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: Private Sector

Federal Deficit at Eight-year Low; Don’t Celebrate Yet

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 16, 2015:  

On Thursday the Treasury Department announced that the federal deficit for the 2015 fiscal year, which ended September 30, fell to an eight-year low — $439 billion — thanks to tax revenues that grew at a rate faster than government spending. Revenues, according to the department, grew by eight percent over last year while government spending grew by five percent.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew celebrated:

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Want a Raise? Work for the Government

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 9, 2015:  

It used to be that the way to get ahead was to work harder, work smarter, find your passion (à la Tony Robbins), marry the boss’s daughter, or be the boss’s daughter (or son). But, according to the latest study from the Cato Institute, the best way is to “sell your soul to the company store” (apologies, Johnny Cash): Work for the government. Preferably, the federal government.

Since the 1990s, federal government employees have enjoyed greater increases in salary growth than those in the private sector, with federal workers in 2014 earning 78 percent more, according to the latest report from Cato, entitled “Downsizing the Federal Government.”

In 2014, based on numbers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the average federal worker in 2014 made

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Kansas Considers Tax Increases Just as Its Economy Revives

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 12, 2015:

English: Aerial view of Kansas City, Kansas, l...

Aerial view of Kansas City, Kansas, looking southwest. The Kansas River (right-center) joins the Missouri River (left). A small piece of Kansas City, Missouri is visible on the left of the Missouri River.


Kansas House members debated until midnight Thursday whether to raise sales and cigarette taxes in order to close the state’s budget deficit. The House had just resoundingly defeated a previous measure that would have raised those taxes even more, but the state is facing a deadline to balance its budget, required under its constitution.

There’s a roughly $400-million shortfall this year, which is estimated to increase for the next several years.

Left-wing pundits have had a field day taking Governor Sam Brownback to task for calling his massive tax cuts enacted in 2012 an “experiment,” a “shot of adrenalin,” and similar to Ronald Reagan’s experiment based on the Laffer Curve: Reducing tax rates will increase tax revenues as the economy grows.

Paul Rosenberg, senior editor of Random Lengths News, a tiny weekly newspaper operating out of Long Beach, California, is a good example. His paper describes itself as an “independent progressive newspaper” with a readership of 63,000 that “is proud of the support from the Harbor Area labor unions, who allow us exclusive distribution inside most of their union halls.”

Rosenberg managed to get a screed attacking Brownback published in the hard-left Salon magazine in which he describes the Kansas governor as

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Jeb Bush’s Ties to Insider Financial Interests Are Confirmed

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 16, 2015: 

Jeb bush at noaa earth day

Jeb Bush celebrating NOAA’s Earth Day

Revelations from the International Business Times (IBT) that Jeb Bush helped move billions of dollars of Florida’s pension plans to insider investment firms while he was governor are only going to make it more difficult for him to persuade rank-and-file Republicans that he has their best interests at heart. 

Bush himself is a wealthy man with a net worth, back in 2007, of $1.3 billion. Since then he has been paid millions in the private sector while serving on various boards of directors and giving more than 100 speeches at $50,000 a pop. 

But in order to have a shot at the White House he is going to have to touch his network of insiders. And that network is vast and far-reaching, thanks not only to connections he made while dishing out financial favors during his term as Florida’s governor but to his family’s connections as well.

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Russian Cyber-thieves Steal $1 Billion From Russian Banks?

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

A report released on Monday from Kaspersky Lab to be presented at a cyber-security conference in Cancun, Mexico, revealed a highly sophisticated, well-funded, and immensely patient plan to steal at least $300 million from banks around the world, with estimates that the real losses could exceed $1 billion.

Kaspersky Lab, the fourth largest international provider of sophisticated software to fend off malware attacks, has been tracking the band of hackers known as Anunak or Carbanak for years. The first public exposure of the plot to steal millions at first appeared in late 2013 to be a simple mistake:

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Market Basket Workers Win, Restore Beloved “Artie T” as CEO

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 1, 2014:


English: Fresh produce for sale at the West Si...

