegations. Only 54 percent of those identified as African-American by this “proxy methodology,” the Wall Street Journal reported, were actually African-Americans. The CFPB drafted rules to solve a problem they only believed existed, racial discrimination in auto lending.


The Republican staff of the House Financial Services Committee has released a trove of documents showing that bureau officials knew their information was flawed and even deliberated on ways to prevent people outside the bureau from learning how flawed it was.

The bureau has been guessing the race and ethnicity of car-loan borrowers based on their last names and addresses—and then suing banks whenever it looks like the people the government guesses are white seem to be getting a better deal than the people it guesses are minorities. This largely fact-free prosecutorial method is the reason a bipartisan House super majority recently voted to roll back the bureau’s auto-loan rules.

And we wonder why lenders don’t trust and will not approach the CFPB.  They are crooked and untouchable and now we know that they know it.  

Strangely, I think the solution is not as severe as my opinion in this article would suggest.   I believe lending needs an agency.  I think the CFPB is the answer.  Further, I think every lender in the country agrees.  The problem is that we have the wrong CFPB.  It cannot be built on lies.  It cannot view lenders as the problem. It cannot be unaccountable to congress. It cannot be off the books of the taxpayers. 

The CFPB needs to view lenders as its partners.  It needs to enforce rules and violations where they truly exist.  It need to have more than one voice in rule making.  It needs to make its direction clearly stated and understandable.  Finally, it needs to work toward consumer protection.

Source: National Real Estate Post

ACKMAN: The US government is perpetrating ‘the most illegal act of scale’ with Fannie and Freddie

Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman, the founder of Pershing Square Capital

by Julia La Roche.

Hedge fund titan Bill Ackman, the founder of $19 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, slammed the US government on Tuesday night for keeping all of the profits from mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Ackman called it “the most illegal act of scale” he has ever seen the US government do.

Ackman spoke on Tuesday evening during a panel at Columbia University for the launch of Bethany McLean’s new book “Shaky Ground.” McLean and former Fannie Mae CEO Frank Raines were also panelists. Ackman, however, did most of the talking.

During the financial crisis, Fannie and Freddie needed massive bailouts and were taken over by the government. It’s been seven years since the financial crisis and the companies are still in a state of conservatorship. Today, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) make billions in profits, all of which goes directly to the Treasury.

Ackman, the largest shareholder of Fannie and Freddie, and other investors are suing the US government for taking property for public use without just compensation.

“And there is no way they will not be allowed to stand, from a legal point of view. And the reason for that is if the US government can step in and take 100% of profits of a corporation forever, then we are in a Stalinist state and no private property is safe — and take your money out of every financial institution, put it into gold or bitcoin and just get the hell out because we’re done, maybe the clothes on your back, but other than that nothing is safe,” he said.

A stands outside Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington February 21, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

            A man stands outside Fannie Mae in Washington

In Ackman’s view, Fannie and Freddie are vital to the US economy. Right now, he said, the biggest threat to the US middle class is rising rental rates.

“If you don’t own a home, and you’re a member of the middle class, you have a problem,” he said. “This is the biggest threat to the middle class livelihood is that your cost of living, the roof over your head is not fixed, it’s floating.”

Ackman said that Fannie and Freddie were set up to make middle class housing more accessible. Together, they have enabled widespread availability and affordability with the 30-year, fixed-rate, pre-payable mortgage—a system that’s been in place for 45 years.

Ackman said he’s optimistic about the future of Fannie and Freddie. He has said before that with the right reforms they could be worth a lot more. He has given the GSEs a price target ranging between $23 and $47, which is well above the current $2 range.

Watch the full panel below:

Read more in Business Insider

The War On Success Of Small Business In America

Source: Zero Hedge

This is the war on success that our government is waging. They are almost trying to make the economy worse by putting companies out of business. To Quote Jim Clifton of Gallup:

Our leadership keeps thinking that the answer to economic growth and ultimately job creation is more innovation, and we continue to invest billions in it. But an innovation is worthless until an entrepreneur creates a business model for it and turns that innovative idea in something customers will buy. Because we have misdiagnosed the cause and effect of economic growth, we have misdiagnosed the cause and effect of job creation.

For the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births.

Let’s get one thing clear: This economy is never truly coming back unless we reverse the birth and death trends of American businesses. It is catastrophic to be dead wrong on the biggest issue of the last 50 years — the issue of where jobs come from…when small and medium-sized businesses are dying faster than they’re being born, so is free enterprise.

And when free enterprise dies, America dies with it.

Mike Maloney explains…