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: Economy

Venezuela Collapsing; U.S. Officials Fear Violence, Military Coup

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 18, 2016: 

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...

U.S. intelligence officials warned on May 14 that Venezuela is descending into economic and political chaos that is likely to end in street violence, military suppression of citizens’ rights, and a possible coup to remove President Nicolás Maduro.

How much of that reflects CIA interventions to keep the crisis somewhat under control is an open question. But one of those anonymous “intelligence officials” told the Wall Street Journal that “[our] goal is to mitigate the crisis that they’re experiencing. It’s in the United States’ interest that Venezuela not bottom out.”

If past experience serves as a guide for the future, the CIA could

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Brazil’s Interim President Says “Trust Me,” Installs Corrupt Bureaucrats

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 16, 2016:  

Upon taking over Brazil’s presidency from disgraced former President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday, interim president Michel Temer asked his skeptical citizenry to “trust” him, saying that his new administration would be Brazil’s “salvation”:

Trust me. Trust the values of our people and our ability to recuperate the economy…. It is essential to rebuild the credibility of the country abroad to attract new investments and get the economy growing again…. It is urgent to restore peace and unite Brazil. We must form a government that will save the nation…. It’s urgent to seek the unity of Brazil. We urgently need a government of national salivation.

Even if he truly intended to do any of that, the challenges he faces almost defy description.

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Brazil in Turmoil: President’s Impeachment Vote Imminent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 10, 2016:  

Português do Brasil: O presidente Lula partici...

Partners in crime

In a sudden unexpected move, early Tuesday morning Waldir Maranhão, the interim speaker of Brazil’s lower house (the Chamber of Deputies) reversed his previous decision from Monday to annul a Chamber of Deputies April vote that allowed impeachment proceedings to move forward. The upper house — the Federal Senate — was already moving toward a vote to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff when word came that the Chamber was going to have another vote on the matter.

With Brazilian politicians doing everything they can to stay out of jail, they are working hard to keep the public’s attention focused on Rousseff’s problems and away from their own. In March, Mihir Kapadia, the head of Sun Global Investments, a London investment firm that specializes in emerging-market opportunities, certainly sees one in Brazil:

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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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Puerto Rico to Default on $422M Payment Today; Likely Another $2B in July

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 2, 2016:  

Puerto Rico continued its “death spiral,” with its failure to make a $422 million interest payment on Monday on some of the island’s gigantic $73 billion debt. This comes on the heels of missed payments over the last year, and will be followed up by a $2 billion payment due on July 1, which it is also widely anticipated to miss. The payment is due from the island’s Government Development Bank (GDB), the main bond issuer and the island’s fiscal agent.

So far Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (above) has, as noted previously in The New American, been able to keep the lights on and the water running by moving money around on the island’s balance sheet, paying only those with the highest and most enforceable claims and dealing as best he can with those holding lower credits. It was Padilla who said his island was in a “death spiral” as far back as last July, because his 3.5 million inhabitants, half of whom live in poverty, didn’t have the money.

But for decades Padilla and his predecessors acted as if they did have it,

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What Happens After Venezuela Destroys its Currency?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 29, 2016:  

English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. At a joint press...

Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin

Venezuela is unable to pay its currency printers. Those printers have been flying in planeloads of currency in the middle of the night, landing at airports where it is offloaded onto trucks to be dispersed to banks throughout the country. In other words, Venezuela doesn’t have the money to pay for its money.

The destruction of the currency, the bolivar fuerte (“strong bolivar”), has been documented at The New American and elsewhere. When oil prices dropped, so did revenues to fund the various socialist welfare schemes put in place by the communist Hugo Chávez and continued by his protégé, Nicolás Maduro, at Chavez’s passing in March 2013. Instead of reining in those unaffordable programs, socialist economists instead decided to print their way out of the crisis.

The results were predictable, and catastrophic.

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Cruz Tosses Second “Hail Mary” Pass, Names Carly Fiorina as His VP

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 28, 2016:  

When he announced Carly Fiorina (shown) as his running mate, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on Tuesday, “It’s unusual to make the announcement as early as we’re doing so. But this race, if anything, is unusual.”

Others viewed his decision to name former GOP candidate Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential running mate in different terms.

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Is $40 Oil the New Normal?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 22, 2016:  

To the consternation of traders short the market, crude has jumped from $30 a barrel in late January to over $40 currently, with many indicators pointing to still higher prices. Was $30 the bottom? What will be the new ceiling?

Every bull market rises from the ashes of fear, disgust and despair. Traders and investors reasonably expected oil to bottom at well below $30, perhaps in the 20s, with some heavyweights, including Goldman Sachs, suggesting even lower prices. Some took short positions, certain that their calculus was correct: OPEC had maxxed out, American production seemed impervious to precipitous declines in rig counts, China’s economy was faltering and signs of recession were continuing to expose themselves around the globe, including the U.S. What could go wrong?

A little energy company, Callon Petroleum, showed exactly what could go wrong. Three times in the last six months the company has sold new shares to raise equity, and three times the company’s stock has risen. Logic and experience would suggest that dilution of shares would reduce their price. But with Callon, shares jumped from $4.21 in the middle of January to nearly $10 currently.

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Nothing is Likely to Change in Brazil

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 20, 2016: 

One of Warren Buffett’s favorite expressions is “when the tide goes out, everyone will see who’s been swimming naked.”  In Brazil the tide went out at the start of the Great Recession and now the whole world can see who was swimming naked.

