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

U.S. Condemns Venezuela’s Election

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

On Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated the U.S. government’s official position on Venezuela’s Sunday elections: “We condemn the lack of free and fair elections yesterday in Venezuela. The voice of the Venezuelan people was not heard.” She added that there had been “last minute changes to polling station locations without public notice, manipulation of ballot layouts, and limited availability of voting machines in opposition neighborhoods.” In addition, independent credible outside monitors of the elections were prohibited from overseeing the election process by Marxist dictator Nicolás Maduro’s (shown) regime.

Independent polls showed that opposition candidates in the 23 state mayoral elections should have crushed the regime’s candidates, but instead

Keep Reading…

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:

Keep Reading…

What if Your Customer Can’t Buy Your Product, but Wants to?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 16, 2017:

There are two basic rules of economics. The first is: if prices go down, more will be demanded. The second is: both sides of any economic transaction must benefit or there’s no deal.

The fracking revolution in the United States has pushed the price of crude oil down to the point where it is threatening the very existence of the OPEC cartel. Consumers are saving at the pump and the energy industry in the U.S. employs more than 10 million people, making up eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

But there’s been an all but invisible transformation taking place in natural gas. At least two of the Big Oil companies sell more natural gas than they do crude oil.

Keep Reading…

U.S. Natural Gas Exports to Add 500,000 Jobs, $73 Billion to Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 16, 2017:

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, section vi...

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, section view from side.

The latest estimate from API, the energy trade group, is that increased exports of LNG (liquefied natural gas) over the next 20 years will add nearly 500,000 jobs to the American economy and $73 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Marty Durbin, API’s chief strategy officer, stated, “This report confirms that increasing U.S. LNG exports would bring great benefits to American workers and consumers and [to] the U.S. economy. Increasing the use of U.S. natural gas throughout the world means more production here at home, cleaner air, and increased energy security for our nation and our allies.”

The revolution taking place in natural gas has been almost completely overlooked.

Keep Reading…

EV Revolution to Drive Oil to $10 a Barrel, Says Forecaster

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 16, 2017:

Shell Oil Company

Chris Watling, the CEO of Longview Economics, told CNBC on Friday that Saudi Arabia should hasten the sale of part of its Aramco oil company while the price of crude is still high: “I think they need to get it away quick before oil goes to $10 [per barrel].” Added Watling: “We forget, don’t we? 120 years ago the world didn’t live on oil. Oil hasn’t always driven the global economy. The point is, alternative energy in some form is gathering speed.… Things are changing.”

Watling’s views coincide with those of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in their just-released 2017 Long Term Electric Vehicle Outlook, which concluded that by 2040

Keep Reading…

China Forcing Private Businesses to Support Failing State-owned Enterprises

China Unicom

China Unicom

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 11, 2017: 

The latest report from Caixin/Markit should surprise no one watching China’s continuing economic decline. On Monday Caixin/Markit announced that its purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China’s services sector fell in September to the lowest level since December 2015, and close to the lowest recorded since the survey began in 2005.

Its PMI for China’s manufacturing sector also fell in September, causing Zhengsheng Zhong, a director at CEBM Group, to add that these numbers “suggesting downward pressure on [China’s] economic growth may re-emerge in the fourth quarter.”

Indeed they might. As The New American and others have noted,

Keep Reading…

Jobs Report Shows Remarkable Economic Resiliency After Hurricanes

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 6, 2017: 

Even the headline was positive. Despite losing 200,000 jobs temporarily due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the American economy’s growth elsewhere all but made up for them. The Labor Department reported a net 33,000 jobs loss in September, the first negative number since 2010.

Other signs of economic strength were revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Keep Reading…

Tax-reform Plan Called “Tremendous” by Trump, “Fake Math” by Schumer

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 28, 2017:

In unveiling the tax reform “framework” cobbled together by the Trump administration, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, President Trump called it “tremendous”: “This is a tremendous change, and the biggest winners will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor and as wages start going up [to] levels you haven’t seen in many years.”

On cue, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed her concerns about deficits, perhaps for the first time in her political career:

Keep Reading…

Trump’s Regulatory Rollbacks Already Being Felt

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 22, 2017:

English: G. Edward Griffin

G. Edward Griffin

The latest report from the American Action Forum (AAF), which has been tracking President Trump’s promise to deregulate American businesses, continues to be upbeat. In April it had found that the repeal or delay of regulations imposed during the Obama administration could lead to $86 billion “in net fiscal effects” for taxpayers as a result. The latest from AAF said that the trend downward in regulations and upward in freedom from them continues apace.

