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

Edict From Venezuela’s President Maduro: Grow Your Own Food

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 27, 2016:  

                            No Hay Comida is translated: There is no food

Word got out that there would be chicken for sale at the Central Madeirense supermarket in Guarenas, Venezuela, on Friday, so Kattya Alonzo got there at 4 a.m. The line of others already snaked around the block, waiting for the delivery trucks to arrive.

But when the trucks arrived at 6:30, the national guardsmen monitoring the crowd sensed the possibility of a riot and ordered the trucks to move on. The people waiting in line turned ugly and

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Venezuela Collapsing; U.S. Officials Fear Violence, Military Coup

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 18, 2016: 

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...

U.S. intelligence officials warned on May 14 that Venezuela is descending into economic and political chaos that is likely to end in street violence, military suppression of citizens’ rights, and a possible coup to remove President Nicolás Maduro.

How much of that reflects CIA interventions to keep the crisis somewhat under control is an open question. But one of those anonymous “intelligence officials” told the Wall Street Journal that “[our] goal is to mitigate the crisis that they’re experiencing. It’s in the United States’ interest that Venezuela not bottom out.”

If past experience serves as a guide for the future, the CIA could

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Brazil’s Interim President Says “Trust Me,” Installs Corrupt Bureaucrats

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 16, 2016:  

Upon taking over Brazil’s presidency from disgraced former President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday, interim president Michel Temer asked his skeptical citizenry to “trust” him, saying that his new administration would be Brazil’s “salvation”:

Trust me. Trust the values of our people and our ability to recuperate the economy…. It is essential to rebuild the credibility of the country abroad to attract new investments and get the economy growing again…. It is urgent to restore peace and unite Brazil. We must form a government that will save the nation…. It’s urgent to seek the unity of Brazil. We urgently need a government of national salivation.

Even if he truly intended to do any of that, the challenges he faces almost defy description.

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Trump Suggests National Debt “Deal,” Media Calls It “Fanciful” and “Dangerous”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 9, 2016:  

A snippet from Donald Trump’s conversation with CNBC on Thursday raised the ire of numerous media commentators, who called Trump’s plan “unprecedented” (CNBC), “fanciful” and a “threat” (New York Times), and “tantamount to a debt default” (Yahoo Finance). Others called his remarks “reckless,” while Tony Fratto, a former Treasury official in the George W. Bush administration said, “This isn’t a serious idea — it’s an insane idea.”

What sparked the ire? The initial impetus was when Trump said, “[The U.S. Treasury is] paying a very low interest rate. What happens if that interest goes up two, three, four points? We don’t have a country. I mean, if you look at the numbers, they’re staggering.”

Indeed they are. The U.S. Debt Clock shows the national debt closing in on $20 trillion, while the economy is slumping along, with a GDP at just over $18 trillion. Put another way,

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A Tipping Point in Texas? It’s Building Its Texas Bullion Depository Bank

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 6, 2016:  

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow W...

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow Wilson signs creation of the Federal Reserve. Source: Date: 24 December 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A modest bill, getting little press and clothed in innocuous terms, could spell the end of the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on its “federal reserve note” currency. When Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed it into law almost a year ago, he said:

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Texas Contracts to Build Nation’s First State Gold Bullion Depository

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 5, 2016:  

The Texas Comptroller’s Office has begun to receive bids from private contractors interested in building the country’s first state gold storage facility, the Texas Bullion Depository (TBD). When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the bill providing for it last July, he said it was all about saving fees being paid to store the state’s gold in New York banks:

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Puerto Rico to Default on $422M Payment Today; Likely Another $2B in July

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 2, 2016:  

Puerto Rico continued its “death spiral,” with its failure to make a $422 million interest payment on Monday on some of the island’s gigantic $73 billion debt. This comes on the heels of missed payments over the last year, and will be followed up by a $2 billion payment due on July 1, which it is also widely anticipated to miss. The payment is due from the island’s Government Development Bank (GDB), the main bond issuer and the island’s fiscal agent.