The internecine warfare between Arthur T. DeMoulas and his cousin Arthur S. has finally come to an end. Arthur T. will buy out cousin Arthur S.’s 50.5 percent interest in the Market Basket grocery chain for $1.5 billion. The intra-family squabbles had been going on for decades, but hit a low point in June when Arthur S. fired Arthur T. – referred to fondly by his employees as “Artie T” – in June, and replaced him with two joint CEOs. This so outraged upper management and store managers that

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Congress to Grill Ex-Im Bank Chairman Over Corruption Charges

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 25, 2014: 

English: , President of the

Fred Hochberg, President of the Export-Import Bank

On Thursday Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank, will be grilled by members of the House Financial Services Committee over charges of corruption and mismanagement at the 80-year old agency. His task to defend the agency appears formidable, especially with its charter being up for renewal at the end of September.

On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that four Ex-Im employees have either been suspended or fired over the last few months as a result of “investigations into allegations of gifts and kickbacks.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Heritage Foundation reported on the same day that

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NJ Gov. Christie’s Conservative Light is Dimming

Chris Christie

Chris Christie (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Less than six months into his second term New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is having an increasingly difficult time pushing the New Jersey “comeback” theme that gained him reelection in January. This is in addition to the Bridge Gate scandal that has already seen five of his top lieutenants resign or be fired, with three investigations continuing into the matter.

First of all there’s the $807 million budget shortfall in his $33 billion budget that must be filled by the end of June. Then there’s the state’s credit rating which has been downgraded three times so far this year (it’s only May!) and

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Census Bureau Reports 62 Million more Takers than Payers

Attack of the Giant Leeches

Attack of the Giant Leeches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest Current Population Survey, a joint venture between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau , showed 148 million “benefit takers” compared to the benefit providers – workers in the private sector – who number less than 90 million. According to Terence Jeffrey, the senior editor at CNSNews, that’s a ratio of 3:2 and it’s only going to get worse: “As more Baby Boomers retire and as ObamaCare comes fully online … the number of takers will inevitably expand. Eventually there will be too few carrying too many, and America will

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Senator Tom Coburn’s “Holier-than-Thou” release of his 2013 “Wastebook”

In Tuesday’s press release Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced the publication of his annual “Wastebook” which highlights Congress’ “most egregious spending” while at the same time distancing himself from the big spenders and earmarkers in Congress who provided fodder for his book:

While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress…

What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible bills – possible.

Coburn then provided some teasers out of the 100 examples in his Wastebook:

The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and internet fan fiction…

The military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment [in Afghanistan] … rather than sell it or ship it back home…

In January, 2013, Congress passed a bill to provide $60.4 billion for [victims of] Hurricane Sandy. However, instead of rushing aid to the people who need it most, state-level officials … spent [$65 million of it] on tourism-related TV ads…

Since NASA is no longer conducting space flights, they have plenty of time and money to fund … the “Green Ninja” in which a man dressed in a Green Ninja costume teaches children about global warming.

While promoting his book recently on CBS News, Coburn tried to distance himself from any responsibility for such “egregious spending” by asking rhetorically: “Where was the adult in the room when this was going on?” Interviewer Nancy Cordes then asked if any of his previous editions of Wastebook had made any impact or had reduced or eliminated any of the more outrageous examples of waste:

Cordes: Have you ever gotten any traction in Congress, where members say “We’re actually going to get rid of this?”

Coburn: No. They don’t pay attention to it. It’s hard work to get rid of junk, it’s hard work to do oversight, it’s hard word to hold agencies accountable. And so what they would rather do is look good at home, get re-elected, and continue to spend money, and that’s Republican and Democrat alike.

What Cordes failed to ask at that moment would have been the perfect follow-on question:

How does your effort, then, and your voting record, separate you from them? Doesn’t this Wastebook of yours cost a lot of taxpayer money? Isn’t this part of your attempt to look good at home while providing cover for your own votes for some of these projects? Isn’t this part of your attempt to continue to get reelected?

Unfortunately there is no record of Cordes asking, or of Coburn’s response. But in July 2007 when Coburn criticized pork-barrel spending by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson that would benefit Nelson’s son’s employer with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, newspapers in both Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that Coburn himself failed to criticize similar earmarks that he voted for that benefited his own state of Oklahoma.

In May, 2012 Coburn voted for H.R. 2072, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank with increased lending limits backed by taxpayer monies from $100 billion to $140 billion. According to analysts assessing his vote, the federal government has no constitutional authority to risk taxpayers’ money “to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide.” Those analysts added:

Indeed, U.S. government-backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.

