Up and up The Fed’s interest rate goes, where it’ll stop nobody knows!

The Federal Reserve raised the nation’s borrowing rate by 0.25% for the fourth time this year, despite months of objections from President Trump.

According to Lucy Bayly, the business editor for NBC News, “President Trump fears higher interest rates will take the steam out of the nation’s booming economy.”

She continues by saying, “As head of the Federal Reserve, [Jay] Powell has found himself uncharacteristically singled out for criticism over the central bank’s handling of interest rates, with Trump saying he ‘maybe regretted nominating Powell to the position.’”

“I have a hot economy going,” President Trump said in October, and “every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates.”

Ms. Bayly feel sthat, “Powell’s challenge at this juncture has been to make it clear that the Fed’s decision was data driven and not due to any deference to the political establishment, which would have risked the central bank’s credibility as an independent agency.”

That’s kind of funny.  Why does it seem that “The Fed,” the central bank, only seems concerned about its credibility when there is a Republican president?

During an interview with “Yahoo Finance,” Edward Stringham, an economist, Professor of Economic Innovation at Trinity College and the president of the American Institute of Economic Research, said, “We’ve had artificially low interest rates for years.”  The Fed has apparently admitted to this because Mr. Stringham goes on to say that, “The Fed has said that they want to get away from that [artificially low interest rates].”

What does “artificially low interest rates” mean?  Why would The Fed be dealing with anything that is “artificial?” I take it to mean that The Fed had lowered the rates, or kept them low, for reasons other than financial and/or economic merit.

In other words, it sounds kind of “swampy” and politically motivated to me.

Well, let’s take a look at the recent history of The Federal Reserve Bank, how they’ve handled the rates, and you decide.

When George W. Bush took office in 2001, the interest rate was at 6%.

By June of 2003 the rate was down to 1% due to a recession, the 9/11 attacks, and a war in The Middle East.

The rate was then back up to 5.25% by June of 2006.

It then was down to 1% again by the end of Bush’s term, mostly due to another recession, the housing crisis, bank failures and the bank bailout.

On December 11, 2007, the rate dropped from 4.5% to 4.25%

January 22, 2008, the rate then plummeted to 3.5%

Only eight day later, on January 30, 2008, the rate went down to 3%

On March 18, 2008, the rate dropped to 2.25%

On April 30, 2008, the rate fell to 2%

On October 8, 2008, it fell to 1.5%

Twenty-one days later, on October 29, 2008, the rate dropped to 1%

After Barack Obama was elected president, on December 16, 2008, the rate went to .25%

Note: .25% is the lowest funds rate possible.

Then, for the following 7 YEARS, or basically most of the “Obama years,” the federal interest rate sat there at .25%!  For 7 YEARS!!!

It wasn’t until December of 2015 that they managed to raise the rate to .5%.

The rate stayed at .5% all of 2016 until Donald Trump won the election, at which time the rate immediately went up to .75%.

So, even though all of the “biased, liberal, fake news media” financial “experts” were predicting a stock market crash if Donald Trump won, and all kinds of other economic misfortune, The Federal Reserve felt it was a good time to raise the federal interest rate.

Interesting.  Ponder that for a moment.

Then over the next two years of the Trump Presidency, The Fed chooses to raise the rate 6 more times, all the way back to 2.25%!

On March 16, 2017, the rate goes to 1%

On June 15, 2017, we’re up to 1.25%

On December 14, 2017, the rate goes up to 1.5%

On March 22, 2018, it climbs to 1.75

On Jun 14, 2018, 2%

On September 27, 2018, 2.25%

And on December 19, 2018, The Fed raised it another .25 to 2.5%

 

“The economy continues to punch well above its weight,” said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group. “Although trade tensions and tariffs continue to present uncertainty, the economy has been running red-hot for a long time…”

Is that what you call “a long time” Mr. Rick, a little over a year?

It seems these economists and know-it-all eggheads are in quite a hurry to slow our economy down.

Why?

