Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Economics

New Unemployment Claims Headed for 50-year Lows

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 21, 2018:  

The jobless claims report from the Department of Labor (DOL) for the week ending September 15 came out on Thursday, the same day that Wall Street learned of even stronger corporate earnings. This one-two punch drove stock averages to new highs, which continued into Friday.

The report from the DOL was cryptic, and disappointing to economists who had forecast higher claims. Said the DOL: “In the week ending September 15 … seasonally adjusted initial claims was 201,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 15, 1969.”

Even better was its four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations: “The 4-week moving average was 205,750, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week … [and] the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969.”

Still better is the news that

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“Capital Goes Where It’s Welcome and Stays Where It’s well Treated” – Walter Wriston

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 21, 2018:  

The quote most famously made by Walter B. Wriston, the former chairman and CEO of Citicorp and former chairman of Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, is the one quoted in the title. He passed away in 2005, long before Trump’s tax reform plan (and its tax holiday for foreign corporate earnings) proved it to be so by beginning to transform the U.S. economy. In the first six months of 2018, nearly half a trillion dollars have been repatriated by American companies holding profits overseas waiting for such a time as this. Taxed at just 15.5 percent instead of 35 percent, companies are now reclaiming their foreign capital and treating it with the respect it deserves, and the results are showing up everywhere.

Apple is already bringing the “vast majority” of its $250 billion in foreign cash

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Nearly Half a Trillion Dollars Already Repatriated; More Coming

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 20, 2018: 

President Donald Trump said in an interview in July that untaxed corporate earnings held offshore used to be “$2.5 trillion … I guess it’s $5 trillion now. Whatever it is, it’s a lot more. So we have anywhere from $4 [trillion] to 5 or even more trillions sitting offshore.”

Thanks to Trump’s tax reform act and its related tax holiday, that number “sitting offshore” is now a lot less: almost half a trillion dollars less. In the first six months of 2018 alone, American companies have called back $465 billion of those untaxed corporate earnings from abroad.

In an attempt to denigrate Trump’s July statement, Politifact focused on just how much was being held overseas by American companies unwilling to pay the previously exorbitant 35 percent to bring them home. It was trying to show that Trump had once again exaggerated and overstated the numbers. But Manuela Tobias, writing the hit piece for Politifact, admitted that

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Time Is Running Out for NAFTA 2.0 to Include Canada

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 19, 2018: 

As talks begin again today [Wednesday] in Washington between top people from the United States and Canada over revisions to the inaccurately-named North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the pressure is all on Canada. Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House majority whip, has about had it with Canada’s stalling. Negotiations have been taking place for nearly 14 months and essentially have been going nowhere. Said Scalise,

There is a growing frustration with many in Congress regarding Canada’s negotiating tactics. While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was adamant: “Any negotiator who goes into a negotiation believing that he or she must get a deal at any price — that is a negotiator who will be forced to pay the maximum price for that deal. No deal is better than a bad deal.”

On the Canadian side, pressure is building on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to repudiate Freeland’s non-negotiable position not only from Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario (the center of Canada’s auto industry), but also his trade minister, Jim Wilson. Said Wilson on Monday:

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Trump Holds the Winning Hand in the Trade War with China

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 19, 2018: 

This definition of calling one’s bluff from the Free Dictionary is accurate: to call one’s bluff is “to challenge someone to act on their threat or prove that their claim or boast is true, when one believes they are making a false claim or idle threat (i.e. bluffing).”

Officials running the communist Chinese dictatorship dare not treat President Trump as an Obama by calling his bluff. Trump is holding all the cards, and they know it. And they know he is willing to play them.

On Monday, he announced his decision to impose tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports, explaining why in his statement:

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Repatriation of Foreign Earnings Gaining Momentum

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 17, 2018: 

When addressing business executives at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, in August, President Donald Trump said, “We expect to have in excess of $4 trillion [in foreign earnings held overseas by American companies] brought back very shortly. Over $4 [trillion] but close to $5 trillion, will be brought back into our country. This is money that [otherwise] would never, ever be seen again by the workers and the people of our country.”

The Commerce Department estimates that more than $300 billion of those profits stashed abroad were repatriated in just the first quarter of this year alone, surpassing the total repatriated in all of 2016 and 2017. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said

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Will Trump Get His Deal with China and Still Allow Them to “Save Face”?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 14, 2018:  

The Chinese are different. When travelling to China, Greg Rodgers offers this advice: “The concepts of saving face and losing face guide daily life in Asia. Causing someone to “lose face” … is a serious infraction.” He advises travelers:

The abstract concept of face obviously has nothing to do with anatomy, but instead can be described as a combination of social standing, reputation, influence, dignity, and honor. Causing someone to lose face lowers them in the eyes of their peers….

In a communist government, losing face could cause one to lose his life.

