The Devastating Effects of Sandy and the Devastating Effects of the EPA

The destruction caused over the past couple of days by hurricane-turned-super storm Sandy is absolutely tragic.  In addition to the loss of life and countless lives disrupted, the damage is now estimated to cost about $50 billion, in terms of property damage and lost business.

Sadly, the economic harm and personal tragedies are not limited to a storm.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to wreak havoc on our economy.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports “Consol Energy told 145 workers in southern West Virginia it will start laying them off in late December because of a dispute over permits for surface mining related to the King Coal Highway project.”  The EPA stalling on granting permits for mining projects is unfortunately nothing new, and we’re painfully aware of the liberals’ and EPA’s war on coal

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What We Wanted To Hear Last Night

During last night’s foreign policy debate, President Obama and Governor Romney touched on a broad range of issues and topics, from sequestration to the military budget to the Navy — horses, bayonets, and all.  They even tied the conversation back to domestic policy, championing the need for good teachers and better education as well as a strong economy and more jobs in order to be strong abroad.

While they touched on the Middle East, at times they criticized each other without actually articulating the differences between their ideas with regard to that region. 

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The Job Increase That Wasn’t

Market Watch is reporting initial jobless claims jumped to 388,000 this week, showing a “sharp reversal from prior week caused by seasonal quirk.”  Remember, the Labor Department said two weeks ago that jobless claims had fallen to a four-year low.  This of course created the illusion there was an improvement, but unfortunately, it was just that — an illusion.  When properly reported and understood, the level of Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims should indicate whether layoffs are rising or falling, and there has been little change in these numbers for most of the year. 

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iPhone (and other imports) Good for the Economy

You don’t have to be a tech junkie to get excited about the iPhone 5.  Plenty of people were anticipating its arrival.  But purchasing the iPhone 5 won’t just prevent you and your iPhone 4 from getting left in the technological dust.   Some analysts say the new iPhone may give the economy a much needed boost.  In fact, JP Morgan’s Michael Feroli estimates that the iPhone 5 could boost U.S economic growth by up to 0.5 percentage points.

The Washington Post reports:

“[Feroli] figures that the new iPhone 5 will sell for $600 per unit. If each phone contains about $200 in imported parts, then each iPhone sale adds about $400 to GDP. (Imports get subtracted from GDP calculations.) If Apple manages to sell 8 million iPhones, then that’s a $3.2 billion boost to the economy right there, increasing annualized fourth-quarter growth by 0.33 percentage points.”

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Taxmageddon: Fixing What They Started

The August jobs report is a vivid reminder that the economy today is simply not conducive to job creation.  The outlook is grim, and it is bound to get worse if Congress does not act fast to prevent the coming Taxmageddon.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has confirmed that the impending tax hike will drag our country back into a recession.  In addition, automatic sequestration cuts are due to begin in January.

If Americans aren’t excited about the picture painted by the August jobs report, the mood in Congress is just as vapid.  Outside extending government funding and the 1996 welfare reform law for six months, not much remains on the congressional agenda before the elections.

In fact, Members of Congress are not optimistic about the prospect of getting much accomplished even after the election.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doubts that action will be taken to avert sequestration and prevent the massive tax hike.  Yesterday, he expressed a sense of accomplishment on the part of the House to address these two issues, but he was disappointed with both the Senate and President Obama, who have done nothing.  CQ reports (sub. req’d):

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