So far Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (above) has, as noted previously in The New American, been able to keep the lights on and the water running by moving money around on the island’s balance sheet, paying only those with the highest and most enforceable claims and dealing as best he can with those holding lower credits. It was Padilla who said his island was in a “death spiral” as far back as last July, because his 3.5 million inhabitants, half of whom live in poverty, didn’t have the money.

But for decades Padilla and his predecessors acted as if they did have it,

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What Happens After Venezuela Destroys its Currency?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 29, 2016:  

English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. At a joint press...

Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin

Venezuela is unable to pay its currency printers. Those printers have been flying in planeloads of currency in the middle of the night, landing at airports where it is offloaded onto trucks to be dispersed to banks throughout the country. In other words, Venezuela doesn’t have the money to pay for its money.

The destruction of the currency, the bolivar fuerte (“strong bolivar”), has been documented at The New American and elsewhere. When oil prices dropped, so did revenues to fund the various socialist welfare schemes put in place by the communist Hugo Chávez and continued by his protégé, Nicolás Maduro, at Chavez’s passing in March 2013. Instead of reining in those unaffordable programs, socialist economists instead decided to print their way out of the crisis.

The results were predictable, and catastrophic.

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Have Oil Prices Hit Bottom?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 21, 2016:  

The 40 percent increase in the price of crude oil just since the end of January prompts two questions: Have investors seen the bottom in oil prices, and have drivers seen the lows in gas prices?

Todd Garner, the managing partner at Protec Energy Partners hedge fund, thinks so:

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Is $40 Oil the New Normal?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 22, 2016:  

To the consternation of traders short the market, crude has jumped from $30 a barrel in late January to over $40 currently, with many indicators pointing to still higher prices. Was $30 the bottom? What will be the new ceiling?

Every bull market rises from the ashes of fear, disgust and despair. Traders and investors reasonably expected oil to bottom at well below $30, perhaps in the 20s, with some heavyweights, including Goldman Sachs, suggesting even lower prices. Some took short positions, certain that their calculus was correct: OPEC had maxxed out, American production seemed impervious to precipitous declines in rig counts, China’s economy was faltering and signs of recession were continuing to expose themselves around the globe, including the U.S. What could go wrong?

A little energy company, Callon Petroleum, showed exactly what could go wrong. Three times in the last six months the company has sold new shares to raise equity, and three times the company’s stock has risen. Logic and experience would suggest that dilution of shares would reduce their price. But with Callon, shares jumped from $4.21 in the middle of January to nearly $10 currently.

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Nothing is Likely to Change in Brazil

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 20, 2016: 

One of Warren Buffett’s favorite expressions is “when the tide goes out, everyone will see who’s been swimming naked.”  In Brazil the tide went out at the start of the Great Recession and now the whole world can see who was swimming naked.

When President Lula was elected in 2002 the commodity boom was underway, and Brazil was enjoying the ride. Its major exports are soybeans, sugar, and iron ore, and under Lula Brazil’s GDP was running 10 percent a year. Lula implemented major expansions of the welfare state, including putting in place such generous pension plans that state workers could retire at age 54 for men and at age 52 for women at 90 percent of their final pay. The average Brazilian’s household income rose, and statists worldwide pointed to Brazil’s success story, naming it as one of the BRIC countries that would soon overtake the developed nations of the world, and doing it while expanding government spending.

But when Dilma Rousseff took over in 2011 the Great Recession was revealing the true nature of spending far beyond the ability of the economy to sustain it. In 2014 the government’s finances were in such dreadful shape that

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Have Oil Prices Hit Bottom?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 21, 2016:

The 40 percent increase in the price of crude oil just since the end of January prompts two questions: Have investors seen the bottom in oil prices, and have drivers seen the lows in gas prices?

Todd Garner, the managing partner at Protec Energy Partners hedge fund, thinks so:

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Opposition Gearing Up to Colo. Single-payer Healthcare Proposal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 15, 2016: 

Mark Twain is alleged to have said that “a lie can travel halfway around the world before truth can get its boots on.” In Colorado Initiative 20 is already on the ballot in November and opposition to it is just getting its boots on.

