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

The Broken Promise of Minimum wage laws

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 20, 2017:

The promise is that by requiring businesses to pay their employees $15 an hour, the net result is that everyone will live better. The low-paid people will have more money to spend, the upward “ripple” effect on other higher-paid people in the organization will also have more money to spend, the economy will grow, there will be more jobs hiring people who will then have more money to spend, and so on into the woodwork.

This was the claim by that “poverty” expert, former Senator Teddy Kennedy whose family’s wealth extended backwards for generations, who said that

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Saudi Arabia’s Troubles Mount: Public Sale of Part of Aramco Delayed

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

Saudi Aramco's headquarters complex in Dhahran...

Saudi Aramco’s headquarters complex in Dhahran, Eastern Province

Under Saudi Arabia’s “National Transformation Program” (NTP), being pushed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the sale of up to five percent of the country’s crown jewel, Saudi Aramco (officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company), would boost private employment and diversify the kingdom away from oil. The initial public offering (IPO), if and when it happens, would be the largest IPO in history and value Aramco at around $2 trillion, making it the largest publicly traded energy company in the world.

The funds raised would flow into a “sovereign wealth fund,” which would then invest in foreign and national companies in the private sector. This, it is hoped, would entice others to join in turning Saudi Arabia into more of a capitalist economy rather than a state-controlled one.

In Salman’s grand scheme,

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Greece Needs Another Bailout; Disagreement Threatens EU Itself

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 9, 2017:

IMF Headquarters, Washington, DC.

IMF Headquarters

The report on Greece’s financial condition issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday was dismal, but, said the central bank, its future remains bright. First, the bad news: The EU member will fall far short of the budget-surplus targets put in place in order to get the last bailout. The Greek economy must grow at 3.1 percent but it expanded by only 0.4 percent last year.

However, the IMF said Greece’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2017. An unnamed European Union official who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity said that

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Jobs Report: Across-the-board Growth, Except for Government

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 3, 2017:

Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for January surprised on the upside in almost every category with job growth of 227,000 new jobs, beating economists’ predictions by more than 50,000. The report reflected numbers from the week before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, and showed growth in every major category, including manufacturing. On the flip side, government employment dropped by 10,000 jobs.

This is the best jobs report in the last four months, and exceeds 2016’s average monthly jobs growth of 187,000. Construction added 36,000 jobs, retail trade added 46,000 jobs, financial services grew by 32,000 jobs, professional and business services increased by 39,000 jobs, education and health services jumped by 24,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 34,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 5,000 jobs.

The job market was attractive enough to entice those not in the work force to begin to look for work once again, increasing the workforce participation rate. The labor force increased by 584,000 in January while wages continued to increase, rising 2.5 percent over the past year, and long-term unemployment dropped.

The report reflected a positive change, especially in manufacturing versus government. Over the last year the manufacturing sector lost 46,000 jobs while government employment under the Obama administration jumped by 162,000 jobs. Future reports from the BLS will confirm whether the January reversal has legs.

The January report is merely a snapshot of an economy in transition, which makes it difficult to draw long-term conclusions. Part of its rosy tone may reflect anticipation of the fulfillment of Trump’s promises, such as repealing ObamaCare, cutting taxes and regulations, and removing executive-order impediments that flowed from Obama’s pen especially as he was making his exit.

A broader picture suggests that, as good as the report is, the underlying economy is doing even better. Baby Boomers are exiting the jobs market and retiring at an estimated 10,000 every day. That’s nearly four million leaving the workforce every year. And it could continue for years as the Baby Boomer cohort exceeds 75 million.

There’s also the factor of robotics increasingly replacing jobs as cost-cutting continues to drive automation, along with the push from minimum-wage laws. And yet the jobs report reflected a growing economy that is able to overcome those negatives.

In addition, there is the difficulty of measuring exactly how many people are working and for whom. The Wall Street Journal raised the issue in its recent report “The End of Employees,” which said, “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people.” The problem, said the Journal, is that “no one knows how many Americans work as contractors, because they don’t fit neatly into the job categories tracked by government agencies [such as the BLS].”

For example, Southwest Airlines has about 53,000 real full-time, full-benefits employees, but another 10,000 outside employees. Google’s parent Alphabet uses contract staff from various outside staffing agencies such as Zenith Talent, Filter, and Adecco, running up an annual bill for those services in excess of $300 million. When Todd Gibbons, CEO of the Bank of New York, was quizzed on the matter, he responded, “It’s just too hard to tell exactly what’s going on with [our] head count and how people compute it and whether [we’ve] got contractors versus full-time employees.” If he doesn’t know how many people work for BNY, how would the BLS know?

What is clear is that January’s report, if it is sustained in the months ahead, reflects the new paradigm emanating from Washington: one of support and encouragement backed by real efforts to unleash the free market by removing some (many) of the impediments placed before it by previous administrations.

Trump’s Regulatory Executive Order: One In, Two Out

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 30, 2017:

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

White House officials described President Donald Trump’s Executive Order for “Reducing Government Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Cost” as Trump’s “one in, two out” plan: For every regulation promulgated by a federal agency, that agency must “identify” two existing regulations to be targeted for extinction.

The order also sets a cap of $0 for the cost of new regulations, with the only exceptions being military and national security regulations. The president said when signing the order,

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ALEC, United Van Lines Studies: People Moving to Lower-tax States

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

State Seal of South Dakota.

State Seal of South Dakota.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) just released its latest Rich States, Poor States study showing how states measure up in economic performance based on three variables, and then ranking them in a forecast based on 15 variables. Its conclusion is the same this year as in the past:

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Apple Supplier Foxconn Negotiating $7 Billion Plant in Pennsylvania

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

Speaking at a meeting at company headquarters in Taiwan on Sunday, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou (shown, on left) expanded on his company’s plans to build a $7 billion flat-panel display facility in Pennsylvania. He said the factory could employ between 30,000 and 50,000 people, depending on what kind of deal he could strike with state officials.

Those plans were inadvertently disclosed following a meeting in December between Donald Trump and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son. A photo revealed a clipboard Son was carrying that clearly said:

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Is Obama Worst U.S. President?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 20, 2017:

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

President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010.

If one asks Joe Hoft, a corporate executive with a Fortune 300 company based in Hong Kong about President Obama’s economic policies during his eight years as president, he will note that Obama “currently ranks as the fourth worst president on record in GDP growth.” At just 1.45 percent average annual GDP growth over those eight years, only Herbert Hoover (minus 5.65 percent), Andrew Johnson (minus .7 percent) and Theodore Roosevelt (1.4 percent) have worse records. However, “Barack Obama will be the only U.S. president in history who did not deliver a single year of 3.0 or better percent growth.”

Hoft will remind us that

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Alexander Soros, Scion of Billionaire George Soros, Being Groomed to Take Control

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 19, 2017:

English: Alexander Soros in NYC in the spring ...

Alexander Soros

According to Media Research Center (MRC,) Alexander Soros (shown), one of billionaire George Soros’ five children, opened his father’s checkbook and gave more than $4.5 million to various Democratic campaign and political action committees last year. Between August and November the Soros scion wrote four checks to Senator Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC totaling $3.5 million. The other checks went to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation, and other left-wing groups and politicians.

Although it’s George’s money, Alexander is making the decisions on a major part of his father’s estimated $25 billion. And it appears to be part of a plan to move Alexander into the driver’s seat when his father, age 86, passes from the scene. Dan Gainer, the MRC vice president who tracks the numbers, told the Washington Times: “Alexander Soros is following in both his father’s and brother’s footsteps — going left.” He added:

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GM, Walmart, Amazon Announce New Jobs Ahead of Trump’s Inauguration

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

English: Trump

First it was Amazon, announcing last week that it will be creating 100,000 new full-time jobs in the United States over the next 18 months. Said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, “These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley, they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities through the country.” When in place Amazon will be employing nearly 300,000 people in the United States.

President-elect Donald Trump was pleased to take some credit,

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Can the American Dream be Revived?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 9, 2017:

English: Statue of Liberty Gaeilge: Dealbh na ...

The term American Dream was coined by James Trustow Adams in 1931, just as the economy was entering the worst of the Great Depression. In The Epic of America, Adams wrote:

[It is] that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement….

 

It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

In 2012, American cultural historian Lawrence Samuel, author of The American Dream: A Cultural History, echoed Adams:

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Ford Cancels Plans for Mexico Plant, Shifts 700 jobs to United States

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 4, 2017:  

English: Ford Motor Company Headquarters, Dear...

Ford Motor Company Headquarters, Dearborn, Mi.

When Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company’s executive chairman, called President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday to inform him of his company’s decision to cancel its plans to build a new plant in Mexico and instead shift some of those new jobs to Michigan, liberal eyebrows were raised. Was this a “capitulation” to Trump? Was it a “sell-out?” Was it a “peace offering?”

CNN’s Poppy Harlow interviewed Ford’s president and chief operating officer Mark Fields following the company’s announcement, attacking him mercilessly with loaded questions. She peppered him with insinuations that

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Obama Places Vast Majority of Arctic Ocean “Indefinitely Off Limits” to Drilling

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 21, 2016:  

The joint U.S.-Canada statement issued by the White House on Tuesday permanently blocked 115 million acres of the Arctic Ocean — including all of the Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the Beaufort Sea — from energy development. Said the statement:

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Kudlow as Cheerleader, Not Serious Economic Advisor

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 21, 2016:  

If Donald Trump is looking for someone to present his economic plan to the public in non-threatening terms, someone who is amiable, popular, and ideology-free, he could do worse than picking Larry Kudlow (shown). Kudlow has been affiliated with CNBC for 15 years, most notably for hosting “The Kudlow Report,” and before that, “Kudlow and Cramer.”

According to Trump transition team advisor Stephen Moore, Kudlow will shortly be named as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors. Kudlow fits the bill.

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Trump Likely To Pick Larry Kudlow as Chief Economic Advisor

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 20, 2016:  

Speaking to the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce last week, Trump transition team advisor Stephen Moore let the cat out of the bag: The president-elect would shortly be naming Larry Kudlow (shown) as his chief economic advisor. Moore enthusiastically endorsed the pending nomination: “Who better than Larry? He’s one of the great economists in this country.”

Kudlow may be many things, including enjoying a long-running affiliation with CNBC and host of The Kudlow Report, but he is not an economist.

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Will Mick Mulvaney Pull Trump’s Financial Fat Out of the Fire?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 19, 2016:  

English: Official portrait of US Rep. Mick Mul...

Michael “Mick” Mulvaney (shown) rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 into Congress, replacing a 14-term Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th District. He has been handily reelected ever since. He took his oath of office seriously, saying in 2010 that “If political reporters want to know what drives the Tea Partiers, it is their belief in the Constitution. That’s what has always driven me in politics and will guide me in Congress.”

He remained as true to his word as any of those riding the same wave,

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Trump’s Labor Secretary: Fast-food Magnate Is Anti-Minimum Wage

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 9, 2016:  

CKE Restaurants

When President-elect Donald Trump nominated Andy Puzder, the head of CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.), on Thursday, he called him the “ideal candidate,” stating, “Andy Puzder has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans, and his extensive record fighting for workers makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Department of Labor. Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring [that] workers receive the benefits they deserve. [In addition] he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages.”

Puzder is ideal in more ways than one.

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“Upside Sensitivity” the New Buzzword as Companies Plan for Trump Economy

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

English: Photo of the AT&T Midtown Center in M...

AT&T Midtown Center in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia.

AT&T’s Chief Executive, Randall Stephenson, spoke to a UBS investment conference on Tuesday, introducing a new phrase that more and more American companies will shortly be adopting: “upside sensitivity” studies. He spoke of how less government oversight and lower taxes would impact his business, expressing optimism that “a more moderate approach to some of those regulations is in the making under a Trump administration.” He then added:

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U.S. Steel Latest to Bring Jobs Back to the United States

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 8, 2016:  

U.S. Steel

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, U.S. Steel’s CEO Mario Longhi said he’d like to bring back up to 10,000 jobs to the United States:

We’re already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvements to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we’re going to do….

 

I’d be more than happy to bring back the employees we’ve been forced to lay off during [the Great Recession].

His company used to employ 37,000 people but that dropped to just 21,000 as of last December, thanks not only to the Great Recession and its almost immeasurably small recovery but also due to excessive regulations:

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Trump Picks Former Goldman Sachs Banker for Treasury Secretary

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 30, 2016:  

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

One of the first criticisms over Donald Trump’s nomination of former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday for Treasury secretary came from the Democratic National Committee: “So much for draining the swamp … nominating Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary is a slap in the face to voters who hoped [Trump] would shake up Washington.”

Just the name “Goldman Sachs” sends shivers down the backs of Americanists.

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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.