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: Currency

Runaway Inflation in the United States? Impossible.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 18, 2018: 

Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here has recently been pounced upon by liberal pundits as a novel that remains relevant today with the election of President Donald Trump. Said left-liberal Salon magazine in its review of the 1935 novel, this is “the novel that foreshadowed Donald Trump’s authoritarian appeal.”

What this author intends is to draw a parallel between the inflation and destruction of the German currency in the early 1920s that led to the rise of Hitler and the slow, steady inflation of the American currency that could lead to the same end: a totalitarian police state here.

Here is what libertarian author, economist, and professor Murray Rothbard wrote about the runaway German inflation:

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Starvation, Suicides Increasing Under Venezuela’s Hyperinflation

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 17, 2018: 

When Venezuela’s legitimate but outlawed National Assembly reported on the country’s runaway inflation numbers last week, the statistics were so astronomical that few could relate to them. Prices increased by 67 percent in March, 453 percent in the first quarter, and 8,878 percent over the last year.

Marxist Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government stopped reporting on those price increases two years ago, and he has sharply criticized any efforts by the National Assembly or websites such as Dolartoday.com since then to tell the truth. A spokesman for the National Assembly, Congressman Rafael Guzman, told a press conference that the runaway prices are beyond the control of the government:

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Fed Sees Inflation Coming, Raises Rates to Head it Off

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 22, 2018: 

Following the unanimous and much-anticipated decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by another quarter of a percent on Wednesday, the new chairman, Jerome Powell, said, “The economic outlook has strengthened in recent months. Several factors are supporting this outlook: fiscal policy [i.e., Trump’s tax cuts to individuals and corporations] has become more stimulative, ongoing job gains are boosting incomes and confidence, foreign growth is on a firm trajectory, and overall financial conditions remain accommodative.”

This raises the question:

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Nearly 3,000 Venezuelans Leaving Their Country Every Day

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 19, 2018: 

English: Logo of the Norwegian Refugee Council

The increasing flood of Venezuelan refugees is putting so much pressure on neighboring countries that the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is calling for help. More than four million people have left Marxist Nicolas Maduro’s socialist “paradise” in just the last four years, and the numbers are increasing. They are finding temporary refuge in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, and Spain; however, those countries are being pushed to their limits.

The NRC stated that the “international community … must step up efforts immediately to provide much-needed protection and humanitarian assistance … a comprehensive and rapid response to food, education, documentation and health needs [is] vital throughout the region … [we are] requesting an immediate $2.5 million … particularly on the border areas between Colombia and Venezuela.”

But, as the NRC itself admits,

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Inflation Concerns Unfounded, Wall Street Moves Higher

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 14, 2018:  

Money-supply

Money-supply (this is an old chart, but you get the idea)

Once Wall Street traders read beyond the headlines released early Wednesday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they reversed the early selloff and bid the market higher.

Those traders were on high alert following the January report that wages had jumped nearly three percent last year. This triggered concerns that inflation was imminent, and that the Fed would institute interest rate increases which would slow the economy.

The headline from the BLS seemed to confirm those concerns:

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The New York Times Masks the Truth in Venezuela

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 20, 2017:

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

After five months and 5,000 words, the journalists at the New York Times refused to use the word “socialism” as the cause of the horrors they uncovered in Venezuela. Instead, Venezuela’s problems are the result of years of “economic mismanagement” instead.

What they found was horrific, and more than sufficient to prove the point: socialism destroys, maims, and kills. Its worst atrocities are inflicted on the defenseless: the elderly and the very young. The intrepid journalists focused on the latter, and what they found was predictable and heartrending: babies in Venezuela are dying of malnutrition at rates seen only in refugee and concentration camps. Emergency rooms are filled to overflowing by mothers with starving infants at their breasts while others are being turned away. Doctors told the journos that children arrive at the hospitals weighing the same as when they were born. Infant mortality rates are soaring, and there’s little doctors can do about it. Said the authors: “The statistics that have come out are staggering. In the Ministry of Health’s 2015 report, the mortality rate for children under four weeks old had increased a hundredfold [while] maternal mortality had increased nearly fivefold.”

