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

Jobs Bill: The Law of Intended Consequences

London | 2009

Image by thiago.carrapatoso via Flickr

With great fanfare, the Obama administration celebrated its first policy victory of the year—the $17.6 billion jobs bill. Eleven Republican Senators helped push the bill through the Senate, 68-29.

The economically flawed and unconstitutional law provides employers an exemption from Social Security tax withholding through the end of the year on any employees added to the payroll who have been unemployed for at least 60 days. And if the employees stay on that payroll for at least a year, the employers would receive an additional $1,000 tax credit. In addition, the law spends $20 billion on federal highway construction and other public improvement projects.

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Social Security’s Nest Egg is Officially Cracked

Broken Egg

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In a misleading article by Associated Press that IOUs “stashed away” in an investment account in Parkersburg, West Virginia, were going to have to be sold to meet Social Security shortfalls, all the attention was on the location of the account instead of what was in it.

Analyzed here and elsewhere, Social Security is now suffering in the open as a result of unconstitutional and unsound financial assumptions starting in 1935. First of all, the gigantic welfare program, the largest government transfer program in the world, was sold to the American people during the Great Depression as an annuity guaranteed by the federal government. In fact, it still retains the early efforts to link Social Security to the insurance industry (which, at that time, still retained a high degree of public trust) by calling it the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA.

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Lehman Bros.: Pinprick That Burst the Bubble

Balloon POP !!!

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The culprits blamed for the failure of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008 included the company’s top executives, their accountants, their highly-leveraged loans that had started going bad, their success at hiding those bad loans by cooking the books, and their lenders demanding more and better collateral, according to Anton Valukas in his 2,200 page report released Thursday.

There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, and it looks like there will be criminal charges filed too. The biggest lie, however, wasn’t mentioned: that this implosion of Lehman Brothers caught everyone by surprise.

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Obama Healthcare II is Financial Lunacy

Selling Obamacare - July 22, 2009

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Even if the Obama administration is able to persuade (or bludgeon) enough Democrats into passing his latest version of healthcare, it would still be financial lunacy.

Last summer CNS News reported on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of President Obama’s initial public offering for healthcare, which they called “fairly blistering…concerning the ability of the…plans to save money and control health care costs for the long term.” According to CBS, the Director of the CBO, Doug Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee that none of the bills he has seen would reduce health care costs: “In the legislation that has been [analyzed so far] we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of…health care spending by a significant amount…On the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”

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Latest Unemployment Numbers: Shoveling Snow?

Bureau of Labor Statistics

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When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that the economy lost only 36,000 jobs in February, the usual choristers took that as good news. Christina Romer, the Chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said, “Today’s report on the employment situation is consistent with the pattern of stabilization and gradual labor market healing we have been seeing in recent months.”

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Financial Reform: Pressing On, Regardless

Bob Corker

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Last month, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed back against the Obama administration’s plans to create a “standalone” Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and some Washington-watchers held their breath to see if Corker would hold his ground.

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U.S. Postal Service: Time to Free the Mail

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06:  Postmaster General Jo...

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When U.S. Postmaster General John Potter recommended eliminating Saturday delivery service in order to save money, he was merely responding to the postal service’s continuing inability to make money, or even cover its costs, delivering the mail. In a microcosm, the postal service’s difficulty is reflective of the government’s attempt to operate anywhere outside the constraints of the Constitution.

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The Economy Looks Like “L”

The Letter "L"

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Just when the headline news about the economy was beginning to look good and the talking heads were beginning to sound good, along came a barrage of bad news that was so bad that it couldn’t be covered up. Gallup began with the news that in January nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce “lacked adequate employment”, which was worse than the numbers reported by the Labor Department. According to Reuters, these “findings appear to paint a darker employment picture than official U.S. data,” with about 30 million Americans “underemployed.” And Gallup misses the mark by at least 2 percent, according to John Williams of ShadowStats.com.

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For Goldman Sachs, the Greece Fleece is Another Ripoff

Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York City

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When Goldman Sachs was implicated in helping Greece deceive the European Union and its own citizens about the extent of its debt and deficits, it was another stone in the growing pile of evidence illustrating the incestuous relationship between governments and central banks.

In order to conform with Eurozone rules, Greece must limit its annual deficit to less than three percent of its GDP, and its total outstanding debt to no more than 60 percent of its GDP.  Now that it’s clear that Greece has been in significant violation of both of those rules for several years, experts have discovered that efforts were made to hide those violations through the use of “obscure derivatives provided by [Goldman Sachs and] other U.S. banks to delay payment on obligations, borrow even more money and to keep the true figures off the official books.”

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Will the U.S. Be Able to Pay its Debts?

debt

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An Associated Press writer says “the crushing weight of its debt threatens to overwhelm everything the federal government does,” even under the best-case scenario. This theme of unsustainable debts and deep holes has been reviewed elsewhere on this site, and it’s small comfort that it is now making headlines in the controlled mainstream media:

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Geithner: No Double Dip

Timothy Geithner at the United States Departme...

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When he appeared on ABC News‘s This Week on February 7, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was quizzed about the risk of the United States losing its triple-A credit rating, the chances that foreign investors might start shunning US debt, and whether the economy would suffer a double dip recession.

