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: savings

Walmart Voluntarily Raises Its Minimum Wage

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 12, 2018: 

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced on Thursday that it was voluntarily raising its minimum wage for new workers to $11 an hour starting next month. Included in the announcement were staged bonuses that will be paid to present workers based on their time with the company. Also included was a vast improvement in maternity benefits, with full-time hourly workers receiving 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paternal leave. Parents who adopt will get the same benefits plus a check from Walmart for $5,000 to help cover their adoption costs.

This is on top of the wage increases announced by the retailer in 2015 to be staged in over the next three years.

What’s notable is that this is taking place ahead of

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Credit Card Debt Hits $1 Trillion; Wall Street and Michael Snyder Yawn

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 10, 2018: 

Michael Snyder rivals only David Stockman in his pessimistic economic outlook, reflecting that outlook by naming his blog “The Economic Collapse.” On the first day of the New Year, Michael dug into his files for the most “crazy” numbers from 2017. He found 44, including these:

One out of every ten young adults in the United States has been homeless at some point over the past year;

 

The United States has lost more than 70,000 manufacturing facilities since China joined the WTO in 2001;

 

A total of 6,985 store locations were shut down last year, and we are expected to break the record again in 2018:

 

Only 25 percent of all Americans have more than $10,000 in savings right now; and

 

44 percent of all U.S. adults do not even have enough money “to cover an unexpected $400 expense,” according to the Federal Reserve.

What’s missing from Michael’s list? Credit card debt, student loan debt, and vehicle financing debt. Surely he was aware of these numbers, but for some reason didn’t include them in his list. For the first time in history, credit card debt last year hit $1 trillion, eclipsing the record set back in 2008 following the real estate collapse and the beginning of the Great Recession. Snyder didn’t mention the nearly $3 trillion in “non-revolving” debt (i.e., auto and student loans) either. Seeking Alpha called these numbers “scary” but Snyder ignored them.

A closer look behind the numbers reveals that these may not be such “scary” numbers after all. Perhaps that’s why Snyder ignored them, simply because, by his definition, they didn’t qualify as “crazy.” For one thing, fewer than 40 percent of all households carry any sort of credit card debt. Among millennials ages 18 to 29 only a third even have a credit card.

Next, the ratio of income to credit card debt at the end of 2017 (before the new tax cuts) was already declining with the ratio of credit card debt compared to the nation’s gross domestic economic output at about 5 percent, compared with 6.5 percent in 2008.

Also, credit card delinquencies remain way below the 9 percent historical average, at just 7.5 percent, and far below the rate of 15 percent touched following the 2008 financial crisis.

There’s another way to look at credit card debt: compare outstanding balances to incomes.ValuePenguin performed such a service, showing that households with annual incomes of between $25,000 and $100,000 have less than $7,000 in outstanding balances on their credit cards. Further, that analysis showed that the average has increased only slightly since 2013.

With almost two million more people working today than held jobs a year ago, and others enjoying wage and salary increases, that $1 trillion in credit card debt becomes far less “scary.” In a $20 trillion economy that is growing at three percent a year, $1 trillion in credit card debt may reflect that growth as banks are willing to issue more cards to more credit-worthy individuals and those individuals, having perhaps learned lessons from the Great Recession, are using them more prudently. That “trillion” dollar number may instead reflect a growing and increasingly healthy economy employing more people making more money who are using credit opportunities more wisely.

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Sources:

USATodayCredit card debt hits new record, raising warning sign

SeekingAlpha.comCredit card debt on watch

Michael Snyder: 44 Numbers From 2017 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

ValuePenguin.com:  Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2017 Facts & Figures

Dakota Access Pipeline Fulfilling Its Promise

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 1, 2018: 

Fully operational since June, the Dakota Access Pipeline is lowering transportation costs, reducing tank car usage, reducing environmental and population risk, improving North Dakota’s financial condition, and putting the lie to the alarmist anti-pipeline propaganda.

There’s scarcely a downside.

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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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Mississippi’s Second Amendment Sales Tax Free Weekend: “Bigger than Black Friday”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 25, 2017:

According to Todd Sarotte, the manager of Van’s Sporting Goods in Brandon, Mississippi, this weekend’s Second Amendment celebration — firearms and related accessories are exempt from the state’s 7 percent sales tax through midnight Sunday —  is the biggest of the year for him: “It’s actually bigger for us than Black Friday. It’s grown every year, and for the last two years it’s been bigger than Black Friday for us.”

The exemption saves a buyer of a Glock semi-automatic pistol nearly $40 while a purchaser of a Stag Arms Model 3 Typhoon AR-15 saves more than

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Enjoying Record Low Gas Prices? Thank a Fracker!

