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: ripple effect

Realtors in Vancouver Moving to Seattle Along with Investors

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 10, 2017:  

Vancouver on a rainy day

Vancouver on a rainy day

The collapse of the real estate market in Vancouver, BC, is forcing realtors there to “double-license” in Seattle (where home prices are half what they are in Vancouver) in order to stay in business. Some of them are representing sellers with property in Vancouver who are simultaneously buying in Seattle. The ripple effect in Vancouver is impacting builders and construction workers as well as those in related service industries.

Back in August, the tune was much different: home prices had increased by 50 percent over the previous three years thanks to foreign investors wanting property in Vancouver. “It’s a bubble!” was the cry and so do-gooder politicians in the local government decided to erect a tariff: starting on August 1 the “foreign buyer transfer tax” of 15 percent would be imposed on any foreign buyer of real estate in the city.

Within six weeks the high end of the market was off by 20 percent, and realtors were scrambling, builders were pulling back, and workers were being laid off.

The parallel with Trump’s plans to build a wall along the country’s southern border through tariffs of 35 percent is uncanny, with the results likely to be the same as Vancouver’s. Fred Floss, the chairman of the economics department at SUNY Buffalo State, says that imposing a tariff on Mexico will have a similar slowing effect in the United States. Because the US mainly imports auto parts and small engines from Mexico, “anything that has a small engine in it will start to cost more … the scary thing is that a lot of those motors go into things Americans make. So if all of a sudden it gets to be more expensive to make goods in the United States, then we’re going to start to see layoffs because our goods aren’t going to sell.” He added: “In other words, [Americans are] going to pay the cost of the wall” both directly and indirectly.

The ripple effect in Vancouver is just beginning to be felt as the slowdown starts to impact support jobs related to the real estate industry. Homeowners who have enjoyed seeing their paper profits escalate are now facing the new reality: their homes aren’t worth what they were as recently as last summer, and those who took advantage of low rates either to buy new or obtain a home equity loan are increasingly finding themselves underwater and unable to find a buyer to bail them out.

International trade unhampered by tariffs benefits consumers and sellers alike. Every trade results in each party being better off economically. Competition drives the prices of goods and services down, allowing purchasers to enjoy a higher standard of living. Those profiting from making the products consumers want, whether they be small motors, cell phones or automobiles, will be encouraged to expand their production, hiring new workers who then are able to increase their own purchasing power. Ad infinitim.

Adam Smith was right:

Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can….

 

He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention…. (emphasis added)

 

By pursuing his own interests, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

And then Smith adds his warning for Mr. Trump:

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

Meddling always has its unintended consequences. Is Mr. Trump aware of what’s going on in Vancouver?


Sources:

The Wall Street Journal: For Chinese Home Buyers, Seattle Is the New Vancouver

Seattlepi.com:  Vancouver smacks Chinese with real estate tax, but will they head south?

Background on US tariffs

WGRZ.com: How the Trump Tariff Proposal may Impact your Budget

Investopedia:  The Basics Of Tariffs And Trade Barriers

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” quote

Is Vancouver Tax on Foreign Investors a Lesson for Trump?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 9, 2017:

View on Vancouver on October 1, 2005

Vancouver, B.C.

The impact of the 15-percent “foreign buyer transfer tax” — a real estate tax that is only applied on foreigners, not Canadians — levied by Vancouver, a West Coast city in the Canadian province of British Columbia, was felt almost immediately: Real estate prices began falling, realtor listings took longer to sell as buyers disappeared, and, consequently, revenues anticipated from instituting the tax aren’t likely to meet expectations.

Observers said the tax was levied to protect the local real estate market from becoming “overheated” thanks to increasing demand from foreign investors. “Remember the Great Recession” became the mantra. What goes up must come down, etc. Indeed, prices have increased by nearly 50 percent over just the last three years, driving the median cost of a home in Vancouver to $1.5 million.

Members of the city council imposed the 15-percent tariff on August 1, and by the end of September investment in the high end of the market had already dropped

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Teamsters’ Pension Plans Seek Massive Cuts to Retirees to Stay Solvent

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

Logo of the United States Pension Benefit Guar...

The Central States Teamsters pension plan, covering more than 400,000 participants, expects to receive permission shortly from the Treasury Department to cut benefits to those participants, possibly by as much as 30 percent. At the end of 2014 the plan had $35 billion in liabilities (future promises to participants as they retire) compared to less than $18 billion on hand to pay them.

