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

Chinese Plunge Protection Team Failing to Stem Stock Market Declines

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 30, 2015:  

A historical chart of the Shanghai (SSE) Compo...

A graph of the Shanghai Index showing the first bubble in 2006-2008

In the last 30 minutes of trading on Wednesday, the Shanghai Composite Index jumped more than three percent, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite (equivalent to the U.S. Nasdaq index) leaped more than four percent. That this was the result of actions taken by China’s unofficial “plunge protection team” was obvious to Jacky Zhang, an analyst at BOC International: “Clearly it is government intervention again.”

China’s plunge protection team (PPT), equivalent to the U.S. stock market’s “Working Group on Financial Markets” set up under President Reagan following Black Monday in October 1987, has moved heaven and earth to keep its stock markets from collapsing. The team, made up of China’s Securities Finance Corporation and the China Securities Regulatory Commission, along with top officials from the country’s 21 largest brokerages and the Chinese central bank, has implemented an entire panoply of measures to stem the tide, including:

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Home Ownership Rate Lowest Since President LBJ

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 29, 2015:  

English: 904 S. 3rd, Mount Vernon, Washington....

According to the Census Bureau, home ownership in the United States has now dropped to the lowest level since 1967, and estimates are that the decline will continue to the lowest level ever recorded. The rate for the second quarter of 2015 was 63.4 percent, the lowest rate since Lyndon Johnson was president. The rate stands a good chance of reaching the all-time low, 63 percent, set in 1965 when the U.S. government began keeping track of such a statistic.

It wasn’t supposed to happen. In 1995 after the rate dipped to a breath-taking, eye-popping 64.7 percent from the previous 50-year average of 65.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau, the Clinton administration issued a call to arms! The government must do something!

When then-President Bill Clinton announced his “National Homeownership Strategy” in May 1995, he said,

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Social Security Disability Trust Fund Could Be Depleted by Late 2016

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 23, 2015:  

Every year the language of the trustees of the Social Security system becomes more strident, and every year the managers of the program kick the can further down the road. In its report issued on Wednesday, the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees stated that “Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund now faces an urgent threat of reserve depletion, requiring prompt corrective action by lawmakers if sudden reductions or interruptions in benefit payments are to be avoided.” The report noted:

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Social Security Disability: Reaching the End of the road?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 24, 2015:  

Social Security Poster: old man

Buried in the annual exclamations of urgency by the trustees of the Social Security system issued on Wednesday was this warning: action by Congress will “give the public adequate time to prepare.” In the short run, some 11 million on Social Security Disability will learn that their benefit checks will drop by $200 a month starting next fall, so they need to get used to that. In the long run everyone receiving anything from the celebrated Ponzi scheme will see their checks go to zero:

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“Sharing,” or “Gig,” Economy Catching Flak From Democrats

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 16, 2015:  

The “sharing” or “collaborative” economy — often derided by statist politicians as the “gig” economy — continues to explode with new applications, aided by the Internet, coming on stream almost daily.

A few are well known: Uber, Lyft (chairman in photo), and Airbnb. But others, such as Zaarly, TaskRabbit, and DogVacay, are expanding rapidly as well, thanks to the unique combination of individuals seeking flexibility, income, and opportunity without the confines of the corporate world, and thanks to the Internet. And it’s starting to drive those who would control everyone everywhere crazy.

Charles Cooke, at National Review Online, spelled out the reasons for the growth of the sharing economy using Uber as an example:

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The Root Cause of Greece’s Problems: Socialism

This article was published online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 13, 2015:  

English: Alexis Tsipras in a press conference ...

Alexis Tsipras

Returning to Brussels with an austerity program eerily similar to that just rejected by Greek citizens a week ago, Prime Minister Alex Tsipras hoped to obtain another bailout in exchange for debt forgiveness by the European Central Bank (ECB). Tsipras is desperate: His government must make a $7.8 billion payment to the ECB next Monday, and another $13 billion by the middle of August.

