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

Free Markets, Deregulation, and Blame

Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

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Free markets, in the full sense of the phrase, exist only in the minds and imaginations of free-market economists from the Austrian School, such as Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.

The classic definition is simply a market without intervention or regulation by government. In truth, commerce in any developed country is always controlled to some extent by government. A free market requires the right to own property, which means that the wages, earnings, profits, and gains obtained by providing products and services to others belongs to the individual generating them. The assumption is that an individual with this kind of freedom would only make an exchange that gained him a benefit.

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Jobs Bill: The Law of Intended Consequences

London | 2009

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With great fanfare, the Obama administration celebrated its first policy victory of the year—the $17.6 billion jobs bill. Eleven Republican Senators helped push the bill through the Senate, 68-29.

The economically flawed and unconstitutional law provides employers an exemption from Social Security tax withholding through the end of the year on any employees added to the payroll who have been unemployed for at least 60 days. And if the employees stay on that payroll for at least a year, the employers would receive an additional $1,000 tax credit. In addition, the law spends $20 billion on federal highway construction and other public improvement projects.

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Social Security’s Nest Egg is Officially Cracked

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In a misleading article by Associated Press that IOUs “stashed away” in an investment account in Parkersburg, West Virginia, were going to have to be sold to meet Social Security shortfalls, all the attention was on the location of the account instead of what was in it.

Analyzed here and elsewhere, Social Security is now suffering in the open as a result of unconstitutional and unsound financial assumptions starting in 1935. First of all, the gigantic welfare program, the largest government transfer program in the world, was sold to the American people during the Great Depression as an annuity guaranteed by the federal government. In fact, it still retains the early efforts to link Social Security to the insurance industry (which, at that time, still retained a high degree of public trust) by calling it the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA.

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Lehman Bros.: Pinprick That Burst the Bubble

Balloon POP !!!

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The culprits blamed for the failure of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008 included the company’s top executives, their accountants, their highly-leveraged loans that had started going bad, their success at hiding those bad loans by cooking the books, and their lenders demanding more and better collateral, according to Anton Valukas in his 2,200 page report released Thursday.

There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, and it looks like there will be criminal charges filed too. The biggest lie, however, wasn’t mentioned: that this implosion of Lehman Brothers caught everyone by surprise.

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Obama Healthcare II is Financial Lunacy

Selling Obamacare - July 22, 2009

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Even if the Obama administration is able to persuade (or bludgeon) enough Democrats into passing his latest version of healthcare, it would still be financial lunacy.

Last summer CNS News reported on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of President Obama’s initial public offering for healthcare, which they called “fairly blistering…concerning the ability of the…plans to save money and control health care costs for the long term.” According to CBS, the Director of the CBO, Doug Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee that none of the bills he has seen would reduce health care costs: “In the legislation that has been [analyzed so far] we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of…health care spending by a significant amount…On the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”

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Latest Unemployment Numbers: Shoveling Snow?

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When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that the economy lost only 36,000 jobs in February, the usual choristers took that as good news. Christina Romer, the Chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said, “Today’s report on the employment situation is consistent with the pattern of stabilization and gradual labor market healing we have been seeing in recent months.”

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Financial Reform: Pressing On, Regardless

Bob Corker

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Last month, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed back against the Obama administration’s plans to create a “standalone” Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and some Washington-watchers held their breath to see if Corker would hold his ground.

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The Economy Looks Like “L”

The Letter "L"

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Just when the headline news about the economy was beginning to look good and the talking heads were beginning to sound good, along came a barrage of bad news that was so bad that it couldn’t be covered up. Gallup began with the news that in January nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce “lacked adequate employment”, which was worse than the numbers reported by the Labor Department. According to Reuters, these “findings appear to paint a darker employment picture than official U.S. data,” with about 30 million Americans “underemployed.” And Gallup misses the mark by at least 2 percent, according to John Williams of ShadowStats.com.

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For Goldman Sachs, the Greece Fleece is Another Ripoff

Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York City

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When Goldman Sachs was implicated in helping Greece deceive the European Union and its own citizens about the extent of its debt and deficits, it was another stone in the growing pile of evidence illustrating the incestuous relationship between governments and central banks.

In order to conform with Eurozone rules, Greece must limit its annual deficit to less than three percent of its GDP, and its total outstanding debt to no more than 60 percent of its GDP.  Now that it’s clear that Greece has been in significant violation of both of those rules for several years, experts have discovered that efforts were made to hide those violations through the use of “obscure derivatives provided by [Goldman Sachs and] other U.S. banks to delay payment on obligations, borrow even more money and to keep the true figures off the official books.”

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Will the U.S. Be Able to Pay its Debts?

debt

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An Associated Press writer says “the crushing weight of its debt threatens to overwhelm everything the federal government does,” even under the best-case scenario. This theme of unsustainable debts and deep holes has been reviewed elsewhere on this site, and it’s small comfort that it is now making headlines in the controlled mainstream media:

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Toyota Under Fire

DALY CITY, CA - FEBRUARY 03:  The Toyota logo ...

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The unrelenting attacks on Toyota are a metaphor for similar attacks on the free-market economy by its detractors.

Up until August, 2009, Toyota had become the premier automobile manufacturer in the world. Through its “relentless pursuit of perfection” (Toyota’s Lexus brand’s marketing slogan), Toyota enjoyed increasing sales and profitability through its successful efforts to serve its customers better than its competition.

