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

Fracking Revolution: U.S. Replaces OPEC as World’s “Swing Producer”

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 1, 2014: 

 

After reviewing the numbers from America’s oil and gas patches, Per Magnus Nysveen of Rystad, an international oil consultancy in Norway, declared that the United States is now taking on the role of “swing producer” that used to be played by Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC, the oil producers’ cartel.

Those numbers are impressive. Fracking technology has led to a 65-percent increase in U.S. crude oil output in just the last six years and, according to Wood Mackenzie,

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Stock Market Gains Failing to Bail Out Pension Plans

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 26, 2014: 

Pension managers’ hopes that investment returns – i.e., pixie dust – would bail them out from their bad assumptions, and keep their plans solvent and fully funded so that they would be able to keep every promise made, have finally crashed on the rocks of reality. Just three months ago, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released a study showing that the shortfall between promises and assets to pay them for 25 of the largest public defined-benefit pension plans in the country amounted to more than

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Despite Stock Market Gains, Public Pension Plans Fall Further Behind

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 25, 2014:

 

In its latest report on public pension plans, Moody’s announced on Thursday that, despite recent historic gains in the stock market, those plans’ liabilities are increasing even more quickly. Reporting on the 25 largest public defined benefit pension plans in the country, Moody’s Global Credit Research estimates that those plans are now $2 trillion short of where they need to be to pay out all the benefits promised to their beneficiaries. This has occurred despite record gains in the stock market, which,

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California Governor Being Challenged by Republican Upstart in November

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 23, 2014:

English: Photo of California Attorney General ...

California Governor Jerry Brown

In response to a challenge posed by his Republican opponent for the governorship in November, California Governor Jerry Brown said:

A lot of people forget the mess that California was in just four years ago. There were 1 million jobs that had been lost. Our budget deficit was astronomical: 27 billion. We hadn’t had a budget on time in probably 10 years.

Brown’s challenger is Republican Neel Kashkari, a practicing Hindu born of Indian parents with a background as a Bush appointee and a former executive with Goldman Sachs. While his political positions on key issues qualify him as a RINO — Republican in Name Only — he is already closing the gap on the once-invincible California governor.

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The Kansas Referendum on Reagan’s Tax Cut Policies

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 24, 2014:

Big government liberals and high spending politicians have converged on Kansas, seeing an opportunity to discredit not only Ronald Reagan’s tax policies but to get even with the Tea Party, which took out a number of “moderate” Republicans in the state Senate over the last two election cycles.

Gov. Sam Brownback (pictured above), a supporter of less government and lower taxes, was able to ride the conservative wave that resulted in tax reform that not only increased an individual taxpayer’s standard deduction from $4,500 to $5,500 but also

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Will Tax Cuts Rescue Kansas Governor Brownback in November?

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 22, 2014:

Sam Brownback, member of the United States Senate

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback

Rarely has a governor’s race had such a clear-cut focus. In Kansas, Republican Governor Sam Brownback is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Paul Davis, who is concentrating on Brownback’s tax policies, which were designed to stimulate Kansas’ moribund economy. They’re not working, says Davis, and the tax cuts passed by Brownback 20 months ago need to be repealed to save the Kansas economy and protect government services.

Davis is getting a lot of help from liberals and from moderate Republicans who

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Luddites Foiled Again: low-cost Robots Making Workers more Efficient

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 19, 2014:

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus Fernandez got nervous when his company installed 21 new Universal Robots that were supposed to make his life easier and safer by helping him move parts in and out of its metal-cutting machines. At $20,000 apiece, the robots threatened to replace him altogether, or so he thought: “At first, I had doubts the robots could do what I did, moving the parts around, handling the parts.” But he timed himself against one of them and concluded: “I’m fast, but the robots are faster.” Fernandez accepted the new technology and now operates three of the so-called collaborative machines, reducing labor costs for his company while simultaneously increasing his take-home pay.

Fernandez’s boss, Gregg Panek, president of Panek Precision, Inc., a machine shop in Northbrook, Illinois, said one of the reasons for the improved efficiency is “because

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New Low-cost Robots Making Factory Workers More Efficient

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 18, 2014:

Factory Automation with industrial robots for ...

