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

Tag Archives: bubble

What’s in the GOP Tax Bill?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 6, 2017:

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The GOP tax reform bill presented last Thursday attempts to be “revenue neutral” within 10 years. By giving most of the cuts to corporate taxpayers, there’s precious little left for the middle class to enjoy. The problem is not only the mathematics — trying to match the “give” with the “take” — but the politics: Democrats will work to scuttle any attempt to relieve fiscal pressure on entrepreneurs (i.e., capitalists) who are largely carrying the burden of supporting the government. Absent any attempt to cut spending — the tax bill’s 429 pages offer little help with that — what’s left, as has been said, is simply moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic.

First,

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Dow Crosses 23,000 for the First Time in History

Performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index ...

Performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index during Black Monday

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 17, 2017:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), colloquially called “The Dow,” crossed over the 23,000 benchmark level early Tuesday morning for the first time in history. The Dow, which tracks the stocks of 30 major corporations, has gained 25 percent since the election while the NASDAQ (which tracks the stock performance of a vastly larger and more diversified range of companies across the globe) is up 27 percent. The S&P 500 Index (which tracks the stock performance of 500 American companies) is up 19 percent.

The Wall Street Journal had no trouble finding money managers who were willing to comment positively on the news. Mark Freeman, chief investment officer and portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings Group (which invests $22 billion for its customers), told the Journal:

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S&P Downgrades China’s Credit Rating

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 21, 2017:  

Thanks to “diminished financial stability,” S&P Global Ratings downgraded China’s credit rating for the first time since 1999, adding, “China’s prolonged period of strong credit [debt] growth has increased its economic and financial risks. Although this credit [debt] growth had contributed to strong real gross domestic product growth and higher asset prices, we believe it has also diminished financial stability.”

The downgrade by S&P is the second one this year for China — Moody’s Investors Service dropped China’s rating in May — and was preceded by a warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August that China’s growing debt binge was putting its economy into jeopardy.

The response by Chinese officials was as predictable as it was silly.

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Harry Dent, Meet Chris Hamilton

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

For years Harry Dent (shown) has attempted to turn his demographic analyses into investment advice, with middling performance. It seems that when his advice doesn’t turn out well, he writes another book.

Take, for example, his The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation Ahead. He contends that the economy can be traced and tracked using the behavior of consumers as they grow, mature and age. Young people marry, have families, buy homes, automobiles, and gadgets. Their acquisitions peak at around age 45 or so, and then decline over time into retirement.

His “waves” are like seasons: 

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Wall Street Facing Headwinds as Boomers Forced to Liquidate Their IRAs, 401Ks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 28, 2017:

New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New ...

Under the law those reaching age 70 and a half must start taking their “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) from their various tax-deferred accounts. These include IRAs, 401Ks, profit-sharing plans, and SEPs. The trouble is that there are so many of them, and they control so many assets, that their RMDs are going to put enormous pressure on the stock market, according to Chris Hamilton, writing at his Econimica blog.

The Baby Boom population cohort is nearly 80 million people, and those born in 1946 are now 71, with millions following right behind. The top one percent own or control about one-third of that cohort’s assets, while the top 10 percent own more than two-thirds, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The real question, according to Hamilton, is this:

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IEA’s “Oil 2017” Forecast: Crude Oil Shortages Coming by 2020

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

English: Oil rig platform and stand-by vessel ...

The IEA (International Energy Agency) really ought to stick to its knitting. This intragovernmental agency was set up following the oil shock in the mid-1970s, allegedly to inform various governments as to the status of world crude oil supplies. It was to serve as an information resource on statistics about the global crude oil and other energy markets. In addition, it required its 29 government-members to maintain 90 days’ crude oil supplies on hand to meet another crisis.

It stepped outside its core area of expertise by issuing its Oil 2017 forecast for the next five years, combining a mixture of opinion, crystal-ball gazing, wet-finger in the air experimenting, tea-leaf analysis, naval gazing, and outright guessing that concluded that the world will no longer have a crude oil surplus but a shortage instead by 2020.

And it’s a crisis! Exclaimed Dr. Fatih Birol, the outfit’s director since 2015:

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Crude Oil Shortage in Three Years?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 7, 2017:

Worldwide demand for crude oil will exceed 100 million barrels per day (mbd) in two years, and exceed global supplies in three, according to the Paris-based intergovernmental group International Energy Agency (IEA). In its latest five-year forecast, Oil 2017, the agency says that demand growth will come primarily from developing countries such as India, while demand growth elsewhere, such as the United States, will be tepid at best. The only way the coming shortage can be overcome, said Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA’s executive director, is for massive new investments in exploration, discovery, and production to be made immediately:

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The PBGC is Falling. Where is Superman When He is Needed?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 3, 2017:

In the 1978 film Superman, Lois Lane is caught mid-air by Superman who says: “Easy, miss. I’ve got you.” Responds Lois: “You – you’ve got me? Who’s got you?

