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

Austin Booted Uber and Lyft, Startups Struggle

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 24, 2017:

Every year the South by Southwest (SxSW) conference held in Austin, Texas, in March celebrates one or more high-tech “breakout” companies. In 2007 it was Twitter, in 2011 it was GroupMe, and in 2015 it was Meerkat.

This was supposed to be Fasten and RideAustin’s year, two of the local ride-sharing companies that had allegedly “filled the void” when city council member Ann Kitchen ran off Uber and Lyft last year.

Thousands of attendees flew in for the conference, and they needed a lift (or Lyft) but

Keep Reading…

OPEC: A Lesson in Why Cartels Fail

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 15, 2017:

OPEC countries

OPEC countries

Every cartel comes together when individual members think they can obtain a greater economic benefit working together than they can alone. Every cartel breaks apart when members think they can do better alone. If a cartel is sanctioned by a government, it becomes a monopoly.

Since 1960, OPEC has largely stayed together with the collusion of governments and Big Oil interests around the world. But the fracking revolution, operating in the free market, is blowing up the model. Specifically,

Keep Reading…

ObamaCare Replacement Plan Introduced in Congress

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 16, 2017: 

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Senator Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Representative Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) introduced their ObamaCare Replacement Act (ORA) on Wednesday. It would simultaneously repeal nearly all of ObamaCare’s most onerous demands and mandates while opening up the health-insurance market to individuals to purchase, or not to purchase, coverage. The bill, S.222, might more appropriately be named the “Health Insurance Freedom to Purchase Act,” putting the decision to buy, or not to buy, coverage back in the hands of individual citizens and taking it out of the hands of the federal government.

Senator Paul said,

Keep Reading…

Bill to Repeal Obamacare Represents Major Paradigm Shift

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 17, 2017:

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Sec...

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said many things on which classical liberals and libertarians agree. The one most apropos to Obamacare is this: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Anything that requires government force (or threat of) to gain compliance is, on its face, immoral. But Obamacare did something else: it was a deliberate forced attempt to shift personal responsibility for one’s health care from a citizen to his government. Jefferson had this to say about that:

Keep Reading…

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.

First, Big Taxi. Next, Big Box Stores. Now, Big Car Dealers.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 25, 2017:

English: Tesla Motors opened its showroom in M...

A Tesla “Gallery” storefront

An unfettered free market has but one goal in mind: to serve a customer – the guy with the money in his pocket – better. It’s driven by the profit-motive: better service means more customers bringing more money to the improviser who has figured out how to do it profitably. Adam Smith said it much more elegantly:

Keep Reading…

Ford to Sell and Finance Its Autos Online

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

Ford said on Monday that it would join forces with software developer AutoFi, Inc. to allow customers the freedom to purchase a Ford or a Lincoln automobile and obtain financing for it online without forcing them to endure the usual three- to five-hour long sales pitch in one of its showrooms.

The software will allow shoppers to compare models, prices as delivered, available options, and choices of financing among different lenders. Once the sale and financing are completed, the customer stops by the dealership to pick up his car. Nice and easy.

AutoFi’s CEO Kevin Singerman said he really wasn’t trying to disrupt the sales process:

Keep Reading…

Venezuela: Some Lessons Must be Learned Over and Over Again

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 23, 2017:

George Santayana most famously said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But he wasn’t the only one. Aldous Huxley put it this way: “That men do not learn very much the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Said Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

There’s a lesson being taught to the hapless and now helpless citizens (shown above) of Venezuela. It’s a lesson so often taught but not learned that one may, with great confidence, predict the final outcome.

On Friday Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, fired his banker,

Keep Reading…

Another Setback for Big Taxi: Uber, Lyft OK’d to Serve Atlanta Airport

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 2, 2017:  

Following months of negotiations with Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing (e-hailing) companies, the city of Atlanta, which owns and operates the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (shown), is allowing them to serve passengers effective on Sunday, January 1, 2017.

They have been serving them for months despite restrictions, but those rules were rarely enforced. Now it’s legal.

But not without costs. First,

Keep Reading…

Exclusive Interview With John Birch Society CEO

English: Sign from the John Birch Society advo...

