Trump Snatches Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

You see that little tail upward at the far right of this graph? That’s what has President Trump in a frenzy of criticism aimed at the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell. Trump said in a recent tweet; “The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the market…” There isn’t anyone that has a “feel for the market” right now. In just the past week it has been down 1.7%, up 1.5%, down 5.8%, up 5.2%, down 2.5% and up 3.8% – for a net gain of exactly 6 dollars (.03%).

Of the many responsibilities the Fed has, two of the most important are controlling inflation and maintaining maximum employment. President Trump either doesn’t understand the objectives or doesn’t understand how our economy works. I’m not sure which it is.

A rise in the Fed rate is typically considered an endorsement of the direction the economy is headed. By raising the effective rate, the Fed is signaling that they don’t believe we are headed for a recession, as many business executives believe. If the economy is stalling the Fed will lower those rates in order to encourage more borrowing. Inflation is like a snowball. If the price of raw material goes up, the cost of production increases and so prices go up. If the rate to borrow money goes up, consumers and companies borrow less. If there is less borrowing, there is less demand and that keeps inflation in check. When there is more borrowing, there is more demand and that causes inflation.

Money is borrowed for all kinds of things, from cars to credit cards and construction to corporate takeovers, the free flow of money is a key driver. The Fed likes inflation to be around two percent and unemployment to be around five percent. With the economy hovering around those numbers the Fed appears to have done its job well. However, Mr. Powell added “There’s a fairly high degree of uncertainty about both the path and the ultimate destination of any further increases.”

In 2006, when the housing bubble began to burst rates got as high as 5.25% while inflation climbed to over 4%. As the country slid into recession in 2008, effective rates dropped to zero and remained there until 2015. Cheap money helped drive the recovery. Unfortunately, with inflation at virtually zero and GDP going into the negative it’s pretty hard to grow an economy. But the economy did turn around, partially fueled by zero percent car financing and corporate mergers. When GDP and inflation both got back into the 2% range it was time to raise the rates. Current rates are still only one-third of their pre-recession high of 6.5%.

“They’re raising rates too fast because they think the economy is so good.” Trump said on Christmas Day. That sounds like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory to me. President Trump seems to be a bit confused. The US economy has been on the rise with eight consecutive annual increases in GDP since 2010. The per capita GDP has been skyrocketing for over 50 years; with it’s only down tick during the 2008 “Great Recession.”

To make matters worse, Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin called the heads of the major banks to ensure that they have sufficient liquidity and on Christmas Eve convened the powerless President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, informally known as the “Plunge Protection Team.” The last time this group did anything was during the recent financial crisis. Do these guys know something about the economy that we don’t. Is the market volatility, the threat of massive tariffs and the government shutdown a sign of things to come? The last time the country had a call on equity we narrowly averted a depression.

How will the great negotiator handle a financial crisis? Will this become his seventh bankruptcy?

NC Gerrymandering V.5

On Tuesday, the state’s top legislators said The U.S. Supreme Court should rule against a lower court that just found North Carolina’s Congressional districts to be illegally gerrymandered.

“In yesterday’s decision, the three-judge panel forecasted voiding the results of primaries and canceling the November election for Congress,” their statement said.

The judges did not say they were going to cancel the November elections.

They said that the state’s Congressional districts are unconstitutional and that they were intentionally drawn to give Republicans an undue amount of power and to diminish the voting rights of non-Republicans.

The judges gave some suggestions to both sides. One was that the state could cancel the results of this spring’s primaries and hold a new primary election with constitutionally acceptable districts in November, followed by a general election before Congress returns in January. Another is to accept the primary winners and have them run in November in new districts.

In the meantime, someone will need to draw new maps for the state. The current maps were drawn up to replace a different set of maps that were also unconstitutional. According to the courts, the current maps are unconstitutional on partisan grounds and the old maps from 2011 were ruled unconstitutional on racial grounds.

Since 2010 we haven’t had a Constitutional election. The current congressional delegation is the result of unfairly biased voting districts and so are not true representatives of North Carolinians or the broad spectrum of their values.


All Things Moore County – Interview with Bill Sahadi

All Things Moore County host Bill Sahadi interviews Lowell Simon, candidate for NC House, District 52.

Lowell covers many topics in this informal discussion that includes many of the following subjects:

  • Constitutional Amendments
  • Budget process
  • Amendments
  • Education funding
  • Teacher raises
  • Sales tax/ Property Tax in Moore County
  • Health care
  • Small Business development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • People over Party
  • Increase minimum wage

Maryland, Another Tragedy Already Forgotten?

Yet another tragic shooting, this time at a newsroom in Maryland. Five people were killed and another three seriously injured. The gunman did not use an assault style weapon but was apparently harboring a vendetta that authorities knew about for years.

More thoughts and prayers came from the White House but no discussion of sensible gun safety. Shockingly, I was talking to a local Pastor that same day about safety measures we have been taking at our own house of worship and his thoughts went to his own congregation. We must have been discussing this at the very moment that it was taking place in Maryland. We had not yet heard about the day’s violence.

As a newly minted public figure, I can’t help but get a little protective of my own family. We know that the hatred and vindictiveness needs to stop. We also know that a lot of it comes from our own government officials. It’s time to bring people together, to show the kind of love and caring for each other that our faiths teach us.

I am running for office to bring that kind of thinking to Raleigh. If you believe that we need more action and less rhetoric from our elected representatives then I hope you will support our campaign and others like it.