Why was it OK for Americans to sit through all of these down times for close to two decades, but then when we finally turn it around they want to throw down all of these speed bumps?

What do you think?  Is it a case of “the swamp’s” willingness to sabotage the country for the sake of their own survival and desire for power?

I’m thinking that is the case, but then again, I’m becoming more and more cynical by the day.

 

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President Trump is providing positive action, not just more “hot air.”

If you weren’t watching Fox News at some point this last week, you probably missed it when President Trump announced a bold and historic plan to change the lives in America of some of our poorest citizens, those who live in the most distressed, and sometimes the most dangerous, neighborhoods.

With South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Bob Johnson flanking him, and CNN host Van Jones looking on, The President signed an executive order creating something called the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council along with additional directives for that council.

So what, you may ask?  We’ve all seen this kind of thing before, right?

All show, no go.

Well, this may be different.

Led by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, it will coordinate efforts across the entire federal government to deliver jobs, investment, and growth in underprivileged areas.  This includes rural areas, too.  This means more private-sector money will flow into some of these high-risk or low development areas.

And what will this do?

It’s kind of like affirmative action, but on a larger socio-economic and community level, and for some reason I don’t have a problem with this at all.  I actually think this a great way to spread the wealth and lift people and communities up.

I believe a program like this is right up Secretary Carson’s alley.  I would expect him to do a great job with this.

Oddly enough, there were only a few reporters at the announcement, and they weren’t even interested in the announcement.  All they were interested in was shouting questions at The President about Michael Cohen.  That’s because Michael Cohen and the Mueller witch hunt fits the “biased, liberal, fake news media’s” narrative and President Trump delivering results to low income Americans doesn’t.

This White House event wasn’t broadcast on cable or on C-SPAN or any of the networks.  Why was that?

It’s called commission by omission.  If we don’t report it, then it didn’t really happen.  The “biased, liberal, fake news media” just refuses to give President Trump credit for anything that could be perceived as positive.

Also, it’s because President Trump is delivering some actual results for those people who the Democrats thought that they had in their back pocket, politically.  It all goes against the “biased, liberal, fake news media’s” never ending narrative about how the president is racist and how he just doesn’t care about minority citizens or low income citizens.

Bob Johnson, one of the most prominent and most successful African-Americans on the planet, would disagree with that sentiment.  He was on hand at Wednesday’s event to recognize the Trump administration’s drive and commitment to help low income Americans.

“Just recently, your Department of Labor signed a historic document that created something called “auto portability.”  Auto portability is designed to reduce retirement leakage among low income 401(k) account holders who tend to cash out,” he said. “And Mr. President, you should know this, 60 percent of African-American and Hispanic-Americans cash out of their 401(k) accounts.  This program will put close to $800 billion back in the retirement pockets of minority Americans.  So I just want to applaud you for that.”

Former President Barack Obama was good at offering up words that made it seem like he cared.  He was good at offering up words that made the intended audiences feel good and hopeful.  He, nor the democrats, were good at doing anything that actually helped the situation.

Laura Ingraham of Fox News commented, “Who cares more about America, particularly the working poor? The guy who delivers results, record low unemployment, opportunity zones and a decent chance for criminal justice reform?  Or a party that is all talk and no action?  I will take the former any day.”

“…talking about hope is beautiful, but it won’t bring business into your community.  People who can get jobs tend to have more hope.  Despair and crime in places like Chicago and Baltimore spiraled out of control during much of Obama’s eight years.”

With all of the potential positive outcomes as a result of the Opportunity and Revitalization Council and The President’s executive order, the “biased, liberal, fake news media” did manage to find one aspect they thought was worth mentioning.  They reported that President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are only pushing these inner-city investment incentives because they will make money off their own real estate holdings.

President Trump is completely correct and justified when he calls out the “fake news.”

It’s sad that there isn’t even an inkling of an effort by the “fake news” to report the news fairly and honestly anymore.  It has become an all-out propaganda war now, and fair minded people just have to be aware of it and treat it as such.

