Well, that was fun! The GOP's attempt to reform healthcare hit a brick wall of politics. Conservative Republicans wanted to completely "repeal" Obamacare, while moderates and leaders were willing to keep much of it as long as it cost less. Moving one way or the other lost too many votes. Democrats refused to participate. So, the bill died.
The debate over healthcare reform is in full swing, with forces aligning on all sides. From our perch, House Speaker Paul Ryan's health care bill has some appeal.
Considering that the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point, today's Fed statement was surprisingly dovish.
If robots are supposed to take all our jobs, they're not very good at it. Nonfarm payrolls rose 235,000 in February, rising faster than even the computer models thought they would. This was the 84th month in a row of private sector job growth, the longest streak on record.
As Washington DC melts down, entrepreneurs keep moving, people keep working and spending; the economy keeps growing. The Federal Reserve keeps meeting and speaking, too, but now it appears they will actually act.
We think it was Art Laffer who said it best. Let's say the US invented a cure for cancer and China a cure for heart attacks. If China decided to ban the cure for cancer, should the US retaliate by banning the cure for heart attacks?
According to the futures market, there is a 38% chance the Federal Reserve raises rates when it meets in mid-March. If the Fed were to stand by what it has said the past several years, the odds should be much higher. But the market is used to the Fed finding reasons to put off justified rate hikes.
The biggest tax debate in Washington right now is not between Republicans and Democrats, but between Republicans and Republicans. Both sides of the debate seem to understand that the US tax code, particularly the fact that the US has the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized country, is harming the competitiveness of US companies.
The US economy has grown at an average annual rate of only 2.1% since the recovery started in mid-2009, far slower than during the economic expansions of the 1980s and 1990s.
After hiking rates in December, the chances of another rate hike from today's meeting were close to nil. But where changes, mostly modest, were made to today's statement, they point to a more hawkish stance.