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: Great Recession

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

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Mainstream Economists, the Herd Instinct, and GDP

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 20, 2015:

It’s no surprise, really. Most mainstream economists look at the world through Keynesian lenses, they attend the same conferences, read the same reports, are employed by companies in the same industry, hold degrees from the same universities, and are rewarded for having a view that doesn’t stray from the norm, even if that view is wrong. It’s a perfect reflection of the herd mentality: the impulse or tendency toward “clustering,” reflecting the need for conformity. It’s how economists make weathermen look good.

If their view turns out to be wrong, they adjust, slowly. If they are challenged or threatened,

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Atlanta Fed Drops GDP Growth Estimate to Under One Percent

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 19, 2015: 

Whenever new data on the economy is reported, the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve System (the Atlanta “Fed”) releases its proprietary “nowcast” on how well the economy is doing. For some time now, that forecast has embarrassed mainstream economists who have subsequently been forced to drop their own forecasts as the economy continues to slow.

In February GDPNow projected that the U.S. economy would grow by 1.9 percent in 2015, far below the rosy estimates by mainstream economists. Two weeks ago GDPNow projected growth at 1.2 percent. On May 13, it dropped further,

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China Export Shipping Declines by Two-thirds

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 7, 2015: 

Two weeks ago the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), which tracks shipping rates from Shanghai to the world, fell off a cliff: down a breath-taking 67 percent from a year ago. Wolf Richter thought it was a statistical fluke.

It was no fluke. In the next two weeks the SCFI for Northern Europe fell another 14 percent, an all-time low. Wrote Richter: “Something big is going on in the China-Europe trade.”

The collapse is being echoed by other indexes reflecting the breathtaking decline in China’s exports. For example

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More Keynesian Insanity: Negative Interest Rates

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 4, 2015:

There’s a corollary to the insanity rule. It’s called the Keynesian Corollary: When something doesn’t work, do more of it. When history is written about the coming Second Great Recession, historians will likely note July 2012 as the turning point. That was when Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank (ECB) said during a panel discussion that the ECB “is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”

Other historians might list that as one of the top ten “famous last words” ever issued by a human being. Since that moment bond yields across the world have dropped, and dropped, and dropped. On Thursday Jeremy Warner, the London Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor, announced that

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First-quarter GDP Report Is Awful

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmereican.com on Wednesday, April 29, 2015: 

Logo of the United States Bureau of Economic A...

The report released Wednesday morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) was stark: The economy stalled in the first quarter in every sector, with overall growth barely positive, and embarrassing once again economists who predicted substantially better results. According to the BEA the economy in the first quarter grew at an annual rate of just 0.2 percent, compared to estimates of between 1.0 and 2.0 percent by the “experts.”

Personal spending dropped by nearly two thirds from the fourth quarter of 2014; durable goods purchases fell by more than 80 percent; and non-durable goods purchases almost disappeared compared to the last quarter, falling by 0.3 percent compared to an increase of more than four percent. The service industry limped along at two-thirds of last quarter’s pace.

Investment in business capital equipment went negative, as did

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Hillary Tells the Truth

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 22, 2015: 

On certain topics, Hillary Clinton has been forthright. She is a proud collectivist:

We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.

And this:

Many of you are well enough off that the tax cuts may have helped you.

We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you.

We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.

When it comes to the economy, however, Clinton has either joined the chorus of cheerleaders about its remarkable recovery, or has remained silent in the face of evidence that it hasn’t. On Monday, however,

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Hillary Finally Comes Clean: The Economy Is “Stalled”

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 21, 2015:

During Hillary Clinton’s road trip to New Hampshire on Monday, something remarkable occurred: She told the truth about the economy, telling her supporters that the economy has “stalled out” and, adding, “It’s not enough to tread water.”

A month ago while she was busy not running for president, Clinton never uttered a word about the weakening economy, giving mute evidence that she was unwilling to risk telling the truth and offending both the president and her Democrat supporters. This despite evidence that Americans have put economic worries at or near the top of their concerns for months on end. This despite the fact that the nation’s GDP fell off a cliff in January and February. This despite the fact that job growth since the start of the Great Recession has been half what it was during the Reagan recovery in the 1980s. This despite evidence that new business startups have continued their decline since 2009, and evidence that business investment in new enterprises has dropped sharply at the same time.

But evidence just released has so overwhelmed the Democrat stance that everything is ducky that it apparently has forced Clinton to admit what is obvious to the voters whose support she is seeking:

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Memphis Police, Firemen Quitting Following Pension Plan Reductions

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

English: Memphis, Tennessee skyline from the a...

Memphis, Tennessee skyline from the air

Last July more than half of Memphis’ police officers took sick days off to protest the reductions in the city’s contributions to their pension plan and increases in their contributions to the city’s health benefits plan. The national media was sympathetic with cases of “blue flu,” instead of recognizing the new economic reality: Because public pensions are underfunded, everyone expecting benefits from the city will now take a hit, not just new hires.

Some of those who took sick days in July now are quitting altogether, finding other better opportunities elsewhere. In fact, other departments from nearby states are advertising in local papers and setting up job fairs to entice the discontented to new positions.

In a word, those unhappy with the new reality are adjusting.

Most solutions proposed to bring underfunded pension plans back into balance have involved

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Latest Jobs Report Deceptive; Jobs Exported Overseas

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, March 7, 2015:

English: A North American Free Trade Agreement...

North American Free Trade Agreement logo

The employment report from the Labor Department on Friday was hailed as more evidence that the worst from the Great Recession is now in the rear view mirror, and receding. The unemployment rate in February dropped to 5.5 percent, lower than economists were predicting, while job growth added nearly 300,000 jobs, pushing the streak of gains of 200,000-plus new jobs per month out to a full year, the longest such streak since 1995.