Right behind Central States was the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, which is also in trouble. Owing nearly $3 billion to its 35,000 plan participants, it has less than $1.3 billion to meet this obligation. Its plan, in its request to the Treasury Department, spelled out just how great the cuts would be:

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The Passing of Don Kates: More Evidence of the Ripple Effect of One Man’s Life

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 9, 2016: 

University of Texas Law School Professor Sanfo...

University of Texas Law School Professor Sanford Levinson

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “ripple effect” correctly: a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence on future events. Don Kates, a scholar, lawyer, and research fellow with the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, likely never intended that his scholarly fulminations against the gun controllers of his day would reach all the way to the Supreme Court.

But they did, and every American, whether they own a firearm or not, benefits from his work today.

It started with an unheralded piece of work he did in 1983,

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Don Kates, the Igniter of the Second Amendment Movement, Passes

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 8, 2017:  

Compact Glock 19 in 9x19mm Parabellum.

Glock Model 19, the world’s most popular handgun

One week ago today, Don Kates, a scholar with the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, passed away at the age of 75. He leaves a remarkable legacy of influence in the long war on guns, single-handedly igniting the renaissance of today’s pro-gun movement with his scholarly work.

During the iron age of gun control — the decade prior to the passage of the Brady Bill in 1994 during the Clinton administration — Kates’ voice was the only one heard that supported an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. So carefully crafted was his work that his article

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Permitless Carry Passes in Missouri; Gun Sales Soar Nationwide

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 5, 2016:

Holster

Three weeks ago Missouri became the fourth state this year to allow “permitless” concealed carry of firearms by its citizens, its legislators voting to override Democrat Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill. Missouri joins West Virginia, Mississippi, and Idaho in allowing its citizens this year to enjoy rights enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, bringing the total of such states to 12.

As Tim Schmidt, president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association — which provides training and liability insurance coverage for its members — put it:

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Ending Crude Oil Export Ban Already Helping U.S. Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 8th, 2016:  

English: Crude oil tanker SAFWA moored off Rot...

Crude oil tanker SAFWA moored off Rotterdam.

Since the 1970s ban on exporting crude oil was lifted last December, the oil industry has given statists and anti-growth politicians a lesson in free markets: exports increased seven times their previous levels in just the first three months of 2016. And this in the face of an economy that is still suffering from the dregs of the Great Recession.

This was predicted by IHS (Information Handling Services), located near Denver, two years ago when the group stated that

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Revolving Credit Lines to Oil Industry Pose New Hazards to Banks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 12, 2016:  

One Wells Fargo Center – Charlotte, North Caro...

One Wells Fargo Center – Charlotte, North Carolina

As earnings season on Wall Street starts, investors in the big banks are just now learning about unfunded revolving lines of credit (revolvers) that those banks extended to oil and energy related companies when times were better.

Ten of the largest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, just disclosed that they have $147 billion in unfunded revolvers, which are likely to expand their exposure to the energy industry just when they would rather reduce it.

Those banks have been setting aside loan loss reserves amounting to billions in anticipation of the inevitable:

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Will Glencore’s Financial Troubles Trigger an International Collapse?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 30, 2015:  

Investors in the stock of Glencore, the giant commodities mining and trading company founded by Marc Rich (disgraced friend of Bill Clinton), lost almost a third of their portfolios’ value on Monday, only to see the company’s stock price rebound strongly the next two days. The company’s statement seemed reassuring to those unwilling to dig deeper:

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The Ripple Effect of Rising Interest Rates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 9, 2015:  

With financial talking heads now convinced that the Federal Reserve will finally increase interest rates as a result of the record-setting job openings report, few are asking about the “ripple effect” those increases might mean for individuals, for the auto and the housing industry, for companies and corporations, and, most importantly, for the debt-laden federal government.

If and when the fed announces upcoming interest-rate increases, in the short run, individuals might be tempted to accelerate their buying decision on cars and houses to take advantage of low rates before increases start flowing through to lenders in those sectors. In the longer run,

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Export-Import Bank’s Charter Expires, for the Moment

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 1, 2015: 

English: Export-Import Bank of the United Stat...

Visitors to the Export-Import Bank’s website on Wednesday would have found a terse notice that its charter had “lapsed” effective midnight, June 30, meaning that “the Bank and any of its delegated authority lenders cannot authorize any new transactions.” However, the bank is likely to have a very long life even after its death:

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China’s Economic Bubble Ready to Burst?

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 13, 2015: 

 

The latest numbers out of China no longer mask its economic decline. Chinese industrial production “slowed at its sharpest rate in the first two months of the year since the global financial crisis” shouted the Financial Times on Wednesday.

