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: Surplus

Comeuppance in the Oil Patch

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 3, 2016:  

Looking down from Heaven, George Mitchell must be pleased with what’s going on below: oil inventories are growing to the point where offshore tankers and railroad tank cars are having to be used for storage, oil and gas prices are dropping along with the costs of all the other 6,000 consumer products made from petroleum, rig counts are increasing, production costs are dropping, and, best of all, OPEC’s influence is waning daily.

The Economist called Mitchell the father of fracking in its eulogy following his death in July, 2013. They referred to him as

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Latest CBO Report “Grim”; Offers No Solutions to National Debt

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 15, 2016:  

Ida May Fuller, the first recipient

Ida May Fuller, holding the first check from the Social Security Administration

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published its annual report on the country’s long-term budgetary and financial outlook. One need only to see the chart on Page One of the report to see why CBO’s Justin Bogle said the outlook was “grim”: It shows government spending growing so much more quickly than anticipated revenues that annual deficits will likely triple in the next 30 years, if not sooner. Bogle called this scenario unsustainable.

For the first time, the CBO built into its assumptions the projected impact of ObamaCare, the country’s declining birth rate, the explosion of Baby Boomers demanding benefits from Social Security and Medicare over that period, plus Boomers’ increasing life expectancies and the increasing costs of providing them healthcare along the way.

It also assumed that government debt will

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$60 Oil “Very Possible” Says Saudi Arabia’s New Oil Minister

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 3, 2016:  

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

On November 17, gas prices had dropped to $1.99 in Bakersfield, California, due to falling Oil prices

Following the OPEC meeting on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s new oil minister, Khalid Al Falin, told CNN that $60 a barrel oil is “very possible” by the end of the year, with even higher prices expected next year. He said that supply and demand in the oil market have “converged” without the OPEC cartel needing to curtail supply. In short, OPEC is celebrating its strategy of letting the lowest oil prices seen in years weed out the weak and marginal players in the United States, resulting in cuts in production. As Qatar’s oil minister exulted at a press conference in Vienna following the meeting, “The worst is over for oil.”

Translation:

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A Unique Oil Man in a Tough Business

This article appeared in print in The New American magazine as well as online, on Thursday, March 17, 2016:  

It doesn’t take long to learn that KimRay, Inc., headquartered in Oklahoma City, is a different sort of oil company — a much different sort. Headed up by Tom Hill until his retirement last year (but who still serves as chairman), the company’s mission statement is simple: Take care of customers, take care of employees, and take care of stockholders. But it ends with this:

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Jawboning Higher Oil Prices

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 17, 2016:  

The art of jawboning has gotten such a bad reputation that even the Securities and Exchange Commission website decries it:

We deride “jawboning” as (a) government wagging a finger at business and labor to act with restraint, while government acts without restraint; or (b) government asking labor and business to do what is against their self-interest and in the public interest, which is usually ineffective, and when it works it rewards the greedy and penalizes the patriotic.

It used to work by issuing an implicit threat to accomplish a desired end. And on Tuesday, in the first few minutes of trading, traders of both stocks and oil bought the threat, causing prices to bounce higher at the open but then fade afterwards.

The threat was this, issued by the Russian Ministry of Energy following a brief meeting of worthies from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela:

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Want to Revive a State’s Economy? Put in Place the Florida Model

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 29, 2016:  

Rick Scott has always been an entrepreneur. While enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and working full-time at a local grocery store, Scott and his wife Ann bought two Kansas City donut shops. After getting his law degree, he went to work at a law firm specializing in the health care industry. In 1987, at age 34, he took all that they had in the bank and started Columbia Hospital Corporation. Two years later his company was merged with the Hospital Corporation of America to become Columbia/HCA.