So how would Mr. “Art of the Deal” Trump deal with someone who would rather give up his life than accede to his demands?

From a western perspective, the timing couldn’t be better.

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American Business Coalition Launches Anti-Tariff Campaign Against Trump

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 12, 2018: 

A coalition of business interests, Americans for Free Trade, launched a campaign on Wednesday targeting Republican members of the House in five states. Its strategy is to persuade those members to bring pressure on the president to back off from his tariff/trade “war” that allegedly is hurting them.

Many big names are involved, including several with Deep State connections and anti-Trump inclinations. Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Chevron, Target, Autozone, Amazon, Macy’s, Walmart, IBM, Facebook, Mattel, Hasbro, and Barnes & Noble are numbered among the more than 60 members allied behind the campaign. The group claims that its intentions aren’t political, but the ads target five key states in Trump’s camp that helped him win the presidency in 2016: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. The group plans to target an additional seven states in its campaign before the end of the year.

The group was formed when it became clear that the Trump tariff strategy — a move to pressure countries dumping products into the United States or subsidizing certain industries in anti-competitive ways to come to the negotiating table — was going to take longer than they expected. A tariff is a tax, and in the short run, many of these companies are complaining that, as a result of Trump’s strategy, they are seeing their costs of imported raw materials rise. Yet the Trump-era rollback in regulations and taxation should lead to lower prices of domestic raw materials, enabling America to reduce its dangerous dependence on foreign sources for essential supplies. Such was the case with the surge in domestic oil production spurred by the fracking revolution, and America is better off for it.

One name notably missing from the list of companies complaining about Trump’s tariffs is Nucor,

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Trump: Economy “Booming Like Never Before”

As President Trump was counting off some of his administration’s accomplishments at a rally in Billings, Montana, on Thursday night, he paused and said the economy is “booming like never before!” The crowd roared, and so they should. Looking at the same numbers, Rick Reider, chief investment officer of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager with more than seven trillion dollars under its management, exclaimed:

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Just How Fast Can the U.S. Economy Grow?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 7, 2018: 

Presidential candidate Donald Trump startled his audiences by predicting that, under his administration, the economy would grow by at least three percent a year, that four percent was likely, and that five percent was achievable. The latest reports appear to prove that not only was he correct, but that the economy is poised to confirm his most generous predictions.

The Conference Board has been busy taking the economy’s temperature. In a 2017 survey, it discovered that

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White House Forecasts 3.5 Percent GDP Growth in Third Quarter

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 5, 2018: 

Kevin Hassett, chairman of President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors, said on the Fox News program “Countdown to the Closing Bell” on Tuesday that “three and a half [percent annualized GDP growth in the third quarter] is looking like a pretty comfortable number right now,” but added, “I would hope it would come in above that.”

It certainly could, and it might even hit five percent GDP growth in the second half of the year. According to the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s forecast model, GDPNow, third-quarter growth is estimated to be 4.4 percent, with previous weekly forecasts ranging from 4.6 percent to 5.0 percent.

Even those could be too conservative.

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Ivanka Has Drunk the Washington Kool-Aid

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 5, 2018: 

A White House official described the transformation of the president’s first daughter from a normal, intelligent common-sense individual into a socialist. While on the campaign trail with her father:

She would meet with moms who wanted to support their family but didn’t either have a skill set or wanted to go back into the workforce [but] weren’t sure how to find a job.

 

She met dads who wanted to earn wages where they could support their families but didn’t have the right skills.

 

She spent two years on the campaign trail and heard firsthand how people felt like they were the forgotten man or woman and how nobody was looking out for them.

 

That really resonated with her.

And so, unencumbered with any understanding of or commitment to Constitutional limitations on such things as federally funded job training programs, she pushed her father and members of Congress to take taxpayer money and spend it on those “forgotten” men and women she felt sorry for.

It’s called the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act,

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Off the Record, Trump Reveals Canadian NAFTA Strategy: “Totally on Our Terms”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 3, 2018: 

“Today the President notified the Congress of his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico — and Canada, if it is willing — 90 days from now,” President Donald Trump’s trade representative Robert Lighthizer said on Friday. He added that the accord is “the most advanced and high-standard trade agreement in the world.”

The operative phrase — “and Canada, if it is willing”— is the definitive statement on whether the agreement has two parties, or three. On Friday Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made clear exactly where her country stands: “We’ve made some progress … we’ve done some work together. For us, the only priority is a deal that’s good for Canada and Canadians, and that protects Canadian interests and Canadian values.”

That same day Trump made off-the-record comments of his own concerning Canadian participation in the trade deal

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Economy Booming: Could We See Trump’s Claimed 5% GDP Growth?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 29, 2018: 

Forecasters watching the economy expected that the blowout number in the second quarter for the country’s Gross Domestic Product would have to be revised downward on Wednesday. Once again, their expectations failed to reflect the real economy: That blowout number of 4.1 percent growth, instead of being revised lower to a predicted 4.0 percent, was revised upward to 4.2 percent GDP growth.

