U.S. Economy Slows To A Crawl As GDP Grows A Scant 0.2% In First Quarter

U.S. Economic Growth Nearly Stalls Out – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. economy slowed to a crawl at the start of the year as businesses slashed investment, exports tumbled and consumers showed signs of caution, marking a return to the uneven growth that has been a hallmark of the nearly six-year economic expansion.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, expanded at a 0.2% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The economy advanced at a 2.2% pace in the fourth quarter and 5% in the third.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected growth of 1% in the first three months of this year, though many were braced for a surprise to the downside.

The latest reading on the economy came hours before Federal Reserve officials released their policy statement, in which they said slower growth reflected, in part, “transitory factors.” The Fed gave no new explicit clues on the timing of interest-rate increases, but the slower growth made the timing a bit more uncertain.

The first-quarter figures repeat a common pattern in recent years: one or two strong readings followed by a sharp slowdown. First-quarter GDP growth had averaged 0.6% since 2010 and 2.9% for all other quarters. That has worked out to moderate overall expansion but no growth breakout.

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“This is another quarterly number which confirms the long-term slow-growth thesis, but there are good odds we get a bit of a bounce later in the year from stabilized business spending and the housing markets, which are setting up quite promising,” Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, said in a note to clients.

Last year, economists pinned much of the blame for a bad first quarter – GDP shrank 2.1% – on unusually harsh weather. This year, multiple factors appear to be at work, including another bout of blizzards, disruptions at West Coast ports, the stronger dollar’s effect on exports and the impact of cheaper oil.

Better weather, a return to normal at port terminals and steadying investment could boost growth later this year.

“We expect the economy will rebound in [the second quarter] and beyond, similar to last year,” said Michelle Girard, economist at RBS Securities.

But not all the factors behind the slowdown appear temporary. A stronger dollar and cheaper oil could persist, keeping exports and energy-sector investment at bay.

As well, rising inventories kept the U.S. economy out of recession, contributing 0.74 percentage point to GDP in the first quarter. A second-quarter repeat is unlikely.

Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, said producers probably will allow inventory positions to run off rather than building them up even more. “This tells us that current-quarter growth is likely to run around 2.5%, not the 4% snapback we had previously been anticipating,” he said.

U.S. households will have to pick up spending to help the economy grow. Wednesday’s report showed consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic output, decelerated to a 1.9% pace in the first quarter, down from 4.4% growth in the fourth quarter.

Rather than using savings from cheaper gasoline to buy more goods and services, Americans have been setting money aside for a rainy day. The personal saving rate at 5.5% in the first quarter was the highest since 2012. The figure was 4.6% in the fourth quarter.

Another key driver of the economy, business spending, also has faltered of late. Nonresidential fixed investment – which reflects spending on software, research and development, equipment and structures – retreated at a 3.4% rate, compared with a 4.7% rise in the fourth quarter.

Energy companies in particular are feeling the effects of cheaper oil. Business investment in structures fell 23.1%, led by a 48.7% contraction for mining sector spending on shafts and wells, Commerce said.

A stronger dollar, meanwhile, has made domestically produced goods more expensive overseas and foreign products cheaper inside the U.S. Combined with disruptions at West Coast ports, trade was constrained. In the first quarter, exports fell at a 7.2% rate, compared with 4.5% growth in the fourth quarter. Imports rose 1.8%, compared with 10.4% in the fourth quarter.

Federal government spending added little to the economy in the first quarter, expanding 0.3%, compared with a 7.3% fall in the fourth quarter.

Real final sales of domestic product, a measure that excludes changes to inventories, shrank at a 0.5% pace, compared with a 2.3% rise in the fourth quarter.

Alongside weak growth in the quarter, prices fell.

The price index for personal consumption expenditures – the Fed’s preferred measure for inflation – declined at a 2% annual rate, well below the central bank’s 2% inflation growth target. Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy components, were up 0.9%, the lowest level since 2010.

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*VIDEO* Ted Cruz Explains Why Loretta Lynch Is Unfit To Be U.S. Attorney General


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Impeachable Offenses Update: Obama Using Taxpayer Money To Fly Central American Minors To U.S.

