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: Free Market

SAVs are Raising Existential Questions for Car Companies

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 22, 2015:

SAVs are “shared autonomous vehicles” – driverless, robotic automobiles – and they are already raising serious questions that GM and Ford are just starting to address. Questions like: what business are we in today? What business will we be in tomorrow? Twenty-five years from now? Will we be in the car business or the transportation business? What does that mean? What do we do now so we’re still around and profitable then?

GM spokesman Jim Cain put the SAV revolution in the best possible light:

Keep Reading…

Driverless Cars to Disrupt Industry, Benefit Consumers

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 21, 2015: 

English: Google driverless car operating on a ...

Google driverless car operating on a testing path

 

Brian Johnson, in his “Disruptive Mobility” report issued by Barclays Bank on Tuesday, sees that a future with driverless cars will mean far fewer cars on the road, a much smaller GM and Ford, and consumer travel costs cut by two-thirds. A generation from now there will be just 100 million cars on American roads (compared to 250 million today), and new car sales will fall below levels touched at the bottom of the Great Recession: less than 10 million a year.

This means that, unless they adapt and adopt new strategies, and perhaps a new business model, General Motors and Ford will likely be vastly smaller enterprises than they are today. He predicts that

Keep Reading…

Energy Department Approves Six LNG Export Plants; More Coming

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 28, 2015:

On April 14, the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission published a remarkable summary of its recent approvals for private energy companies to build LNG (liquid natural gas) export plants along the East and Gulf Coasts.

What’s remarkable is that for decades the DOE has bought the argument that exporting LNG to customers around the world might jeopardize its supply here in the United States. It also bought the argument that allowing private producers to ship their product overseas would only encourage more fracking here with its claimed attendant but unproven dangers to the environment.

That the DOE is giving approval to LNG export facilities is proof that reality has finally replaced ideology at the agency, at least for the moment. As expected,

Keep Reading…

Oil Production Still Increasing — Confounding Experts

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 16, 2015: 

Logo of International Energy Agency

A month ago the International Energy Agency (IEA) began hedging its bet that declining oil prices would cut production: “U.S. supply [of crude oil] so far shows precious little sign of slowing down. Quite to the contrary, it continues to defy expectations.” 

This is how economists say “Oops!” 

On Friday the IEA was still astonished at the resilience of the oil industry as it continued to produce at record levels, despite predictions that declining rig counts would force production cuts. Instead, total U.S. crude oil production hit a high of 9.4 million barrels a day during the week ending March 6. 

Keep Reading…

US Crude Production Sets Record in March, Surprises the IEA

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 15, 2015: 

Just a quick look at the history of the International Energy Agency should convince anyone of its inefficacy: founded in 1974 at the suggestion of Henry Kissinger, its focus is on management of other peoples’ resources. Its mandate: the “3Es”: energy security, economic development, and environmental protection. The fact that it lacks any understanding of how the free market automatically addresses these issues showed up a month ago when its prediction of lower oil production in the US fell flat: “The U.S. supply [of crude oil] so far shows precious little sign of slowing down. Quite to the contrary, it continues to defy expectations.”

On Friday it confirmed its ignorance of how the free market works when it announced – surprise of surprises – that

Keep Reading…

Internet Freedom to Disappear on Thursday

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, February 26, 2015:

Ronald Reagan wearing cowboy hat at Rancho del...

Ronald Reagan was right:

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: if it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Tom Wheeler, the current FCC Chairman, doesn’t think that’s funny. He thinks they are his marching orders. Encouraged by his boss, Wheeler is reaching for the biggest hammer in his toolbox to bludgeon the internet into submission and turn it into a utility. On Thursday Wheeler will

Keep Reading…

FCC to Vote on Net Neutrality Rules on Thursday

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 24, 2015:

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...

On Thursday consumers will finally be able to see and read the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) planned new rules to regulate the Internet. Deliberately hidden from public view, the 332-page document is expected to be passed by the FTC, as demanded by President Obama last November when he told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to adopt the “strongest possible rules” in regulating the Internet.

Leaks from the document were inevitable, and critics have slowly pieced together the latest attack on Internet freedom.