Wang Tao, UBS’ chief economist on the Chinese economy, was dour: “Today’s disappointing data release highlights just how quickly domestic demand is deteriorating as the ongoing [real estate] downturn continues to spread its negative impact through the economy.”

In China that impact is huge,

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Oil Patch Activity Is Starting to Slow

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

U.S. Steel

In a letter to his union workers at U.S. Steel’s pipe and tube plant in Lorain, Ohio, Tom McDermott, president of United Steelworkers local 1104, was blunt:

The company has suddenly lost a great deal of business because of the recent downturn in the oil industry. What appeared just a few short weeks ago as being a productive year … has most abruptly turned sour.

So sour that U.S. Steel is idling 614 or its 700 workers in Lorain, along with all 142 of its workers in its Houston, Texas plant.

This is likely to be just the beginning. Even as U.S. Steel poured hundreds of millions into its gamble that producing “oil country tubular goods,” or OCTG, would reverse years of losses, other steel makers have done the same:

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New Jersey Driving Away Businesses

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 9, 2015: 

Mercedes-Benz

On Tuesday, when Mercedes-Benz’s North American Chairman Stephen Cannon finally confirmed the rumors swirling around his company’s headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey, that he was going to move it to Atlanta, Georgia, he didn’t tell the whole truth:

New Jersey has been a wonderful home to our U.S. operations for our first 50 years, and still is today. The state has worked tirelessly with us as we evaluated our options.

 

Ultimately, however, it became apparent that to achieve the sustained, profitable growth and efficiencies we require for the decades ahead, our headquarters would have to be located elsewhere.

 

That brought us to Atlanta.

It was the location that sealed the deal, according to Cannon:

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Mercedes-Benz Latest to Leave New Jersey Owing to High Taxes

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 8, 2015:

Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines

The rumors swirling around the Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey were confirmed by the company’s U.S. president, Stephen Cannon, on Tuesday: It would move its U.S. headquarters from Montvale to Atlanta, starting in July. The move would affect about 1,000 employees, about half of whom would likely be offered the opportunity to move with the company.

The decision to move was based on the high-cost and high-tax environment in New Jersey compared to Georgia, although one had to read between the lines of the company’s official statement to ferret that out:

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Crude Oil Prices: The Politics, Implications, and Backlash

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 6, 2015:

With the price of crude dropping significantly below $50 a barrel, prognosticators have come out of the woodwork predicting drops to $40, $30, $20 a barrel, and even lower before it rebounds.

Jon Ogg, writing at 247Wall St.com, noted that the precipitous drop in crude oil prices “has serious implications for consumers and companies alike,” and not all of them are unblemished blessings. On the surface the winners are

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Energy Junk Bond Investors Heading for the Exits

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, December 14, 2014:

English: Oil well An oil rig used for training.

An oil rig used for training.

As crude oil prices continue their breath-taking fall, the ripple effect is beginning to reach far beyond the gas pump. On Friday crude oil dropped below $60 a barrel, causing some experts to predict $55 a barrel the following week and $40 a barrel within a few months.

That is putting pressure on oil producers to service their massive debts — some $550 billion incurred in the last five years — and scaring bond investors who are now looking to sell.

It’s a mania, said Tim Gramatovich of Peritus Asset Management who oversees a bond portfolio of $800 million: “Anything that becomes a mania — ends badly. And this is a mania.”

Bill Gross, who used to run PIMCO’s gigantic bond portfolio and now advises the Janus Capital Group, explained that “there’s very little liquidity” in junk bonds. This is the language a bond fund manager uses to tell people that

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Gun Accessories Maker Keeps its Promise to leave Colorado

Just when some of its customers were beginning to question the company’s sincerity about moving out of Colorado in response to anti-gun legislation passed last summer, Magpul Industries announced it has finalized its moves to

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Walmart’s Two New Stores in Washington DC Embarrass a Preacher

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 9th, 2013:

 

When the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler, pastor of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, saw the two new Walmart stores opening in DC this past week, he admitted that some of his people were going to shop there despite his protestations:

I know some of my congregants are going to be shopping there. I have not called for a boycott or anything like that.

But … when you make this corporation richer, it’s at the expense of making somebody [else] poorer.

Not according to the shoppers, hundreds of whom voluntarily

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The Bubble in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 30, 2013:

The complacency of municipal bond holders ended in July with the filing for bankruptcy by Detroit, an unhappy town of just 700,000 owing more than $18 billion to investors. Haircuts there have variously been estimated to be between 15 and 60 percent.

Since then, those holders have been looking around to find the next shoe to fall, and they have found it:

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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.