Trump pitches tax reform in Missouri, Consumer Comfort Index Riding High
August 31, 2017
President Trump focused on his vision for tax reform in a speech on Wednesday. Rather than issuing concrete plans, the president discussed “bringing back Main Street,” as well as middle class tax cuts. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to a sixteen year high.
- Trump pitches tax reform. The president spoke in Missouri on Wednesday on his vision for tax reform. Rather than outline specific rates and policy changes, the president focused on his vision for “bring[ing] back Main Street” and implementing tax cuts for middle class families. While the Trump administration has yet to achieve any major legislation, tax cuts are a familiar right wing issue, and are far more likely to achieve a coalition of support from the GOP. Other major Republican lawmakers have too been pitching tax reform this past August, including Speaker Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- US consumer spending increases, misses estimates. US consumer spending increased this past month (July), but by less than analysts forecasted. However, upward revisions to June indicate that the second half of the year will still have strong consumer spending. Wages and salaries also increased, .5% during the month of July. Coupled with low inflation and the availability of capital, wage increases will likely further fuel consumer spending in the coming months. [Bloomberg]
- US jobless claims hover at low levels. Americans filing for unemployment this past week rose slightly to 236,000, staying close to the record low levels. Jobless claims under 300,000 are considered a signal of economic well-being, as these figures have been for two and a half years. The figures reflect economist’s estimates, but future claims may be impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, which is likely to cause significant temporary unemployment. [CNBC]
- Consumer Comfort Index at 16 year high. The Consumer Comfort Index rose to 53.3, the highest it has been since March of 2001. Views of the economy itself, the personal finance index, and buying climate index also rose, making this past month a banner for consumer comfort. A tight labor market with lots of job opportunities is a big reason for high consumer comfort, as is the stock market’s strong performance, and home value appreciation due to a limited housing supply. Strong consumer comfort bodes well for consumer spending, which account for 70% of the economy. However, a partisan split still divides the index: Republicans find themselves 22.4 points higher on the index than Democrats, due to the controversial nature of the current administration. [Bloomberg]