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: Politics

Union Influence Fades as Right-to-work Gains Momentum

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 21, 2017:  

English: Economic regions of California, as de...

When Rebecca Friedrichs, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the California Teachers Association, learned in June that the Supreme Court denied her petition to rehear her complaint over the union extracting dues from her paycheck without her consent, she declared:

My heart is broken for America’s children and families, as their teachers will continue to be forced to fund policies and highly political collective bargaining processes which place the desires of adults above the rights and needs of children.… I’m optimistic [that] we can continue … to restore First Amendment rights to teachers and other public sector workers. Our kids are worth the fight!

Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, the public-interest law firm representing Friedrichs, agreed:

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Florida Legislators File Dozens of Gun Bills, Most Expanding Gun Rights

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 21, 2017:  

Topographic map of the State of Florida, USA (...

Topographic map of the State of Florida,

With about two dozen gun-related bills being filed ahead of next month’s 60-day legislative session scheduled to begin in Florida, the state continues to earn its nickname “The Gunshine State.” Most people would likely anticipate that those bills contain restrictions on gun ownership in light of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando last June, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Instead, most of them promote increased gun freedom, with many likely to pass the Republican-controlled legislature and then move on to Republican Governor Rick Scott’s desk for signing.

Bills filed by Republicans would

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Marion Hammer has Turned Florida into the “Gunshine” State

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 22, 2017:

English: Current Status of Shall Issue Laws in...

Current Status of Shall Issue Laws in America

Since the late 1970s, Marion Hammer has lobbied for the NRA in Florida, galvanizing gun owners into a fearsome force favoring the Second Amendment. The media claims she engineered the change from “may issue” to “shall issue” for obtaining concealed carry permits to the point where today one in every 14 Floridians has one. It claims she’s also responsible for passage of the “stand your ground” law that has served as a model for the majority of other states that has adopted it.

She has also garnered the opprobrium of anti-gunners like Tom Diaz, who was forced to give her some credit in his book, The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It. Wrote Diaz:

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Study: $15 Minimum Wage Would Force McDonald’s to Increase Prices 38 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 20, 2017:

English: The official logo.

James Sherk, a Hillsdale graduate and now the Bradley Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, found that if a $15 minimum wage is enforced across the country, fast food prices will jump far more than initially thought. A 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, currently priced at $4.49, would jump to $6.20. A Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappuccino would increase from $4.56 to $6.29, while a 6-inch turkey sub at Subway would cost $5.87, up from $4.25. A Whopper Meal from Burger King would jump to $8.96 from $6.49.

A CrunchWrap Supreme, Crunchy Taco and large drink from Taco Bell would cost $8.27, up from $5.99; a Wendy’s Son of Baconator Combo, currently $6.69 would cost $9.23; a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich Combo, priced at  $5.95, would cost $8.21; and a Pizza Hut Medium Hand-Tossed Cheese Pizza, on today’ menu at $11.95, would jump to $16.55.

That’s a 38-percent increase, far higher than many old-school economists have concluded, and it puts the lie to union claims that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would result in a transfer of wealth from rich business owners to low-paid workers. Sherk’s analysis concludes that there would be a transfer, but it wouldn’t be from the business owners: It would be from their customers.

First, those owners with a McDonald’s franchise aren’t rich and they’re not likely to become rich. Ed Rensi, who worked for McDonald’s for 30 years, ending up as the company’s CEO in 1991 and retiring in 2007, told Forbes:

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The Broken Promise of Minimum wage laws

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 20, 2017:

The promise is that by requiring businesses to pay their employees $15 an hour, the net result is that everyone will live better. The low-paid people will have more money to spend, the upward “ripple” effect on other higher-paid people in the organization will also have more money to spend, the economy will grow, there will be more jobs hiring people who will then have more money to spend, and so on into the woodwork.

This was the claim by that “poverty” expert, former Senator Teddy Kennedy whose family’s wealth extended backwards for generations, who said that

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ObamaCare Replacement Plan Introduced in Congress

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 16, 2017: 

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Senator Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Representative Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) introduced their ObamaCare Replacement Act (ORA) on Wednesday. It would simultaneously repeal nearly all of ObamaCare’s most onerous demands and mandates while opening up the health-insurance market to individuals to purchase, or not to purchase, coverage. The bill, S.222, might more appropriately be named the “Health Insurance Freedom to Purchase Act,” putting the decision to buy, or not to buy, coverage back in the hands of individual citizens and taking it out of the hands of the federal government.

