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: Deficit

New North American Oil Discoveries Continue to Frustrate OPEC

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 7, 2016:  

Apache Corporation, the sixth-largest independent oil and gas producer in the United States, announced this week that it has found a new gargantuan reserve of oil and natural gas in West Texas that could be one of the largest energy finds in the last decade. At the low end, the new “Alpine High” field could contain two billion barrels of oil plus massive natural gas reserves. More importantly, especially to OPEC members gearing up to find ways to raise prices, the company’s estimated profit margin is 30 percent after taking in account all expected development costs, even with crude selling at below $50 a barrel.

Apache isn’t waiting around for higher prices but instead has already drilled 19 wells into the new field and has committed one-fourth of its capital budget this year to develop the field further. The profit potential for natural gas is nearly off the charts. So abundant is that energy source from the new field that the company’s breakeven point is just 10 cents per million British thermal units (BTUs) while the market price for natural gas closed Tuesday at $2.72. This is going to turn Apache, currently a $20 billion company, into a major player.

The discovery is also going to turn OPEC’s plans to cap production in order to drive prices higher upside down. It is planning to meet informally later this month in Algiers to plot ways that it can drive the price of crude higher in response to increasing pleas from members such as Venezuela and Algeria for higher prices.

As recently as a month ago, OPEC was hoping to drive prices back to $70 a barrel in order to reduce the financial pressures low crude oil prices have imposed on all of the cartel’s members. Now, however, it is hoping to drive prices up to $60. Last month Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, under mounting pressure to solve his country’s self-imposed problems resulting in inflation and food riots, said last month that the “fair, balanced oil price must be set at $70 a barrel.” On Monday the head of Algeria’s state-owned oil company, Noureddine Boutarfa, exclaimed that oil prices “below $50 a barrel is not acceptable.”

Acceptable or not, oil prices are headed lower according to both Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Earlier this year Morgan Stanley estimated that the price of crude would move higher, but just cut its third-quarter forecast from $50 a barrel to $45. On August 25, Bank of America estimated that demand for crude would decline further than expected.

What befuddled prognosticators was the failure of the oil market to “rebalance” during the summer when American drivers set a record, burning through nearly 10 million barrels of gasoline every day. Even though American drivers drove a record three trillion miles over the last 12 months, that failed to soak up much of the surplus overhanging the market. Now, with demand slackening after Labor Day, and an economy essentially flat-lined, there is little reason to believe that prices will move higher.

Catching OPEC by surprise was the news that U.S. frackers restarted eight oil rigs every week this summer despite the lower prices. This puts the cartel in a pickle of its own creation: If it cuts production in order to drive prices higher, this will only further encourage U.S. producers to bring more rigs online. If they continue to flood the market, their budget deficits will get even larger while still losing precious market share to the Americans.

One unnamed OPEC official told the Wall Street Journal that all of this has caught the cartel by surprise: “[The U.S. shale industry has] surprised us, and can surprise us again.”

Oil Price Rise Only Temporary; Could Drop Back to Low $20s

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 10, 2016:  

On November 17, gas prices had dropped to $1.9...

In light of record supplies of gasoline and crude oil, why are prices rising? After hitting a low of $26 a barrel in January, crude oil topped $52 a barrel in early June, only to drop below $40 a barrel last week. The recent rise back above $40 is a head fake, according to oil analyst Stephen Schork, editor of the daily subscription Schork Report. The recent bounce forced massive short covering by traders convinced oil was headed back down to the $20s and had nothing to do with the fundamentals.

The fundamentals, according to Schork, are bearish for oil (and gasoline) prices, and not likely to change any time soon. Even the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the government’s watchdog agency in charge of predicting the future, has been forced to

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Trump’s Plan for “Winning the Global Competition”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 9, 2016:  

During his hour-long speech on Monday at the Detroit Economic Club, Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump was serious and reasonable, avoiding histrionics and the temptation to push back against protesters who interrupted him several times. He followed his script and peppered the economic landscape with his wish list of actions he would take as president to “Make America Great Again.”

It was a very long list:

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Production Freeze Main Topic at OPEC Late September Meeting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 8, 2016: 

OPEC’s current president, Qatar’s energy minister Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada (shown at center, above), announced Monday that the oil cartel will hold “informal” side meetings at the International Energy Forum in Algeria in late September. Not surprisingly, the topic will once again be “cooperation” among the disparate and increasingly desperate members to restrict production in efforts to force oil prices higher.