Obama Escalates Cultural Genocide – Moonbattery

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It isn’t enough to invite illegal aliens to invade the USA in their numberless hordes and then quickly distribute them along with their exotic diseases throughout the country. Obama is now using your money to fly them directly from Central America, so as to save them the bother of traveling through Mexico:

To facilitate the often treacherous process of entering the United States illegally through the southern border, the Obama administration is offering free transportation from three Central American countries and a special refugee/parole program with “resettlement assistance” and permanent residency…

The new arrivals will be officially known as Central American Minors (CAM) and they will be eligible for a special refugee/parole that offers a free one-way flight to the U.S. from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. The project is a joint venture between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department.

Readers will recall that DHS was originally set up to defend the homeland. Under the Orwellian Obama Regime, it is in charge of orchestrating an invasion of the homeland.

After Pearl Harbor, some feared a Japanese invasion. It would have been preferable to what is happening to us now. If the Imperial Japanese had successfully invaded, they would have ruled for a time, but eventually would have been kicked out. The current invaders aren’t going anywhere, and they reproduce much faster than Americans.

Plus the Japanese never expected us to pay them to invade us:

The candidates will then be granted a special refugee parole, which includes many taxpayer-funded perks and benefits. Among them is a free education, food stamps, medical care and living expenses…

A State Department official promoted CAM as a “family reunification” program that will be completely funded by American taxpayers, though the official claimed to have no idea what the cost will be.

Who can put a price on the future?

The fig leaf of “refugees” being allowed into the country ahead of immigrants likely to make a positive contribution because their lives are supposedly in danger has been dropped.

The State Department official assured that applicants need not express or document a credible fear to qualify under CAM because “we want to make sure this program is open to as many people as possible.”

Consider this as part of the bigger picture of what is being done to America, and it goes beyond treason. It is cultural genocide.

Our rulers know exactly what they are doing. From the official federal propaganda outfit Voice of America:

America’s demographics are changing like never before. In less than 30 years, whites will no longer be the racial majority in the United States.

On the large scale, race and culture are inseparable. Americans are effectively becoming a minority within our own country. Our own democracy will be used against us to relegate us to a permanent second class status (as South Africa demonstrates, whites being a minority hardly spares them from Affirmative Action).

Working and middle class whites are becoming a slave class that toils to provide benefits to the Third Worlders imported to empower the ruling class of elitist liberals. Eventually intermarriage will breed the last of our kind out of existence, as VOA happily implies:

In 1960, multiracial marriages accounted for only 0.4 percent of all marriages in the United States. By 2010, that figure rose to 8.4 percent, with interracial couples accounting for 15 percent of all new marriages – a trend that experts say will only continue.

The VOA piece was given the Orwellian title, “Experts: Coming Demographic Shift Will Strengthen US Culture.” What they mean by this is that the deliberately engineered demographic shift will erase US culture, so that it can be replaced by a multicultural utopia preconceived by cultural Marxists.

It used to be genocide meant herding unwanted demographic sectors into gas chambers. But that was crude and inefficient. Simply diluting us out of existence can be done without mess – and incredibly, without resistance.

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Maryland Obamacare Exchange Wrongly Billed U.S. Taxpayers $28M

MD’s Exchange Wrongly Billed U.S. Taxpayers $28M – Sweetness & Light

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From the United Press International:

Audit shows Maryland health exchange improperly billed $28.4 million

March 27, 2015

WASHINGTON (UPI) – Maryland’s health insurance exchange improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million, a Department of Health and Human Services audit reported Friday.

In another patented Friday evening news dump.

An inspector general’s probe found a lack of oversight and internal controls, not criminal wrongdoing, was the cause of the exchange’s problems since the marketplace opened in 2013.

Their incompetence seems to border on criminality.

The Maryland Health Connection was among the first state exchanges approved by the federal government, but its website crashed on its first day of operation and it experienced numerous software problems and feuds between contractors.

The entire technological infrastructure of the exchange was scrapped in 2014 and replaced by a platform used by Connecticut’s exchange.