Keep Reading…

Tax Foundation Counts All Income Except Underground

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 23, 2015:

Tax Foundation

Tax Foundation

Not one single word of the 10-page report “Sources of Personal Income” released by the Tax Foundation mentioned the “black market” — that vast swirling uncounted (and largely uncountable) part of the U.S. economy that some estimate in the trillions. Accordingly, that throws off the foundation’s attempt to draw any more than tentative conclusions about how much the average taxpayer earns.

According to the Foundation, Americans reported a total of $9.2 trillion in income in 2012, the latest year for which numbers are available, with $6.3 trillion of it coming from “wages, salaries, tips” and “other” compensation. They get those numbers mostly from the infamous

Keep Reading…

Milton Friedman, the W-2 Withholding form, and the Underground Economy

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 23, 2015:

English: Portrait of Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman

With Americans about to file their income tax returns, most of them will look at their W-2 withholding forms to get the numbers without any background on how paying the government first came to be accepted as normal.

At age 16 this writer worked as a helper on a Canada Dry delivery truck. It was a plum job if one could get it. A “helper” load was 160 cases (the heavy glass-bottle kind), and it paid $20 for the day. There was great incentive to dump those cases as fast as possible (without breaking them!) and get back to the warehouse and put in the time sheet.

The first week generated $100, and this writer had never seen a $100 bill before. Imagine his surprise when his pay envelope had “change” in it. The slip showed Gross $100.00. Net: $92.43. The government got into this writer’s pay envelope before he did!

He’s never forgotten that moment, and was surprised, so many years later, to learn how much a hand one of his favorite economists, Milton Friedman, had in creating the entire withholding system in the US back in 1943.

Keep Reading…

Will this be OPEC’s Final Failed Gamble?

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 18, 2015: 

Cover of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for O...

Six years ago historian Daniel Yergin wrote in The Prize about OPEC’s failed gamble in 1986. The cartel tried to secure its preeminent place among the world’s oil producers by forcing crude oil prices down:

Was the price now poised for a great fall? Most of the exporters [primarily OPEC] thought so, but they expected no more than a drop [from more than $30 a barrel] to $18 or $20 a barrel, below which, they thought, production … would not be economical….

 

Actually, operating costs – the cash costs to extract oil – were only $6 per barrel [at the time], so there would be no reason to shut down production at any price above that.

The cartel was hoping to squeeze out marginal producers, which would result in cuts in supply, allowing it to raise prices at will. It didn’t work then, and it isn’t working now. The Saudis apparently suffer from an appalling lack of understanding about how the free market works.

Keep Reading…

Re-fracking Old Wells Is Extending the Fracking Revolution

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 17, 2015:

English: A natural gas well (produces gas only...

A natural gas well

News that the oil industry is importing many of the new technologies developed by natural-gas producers, which led to steadily declining natural-gas prices, was greeted with great disappointment by at least one green group. Upon learning that fracking was not only a long way from disappearing in the face of declining oil prices but was actually on the verge of a resurgence, Sharon Wilson, a Texas organizer for Earthworks, told Bloomberg, “It’s terribly disappointing.”

It might be disappointing to Wilson, but

Keep Reading…

China’s Economy Headed for a Hard Landing

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 9, 2015:

The China bubble is imploding at an accelerating rate and has caught Wall Street economists off guard, according to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Why they should be surprised is hard to fathom, given the predictions offered for months on end about the ending of the great Chinese economic “miracle.” As recently as three weeks ago, Minxin Pei, professor at Claremont McKenna College and professional observer of the Chinese economy, said, “If the official Chinese data should be believed at all … China’s GDP growth at 7.4% in 2014 … could have been worse.”

Indeed, it probably was.

Keep Reading…

Economic Forecasting is a Dangerous Business

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 9, 2015:

English: New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra i...

Yogi Berra

Nearly everyone has an opinion about forecasting and its dangers. Some, like Yogi Berra, will tell you, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Others, like John Kenneth Galbraith, will say, “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” Still others will warn about setting either the exact event, or its timing. Do either one, they say, but not both.

Apparently the forecasters enlisted by the Wall Street Journal last week to give their best estimates of growth in China weren’t listening, or didn’t care. Or perhaps they believe in Keynesian miracles alongside those of the Tooth Fairy.