Senator Paul said,

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Study: Savings in Welfare Costs Could Pay for Trump’s Wall

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 16, 2017:

On paper, the study entitled “The Cost of a Border Wall vs. the Cost of Illegal Immigration,” published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), seems to make sense:

If a [southern] border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall.

There are many assumptions built into Camarota’s analysis, but the big one not mentioned is this:

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Bill to Repeal Obamacare Represents Major Paradigm Shift

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 17, 2017:

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Sec...

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said many things on which classical liberals and libertarians agree. The one most apropos to Obamacare is this: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Anything that requires government force (or threat of) to gain compliance is, on its face, immoral. But Obamacare did something else: it was a deliberate forced attempt to shift personal responsibility for one’s health care from a citizen to his government. Jefferson had this to say about that:

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Heritage Foundation Blames Obama Admin. for America’s Economic Decline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 15, 2017:

The Heritage Foundation minced no words in commenting on its latest Index of Economic Freedom: America’s continuing decline is all Obama’s fault:

America’s standing in the index [now in 17th place, the lowest in history] has dwindled steadily during the Obama years. This is largely owed to increased government spending, [increased] regulations, and a failed stimulus program that enriched the well-connected while leaving average Americans behind.

For the ninth time in 10 years, America’s index has lost ground. Coming in above 80 in 2008, the United States’ current index is barely above 75, tying it with

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Trump Has Great Opportunity to Influence U.S. Jurisprudence

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 15, 2017:

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2010.

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention after becoming the Republican nominee for president, then-candidate Donald Trump reiterated the importance of the replacement of deceased Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, stating, “The replacement of our beloved Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views, principles and judicial philosophies. Very important. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election.”

Following Trump’s election victory in November, liberals voiced shock and consternation, especially in light of the Republican Party maintaining its majority in the branch of the legislature tasked with confirming Scalia’s replacement — the Senate. Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio declared that

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Here’s What Those 500 Evangelical Pastors Actually Said

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 15, 2017:

The full-page ad that appeared last Wednesday in the Washington Post was paid for by World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, and offered prayers and support by some 500 Christian leaders for President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence as they worked to craft an immigration policy:

We live in a dangerous world and affirm the crucial role of government in protecting us from harm and in setting the terms on refugee admissions….

 

As Christians, we are committed to praying for our elected officials. Our prayer is that God would grant [you and the Vice President] and all our leaders divine wisdom as they direct the course of our nation.

This is what Carol Kuruvilla, the Huffington Post’s Associate Religion Editor, thought it said:

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Americans, Europeans Agree: Trump Is Right on Immigration

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 13, 2017:

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

Nigel Farage

A poll by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA, also known as Chatham House), the British sister organization to our Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), taken a month before President Donald Trump issued his temporary suspension on refugees, showed widespread and increasing support among Europeans for his actions. Across all 10 of the European countries polled, 55 percent of those polled agreed that all further immigration from “mainly Muslim” countries should be stopped while only 20 percent disagreed. In no country did those disagreeing exceed 32 percent.

The results were “striking and sobering,”

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Number of Former Sanctuary Cities Reversing Policy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 13, 2017:

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrest

In response to President Donald Trump’s executive order issued on January 25 — “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” — a number of cities that formerly considered themselves as “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants are reversing their policies. The first to do so was Miami-Dade County in Florida the day after Trump issued his order.

Miami-Dade was followed by

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Blowing Up the Globalists’ Plans

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 13, 2017:

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) grew out of failure. Known alternatively as Chatham House, it was conceived during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 (also called the Versailles Peace Conference). It was decided that, once the so-called “peace” terms were put in place to punish Germany and its allies after the War to end all wars, various insiders decided a one-world government was needed to keep such a catastrophe from occurring in the future. It birthed the

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Elites Prep for Trumpocalypse: Buying New Zealand Land, Condos in Old Missile Silos

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 10, 2017:

English: Relief map of New Zealand

Relief map of New Zealand

In the 48 hours following the surprise election of underdog Donald Trump in November, New Zealand websites saw a 2,500-percent increase in traffic. The New Zealand Immigration website, for example, received 88,353 visits from U.S. citizens during those 48 hours, up from 2,300 visits a day. The investor-focused New Zealand Now website received 101,000 daily hits from the United States, compared to the usual 1,500. Almost 18,000 Americans registered an interest in studying, working, or investing in New Zealand during the month of November, up from just 1,272 in November 2015. And 13,401 U.S. citizens registered with New Zealand’s immigration authorities (the first official step toward seeking permanent residency), more than 17 times the usual rate.