Matt Vespa suffers under no such confusion about the cause of what’s happening there:

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If Socialism Is the Problem in Venezuela, More Sanctions Are Not the Solution

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 20, 2017:

Overshadowed by his remarks concerning North Korea’s “Rocket Man” and the “worst ever” Iranian nuclear deal, President Donald Trump’s views on Venezuela in his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday were soft-pedalled by the mainstream media.

But they were spot on:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation and failure.

 

Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems

Trump then added, without being explicit:

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U.S. Pulls Families from Caracas; Airlines End Flights Before Sunday’s Crucial Vote

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 28, 2017: 

The Coat of arms of Venezuela

The Coat of arms of Venezuela

In its foreign travel advisory issued Thursday, the U.S. State Department warned American visitors against traveling to Venezuela and ordered family members of U.S. government employees at its embassy in Caracas to leave the country. It also offered assistance for those employees wanting to leave before the country’s crucial and controversial election on Sunday. The order and warnings were due to “social unrest, violent crime and pervasive food and medicine shortages” in the country.

Sunday’s vote could be crucial for the direction of the country run by Marxist Nicolas Maduro. Already rumors of vote fraud are suggesting that

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Venezuela’s Bonds Selling at Massive Discounts for Fear of Default

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 8, 2017:

When it was learned that Goldman Sachs had purchased $2.8 billion of Venezuela’s bonds for just $865 million — a 69-percent discount — the firm received criticism from opponents of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro (shown). The critics claimed that by buying them, even at such a fire sale price, Goldman allowed Maduro to pay some critical bills that kept his corrupt Marxist regime afloat for a little while longer.

Now comes word that Maduro has resorted to desperation financing — what the Wall Street Journal calls “unorthodox” — by issuing bonds to one of its state-owned banks, which then

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Media Ignores Ongoing Socialist Disaster Unfolding in Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 31, 2017: 

Media Research Center (MRC), the conservative media watchdog whose stated mission is to “prove through sound scientific research, that liberal bias in the media does exist,” reported on Tuesday more evidence that the media is now guilty of publishing “no news,” at least when the subject is the ongoing meltdown taking place in Venezuela.

Readers of these pages are well-informed about that meltdown:

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U.S. Trade Gap With China Narrowed in January and February

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 6, 2017:

Xi Jinping 习近平

Xi Jinping, the Chinese communist dictator

When the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, America’s “trade gap” shrank in January and February, it intoned that while this was allegedly good news, over the last 10 years it’s been bad news: the trade gap “remains far higher than a decade ago.” The Journal called it a “mixed trade outlook” that bodes ill for the upcoming talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s communist leader, Xi Jinping.

Josh Mitchell, writing for the Journal, tried to explain why this was bad:

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Venezuela’s Marxist Dictator Orders Arrest of Bakers Making Croissants

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 17, 2017:

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Four bakers trying to make ends meet were arrested earlier this week in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, a country that was once one of South America’s premier economic powerhouses. Venezuela’s ruler, Nicolas Maduro, mandated that 90 percent of scarce flour be turned into bread, which must be sold at a loss, rather than higher-priced sweet bread, ham-filled croissants, pastries, and cakes.Two bakers apparently broke this law, and two used out-of-date wheat for brownies. At least one baker will have his bakery taken over by the government for 90 days. The bakers, operating under Maduro’s mandates that they use government-imported wheat for flour to bake bread and sell it below their costs, were on survival mode, as are most of the people living in Venezuela’s socialist paradise.

Maduro, rather than to take the justified blame for the economic malaise that his socialist policies have caused, has dreamed up all manner of straw men to blame for the country’s woes, starting with

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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.

