Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

Up Against the Wall

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Many are wondering where the economy is going. Many of the tech oligarchs are even laying off tens of thousands of workers in anticipation of a slowdown this year, and certainly, the single-family housing industry is crashing as we speak. And since housing construction reportedly drives 15% to 18% of the economy, that will have a big negative impact.

There will be some benefits to a slowdown, such as a large decline in the price of lumber for multi-family construction; lumber being the largest component in single-family and multi-family construction. Lumber used to cost $320 to $500 per 1,000 board foot before the pandemic but shot up to $1,670 during the government imposed shut-downs, but has settled down to around $365 recently. Unfortunately, recent higher interest rates have offset those savings.

Interestingly, I am refinishing a floor, and the flooring I am told is now “on sale.” I haven’t heard that in a while. I think we may see more sales as retailers try to dump excess inventory heading into the recession, (although labor costs have not decreased.)

There are a few challenges with this recession and the Fed’s response to it. First, the booming economy was temporary; a response to the prior pandemic economy. It would have fixed itself if given time as suppliers ramped up and added manufacturing capacity just as there has been a massive expansion of the distribution and storage industry over the last year – if, if Biden hadn’t continued to pay 4 million workers to stay home.

The Fed wants the economy to tank because that will reduce demand, but it will also reduce future manufacturing supply – leading to more inflation. Take multi-family construction; with high-interest rates, many projects in the pipeline ready to start this spring will be postponed, which will reduce the supply of MF housing, thereby causing rents to increase again in 2023 through 2025. (There’s a massive shortage of MF housing nationwide.)

The second challenge is that the Biden administration caused the massive expansion of federal government spending, nearly $6 trillion in fact, and instead of limiting Biden in his use of the credit card, the Federal Reserve Bank signed him up for more credit, printing $6 trillion in new money supply! It’s like a parent giving one child – the shopping addict – another credit card under the theory that you’re just helping him through a rough spot. Then the Fed punished both children by taking away the credit cards from both even though one behaved appropriately.

The same is true now. The Fed is punishing certain sectors of the private economy even though they didn’t cause inflation; it was caused by the Biden administration and the Fed itself. That means that the Fed’s medicine to cure the problem of inflation is targeting the wrong patient. The Fed is crashing certain sectors of the private economy while it continues to provide more credit to the problem child; Biden. Recent proof – the new $1.7 trillion spending plan! The Fed can target the private sector with higher rates, but that isn’t stopping the cause.

In Wisconsin 2022, there was $1.5 billion (yes, billion) in new spending referendums approved by schools that will compete with the private sector in 2023 for construction materials and labor. Governments and schools don’t care what interest rates are (they borrow at lower rates then the rest of us), and they will tie up commercial contractors for the next two years, which will keep construction materials and labor tied up and priced higher than otherwise, i.e. no recession for them.

I’ve been saying for months now that I see a split economy coming in 2023; the haves and the have-nots. The government will be the haves along with larger commercial contractors and the have-nots will be the housing sector and its builders. Retailers will also be in that category too.

I see inflation coming down some more in 2023, but remaining stubbornly higher than the Fed’s 2% target. This means that, like what occurred in 1979, the Fed will probably continue to raise rates even higher and lots of businesses and families will suffer from the government’s excess spending. The Fed will also jeopardize the government’s financial creditworthiness because the cost of interest will now exceed $1trillion per year. Yea, that’s the interest alone! Talk about insanity.

About Terrence R. Wall

Terrence R. Wall holds a degree from the UW in economics and an M.S. in real estate analysis and valuation and is a real estate developer. Disclaimer: The opinions of the writer are not necessarily those of this publication or the left!

Table of Contents

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Lara Trump: ‘Frightening’ Assassination Attempt a ‘Defining Moment’ for Country

Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee and daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, appeared saddened but proud when recalling the "frightening" assassination attempt Saturday against her father-in-law at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa.

“There is no doubt that Saturday was one of the most frightening moments of my father-in-law’s life,” Lara Trump told the audience at Tuesday night's Republican National Convention. “Millimeters separated him from life and certain death. And yet, it was in the midst of it all, as he was jostled off stage by Secret Service, that he knew how defining that moment would be for our country, and he hoisted his fist in the air.”

The crowd erupted into chants of “fight, fight, fight!”

The assassination attempt on Trump, and a general belief among Republicans that a win for their candidate in November will refortify national security, dominated the topics discussed during the later portion of the Republican National Convention’s second night, themed “Make America Safe Again,” in Milwaukee, Wis.

Lara Trump, who is married to the GOP presidential nominee's son, Eric Trump, wrapped up convention night Tuesday as the keynote speaker.