Factory Automation with industrial robots for metal die casting in foundry industry, robotics in metal manufacturing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long before calls for a higher minimum wage became headline news, fast-food restaurants such as Applebee’s and Chili’s were already moving toward the use of robots to replace waiters. The day before President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage last December, Applebee’s announced it would be replacing its servers with Presto — a table tablet that customers can use to order and to pay their bills. Commenting on Presto’s advantages, Annie Lowry wrote in National Review

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Fracking Boom Continues to Set Records

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 17, 2014:

Logo of International Energy Agency

Logo of International Energy Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The explosion in production in the oil patch makes it nearly impossible to keep up. Economist Mark Perry is trying. On September 2, he reported that Texas crude oil production in June topped three million barrels per day, noting that, as a separate nation, Texas would be the world’s eighth largest oil producer. The very next day Perry reported that natural gas production from the Utica Shale formation has increased by a factor of seven in just two years, and it’s just getting started.

Less than two weeks later, Perry reported that

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More Good News From the Oil Patch: Less Drilling, More Production

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 16, 2014:

A petroleum drilling rig capable of drilling t...

A petroleum drilling rig capable of drilling thousands of feet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It didn’t take long for naysayers at Newsweek magazine to declare that the fracking boom is at high risk of going bust. This followed an announcement from the Bank of America in July that the United States is now the world’s leading oil producer, ahead of both Saudi Arabia and Russia. In just the last five years, U.S. oil production has exploded from five million barrels a day to 11 million and, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), that number will continue to climb for at least the next five years.

But what then? Newsweek posited: 

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U.S. Tax Code Puts America 32nd Out of 34 Countries

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 15, 2014:

English: Ronald Reagan singing the Tax Reform ...

English: Ronald Reagan signing the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The release of the Tax Foundation’s latest study last week, its “2014 International Tax Competitive Index” (ITCI), gave commentators from the Wall Street Journal to the Independent Women’s Forum plenty to chew on. The foundation’s analysis, based on more than 40 variables across five major categories, concluded that the United States ranked just 32nd out of the 34 countries making up the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In their executive summary, the authors of the study noted that

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Truancy Laws Snag 13-year-old Piano Prodigy

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

It took just one day for the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to respond to Petula Dvorak’s column in the Washington Post on Monday. Chancellor Kaya Henderson issued a public statement condemning Dvorak’s column for inaccuracies and claiming instead that she was working with Avery Gagliano’s parents to avoid charging the 13-year-old piano prodigy with truancy.

Gagliano was one of just 12 musicians selected from around the world to

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Common Core Gooses Homeschooling

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

 

A mother and her homeschooled daughter, studyi...

A mother and her homeschooled daughter, studying in the kitchen about household chemicals and the hazard warning labels(flammability, reactivity, etc )http://www.flickr.com/photos/vr/1253261487. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time the headline underreported the news. From the Charlotte NewsObserver came this: “Homeschooling rate Accelerates in North Carolina.” A better headline would have read: “Homeschooling goes Exponential in North Carolina.” In 1985, the year that homeschooling was legalized in the state, there were about 2,300 home-schooled students. Two years ago there were 77,300 home-schooled students, which jumped to 85,900 last year. This year the number is closing in on 100,000, a gain of 27% in just two years. At that rate there will be more than 200,000 homeschooled students in North Carolina in less than five years. That’s exponential, with a vengeance.

It’s not surprising, given the federal pressure to adopt Common Core standards and curricula across the land. The greater the pressure, the greater the desire to opt out. Said Beth Herbert, founder of Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association, “Common Core is a big factor that I hear people talk about. They’re not happy with the work their kids are coming home with. They decided to take their children home.”

Kelly Swinney, a retired homeschool mom, was much more direct: “Common Core is bad, plain and simple. It’s a one-size-fits-all program and kids just aren’t that way.” The pressure to opt out of Common Core has reached North Carolina’s General Assembly which just voted in July to create a commission to figure out how to do it.