Venezuela’s Dictator Fires Head of Central Bank; Inflation at 1,600 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 23, 2017:

Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro (shown), fired the head of his country’s central bank on Friday. Without fanfare or any public statement from either Maduro or his banker, Nelson Merentes, the firing is the latest move by the president to place the blame for the collapse of his country anywhere but where it belongs: on his socialist policies.

For months The New American has tracked the retrogression of a country which was once one of the leading economies in South America to a banana republic where people are starving, sick people are dying for lack of care, and a black market has replaced a once-thriving free economy. Last June, the New York Times was finally forced to admit the cause:

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Venezuela: Some Lessons Must be Learned Over and Over Again

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 23, 2017:

George Santayana most famously said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But he wasn’t the only one. Aldous Huxley put it this way: “That men do not learn very much the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Said Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

There’s a lesson being taught to the hapless and now helpless citizens (shown above) of Venezuela. It’s a lesson so often taught but not learned that one may, with great confidence, predict the final outcome.

On Friday Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, fired his banker,

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Civilization’s Thin Veneer

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 14, 2016:  

The dictionary defines civilization as “an ideal state of human culture characterized by a complete absence of barbarism and non-rational behavior.” Rich Galen thinks a better definition is living in a “constant state of positive assumptions.”

Many of those assumptions are coming into question, with many more already proven to be false. One of them is that pension plans are safe, that promises made will be kept, and that the assumptions underlying those plans regarding rates of return on invested assets are reasonable and that they virtually guarantee predictable results.

Those positive assumptions vanished last summer in Athens when

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Venezuelan Currency Lost Half Its Value in November

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 28, 2016:  

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Nicolas Maduro

Bloomberg reported last Thursday that Venezuela’s currency — the bolívar fuerte or “strong bolivar” — has lost 45 percent of its purchasing power so far this month, with six days to go. The underlying cause was put simply by Professor Milton Friedman, a member of the “Chicago School” of economic free market thinking and winner in 1976 of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon … and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

On the other hand, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro,

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Multi-nationals Are Leaving Venezuela, Selling Out at Fire Sale Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 16, 2016:  

Over the last year, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, auto parts maker Dana, Clorox, Kimberly-Clark, Bridgestone Tire, and Liberty Mutual have either sold out their Venezuelan interests at huge losses, have given their factories and properties away for free, or are planning to. Those who used to work for them are now working in another profession: as bachaqueros. This is slang for “giant ants,” used as a pejorative to describe street vendors offering their wares in the black market.

General Mills sold its operations at half the assessed value, while Dana was lucky

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Trump’s First Challenge: the Iranian Nuclear Deal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 11, 2016:  

On Wednesday Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned Donald Trump to keep his hands off the nuclear deal he and Secretary of State John Kerry made last year:

Every U.S. president has to understand the realities of today’s world. The most important thing is that the future U.S president sticks to agreements.

Whether Trump agrees with Zarif, or not, will likely be among the very first decisions he’ll be forced to make in January. During his campaign Trump repeatedly called the Iran nuclear deal “the worst deal ever negotiated,” a “disaster,” and said that it could lead to a “nuclear holocaust.” In March he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

Iran is making Trump’s decision easy.

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Venezuela’s Collapse: Horror Beyond Belief

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 18, 2016:  

The Coat of arms of Venezuela

When Matt O’Brien updated his previous article on the slow-motion collapse of Venezuela on Monday for the Washington Post, he reviewed the symptoms achingly familiar to those following the events: the collapse of oil prices; the incompetence of the cronies running the state-owned oil company (former Marxist Hugo Chávez replaced the workers who knew what they were doing with political cronies who didn’t); the inflation of the currency followed as night follows day, with price controls to mask the resulting inflation; inflation, as measured by the black market’s pricing of the Venezuelan bolivar, causing the bolivar to lose more than 90 percent of its value in just two years; the empty supermarket shelves; the oppression by police of those standing in long lines to purchase whatever might be left in those stores; and on and on. As O’Brien lamented:

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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.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann