The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (AFP) – U.S. retail sales edged higher in August at a weaker than expected pace, led by auto and home furnishing sales, official data released Friday showed.

Retail sales, which reflects a key component of consumer spending that is the bulwark of the U.S. economy, rose 0.2 percent in August from July, the Commerce Department said.

The increase was half the 0.4 percent rise expected by analysts.

But the department revised upward the July reading to 0.4 percent from an initial estimate of 0.2 percent.

Excluding sales of motor vehicles and equipment, retail sales rose a mere 0.1 percent in August, a marked slowdown from the revised 0.6 percent gain in July.

Total retail sales in August were up 4.7 percent year-over-year.

The mixed report, showing a weak August but a stronger July, was the last significant piece of economic data ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day monetary policy meeting that starts Tuesday.

The Fed is widely expected to announce a pullback in its massive monetary stimulus program on Wednesday.

The central bank has said it will taper the $85 billion a month asset-purchase program if the economy continues to show broad improvement.

Photo Credit: AFP/Scott Olson

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Billboard urging "No" vote on Kansas abortion referendum

That Kansas voted to protect abortion rights guaranteed in its state constitution didn’t surprise me, although I certainly never expected a landslide. The original “Jayhawks,” after all, waged a guerilla war to prevent Missourians from bringing slavery into the Kansas territory, a violent dress rehearsal for the Civil War. A good deal of the state’s well-known conservatism is grounded in stiff-necked independence.

In the popular imagination, Kansas has always signified heartland values and rustic virtue. Superman grew up on a farm there, disguised as mild-mannered Clark Kent. So did Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz, a spunky young woman with an adventurous spirit. But cartoonish fantasies have little to do with the real world. My favorite Kansas politician was always Sen. Bob Dole, war hero, Senate majority leader, 1996 GOP presidential nominee, and unmistakably his own man.

Keep reading... Show less

Colbert Mocks Trump's Bad Toilet habits

Image via YouTube

The political world was rocked by the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago residence, perhaps prompted by reports that he had flushed classified intelligence documents down the toilet. Not surprisingly, Late Show host Stephen Colbert found this image laughable if alarming. (Over the weekend, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had revealed photos from a White House source revealing scraps of paper at the bottom of a toilet bowl.)

“To be fair, it’s unclear if those are official White House documents or his toilet’s suicide note,” Colbert noted, although the papers did appear to have Trump’s Sharpie handwriting, as well as the name “Stefanik” written on them -- as in Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}