 

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opp and revitalize council signing

I’m calling out some of these business “experts” and their “trumped-up” (no pun intended) predictions of “doom and gloom” for 2019. 

I’ve been seeing more and more of these “doom and gloom” business “experts,” financial “experts,” and economic “experts” calling for an economic slowdown in 2019, and even a recession in some cases!

The backgrounds of these “doom and gloomers” is across the board, so their motivations for these predictions are all different as well.

“Experts” from the “biased, liberal, fake news media” are of course trying to set-up a self-fulfilling prophecy for their own political benefit; the country be damned.

Some “experts” are just trying to be contrarian in order to stand out.

Some “experts” are just plain confused, and they are over-analyzing the economy in general.

And some “experts” really aren’t experts at all, and they’re just wrong.

Just to name a few, we’ve got Henry Fernandez of Fox Business News claiming, “The US economy will likely fall into a recession next year.”

We’ve got, Charles Schwab’s, Liz Ann Sonders, claiming, “The U.S. economy will likely fall into a recession next year.”

Kevin Kelleher of FORTUNE reminds us that, “2018 has been a banner year for economic growth,” (thank you for stating the obvious Kevin) but that “according to many economists,” “2019 will bring an economic slowdown with a recession possible in 2020.”

Benjamin Fearnow (aptly named) of Newsweek (“Weak News”) says, “CFOs predict 2019 recession, majority expect pre-2020 market crash!”  Mr. Fearnow goes on to say that, “An overwhelming majority of U.S. chief financial officers say the economy will sink into a recession by the end of President Donald Trump’s first term in 2020, and about half say it will happen next year.”

Wow!  So in this case, we’ve doubled down and are going “all in” on an actual “market collapse!” I’d like to see a list of these CFOs that gave their input on this.  I’m not so sure that CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) are the right ones to be getting this information from in the first place.  CFOs typically don’t make company policy, they bookkeep it.

“The end is near for the near-decade-long burst of global economic growth,” said John Graham, a finance professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey, in a statement. “The U.S. outlook has declined; moreover, the outlook is even worse in many other parts of the world, which will lead to softer demand for U.S. goods.”

The “decade-long burst of global economic growth” referred to here was at the expense of The United States I’m afraid, Mr. Graham, and we weren’t an economic recipient of “that” growth, we subsidized it.

Economist Peter Schiff said that “We won’t be able to call it a recession, it’s going to be worse than the Great Depression…, the U.S. economy is in so much worse shape than it was a decade ago.”

“Worse than the Great Depression?!”  Really Mr. Schiff?  You aren’t any relation to democrat congressman Adam Schiff are you?  Because if you were, that would explain your propensity for the absurd.

“Bloomberg” economics writer, Jeanna Smialek’s chose to go with the headline, “JPMorgan, Bank of America Detect Hints of a U.S. Recession Looming in 2019,” even though her article points out, “Wall Street’s biggest banks are scouring U.S. data for signals of an impending recession.  On balance, they’ve been finding that a 2019 downturn still isn’t likely…”

Ms. Smialek would seem fall into the “Experts from the “biased, liberal, fake news media,” who are trying to set-up a self-fulfilling prophecy for their own political agenda; the country be damned” group.

The resident “experts” on CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC have all, of course, chimed in with their predictions of demise regarding anything Trump related.

This list could go on, but you get the idea I’m sure.

Now, I, admittedly am no economics expert, but I have two eyes, a relatively functional brain, and some common sense.

Here is my take on the U.S.’s economy for 2019 and into 2020.

But first, a little historical perspective.

The economy started to improve immediately in December of 2016 and into 2017 after President Trump was elected, and that was just based on the expectations of the impact of his actions.

The President’s only real actions in 2017 had to do with the reduction of regulations and the signing into law of The Trump tax cut and tax reform plan.  The new law would not begin to offer any real benefits to people or to companies until 2018.

In 2018 individuals were able to keep a little more of their own money due to tax cuts, and business were more easily able to invest their own money in improvements and expansion with drastically reduced capital gains tax penalties.