Amending the State Constitution

Do you believe that our state government should be run by and for the benefit of the people? Do you believe in the constitutional separation of the branches of government?

The Republican legislature does not. Friday was the final day of the legislative “short” session, and the Republican super-majority used their unmitigated powers to seize control of North Carolina’s future.

They passed bills that will enable them to pack the courts, using a special session that will convene after November’s elections, to take back the NC Supreme Court with a “lame-duck” Republican majority.

They rejected four out of seven of Governor Cooper’s nominees to state positions for no apparent reasons.

And that’s not even the worst of it…

They added constitutional amendments to November’s ballot that will keep the legislators you elect in the future from being able to do the things you elect them to do:

  • One amendment would take away the power of all the Governors that you ever elect to appoint members to state boards and commissions—more than 300 of them, including those that control education, transportation, utility rates, and environmental protection—and gives it to the legislative branch.
  • A second one sets a tax cap that will limit our ability to fund schools, healthcare, and infrastructure, while shifting the tax burden away from high-income people and onto local sales and property taxes. Thus placing the burden on working class North Carolinians.
  • A third would require a photo ID at the polls, keeping young, elderly and poor North Carolinians from their fundamental right to vote.

But, with your help we can change things;

I’ll be out there meeting voters, talking, listening and working hard to improve schools, health care and the economy (none of which were even addressed by our representatives). Please help bring sense and balance back to North Carolina!


Why SB 75 Matters More Than Anything

What might be the biggest threat to the State of North Carolina’s economic future is called Senate Bill 75. A very non-threatening moniker for a referendum to amend our state constitution by permanently freezing the state’s current income tax rate. Voters will have the opportunity to oppose this debacle in November.

How will this permanent change to the constitution affect you?

Given that our state’s tax rates are already some of the lowest in the country; our ability to meet the needs of our citizens is severely limited. Working families and their communities are experiencing overcrowded and underfunded schools, decreasing access to health care and an absence of the infrastructure needed to spur job growth. County and city municipalities will need to pick up the slack by raising the money to fund things previously covered by the state budget.

The proposed change to the state Constitution would likely lead to increases in taxes paid by working North Carolinians. Additional sales taxes on goods and services and property tax increases are already in the works in Moore County. Higher excise taxes, fines and fees will surely follow. These revenue options are needed because the low income tax rate that would be locked-in doesn’t allow the state to meet current needs and we will fall further behind as the needs of our state continue to expand.

Changing the state constitution would tie the hands of all future lawmakers. That means all the leaders you elect in November will be unable to invest in the things you put them there to fix. It means that all the leaders you ever elect will be unable to solve the unforeseen problems that an uncertain future brings. It means that state emergencies like hurricanes, floods, drought, disease or even war can never be dealt with by state government. It means we can never do better, what we have is as good as it ever gets.

The super-majority Republicans currently possess in our state legislature wants their tax policies to control our lives even after they are voted out of office. But more importantly, they are trying to give their base a reason to turn out and vote. Their candidates are not compelling enough on their own. They require some imaginary call to defend the constitution against the “liberal left.” If the referendum wins voter approval in November, it will take three-fifths of a new legislature and another voter referendum to change it.

This unfettered challenge to democratic principles cannot be allowed to see the light of day. We must search for sense and balance in government, not the fascist-style suppression of opposition and the infernal need to restrict a future in which current leaders might not be in control.


Mockery of Democracy

This week our State Legislature put out a 300+ page budget for 2018-2019. This is part two of last year’s two-year budget and one might assume that we write two year budgets so that we don’t have to redo them every year. But one would be wrong.

This budget is packed with partisan pork. It directs tax money to schools in the district of a closely contested Republican, organizations that fight women’s rights, hunting clubs and promotes increased segregation in some public schools.

The budget includes raises for teachers but mostly ignores other state employees, like cops and detention officers. While paying teachers more it does nothing to increase classroom spending, implying that teachers can use their raises to pay for more supplies.

This budget makes one-time investments in mental health and broadband expansion while ignoring the billions of dollars turned away by Medicaid expansion and corporate tax breaks.

There are so many problems with this budget that it is clear now why Republicans did not want it to see the light of day until it was too late to do much about it. There was no open debate by Democrats or even by constituents. It was written behind closed doors, without any public discussion.

Well if they think they can slide this budget under the doors of North Carolinians, then run away in the night they are wrong because “Here’s Johnny”

Using Your Teacher’s Voice

Today I spent an amazing day with teachers from all over NC. I am certain you heard them. They were in Raleigh to let legislators know that our schools are still drastically underfunded. It was not just about pay, although that is still a big issue. It was also about funding basic school supplies like textbooks, pencils and paper. Governor Cooper spoke about his version of the budget and Mark Jewel lead a group of teachers and friends of education who each described different problems teachers face everyday.  One thing I heard loud and clear is “We’ll remember in November.” 

We now see the job in front of us

Jamie Boles picked up 60% of Republicans. They are clearly happy to have more of the same.

On the other hand, Republicans showed they are open to change by voting Sheriff Godfrey out. I wouldn’t speed through Carthage for awhile.

On Primary Tuesday, I visited 13 polls and loved every minute of it. I met some amazing people and, well, some that were maybe not so amazing.

It was a great day for Moore County. The school bonds passed overwhelmingly and our County’s own Frank McNeill won District 8 handily.

Today we shift into second gear and hit the gas pedal!

Are you with me?

But we need some fuel… I’d love to have your support! Click here or on the Donate button below to be taken to our secure Contribution page. A small donation can mean BIG change!