Similar numbers are coming in from Freedom Project Education (FPE), backed by the John Birch Society. In three years the number of students in its K-12 program, based on the Constitution and free market economics, has grown from 22 to more than 700. Alan Scholl, director of FPE, told this writer that he had to turn back 130 additional students who asked to be enrolled after the August deadline had passed. He estimates that his school will have 1,000 students next fall, a gain of 4,500% in three years.

When asked how much of that was due to people trying to escape the clutches of Common Core, Scholl said: “At least half!”

Even before Common Core entered the classroom, parents were increasingly disenchanted with what was going on in their children’s schoolrooms. They didn’t like their school’s environment, the quality of the academic teaching, the curriculum that was increasingly dumbing the kids down while leaving out critical parts of American history, the bullying, the inevitable peer pressure to conform, and the lack of moral or religious instruction. They were tired of hearing how homeschooled students were outperforming their kids in every discipline. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the average homeschooled student outperformed his public school peer by between 30 and 38 percent across all subjects. This was confirmed by Education News, which noted that “Homeschooling statistics show that those who are independently educated typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on the [standardized assessment] exams, while those attending traditional [public] schools average at the 50th percentile.”

And when they hit college, they outperform their peers there as well. As Dr. Michael Cogan of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota noted in 2010, homeschooled students going to college achieve a higher first-year GPA than their peers, and that advantage is retained all the way through their college experience. In addition they have a higher graduation rate when they complete their studies.

And when they graduate from college, homeschoolers are much more active and involved in their communities, such as coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association. In addition they are much more likely to be involved in political and civic affairs and vote at a much higher percentage than their peers. According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI): “76% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 voted within the last five years, compared with only 29% of the corresponding US populace. The numbers are even greater in older age groups, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared to the high of 53% for the corresponding US populace.”

But it’s the pressure to conform to Common Core standards that have turbocharged the homeschool movement. The Common Core standards came about when Bill and Melinda Gates first began funding their vision for national education standards with their grant to the James B. Hunt Institute. So far the Gates have given more than $27 million as seed money, which led to the development of the Common Core Standards State Initiative and the Council of Chief State School Officers, two Washington, DC-based trade organizations. As noted at the FPE website:

In brief, each of the 50 states has been bribed by the federal government to accept the copyrighted and thus unalterable Common Core standards – even though most Americans have no idea what they entail – by offering those states millions….

To date, 46 states have accepted Common Core money, ceding curricula control to the federal government and taking it away from parents, teachers, and local school boards. Beyond the educational mediocrity the Common Core standards will further enshrine in public schools, there are elaborate plans to use the required national assessments within the Common Core standards as a tool to institute massive data collection about American schoolchildren that has nothing to do with education, and everything to do about government intrusion and control.

Emile Zola put it very well:

If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it burst through it will blow up everything in its way.

So it is with Common Core and the exponential response from parents who are increasingly aware of the danger and who want to see that their kids get a good education. Coupled with online schooling through the Internet, these concerned parents are increasingly opting out by doing it themselves and teaching their kids at home.

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Sources:

Charlotte NewsObserver: Home schooling rate accelerates in North Carolina

Daily Signal: In One State, More Children Homeschool Than Attend Private Schools. Why That Shouldn’t Shock You.

Home Schooling

Home Schooling in the US

Education News: Number of Homeschoolers Growing Nationwide

The New American: Homeschooling Continues to Grow in Popularity Nationwide

FPE: What is Common Core?

National Home Education Research Institute (NEHRI)

 

Homeschoolers Outnumber Private-school Students in North Carolina

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 9, 2014:

Homeschooled children in the kitchen

Homeschooled children in the kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

News from North Carolina marks another milestone toward developing an informed, politically active citizenry familiar with the basic fundamentals of the American Republic.

Homeschooled students now outnumber private-school students in North Carolina. This represents an increase of more than 14 percent from the year before, and a 27 percent increase from just two years ago. The state estimates that there are nearly 100,000 homeschoolers in North Carolina, while private school enrollments have been dropping ever since the beginning of the Great Recession. According to the Charlotte News Observer, this extraordinary growth is due to parental concerns about school violence, the lack of a religious focus in public schools, and the large classroom size.