Instead, following marathon sessions lasting into the wee hours, those EU officials upped the ante, passing even more stringent demands before granting Tsipras his lifeline. It told Tsipras, in essence, either to paint or get off the ladder:

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Support to Lift Crude Oil Export Ban About to Overwhelm Obama

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 10, 2015:  

Apparently deciding that approaching President Obama directly on the matter of oil exports would be a waste of time the Laborers’ International Union and the International Union of Operating Engineers (both Obama supporters) wrote a letter to Congress instead, urging them to lift the ban on exporting crude oil.

Said the letter:

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Fracking is Driving the Reshoring of American jobs

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 10, 2015:  

Dow Chemical corporate headquarters in Midland...

Dow Chemical corporate headquarters in Midland, Michigan

When Doug May, a regional president for Dow Chemical, announced that his company was going to be investing $6 billion to expand by 40 percent its manufacturing facilities in the US, he was acknowledging simultaneously the massive, if largely unknown, impact that fracking had on that decision. Until that announcement Dow had for years been focusing its attention outside the US where wages were lower and profits were higher. No longer. Said May:

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Fracking Is Boosting Reshoring of American Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 9, 2015:  

English:

In its latest report on American competitiveness, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimates that the average cost to make goods in the United States is now only five-percent higher than in China, and between 10 and 20 percent lower when compared to the major European economies such as Germany and France. In less than three years, BCG projects China’s advantage to disappear altogether.

While part of the reason is rising wages in China and in the Eurozone and American companies improving their productivity faster than their competitors abroad, the primary reason, says BCG, is fracking — the technology that has driven energy costs to a fraction of what they were just a few years ago.

Back in August 2013, Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at BCG, predicted the U-turn that would result in “reshoring” of millions of jobs, starting in 2015:

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China’s Stock Market Continues Its Sharp Decline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 8, 2015:

As predicted, the Chinese stock market accelerated its decline on Wednesday despite efforts by Chinese government officials to slow it.

The combination of over-leveraged investors with little prior experience about the prudent use of margin to buy stocks has turned the decline of the Chinese stock market into a rout. Closing on Wednesday at 3,507, the Shanghai Index has lost one-third of its value just since June 12 when it hit 5,178. The smaller Shenzhen Composite, made up of smaller technology stocks, is down 40 percent.

Jeremy Warner, economics commentator and assistant editor at London’s Daily Telegraph, viewed the carnage and remarked:

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Greek Vote the Death Knell for the EU?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 8, 2015:  

English: Nigel Farage at Lord's cricket ground...

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, named “Briton of the Year” in 2014 by the London Times, has finally found his voice. He noisily departed the Conservative Party in 1992 after the signing of the treaty that created the European Union to start his own UK Independence Party (UKIP). His criticism of the EU has been steady ever since, culminating in his eulogy on Monday: “The European Union is Dying Before our Eyes.”

According to Farage, Sunday’s referendum in Greece sealed its death warrant, even if somehow the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is able to come to terms with the troika and have them turn on the financial spigot once again: “It [was] a crushing defeat for those Eurocrats who believe that you can simply bulldoze public opinion.” He added,

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Greece-EU Standoff Increases Chances of “Grexit”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 7, 2015:  

UK Independence Party

Writing in London’s Telegraph on Monday, Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-EU, pro-sovereignty UK Independence Party (UKIP), called Sunday’s referendum in Greece “a crushing defeat for those Eurocrats who believe that you can simply bulldoze public opinion.” Threats by those Eurocrats to shut off emergency financing unless the country agreed to its terms fell on deaf ears, especially among those under age 35: Eighty percent of them voted no on Sunday.

That cohort is the one least likely to remember the songs that were sung by those promoting the European Union decades ago:

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Is Puerto Rico America’s Greece?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 6, 2015: 

After running deficits every year since 1973 and paying for them by borrowing, the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico has finally run out of options. On June 28, the island’s Governor Garcia Padilla admitted that its $73 billion “debt is not payable.… We will [shortly] be in a death spiral.” Padilla added: “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

The math is persuasive.

