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: GDP

How the Heritage Foundation Plans to Save the American Dream

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When Peter G. Peterson sold his interest in his investment company the Blackstone Group in 2007, he took $1 billion of his gains to fund his foundation, which has concentrated on creating awareness of the dangers of deficits and the national debt in the United States. One of his recent grantees is The Heritage Foundation, which was tasked with the challenge of developing a plan and a strategy to put the country back on a sustainable and responsible fiscal path. Similar grants were given to The American Enterprise Institute, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for American Progress, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network.

“Saving the American Dream” is Heritage’s entry, which will be presented at

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Greece is Out of Options

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Writers for The Wall Street Journal’s lead article on Tuesday expressed surprise that Greece’s fiscal problems are “coming to the boil once more.” After all, when Greece went hat in hand to members of the eurozone last year, they were able to secure a $158 billion bailout whose strings attached required severe austerity measures on the Greek citizens to resolve the matter. The matter has obviously not been resolved, and Greece is back to the table, asking for more assistance. This time it’s a much tougher sell.

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Chile’s Privatized Social Security Program is 30 Years Old, and Prospering

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As a quiet example of how privatizing Social Security works in the real world, Chile’s 30-year experiment is succeeding beyond expectations. Instead of running huge deficits to fund the old “PayGo” system, private savings now exceed 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Prior to May 1, 1981, the Chilean system required contributions from workers and was clearly in grave financial trouble. Instead of nibbling around the edges to shore up the program for another few years, José Piñera, Secretary of Labor and Pensions under Augusto Pinochet, decided to do a major overhaul of the system:

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Evidence for Double Dip is Growing

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Establishment economists and other economic cheerleaders were disappointed to learn that, despite the government’s best efforts to revive the economy through Keynesian interventions and stimuli, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the first quarter of 2011 was half the rate of growth in the last quarter of 2010.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal,

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Paul Ryan’s Plan Unveiled, Reviled, Applauded

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has unveiled his “Path to Prosperity” budget, nearly all discussion is focusing on the details and not on the proper role of government. Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Ryan said that “our budget … cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt.” He also said that it

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Are Living Standards Improving?

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Five years ago Donald Boudreaux, Economics Professor at George Mason University and author of the website Café Hayek, bought a used 1975 Sears catalog on Amazon, and started comparing prices to those current in 2006. His results, at the time, were quite remarkable, and generated much traffic and conversation on the matter. For instance, the lowest-priced electronic calculator in 1975 was $13.88, and with six digits, it allowed one to add, subtract, multiply and divide. When updated for inflation through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, that would be $56.21 in today’s money. Of course, it’s hard to draw any sort of hard conclusion from a single example. First of all, that calculator is no longer available. Those available today are vastly more powerful and versatile and sell now for just a few dollars.

Here are some others that he found, with updated 2011 prices from Sears.com:

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Bernanke Issues Warnings, Accepts No Blame

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s address to the National Press Club on Thursday was a remarkable blend of hubris, claimed innocence, and warnings.

His opening remarks were condescending and patronizing to the journalists assembled:

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S&P Downgrades Japan: Harbinger for US

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Standard and Poor’s gave plenty of reasons for its downgrade of Japan’s credit rating yesterday such as increasing annual deficits and soaring national debt, an aging population, shrinking workforce, and a government in gridlock. With their national debt approaching $11 trillion and a gross domestic product of just under $5.5 trillion, Japan’s ratio of debt to GDP is now

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Cutting Government: Where to Start

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Once Obamacare is repealed by the House, the attention of the 112th Congress will turn to the question of where government spending can be cut for the largest immediate impact. Several observers have weighed in with their thoughts, including Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, who have an article in today’s online Wall Street Journal. After reviewing the fiscal hot water the republic is already in, and discussing attempts to re-set government spending back to “base lines” such as 2009, 2008, or 2007, the authors get down to business.

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Breaking Hauser’s Law

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Writing in the Wall Street Journal, chairman emeritus of the Hoover Institution, Kurt Hauser, strongly disagreed with the Obama administration’s claim that by raising taxes on just the top two percent of all taxpayers there would be a significant increase in tax revenues to the government. He claimed that Hauser’s Law would limit any anticipated increase in revenues, and it might even reduce them.

