1--Obama Opens NSA’s Vast Trove of Warrantless Data to Entire Intelligence Community, Just in Time for Trump
With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.
4--Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him
6--As Crisis That Vexed Obama Fades, Trump Will Benefit-- President-elect could preside over longest recovery since World War II
Ironically, Mr. Obama steps down as the recovery from that crisis is largely complete, which could leave Mr. Trump to preside over the longest expansion since World War II.
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University have documented that recoveries that follow crises are weaker than those after a typical recession; on average, it takes eight years for a country to achieve its previous peak in per-capita gross domestic product.
The U.S. has done well, reaching its precrisis peak in just six years, in 2013. Nonetheless, at 2.1%, average annual growth over this expansion is the weakest of the postwar period....
That drained money from investment. Even today, housing, consumer spending on durables and business investment are just 24% of GDP, compared with 28% or more at previous economic peaks, according to Goldman. This lack of investment has both held back growth and worker productivity—or output per hour worked—which in turn has held back wages.
As in other countries, the financial crisis also polarized and fragmented politics. Outrage at bank bailouts and Mr. Obama’s broader economic interventions helped bring Tea Party Republicans to power in Congress in 2010. They forced Mr. Obama to pivot to fiscal austerity in 2011 when stimulus was still needed. Meanwhile, responding to the priorities of the left, his administration vastly expanded regulation and prosecution of financial companies, restricting the supply of mortgage and small business credit.
Paradoxically, the weakness of the expansion over the last eight years may sustain it. Business expansions don’t automatically die as they age but do become more vulnerable to life-threatening conditions. That is because investors, businesses and households tend to overinvest after a long stretch of good times, setting the stage for a correction...
The Goldman report notes that deleveraging has recently abated and may “soon reverse as households and the financial sector face a more favorable fiscal and regulatory environment under President-elect Trump. For all practical purposes, the ‘hangover’ may now be over.” It says that rising home and stock values should encourage consumers to save less and spend more, as typically happens during expansions but hasn’t so far in this one.
Job growth will slow simply because the economy is running out of spare workers, but that may be offset by a long overdue rebound in productivity growth. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that small business optimism has soared since the election, perhaps in anticipation of a more business-friendly White House. Wages are now growing at the fastest pace since 2009, which will also encourage investment in labor-saving technology. The Fed has promised to drag its feet at raising rates..