Congress came close to yet another self-inflicted shutdown (it would have been our 4th in just the last 13 months), but a hard-fought compromise between Washington lawmakers finally provided a spending plan for fiscal year (FY) 2019. Most of the media attention has been directed at 2% of the $61.6 billion allocated to the Department of Homeland Security (i.e., the $1.375 billion earmarked for a border security wall), but 82% of the $333 billion, 1,169-page bill detailed the FY 2019 spending approved for 8 other federal departments, including the State Department, Commerce Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (source: BTN Research).
The 2 economic superpowers in the world – the USA and China – have just 10 days to end the trade war that began 7 months ago in July 2018. Negotiators for both countries spent last week in Beijing and now have moved the talks to Washington D.C. this week. If the 2 countries don’t come to an agreement by Friday 3/01/19 or agree to extend that deadline, US-imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports will more than double to 25% from 10% currently (source: BTN Research).
Retail spending nationwide (technically “Retail & food services” spending) fell 1.2% in December 2018 to $506 billion, the largest month-over-month percentage drop in the USA since September 2009. But that unexpected report, suggesting that the American consumer may be backing up, failed to derail the US stock market. The S&P 500 is up +11.0% YTD (total return) through the first 7 weeks of 2019 (source: BTN Research).
Notable Numbers for the Week:
COUNTRY IN CHAOS - Venezuela has the largest estimated oil reserves in the world (301 billion barrels), nearly 8 times the estimated reserves of the United States (39 billion) (source: World Atlas).
THE RICHEST FIVE PERCENT - The top 5% of US taxpayers in tax year 2016 (the latest year for which tax data has been released) made at least $197,651 of adjusted gross income (AGI), received 35% of all AGI nationwide and paid 58% of all the federal income tax paid by Americans (source: IRS).
BORROWING - The US government has maintained financial records since 1789, i.e., 230 years. From 1789 to 3/16/09 (220 years), our government created $11 trillion of debt. From 3/16/09 to 2/11/19, i.e., the last 10 years, our government created another $11 trillion of debt, reaching a record $22 trillion (source: Treasury Department).
EXPENSIVE EDUCATION - Outstanding student loan debt in the USA was $1.46 trillion as of 12/31/18, up +128% from $640 billion as of 12/31/08 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
This message and any attachments contain information, which may be confidential and/or privileged, and is intended for use only by the addressee(s) named on this transmission. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are notified that any review, copying, distribution or use of this transmission is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please (i) notify the sender immediately by email or by telephone and (ii) destroy all copies of this message. If you do not wish to receive marketing e-mails from this sender, please reply to this email with the word REMOVE in the subject line. By industry regulation, we cannot accept time-sensitive information via e-mail. If you would like to execute a trade or if you have time sensitive information for me, please call my office. We cannot guarantee receipt of, nor the timing of placement, for investment orders received via e-mail.
If you do not want to receive further editions of this weekly newsletter, please contact Jayne Weddington at 614-431-4328 or e-mail us at email@example.com. You may also write us at 300 W. Wilson Bridge Rd., Suite 320, Worthington, OH 43085. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through FSC Securities Corp., a broker/dealer and registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Vorisek Financial Corporation is not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation or registered as a broker dealer or investment advisor.