Those same economists, who simply can’t get their heads around the new Trump economy, are predicting that third-quarter GDP growth will come in around three percent. But the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model for the third quarter was just revised upward,

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New NAFTA Deal with Mexico is Still a Disaster

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 29, 2018:  

In a sudden rhetorical turn, President Donald Trump, who vehemently criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as being “a disaster,” now welcomes an agreement to modify that same agreement with the outgoing president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto. The details are skimpy, to be fleshed out more fully on Friday. Friday is the deadline for Nieto to sign it, with the conversation then turning to Canada for its approval and ratification. After that the U.S. International Trade Commission must do an economic analysis of the final agreement before it is presented to Congress for its approval.

One sticking point illustrates the danger of the new agreement that Trump wants to rename as the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement (presumably, USMTA) in case Canada fails to get on board.

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Is the U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement a Stealth NAFTA?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 28, 2018:  

As President Trump opened his telephone conversation with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto from the Oval Office on Monday morning, he said concerning the trade deal being discussed, “They used to call it NAFTA — we’re going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement, and we’ll get rid of the name NAFTA. It has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA for many years. And now it’s a really good deal for both countries, and we look very much forward to it.”

President Peña Nieto was equally excited about the “new” NAFTA — the USMTA — telling Trump, “I think this is something very positive for the United States and Mexico. And the first reason for this call, Mr. President, is, first of all, to celebrate the understanding we have had between both negotiating peace on NAFTA, in the interest we have had for quite a few months now to renew it, to modernize it, to update it, and to generate a framework that will boost and potentiate productivity in North America.”

It’s an “incredible deal,” according to President Trump:

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De Blasio, MTA, & Big Taxi Beat Uber, Lyft

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 9, 2018:  

Following his signing into law a bill passed by the New York City council on Wednesday which caps new ride-share drivers from obtaining necessary licenses to operate in the Big Apple and requires ride-sharing companies to start paying them minimum wage, rabid anti-capitalist Mayor “Bolshevik Bill” de Blasio explained why: “Our city is confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock. The unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action — and now we have it.”

What he failed to mention is that

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Strong Economy Boosting Trump’s Poll Numbers

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 3, 2018: 

Friday’s jobs report, disappointing to some who read only the headlines, continues to reveal an economy rocking and rolling along. The headline number — 157,000 new jobs created in July compared to expectations of 190,000 by economists — was overshadowed by the upward revisions of the two previous months by nearly 60,000 new jobs. The three-month average — 224,000 new jobs created by the U.S. economy — is the highest record this late in any previous economic expansion.

And, because so many of those jobs are being filled in the construction industry, nearly 30 percent of which are Hispanic, poll numbers for the president by that segment of the economy (more than one in six U.S. citizens are Hispanic) are moving to the president’s column. A recent Harvard/Harris poll reported a

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U.S. Household Debt at $13.2 Trillion — Cause for Worry?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 1, 2018: 

The latest report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York triggered all manner of financial anxiety. At $13.2 trillion, total U.S. household debt increased from $12.7 trillion a year ago, a jump of nearly four percent. Lending Tree, a loan comparison website, reported that the consumer-debt portion of total household debt will hit $4 trillion well before the end of the year. It added that Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to this debt, up from 22 percent in 2010, and that debts on auto loans and credit cards are climbing by more than seven percent a year.

The savings rate of the average American household has declined to 2.4 percent, nearly a record low.

Last year, the Federal Reserve rattled the markets with its survey that indicated that 35 percent of U.S. adults reported that they would not be able to pay all of their bills if they were faced with a $400 emergency.

Kevin Wack at American Banker wrote that,

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It’s Still Far Too Early to Run for Cover

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, August 2, 2018:  

Despite several recent reports from various sources that appear to indicate the fragile nature of the average American household, a closer look reveals that it’s still far too early to blow the whistle and run for cover. For example the latest from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that, at $13.2 trillion, total household debt increased from $12.7 trillion a year ago, a jump of nearly four percent. Lending Tree, a loan comparison website, reported that the consumer debt part of total household debt will hit $4 trillion well before the end of the year. It added that Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to this debt, up from 22 percent in 2010, and that debts on auto loans and credit cards are climbing by more than seven percent a year.

The savings rate of the average American household has declined to 2.4 percent, nearly a record low.

Last year the Federal Reserve rattled the markets with its survey that indicated that 35 percent of U.S. adults reported that they would not be able to pay all of their bills if they were faced with a $400 emergency.

Kevin Wack at American Banker wrote that in his opinion Americans have learned little from the lessons taught during the Great Recession that followed the financial crisis of 2007-2008: “We still borrow more and save far less than prudence would dictate.”

A closer look reveals a far different and much more comforting picture.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.