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: Keynesian

The Economy is Booming. Why Should Anyone be Surprised?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 13, 2018:

For a small fee, anyone can download the Harvard Business School’s case study on Apple, Inc. In a nutshell, Apple began in April, 1976 with three employees, no customers, and no revenues. Today it has 123,000 employees, millions of customers, and revenues approaching a quarter of a trillion dollars.

This confounds Keynesians who believe, steadfastly and in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that it is consumers who drive the economy. On just about every business news show on evening television, one can hear something like “consumers, which are responsible for 70 percent of the economy,…” etc., etc. How do they explain the growth of Apple?

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New Weekly Unemployment Claims Remain Below 300,000, Longest Streak Since 1967

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 12, 2018:

Unemployment claims fell last week to just 233,000, far below the historical average, cementing into place the longest streak below 300,000 jobless claims since 1967. A proxy for layoffs, those claims reflect not only an increasing reluctance on the part of employers to let their workers go, but an increasing need for them to bring more workers on in the face of an economic tsunami that’s just now starting to roll into the American economy.

This is just one of many indicators reflecting a growing economy, including an unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since 2000 (and expected to move much lower in the coming months) and employers adding to their payrolls for 90 straight months — the longest economic expansion in history.

Keynesian economists consider that consumers drive the economy, using their pay raises to drive spending on consumer goods and services. Common sense economics — aka Austrian School economics — claims that is putting the cart before the horse: It is capital investment that drives the economy, providing goods and services that consumers discover that they need and want and are willing to pay for.

The classic example is Apple’s iPhone, which

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New Unemployment Claims Drop Further, Beating Estimates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 30, 2018: 

English: A map of the 12 districts of the Unit...

A map of the 12 districts of the United States Federal Reserve system.

New claims for unemployment insurance dropped last week to the lowest level in 45 years, according to the Department of Labor: “Seasonally adjusted initial claims [for unemployment insurance benefits were] 215,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s level [which was revised downward].”

Once again the economy is beating forecasters, who expected new claims to come in at 230,000. Either way, the performance of the economy continues to astound Democrats increasingly worried about the midterms and delight Republicans who voted for tax cuts and tax reform.

The last time new claims were this low was in 1973, when the labor force was much smaller. In 1973, the U.S. labor force was 100 million; today it is more than 160 million. Translation: Unemployment claims are the lowest in U.S. history when compared to the workforce.

It gets better.

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Fed Sees Inflation Coming, Raises Rates to Head it Off

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 22, 2018: 

Following the unanimous and much-anticipated decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by another quarter of a percent on Wednesday, the new chairman, Jerome Powell, said, “The economic outlook has strengthened in recent months. Several factors are supporting this outlook: fiscal policy [i.e., Trump’s tax cuts to individuals and corporations] has become more stimulative, ongoing job gains are boosting incomes and confidence, foreign growth is on a firm trajectory, and overall financial conditions remain accommodative.”

This raises the question:

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Trump Considering Kudlow, Navarro to Replace Cohn as Chief Economic Advisor

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 13, 2018:

Kudlow & Cramer

Kudlow & Cramer

The vacuum left by Gary Cohn’s departure last Tuesday will be filled shortly, either by Peter Navarro or by Larry Kudlow. Reuters reported that these are the president’s “top two candidates” to replace Cohn as chief economic advisor.

Navarro, as The New American reported, led the White House team that persuaded the president to keep America first by imposing tariffs to protect what’s left of the country’s vital industrial base. Kudlow, the Democrat-turned-Republican with a history of cocaine abuse (a $100,000-a-month habit until he successfully exited rehab in the 1990s) and supporting left-wing causes and candidates in his younger days, was grieved to learn of Cohn’s departure. As The New American reported,

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313,000 New Jobs in February, Far Exceeding Expectations

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 9, 2018: 

Friday’s numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) were predicted a day earlier by ADP/Moody’s Analytics, which said that private payrolls in February jumped by 235,000. But few expected the BLS to report what one surprised forecaster called “unbelievably strong” new jobs numbers. Further, the Labor Department said that its jobs reports for December and January understated the reality, adjusting those two months’ reports upward by another 54,000 jobs.

The economy continues to gain strength.

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Globalist Trump Advisor Gone, Will Americanist Take His Place?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: 

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN10 - Gary D. Cohn, Pre...

Gary D. Cohn, FORMER Trump advisor

Following the president’s decision to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, announced his resignation on Tuesday. Cohn had led a team pushing Trump not to impose those tariffs, but lost out to another team pushing to keep America first.

Wall Street took the news poorly, thinking that those tariffs could lead to a trade war. But the Wall Street Journal intimated indirectly in its coverage that something much different, and vastly more important, is at stake.

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Establishment Insider Calls for Military Intervention in Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 10, 2018: 

English: Ricardo Hausmann

Ricardo Hausmann

When an obscure college professor nearing retirement age suggests that the only way to “solve” the Venezuelan “crisis” is through military intervention, few people would pay any attention. But when that person, Ricardo Hausmann, is a professor at Harvard and a director of the John F. Kennedy School of Government there, his proposal represents much more than just wishful thinking.

Hausmann, with a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University, is a bona fide Keynesian interventionist. Considering that Hausmann was a former minister of planning in Venezuela and a member of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Venezuela in the early 1990s, one can rest assured that free market principles aren’t being considered as any part of his solution to Venezuela’s problems.

Under socialism, things have gotten so bad in Venezuela that Hausmann now thinks military intervention is the only cure. His plan, “D Day Venezuela,”

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Economist Mark Zandi Exposes His Statist Worldview

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 8, 2018:

Mark Zandi should be embarrassed. Not because he is an establishment economist. Not because he is a Keynesian. And not because he’s not a smart guy. He should be embarrassed that someone allowed him to publish nonsense about the state of the economy in order to promote his worldview.

He lives in a world that is behaving much differently than he expected or than he apparently wants. He wants the Trump tax reform law to fail. He must admit that the economy is working much better than he ever expected it to. But, in the end, he says that it’s all a mirage, temporary, that the resurgence measured by nearly every metric isn’t going to last.

He is establishment to the core, and perhaps that’s why he’s willing to go to the mat for a worldview that is being overturned and increasingly discredited: that statists can control things much better than an uncontrolled “free” economy can.

He admitted in an article for CNBC that things are going just swimmingly:

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The U.S. Economy is Built on Papier-mâché and Politicians’ Promises

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

What a perfect definition of the American economy! Papier-mâché is defined as a “composite material consisting of paper pieces of pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.” Add in a dose of political promises that everyone knows cannot be kept – not even close – and we have the American economy.

From a distance it looks pretty good. More than pretty good: to the untrained eye the American economy is setting world records, to wit:

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China is Suffering from the Same Curse as the U.S.: Too Much Debt, Too Little Growth

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 22, 2017:  

Live video feed of Zig Ziglar speaking at the ...

Zig Ziglar speaking at the Get Motivated Seminar at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.

When Zig Ziglar was trying to motivate salesmen, he would often tell them that “there aren’t very many problems that can’t be solved by sufficient production.” This, unfortunately, has been picked up by statist economists who have assumed that any production, at any cost, will solve any problem. Put another way, “We can grow our way out from under the massive debt we have. And we can grow the economy by stimulating it with borrowed funds.”

Zig would be appalled:

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As the Fed Shrinks Its Balance Sheet, Nothing Can Go Wrong

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 20, 2017:

Investors and Wall Street gurus, seers, and prognosticators paid attention on Wednesday to the emanations from the Federal Reserve board meeting, hoping to glean more of the details about the “great unwinding” of the Fed’s enormously bloated balance sheet. In June, Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the time was drawing near to begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet and there were at least two ways to start: letting maturing bonds “roll off” instead of reinvesting the proceeds in new issues, and liquidating, ever so slowly, some U.S. treasuries, starting at $10 billion a month in October. That liquidation would increase on a quarterly basis until it topped out at $50 billion a month.

The goal, it was suggested, was to

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Impact of Fed’s Plan to Do a “QE Unwind”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 19, 2017: 

English: Official picture of Janet Yellen from...

Janet Yellen

What makes tomorrow’s [today’s – Wednesday, September 20] meeting at the Federal Reserve so interesting to market watchers and bond investors is the likelihood that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide more details on her plans to begin unwinding the Fed’s balance sheet: how much, how fast, how soon, and what does it all mean? In addition, she is hoping to placate conservatives in Congress who remain unhappy over the Fed’s intervention in the markets in the aftermath of the real estate collapse that triggered the Great Recession.

In June, Yellen outlined some possible scenarios, which included letting some of the bonds on the central bank’s enormous $4.2 trillion balance sheet simply mature without reinvesting the funds in new issues. She suggested the Fed would also start selling off some $10 billion a month of existing securities, and then raise that amount every quarter until it reaches $50 billion a month. This way, by expanding on her plans, and by slowly — very slowly — shrinking the Fed massive balance sheet, she hopes to avoid another “taper tantrum” that bond investors experienced back in 2013 when then-chairman Ben Bernanke first said the Fed should start reducing some of its holdings of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

If she provides sufficient clarity, and sufficient caution, Yellen might not only start the process without disrupting the market, but also avoid further criticism from congressional critics who think the Fed stepped way out of bounds in starting the whole “quantitative easing” (QE) program in the first place. In that way — again, if she is successful — she will not only cement into place the Fed as a necessary element in the American economy, but show that further “QE” expansions to meet future recessions are a legitimate tool.

Whether she can pull it off is an open question. Keynesian economist Austan Goolsbee, who headed Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2010 and 2011, said, “The final exam, with the grade yet to be determined, is: can the Fed actually get out of this stuff?”

The Fed has been essentially flying blind for years, moving outside not only its mandate (to maximize labor force participation while keeping inflation under control) but its past experience. Said David Blanchflower, a Dartmouth College economist (read: Keynesian) who was on the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England from 2006 to 2009, expressed it perfectly: “We had no idea what we should buy, how much, for how long … [and] there is no idea on the way going out.”

It was all a grand experiment: expand the money supply to keep interest rates so far below market rates that people seeking income would take higher risks — i.e., dividend-paying stocks, real estate ventures, etc. — and home owners would find it easier to buy houses. This was the Keynesian antidote to the economic collapse. Rather than let the economy right itself by itself (see America’s recession and recovery in 1920-1921), Keynesians suffer the hubris to think they know better than the market, and intervened, resulting in the longest, slowest recovery from a recession in American history.

Once the Fed began to embark on its plan to bail out banks and other financial institutions in the wake of the real estate collapse, there was no going back. When the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — mortgage insurers that were approaching bankruptcy — it found that it needed to buy up billions of their failing mortgages. That explains why $1.7 billion of the Fed’s balance sheet consists of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

But when that didn’t work the Fed adopted the strategy of “quantitative easing” (QE) — creating money to spur spending across the economy — which some observers thought would never end.

But it did end, in 2014, and the Fed has been sitting on its massive pile of government and mortgage debt, waiting for the economy to revive enough so it could be offloaded without major economic disruptions.

The Fed won’t be unwinding its entire portfolio. Instead it expects to reduce it by between $800 billion and $1 trillion over the next few years, leaving in place a balance sheet of between $2.5 and $3.2 trillion. This means that the Fed will never again see days when its balance sheet shrinks all the way back to the $900 billion it had prior to the Great Recession.

Its plan should have little impact on short-term rates. Using the 10-year Treasury as the standard, when Yellen’s plan (assuming it begins in October) kicks in, it might boost its yield by perhaps a quarter of a percentage point. This would be the natural result of increasing supply in a market with a fixed demand. When more is supplied, prices will go down. In the bond market that translates into a mini-interest rate hike.

But demand from abroad for U.S. bonds continues to be strong. Yields on 10-year bonds issued by foreign governments such as Japan’s and Germany’s remain far below U.S. 10-year bonds and so any increase in rates here will only make them more attractive to foreign buyers.

In fact, once Yellen has filled in the details, as she is expected to do on Wednesday, investors and market watchers are likely to express a sigh of relief, and continue the Fed-fueled rally in stocks that began in 2009 and that shows little sign of stopping. Diane Swonk, chief economist at DS Economics, agrees: “The start to reducing the Fed’s balance sheet is an action the markets are ready for. The Fed has laid out a roadmap and there is really a sense of relief to finally get it started.”

