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

Census Bureau Reports 62 Million more Takers than Payers

 

Attack of the Giant Leeches

The latest Current Population Survey, a joint venture between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau , showed 148 million “benefit takers” compared to the benefit providers – workers in the private sector – who number less than 90 million. According to Terence Jeffrey, the senior editor at CNSNews, that’s a ratio of 3:2 and it’s only going to get worse: “As more Baby Boomers retire and as ObamaCare comes fully online … the number of takers will inevitably expand. Eventually there will be too few carrying too many, and America will

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Fewer IRS Audits again this year

English: Anti-United States Internal Revenue S...

The whining from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen began almost from the day he was sworn in as the latest head of the dreaded agency back in December: not enough funding, not enough agents, not enough audits, too many responsibilities, nobody cares, oh darn.  Last year the IRS audited less than 1 percent of all returns from individuals, the lowest rate since 2005. Whined Koskinen, this year “the numbers will

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Connecticut’s Governor as King Canute

Seal of the Governor of Connecticut.

Seal of the Governor of Connecticut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 31, 2014:

King Canute appears to have been reincarnated in the body of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. On Thursday, the governor announced, with great fanfare, that by raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, he will be simultaneously raising people out of poverty, restoring business confidence, and bringing days of wine and roses back to the Nutmeg State:

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Connecticut Raises its Minimum Wage to $10.10 an Hour

Governor's Agreement With State Employees

Governor’s Agreement With State Employees (Photo credit: CT Senate Democrats)

In a remarkable display of hubris and economic ignorance, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy proudly announced on Thursday that his state is the first to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour:

This is just a step in moving people in the right direction.

We will be lifting people out of poverty in the state of Connecticut. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business.

What the new law will really do as it is phased in over the next three years is

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Fed Transcripts from 2008 Reveal Experts to be Clueless and Confused

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Followers of the Fed have carefully analyzed the 1,865 pages of transcripts it released in February of its eight regularly scheduled meetings and six emergency meetings in 2008 and have concluded that these experts were clueless and unaware of the opening economic abyss yawning before them. Even the New York Times was forced to admit, following its review of the documents, that

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Latest Survey: Small Business will lay off Workers if the Minimum Wage is Raised

Bob Funk, the entrepreneur who founded and now operates Express Employment Professionals (claimed to be the largest privately owned employment service in the country), holds that the best way to determine the impact of a proposed law is to ask those who would be directly affected. It reduces confusion, avoids extended discussions among economists who have never held a real job in their working lives, and eliminates spending on empirical studies designed with the desired outcome in mind. Said Funk:

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Denial is a River in Vallejo, California

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, Mary 19, 2014:

Denial of reality seems to be a job requirement to hold a position on the city council in Vallejo, California. Despite increased payments demanded from the city by CalPERS (the California Public Employees’ Retirement System), everything’s OK in Vallejo. Despite a warning from Moody’s in February that everything is not OK in Vallejo, everything’s OK in Vallejo.

Just ask the mayor, Osby Davis:

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Age and Acrimony End Dingell Dynasty in the House

Born in Colorado Springs in 1926, John Dingell (D-Mich.) took over from his father as a Representative from Michigan in 1955 and has never stopped promoting his father’s progressive agenda. On Monday, February 24th, Dingell announced that he would not seek a 30th term partly due to

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Latest CBO Outlook Ignores Birth Rates and Tipping Points

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 5, 2014:

Just reading the headlines, the average citizen is likely to think that now that the deficits are under control Washington can focus on problems elsewhere. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in May that the current year’s deficit would come in at $560 billion, half what it was just two years ago. In its report released on Tuesday, it was pleased to note that

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Latest Keystone Pipeline Study Greeted with Cheers and Jeers

In the release on Friday of the fifth environmental impact study of the Keystone XL pipeline, partisans on both sides of the issue were quick to point to the key paragraph in that study:

Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including [the Keystone XL pipeline project], is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands [in Alberta, Canada] or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States…

Supporters saw this as supporting the country’s economy and lessening its dependence upon foreign, less friendly sources of oil. Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mitchell declared:

The Keystone XL Pipeline is the single largest shovel-ready project in America, ready to go, but for years President Obama and his hard-left allies have stalled these jobs in a maze of red tape.

If the president meant what he said this week about a “year of action,” he’ll act now on this important project that won’t cost taxpayers a dime to build but will bring thousands of private-sector jobs to Americans who need them.

Mitchell’s comments were echoed by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.):

I have been incredibly frustrated for more than five years by the repeated and unnecessary delays in moving forward with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. I am pleased the State Department has confirmed there is no evidence of any negative environmental impact from building this pipeline.