Al Sada, who holds a Ph.D. from England’s University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology, asserted,

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California’s Pension Plans Report Dismal Results, Increasing Shortfalls

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 20, 2016:  

Ted Eliopoulos, the chief investment officer of the country’s largest pension plan, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), did the best he could with the bad news: “Positive performance in a year of turbulent financial markets is an accomplishment that we are proud of.” That “positive performance” was a measly 0.61-percent return from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, on his $300 billion pension plan. That means that the fund is now about $100 billion short of meeting its future obligations.

But that $100 billion number greatly understates the real liability because it’s based on a pixie-dust assumption that the plan can earn an average

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Latest CBO Report “Grim”; Offers No Solutions to National Debt

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 15, 2016:  

Ida May Fuller, the first recipient

Ida May Fuller, holding the first check from the Social Security Administration

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published its annual report on the country’s long-term budgetary and financial outlook. One need only to see the chart on Page One of the report to see why CBO’s Justin Bogle said the outlook was “grim”: It shows government spending growing so much more quickly than anticipated revenues that annual deficits will likely triple in the next 30 years, if not sooner. Bogle called this scenario unsustainable.

For the first time, the CBO built into its assumptions the projected impact of ObamaCare, the country’s declining birth rate, the explosion of Baby Boomers demanding benefits from Social Security and Medicare over that period, plus Boomers’ increasing life expectancies and the increasing costs of providing them healthcare along the way.

It also assumed that government debt will

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Rio Gets $900M Emergency Disbursement From Gov’t for Olympics

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 20, 2016:  

Português: Placas promovendo a candidatura do ...

On Friday, just seven weeks before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are to begin, the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, declared a financial emergency, saying that his state has run out of money.

In his official statement, Dornelles said the state — which is helping the city of Rio prepare for the Games, which begin on August 5 — is facing a “public calamity,” adding:

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Illinois Governor Vetoes Plan to Reduce Chicago’s Pension Contributions

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 30, 2016: 

Chicago’s pension contributions to its four dreadfully underfunded pension plans were supposed to double this year to $1.1 billion, up from $478 billion in 2015. But state legislators passed a bill (which had been bottled up for nearly a year) to cut that back to under $900 million. On Friday Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (above) vetoed the bill, expressing in no uncertain terms that he was tired of politicians kicking the can down the road:

By deferring responsible funding decisions until 2021 and then extending the timeline for reaching responsible funding levels from 2040 to 2055, Chicago is borrowing against its taxpayers to the tune of $18.6 billion.

 

This practice has got to stop. If we continue, we’ve learned nothing from our past mistakes.

Those past “mistakes” have got Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a pickle.

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Meet Michael Madigan, AKA “the Real Governor of Illinois”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 30, 2016:  

Little happens legislatively in Illinois without the approval or acquiescence of House Speaker Michael Madigan (shaking hands with another corruptocrat, above). A Chicago pol, he has been speaker for 31 out of the last 33 years. When a bill arrives, it is shunted immediately to his Rules Committee, run by his second-in-command, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, also from Chicago, also a Democrat who was appointed Majority Leader of the House by Madigan.

If a bill ever sees the light of day (most don’t) it then is assigned to one of 50 committees, each of them chaired by a Madigan selectee.

A present example is SB 777, which

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Trump Suggests National Debt “Deal,” Media Calls It “Fanciful” and “Dangerous”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 9, 2016:  

A snippet from Donald Trump’s conversation with CNBC on Thursday raised the ire of numerous media commentators, who called Trump’s plan “unprecedented” (CNBC), “fanciful” and a “threat” (New York Times), and “tantamount to a debt default” (Yahoo Finance). Others called his remarks “reckless,” while Tony Fratto, a former Treasury official in the George W. Bush administration said, “This isn’t a serious idea — it’s an insane idea.”

What sparked the ire? The initial impetus was when Trump said, “[The U.S. Treasury is] paying a very low interest rate. What happens if that interest goes up two, three, four points? We don’t have a country. I mean, if you look at the numbers, they’re staggering.”