Nevertheless, when asked about import and export growth in China for the month of January, they missed reality by a country mile. The Journal tallied up the results and their seers and prognosticators concluded that

Keep Reading…

FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules are ObamaCare for the Internet

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 6, 2015:

If the real intentions behind the benign phrase “net neutrality” were truly exposed, the conversation would be very short. As Will Durant noted in his The Story of Philosophy:

“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” How many debates would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to the strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and ruthlessly tests the mind; but once done it is half of any task.

Opponents in the freedom fight have for years used obfuscation and false front words to advance their cause, but none more effectively than its term “net neutrality.” How could anyone object to that?

Keep Reading…

Obama’s FCC to Issue “Net Neutrality” Rules on Thursday

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 3, 2015:

net neutrality world logo

Net Neutrality world logo

Following President Obama’s lead, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will announce new rules on Thursday changing Internet providers from “information services” to “telecommunications companies” in order to impose the president’s demand for “net neutrality” rules onto them.

The Federal Communications Commission regulates telecommunications companies with a heavy hand, but five previous attempts to force Internet providers into the net neutrality category have failed, having been met with stiff resistance, especially from the courts. Now, however, major players are forcing the issue for another try.

Keep Reading…

Obama Goes on Offense, Wants to Spend Even More

This first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 2, 2015:

English: Obama speaks at American University.

Taking a page not only out of the Super Bowl on Sunday, but also out of the statistical study proving that offense is more effective in winning than defense, Obama is offering a grievously offensive and logically indefensible budget for 2016 today (Monday, 2/2/15). His proposal is morally offensive in that he proposes to take money earned by some and give it to others. It is logically flawed in that it will increase deficits each year for the next ten years, adding yet another $6 trillion to the $18 trillion already extant (up from the $10 trillion when he took office in 2008). It will limit job growth, stifle innovation, keep tax lawyers and accountants busy into eternity, and do nothing for his favorite target: the beleaguered middle class.

None of that matters. It’s all for show and to keep the Republicans on the defensive by couching his proposal in terms that only progressives could love:

Keep Reading…

United States Remains in 12th Place in Economic Freedom

English: The 2010 Heritage Foundation Index of...

The 2010 Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom.

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 30, 2015: 

Except for a modest and temporary decline in federal government spending, the United States would have fallen even further from its current 12th-place spot in the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom just released this week. The authors were brutal in their assessment of the reasons behind the country’s frightful fall from near the top of the index a decade ago: 

Keep Reading…

A Billion Dollars to Elect Good Conservatives?

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, January 29, 2015:

The assumption behind raising and spending a billion dollars, as the Koch brothers Charles and David seem to support, is that with enough money, enough grassroots action, and sufficiently elegant voter software, election successes like that of last November can be repeated in 2016. This past weekend, Freedom Partners, the Koch’s equivalent to a chamber of commerce for wealthy conservatives (each of its 200 members pays a minimum of $100,000 in annual dues), announced at its Palm Springs winter meeting that it was going to raise $900 million to pour into the upcoming presidential election.

Part of the money would go into advertising,

Keep Reading…

Crude Oil Prices: The Politics, Implications, and Backlash

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 6, 2015:

With the price of crude dropping significantly below $50 a barrel, prognosticators have come out of the woodwork predicting drops to $40, $30, $20 a barrel, and even lower before it rebounds.

Jon Ogg, writing at 247Wall St.com, noted that the precipitous drop in crude oil prices “has serious implications for consumers and companies alike,” and not all of them are unblemished blessings. On the surface the winners are

Keep Reading…

Venezuela’s Welfare State Collapsing Along with Oil Prices

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 29, 2014:

 

As oil prices have dropped, so has Venezuela’s revenue stream that supports its welfare state. Ninety-five percent of Venezuela’s export earnings come from crude oil, and the industry makes up one quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. With oil prices setting new lows last week, Venezuela’s economy, already on the ropes, is set to descend into chaos, anarchy, and looting. The decision by Saudi Arabia to continue to pump in order to maintain its market share reveals not only the inherent inability of any cartel to maintain itself over time, but also the inability of a welfare state to sustain itself without outside help.

With the world’s largest oil reserves, surpassing those even of Saudi Arabia, an uninformed observer would be unable to explain how a country as richly blessed with natural resources as Venezuela could go broke,

Keep Reading…

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