The president of TransCanada, Russ Girling, expressed relief that his company’s project, first begun in 2008 but delayed with repeated requests for more analysis:

The case for Keystone XL, in our view, pre- and post this report, are as strong as ever. No matter how much noise [environmentalists] make or how much misinformation they spread, the facts do support this project…

It will have minimal impact on the environment…

Those opposed saw little in the report to cheer about, seeing in it confirmation that the continued extraction of the heavy oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands will threaten the environment. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) saw the study as inaccurate:

I will not be satisfied with any analysis that does not accurately document what is really happening in the ground when it comes to the extraction, transport, refining and waste disposal of dirty, filthy tar sands oil.

My biggest concerns continue to be the serious health impact on communities and the dangerous carbon pollution that comes from tar sands oil.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) wrote off the report’s conclusion as well:

The State Department is asking us to believe this pipeline is in the national interest. How can a pipeline that ships Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico for export, that does nothing to increase our energy independence, and that will deal irreparable damage both to our landscapes and our air quality possibly meet that definition.

Environmentalists like Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) even saw something in the report that wasn’t there:

Even though the State Department continues to downplay clear evidence that the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to tar sands expansion and significantly worsen carbon pollution, it has, for the first time, acknowledged that the proposed project could accelerate climate change.

President Obama now has all the information he needs to reject the pipeline.

What really puts the president on the hot seat, however, is the support for the pipeline from one of his staunchest allies: Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO:

We think that anything that’s going to create jobs, help the country and do it in an environmentally sound way ought to be done.

This pits Obama supporters against each other while putting pressure on Democrats supporting the project if the president rejects it. Both Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are vulnerable in November and could suffer in their reelection campaigns if the president axes the project.

There will be no meeting in the middle on the issue, according to Professor Bernard Weinstein of the MacGuire Energy Institute. When I spoke with him following a presentation that he made in Colorado Springs last week, Weinstein said he was hopeful that the horrific derailment of 76 tank cars carrying Bakken oil in the town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec last July which killed nearly 50 people and almost destroyed the town would persuade environmentalists that the Keystone pipeline would make more sense in that it was a much safer means to transport crude oil. Instead, he said, “The accident just proved to them that any transport of oil is dangerous and oil extraction of any kind should be ended altogether.”

Now that the report has been published, there is a 60-day period for public comment and input before any decision is made. Some environmentalist groups, including 350.org, have threatened to engage in non-violent protests at the White House similar to those that got 1,200 arrested in the summer of 2011 and another one a year ago where an estimated 50,000 protestors vented noisily their opposition to the project.

The State Department report, however, isn’t likely to speed up the decision-making process. President Obama has stalled before, putting off any final decision until after the 2012 election and he could well do so again. He is likely to let the problem descend onto the desk of Secretary of State John Kerry who, while still believing in the theory of climate change in spite of evidence to the contrary, has been invisible on Keystone. The report is an amazing seven volumes long which someone on his staff is going to have to read. And then he is likely to seek counsel from at least eight other government agencies before deciding what to recommend to the president: the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the E.P.A. As Kerry’s assistant, Kerri-Ann Jones, noted, this report “is not a decision document … [it] is only one factor that will be coming into the review process for this permit.”

Instead of expecting a decision at the end of 90 days, some say it could take as long as a year, well past the November elections, neatly solving the president’s political problems. In the meantime, tar sands oil will continue to be harvested and shipped by rail if not by pipeline to meet worldwide demand.

 

 

Controversial Harvard Professors predict high inflation and defaults for the US

The two Harvard professors who made themselves famous, and then infamous, are at it again, now predicting that America will soon be forced to

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America’s Economic Freedom Slide Continues, says the Heritage Foundation

The latest Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal shows just how successful the Bush and Obama administrations have been in their seeming attempts to turn the United States into a third world economy. The index shows

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Gun Accessories Maker Keeps its Promise to leave Colorado

Just when some of its customers were beginning to question the company’s sincerity about moving out of Colorado in response to anti-gun legislation passed last summer, Magpul Industries announced it has finalized its moves to

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Looking Ahead to 2014 – and a Brighter Future

The latest Rasmussen poll shows 41% of American adults expecting the year 2014 to be a good year “at the very minimum” while just 23% expect the year to turn out poorly. Even the briefest look back at a few of the momentous events of 2013 bode well for the future. There’s the catastrophe called Obamacare which reflects badly, as Lew Rockwell noted, on the Obama “regime, which hates nothing more than looking ridiculous and incompetent, and being the butt of the people’s jokes.”

There’s the continuing rollout of secrets from Edward Snowden which not only keeps the surveillance state on the defensive but has exposed it as untruthful and sinister.

There’s the Benghazi scandal that simply will not go away, as evidenced by the loud condemnation of a New York Times report that tried to deflect responsibility away from the Obama administration by repeating provable lies.