In August, a horrendous car crash involving a family driving a Lexus automobile killed the driver, Mark Saylor, a California Highway Patrol officer, his wife and daughter, and his brother-in-law. A recording of a passenger’s frantic 911 call, lasting 52 seconds, was broadcast throughout the media and pushed Toyota into the unwelcome and unaccustomed spotlight of negative public attention. That attention continues today.

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China Reacts to U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan

Chiang Pin-kung, vice-chairman of the Kuominta...

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Last month’s decision by the United States to sell $6.4 billion worth of arms and military supplies to Taiwan “will not affect steadily improving ties between Taipei and Beijing,” according to Chiang Pin-kung, Taiwan’s top China negotiator. The deal “should not have any impact on ongoing China talks and the future development of bilateral ties,” he added.

China’s reaction, however, was much less sanguine. Beijing immediately suspended military exchanges with Washington and threatened sanctions against the military contractors supplying the war matériel to Taiwan.  And on Monday a group of Chinese military officers, in state-controlled media interviews, urged China to increase its defense spending and deploy additional troops to offset the new agreement between the United States and Taiwan.

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Geithner: No Double Dip

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When he appeared on ABC News‘s This Week on February 7, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was quizzed about the risk of the United States losing its triple-A credit rating, the chances that foreign investors might start shunning US debt, and whether the economy would suffer a double dip recession.

Last week the credit rating agency Moody’s warned that weak economic growth and increasing debt burdens could “put pressure on the country’s triple-A status.”  When asked to respond, Geithner said, “Absolutely not. That will never happen to this country.”  One remembers the speaker’s rule to be very careful about using absolutes, such as “absolutely”, and “never happen.”  History books are filled with examples of events that could “absolutely never happen.”

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Yemen: Intervention, Nation-building, and the Constitution

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When Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) vented his frustration at further involvement by the United States in foreign countries despite constitutional limitations against such involvement, he declared:  “Stay out of Yemen!” Unfortunately, almost no one is listening.

Yemen is located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by Saudi Arabia on the north, the Red Sea on the west, the Gulf of Aden on the south, and Oman on the east. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with unemployment exceeding 40 percent and the average citizen living on less than $1.25 a day. Its history is a running sore of intervention by outside influences and internal civil wars. It could be a vital, prosperous country by dint of its strategic location alone. Instead, it is best known for internal political corruption and increasing dependence upon foreign aid.

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Latest on the Economy: Heading Up or Head Fake?

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When the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that “the output of goods and services…increased at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009,” the usual suspects in the kept media could hardly restrain themselves. ABC News’ headline trumpeted, “Economy Grows…Fastest Since 2003” which was “fueled by companies boosting output to keep stockpiles up.”  Their announcement explained that “Growth exceeded expectations mainly because business spending on equipment and software jumped much more than [was] forecast.”

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Bernanke’s Kudos, Criticisms Miss the Point

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A preliminary vote today for Ben Bernanke’s reappointment to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve is expected to clear the way for a final favorable vote by the Senate.

Bernanke’s first term record was subjected to criticism and praise during confirmation hearings in December, and  he was selected as Time magazine’s Person of the YearTime magazine’s Michael Grunwald was kind to a fault, calling Bernanke “our mild-mannered economic overlord” (a reference, no doubt to Superman’s mild-mannered Clark Kent), and “the most powerful nerd on the planet.”  In that lengthy tribute, Grunwald summarized the Fed’s role:

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What Part of “No” Doesn’t He Understand?

Pelosi Showing Obama Health Care

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This change allegedly reflects the impact the Brown win in Massachusetts last week had on politics in general, but also that it had not been anticipated by Obama or the Democrats.

“The entire political community was caught a little bit unawares on that one,” said David Axelrod, White House senior advisor. The impact of Brown’s win on Obama’s healthcare bill was significant in that it deprived the Democrats of the opportunity to push the bill through the Senate without a Republican vote.

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Sarah Palin, Enigma

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When Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced her support for three prominent Republicans, her Facebook statement entitled “Ride the Tide with Commonsense Candidates” resounded with laudibles such as supporting those who offer “commonsense government,” and those “who promise to fight FOR the people and AGAINST politics as usual.” She referred to the Massachusetts election as “truly amazing,” and a “demonstration of the momentum we all share in the fight for the values and policies that will get our country back to work. The commonsense conservative principles of liberty and fiscal responsibility are on the rise…”

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U.S. Debt Level Unsustainable, Report Says

Graffiti: Debt

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“The debt level of the United States is unsustainable, something has to give,” said the co-author of a new joint report released last week by the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration. The committee that prepared the 268-page study, entitled Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future, included three former heads of the Congressional Budget Office.

A WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi, entitled “Forecast: Debt to Dwarf GDP,” provided key quotes from the study as well as from Rudolph Penner, one of the former CBO heads. “The fundamental problem is that we have these three very large programs—Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security— that…are growing faster than tax revenues and faster than the economy,” Penner told WorldNetDaily. This is creating an “unsustainable federal budget deficit [that continues to grow] ever onward and upward.”

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Weak Dollar Obama’s Fault?

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only th...

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According to Newsweek, the dollar isn’t weakening, and even if it is, it isn’t Obama’s fault. On Tuesday, Daniel Gross iterated all the reasons that, according to conservatives, the American dollar should weaken. Conservatives, he said, blame the actions of the Federal Reserve with the lowering of interest rates to zero, printing money, and expanding the monetary base. They also blame the Obama administration for running up huge deficits in its efforts to restart the faltering economy.

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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.