Concerning government agencies making promises, the answer is always and everlastingly: the U.S. taxpayer.

For example, consider the 42-year-old government agency backing up single-employer and multi-employer pension plans:

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Federal Insurance Agency Backing Union Pensions Facing Crisis Itself

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 2, 2017: 

Logo of the United States Pension Benefit Guar...

When Teamsters Local 707’s pension plan ran out of money in February, it sought assistance from the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Said PBGC Director Tom Reeder:

This is a big issue for us. It’s a big issue for Local 707 and it’s a big issue for others in the same situation across the country.

 

We’re projected to run out of money in eight to 10 years. Many union pension plans are projected to run out in 20 years.

The federal insurance agency is now paying out $1.7 million every month to the stranded retirees of Local 707.

707’s problems have been decades in the making.

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Americans Eating Out Less Thanks to Higher Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 24, 2017:

At Jamila's, a Tunesian restaurant on Maple St...

A Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Tuesday revealed that one-third of U.S. adults are eating out less frequently than they were just three months ago. Two-thirds of those staying home said it was because of higher restaurant prices. This news comes on top of reports that restaurant traffic was flat for all of 2016. In fact, the industry as a whole has gained just one percent in traffic since 2009.

Apologists for the industry offered all manner of explanations:

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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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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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Trump Meets With Former Banker Who Wants to End the Fed

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 29, 2016: 

John Allison BB&T

John Allison

Donald Trump met with former banker John Allison on Monday in a meeting that was largely ignored by the mainstream media. It remains unclear whether Allison was being interviewed for the job of secretary of the Treasury or was just giving Trump some advice from a free market perspective.

Either way, it’s a breath of fresh air in an era where statism and excessive hubris (the idea that mere politicians and economists can guide, even stimulate a $20-trillion-dollar economy with monetary policy) has reigned for decades.

Right after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina in 1971,

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The Global Recession Claims its First Victim: Hanjin Shipping

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 9, 2016:  

English: Hanjin container ship

One of Hanjin’s container ships looking for a place to unload.

When the question about a tree falling in the forest is asked, it’s usually posed as a philosophical one: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The question is never asked: “What if someone is around who doesn’t want to hear it?”

That appears to explain the kept media’s deafness over the state of the global economy. Even when the Wall Street Journal reported on the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, the world’s seventh largest container shipping company, not one word was spent on asking why. Instead

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Credit Rating Agencies Finally Reacting to China’s Economic Implosion

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 12, 2016:  

English: World countries by Standard & Poor's ...

English: World countries by Standard & Poor’s Foreign Rating. Legend: Green – AAA Turquoise – AA Lighter blue – A Darker blue – BBB Purple – BB Red – B : Grey – not rated, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First it was Fitch. Late last year it downgraded China’s sovereign debt by two notches, from AAA to A, which, according to its own definition, signals debt that is “more vulnerable to adverse business or economic conditions than is the case for [the two] higher ratings.”

In early March, Moody’s Investors Service got on board, knocking China’s debt rating down by one notch, followed by Standard and Poor’s on Thursday, which kept China’s rating at AA but with a negative outlook.

Translation: something’s coming.

Said S&P:

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Standard & Poor’s Downgrades Chinese Sovereign Debt

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 31, 2016: 

Cover of "Coming Collapse of China"

The last of the three credit rating agencies to recognize China’s ongoing economic implosion, Standard & Poor’s, downgraded its rating on Chinese debt modestly on Thursday. The agency maintained its AA rating (one notch below its highest) but changed its outlook to “negative,” meaning another downgrade is possible within the next 12 months. It said:

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Is the U.S. Heading Into Another Recession?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 15, 2016:  

Buried in Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen’s comments to senators last Thursday were three revealing statements.

First: “There is always some chance of recession in any year. But the evidence [at the moment] suggests that expansions don’t die of old age.” Translation: Recessions result from inherent weaknesses in the system.

Second, she admitted that

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The Ripple Effect of Rising Interest Rates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 9, 2015:  

With financial talking heads now convinced that the Federal Reserve will finally increase interest rates as a result of the record-setting job openings report, few are asking about the “ripple effect” those increases might mean for individuals, for the auto and the housing industry, for companies and corporations, and, most importantly, for the debt-laden federal government.

If and when the fed announces upcoming interest-rate increases, in the short run, individuals might be tempted to accelerate their buying decision on cars and houses to take advantage of low rates before increases start flowing through to lenders in those sectors. In the longer run,

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China Has Its Own Plunge Protection Team

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 31, 2015: 

China has its own Plunge Protection Team. Its efforts were in evidence last Wednesday as the Shanghai and the Shenzhen indexes, both of which had been flat most of the day, leaped up three percent and four percent, respectively, in the last 30 minutes of the trading session.

Jacky Zhang, an analyst at BOC International, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of China, exclaimed:

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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.