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: Spending

Chicagoans had to Choose Between Venal and Feckless for Mayor

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 8, 2015: 

In Tuesday’s mayoral runoff in Chicago, voters had only two choices: to vote for the venal Rahm Emanuel or the feckless Chuy Garcia. Four years ago Emanuel rode Barack Obama’s coattails to victory, winning in a walk with 55 percent of the vote. In February, Emanuel couldn’t squeeze out a majority, getting only 46 percent of the vote and forcing a runoff with a far-left progressive on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

With the help of an estimated 100 “friends of Rahm,” Emanuel buried Garcia, raising some $30 million for his campaign, eight times what Garcia was able to raise. On Monday Emanuel held an 18-point lead over Garcia.

Garcia was hoping for a miracle.

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Again

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 3, 2015:

English: in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Downtown Chicago, Illinois

Within hours of Moody’s Investors Service announcing another downgrade to Chicago’s general obligation bonds last Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration responded, saying that Moody’s was out of touch with reality:

We strongly disagree with Moody’s decision to reduce the city’s credit rating and would note that Moody’s has been consistently and substantially out of step with the other rating agencies [Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings], ignoring progress that has been achieved.

At the moment those other two agencies rate Chicago’s debt at A-plus or A-minus, each with a negative outlook. But in light of an imminent court ruling that could invalidate efforts to cut pension benefits, along with the crushing and increasing burden of those benefits, observers are just waiting for the next two shoes to drop.

As Moody’s noted, its downgrade will stand even if the court validates those pension modifications: 

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Tax Foundation Counts All Income Except Underground

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 23, 2015:

Tax Foundation

Tax Foundation

Not one single word of the 10-page report “Sources of Personal Income” released by the Tax Foundation mentioned the “black market” — that vast swirling uncounted (and largely uncountable) part of the U.S. economy that some estimate in the trillions. Accordingly, that throws off the foundation’s attempt to draw any more than tentative conclusions about how much the average taxpayer earns.

According to the Foundation, Americans reported a total of $9.2 trillion in income in 2012, the latest year for which numbers are available, with $6.3 trillion of it coming from “wages, salaries, tips” and “other” compensation. They get those numbers mostly from the infamous

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U.S. Government’s Interest Costs to Quadruple in 10 Years

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 5, 2015: 

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the federal government will be paying $800 billion annually just to service the interest on its massive debt by 2025, up from just over $200 billion currently. By 2021, those interest costs will equal what the government is projected to be spending on national defense, and on non-defense (so-called “discretionary” items), and will greatly exceed those two budget items just by 2025. The Journal also noted that “non-discretionary” items (so-called “mandatory” expenditures) will continue their inexorable march upward, from $2 trillion currently to more than $4 trillion by 2025.

Surprisingly, few eyebrows were raised over the announcement,

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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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Wisconsin Governor Walker to Substantially Reduce University Spending

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 4, 2015: 

On Tuesday, as part of his continuing quest to bring Wisconsin’s government spending under control, Governor Scott Walker announced a 13-percent cut to the University of Wisconsin’s $2.3 billion annual budget. In addition, his plan includes a two-year tuition freeze and the severance of state control over the university, passing it over to an autonomous authority. It also includes drug testing for people applying for public assistance, the merging of several state agencies, and the elimination of 400 state jobs. Walker explained: “Our plan will use common-sense reforms to create a government that is limited in scope and ultimately more effective, more efficient and more accountable.”

He also made clear in a radio interview that professors are going to have to ante up as well: 

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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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Koch Brothers’ Network to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Elections

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 27, 2015: 

Spokesmen for Freedom Partners, the Koch Brothers-funded “chamber of commerce” and sponsor of their annual winter meeting in Palm Springs, announced last weekend that its network of over 200 wealthy conservatives is planning on raising nearly $900 million to invest in the 2016 elections. This is more than double what the network raised and spent during the 2012 presidential campaign, and exceeds what both political parties spent that year put together. 

Freedom Partners is building on the momentum from the November elections that gave Republicans control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House of Representatives. As Freedom Partners President Marc Short remarked, “2014 was nice but there’s a long way to go.” He noted that his group’s ultimate goal is to make the ideals of a free market “central” in American society, adding, “Politics is a necessary means to that end.” Freedom Partners invested more than $400 million in those midterm elections. 

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Oil Price Decline Hurting Alaska the Most

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 26, 2015:

State Seal of Alaska.

Although oil-producing states such as North Dakota and Texas are expected to suffer declines in revenues if oil prices continue to drop, other states such as Wyoming, Louisiana, and especially Alaska will feel much more than just a temporary pinch. According to the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Service,

If lower prices persist through 2015, the economies and finances of the energy producing states — Louisiana, Alaska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma and North Dakota — will be put to the test.

Oil and mineral revenues account for a third of Wyoming’s budget, one-sixth of New Mexico’s, and one-eighth of Louisiana’s, while Texas — the state that, standing alone, would be the eighth-largest oil-producing country in the world — counts on less than

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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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New Illinois Governor Facing Torrent of Red Ink

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

 

Previous Illinois administrations and politicians have been kicking the can down the road for decades. Now, the state has run out of road. Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ new Republican governor, was inaugurated on Monday and is facing a daunting task: a $4 billion backlog of unpaid bills and a budget showing deficits approaching $21 billion in three years unless something is done.