So in all reality, the United States economy is really only showing the benefits of the new tax laws and some reworked trade policies for about the last six months.

That bring us to 2019.

MrEricksonRules is predicting that 2019 will be an excellent year, economically, for The United States!

2019 will be the year that people see the real benefit of the new tax cuts law.  Families across the country will pay thousands less in taxes and/or get thousands more back.  This can only help stimulate the economy even more in the second and third quarters of 2019.

Although many of these “experts” see President Trumps “tariff wars” as economic negatives, I can only see them being a positive thing for our economy.  I see businesses across the board beginning to reap the benefits of the new USAMC trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, and the same goes especially for the new agreements with China.

Also, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and a recent directing Executive Order, President Trump is encouraging long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The Opportunity Zones program provides a tax incentive for investors, which should also help to stimulate the economy in whole new areas.  It also directs government entities to prioritize these zones for expenditures as well.

2019 will also see record revenues for the federal government, due to the booming economy and the increase in the number of taxpayers overall.  These revenues may help us to avoid increasing the federal deficit and possibly even work on bringing the deficit down.  At this point I would settle for just a slowing of the amount we owe.

So, based on my “expertise,” I would tend to disagree with most of these so-called “experts.”

I would go as far to say that 2020 will just build off of 2019, and that President Trump will be running for re-election having orchestrated the most impressive economic turn around and economic run since Ronald Reagan in the early 80’s.

Larry Kudlow, who is serving as president of the National Economic Council under President Trump, seems to agree with me, when he says,  “In my personal view, our administration’s view, recession is so far in the distance I can’t see it,” Kudlow said. “The basic economy has reawakened and it’s gonna stay there…, I mean, I’m reading some of the weirdest stuff, how a recession is around the corner.  It’s nonsense.”

I think The President would second that notion as well.

Regarding the Stock Market, I believe there is still a lot of value to be had there.  I feel the Market remains undervalued at this point.

Paul Dietrich of FOX Business feels the same way I do.  He goes on to say, “There seems to be a new “fear of the day” knocking down the stock market.  Chinese trade talks, Brexit, government shutdowns, Fed rate hikes, inverted yield curves or Trump’s tweets all seem to be culprits in this conspiracy to drive down the stock market.  None of these issues have any significant impact on the underlying U.S. economy.”

Overall, The Market will continue to bounce up and down, but also maintain its positive general momentum.

Remember, however, that what’s good for Wall Street is not necessarily what’s good for Main Street.

In 2019 and 2020, we’ll take a look back and see how I did versus “the experts.”

If any of the media outlets want to contact me at some point regarding business and economic prospectives, you can do so via the “contact” feature on my blog website.

 

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mayan calendar

 

“Why didn’t I think of that!? I did, I did think of that!”

We all get great ideas form time to time, and we may share them, but nothing happens, and then they fade away, and then a couple years later we see someone getting rich off of doing what we had the idea to do.

Well here are some business ideas I’ve had knocking around in my head.  I know I won’t execute these ideas, but at least now I’ll be able to point back to this blog and take some credit for the idea!:

I know all of the Toys R Us stores have closed, and the company has filed for bankruptcy, but I believe there’s still a niche out there for Toys R Us.

I have heard that a group of investors is considering raising Toys R Us from the dead.  If they do, here are my suggestions for them:

The new Toys R Us should consolidate the number of stores, down from the original 800+ stores, to half of that number, or even less.

The new Toys R Us does not need to be open every day.  Besides Christmas time, people primarily shop for birthday presents throughout the year.  I would recommend that stores be open only two weekends a month, January through November, and open from Black Friday through Christmas in December.

The new Toys R Us would only carry toys and entertainment items for kids.  Diapers, clothing, etc. would no longer be sold there.

A new emphasis would be put on the Toys R Us “on-line” store as well. On-line orders would be shipped from the regional stocking centers, consolidating stock orders and saving on shipping costs to the stores and to the on-line customers.

In these ways the company would become “the king” of toys again,  save money on physical locations, save money on labor costs, and turn going to Toys R Us into more of an event rather than just another shopping trip.

