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

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.

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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:

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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

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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:

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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:

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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”:

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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

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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

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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,

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Hurricane Harvey, President Trump Putting More Pressure on Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, August 27, 2017:

On Friday President Donald Trump once again ramped up sanctions against Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, shutting off his ability to sell new debt or equity in the U.S. financial markets. On Saturday, Hurricane Harvey, the worst hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in 50 years, has all but sealed Maduro’s fate.

Following Maduro’s installation of his illegal “constituent assembly” in July, President Trump placed sanctions on Maduro himself, freezing any and all of his assets lying within American jurisdiction. A week later Trump added a few of Maduro’s cronies to that list, and on August 9 he added a few more. At the time The New American expressed skepticism that they would have any effect on Maduro’s obstinacy and determination to continue policies that have caused Venezuela’s economy to shrink by 35 percent just since 2014.

On Friday the Trump administration broadened those sanctions to include

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Carbondale, Illinois Seizes Eclipse Opportunity to Boost Its Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 21, 2017:

Two years ago Carbondale, Illinois’ mayor Mike Henry learned of the epic cosmic event headed his way and decided not to say, “Oh, no!” but instead said, “Oh, yes!”:

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Trump Takes Credit for Banner Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 4, 2017:  

Within 15 minutes of Friday morning’s release of the July jobs numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), President Trump tweeted: “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released — and I have just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!”

He has good reason to cheer:

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U.S. Pulls Families from Caracas; Airlines End Flights Before Sunday’s Crucial Vote

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 28, 2017: 

The Coat of arms of Venezuela

The Coat of arms of Venezuela

In its foreign travel advisory issued Thursday, the U.S. State Department warned American visitors against traveling to Venezuela and ordered family members of U.S. government employees at its embassy in Caracas to leave the country. It also offered assistance for those employees wanting to leave before the country’s crucial and controversial election on Sunday. The order and warnings were due to “social unrest, violent crime and pervasive food and medicine shortages” in the country.

Sunday’s vote could be crucial for the direction of the country run by Marxist Nicolas Maduro. Already rumors of vote fraud are suggesting that

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Texas Grows 3.9 Percent in First Quarter. California? 0.1 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 28, 2017: 

This map shows the incorporated areas in Colli...

This map shows the incorporated areas in Collin County, Texas. McKinney is highlighted in red.

Melissa, a resident of San Diego with degrees in psychology and Spanish, could find work only at a fast-food restaurant, recounted an article in (of all places) the Los Angeles Times about how some conservatives fed up with California are looking to Texas for greener pastures — and not just economically. The final straw for Melissa was when her daughter came home from public school one day with a “young adult” novel as homework. The book celebrated the use of cigarettes and pills to cope with stress, and Melissa decided it was time to leave the Golden State.

She found Conservative Move, a website just launched to help Californians

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At Least Papa John’s Pizza Arrives Fresh, Warm, and Tasty

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 26, 2017:

Democrats are so upset over the Democrat Party’s new slogan that some demanded that its originator be fired immediately. The slogan, unveiled by Democrat Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer in the New York Times on Monday, is: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” This was birthed after months of intense mental analysis of last November’s loss to Donald Trump, and it was, according to many, stillborn. The Gateway Pundit massaged Papa John’s Pizza logo on its website, showing Nancy Pelosi beneath the banner, and below, instead of “Papa John’s” was “Dems: Still Pelosi.” It’s worth clicking on it. (See Sources below).

Other Democrats were less charitable.

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Democrats’ New Slogan Channels Papa John’s Pizza

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 24, 2017:

English: Charles Schumer, United States Senato...

Charles Schumer

The Democrat Party’s new slogan, rolled out on Monday by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (shown, D-N.Y.) in the New York Times, sounds an awful lot like the slogan of Papa John’s Pizza (“Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa John’s.”) The new official slogan of the party, according to Schumer, is “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

A closer look reveals old, tired, stale, and tasteless ideas of a party that not only has lost its way, but has lost a majority of Americans along the way. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed that

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Oregon’s New Bicycle Tax Proves Ronald Reagan was Right

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 19, 2017: 

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del...

President Ronald Reagan enjoyed excoriating liberals and big government advocates not with spears but with honey:

We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.

 

Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.

 

When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.

 

The most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

But the one for which the former president is best known is this:

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Trump’s Growth Target Reduced to 3 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 17, 2017:  

For Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s director of his Office of Management and Budget (OMB), reality is setting in. On the campaign trail Trump repeatedly promised four percent growth in the GDP (gross domestic product): “We’re bringing it from 1 percent up to 4 percent. And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.” (October, 2016). Later that month he doubled down during a speech to an audience in North Carolina: “I’m going to get us to 4 percent growth and create 25 million jobs over a 10-year period.”

Mulvaney’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday was unapologetic: “We are promoting MAGAnomics — and that means sustained 3 percent growth.” This new tag, which incorporates the acronym for “Make America Great Again,” is a play on “Reaganomics” from the 1980s:

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Will Mulvaney Have Any More Success with MAGAnomics than Stockman did with Reaganomics?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 17, 2017:

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

Mick Mulvaney.

After serving in the House as a Republican representative from Michigan, David Stockman served as President Ronald Reagan’s OMB director from January 1981 until he quit 4½ years later in frustration. He got half of Reaganomics passed – the tax reduction part. He failed in getting the other half passed – the government spending cut part.

Mick Mulvaney is now Trump’s OMB Director after serving in the House as a Republican from South Carolina. And his job is likely to be as difficult and frustrating as was Stockman’s.

It’s far too soon to speculate about Mulvaney.

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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.