In other words, it was a typical Obama-Care success story. By the way, wouldn’t Maryland’s governor make a great President?

The audit said the state used a 2013 and 2014 federal grant to cover the exchange’s costs when it should have used funds from a Medicaid program jointly financed by Maryland and the federal government…

We’re sure it was an innocent mistake. The state wouldn’t want to try to cheat the federal taxpayers in other states.

The audit found two accounting errors, a $15.9 million misallocation caused by out-of-date enrollment data, and $12.5 million through an unidentified contractor’s incorrect calculations.

It recommended Maryland pay back the $28.4 million, then apply for the actual amount due it from the federal government…

Don’t hold your breath.

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Evil Leftist Parasite Finally Retires From U.S. Senate (Video)

Reid Announces Retirement, GOP Campaign Committee Does Early Victory Lap – Big Government

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will not be seeking re-election in 2016.

The former majority leader, who has been a top target for Republican ire, released a video message Friday citing his New Year’s Day exercise injuries, saying they provided him “down time.”

“I have had time to ponder and to think,” he explained. “We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than us. And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election.”

While the powerful Nevada Democrat said the accident gave him time to think, he stressed that the decision was not due to the injury.

“The decision that I’ve made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury, it has nothing to do with my being minority leader and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be re-elected because the path to re-election is much easier than probably has been any time that I’ve run for re-election,” he said.

Reid’s departure from the Senate in 22 months will end a three decade tenure in the Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in 1986. Before that, he served two terms in the House of Representatives.

His announcement comes the same week a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report criticized Deputy DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over providing immigration benefits for the politically connected. The report named named Reid as a beneficiary of Mayorkas’ influence.

Following the announcement Friday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee offered an early victory dance, arguing that Reid was set to lose his re-election after losing the majority last cycle.

“Not only does Reid instantly become irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals that there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate,” NRSC executive director Ward Baker said.

He added that the Nevada race is now a hot ticket for Republicans.

“With the exception of Reid, every elected statewide official in Nevada is Republican and this race is the top pickup opportunity for the GOP.”

Meanwhile Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) praised Reid’s tenure and signaled Democrats would put up a fight in Nevada.

“There is a talented pool of Nevada Democrats who are ready to step up to the plate, and we will recruit a top-notch candidate in Nevada who will be successful in holding this seat in 2016,” he said.

Watch:

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Thanks Barack… 167,527 Illegal Alien Murderers, Rapists And Child Molesters Loose In The U.S. (Video)

ICE: 167,527 Criminal Aliens Loose In U.S.A. – CNS

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According to weekly detention and departure reports from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, there were 167,527 non-detained convicted criminal aliens in the United States as of Jan. 26 of this year, a congressional hearing revealed Thursday.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah.) read the statistic aloud Thursday durin a hearing examining ICE’s priorities and procedures for removing criminal aliens currently living in the United States.

“In that report, it said that there are 167,527 non-detained, final-order convicted criminals on the loose in the United States,” Chaffetz pointed out while questioning ICE Director Sarah Saldana.

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“These are people that are here illegally, get caught, convicted, and you release back out into the public,” he said, adding that some of the crimes committed by those who have been released include homicide, sex crimes, child pornography, drunk driving, robbery and kidnapping.

The federal government announced Wednesday that ICE had released about 30,000 convicted criminal aliens from ICE custody in 2014 alone, according to The Washington Times, which first reported the statistic.

As CNSNews.com reported in February, ICE admitted to releasing 36,007 criminal aliens from the agency’s custody in Fiscal Year 2013, including those convicted of sex crimes, homicide, drunk driving, kidnapping and robbery. Of these, 1,000 went on to commit new crimes ranging from assault with a deadly weapon and lewd acts with a child to aggravated assault, robbery, and hit-and-run.

During the hearing, Saldana said that ICE releases criminal aliens back into the community based on the agency’s “discretionary control.”

“Madam Director, if you’re a criminal, will you be deported?” Chaffetz asked Saldana.

“Those are the people we’re looking for, yes,” Saldana responded.