While each of these can be looked at as positives in the cause of freedom, a look ahead provides great encouragement as well. The home-schooling movement continues to thrive and has been enhanced by the employment of the new technology, which makes resources easily accessible and can bring the classroom into the home. Consider, for example, the online school Freedom Project Education (FPE), which offers “a classical education for students … rooted firmly in Judeo-Christian values … similar to that received by America’s Founding Fathers, promoting liberty, citizenship, and independent thinking.”

The fracking revolution, resulting in what economist Mark Perry calls the “Great American Energy Boom”, has the increasingly likely potential to wean the US off most if not all foreign suppliers of energy, perhaps as soon as 2030. The impact of such an event can scarcely be underestimated, ranging all the way from removing a primary excuse for continuing foreign military entanglements to a vastly more robust economy. At present Midland, Texas, has the third-highest per capita income of any city in the country, while the unemployment rate in North Dakota is the lowest of any state.

Favorable fracking news continues to roll in on nearly a daily basis. A study from the University of Texas at Austin last week showed that as coal-fired plants are converted to natural gas, the need for water drops precipitously:

The researchers estimate that water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is 25 to 50 times as great as the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the natural gas.

This is good news on two fronts: Texas is in its third year of serious drought conditions, and the greenies have used the amount of water used in fracking as an argument against it. Such good news reduces the impact of that drought on the state while defanging such environmentalists’ attacks.

Across the world remarkable improvements in living conditions are increasingly being enjoyed as advances in medicine and technology are reducing mortality and improving literacy while decreasing poverty and hunger. According to Chris Higgins, writing for Mental Floss:

We are making tremendous advances in life expectancy, disease prevention, poverty and hunger…

Every single country in the world has lower mortality rates overall than they had in 1950…

Global literacy rates are rising … with youth aged 15 and younger doing especially well…

We’re on track … to halve world hunger [compared to its 1990 rate] by 2015…

[Since the year] 2000, over 600 million people have been pulled out of extreme poverty. This represents the fastest decline in global poverty in all of human history. (Higgins’ emphasis)

Freedom is advancing on the micro level as well. The US Postal Service continues its downward spiral into irrelevance thanks to the internet and some are expecting it to disappear altogether within a decade. Cartels that protect taxi companies are being challenged by apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar which provide transportation services by connecting travelers with drivers over the internet.

The alternative cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin, continues to gain momentum even as competitors such as Zerocoin enter the digital currency arena offering the advantage of secure anonymity of transactions. There is also growing interest in making gold and silver legal tender — at least as an alternative to, if not replacement for, today’s fiat (unbacked) currency.

Free market options to the heavy-handed federal mandates of Obamacare are becoming increasingly available including cost-sharing ministries and doctors outside the system accepting cash-only patients along with monthly packages of services provided for a modest ($50 to $100) monthly fee. There are an increasing number of retail cash-only health care clinics opening in big box stores like Walmart and pharmacies like Walgreen’s.

There’s crowdfunding that’s allowing small investors to join with eager entrepreneurs offering inventive, creative alternative products and services. There’s 3-D printing. There’s Bitmessage  poised to replace today’s fully-surveilled email with encryption tools. There’s TOR which, coupled with the Deep Web will allow anonymous websurfing once again. The list goes on.

The Internet, of course, makes it possible to reach a much larger audience than otherwise would be the case. TheNewAmerican.com received more than 600,000 unique visitors during December, according to editor Gary Benoit. The parent of that website, The John Birch Society, has led the way in the freedom fight for over 50 years. In an email to members it reminded them that:

one highly effective attribute of the JBS is its focused coordination of efforts…

In 2013, JBS members worked on stopping Agenda 21, exposing Common Core, opposing gun control, blocking con-con calls, nullifying Obamacare, and educating others on the free trade agenda.

JBS CEO Art Thompson looked ahead to 2014:

Based on the knowledge we have at hand, the JBS and all of our affiliated efforts reach approximately 20 million people in our first layer of influence…

Increasing what we are capable of doing by doubling our size would give the JBS a geometric growth in influence. In other words, doubling in size would more than double our effectiveness.

After that, by again doubling our numbers we could impact a third of all the adults in America. And this does not take into consideration the accompanying indirect influence within a second and third layer of the population.

In 2013 the battle for freedom saw significant victories, even beyond those outlined briefly here. There’s nothing to show that momentum slowing in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

1.3 million Lose Federal Unemployment Benefits, Another 2 million to Follow

Because the budget deal signed into law last week didn’t extend federal unemployment benefits, some 1.3 million people won’t be getting their $1,166 monthly checks, starting in January. By June another 1.9 million will be cut off.