If Dudley is Right, Then Let’s Pray for the Flooding of the Entire Country!

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 11, 2017:

Cover of "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Cover of The Emperor’s New Clothes

Taken to its logical conclusion, William Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, thinks a flood covering all of the United States would stimulate the economy. Several sources confirmed that this is what Dudley said on Friday in an interview at CNBC concerning the economic effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma:

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Has Janet Yellen Tripped the Bernanke Indicator?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 14, 2017:

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...

Official portrait of former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

During a question and answer period following her talk at the British Academy in London on June 27, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was asked if there could possibly be a repeat of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. She answered:

I think the system is much safer and much sounder [today]. We are doing a lot more to try to look for financial stability risks that may not be immediately apparent, but to look in corners of the financial system that are not subject to regulation, outside those areas in order to try to detect threats to financial stability that may be emerging….

 

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.

Historians will remember similar assurances from then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just before the real estate crash that led to the financial crisis back in 2007:

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Trump, Mexico Settle Sugar Dispute Just in Time for NAFTA Renegotiations

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 7, 2017: 

The sugar settlement between the United States and Mexico, announced on Tuesday by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, sets the stage for the NAFTA “renegotiation” scheduled to begin in August. And the settlement is going to cost Americans more to satisfy their sweet tooths.

At bottom, it’s all about protecting an inefficient American industry from foreign competition. Sugar is an enormous industry, and economic and political interests want to keep protections in place in order to save it from foreign competition. On one side is Big Sugar:

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Moody’s Credit Downgrade of China First in Almost 30 Years

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 25, 2017:

China GDP

China GDP

Moody’s Investors Service, one of the big three credit-rating services in the country, downgraded China’s creditworthiness one full notch on Wednesday. It moved the world’s second-largest economy from Aa3 (“high quality [with] very low risk”) to A1 (Upper-medium grade [with] low credit risk”). It explained why:

The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectations that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to grow as potential growth slows.

That “potential growth” has been slowing since at least 2010. In that year Chinese government agencies reported growth in excess of 10 percent. By 2014, it had slowed to 7.3 percent, to 6.9 percent in 2015, and is now at a reported 6.7 percent.

Moody’s is late to the game.

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Trump Picks Neocon to Head Council of Economic Advisors

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 10, 2017:

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he would nominate Kevin Hassett as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors. Immediately, Glenn Hubbard, a neocon serving as a visiting scholar at the “conservative” American Enterprise Institute (AEI), piped up to laud Hassett’s nomination and Trump’s wisdom in selecting him for the position: “He’s not just a standard-issue really good economist, [Hassett is] someone who knows how policy works. The tax changes being considered are really aimed at boosting investment, so I think Kevin is exactly the right person.”

He’s the right person if Trump wants someone whose resumé includes stints at the

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Trump Stumbles Again: Appoints Interventionist to head his Council of Economic Advisors

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 10, 2017:

Cover of "DOW 36,000 : The New Strategy f...

One way to test a hypothesis is to apply it to the real world. Two renowned, highly-regarded, and elite-college trained economists did just that. In 1999 James Glassman, the founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute (Harvard-trained with a BA in government), and Kevin Hassett, BA in Economics from Swarthmore and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, wrote Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market. So sure were they about their prediction they went on the road to promote it, claiming that “stocks are now in the midst of a one-time-only rise to much higher ground – to the neighborhood of 36,000 on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.”

On December 31, 1999 the Dow stood at 11,497. A little over three years later the Dow closed (on March 6, 2003) at 7,673, a drop of 3,823 points, costing those who bought the book and took their advice one-third of their investment.

But both persisted,

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Will Mick Mulvaney Pull Trump’s Financial Fat Out of the Fire?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 19, 2016:  

English: Official portrait of US Rep. Mick Mul...

Michael “Mick” Mulvaney (shown) rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 into Congress, replacing a 14-term Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th District. He has been handily reelected ever since. He took his oath of office seriously, saying in 2010 that “If political reporters want to know what drives the Tea Partiers, it is their belief in the Constitution. That’s what has always driven me in politics and will guide me in Congress.”

He remained as true to his word as any of those riding the same wave,

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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.