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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence

The major averages enter the final hour mixed on little news. Wholesale inventories increased .2% in March beating expectations for a small decline. The inventory to sales ratio was unchanged at 1.28, slightly below the 1.35 seen a year ago.

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, aka the indentured servitude act that sought to make it more difficult for irresponsible consumers to have debt forgiven. Was really just another gimme for the banksters, at the time I and others noted that almost exactly half of bankruptcies were caused by medical expenses. A combination of bad luck, the inability to afford outrageously expensive healthcare and or a lack of insurance coverage for one reason or another. Trump’s health care package in true Republican style is yet the latest example of give to the corporations at the expense of the citizenry, especially the poor. A study by Consumer Reports noted that since the enactment of the ACA or Affordable Care Act the number of consumer bankruptcies fell nearly 50% from 1,536,799 in 2010 to just 770,846 last year. Now admittedly not all of this decline can be credited to the ACA, but a lot of it is, or should be. Another way of looking at this is it represents a huge increase in personal responsibility as the medical bills were paid and not discharged through the courts, a detail seemingly lost on the current administration.

Many a pundit has pointed out the 2017 surge in payroll withholding tax receipts, up 4.5% on a year ago basis in April, as further evidence of a strong and improving job market. I have yet to see much discussion about all the mandated minimum wage increases this year, but hey never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative. Recent data from the Treasury for April, usually its biggest month for tax receipts, shows that revenues in general fell 5.7% in April on a year ago basis. Additional data shows the “gig” economy losing some of its shine as well.


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