The news caused stocks to lose more than one percent of their value, as Wall Street expected the robust numbers to hasten the day when the Fed would increase interest rates, potentially slowing the sluggish economy even further. Investors needn’t worry: Friday’s report was a head-fake.

If the recovery were real,

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Latest CBO Report shows Deficits Approaching $1 Trillion

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 4, 2015: 

English:

When the Congressional Budget Office issued its Budget and Economic Outlook 2015 to 2025 in January, few could be bothered to do a serious review of it as it seemed to contradict the present meme of the Goldilocks economy: job growth accelerating, interest rates low, consumer confidence improving, deficits shrinking, and so forth. Even those taking the time to look at it, scoffed at its conclusions. Said the CBO:

The federal budget deficit, which has fallen sharply during the past few years, is projected to hold steady relative to the size of the economy through 2018.

Beyond that point, however, the gap between spending and revenues is expected to grow, further increasing federal debt … which is already historically high.

The CBO explained why:

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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: 

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“Audacious” State of the Union Speech to Push for Higher Taxes on the Rich

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 19, 2015:

In what the New York Times termed an “audacious” move, President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night to push for higher taxes on the rich and big financial institutions, and give the money to the middle class still caught in the clutches of a slow economic recovery from the Great Recession.

The details are straightforward:

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Impacts of Lower Crude Oil Prices Continue to Spread

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 13, 2015:

 

After oil forecaster Jeremy Warner got lucky last year when he accurately called the top in oil prices, with a fall to at least $80 a barrel, he doubled down by predicting “that the oil price will remain low for a long time, sinking to perhaps as little as $20 a barrel over the coming year before recovering a little.”

Warner got lucky once again when Goldman Sachs confirmed his prognosis, setting off an eye-popping five percent decline in oil to $45 a barrel which continued into Tuesday. Tuesday’s low was $44.20. As Goldman Sachs noted,

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Auto Loan Bubble a Replay of Housing Mortgage Bubble?

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 12, 2015:

When Patrina Thomas decided it was time to trade in her 2002 Jeep in the summer of 2013, she went back to her local friendly Chrysler dealer. They were only too happy to take her Jeep as a down payment on a used 2008 Chrysler Sebring with the balance, an estimated $10,000, financed at 20.4 percent interest. Because her credit score was below 620, she qualified for “special” financing provided by Santander Consumer USA Holdings, a lender working closely with Chrysler Capital in such cases.

Her payment was so high — $385 a month — that she struggled to make it from the very first month. It finally got beyond her ability to pay, and the car was repossessed a year later. With a market value today of just $4,600 and her remaining loan balance of $7,600, she is upside down by $3,000.

Thomas has lots of company. According to the Wall Street Journal

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Yes, Karen, There’s an Auto Loan Bubble After All

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 12, 2015:

2007 Chrysler Sebring photographed in USA.

Chrysler Sebring

There’s little doubt that Karen Weise enjoyed her weekend. Back in August she tried to raise concerns about the bubble in auto financing, but couldn’t pin them down. A reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in Seattle, all she could find back then were Fed spokesmen pooh-poohing concerns that too many broke people were getting car loans, that such fears were “misplaced,” that “it’s unlikely the composition of auto loan originations in our data will radically change since last year,” as New York Fed spokesman Matthew Ward put it.

She quoted four economists from the New York Fed who were unanimous:

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Wall Street’s Hallelujah Chorus Greets New Highs in Stocks

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 26, 2014:

 

 

Observers of new highs being put in by stocks at the Wall Street Journal could hardly restrain themselves. Eric Morath and Ben Leubsdorf, writing in the Journal on Tuesday, noted that the economy is now enjoying “a sweet spot of robust growth, sustained hiring, and falling unemployment [which is] stirring optimism that a post-recession breakout has arrived.”

Translation: Good times are here again, and likely to continue. Break out the Brie and Chablis.

Looking past the celebrations and the prognostications seemed, at first view, to confirm the market’s outlook:

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Underlying Economic Indicators Confirm Dow’s Record Run

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 24, 2014:

 

With the Santa Claus rally driving stocks to new all-time highs, the normally restrained Wall Street Journal found itself describing the economy “in a sweet spot of growth, sustained hiring and falling unemployment, stirring optimism that a post-recession breakout has arrived.”

Investopedia explains the cause of the usual rally in stocks toward the end of each year this way:

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Whistleblowers Get Paid, Countrywide Chairman Gets Off

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 22, 2014: 

Last August, Bank of America agreed to pay out nearly $17 billion to settle sixteen lawsuits over making and marketing fraudulent mortgages leading up to the start of the Great Recession, setting a record in the process. But the details, under the False Claims Act, remained sealed until last week. The big news, according to the Wall Street Journal, was just how much four whistleblowers were getting: $170 million plus.

Even after the IRS and lawyers get their share, those four will enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle for a long time. Three individuals and a small New Jersey mortgage company, Mortgage Now, will share the spoils. Mortgage Now will receive

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CBO’s Funny Math

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 22, 2014:

National debt clock

National debt clock

The Congressional Budget Office’s August update to the federal budget and outlook for the next 10 years released last week was so filled with questionable assumptions as to make their conclusions completely unrealistic. As expected, the mainstream media focused only on the parts of the report that fed and supported their worldview. For instance, the CBO said that revenues were expected to increase by about 8% over last year to a world record $3 trillion, thanks to increases in individual income taxes, payroll taxes, and corporate income taxes.

This was understood by the White House and establishment economists to

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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.