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

China’s Failing Attempts to Censor the Internet

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 26, 2015:

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Internet censorship czar, Lu Wei, are learning that Princess Leia was right when she said in the movie Star Wars about extending increasing totalitarian political control, “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

When Wei visited Silicon Valley heavyweights last December, he noted that Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, had an anthology of President Xi’s speeches on his desk. Included in that book was a speech in which Xi laid out his vision of the Chinese Internet: 

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Internet Freedom to Disappear on Thursday

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, February 26, 2015:

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del...

Ronald Reagan was right:

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: if it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Tom Wheeler, the current FCC Chairman, doesn’t think that’s funny. He thinks they are his marching orders. Encouraged by his boss, Wheeler is reaching for the biggest hammer in his toolbox to bludgeon the internet into submission and turn it into a utility. On Thursday Wheeler will

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FCC to Vote on Net Neutrality Rules on Thursday

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 24, 2015:

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...

On Thursday consumers will finally be able to see and read the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) planned new rules to regulate the Internet. Deliberately hidden from public view, the 332-page document is expected to be passed by the FTC, as demanded by President Obama last November when he told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to adopt the “strongest possible rules” in regulating the Internet.

Leaks from the document were inevitable, and critics have slowly pieced together the latest attack on Internet freedom.

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Tax Foundation Counts All Income Except Underground

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 23, 2015:

Tax Foundation

Tax Foundation

Not one single word of the 10-page report “Sources of Personal Income” released by the Tax Foundation mentioned the “black market” — that vast swirling uncounted (and largely uncountable) part of the U.S. economy that some estimate in the trillions. Accordingly, that throws off the foundation’s attempt to draw any more than tentative conclusions about how much the average taxpayer earns.

According to the Foundation, Americans reported a total of $9.2 trillion in income in 2012, the latest year for which numbers are available, with $6.3 trillion of it coming from “wages, salaries, tips” and “other” compensation. They get those numbers mostly from the infamous

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Milton Friedman, the W-2 Withholding form, and the Underground Economy

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 23, 2015:

English: Portrait of Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman

With Americans about to file their income tax returns, most of them will look at their W-2 withholding forms to get the numbers without any background on how paying the government first came to be accepted as normal.

At age 16 this writer worked as a helper on a Canada Dry delivery truck. It was a plum job if one could get it. A “helper” load was 160 cases (the heavy glass-bottle kind), and it paid $20 for the day. There was great incentive to dump those cases as fast as possible (without breaking them!) and get back to the warehouse and put in the time sheet.

The first week generated $100, and this writer had never seen a $100 bill before. Imagine his surprise when his pay envelope had “change” in it. The slip showed Gross $100.00. Net: $92.43. The government got into this writer’s pay envelope before he did!

He’s never forgotten that moment, and was surprised, so many years later, to learn how much a hand one of his favorite economists, Milton Friedman, had in creating the entire withholding system in the US back in 1943.

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Ruling Imminent on California’s Anti-gun Microstamping Law

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 19, 2015: 

A Browning 9x19mm Hi-Power, also known as the ...

A Browning 9x19mm Hi-Power

The ruling on a lawsuit brought against the state of California in January 2014 opposing implementation of the state’s “microstamping” law is expected momentarily. If enforcement of the law is permanently banned, it will be cause for rejoicing in a victory of logic and constitutional rights over irrational and emotional hoplophobia (fear of guns).

California’s Eastern District Judge Kimberly Mueller will rule shortly on whether California’s microstamping law makes such unreasonable demands upon gun makers that for all practical purposes they are unable to comply with them: 

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Will this be OPEC’s Final Failed Gamble?

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 18, 2015: 

Cover of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for O...

Six years ago historian Daniel Yergin wrote in The Prize about OPEC’s failed gamble in 1986. The cartel tried to secure its preeminent place among the world’s oil producers by forcing crude oil prices down:

Was the price now poised for a great fall? Most of the exporters [primarily OPEC] thought so, but they expected no more than a drop [from more than $30 a barrel] to $18 or $20 a barrel, below which, they thought, production … would not be economical….

 

Actually, operating costs – the cash costs to extract oil – were only $6 per barrel [at the time], so there would be no reason to shut down production at any price above that.

The cartel was hoping to squeeze out marginal producers, which would result in cuts in supply, allowing it to raise prices at will. It didn’t work then, and it isn’t working now. The Saudis apparently suffer from an appalling lack of understanding about how the free market works.

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Re-fracking Old Wells Is Extending the Fracking Revolution

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 17, 2015:

English: A natural gas well (produces gas only...

A natural gas well

News that the oil industry is importing many of the new technologies developed by natural-gas producers, which led to steadily declining natural-gas prices, was greeted with great disappointment by at least one green group. Upon learning that fracking was not only a long way from disappearing in the face of declining oil prices but was actually on the verge of a resurgence, Sharon Wilson, a Texas organizer for Earthworks, told Bloomberg, “It’s terribly disappointing.”

It might be disappointing to Wilson, but

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Calls That Oil Prices Have Bottomed Are Premature

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 12, 2015:

English: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

The recent bump-up in crude oil prices, from under $45 a barrel the last week in January to nearly $53 several days later have evoked predictions that the “bottom is in,” that the recovery in oil prices will be “U”-shaped, and that, given time, all will be well. The fracking industry will suffer only minor damage, gasoline prices will remain much lower, and the oil and gas industry will continue, after a brief pause, to lead the country out of the Great Recession.

Numerous factors mitigate against such a rosy outlook for oil, including

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Fracking, Earthquakes, and Scare Tactics

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 11, 2015:

When seismologists from Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey issued their preliminary report last Friday, it caused tremors of its own. They reported that a previously undiscovered and unmapped underground fault might explain the spate of recent earthquakes underneath Irving and Dallas, Texas, and anti-frackers seized on it as proof that fracking caused them.