Last week the credit rating agency Moody’s warned that weak economic growth and increasing debt burdens could “put pressure on the country’s triple-A status.”  When asked to respond, Geithner said, “Absolutely not. That will never happen to this country.”  One remembers the speaker’s rule to be very careful about using absolutes, such as “absolutely”, and “never happen.”  History books are filled with examples of events that could “absolutely never happen.”

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Latest on the Economy: Heading Up or Head Fake?

Logo of the United States Bureau of Economic A...

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When the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that “the output of goods and services…increased at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009,” the usual suspects in the kept media could hardly restrain themselves. ABC News’ headline trumpeted, “Economy Grows…Fastest Since 2003” which was “fueled by companies boosting output to keep stockpiles up.”  Their announcement explained that “Growth exceeded expectations mainly because business spending on equipment and software jumped much more than [was] forecast.”

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U.S. Debt Level Unsustainable, Report Says

Graffiti: Debt

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“The debt level of the United States is unsustainable, something has to give,” said the co-author of a new joint report released last week by the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration. The committee that prepared the 268-page study, entitled Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future, included three former heads of the Congressional Budget Office.

A WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi, entitled “Forecast: Debt to Dwarf GDP,” provided key quotes from the study as well as from Rudolph Penner, one of the former CBO heads. “The fundamental problem is that we have these three very large programs—Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security— that…are growing faster than tax revenues and faster than the economy,” Penner told WorldNetDaily. This is creating an “unsustainable federal budget deficit [that continues to grow] ever onward and upward.”

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Weak Dollar Obama’s Fault?

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only th...

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According to Newsweek, the dollar isn’t weakening, and even if it is, it isn’t Obama’s fault. On Tuesday, Daniel Gross iterated all the reasons that, according to conservatives, the American dollar should weaken. Conservatives, he said, blame the actions of the Federal Reserve with the lowering of interest rates to zero, printing money, and expanding the monetary base. They also blame the Obama administration for running up huge deficits in its efforts to restart the faltering economy.

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The Fed: Forever Blowing Bubbles

Girl blowing bubbles

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An article in the New York Times asked that since the Federal Reserve “failed to recognize the last bubble…why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next [one]?”

The roots of the present Great Recession stretch back to the bursting of the last bubble—the tech bubble—in the late 1990s. As the stock market declined sharply, the Fed under then-chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. The Times succinctly noted in its overview of the credit crisis that “lower interest rates make mortgage payments cheaper, and demand for homes began to rise, sending prices up. In addition, millions of homeowners took advantage of the rate drop to refinance their existing mortgages. As the industry ramped up, the quality of the mortgages went down.”

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Stock Rally Owing to Plunge Protection Team Conspiracy?

Polar Bear Plunge 2008

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The 60 percent gain in stocks since March was largely caused by secret government purchases of stock-index futures, the CEO of TrimTabs claims.

The Plunge Protection Team (PPT), otherwise known as the Working Group on Financial Markets, has been the target of conspiracy theorists ever since an article in the Washington Post in 1997 first shed light on the operation. The Working Group was created by Executive Order following Black Monday’s market crash on October 19, 1987, when the stock market declined more than 20 percent in a single session. Its purpose was to give recommendations for legislative and private sector solutions for “enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of financial markets and maintaining investor confidence.”

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Bernanke: Lax Oversight Recession’s Cause

FRANKFURT, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14:  Ben Bernank...

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Regulatory failures and not low interest rates were responsible for the housing bubble, implosion and current recession, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asserted on Sunday.

“Stronger regulation and supervision aimed at problems with underwriting practices and lender’s risk management would have been…more effective [in] constraining the housing bubble [rather] than a general increase in interest rates,” Bernanke told the American Economic Association.  Bernanke, while awaiting Senate confirmation for another term as Fed Chairman, defended recent and continuing charges that the Fed contributed significantly to the current financial crisis by keeping interest rates too low for too long.

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The Fed’s New Tool to Fight Inflation

WASHINGTON - APRIL 17:  Federal Reserve Chairm...

Last Monday, the Federal Reserve unveiled its new “term deposit facility” as another tool to fight inflation.

It was reassuring to note that the Fed has finally defined inflation’s causes properly: as a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services.

With the enormous increase in money and credit that the Fed has engineered over the past year, concerns are being raised about the coming rise in the general price level.  These concerns are being reflected in the recent declines in the bond market as investors appear to be demanding higher interest rates to offset some of that anticipated rise.

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Inside Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs Building

When the New York Times announced in their lead article on the front page of their Christmas Eve edition that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Goldman Sachs for allegedly self-dealing, it was a moment of surprise for many and, for others, a moment of clarity and confirmation.

It was a simple announcement, really: The Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating some potential self-dealing by a large financial services company. But, like Toto pulling away the curtain to expose the imposter behind the Wizard of Oz, the world could see, however briefly, the inner workings of how business is really done at Goldman.

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Economic Reality vs. Cheerleaders

Timothy Franz Geithner, President of the Feder...

When MSNBC headlined the report that existing home sales surged by 7.4 percent in November (according to the National Association of Realtors), it suggested that such an improvement boosted “recovery hopes.” Others jumped on the recovery bandwagon, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Blinder.

According to Geithner, it’s now reasonable to expect “positive job growth” by spring and correct to assert that people should have confidence in an improving economy.  “I think most people would say the economy actually is strengthening now,” he added.

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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.