But the influx of the world’s elite into New Zealand began well before Trump’s victory. In the first 10 months of 2016, foreigners bought nearly

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Realtors in Vancouver Moving to Seattle Along with Investors

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 10, 2017:  

Vancouver on a rainy day

Vancouver on a rainy day

The collapse of the real estate market in Vancouver, BC, is forcing realtors there to “double-license” in Seattle (where home prices are half what they are in Vancouver) in order to stay in business. Some of them are representing sellers with property in Vancouver who are simultaneously buying in Seattle. The ripple effect in Vancouver is impacting builders and construction workers as well as those in related service industries.

Back in August, the tune was much different: home prices had increased by 50 percent over the previous three years thanks to foreign investors wanting property in Vancouver. “It’s a bubble!” was the cry and so do-gooder politicians in the local government decided to erect a tariff: starting on August 1 the “foreign buyer transfer tax” of 15 percent would be imposed on any foreign buyer of real estate in the city.

Within six weeks the high end of the market was off by 20 percent, and realtors were scrambling, builders were pulling back, and workers were being laid off.

The parallel with Trump’s plans to build a wall along the country’s southern border through tariffs of 35 percent is uncanny, with the results likely to be the same as Vancouver’s. Fred Floss, the chairman of the economics department at SUNY Buffalo State, says that imposing a tariff on Mexico will have a similar slowing effect in the United States. Because the US mainly imports auto parts and small engines from Mexico, “anything that has a small engine in it will start to cost more … the scary thing is that a lot of those motors go into things Americans make. So if all of a sudden it gets to be more expensive to make goods in the United States, then we’re going to start to see layoffs because our goods aren’t going to sell.” He added: “In other words, [Americans are] going to pay the cost of the wall” both directly and indirectly.

The ripple effect in Vancouver is just beginning to be felt as the slowdown starts to impact support jobs related to the real estate industry. Homeowners who have enjoyed seeing their paper profits escalate are now facing the new reality: their homes aren’t worth what they were as recently as last summer, and those who took advantage of low rates either to buy new or obtain a home equity loan are increasingly finding themselves underwater and unable to find a buyer to bail them out.

International trade unhampered by tariffs benefits consumers and sellers alike. Every trade results in each party being better off economically. Competition drives the prices of goods and services down, allowing purchasers to enjoy a higher standard of living. Those profiting from making the products consumers want, whether they be small motors, cell phones or automobiles, will be encouraged to expand their production, hiring new workers who then are able to increase their own purchasing power. Ad infinitim.

Adam Smith was right:

Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can….

 

He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention…. (emphasis added)

 

By pursuing his own interests, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

And then Smith adds his warning for Mr. Trump:

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

Meddling always has its unintended consequences. Is Mr. Trump aware of what’s going on in Vancouver?


Sources:

The Wall Street Journal: For Chinese Home Buyers, Seattle Is the New Vancouver

Seattlepi.com:  Vancouver smacks Chinese with real estate tax, but will they head south?

Background on US tariffs

WGRZ.com: How the Trump Tariff Proposal may Impact your Budget

Investopedia:  The Basics Of Tariffs And Trade Barriers

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” quote

Is Vancouver Tax on Foreign Investors a Lesson for Trump?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 9, 2017:

View on Vancouver on October 1, 2005

Vancouver, B.C.

The impact of the 15-percent “foreign buyer transfer tax” — a real estate tax that is only applied on foreigners, not Canadians — levied by Vancouver, a West Coast city in the Canadian province of British Columbia, was felt almost immediately: Real estate prices began falling, realtor listings took longer to sell as buyers disappeared, and, consequently, revenues anticipated from instituting the tax aren’t likely to meet expectations.

Observers said the tax was levied to protect the local real estate market from becoming “overheated” thanks to increasing demand from foreign investors. “Remember the Great Recession” became the mantra. What goes up must come down, etc. Indeed, prices have increased by nearly 50 percent over just the last three years, driving the median cost of a home in Vancouver to $1.5 million.

Members of the city council imposed the 15-percent tariff on August 1, and by the end of September investment in the high end of the market had already dropped

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Greece Needs Another Bailout; Disagreement Threatens EU Itself

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 9, 2017:

IMF Headquarters, Washington, DC.