But it also has to do with the accelerating pushback against the Common Core nationalized curriculum.

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Mexico Doubles Car and Truck Production in Five Years, Thanks to NAFTA?

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 8, 2014:

English: A North American Free Trade Agreement...

In her promo for her article titled “America’s Car Capital Will Soon Be … Mexico,” which appeared in Forbes on Monday, Joann Muller claimed that “wise trade policies south of the border have quickly created the global auto industry’s factory floor” and wondered rhetorically if Washington was listening or watching to learn Mexico’s lesson. She wrote:

Seemingly overnight, Mexico’s automotive output has soared, bolstered by a flood of investment from foreign-based carmakers, including Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen, and Mazda. With $19 billion in new investment, production has doubled in the past five years to an estimated 3.2 million vehicles in 2014.

And it’s all because of NAFTA, she claims:

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Proof That $15 Minimum Wage Hurts Those It’s Claimed to Help

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 8, 2014:

 

Obverse of United States one dollar bill, seri...

The city of SeaTac, which holds the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour starting January 1 for some businesses. Within weeks of the beginning of the SeaTac “experiment,” the impact of the passage of Proposition One had become evident. Despite the fact that the new law impacts only about 1,600 employees in this town of 27,000, major changes and shifts were already taking place in reaction to it.

For example, a customer using the Master Park Airport valet parking service at SeaTac will note an extra line on his bill for $.50 entitled

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Why Aren’t Gas Prices Lower?

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 29, 2014:

 

English: Took image myself as an example of th...

With gasoline prices averaging, according to the AAA Motor Club, just $3.43 a gallon as of August 28, Clifford Krauss celebrated the “new American oil bonanza” in an article for the New York Times. Unfortunately, Krause is behind the times and only half right. The “new” American oil bonanza is not new, nor is it confined to oil. The first economical natural gas shale fracture was completed in 1998 by George Mitchell’s company, Mitchell Energy, using slick water fracturing. Since then, natural gas from shale has been the fastest growing contributor to total primary energy in the United States, with crude oil extraction from shale right behind.

Happily, Krause got the rest of it right when he noted that

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Market Basket Workers Win, Restore Beloved “Artie T” as CEO

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 1, 2014:

 

English: Fresh produce for sale at the West Si...

The internecine warfare between Arthur T. DeMoulas and his cousin Arthur S. has finally come to an end. Arthur T. will buy out cousin Arthur S.’s 50.5 percent interest in the Market Basket grocery chain for $1.5 billion. The intra-family squabbles had been going on for decades, but hit a low point in June when Arthur S. fired Arthur T. – referred to fondly by his employees as “Artie T” – in June, and replaced him with two joint CEOs. This so outraged upper management and store managers that

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Foreign Affairs: Give Away Free Money!

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, August 29, 2014:

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

What happens when a college professor meets up with a graduate student from Oxford University, intending to solve the world’s economic problems? What happens when they consider that the previous attempts to revive the economy have failed and their recommendation is to do more of the same?

The title of their resultant article in Foreign Affairs – the premier publication of the Council on Foreign Relations – explains it all:

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Market Basket Employees Return to Work; Unions Surprised

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 28,2014:

English: The new Market Basket Store #32 in Ch...

The new Market Basket Store #32 in Chelsea, Massachusetts

The tone of the announcement from Market Basket’s shareholders late Wednesday night was vastly different from the statement issued by the company’s previous CEOs two weeks ago announcing that any of the striking workers who failed to return to work by Friday of that week would be terminated.

The first statement was harsh: “You must return to [your job] ready to fulfill your duties no later than Friday, August 15, 2014. Should you choose to ignore … these directives, the company will consider you to have abandoned your job, thereby ending your employment with the company.”

The latest announcement was warm and reassuring, and comforting to the nearly 25,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of customers of Market Basket who had boycotted the 71-store chain over the last six weeks:

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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.