Keynesians are sputtering nonsense about the need to extend benefits. President Obama called it an

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Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Releases His Annual “Wastebook”

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 20th, 2013:

In his press release announcing the publication of his annual “Wastebook” summarizing 100 examples of egregious, wasteful, and outrageous government spending, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn tried to make himself appear “holier than thou” by

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Senator Tom Coburn’s “Holier-than-Thou” release of his 2013 “Wastebook”

In Tuesday’s press release Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced the publication of his annual “Wastebook” which highlights Congress’ “most egregious spending” while at the same time distancing himself from the big spenders and earmarkers in Congress who provided fodder for his book:

While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress…

What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible bills – possible.

Coburn then provided some teasers out of the 100 examples in his Wastebook:

The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and internet fan fiction…

The military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment [in Afghanistan] … rather than sell it or ship it back home…

In January, 2013, Congress passed a bill to provide $60.4 billion for [victims of] Hurricane Sandy. However, instead of rushing aid to the people who need it most, state-level officials … spent [$65 million of it] on tourism-related TV ads…

Since NASA is no longer conducting space flights, they have plenty of time and money to fund … the “Green Ninja” in which a man dressed in a Green Ninja costume teaches children about global warming.

While promoting his book recently on CBS News, Coburn tried to distance himself from any responsibility for such “egregious spending” by asking rhetorically: “Where was the adult in the room when this was going on?” Interviewer Nancy Cordes then asked if any of his previous editions of Wastebook had made any impact or had reduced or eliminated any of the more outrageous examples of waste:

Cordes: Have you ever gotten any traction in Congress, where members say “We’re actually going to get rid of this?”

Coburn: No. They don’t pay attention to it. It’s hard work to get rid of junk, it’s hard work to do oversight, it’s hard word to hold agencies accountable. And so what they would rather do is look good at home, get re-elected, and continue to spend money, and that’s Republican and Democrat alike.

What Cordes failed to ask at that moment would have been the perfect follow-on question:

How does your effort, then, and your voting record, separate you from them? Doesn’t this Wastebook of yours cost a lot of taxpayer money? Isn’t this part of your attempt to look good at home while providing cover for your own votes for some of these projects? Isn’t this part of your attempt to continue to get reelected?

Unfortunately there is no record of Cordes asking, or of Coburn’s response. But in July 2007 when Coburn criticized pork-barrel spending by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson that would benefit Nelson’s son’s employer with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, newspapers in both Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that Coburn himself failed to criticize similar earmarks that he voted for that benefited his own state of Oklahoma.

In May, 2012 Coburn voted for H.R. 2072, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank with increased lending limits backed by taxpayer monies from $100 billion to $140 billion. According to analysts assessing his vote, the federal government has no constitutional authority to risk taxpayers’ money “to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide.” Those analysts added:

Indeed, U.S. government-backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.

Perhaps Coburn can be forgiven for not knowing that such wasteful spending is part of a plan to reduce America’s influence in the world, first clearly laid out when Coburn was just 10 years old, in 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At a meeting in December, candy maker Robert Welch spoke for three days to some friends about the direction the country was headed, claiming it was part of a plan to “surrender American sovereignty, piece-by-piece and step-by-step, to various international organizations…”. Part one of that plan was:

Greatly expanded government spending for every conceivable means of getting rid of ever larger sums of American money as wastefully as possible.

Other parts included:

Higher and then much higher taxes…

An increasingly unbalanced budget despite the higher taxes…

Greatly increased socialistic controls over every operation of our economy and every activity of our daily lives. This is to be accompanied naturally and automatically by a correspondingly huge increase in the size of our bureaucracy and in both the cost and reach of our domestic government.

Coburn’s report illustrates the success of that plan to which he himself is contributing. The man has feet of clay. He not only is the author of Wastebook but a contributor to it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Monumental Hubris in Claim of Taxpayer Victory in GM Bailout

 

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013:

In Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s fawning, obsequious, genuflecting announcement that the president had singlehandedly saved western civilization from a cataclysmic economic disaster, he said that by taking a loss, taxpayers actually scored a victory:

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US Treasury sells the rest of its GM shares at a loss, claims taxpayer victory

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced on Monday afternoon that his department had sold the remaining shares of GM that it acquired following the forced bankruptcy of the auto giant in 2009, and made the $10.5 billion loss sound like it was a victory:

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Walmart’s Two New Stores in Washington DC Embarrass a Preacher

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 9th, 2013:

 

When the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler, pastor of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, saw the two new Walmart stores opening in DC this past week, he admitted that some of his people were going to shop there despite his protestations:

I know some of my congregants are going to be shopping there. I have not called for a boycott or anything like that.

But … when you make this corporation richer, it’s at the expense of making somebody [else] poorer.

Not according to the shoppers, hundreds of whom voluntarily

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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.

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