In July the Washington Post counted 860 regulations that the Trump administration was either pulling or suspending, and then included commentary from anti-Trump liberals that

Keep Reading…

China is Suffering from the Same Curse as the U.S.: Too Much Debt, Too Little Growth

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 22, 2017:  

Live video feed of Zig Ziglar speaking at the ...

Zig Ziglar speaking at the Get Motivated Seminar at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.

When Zig Ziglar was trying to motivate salesmen, he would often tell them that “there aren’t very many problems that can’t be solved by sufficient production.” This, unfortunately, has been picked up by statist economists who have assumed that any production, at any cost, will solve any problem. Put another way, “We can grow our way out from under the massive debt we have. And we can grow the economy by stimulating it with borrowed funds.”

Zig would be appalled:

Keep Reading…

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.

Keep Reading…

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:

Keep Reading…

As the Fed Shrinks Its Balance Sheet, Nothing Can Go Wrong

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

Investors and Wall Street gurus, seers, and prognosticators paid attention on Wednesday to the emanations from the Federal Reserve board meeting, hoping to glean more of the details about the “great unwinding” of the Fed’s enormously bloated balance sheet. In June, Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the time was drawing near to begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet and there were at least two ways to start: letting maturing bonds “roll off” instead of reinvesting the proceeds in new issues, and liquidating, ever so slowly, some U.S. treasuries, starting at $10 billion a month in October. That liquidation would increase on a quarterly basis until it topped out at $50 billion a month.

The goal, it was suggested, was to

Keep Reading…

Impact of Fed’s Plan to Do a “QE Unwind”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 19, 2017: 

English: Official picture of Janet Yellen from...

Janet Yellen

What makes tomorrow’s [today’s – Wednesday, September 20] meeting at the Federal Reserve so interesting to market watchers and bond investors is the likelihood that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide more details on her plans to begin unwinding the Fed’s balance sheet: how much, how fast, how soon, and what does it all mean? In addition, she is hoping to placate conservatives in Congress who remain unhappy over the Fed’s intervention in the markets in the aftermath of the real estate collapse that triggered the Great Recession.

In June, Yellen outlined some possible scenarios, which included letting some of the bonds on the central bank’s enormous $4.2 trillion balance sheet simply mature without reinvesting the funds in new issues. She suggested the Fed would also start selling off some $10 billion a month of existing securities, and then raise that amount every quarter until it reaches $50 billion a month. This way, by expanding on her plans, and by slowly — very slowly — shrinking the Fed massive balance sheet, she hopes to avoid another “taper tantrum” that bond investors experienced back in 2013 when then-chairman Ben Bernanke first said the Fed should start reducing some of its holdings of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

If she provides sufficient clarity, and sufficient caution, Yellen might not only start the process without disrupting the market, but also avoid further criticism from congressional critics who think the Fed stepped way out of bounds in starting the whole “quantitative easing” (QE) program in the first place. In that way — again, if she is successful — she will not only cement into place the Fed as a necessary element in the American economy, but show that further “QE” expansions to meet future recessions are a legitimate tool.

Whether she can pull it off is an open question. Keynesian economist Austan Goolsbee, who headed Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2010 and 2011, said, “The final exam, with the grade yet to be determined, is: can the Fed actually get out of this stuff?”

The Fed has been essentially flying blind for years, moving outside not only its mandate (to maximize labor force participation while keeping inflation under control) but its past experience. Said David Blanchflower, a Dartmouth College economist (read: Keynesian) who was on the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England from 2006 to 2009, expressed it perfectly: “We had no idea what we should buy, how much, for how long … [and] there is no idea on the way going out.”

It was all a grand experiment: expand the money supply to keep interest rates so far below market rates that people seeking income would take higher risks — i.e., dividend-paying stocks, real estate ventures, etc. — and home owners would find it easier to buy houses. This was the Keynesian antidote to the economic collapse. Rather than let the economy right itself by itself (see America’s recession and recovery in 1920-1921), Keynesians suffer the hubris to think they know better than the market, and intervened, resulting in the longest, slowest recovery from a recession in American history.

Once the Fed began to embark on its plan to bail out banks and other financial institutions in the wake of the real estate collapse, there was no going back. When the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — mortgage insurers that were approaching bankruptcy — it found that it needed to buy up billions of their failing mortgages. That explains why $1.7 billion of the Fed’s balance sheet consists of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

But when that didn’t work the Fed adopted the strategy of “quantitative easing” (QE) — creating money to spur spending across the economy — which some observers thought would never end.

But it did end, in 2014, and the Fed has been sitting on its massive pile of government and mortgage debt, waiting for the economy to revive enough so it could be offloaded without major economic disruptions.