Another idea I had was to bring back “full service” at some gas stations.

At some stations it would only be certain designated pumps, while other gas stations could be exclusively “full service.”

So what do I mean by “full service?”

Well, the base level could mean just pumping the gas and accepting payment from you so you don’t have to get out of your car.

The next level up could include cleaning the windows.

Another level up could include checking and filling washer fluid.

Another level up could include getting items from the store inside for you.

Of course, the more you ask for the more you pay.

I can also envision a NASCAR type pit crew station that runs out to your car and gives it the once over, including all of the other services.   This would be kind of a novelty, but I think people would get a kick out of it.

I believe there is a “high end” niche for everyday items and services, ala Starbucks, mail order food services, dog walking, etc.

Another idea I’ve had is that of incorporating slot machines into assisted living communities and centers.

Most of these places already get together for bingo and other games, so why not take it to the next level?

Unless some laws change in most areas, the residents couldn’t gamble for money, but I’m sure the credits they win could be exchanged for other items and services within the community.

NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, lights up the spirits of people this age like the excitement offered by a trip to a casino, and this would be the next best thing.

Believe me, there would be long, long waiting lists for people trying to get into these “slot machine friendly” facilities.  They’d be able to charge considerably more on a monthly basis for living there as well.

Another option might be for existing casinos to get into the assisted living business.

Most casinos already have an attached hotel.  How much of a stretch would it be for these casinos to construct attached assisted living facilities?

Talk about a self-sustaining operation and investment!

Lastly, I have an idea for a delivery company.  You could call it “Fetch,” Go Get it!” or something like that.

This service would operate similarly to Uber.

Users would have pre-registered accounts.

Instead of requesting a ride somewhere, customers would request something be picked up or purchased for them and then delivered to them.

Potential “Go-getters” would respond to requests with bids, from which the requestor would select.

The innate laziness of Americans these days would fuel this business.

For example: You’re watching a movie with your girlfriend, your boyfriend or your crew, and someone mentions Taco Bell and everyone is dying to get some, but it’s pouring out and nobody wants to fly.

No problem!

You get on your “Fetch” app, and request 10 Doritos Locos tacos.

The cost of the tacos alone is $19.  A “Fetch” “Go-getter” in the area bids $35 to go to Taco Bell, buy the tacos, and deliver them to you in about 20 minutes.

You agree to their bid, you credit card is charged, and in no time you’re enjoying your tacos and finishing up your movie.

This service would also come in handy when you’re having a party, you can’t leave, but you’re running out of ice, beer, etc.

What if you show up at your in-laws, but forget it was you mother-in-law’s birthday!?  No problem.  Call “Fetch” and have some flowers brought over!

These are just four business ideas I’ve had.  Please feel free to make them your reality if you can!  I really like these ideas, but I would never have the resources, or the capacity to put them in motion myself.

Stay tuned for more amazing ideas in the near future!

 

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lloyd xmas

 

“Apple and Samsung sittin’ in a tree, C-H-E-A-T-I-N-G!”

Here we go again…, with Apple acting unethically…, again.

Please refer my blog of January 4, 2018, where we saw at the time, Apple admitted that, “…we (Apple) sometimes reduced processor speeds on iPhones with aging batteries as a way to balance performance and battery life.”  So, they’re not actually apologizing for what they did, they’re apologizing for, “…not being more transparent with our customers,” regarding, “…how exactly iOS manages battery and performance.”

Apple went on to say, “We have never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

Now less than a year later, here we are, seeing Apple do exactly that.  Trying to “intentionally shorten the life of Apple products, and degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

What a bunch of absolute liars.

And not to be outdone, Samsung has learned its sneaky lessons well from Apple.

Both Apple and Samsung have now been fined for “deliberately slowing down older phones.”

Now why on Earth would they want to do that?

According to Rob Waugh of Yahoo News UK, “Many phone users suspected it.  Apple and Samsung are both facing multi-million Euro fines for slowing down old smartphones with software updates.”

