Tag Archives: Commerce Department

Census returns to some semblance of normal

Donald Trump has thrown in the towel, although he won’t say he did.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the administration’s effort to ask U.S. residents a citizenship question, meaning that respondents were not going to be asked to prove whether they are citizens of this country.

Trump wanted to add that proviso to the census-taking that is scheduled to occur in 2020. He had threatened to include it on the form to be sent out.

Well, now the president has said he won’t do it. There will be no citizenship question to be posed to U.S. residents.

That means tradition has been upheld. The prospect of serious undercounting of U.S. residents has been reduced, if not virtually eliminated, by the president’s decision to back off his initial threat to seek citizenship answers.

The Commerce Department led the charge for the Trump administration. As Roll Call reported: The retreat follows the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision last week, which it based on objections to the Commerce Department’s reasoning for adding the question. President Donald Trump repeatedly threatened to delay the census to get the question approved.

The court didn’t like the way the administration sought to explain its reason for adding the question. So it handed the president a defeat.

He won’t acknowledge the loss at the hands of a court that he thinks leans strongly in his direction. That’s fine, as long as the justices’ ruling holds up. Which it will.

‘Economy is doing so well’

Donald John Trump is rightfully happy with the state of the national economy.

The stock market is setting records. Joblessness is low. More jobs are being added to non-farm payrolls. Consumer and business confidence is high.

That’s all great, Mr. President.

The president talked about all of that today as White House chief of staff John Kelly reported for work on his first day in the West Wing.

Here’s the deal, though. The trend the president cited is a continuation of the “mess” he supposedly inherited when he took over this past January from Barack H. Obama.

Didn’t the one-time Republican candidate for president trash the daylights out of President Obama’s stewardship of the nation’s economy? Didn’t he cite sluggish GDP growth as part of that so-called “mess”?

I’ll give the president credit, though, for a recent Commerce Department report that ticked up GDP growth a bit past its original estimate. For that, the president can take some measure of credit.

I just find it curiously ironic that one president’s economic “mess” becomes another president’s economic “miracle.”

Preferring the U.S. method of letting ’em protest

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cannot possibly be a dim bulb.

Or can he?

Ross offered a critique of the welcome that Donald J. Trump’s presidential entourage received in Saudi Arabia.

“There’s no question that they’re liberalizing their society, and I think the other thing that was fascinating to me, there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there,” Ross said in an appearance on CNBC. “Not one guy with a bad placard.”

Not one guy, eh?

Someone ought to inform the secretary that public protest in Saudi Arabia remains highly illegal. Protesters generally are rounded up, arrested, given lashes until they bleed … you know, the kind of thing that occurs in countries run by repressive regimes.


CNBC reporter Becky Quick sought to inform Ross of those prohibitions. He answered:

“In theory, that could be true,” he replied. “But boy, there was certainly no sign of it. There was not a single effort at any incursion, there wasn’t anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood, and at the end of the trip, as I was getting back on the plane, the security guards from the Saudi side who’d been helping us over the weekend all wanted to pose for a big photo op, and then they gave me two gigantic bushels of dates as a present, a thank you for the trip that we had had. That was a pretty from-the-heart, very genuine gesture and it really touched me.”

I believe I will stick with the American way. It allows protests. It gives people the freedom to speak angrily against the government, although the only stipulation I can find in the First Amendment is that it guarantees the right of citizens to protest “peaceably.”

Violence? Nope. Can’t do that, not even in America.

It still sure beats the dickens out of the prohibitions against such behavior in Saudi Arabia.

Economy jumps ahead, but few folks notice

The latest report from the U.S. Commerce Department about the state of the nation’s economy has me wondering about something.

When are Americans going to start accepting that we are recovering from the Great Recession of 2008-2009?


Commerce officials report that the economy grew 4.1 percent in the third quarter, which is revised upward from 3.6 percent — which isn’t a bad report, either.

Joblessness is down to 7 percent. We’re adding an average of just less than 200,000 jobs a month; the vast bulk of those jobs are in the private sector. Foreclosure rates on homes are at a five-year low. Companies are making money. The stock market is rockin’ and rollin’. The Federal Reserve Board is going to start scaling back the stimulus initiatives it launched with its bond-buying.

And yet …

We keep hearing pundits, commentators and some economists harping about a struggling economy.

I totally understand that a 7 percent unemployment rate isn’t good. It’s a lot better than where it was four years ago. And it’s trending downward.

Some leading individuals — such as former Texas Workforce Chairman Tom Pauken — have griped openly about what they’ve called a “jobless recovery.” Employers are finding they’re able to boost productivity with fewer employees; I despise the term “workers,” by the way. However, we’re not in the middle of a “jobless recovery.”

I should add that energy production — which helps fuel the Texas economy — is way up. The Energy Department reports our oil imports are way down and the United States is on the verge of becoming the world’s leading producer of fossil fuels, a spot occupied for many decades by Russia.

The gloomy Gus crowd, though, keeps winning the argument.

How come? What am I missing?