If passed, it would be the 69th amendment to Colorado’s state constitution and would collect all the state’s healthcare programs — Medicaid, children’s healthcare, and all the other state and federal healthcare programs — under one roof. It would replace ObamaCare with what supporters are calling ColoradoCare. And it would double the state’s budget in its first year.

The language of the ballot initiative question may be enough to kill it:

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Are Federal Bailouts of States’ Pension Plans Inevitable?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 13, 2016:

English: Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

California Representative Devin Nunes, a middle-of-the-road Republican from the state’s 22ndDistrict with a middling voting record (a Freedom Index rating of just 53), got something right: he sees the coming implosion of underfunded pension and health care plans across the country, and offered a bill to do something about it: force the states and the pension managers to tell the truth about the numbers:

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Goldman Sachs’ Warning Dents Crude Oil Price

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, April 13, 2016:  

The price of crude oil, which reached $65 a barrel a year ago, fell below $30 in January with expectations that its decline wouldn’t end until it hit $20, or even lower. But hopeful optimists see light at the end of the tunnel — this coming from next Sunday’s OPEC meeting in Doha, Qatar (photo above) — where an agreement to freeze production at current levels will be on the table, bid crude higher in an almost straight line. On Tuesday NYMEX crude hit $42 a barrel, a 40-percent jump from January’s lows.

A note from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday provided a sobering view:

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Revolving Credit Lines to Oil Industry Pose New Hazards to Banks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 12, 2016:  

One Wells Fargo Center – Charlotte, North Caro...

One Wells Fargo Center – Charlotte, North Carolina

As earnings season on Wall Street starts, investors in the big banks are just now learning about unfunded revolving lines of credit (revolvers) that those banks extended to oil and energy related companies when times were better.

Ten of the largest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, just disclosed that they have $147 billion in unfunded revolvers, which are likely to expand their exposure to the energy industry just when they would rather reduce it.

Those banks have been setting aside loan loss reserves amounting to billions in anticipation of the inevitable:

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States’ Pension, Health Plans Increasingly Vastly Underfunded

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 11, 2016:  

The numbers being reported by pension fund managers are so out of touch with reality that Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has proposed legislation to correct them. Said Nunes: “It has been clear for years that many cities and states are critically underfunding their pension programs and hiding the fiscal holes with accounting tricks. When these pension funds go insolvent, they will create problems so disastrous that the fund officials assume the federal government will have to bail them out.”

According to Joshua Rauh, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, the amount of underfunding is

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$15 Minimum Wage Laws Spreading Across the Country

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 4, 2016:  

Today (Monday) California Governor Jerry Brown will sign a bill raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, the first state to do so. The law will do it in stages over the next six years so that the unemployment impact won’t be so severe. In the next couple of weeks, legislation that has passed the New York legislature also raising that state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour is expected to be signed into law as well.

Unions and others pushing the “Fight for $15” policy are now gearing up to push the $15 minimum wage on other states, such as

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The PC Crowd, Economic Ignorance, and the Minimum Wage

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 4, 2016:  

No political correctness

Nick Adams, the Australian author of Retaking America: Crushing Political Correctness, has arrived on the American scene at precisely the right moment. He has appeared on nearly every major TV and radio show, writes for Townhall.com and Townhall Finance, and serves as a Centennial Institute Policy Fellow at Colorado Christian University. And he was named Honorary Texan in 2013 by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

PC is being used as a hammer to intimidate, emasculate, or otherwise neutralize opposition to any Progressive agenda. Rather than answering legitimate questions or responding to thoughtful objections, the PC crowd instead accuses the questioner of being

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A Closer look at the Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 1, 2016:  

From a distance the jobs report issued on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) looked pretty good: 215,000 new jobs were created by the economy in March while earnings, year-over-year, increased by 2.3 percent. The average hours worked remained stable, and the labor force participation rate rose off its recent record lows.

The numbers came from two sources: payroll numbers provided by businesses directly to the Labor Department, and household numbers provided by phone-call surveys.

In looking at the numbers, Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, a massive global investment firm headquartered in New York City, said that “we continue to generate a lot of jobs” without asking what kind. A closer look reveals

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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.