“Last Saturday was a jarring reminder that we as Americans must always remember: there is more that unites us than divides us,” she said. “We all want this country to be great, even if we don't always agree on the best way of doing that. And with every bone in my body, I can tell you that all Donald Trump wants to do, and has ever wanted to do, is make this country great again for all of us.”

She referenced Trump’s presidential record of tax cuts, energy independence, unemployment rates, prison reform, border security, peace agreements in the Middle East, and the creation of the U.S. Space Force as proof that a second Trump administration would benefit American peace and prosperity.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who was on the shortlist for Trump’s vice-presidential candidate picks, spoke just before Lara Trump Tuesday night, and argued there is nothing divisive about Trump’s America-first agenda, and nothing dangerous about Trump’s supporters, as Democrats maintain.

“What they ask for is not hateful or extreme,” Rubio said of Trump's supporters. “What they want is good jobs and lower prices. They want borders that are secure, and for those who come here to do so legally. They want to be safe from criminals and from terrorists. And they want our leaders to care more about our problems here at home than about the problems of other countries far away.”

Dr. Ben Carson, the 17th U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump administration, talked briefly as well, noting how the assassination attempt put the stakes of the election into perspective.

“These events brought unusual clarity to the times we are living in. We have all harbored the nagging feeling that everything we love is slipping away,” said Carson. “This is a man who is a gift to us as a nation.”

The night concluded with speakers calling for unity, for votes, and for grit.

“We must stand up, and we must fight,” Rubio said. “Fight not with violence or destruction, but with our voices and our votes. Fight not against each other, but for the hopes and dreams we share in common and make us one. And fight for an America where we are safe from those who seek to harm us on our streets, and from abroad.”

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Secret Service Says Sloped Roof Was Unsafe for Snipers

The sloped roof where a would-be assassin took aim at former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania wasn’t safe enough for snipers.

This is a reason for not posting someone there, U.S. Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle said in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday.

“That building, in particular, has a sloped roof at its highest point,” she said. “And so, you know, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof.”

“And so, you know, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside,” Cheatle added.

The comment comes three days after 20-year-old Thomas Crooks opened fire on a crowd in Butler, Pa., less than 15 minutes after Trump took the stage, striking him in the ear. Trump was wounded but has continued his schedule, arriving in Milwaukee, Wis., on Sunday for the Republican National Convention and appearing in the main arena Monday night.

Since then, authorities – namely the Secret Service – have faced tough questions about the apparent security lapses that allowed the gunman to scale the roof 147 yards from the stage at the Butler Farm Show Grounds.

Eyewitnesses can be seen on video shouting for police to intervene as they watched Crooks belly crawl into position. Law enforcement was also stationed inside the building.

In a separate report from NBC News, a local official said a Butler Township police officer was boosted to the roof of the building, where he grabbed onto a ledge and saw Crooks, who then turned his rifle toward the officer. Unable to grab his weapon or radio, the officer dropped eight feet to the ground, injuring his ankle.

Citizen Vote Protection Act Fentanyl Overdose Link derrick van orden

Arrest Made After Derrick Van Orden Says He Was Assaulted at RNC

(The Center Square) – Western Wisconsin’s congressman says he was assaulted at Milwaukee’s Republican National Convention, but a women’s group disagrees.

Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden took social media Tuesday to say a protester with the group Code Pink assaulted him while he was standing in line at the RNC.

“While standing in line to enter an event at the RNC today, I was assaulted by what appeared to be a member of the pro-Hamas group CODEPINK. A nearby police officer witnessed this assault and I understand they have been arrested,” Van Orden said. “This appears to be an incident of political violence and I will never tolerate this. Regardless of the severity of the violence, political violence is political violence.”

Code Pink almost immediately said Van Orden was the one who bumped into who they called a “visibly Palestinian” woman.

“CODEPINK's Palestine Organizer Nour [Jaghama] has been unjustly arrested at the RNC after a congressman shoved past her and had her arrested on false charges of ‘assault,’” Code Pink said in a tweet of its own.

Milwaukee Police questioned Jaghama, then were later seen taking her away.

The department says the incident is “under investigation.”

Van Orden said the incident is just the latest example of violence from the Left.

“Republicans have been intimidated and targeted for years, including the attempted assassination of President Trump and we will no longer standby and allow lawlessness,” he said. “There is no place for political violence in this country and I have repeatedly called for people who choose this path to be prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.”

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that charges in the case are “under review.”

Van Orden was in line for an event at the Pfister Hotel at the time. It’s not clear if the Code Pink protester was going to the same event or was just standing in line.

Van Orden has been a target for protesters. He is in the middle of a race for his second term in Congress for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. He has a history of confrontations. It was July of last year when Van Orden was accused of yelling at a group of Capitol Hill interns who were taking pictures and videos inside the Capitol Rotunda.

He defended his actions by saying the Capitol Dome is hallowed-ground, and needs to be treated with respect.

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