Sign from the John Birch Society advocating US withdrawal from the United Nations

The election of Donald Trump has generated much buzz in the mainstream media over the inaccuracy of the polls, why the American people voted as they did, and of course, what Trump will do as president. The buzz has also included claims that Trump will undo much of what has been done under Obama, that he will imperil our “democracy,” and that “Trumpism” is the latest manifestation of The John Birch Society. The New American magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with and interview Arthur R. Thompson, the CEO of The John Birch Society, and ask him about this, his thoughts about this past election, and also what lies ahead for the Society in the coming years. Thompson (shown on the right, with interviewer Christopher Gomez) became CEO of The John Birch Society in 2005 and is now in his 11th year.

The New American: How does the election of Donald Trump to the White House affect or change any of the goals of The John Birch Society, as compared to the Obama administration or a Hillary presidency had she won?

Keep Reading…

Trump Picks Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary

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

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

President-elect Donald Trump picked Elaine Chao shown) for secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday, raising concerns about her connections with the Republican establishment as well as China. Some of those concerns are balanced by her affiliations with pro-freedom and pro-free market organizations.

If confirmed, she will face a host of issues,

Keep Reading…

Donald Trump Meets Ayn Rand

The Passion of Ayn Rand

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 30, 2016:  

Ayn Rand passed away in 1982 at age 77 when Donald Trump was just 36. But the astounding success of her masterwork, Atlas Shrugged, led to an interview at the Trump Tower on Monday in the form of one of her most avid fans: John Allison.

Allison, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina in 1971, read a copy of it as a young man and it changed his life. There’s an outside possibility that it might change the life of millions of others.

Following graduation he went to work for BB&T Corporation, a small rural bank in North Carolina. By 1989 Allison was the bank’s CEO. By 2010 he had grown the bank from $4.5 billion in assets to

Keep Reading…

Trump Meets With Former Banker Who Wants to End the Fed

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 29, 2016: 

John Allison BB&T

John Allison

Donald Trump met with former banker John Allison on Monday in a meeting that was largely ignored by the mainstream media. It remains unclear whether Allison was being interviewed for the job of secretary of the Treasury or was just giving Trump some advice from a free market perspective.

Either way, it’s a breath of fresh air in an era where statism and excessive hubris (the idea that mere politicians and economists can guide, even stimulate a $20-trillion-dollar economy with monetary policy) has reigned for decades.

Right after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina in 1971,

Keep Reading…

Mexico’s Huge Oil Reserves Now Open to Private Exploration

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 28, 2016:  

Four years ago Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured, with Donald Trump) promised while running for president of Mexico that, if he were elected, he would open the country’s energy industry to the private sector. At the time his promise was almost laughable. While he did win the election, his party controlled less than 40 percent of the Congress, below the 50 percent needed to gain any kind of traction for his promise, and far below the two-thirds majority needed to attack the root cause: a constitution that prevented any outside competition to either of its state-owned oil (Pemex) or electricity (CFE) monopolies. He also faced enormous political pressure from leftist labor unions, environmentalists, and beneficiaries of the various welfare-state programs that revenues from Pemex were funding.

But within two years he had accomplished the impossible: Articles 28 and 29 in his country’s constitution were modified, allowing private producers in to explore, extract, refine, transport, store, and distribute crude oil and natural gas. This included allowing private companies to bid to generate electricity in competition with CFE.

Pemex was formed in 1938 with the remnants of foreign oil companies that were nationalized by Mexico’s then-President Lázaro Cárdenas. And the memories of that takeover still lingered.

But when he announced the new freedom to open bidding for oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Nieto said:

Reforms are the foundation for building a better country. They are [the] platform for beginning a new stage of development….

 

One of the key elements of the reform is to enable competition in the market. Competition should bring better prices to industry, which, in turn, can be more competitive, increasing exports, generating new employment and reducing prices in the local market.

He described the lifting of the heavy hand of the state from his country’s energy industry as “knocking down the walls”: “If we really want to achieve change in these [industries], then this has to be a structural change … we have to be the government that knocks down the walls that are in the way of achieving a more equitable and just society.”

Within weeks of Nieto’s announcement in August 2014, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) adjusted Mexico’s oil and gas projections upward by 25 percent and then, as foreign interest in developing Mexico’s vast untapped reserves began to surface, it readjusted them once again, this time by 75 percent.

It took time for the improvement in production to take place, not only because of the new rules that the government was tasked to write to incorporate the new freedoms, but because of the enormous decline in crude oil and natural gas prices set off by OPEC’s decision in November 2014 to flood the market.

But now, with the recovery in oil prices, interest in the nearly 1,000 oil and gas leases of Nieto’s country has skyrocketed. In August Exxon Mobil joined with Chevron and Hess to bid for rights to drill in Mexico’s deep waters. They will be competing with 20 other companies which have set their sights on the same leases, with the winner to be announced on December 5.