Perhaps Coburn can be forgiven for not knowing that such wasteful spending is part of a plan to reduce America’s influence in the world, first clearly laid out when Coburn was just 10 years old, in 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At a meeting in December, candy maker Robert Welch spoke for three days to some friends about the direction the country was headed, claiming it was part of a plan to “surrender American sovereignty, piece-by-piece and step-by-step, to various international organizations…”. Part one of that plan was:

Greatly expanded government spending for every conceivable means of getting rid of ever larger sums of American money as wastefully as possible.

Other parts included:

Higher and then much higher taxes…

An increasingly unbalanced budget despite the higher taxes…

Greatly increased socialistic controls over every operation of our economy and every activity of our daily lives. This is to be accompanied naturally and automatically by a correspondingly huge increase in the size of our bureaucracy and in both the cost and reach of our domestic government.

Coburn’s report illustrates the success of that plan to which he himself is contributing. The man has feet of clay. He not only is the author of Wastebook but a contributor to it as well.






Congressional Staffers May Have to Pay More for Their Health Insurance. Oh, No!

This article first appeared at McAlvany Intelligence Adviser:


During the arm-twisting, the backroom deals, and the promises made (that were later broken) in order to force Congress to pass the hated Obamacare act that is now revealing itself in all its splendor, one little piece of legislation was inserted that is now coming back to bite the same people who voted for it. It’s called the

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Slowing Economy Confirmed

The report from Automatic Data Processing (ADP) on Wednesday morning surprised economists once again by coming in substantially below their expectations. The 135,000 new private sector jobs created in May were way below the

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Why the GOP is Foundering

The GOP still can’t figure out what happened last November. They invested many dollars and man hours to try to find out. The result is their Growth and Opportunity Project (GOP, got it?). It’s a colossal failure. Here’s why:

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My critique of Mitchell’s critique of Ryan’s budget plan

It isn’t often that I conclude that Dan Mitchell misses the mark, but this time I do. He has a rule: “The private sector should grow faster than the government.” I like my rule better:

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Friday’s Surprisingly Strong Jobs Numbers Aren’t Real

At first blush Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics looked pretty good, catching establishment economists off-guard by about 80,000 jobs. Instead of the 160,000 new jobs expected in February, the BLS reported 236,000, which pushed down the unemployment rate to 7.7%. This came on top of a

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Don’t weep for Virginia as the Sequester hammer falls

It’s hard to be sympathetic for these folks. They’ve never had it so good. With the gargantuan explosion in government ever since 9/11 under Bush and now Obama, employment and salaries of government workers has increased apace in northern Virginia, and they have grown fat on other peoples’ money. With sequester, they are about to experience a little dose of reality –

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The ADP Jobs Report for November Just Arrived

The ACP jobs report for November showed 118,000 new jobs were created in the private sector last month. This is hardly good news for the economy but better than I, or Wells Fargo, anticipated. The manufacturing sector is declining, confirming (as I noted yesterday) the recession call by ECRI last year. Wells Fargo thought we might see 80,000.

ACP isn’t the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) which is the big mack-daddy of employment tracking. They use a different methodology than does ACP and sometimes there is a divergence. But over time both outfits’ numbers are very close.

To parse the details:

118,000 new jobs in November, down from 158,000 in October.

19,000 new jobs were created by small businesses in November, down from 50,000 in October.

And, as expected, the manufacturing sector lost 16,000 jobs.

In December a year ago people were excited to see nearly 300,000 jobs created in the private sector. Later it turned out that a lot of them were temp jobs for the holidays. Job creation never touched 300,000 since, muddling around at about 100,000 ever since. This isn’t enough to restore the economy to good health. Or, put another way, there isn’t enough entrepreneurial activity to justify hiring at a level sufficient to absorb new entrants.

And that’s the key understanding from today’s ADP numbers: regulations, uncertainty about the fiscal cliff, the awareness that Obama has little interest in reviving the economy because of his totalitarian ideology and commitment to reducing the US to just another weak socialist state are all combining to keep entrepreneurs – the real job creators – from taking a risk on the future.

I frankly don’t see much to change these numbers from ADP or the BLS going forward. ECRI’s recession call appears accurate: they think it started last July. Nothing here from ADP changes that outlook for the near future.

Latest Manufacturing Report Confirms ECRI’s Recession Call

Cogs and gears

Calling it “unexpected,” Reuters reported that the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) from the Institute for Supply Management for November fell to its lowest level in over three years. A poll of economists by Reuters showed they didn’t see it coming.