Indeed they are. The U.S. Debt Clock shows the national debt closing in on $20 trillion, while the economy is slumping along, with a GDP at just over $18 trillion. Put another way,

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Brazil’s Lower House Votes to Impeach President Rousseff; Little Likely to Change

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 19, 2016:  

Shouts of “Anybody but Dilma” resonated in Brazil’s lower house on Sunday as that body voted 367-137 to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.  After the dust settles, that is very likely what they are going to get: a change in name only. The corruption and anti-capitalist policies will remain.

Rousseff promised to fight impeachment every step of the way:

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Brazil’s Economy Entering Depression

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

English: Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro city ce...

English: Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro city center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The latest numbers coming out of Brazil confirm what Goldman Sachs said last December: “What started as a recession … is now mutating into an outright economic depression, given the deep contraction of domestic demand.”

Translation: President Dilma Rousseff’s attempt to stimulate the slowing economy via massive insertions of new debt has in fact had the opposite result.

Consumers have cut back by more than eight percent across the board, while investment spending has declined more than 10 percent last year, with cumulative capital spending

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Venezuelan President Maduro Raises Gas Prices 6,000 percent, Devalues Bolivar

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 18, 2016:  

During a five-hour TV speech on Wednesday that turned into a harangue against capitalism and President Obama, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro exercised the powers granted to him in January to deal with the country’s economic crisis. He did what most socialists do when their policies don’t work:

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Health Insurers Going Broke, Thanks to ObamaCare

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 10, 2016:  

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

Obama’s signature on ObamaCare bill.

The results for 2015 are in. The losses health insurers experienced following the rollout of the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as ObamaCare) in 2014 got even worse. Seventy percent of insurers lost money on individual health plans, according to McKinsey and Company, the global management consulting firm. And it isn’t likely to improve any in 2016.

On Wednesday Humana Inc. reported that

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As Oil Price Drops, Iraq Faces Existential Threat

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 1, 2016:  

In Iraq the culture of dependency is so great that the drop in the price of oil threatens the country’s very existence. With every Iraqi dependent upon the government for essentials like sugar, tea, rice and cooking oil, and the government dependent upon oil for more than 90 percent of its budget, the existential threat is real.

In January 2015 the government, headed up by President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, passed a budget that

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Vulture Funds are Saving American oil

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 13, 2016:  

Over time vultures have gotten a bad rap. Some refuse even to admit that the American Bald Eagle is a vulture, preferring to think of it as a magnificent example of strong individualism and pride. In fact they are birds of prey, scavenging the carcasses of dead animals or, in the case of the Bald eagle, swooping down to snatch an unsuspecting fish from the water with its powerful talons.

Vulture funds work in somewhat the same way. To put it crudely, they

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Puerto Rico Defaults Today on Part of $1B Debt Payment

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 4, 2015:  

Both the Puerto Rican flag and the United Stat...

Both the Puerto Rican flag and the United States flag fly over Puerto Rico

Last June Puerto Rico’s Governor, Garcia Padilla, said his government was out of money and would have to default on some of the bonds issued by various government agencies. It owed some $54 million to the Public Finance Corporation and another $140 million to the government’s Development Bank. By moving some funds around on the government’s balance sheet, Padilla was able to make most of those payments.

Since then Padilla’s financial woes have snowballed.

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Saxo Bank’s Outrageous Predictions for 2016

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Tuesday, December 22, 2015:  

Every year about this time the Copenhagen-based Saxo Bank offers up its most outrageous predictions for the coming year. Some of them are doozies:

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Oil: How Much Lower?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 19, 2015:  

Cover of "The Black Swan: The Impact of t...

Cover via Amazon

Speaking at the Irish economics forum Kilkenomics last weekend, former successful derivatives trader, professor of Risk Engineering at New York University, and author of The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb said he thinks the price of a barrel of oil could go as low as $4 a barrel. This could be the result of a

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World Oil Glut Swells to 3 Billion Barrels, Driving Prices Down Further

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 16, 2015:  

Friday’s November report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) confounded so-called experts who have repeatedly predicted a bottom in oil prices. After West Texas Intermediate (WTI) briefly dropped below $40 a barrel in August, bulls were delighted to see prices for crude bounce up over $50 and stay there — right up until October.

The IEA report tried to corral all the complexities of the oil market into its two-page report:

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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.