During his campaign that successfully ousted what Huffington Post noted as the “nation’s least popular governor,” Pat Quinn, Rauner made the usual political promises of streamlining government and improving education and the state’s business climate, all without increasing taxes. In fact, he promised

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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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GOP Folds, Helps Democrats to Pass the CRomnibus bill

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 17, 2014: 

 

 

If the Guinness Book of Records had a category for “political taradiddles,” this from Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland and the Senate’s Appropriations Committee Chairman, would certainly qualify for its top ten. After all was said and done, after all the back-room deals had been completed, after Senator Ted Cruz’s last minute attempt to stall the vote by claiming that the CRomnibus bill would unconstitutionally fund Obama’s immigration executive order without debate was quashed 74-22, Mikulski exulted:

It is remarkable in today’s era of slam-down politics that we, working on this committee, have been able to set aside our differences, work across the aisle, work across the Dome, to find a way to compromise without capitulation on principles.

The only word with validity that she used was “capitulation” – total and complete surrender – by the Republicans, the party still perceived by many to be the party of small government, fiscal responsibility, and personal liberty. The sell-out was nearly complete,

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Voters Finally Learn What’s in the CRomnibus Bill Passed by the Senate

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 16, 2014:

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican sellout

The so-called CRomnibus bill (a combination of a Continuing Resolution and an omnibus spending bill covering dozens of federal agencies) was passed by the Senate late Saturday night, 56-40, approving government spending through next September.

Passage, although delayed slightly by complaints from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that it funded President Obama’s illegal immigration executive order without debate, was guaranteed when 24 Republicans, including every GOP leader, voted for it. This allowed some Democrats the opportunity to vote against it as a sop to constituents or to build their resumes in contemplated runs for the White House in 2016. They included newly inducted Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Others whom Republicans bailed out with their “yea” votes included naysayers

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Omnibus Bill Passes House, Funds Government Through September

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 12, 2014: 

President Barack Obama holds a conference call...

President Barack Obama holds a conference call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in the Oval Office

At the very last minute, with time and funding for government agencies running out, the House voted 216-206 to pass the so-called “omnibus” bill on Thursday, opening the way for the Senate to pass it on Friday. President Obama has promised to sign it before the day is out.

It was sausage-making at its finest. Even Arizona Republican John McCain said “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it” with many expecting him to vote for it on Friday anyway.

Instead of attempting to create and muster support for a temporary bill which would have left the heavy lifting to the newly elected incoming congress in January, House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama decided that

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Black Friday Gun Sales Outstripping Government’s Ability to Keep up

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 1, 2014: 

Leaving a meeting with Vice-President Joe Biden, NRA official Jim Baker told The Daily Caller that Biden said the government simply couldn’t keep up with tracking, following, and monitoring Americans buying guns:

Regarding the lack of prosecutions for lying on the [gun registration] Form 4473s, we simply don’t have the time or [the] manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, who checks a wrong box, [or] who answers a question inaccurately.

That was before Black Friday virtually inundated the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NCIS). According to the FBI, on Friday background checks were running at

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George Mitchell: the one man most Likely Missing from Thanksgiving Day lists

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 28, 2014:

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a safe bet that Americans, in compiling their list of blessings for which they were most thankful on Thanksgiving Day, didn’t put George Mitchell at the top. It’s even safer to bet that most Americans don’t even know who he was, or how his life has made life better for nearly every American today.

The Economist had it right: “Few businesspeople have done as much to change the world as George Mitchell.” The founder of Mitchell Energy & Development Company located in Galveston, Texas, Mitchell was responsible for drilling more than 10,000 natural gas wells and, in the process, resetting the world’s energy equation.

Although he passed away over a year ago at the age of 94, Mitchell’s advances in fracking technology are continuing to delight American drivers with

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Oil Market: Lower Gas Prices not the Only Reason to be Thankful

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014:

When news from Vienna arrived on Wall Street early Thanksgiving morning that OPEC wasn’t going to cut its production quotas to stabilize crude oil prices, those prices immediately fell even further, touching lows not seen in four years. West Texas Intermediate briefly touched $70 a barrel while Brent crude was close behind, at $73.

Oil hit a high of $147 a barrel in July 2008, so Thursday’s drop represents an astonishing 52-percent decline in just over six years. This coincides with an 80-percent increase in crude oil production by the United States over that same period. As economies around the world struggle to regain their footing, thanks to failing Keynesian policies, the demand for crude remains about where it was 10 years ago. With flat demand and increasing supply, it was only a matter of time before prices started to fall.

American consumers are benefitting enormously,

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51 OECD Countries Sign Tax Evasion Treaty

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 3, 2014: 

Last Wednesday’s agreement among 51 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Berlin to share tax information across borders in a continuing effort to crack down on tax evasion was announced with great excitement but precious little logic.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the group at a meeting entitled the “Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes” that the agreement is “a joint contribution to more transparency and fairness in our globalized 21st century.” Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne added, “Tax evasion is not just illegal, it is immoral. You are robbing from your fellow citizens and you should be treated like a common thief.” Said Osborne, the new treaty “strikes a blow on behalf of hard-working taxpayers.”

A careful look reveals that the new treaty in fact is designed to benefit tax collectors, not taxpayers.

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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.