Let’s Take A Look …….

The President and Houston

The criticism of the President is not over his handling and preparation for the situation, which has been excellent, but over his demeanor. The problem is that, it is who he is. He is not the Bill Clinton, bite my lip, “I feel your pain” person; or George Bush who teared up. He doesn’t poetically wax words that move you like Reagan, or show the facial I care like Obama. He is Trump. You always get the impression it is about him. I think he cares, but he just doesn’t have that natural caring instinct or expression his predecessors did, or that Mike Pence will show today.
The example to me was when he spoke to the crowd. He thanked them for coming out and remarked what a large crowd it was. What he should have said was something like “thank you for all you are doing for your citizens and the spirit you bring. You are making a difference and showing the world the best of America. Thank you.” It needs to be about them, not his crowd size.
So he is handling this well and the public is seeing that. It’s that personal side that needs some effort.

Some Quick Thoughts Today

Trump’s speech in Missouri yesterday focused on the need for tax changes but provided no details. The question is, does he want tax reform or tax cuts?
Those are very different and will bring different fights. He and the leaders of congress need a firm plan or this will go no where either.

How High Are Taxes?

Here’s a report out this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2016 than they did on food and clothing combined. We included the full report below after the Ratings section.
The same data also shows that in three years—from 2013 to 2016—the average tax bill for Americans increased 41.13 percent.

The U.S. economy grew 3%, the highest rate in two years.
The growth was driven in large part by strong consumer activity, and purchases of durable goods like automobiles and appliances rising. Increased business spending also helped lift the latest estimate above Commerce Department’s initial reading of 2.6 percent for the quarter.
This is a good sign, and if tax reform comes to drive more it could be interesting.

Don’t worry about Trump getting any credit. An editorial in today’s NY Times has this headline:
“The Cheap Prosperity Gospel of Trump and Osteen”. They linked Trump to the Houston church and the question of whether it opened its doors soon enough.

Mixed Messages:
The President and his cabinet continue to send different messages. This continues to happen. The latest on North Korea. This from today’s WSJ:

Mr. Trump and his national security team issued a set of mixed messages about the U.S. approach to North Korea on Wednesday, with Mr. Trump suggesting that the window for talks has closed while Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the U.S. is “never out of diplomatic options.”

Sanctuary Cities:

A Federal Judge blocked Texas from implementing actions against its sanctuary cities. The ruling prevents the state from going ahead with controversial provisions that were to go into effect on Friday. An appeal is underway.
It doesn’t seem it should be that difficult to take action against municipalities who are breaking the law, does it?

Two surprising things 

Did you see yesterday that Nancy Pelosi called out by name the antifa, or “anti-fascists,” for the first time since Sunday’s leftist violence in Berkeley? How much pressure was there that she finally did this? After all, she was one arguing the Patriot Group should not be allowed to have a rally. She said: “Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts. The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

Surprised us and let down a good number of her supporters, no doubt. You see they are anti violent, unless it is them doing it.

Surprise Two:

I guess this should be a surprise but did you see Kathy Griffin has rescinded her apology for the photo of herself posing with a bloodied Donald Trump mask?
In an interview with Australia’s Seven Network, the comedian told “Sunrise” co-hosts that she “is no longer sorry” for the photo that stirred up so much outrage.
“The whole outrage was B.S.” Griffin said. “

Maybe Nancy will step up again here? You think? How about Chuck?

A Few Sports Notes:

Two legendary college basketball coaches who won national titles and were characters of the game passed away this week. Jud Heathcote of Michigan State and Rollie Massimino of Villanova. Their accomplishments will live forever. May they rest in peace.

Houston and Harvey:

The storm knocked the Houston Astros out of town to play home games in Florida. Want an irony? Their first game back home is Saturday against the NY Mets. Coming off a long period on the disabled list to pitch that first game for the Mets  — Matt Harvey.

Kudos to the Mets, too. A disappointing and bad baseball team for sure, but  a team that decided on their day off Friday to be in Houston to do whatever they can to help.

A shout out to JJ Watt the great defensive end for the Houston Texans. He started out to raise $400,000 and continued raising the number as people supported him. He is nearing $8 million and raised the goal to ten as we write this.