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Greeks Shout “NO!”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 6, 2015:  

Greek citizens shouted “No!” to further austerity measures for the hapless country in exchange for more of what got it into trouble in the first place: other people’s money. The lopsided 60-40 vote astonished telephone pollsters, who predicted a much narrower victory for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the far-left Syriza party. Although the issues were far more complicated than the referendum made it appear, the 68-word ballot question made it easy: do you want more increases in taxes, more cuts in pension benefits, another increase in the VAT … or not?  Translated into English, the ballot read:

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Greece to the EU: NO!

This article was published online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 6, 2015:  

In an astonishing blow to the European Union’s credibility, Greek voters, fed up with five years of austerity, continuing recession, 25-percent unemployment, and severe cuts in pension payouts, strongly said “No!” at the ballot box Sunday. The 68-word ballot question, rejected by 61 percent of the voters, reads (translated into English):

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China Stock Market Tumbles Into Bear Market

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 3, 2015:  

Since June 12 the Shanghai Index of Chinese stocks has lost 30 percent, thanks to losses on Friday of nearly six percent, and 12 percent for the week. That index, reflective of the Chinese stock market in general, exploded between November and June thanks to some 90 million newly minted Chinese investors entering the market for the first time, many of them with borrowed money, hoping to cash in on the rise.

Brokerage houses were only too glad to oblige, with many of them allowing new investors to borrow up to six times their initial equity position. As the market went almost vertical, commentators have been calling it a bubble, with prognosticators predicting its end sometime before 2016.

That may have been too hopeful:

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Will Sunday’s Greek vote Signal the end of Monnet’s Dream?

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 3, 2015:  

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Sunday’s vote is only about accepting or rejecting the troika’s terms to restart the flow of bailout funds that has been keeping the Greek economy from tanking. He said that a “no” vote “does not mean rupture with Europe but a return to Europe with values.”

Most assuredly Sunday’s vote is likely to, in hindsight, turn out to be much more than that. Historians might write that Sunday, July 5, 2015, ended Monnet’s dream.

Monnet was the architect, the primary driving force, behind the failing experiment in Europe called the European Union. He was head of the first genuine European executive body,

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Export-Import Bank’s Charter Expires, for the Moment

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 1, 2015: 

English: Export-Import Bank of the United Stat...

Visitors to the Export-Import Bank’s website on Wednesday would have found a terse notice that its charter had “lapsed” effective midnight, June 30, meaning that “the Bank and any of its delegated authority lenders cannot authorize any new transactions.” However, the bank is likely to have a very long life even after its death:

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Neo-Luddites in Paris are Losing to Uber

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 29, 2015:

Although the definition of “neo-Luddism” is a “movement of passive resistance to the … frightening technologies of the computer age,” in Paris the resistance is hardly passive. Last week taxi-drivers shut down entrances to and exits from the Charles De Gaulle International Airport, attacked cars driven by Uber drivers (including their passengers), overturned some of them, and set tires on fire. All this to express their frustration over how Uber is slowly, inexorably, putting them out of business. Since they were on strike, even when customers wanted a ride, the cartel members turned them down. After all, they were on strike! (Shown above are passengers toting their own luggage away from De Gaulle airport.)

As the head of taxi company G7 said on French television,

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More Proof People Are Moving From High Tax States

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 26, 2015: 

The latest interactive graph from CNBC  shows more people moving from high tax states such as Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Illinois to lower tax states such as Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, and Arizona. The authors of the latest study reviewed data from United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines over the last 10 years and concluded that Connecticut was the poster child for out-migration from a high tax state.

For the year 2013, and for the 10 years prior, 55 percent of all moves by these movers took people out of Connecticut. The Nutmeg State levies more than

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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.

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