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Study: VAT Will Cost More Jobs, Reduce Living Standards

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Time is running out on the Obama administration to pass a value-added tax: The mid-term elections are two weeks away with Democrats anticipating heavy losses, the lame-duck session is due to start on November 15, President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform publishes its report on December 1, and Congress already faces a long list of “must-pass” legislation. A just-released study about the negative impacts of a VAT isn’t going to help.

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Recession is Over?

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With a straight face, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the Great Recession ended last June. June of 2009, that is. This made the current recession the longest one since the Great Depression.

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Meet Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s New Top Economic Adviser

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Few were surprised when President Obama replaced Christina Romer, chair of his Council of Economic Advisers, with another statist economist, Austan Goolsbee. Goolsbee is the architect of Obama’s failed economic policies and programs, having served as the executive director of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from the beginning.

A bright student at Yale where he enjoyed membership in the exclusive and elitist Skull and Bones secret society, Goolsbee went on to get his PhD from MIT, and then immediately became a professor at the University of Chicago. With stints at the American Bar Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research, he was named to Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers in March, 2009.

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Fiscal Challenges: A Way Out

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(This article is a follow-up to Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts.)

Economist Niall Ferguson of Harvard wrote an article entitled “Complexity and Collapse” for the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ferguson uses the visual image of a series of paintings by Thomas ColeThe Course of Empire, which currently hangs at the New York Historical Society, to illustrate his point that every society goes through five stages. He says that Cole “beautifully captured a theory of imperial rise and fall to which most people remain in thrall to this day.”

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Fed Confirms Recovery Stalled

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When the Federal Open Market Committee announced yesterday that “the pace of economic recovery is likely to be more modest in the near term than had been anticipated,” stocks in Europe lost three percent of their value, interest rates on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note dropped startlingly as investors ran to safety, and the dollar hit the lowest level against the Japanese Yen since 1995.

A Japanese bond dealer said, “Investors were unnerved by the Fed’s statement. It just confirmed that the U.S. economic recovery is slowing.”

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Geithner: Welcome to Reality

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Claims that “we are on a path back to growth” by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Welcome to Recovery” appeared to be based on facts, proof, and hard evidence.

“A review of recent data on the American economy…show that large parts of the private sector continue to strengthen,” he said. “Business investment and consumption…are getting stronger, better than last year and better than last quarter.” According to Geithner, evidence of growth can be seen because

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Ryan’s Roadmap II

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The first time Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) offered his “Roadmap for America’s Future” to the House of Representatives, it failed by 137-293, with 38 Republicans voting against, including Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). With his own district safe in the fall elections, Ryan has been spending his time generating support for Roadmap II with presentations to conservative think tanks and coffee klatches.

And he seems to be gaining some traction along with a lot of fresh attention.

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National Debt at Tipping Point?

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The Wall Street Journal took another look at the $13 trillion national debt written about here last week and announced that, according to a study by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, the economy has now reached the tipping point, the Reinhart-Rogoff Line, better known as the point of no return.

“Once a developed nation’s debt crosses it, its annual growth [tends to be much] lower.” The best estimate is that, once that point is reached, the GDP will be reduced by one-third, with little chance of regaining normal economic output for the foreseeable future.

In their book, This Time Is Different, Reinhart and Rogoff state:

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Jobs? What Jobs?

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When CNBC announced that the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week while private employers added new jobs in May, this was “further evidence [that] the labor market was improving.” In more muted fashion, the Associated Press called it a “slow-motion recovery,” but a recovery nevertheless.

This was in line with Vice President Joe Biden’s prediction back in April that the economy would be adding between 250,000 and 500,000 jobs “in the next couple of months.” Similar sentiments were echoed by President Obama on Wednesday in a speech at Carnegie Mellon University:

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Economic Forecast: Summer of Discontent

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After six straight months of gains in consumer spending the April numbers showed no change from March, according to the Commerce Department. This was a surprise to some who have been tracking such things as the University of Michigan’s index of consumer confidence (higher), consumers’ expectations on the economy over the next 12 months (higher), moderate real job creation (higher), savings rate (higher) and manufacturing activity (higher).

Others remained sanguine, holding that “We do not expect household spending to flatline in the coming months,” according to Michelle Girard, senior economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

Consumers themselves, however, are not a happy lot. According to Rasmussen Reports, only 35 percent of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation this year, and those who are, aren’t planning on spending as much as they have in the past.

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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.