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, June 27, 2017:  

On November 17, gas prices had dropped to $1.9...

Of the estimated 44 million Americans who will travel over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend (a record, by the way), 37.5 million of them will drive to their destinations. Along the way they will not only spend nearly a dollar a gallon less for gas than they have over the last 10 years on average, they will spend less on gas than any Independence Day since AAA has been keeping records. In addition, this will be the first time in nearly two decades that they will be spending less for gas in July than they did in January. On average over the last decade gas prices have been 47 cents a gallon higher on the Fourth of July than on New Year’s Day.

Consumers are always the ultimate beneficiaries of improved technologies, as producers are

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Ford CEO Suddenly Retires: Early Casualty of AV Revolution

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 22, 2017:

During a conference call that followed the official announcement on Monday that Ford’s CEO Mark Fields was going to retire — his position to be taken by the head of Ford’s autonomous vehicle division — the company’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, said, “This is a time of unprecedented change. And time of great change, in my mind, requires a transformational leader. And thankfully we have that in Jim.”

That would be James “Jim” Hackett, who

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Bakken is OPEC’s Elephant in Its Living Room

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 15, 2017:

Setting the stage for the OPEC meeting on May 25, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, promised on Friday that OPEC will do whatever it takes to rebalance the global oil market. Whatever that means, and whatever comes out of that meeting, it wont be enough torebalance the oil market (rebalance: raise the price of oil sufficiently to reduce significantly the deficits the cartels members are currently running).

If the cartel repeats and extends the present agreement by six months, its likely to have the same impact: immeasurably small. The last agreement promised to cut 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its overall production. It managed to cut production by less than half that, 800,000 bpd. In the grand scheme of things (world production of oil is just over 80 million bpd), this represents a one percent reduction in global production of crude. Wahoo.

What will be discussed in Vienna will no doubt include who is going to be doing the heavy lifting, and how much. Will there be exceptions to the extension as there is in the present one? Will there be failures to comply, as there were under the present one? Will there be sanctions applied to those who cheat? What about non-members? Will they somehow be persuaded to engage in the farcical extension? From here the meeting has all the makings of Shakespeares comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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Harry Dent, Meet Chris Hamilton

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 29, 2017:

For years Harry Dent (shown) has attempted to turn his demographic analyses into investment advice, with middling performance. It seems that when his advice doesn’t turn out well, he writes another book.

Take, for example, his The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation Ahead. He contends that the economy can be traced and tracked using the behavior of consumers as they grow, mature and age. Young people marry, have families, buy homes, automobiles, and gadgets. Their acquisitions peak at around age 45 or so, and then decline over time into retirement.

His “waves” are like seasons: 

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Wall Street Facing Headwinds as Boomers Forced to Liquidate Their IRAs, 401Ks

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 28, 2017:

New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New ...

Under the law those reaching age 70 and a half must start taking their “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) from their various tax-deferred accounts. These include IRAs, 401Ks, profit-sharing plans, and SEPs. The trouble is that there are so many of them, and they control so many assets, that their RMDs are going to put enormous pressure on the stock market, according to Chris Hamilton, writing at his Econimica blog.

The Baby Boom population cohort is nearly 80 million people, and those born in 1946 are now 71, with millions following right behind. The top one percent own or control about one-third of that cohort’s assets, while the top 10 percent own more than two-thirds, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The real question, according to Hamilton, is this:

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ObamaCare Replacement Plan Introduced in Congress

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 16, 2017: 

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Senator Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Representative Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) introduced their ObamaCare Replacement Act (ORA) on Wednesday. It would simultaneously repeal nearly all of ObamaCare’s most onerous demands and mandates while opening up the health-insurance market to individuals to purchase, or not to purchase, coverage. The bill, S.222, might more appropriately be named the “Health Insurance Freedom to Purchase Act,” putting the decision to buy, or not to buy, coverage back in the hands of individual citizens and taking it out of the hands of the federal government.

Senator Paul said,

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Study: Savings in Welfare Costs Could Pay for Trump’s Wall

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 16, 2017:

On paper, the study entitled “The Cost of a Border Wall vs. the Cost of Illegal Immigration,” published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), seems to make sense:

If a [southern] border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall.

There are many assumptions built into Camarota’s analysis, but the big one not mentioned is this:

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Bill to Repeal Obamacare Represents Major Paradigm Shift

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 17, 2017:

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Sec...

