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Christmas Sales Surge
All kinds of things are happening in Washington and around the country as the year comes to a close. But the biggest event taking place is economic, and many people evidently felt additional optimism this Christmas season.
Retail sales surged 3.4% over last year, led by record online spending. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a critical time for the economy. According to Reuters, sales during these few weeks can account for up to 40% of all annual sales for many retailers.
The reason for the renewed optimism is obvious. Consumer confidence is up. Wages are up. Unemployment is at a 50-year low.
The left loves identity politics. But every identity you can think of is prospering right now. Asian, Hispanic and black unemployment rates are at historic lows. In a normal time, that should count for something.
And this is in spite of so many politicians and pundits trying to talk the economy down. (Here, here and here.)
No Surprise Yet
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un recently threatened the United States with a "Christmas surprise." Most intelligence experts interpreted that to mean another long-range missile test.
Well, Christmas has come and gone and there was no surprise from Kim. The U.S. was prepared, however, with forces on high alert and at least four surveillance flights over the Korean peninsula in the past 48 hours.
Nevertheless, I heard a number of left-wing commentators over the holiday criticize Trump because, in their opinion, he had done nothing about North Korea over the past three years. Of course, they did not say exactly what he should have done, and when he was talking tough about "little Rocket Man," they were telling him then to back off.
These same commentators said nothing at all during Obama's eight years when he did nothing to rein in North Korea's nuclear program and when it developed long-range missiles capable of striking of the United States.
In fact, Obama's "inauguration gift" to Trump was tell him that North Korea would be his biggest problem.
The U.S. Energy Miracle
As the debate over climate change continues to rage, I was struck by some recent figures showing what a tremendous miracle has occurred in the U.S. energy industry -- and how all the so-called "experts" were so wrong. For example:
- In 2010, the Obama Administration predicted that the U.S. oil production would flatline at roughly six million barrels of oil a day. We're producing twice that today.
- As a result of dwindling supply, oil was predicted to be more than $100 a barrel. Today it's about $61 a barrel.
- The Obama Administration predicted similar stagnant production levels for natural gas. Today, we're producing about two-thirds more than expected.
- And what about carbon emissions? Surely all this energy production must be bad for the environment, right? Carbon emissions are actually down.
Once again, the gloom and doom of the left has failed to materialize, while innovation and the free market are working wonders for our economy and our quality of life!
Why The Cold War Still Matters
On this day 28 years ago, Mikhail S. Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and the USSR officially dissolved.
December 26th hasn't taken its place in the American consciousness like April 9, 1865 (the end of the Civil War) or September 2, 1945 (the end of World War II). That's in part because, unlike those wars, the Cold War ended without a shot being fired.
But the lessons of the Cold War still matter today. Read more in my latest opinion piece at The Daily Caller.