The Ratings:

Today we include Tuesday’s numbers, the top five cable shows for August, the Cable Morning News rankings and Sunday’s News shows:


  • Total day: FNC: 2.037 | CNN: 1.151 | MSNBC: 1.374 | HLN: 254
  • Primetime: FNC: 2.840 | CNN: 1.374 | MSNBC: 2.490 | HLN: 294
4p: 5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Cavuto:
CNN Tapper:
MSNBC Wallace:
HLN MichaeLA:

The top 5 programs across cable news for August 2017:

  • The Rachel Maddow Show (2,783,000)
  • Hannity (2,679,000),
  • Tucker Carlson Tonight (2,483,000)
  • Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (2,352,000)
  • The Five (2,351,000)The morning cable show race.
    • Total Viewers
      • Fox & Friends: (1,477,000, +22 percent year-over-year)
      • Morning Joe (1,057,000, +34 percent year-over-year)
      • New Day (642,000, +29 percent year-over-year)

    The Sunday News Shows numbers for August 27:

    Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
    NBC Meet the Press  3.936M 1.238M
    ABC This Week  3.165M 886,000
    CBS Face the Nation  3.037M 703,000
    FOX Fox News Sunday  1.622M 512,000
    UNIV Al Punto 597,000 256,000
Bureau of Labor Statics Report:
BLS: Americans Spend More on Taxes Than Food and Clothing Combined

(CNSNews.com) – Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2016 than they did on food and clothing combined, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The same data also shows that in three years—from 2013 to 2016—the average tax bill for Americans increased 41.13 percent.

In 2016, according to BLS, “consumer units” (which include families, financially independent individuals, and people living in a single household who share expenses) spent more on average on federal, state and local taxes ($10,489) than they did on food ($7,203) and clothing ($1,803) combined ($9,006).

The average tax bill for American “consumer units” increased from $7,423 in 2013 to $10,489 in 2016, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The tax-and-spending data was collected as part of the BLS’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is conducted for the BLS by the Census Bureau. The survey measures the expenditures and incomes of American consumers.

The survey publishes the itemized expenditures of what it refers to as “consumer units,” which include “all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangements,” or “a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in a permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent,” or “two or more persons living together who use their income to make joint expenditure decisions.” The BLS said that a consumer unit generally refers to a family.

In 2016, according to the survey, there were 129,549,000 “consumer units” in the United States. The average before-tax income of an American consumer unit was $74,664 for the year. The consumer unit then paid an average of $10,489 in personal taxes—including $8,367 in federal income taxes, $2,046 in state and local income taxes, and $75 in other taxes.

Three years before that, in 2013, according to the survey, there were 125,670,000 “consumer units” in America. The average before-tax income of these consumer units that year was $63,784. In 2013, consumer units paid an average of $7,432 in taxes—including $5,743 in federal income taxes, $1,629 in state and local income taxes, and $60 in other taxes.

From 2013 to 2016, overall personal taxes climbed from $7,432 to $10,489—an increase of $3,057 or 41.13 percent. Federal income taxes climbed from $5,743 to $8,367—an increase of $2,624 or 45.7%.  State and local income taxes climbed from $1,629 to $2,046—an increase of $417 or 25.6 percent. Other taxes climbed from $60 to $75—an increase of $15 or 25 percent.

The biggest single expenditure by “consumer units” in 2016—and the only one that exceeded taxes—was “housing,” which cost the average consumer unit $18,886 during the year. That included $11,128 for the “shelter” itself, $3,884 for utilities fuel and public services, $1,384 for household operations, $160 for housekeeping supplies, and $1,829 for household furnishings and equipment.

However, American “consumer units” only spent $1,803 on “apparel and services” (clothing) in 2016 and $7,203 on “food.”

The $1,803 that the average consumer unit spent on clothing included $427 for “men and boys,” $665 for “women and girls,” $66 for “children under 2,” $388 for “footwear,” and $257 for “other apparel and services.”

The $7,203 for food included $4,029 for “food at home” and $3,154 for “food away from home.”

Under the food at home category, the average consumer unit spent $890 on “meat, poultry, fish and eggs,” $783 on “fruits and vegetables,” $410 on “dairy products,” and $393 on “non-alcoholic beverages.”

The $10,489 that the average consumer unit spent on taxes in 2016 was 13.4 times as much as the $783 it spent on fruits and vegetables.

Here is a screen capture from the BLS table showing the personal tax expenditures of the average consumer unit rising from $7,432 in 2013 to $10,489 in 2016–an increase of $3,057 or 41.13 percent:


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