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said many things on which classical liberals and libertarians agree. The one most apropos to Obamacare is this: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Anything that requires government force (or threat of) to gain compliance is, on its face, immoral. But Obamacare did something else: it was a deliberate forced attempt to shift personal responsibility for one’s health care from a citizen to his government. Jefferson had this to say about that:

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Trump Pick for Management & Budget Talks Raising Retirement Age

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 25, 2017:

Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C., shown), President Donald Trump’s pick to head up the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), touched the famous “third rail” of American politics during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, Mulvaney was pressed hard for his views on Social Security by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.): “Do you think we need to look at adjusting the [retirement] age yet again because we live longer?”

Replied Mulvaney, “I do, yes sir.”

His response was unsettling to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who declared,

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Another Setback for Big Taxi: Uber, Lyft OK’d to Serve Atlanta Airport

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

Following months of negotiations with Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing (e-hailing) companies, the city of Atlanta, which owns and operates the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (shown), is allowing them to serve passengers effective on Sunday, January 1, 2017.

They have been serving them for months despite restrictions, but those rules were rarely enforced. Now it’s legal.

But not without costs. First,

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Trump Meets With Lockheed CEO About F-35 Cost, Then Asks Boeing to Price Comparable F-18

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 23, 2016:  

Following his meeting with Lockheed Martin’s CEO Marilyn Hewson (shown) on Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump asked Boeing if they could beat Lockheed’s price on the frightfully expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter . The Pentagon has plans to order 2,443 of the fighter aircraft at a cost of $112 million apiece. That’s $273.6 billion for the total order!

During negotiations with Hewson, Trump learned that, over time, Lockheed could bring down the cost to around $85 million for each aircraft as a result of potential cost savings and manufacturing efficiencies as they build them.

Those negotiations apparently were a lot tougher than those Trump had earlier in the day

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Texas Congressman Proposes “Permanent” Fix for Social Security

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, December 10, 2016:  

Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, presented his plan, the “Social Security Reform Act,” on Thursday, which he called “a plan to permanently save Social Security.”

His proposal involves the same solutions often proposed by others trying to keep Social Security from going broke: cutting benefits, raising the retirement age, adding “means” testing, and cutting or eliminating altogether the COLA — Cost of Living Adjustment.

According to Michael Linden, an associate director at the liberal Center for American Progress, the cuts to benefits would be severe — between 11 percent and 35 percent — and they would include those already receiving Social Security benefits. Social Security actuaries who analyzed Johnson’s plan (at his request) came up with different numbers: Cuts would range from 17 percent to 43 percent but over a longer time period and with the same conclusion: everyone in Social Security (with the exception of the lowest-income participants) would take a hit under Johnson’s plan.

Nowhere in Johnson’s plan is any mention of privatizing the program, which is surprising, as it was a topic of discussion during the Republican presidential debates. Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Ted Cruz all expressed their support for privatizing Social Security as the best way to solve its myriad problems.

Here are some of those problems:

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Fully Self-driving Cars by 2021, Says Ford CEO

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 18, 2016:  

On Tuesday, during a hectic day of media interviews about the coming revolution being caused by autonomous vehicles (AVs), Ford’s CEO Mark Fields told Wall Street analysts that such vehicles “could have just as significant an impact on society as [Henry] Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago.” He told workers at a Ford plant in Palo Alto, “This is a transformational moment in our industry … it is a transformational moment in our company. We are making people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.”

He said that his company’s foray begins with e-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft and will expand to the consumer market by 2021 if not sooner.

He’s not alone.

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What Happens After Venezuela Destroys its Currency?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 29, 2016:  

English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. At a joint press...

Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin

Venezuela is unable to pay its currency printers. Those printers have been flying in planeloads of currency in the middle of the night, landing at airports where it is offloaded onto trucks to be dispersed to banks throughout the country. In other words, Venezuela doesn’t have the money to pay for its money.

The destruction of the currency, the bolivar fuerte (“strong bolivar”), has been documented at The New American and elsewhere. When oil prices dropped, so did revenues to fund the various socialist welfare schemes put in place by the communist Hugo Chávez and continued by his protégé, Nicolás Maduro, at Chavez’s passing in March 2013. Instead of reining in those unaffordable programs, socialist economists instead decided to print their way out of the crisis.

The results were predictable, and catastrophic.

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Low Gas Prices Are Igniting Pushes for Increased Gas Taxes

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 8, 2016:  

For politicians with insatiable appetites for other peoples’ money, the best time to mulct taxpayers is when they aren’t paying attention. Especially when they are already enjoying savings of an estimated $550 a year in lower gasoline costs.

Most drivers have no clue as to what they pay in taxes when they fill up at the pump. Unless they live in California

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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.