This has excited investors, with Business Insider calling it a “huge opportunity.” On Saturday James Stafford, writing for Oilprice.com, declared: “Welcome to the early stages of an oil and gas game that will be bigger … than anything in history. Mexico’s reform legislation … provides an unprecedented opportunity for oil companies looking to tap into Mexico’s huge oil potential.”

International Frontier Resources Corporation (IFRC), a Canadian oil development company, estimated those untapped Mexican reserves “could total as much as 115 billion barrels … [thanks to] the denationalization of 914 oil and gas leases.”

According to the CIA’s 2015 World Factbook, Mexico had less than 10 billion barrels of proven reserves as of December. If IFRC is correct, Mexico’s new proven reserves would jump to 125 billion barrels, placing it ahead not only of the United States (with 36 billion) but also the UAE (98 billion), Russia (103 billion), and Kuwait (104 billion).

As Stafford concluded: “Right now, there is nothing bigger than Mexico when it comes to oil and gas sales. We’re talking about North America, large oil reserves, good infrastructure and discoveries that are already in development.”

Once the heavy hand of the state is lifted from the economy, it’s positively astonishing what the free market can accomplish. Not only investors, but also lovers of freedom, are watching events unfold south of the border with great anticipation.

Ford Will Keep Producing Lincoln MKC in Kentucky; Trump Claims Victory

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 18, 2016:

Early Thursday evening President-elect Donald Trump tweeted: “Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky — no Mexico.” A few minutes later he tweeted an addendum: “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!” (Trump won Kentucky’s 8 electoral votes by beating Hillary Clinton, 62 percent to 32 percent.)

The anti-Trump media jumped all over Trump’s self-proclaimed “victory,” noting in the process that he got some of his facts wrong:

Keep Reading…

OPEC Continues to lose its game of Chicken with US Energy Producers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 31, 2016:

It is said that, in a game of chicken, the one who flinches first loses. Last week Saudi Arabia flinched.

It went to the global bond market, hat in hand, hoping to raise $10 billion to slow down its liquidation of its foreign reserves. Last year those reserves dropped by $100 billion. With the market stronger than anticipated (or perhaps because they knew it was the most they could raise for quite a while) they raised $18 billion.

That $18 billion will be gone in two months, leaving investors holding a piece of paper that might not be redeemable for face value at maturity. What will be left is the increasingly irrelevant cartel that Saudi Arabia has led for the last 55 years.

For proof,

Keep Reading…

Ethanol Mandates Mean Big Profits for Big Oil

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 28, 2016:  

When the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, it was well-intended: It would increase America’s oil independence and reduce dependence on foreign oil, it would produce cleaner air, and it would help farmers.

The Act required refiners to add ethanol to every gallon of gasoline they produced. If a refiner decided it couldn’t (too costly) or wouldn’t (internal decision) do so, it would be required to

Keep Reading…

What Does “Collapse” Look Like? See Venezuela.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 19, 2016:

State flag of Venezuela.

State flag of Venezuela.

The term “economic collapse” has been bandied about for so long by so many that the phrase has largely lost its meaning. Michael Snyder has been able to make a living from his blog, “The Economic Collapse,” and there’s even a feeble attempt to define the term by contributors to Wikipedia:

Keep Reading…

Court Upholds Freedom and the Fifth Amendment in Taxi Cartel Case

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 10, 2016:  

On the surface, Judge Richard Posner’s decisions, decided last Friday, appeared merely to expand the freedom of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services to operate more freely in Milwaukee and Chicago. Beneath the surface, however, Posner presents a refreshing and much-needed defense not only of freedom in general, but of the Fifth Amendment and the competitive free market as well.

Posner (shown above) is one of the most respected jurists in the country.

Keep Reading…

Reality Sets In: OPEC Ready to Cut Production to Raise Oil Prices

This article appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 30, 2016:  

Wednesday’s announcement from OPEC about an agreement to cut production to shore up crude oil prices was met with both delight and scorn by observers. Exuded Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group:

This is the first OPEC deal in eight years! The cartel proved that it still matters even in the age of shale. This is the end of the “production war” and OPEC claims victory.

Bunk, said David Petraeus, the former CIA director who was forced to resign under a cloud in November 2012 and who subsequently was hired by Wall Street firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to chair the firm’s newly created KKR Global Institute:

Keep Reading…

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