Unfortunately for them, there was little in the report to make their case against fracking. That hardly deterred them. SMU seismologist Brian Stump was noncommittal:

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China’s Economy Headed for a Hard Landing

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 9, 2015:

The China bubble is imploding at an accelerating rate and has caught Wall Street economists off guard, according to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Why they should be surprised is hard to fathom, given the predictions offered for months on end about the ending of the great Chinese economic “miracle.” As recently as three weeks ago, Minxin Pei, professor at Claremont McKenna College and professional observer of the Chinese economy, said, “If the official Chinese data should be believed at all … China’s GDP growth at 7.4% in 2014 … could have been worse.”

Indeed, it probably was.

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FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules are ObamaCare for the Internet

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 6, 2015:

If the real intentions behind the benign phrase “net neutrality” were truly exposed, the conversation would be very short. As Will Durant noted in his The Story of Philosophy:

“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” How many debates would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to the strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and ruthlessly tests the mind; but once done it is half of any task.

Opponents in the freedom fight have for years used obfuscation and false front words to advance their cause, but none more effectively than its term “net neutrality.” How could anyone object to that?

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U.S. Government’s Interest Costs to Quadruple in 10 Years

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 5, 2015: 

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the federal government will be paying $800 billion annually just to service the interest on its massive debt by 2025, up from just over $200 billion currently. By 2021, those interest costs will equal what the government is projected to be spending on national defense, and on non-defense (so-called “discretionary” items), and will greatly exceed those two budget items just by 2025. The Journal also noted that “non-discretionary” items (so-called “mandatory” expenditures) will continue their inexorable march upward, from $2 trillion currently to more than $4 trillion by 2025.

Surprisingly, few eyebrows were raised over the announcement,

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Latest CBO Report shows Deficits Approaching $1 Trillion

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 4, 2015: 

English:

When the Congressional Budget Office issued its Budget and Economic Outlook 2015 to 2025 in January, few could be bothered to do a serious review of it as it seemed to contradict the present meme of the Goldilocks economy: job growth accelerating, interest rates low, consumer confidence improving, deficits shrinking, and so forth. Even those taking the time to look at it, scoffed at its conclusions. Said the CBO:

The federal budget deficit, which has fallen sharply during the past few years, is projected to hold steady relative to the size of the economy through 2018.

Beyond that point, however, the gap between spending and revenues is expected to grow, further increasing federal debt … which is already historically high.

The CBO explained why:

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Obama’s FCC to Issue “Net Neutrality” Rules on Thursday

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 3, 2015:

net neutrality world logo

Net Neutrality world logo

Following President Obama’s lead, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will announce new rules on Thursday changing Internet providers from “information services” to “telecommunications companies” in order to impose the president’s demand for “net neutrality” rules onto them.

The Federal Communications Commission regulates telecommunications companies with a heavy hand, but five previous attempts to force Internet providers into the net neutrality category have failed, having been met with stiff resistance, especially from the courts. Now, however, major players are forcing the issue for another try.

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United States Remains in 12th Place in Economic Freedom

English: The 2010 Heritage Foundation Index of...

The 2010 Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom.

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 30, 2015: 

Except for a modest and temporary decline in federal government spending, the United States would have fallen even further from its current 12th-place spot in the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom just released this week. The authors were brutal in their assessment of the reasons behind the country’s frightful fall from near the top of the index a decade ago: 

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Oil Price Decline Hurting Alaska the Most

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 26, 2015:

State Seal of Alaska.

Although oil-producing states such as North Dakota and Texas are expected to suffer declines in revenues if oil prices continue to drop, other states such as Wyoming, Louisiana, and especially Alaska will feel much more than just a temporary pinch. According to the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Service,

If lower prices persist through 2015, the economies and finances of the energy producing states — Louisiana, Alaska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma and North Dakota — will be put to the test.

Oil and mineral revenues account for a third of Wyoming’s budget, one-sixth of New Mexico’s, and one-eighth of Louisiana’s, while Texas — the state that, standing alone, would be the eighth-largest oil-producing country in the world — counts on less than

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This is the Largest Wealth Transfer in History

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 21, 2015: 

English: Murray Rothbard in the 90's

Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard

Coinciding with the announcement from the IRS that January 20 is the start of the 2015 tax season came the report from two wealth management consultancies, Wealth-X and National Financial Partners, that the largest transfer of wealth in world history is about to take place. With Obama’s help and the acquiescence of the Congress, the IRS is hoping to partake in the windfall.

According to the Family Wealth Transfer Report, an estimated $16 trillion of wealth belonging to 211,275 ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals worldwide will pass to their heirs over the next 30 years. $6 trillion of that wealth is

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Largest Wealth Transfer in History is Coming

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 20, 2015: 

According to a study just published by Wealth-X and National Financial Partners, $16 trillion of wealth belonging to 211,275 “ultra-high net worth” individuals will be passed on to the next generation over the next 30 years. $6 trillion of that wealth is located in the United States, and financial “consultancies” such as Wealth-X and NFP are gearing up to help them manage the transfer.

Two-thirds of that wealth was created by entrepreneurs starting businesses, and these entrepreneurs are now faced with questions on the future of their money:

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“Audacious” State of the Union Speech to Push for Higher Taxes on the Rich

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 19, 2015:

In what the New York Times termed an “audacious” move, President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night to push for higher taxes on the rich and big financial institutions, and give the money to the middle class still caught in the clutches of a slow economic recovery from the Great Recession.

The details are straightforward:

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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.