When President Lula was elected in 2002 the commodity boom was underway, and Brazil was enjoying the ride. Its major exports are soybeans, sugar, and iron ore, and under Lula Brazil’s GDP was running 10 percent a year. Lula implemented major expansions of the welfare state, including putting in place such generous pension plans that state workers could retire at age 54 for men and at age 52 for women at 90 percent of their final pay. The average Brazilian’s household income rose, and statists worldwide pointed to Brazil’s success story, naming it as one of the BRIC countries that would soon overtake the developed nations of the world, and doing it while expanding government spending.

But when Dilma Rousseff took over in 2011 the Great Recession was revealing the true nature of spending far beyond the ability of the economy to sustain it. In 2014 the government’s finances were in such dreadful shape that

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Goldman Sachs’ Warning Dents Crude Oil Price

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, April 13, 2016:  

The price of crude oil, which reached $65 a barrel a year ago, fell below $30 in January with expectations that its decline wouldn’t end until it hit $20, or even lower. But hopeful optimists see light at the end of the tunnel — this coming from next Sunday’s OPEC meeting in Doha, Qatar (photo above) — where an agreement to freeze production at current levels will be on the table, bid crude higher in an almost straight line. On Tuesday NYMEX crude hit $42 a barrel, a 40-percent jump from January’s lows.

A note from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday provided a sobering view:

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The PC Crowd, Economic Ignorance, and the Minimum Wage

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 4, 2016:  

No political correctness

Nick Adams, the Australian author of Retaking America: Crushing Political Correctness, has arrived on the American scene at precisely the right moment. He has appeared on nearly every major TV and radio show, writes for Townhall.com and Townhall Finance, and serves as a Centennial Institute Policy Fellow at Colorado Christian University. And he was named Honorary Texan in 2013 by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

PC is being used as a hammer to intimidate, emasculate, or otherwise neutralize opposition to any Progressive agenda. Rather than answering legitimate questions or responding to thoughtful objections, the PC crowd instead accuses the questioner of being

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A Closer look at the Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 1, 2016:  

From a distance the jobs report issued on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) looked pretty good: 215,000 new jobs were created by the economy in March while earnings, year-over-year, increased by 2.3 percent. The average hours worked remained stable, and the labor force participation rate rose off its recent record lows.

The numbers came from two sources: payroll numbers provided by businesses directly to the Labor Department, and household numbers provided by phone-call surveys.

In looking at the numbers, Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, a massive global investment firm headquartered in New York City, said that “we continue to generate a lot of jobs” without asking what kind. A closer look reveals

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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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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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Another Keynesian Failure: Brazil

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 28, 2016:  

John Maynard Keynes Русский: Джон Мейнард Кейн...

John Maynard Keynes

Boiled down to its most crude elements, Keynesianism, according to Antony Mueller at the Mises Institute, is “the economic policy doctrine of growth by spending.” Since 2003, when the current political party in Brazil, first headed up by Lula and now by Dilma Rousseff, came to power, it installed it in spades. For a while it seemed to work: demand for Brazil’s raw materials: oil, iron ore, and agricultural products grew as China (also pursuing the “growth by spending” mantra) also grew.

But the boom, which at one point included Brazil as one of the BRIC (Russia, India, and China) nations that would soon overtake the developed world, went bust.

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The Fed Joins Other Voices Predicting a U.S. Recession

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on March 22, 2016:  

Harry Dent, the author of The Great Crash Ahead, says that the current rebound in stocks is a head-fake of the first order, that the end of the seven-year bull market in stocks occurred last May. He said just look at a three-year chart of the SPX (Standard and Poor’s 500 Index) and see the rounded top formation.

Instead, talking heads all across the media are calling the recent rise following the precipitous decline that began the first day of trading of 2016 just a speed bump, a hiccup as the seven-year-long bull market in stocks is getting its second wind.

Markit Ltd., the monster financial services and advisory company located in London, issued its first warning in late February with its flash that its services purchasing managers’ index

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Markit Ltd. Says U.S. Economy Is Faltering

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 22, 2016:  

Markit Ltd., the London-based global financial information behemoth, issued an early warning about signs of the coming recession in late February when it published its services purchasing managers’ index. It went negative for the first time in more than two years. At the time, Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, said:

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Brazilian Government’s Unraveling Accelerates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 21, 2016:  

Events surrounding Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her alleged links to the “Operation Car Wash” investigation and scandal are moving so quickly that one can scarcely keep up. Just a week ago Sunday, more than three million Brazilians took to the streets demanding her ouster as a result of the scandal. On Tuesday Rousseff sought refuge by inviting her mentor and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as “Lula”) to become her chief of staff. She was banking on his remaining popularity to

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Regime Change in Brazil is Imminent

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 16, 2016:

More than three million Brazilians, fed up with corruption that goes all the way to the top, went to the streets last Sunday to protest Dilma Rousseff’s regime and to demand her removal. This is likely to signal the end of Rousseff, who has steadfastly declared her innocence in the Petrobras scandal that has rocked the country for years.

Dubbed “Operation Car Wash” and driven by Judge Sergio Fernando Moro, the first break in the case came with a phone call two years ago from a local car wash and currency exchange business owner to police that he thought

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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.