IMF Headquarters

The report on Greece’s financial condition issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday was dismal, but, said the central bank, its future remains bright. First, the bad news: The EU member will fall far short of the budget-surplus targets put in place in order to get the last bailout. The Greek economy must grow at 3.1 percent but it expanded by only 0.4 percent last year.

However, the IMF said Greece’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2017. An unnamed European Union official who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity said that

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Progressives’ Violence Moving From Streets to Congressional Offices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 8, 2017: 

English: Official portrait of US Rep Cathy McM...

US Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers

House Republicans attended a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to address concerns about anti-Trump protesters entering their congressional offices and threatening them physically. House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers invited one of their own — Representatives David Reichert (R-Wash.) who served as sheriff of King County, Washington — to address the group with suggestions on how to protect themselves and their staff from violence.

Reichert recounted how several angry constituents “bum-rushed” into his office, blowing past a staffer, and offered this advice:

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Intel’s Announcement of New Arizona Plant Negates Trade Deficit Concerns

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 8, 2017:

US-DeptOfCommerce-Seal

Brian Krzanich, head of Intel, probably didn’t know he was making the case for free trade, despite the fact that trade deficits happen, when he announced from the White House on Wednesday morning his company’s plans to build a new plant in Chandler, Arizona. In a microcosm, his announcement perfectly expressed just how free trade between nations and their citizens generally benefits everyone. Krzanich said his company was planning to build a $7 billion microchip plant in Chandler that would directly employ 3,000 people with “high-paying jobs,” and generate a total of 10,000 jobs when support services for those new jobs are factored in.

Krzanich said that most of Intel’s customers are overseas. Last year Intel’s gross revenues exceeded $10 billion, so, doing the math, it’s likely that Intel will sell $6 to 8 billion worth of chips to foreigners. That creates a trade “surplus” for the United States of between $6 and $8 billion. That will offset some of the trade “deficit” just announced by the Commerce Department the day before, of about $500 billion, an announcement that was met with much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by economists claiming that that deficit put the United States at some type of unfair disadvantage to the rest of the world.

However, in the real world, trade deficits are not necessarily bad. When someone buys an automobile or a t-shirt or a cellphone, the money they spend winds up as revenues for manufacturers located overseas. Then those manufacturers have excess American dollars that are now available for investment. Many of those dollars get cycled back to the United States, either by buying U.S. goods and services, or U.S. treasuries, or real estate or businesses, which then generate more products to sell overseas.

In 2016, Americans bought from foreign countries $171 billion worth of automobiles, engines and auto parts, $94 billion worth of clothing, $80 billion of crude and refined oil products, $73 billion of cellphones and other household goods, $58 billion of pharmaceutical drugs, with the balance made up of telecommunications equipment, toys, games, sporting goods, televisions, and video games.

In return foreigners — individuals, companies and governments — bought from the United States $65 billion worth of civilian aircraft and engines, $86 billion on travel to the United States, $78 billion on “intellectual property rights” (mostly leases or patents that foreign companies pay to American companies), $70 billion on financial services, with the rest made up of soybeans, chemicals, and newsprint.

The difference is $502 billion. Americans spent $502 billion more abroad than foreigners bought from us. Is that a problem?

Not for companies such as Intel. Its highly regarded technology, in the form of microchips that outperform its competitors, is in great demand worldwide. Foreign companies will use some of those American dollars that Americans spent to buy them. Intel, for its part, will invest billions in new plants and in hiring new people, paying them good salaries, in order to supply that foreign demand. Intel certainly hopes that foreigners will continue to buy them in massive quantities so that it can continue to expand, build, and hire, and so forth.

As Dan Griswold, writing for Cato, put it: No one would do business with anyone else unless both were better off afterwards:

Nations do not trade with each other: people do. America’s trade deficit with the rest of the world is only the sum of the individual choices made by American citizens. Those choices, to buy an import or to sell an export, only take place if both parties to the transaction believe it will make them better off.

In this way, the “balance of trade,” is always positive.

However, Griswold is likely putting too kind a face on trade deficits, per se, for while free trade seems universally beneficial, the use of fiat money — money not backed by a valuable asset such as gold — in the process of trading could lead to hyperinflation in a country, causing widespread devastation. Whether one calls that a trade problem or a currency problem, it is still a problem inherent in trade, maybe especially for the United States. See the article “So I’m Told Trade Deficits Are Good.”

In general, though, if politicians made it even easier for companies here and abroad to do business, then everyone would be even better off, and concerns about trade “wars” and “tariffs” and “mercantilism” would fade back into the woodwork where they belong.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.