The PMI covers the private sector and quizzes 400 purchasing managers in 18 different manufacturing sectors to get their view of market conditions from their perspective: better than last month, same as last month, or worse, along with any comments they wish to make. Any reading above 50 indicates the sector is growing, and below that it’s contracting.

Bradley Holcomb, the chairman of the survey committee, said:

 The PMI registered 49.5 percent, a decrease of 2.2 percentage points from October’s reading of 51.7 percent, indicating contraction in manufacturing for the fourth time in the last six months. This month’s PMI reading reflects the lowest level since July 2009 when the PMI registered 49.2 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 50.3 percent, a decrease of 3.9 percentage points from October, indicating [slowing] in new orders for the third consecutive month…

The Employment Index registered 48.4 percent, a decrease of 3.7 percentage points, which is the index’s lowest reading since  September 2009 when the Employment Index registered 47.8 percent.

Holcomb noted that unsolicited comments from the purchasing managers also reflect the slowdown:

From Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products: “We are in a lull.”

From Plastics & Rubber Products: “Differences between [the] first half of [the] year and [the] remaining half are very dramatic,   growing to a peak in the middle of the year with a gradual decline since.”

From Computer & Electronic Products: “Seeing a slowdown in requests for quotes [RFQ] activity.”

From Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components: “Seeing a slowdown in demand across [all] markets.”

From Transportation Equipment: “Economy is every sluggish. Production is down and orders have slowed considerably from Q1.”

This report may have surprised the economists polled by Reuters but it certainly didn’t surprise Lakshman Achuthan, chief economist at the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), who called for another recession back in September, 2011. Following the prediction, The New York Times noted that ECRI not only correctly called the beginning and the end of the last recession, “it has gotten all of its

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Mark Zandi’s Credibility is Seriously Damaged

Mark Zandi

Mark Zandi (Photo credit: New America Foundation)

Mark Zandi is an establishment economist who is highly regarded and often quoted with reverence by others in the media. I’ve been known to quote him from time to time when he has something worthwhile to say. He’s a co-founder of Moody’s Economy.com, which is part of Moody’s Analytics, which in turn is owned by the credit rating company, Moody’s Corporation.

But his latest book reveals a fatal flaw. He made an error so glaring that it not only exposed his statist worldview but damaged his credibility significantly because of it.

Garett Jones reviewed his Paying the Price, over which people like Alice Rivlin of the Brookings Institution positively gushed. Wrote Rivlin:

One of our most insightful economists examines the extraordinary actions the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and other authorities took to cope with the economic catastrophe that followed the financial crash of 2008. A readable, balanced account of what they did, why they did it, and how well it worked out–so far.

Jones wasn’t as impressed:

There are plenty of areas where Zandi tells only part of the story; it’s his book and he’s welcome to his angle. But his dismissal of Fannie’s and Freddie’s role in the housing bubble cries out for exposure.

Zandi uses incomplete data and then draws the wrong conclusion from it:

His discussion of the government-sponsored enterprises features a graph showing that the “nongovernment” share of subprime “mortgage originations” rose during the bubble years. From this he concludes that the private sector, not Fannie and Freddie, deserves the blame for the subprime bubble.

It’s that nasty, private capitalist, laissez-faire greedy runaway system that caused the Great Recession. This is the statist’s primary meme in

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The Story Behind Black Friday

Black Friday shoppers at Walmart

Black Friday shoppers at Walmart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As usual, there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Retailers discovered the benefits of promoting Christmas shopping earlier and earlier, pushing Franklin D. to move Thanksgiving Day back a week:

Before 1930s: Unwritten Rules

In the early 1900s it was an unwritten rule that no retail store would promote Christmas items until after Thanksgiving. (Wow, can you imagine?) Instead of holiday sales in October, companies would spend lots of money on parades the day after Thanksgiving.

You can still see evidences of these parades today in the Macy’s Day Parade and others. Retail stores would sponsor giant parades the day after Thanksgiving and you could bet that one of the final floats in the parade would include Santa Claus, reminding all people to buy their Christmas gifts from the sponsoring store.

But then an interesting concept began to emerge: today we call it “crony capitalism.” It’s the conjunction of interests of some/many in the private sector seeing the advantages of

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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.

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