20 January 2018

Chinese Checkers

More than once in these endeavors the notion that Orange Julius Caesar will seek to squelch or even pervert macro data to support his agenda. We see this already at EPA (the top of the linked page is a screenshot from EPA, not the site; just so you don't get confused). We can expect the same, and I already sense that a thumb is on the scales with recent reporting from the agencies (call me suspicious), as time goes on. Remember, fascists turn to lying when the tale gets too outlandish.

Those who look at the "Chinese miracle" have long suspected that Beijing has a 3 kilo foot on the scales. Here's a recent report. Expect similar from this administration.
"It's just simplistic to say they lie or they don't lie," said Pauline Loong, the founder and managing director of Asia-analytica, a Hong Kong consulting firm specializing in mainland China. "They define their data differently, and they keep changing their definitions."

What Kellyanne calls alternative facts.

All macro-quants should be concerned.

15 January 2018

The Devil is in The Details

So let me get this straight. Anonymous sources tell the WaPo that Orange Julius Caesar referred to some countries as "shithole". Later, Durbin confirms; likely the original source (but hasn't admitted, to the best of my knowledge as of now). Right Wingnut brown nosers deny he said those words. Now, it happens, that the argument is whether it was shithole or shithouse countries. So, I guess, Durbin lied. May be.

09 January 2018

Another R Book

It should come as no surprise that I, being a codger, prefer my books with pages sewn into a spine and hard covered. For the last few decades those have been mostly about relational databases and things quant. R being the latest obsession. The pile never seems to diminish.

One kind of interesting aspect of the R world is that there is a bomb thrower amongst them, not wholly unlike what's going on in the political world. That would be Hadley Wickham. Some years ago there were reports of naughty words towards him. You can let your fingers do the walking through the Inntertubes (you'll even find a bit of prose from Your Humble Servant in one such thread).

Which brings me to his latest (with co-author), "R For Data Science". I don't think it's best as a learning text for R per se; Crawley is still (but, yes, a little long in the tooth) my preferred intro with ggplot2 to get up to date graphics. But as a reference on Wickham's tidyverse, it's canonical.

Here's a recent view:
The tidyverse is an 'opinionated' collection of R packages that duplicate and seek to improve upon numerous base R functions for data manipulation (e.g. dplyr) and graphing (e.g. ggplot2). As the tidyverse has grown increasing more comprehensive, it has been suggested that it be taught first to new R users. The debate between which R dialect is better has generated a lot of heat, but much light.

Here's one point from the book that, at one time, likely would have gotten major flames:
R is an old language, and some things that were useful 10 or 20 years ago now get in your way. It's difficult to change base R without breaking existing code, so most innovation occurs in packages. Here we will describe the tibble package, which provides opinionated data frames that make working in the tidyverse a little easier.

Anyway, recommended. O'Reilly spent some extra moolah on color graphics and text to make a pretty book. On the whole, I'd rather they'd spent the money to put it in a Rep-Kover binding.

05 January 2018

Wages of Sin

There continues to be noise from both sides, both sides, about why it is that we have more than traditional Full Employment, ~4.1%, yet wages/incomes have barely moved up since the Great Recession. Orange Julius Caesar brayed during the election that the issue was that Obama/BLS were lying, and the "real" employment rate was much, much higher; 42% was his favorite. No one who has a brain believed that. But doubting the truth of U3 is valid.

But the fact is, BLS has always published various versions (with various definitions, naturally) of the unemployment rate. The one labeled U3 is the "official" rate over the years. But that rate doesn't include folks who would be looking for new/better full time employment if they thought it mattered. Including those folks, and other marginally attached workers, makes for U6. You can play with the display.
The current U6 unemployment rate as of December 2017 is 8.10.

So, for the first time in history, Orange Julius Caesar is sort of right. The slack manifest in such a much larger U6 is why "full employment" U3 doesn't drive wage/income increase. The Right Wingnut Leona Helmsley Memorial Tax Cut for the 1% won't trickle down to drive up wages. There is zero historical evidence that such will happen.

29 December 2017

I Told You So - 29 December 2017

Many's the time I've asserted that Orange Julius Caesar is just a creeping dictator. Or, creepy dictator. Well, now he admits it:
I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.
"Nobody knew health care could be so complicated."
Lying on demand is a dictator's best quality.

"I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department."

Spoken like a true dictator.

22 December 2017

Now, It's Your Turn

One might fairly say that Orange Julius Caesar has had a year, nearly, of riding on Obambi's economic coattails. So, here's what briefing.com had to say just now (8:33 am):
Just in, personal income climbed 0.3% in November (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%) following an unrevised increase of 0.4% in October. Meanwhile, personal spending rose 0.6% in November (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%), up from a revised increase of 0.2% in October (from 0.3%).

The PCE Price Index increased 0.2% in November (Briefing.com consensus +0.3%), while the core PCE Price Index, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus +0.1%). Year-over-year, the core PCE Price Index is up 1.5%.

November durable goods orders increased 1.3%, which is worse than the 2.1% increase expected by the Briefing.com consensus. The prior month's reading was revised to -0.4% from -1.2%. Excluding transportation, durable orders decreased 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%) to follow the prior month's revised increase of 1.3% (from 0.4%).

So, giving away the Damn Gummint's tax money to the billionaires will surely cause the economy to rocket. Won't it????

Dat slope, it be slippery when dares nuttin but greased kiddie slide betwixt youself and dat Pit. And dat Pendulum, it do be swingin. Best keep yo neck out de way.

Or as the Wicked Witch of The West put it: "I'm melting!!"

20 December 2017

Darwin In Action

The Tea Baggers incessantly bray that the "free market" solves all ills. So, today we find that DeVos is paying back her donors.
Students who attended for-profit colleges filed nearly 99 percent of the requests for student loan forgiveness alleging fraud, according to [The Century Foundation] the [sic] a liberal-leaning think tank.

Education should be priced at the students' additional life time earnings, discounted.