Beating Expectations: US Consumer Confidence 'Pops' to Highest Level in Nearly Two Decades

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Posted: Aug 29, 2018 2:55 PM
Beating Expectations: US Consumer Confidence 'Pops' to Highest Level in Nearly Two Decades

With many political pundits scratching their heads over President Trump's polling stability and resilience in the wake of a full week of punishing headlines, it's important to bear in mind that voters are evaluating how the president is executing his job.  For many people, that's a different metric than approving of the president's character, endorsing his personal favorability, or reacting to the controversies that surround him.  The basic calculus for a great many Americans is whether or not they're better off under this administration than they were before.  And for a great many Americans, the answer is 'yes.'  Here's yet another strong economic indicator of the health of the US economy, again surprising many experts:

Consumer confidence rose in August to its highest level since October 2000, building on July's solid result. The Conference Board's index rose to 133.4 in August, despite expectations from a survey of Reuters' economists that it would fall to 126.7. The measure rose slightly last month to 127.4, up from 127.1 in June as consumers reported better feelings toward the economy in the near-term but less optimism about long-term growth. "Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement...The survey measures American's sentiment on current economic conditions and prospects for the next six months, including business and labor market conditions. Since consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, economists' pay close attention to the number.

Meanwhile, here's the latest tax reform success story, showing that even in a high-tax, fiscal basketcase blue state, the Republicans' federal tax law can help businesses flourish:

Sko-Die, based in Morton Grove, Illinois, manufactures custom steel laminations and heavy gauge metal stampings for products used by the American people every day—including aerospace, medical and consumer products. “The first thing I did when I found out what my tax savings would be? I took that money and gave a raise to all the employees,” said Sko-Die’s president, Patrick Steininger. “It came to about 3 percent per employee, on average.” In addition to their pay raises, Sko-Die’s 70 employees will also see their workspace updated and expanded. Steininger plans to use the company’s tax savings to make sure Sko-Die employees have access to the latest and most efficient technology available. “The instant they passed tax reform, I bought two new pieces of equipment—a big grinder that will grind dies more efficiently and a new press that will run twice as fast,” Steininger said. “That makes us more productive, more competitive and more profitable.” The total price for Steininger’s technology investment? “About $1 million.”

Note to Nancy Pelosi: These "crumbs" aren't bonuses. They're pay raises. And this company's investments in new equipment also help create a virtuous cycle of economic productivity and jobs.  Democrats may not be eager to talk about this subject, for obvious reasons, but Republicans should be:

Parting thought: Even as Democrats and their media allies enjoy highlighting tax reform's middling polling, I'd note that the latest NBC/WSJ poll gave Republicans a 14-point lead on the economy, including an advantage over Democrats on the specific issue of taxes. Imagine how that lead would grow if voters learned that Democrats want to take away job-creating tax cuts -- and then massively explode all Americans' tax bills to fund their government healthcare scheme.