“But they’ve been in your detention. They’ve been detained. I mean they were convicted. They were… were they deported?” Chaffetz pressed.

“They were in the process of being deported,” Saldana claimed. “Everyone in our detention facilities is in the process of being deported, chairman.”

“Well that’s not true. I mean, you regularly release them back out into the public before they get deported, correct?” Chaffetz continued.

Of the roughly 36,000 criminal aliens released by ICE in 2013, about 22,000 were released under ICE’s “discretionary control,” she estimated.

“So you don’t automatically deport them, then?” Chaffetz asked.

“Automatically, sir? No,” Saldana responded, adding that “the law gives us that discretion.”

“And so when we say, if you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported, that’s not necessarily true,” Chaffetz said.

“It is true, sir. It’s in–”

“After they get released back into the public for untold number of times?” Chaffetz asked.

“It does happen. It does happen, yes, and that’s exactly what we’re here to do,” Saldana admitted.

“What does happen? That they get released?” Chaffetz asked.

“Yes,” Saldana said, “Even criminals that are released.

“Those people were released under the laws of the United States,” Saldana added, explaining that according to “due process,” it can easily take “months and even years to deport folks.”

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U.S. State Department Uses British IslamoNazi’s Pro-Sharia Law Photograph To Promote Free Speech (Video)

Internet Gaffe By U.S. government As UK Extremist’s Sharia Law Photo Used In Free Speech Ad – Daily Mail

The U.S. government has made a bizarre internet gaffe by posting a British Muslim extremist’s photograph of veiled women calling for sharia law, citing it as an inspirational example of free speech in the West.

The American State Department’s ‘Think Again Turn Away’ campaign is designed to dissuade Muslims from joining IS – also known as ISIS – and other extreme groups.

The campaign posted the picture on its Twitter account last week, adding: ‘In open societies, all faiths enjoy freedom of speech; under ISIS rule, no such thing as freedom of expression.’

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The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a stall in Dalston, East London. They are standing behind a trestle table covered in leaflets and a banner reading: ‘Shariah law or man made law. Which is better for mankind?’

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found the banner was used in an extremist campaign called Stay Muslim, Don’t Vote, which calls for strict sharia law to be imposed on Britain, as well as urging Muslims not to vote in elections.

The photo was given the caption ‘Muslims coming out inviting society to Islam’ – which was copied by the U.S. State Department – by a man calling himself Abdulrahman Muhajir, whose Twitter account is suspended.

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The Mail on Sunday can reveal he is Moshiur Rahman, a 33-year-old from Luton, who last year was one of 12 Islamists given Asbos banning them from taking part in demonstrations over a violent protest rally on Oxford Street. At least two of the gang are believed to be fighting for IS in Syria.

Anjem Choudary – the hate preacher who has repeatedly blamed British foreign policy for terrorist attacks and whose al-Muhajiroun group was banned by the Government – was present at the event in Dalston on March 7. He has also given talks in Walthamstow and East Ham at demonstrations where the sign was used.

The photo appropriated by the U.S. State Department was first placed on Twitter last week by a woman calling herself Umm Usmaan, who is a leading figure in the anti-democracy campaign.

She described it as an ‘Islamic roadshow’ and included the slogan ‘stay Muslim, don’t vote’ when she put the photo on Twitter.

Yesterday she posted a picture of another sign with the message: ‘The right of legislation belongs to none but Allah!’

Last night, terror expert Douglas Murray, associate director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: ‘It’s an incredibly weak “fail”,’ he said. ‘They should be putting a bit more thought into their sourcing. With all of our resources, it’s not even as accomplished as the crudest IS propaganda.’

US Twitter users were also quick to ridicule the State Department, with one calling it an ‘epic fail’. Conservative U.S. commentator Mark Steyn added: ‘Why is the State Department promoting sharia for the United Kingdom? Aren’t they supposed to uphold the Constitution of the United States? Sharia’s incompatible with that constitution, as it is with the legal inheritance of Western civilisation.’

The State Department did not respond to requests to comment yesterday.

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