The Fed won’t be unwinding its entire portfolio. Instead it expects to reduce it by between $800 billion and $1 trillion over the next few years, leaving in place a balance sheet of between $2.5 and $3.2 trillion. This means that the Fed will never again see days when its balance sheet shrinks all the way back to the $900 billion it had prior to the Great Recession.

Its plan should have little impact on short-term rates. Using the 10-year Treasury as the standard, when Yellen’s plan (assuming it begins in October) kicks in, it might boost its yield by perhaps a quarter of a percentage point. This would be the natural result of increasing supply in a market with a fixed demand. When more is supplied, prices will go down. In the bond market that translates into a mini-interest rate hike.

But demand from abroad for U.S. bonds continues to be strong. Yields on 10-year bonds issued by foreign governments such as Japan’s and Germany’s remain far below U.S. 10-year bonds and so any increase in rates here will only make them more attractive to foreign buyers.

In fact, once Yellen has filled in the details, as she is expected to do on Wednesday, investors and market watchers are likely to express a sigh of relief, and continue the Fed-fueled rally in stocks that began in 2009 and that shows little sign of stopping. Diane Swonk, chief economist at DS Economics, agrees: “The start to reducing the Fed’s balance sheet is an action the markets are ready for. The Fed has laid out a roadmap and there is really a sense of relief to finally get it started.”

New York Fed: Economy Will Benefit From Harvey and Irma

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 11, 2017:

Frédéric Bastiat

Frédéric Bastiat

In a statement reflecting a worldview taught by all major universities and espoused by central bankers around the world, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, said on Friday that, on net, the destruction wrought by the hurricanes will be positive for the economy: “[The initial] effects tend to be pretty transitory. [But] the long-run effect of these disasters unfortunately is it actually lifts economic activity because you have to rebuild all the things that have been damaged by the storms.”

Dudley got the first part right:

Keep Reading…

If Dudley is Right, Then Let’s Pray for the Flooding of the Entire Country!

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 11, 2017:

Cover of "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Cover of The Emperor’s New Clothes

Taken to its logical conclusion, William Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, thinks a flood covering all of the United States would stimulate the economy. Several sources confirmed that this is what Dudley said on Friday in an interview at CNBC concerning the economic effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma:

Keep Reading…

Price-gouging Laws Guarantee Shortages in Miami

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 8, 2017: 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (shown) railed against so-called price gougers at a press conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday night: “It’s sickening. It’s disgusting. It’s unacceptable and we’re not going to have any of it.” She then provided the number for Floridians who think they’re being ripped off to call to complain: 1-866-9NO-SCAM.

Bondi doubled down the next day, telling would-be “gougers”:

Keep Reading…

Shiller’s CAPE, Harvey, Irma, and now Jose: How Much More is Needed for a Stock Selloff?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 8, 2017:

English: (left) and meeting shortly after the ...

Republicans Smoot and Hawley

Wall Street prognosticators have watched Robert Shiller’s CAPE – “cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings” ratio – for years for signs that stocks are becoming overvalued. It’s now at a nosebleed level reached just before the October 1929 crash. The good news is that CAPE has been at that level ever since Shiller said that stocks were overvalued earlier this year. It is not a market timing tool, but more of an early warning indicator.

Short sellers have gotten smashed as the stock market continues to defy gravity. Bets against the SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund, the largest ETF tracking that index, fell to lows in July not seen since May 2013.

But Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now possibly Jose may finally bring things back to earth. The jump in unemployment claims for the week ending September 2, caused by Harvey and reported by the Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday, not surprisingly exceeded economists’ consensus. The increase of 62,000 for the week to

Keep Reading…

Jump in Jobless Claims Following Harvey Is Just the Beginning

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 7, 2017:

View of the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina taken...

View of the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina taken on August 28, 2005 as the storm made landfall on the United States Gulf Coast.

The jump in unemployment claims for the week ending September 2, as reported by the Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday, not surprisingly exceeded economists’ consensus of just 241,000. The increase of 62,000 for the week to 298,000 nearly broke a claims record that has been in place for 131 weeks: 300,000.

That record will surely be broken in the weeks to come. The unemployment claims are just beginning to come in, and they are a predictor — a proxy — for job layoffs. Some workers

Keep Reading…

August Jobs Report Shows Economy Humming Along Nicely

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, September 2, 2017:

English: Bureau of Labor Statistics logo RGB c...

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Laura Rosner, senior economist at Macro Policy Perspectives (known for its ability to “understand how to read the tea leaves of economic and financial developments”), summed up August’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday: “The economy is doing well, but it’s not necessarily taking off. We’re on an even keel. The labor market continues to hum along.”

The growth in jobs was in all the right places, too,

Keep Reading…

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