“The practice makes old devices less functional, and encourages the purchase of new phones,” the Italian antitrust authority AGM said in a statement.

The Italian antitrust authority fined Apple and Samsung 10 million Euros ($11.3 million) and 5 million Euros ($5.7 million) respectively.

AGM said in a statement, “The two companies have induced consumers to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices, without adequately informing them, nor providing them an effective way to recover the full functionality of their devices.”

The antitrust authority said that operating system (OS) updates “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced their performance, in this way speeding up their replacement with more recent products.”

The antitrust authority also said that, “users of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 received ‘insistent’ suggestions to update to a new version of Android shipped with the Note 7 device.”

“The antitrust authority said that Samsung did this ‘without informing them of the serious malfunctions that the new firmware could cause due to greater stress of device’s hardware and asking a high repair cost for out-of-warranty repairs connected to such malfunctions.’”

Apple users with iPhone 6 devices were likewise urged to update to new software intended for iPhone 7 “without warning consumers that its installation could reduce the speed of execution and functionality of devices.”

Apple and Samsung have yet to comment according to Yahoo News UK.

I’m sure both Apple and Samsung will eventually plead some level of ignorance to their customers and offer some sort of lame semi-apology, then turn around and screw their customers over again somehow next year.

How much do you wanna bet?

I’ll keep you posted.

“If you want to be successful, never lie to yourself.  Lying to everyone else is apparently OK though.” – Mr. Erickson

 

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President Trump’s economy has been making deposits and it’s earning interest!

What I’m talking about here is the federal funds interest rate.

Simply put, in the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which banks and credit unions get money from the Federal Reserve.

The lower the fed rate is, the lower the rate that businesses and consumers pay when they borrow money.

The lower the fed rate is, the lower the rate is that we earn on CDs, Savings accounts, etc.

The federal funds target interest rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) which normally occurs eight times a year, or about every seven weeks.

The FOMC consists of twelve members, the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis.

As of September 2018, the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 2.00–2.25%. This represents the EIGHTH increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015 (only a month after President Trump was elected).  Obama never experienced even ONE increase.  

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%.  This occurred during the presidency of Republican President George W. Bush.

The Federal Reserve then began lowering rates in September 2007.  Between September 2007 and December 2008 the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00–0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history.  This occurred as Democrat President Barack Obama took office and the rate remained at 0.25 or less his remaining 7 years in office.

So Obama’s economy basically enjoyed 7-8 years of “free money” from the government and still could not pick itself off of the floor.

Additionally, I find it peculiar that “The Fed” NEVER chose to increase its rate under democrat president Obama, but increased the rates on a regular basis under republican presidents, Bush and Trump.

There are two ways to react to this.  Either we had rate increases under presidents Bush and Trump because their economies were more successful and warranted them (which Obama would argue is not the case), or, the individuals at “The Fed” are a biased group that did all that they could do (rates of 0.0%) to prop up the Obama economy.

I suspect it’s a little of both, but it is annoying when we hear former President Obama take any credit for President Trump’s economy, when the Obama economy could not generate enough steam to even get the Fed’s rate off of ZERO PERCENT.

Of course, the “biased fake news media” has chosen to report and emphasize the negative aspect of the story here (higher interest rates for consumers) rather than report on the general overwhelming success of our economy.  It is very apparent now that they are just unwilling to give President Trump ANY credit for anything that could be perceived as positive.

CNN Business News or all the people out there crying because they are currently paying the outrageous rate of 5.0% on a home loan are not going to get any sympathy from me.  When my wife and I got our first home loan the rates were between 11.0% and 13.0%!  And they had been higher than that!

President Trump has said he is concerned and mad about rising interest rates.  He’s worried The Fed is raising interest rates too fast, in a way that will unnecessarily slow the economy, because they’re concerned about a “phantom inflation threat.”

All in all, I guess these are good concerns and good problems to have.

President Obama never had to worry about his economy being slowed down.

If it would have been slowed down any more it would have going in reverse!

 

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