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

Stock Rally Owing to Plunge Protection Team Conspiracy?

Polar Bear Plunge 2008

Image by Scott Butner via Flickr

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...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

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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Paul Samuelson, ‘Economics’ Textbook Author, Dies at 94

Photo of Paul Samuelson

Long-renowned economist Paul Samuelson died on December 13 at his home in Belmont, Massachusetts, at the age of 94. In addition to writing Economics in 1948 — which became the best selling economics textbook for several decades, having been translated into forty-one languages and selling over four million copies — Samuelson also won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1970.

The chorus of accolades of effusive praise continues to resonate:

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Bernanke Claims Economy Recovering

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Economic Club of Washington that the economy is recovering, even as it confronts “formidable headwinds.”

He also promoted the Federal Reserve, and the job he is doing as head of the Fed) in an op-ed piece he wrote recently in the Washington Post where he assured readers (and Congress) that “the Fed played a major part in arresting the [financial] crisis, and we should be seeking to preserve [the Fed’s] ability to foster financial stability and to promote economic recovery without inflation.”

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Jobs Summit: More talk? Yes. More jobs? No.

unemployment

Image by smemon87 via Flickr

When ABC News asked if the “jobs summit” would make real progress or would just be “simply a glorified public-relations stunt,” it studiously avoided asking the real question: How can the prime movers that created the current economic “Great Recession” be expected to fix it?

For starters, where is the constitutional authority for the government to get involved in creating jobs, even if it could?

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Captains of the Economy: The ‘Good Ol’ Boy’ Network is Alive and Well

ABC News Now

Image via Wikipedia

In its attempt to glorify “the 10 who shaped the U.S. economy the most since 2000,” ABC News did a great favor for those interested in the interconnections among the “elite” who are impacting the current world economic and political scene.

Naturally, much was left unsaid about these “captains,” especially regarding their connections to the elite currently in charge. In order, then, here is a brief look at each of these “10 who shaped the U. S. economy”:

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Double Dip Recession Coming?

Double Dip Package

If Will Rogers didn’t say “Those who don’t read the papers are uninformed; those who do are misinformed,” he probably should have.

Witness this headline from The Wall Street Journal: “Jobs, Spending Bode Well for Growth.”

Compared to this from Bloomberg: “Orders for Durable Goods in U. S. Unexpectedly Fall.”

Or this from APNews: “Jobless claims off, spending up in sign of rebound.”

Finally, to confound the confusion, see this from the Denver Post: “Good news raises hopes that recovery won’t fizzle.”

How does one make any sense of it all? Dr. Kenneth McFarland (named America’s Number One Public Speaker by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce in 1965) once quipped that he had read so much about the harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol that he just decided to give up reading!

There is another option: dig deeper.

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The National Debt: How Soon Before Uncle Sam Cries “Uncle?”

 

Uncle Sam with empty treasury, 1920, by James ...

When Bob Schieffer of NBC News asked the rhetorical question: “…has going a trillion dollars in hock to one country [China] made us more secure?”, he was reminded of Everett Dirksen (Illinois Senator for nearly 20 years) and his famous comment: “…a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money!”.

The current account deficit, at the present moment, is over $12 trillion and climbing. About half of that debt is owned by foreign countries, most notably China (about $800 billion) and India (about $300 billion), with the balance owned by Japan, Germany, and others.

So what’s the big deal?

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Inflation? What inflation?

Huff and puff and...

Image by gorbould via Flickr

We dont have to hire historians to see where deficit spending will take us. We have only to look around now. Since the end of World War II, some of history’s greatest national disasters have taken place right here in the Americas. North Americans used to laugh or shake their heads at the economies of the south that seemed always on the brink of collapse.  Banana republics, we derisively called them. We’re not laughing now.

Here are some examples he provides of inflation lag time:

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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.