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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence

Volatile early trade sends the major averages into the final hour about even on mixed data. The latest government shutdown looms Friday absent some last-minute stop gap deal.

Mortgage activity gained 4.7% last week as purchase apps increased 2.4% while refis snapped a string of declines with a 9% gain. The 30-year jumbo loan rate increased fractionally to 4.16%.

Productivity increased 3% in the third quarter to mark a 6th consecutive quarterly gain. Hourly compensation advanced .7% despite a .2% decline in unit labor costs.

Paul Craig Roberts latest piece titled “Plunder Capitalism” looks at the Republican Tax Plan and concludes unsurprisingly that it is yet another debt funded handout for the 1% and corporations, at our expense of course. The capital gains rate cuts designed to spur economic growth ala the now thoroughly discredited Laffer Curve will instead simply drive the deficits higher along with wealth and income inequality subjects that are already at dangerously high record levels. One of the parallels drawn is the example of a Nurse earning $50,000 per year being taxed at a 25% marginal Federal rate while a corporation pays just 20%. If you happen to be a high-income earner north of $191,000 per year your tax rate is 33%, yet capital gains, were the 1% derive much of their income is taxed at just 15%. It used to be by the people, for the people and of the people, aka democracy. In the modern era it has become by the 1%, for the 1%, of the 1%, which sounds an awful lot like an oligarchy if you ask me.

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