In the next ten years it had grown to become

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Florida’s Economy Rebounds Thanks to Cuts in Taxes, Spending, Regulations

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 27, 2016:  

Almost immediately upon assuming Florida’s governorship in January, 2011, Rick Scott started cutting. He increased the state’s exemption level for corporate taxes from $25,000 to $50,000. He expanded the state sales tax exemption for manufacturing equipment. In 2013, he approved a three-year total exemption of that sales tax. In 2014, he pushed to raise the corporate tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000. Last year he signed into law a $400 million cut in vehicle fees. In all, over the past five years he, with the help of a friendly legislature, has cut nearly 50 taxes.

Along the way

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Montana Is Second State to Slow Police Militarization

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 27, 2015:

Last Thursday Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed into law the strongest prohibition yet by any state against accepting “free” used military equipment from the federal government. A month ago New Jersey Chris Christie signed into law prohibiting such “free” used war materiel without express approval from the local governments involved. Montana’s new law outright prohibits any department in the state from receiving drones that are armored or weaponized (or both), military aircraft, grenades or grenade launchers, silencers and “militarized armored vehicles.”

In New Jersey the bill passed both houses unanimously; in Montana the House voted 79-20 in favor while the Senate voted 46-1 in favor. Under the new law police departments remain free to purchase such materiel, but

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The Freedom Fight’s First Premise Proven in New Jersey

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 25, 2015: 

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

For decades it’s been an article of faith among those involved in the freedom fight that Jefferson was right: “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people [for] they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

The decision by New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie to sign a bill into law that prohibits the continued militarization of local police departments through free gifts of unneeded hardware from Iraq and Afghanistan unless approved by local authorities is simply the end result of years – no, decades – of efforts by many to educate citizens about the dangers such militarization is to their freedom. The fact that the bill passed both houses unanimously just made it easier for Christie to do so.

New Jersey is only the first. Even stronger bills are pending in

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N.J. First State to Ban Police Militarization Without Local OK

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 24, 2015:

Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into a law a bill (passed unanimously by both houses) that made his state the first to require local approval before any local law-enforcement agency can accept military equipment from the U.S. government. It won’t be the last.

Even stronger bills banning the practice, under the so-called “1033 Program” of local law-enforcement agencies dealing directly with the Department of Defense for free military equipment, are pending in Montana, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.

It was touch and go in New Hampshire:

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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 Teachers Learning How to Live Free Again, Thanks to Act 10

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, September 19th, 2013:

Under Wisconsin’s Act 10, every union must be re-certified by its members each year – a freedom denied its members in the past. Once certified, a union was formerly permanent. With regard to teachers, it required dues to be deducted from their paychecks, it demanded negotiating rights on their behalf, it mandated where they could buy their health insurance, and so on.

But when the teachers themselves were asked if they wanted to stick with their union, they said

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Social Security Trustees Celebrate: Trust Funds won’t be Broke for Years

With Friday’s announcement by the Trustees of the Social Security Administration that “reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through [the year] 2020,” it didn’t take long for groups like Strengthen Social Security (SSS) to chortle that not only is Social Security “fully affordable and structurally sound, [but it] will

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Social Security to Run Out of Money Much Sooner Than Estimated

The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) about the inevitable insolvency of Social Security is discouraging enough without checking the CBO’s assumptions. A closer look at the report and those assumptions reveals a

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Don’t Tax Me; Don’t Tax Thee; Tax That Fellow Behind the Tree!

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

So said Russell Long, the Senator from Louisiana who served 39 years and whom the Wall Street Journal once called “the fourth branch of government,” so great was his influence. He got it right. The citizens are so dependent upon their government goodies that the entire discussion in Washington over the fiscal cliff is about increasing taxes and not cutting spending. The writer at Marketwatch.com got it exactly right:

As lawmakers negotiate to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are due to take place on Jan.1, 2013, the silence on spending cuts is deafening. (my emphasis)

Some Republicans have tried, by outlining various cuts in spending that would bring the budget back to 2008 levels. But no one is listening:

House Republicans, both in the budget committee and in the Republican Study Committee, have outlined potential cuts that will bring spending back down to 2008 pre-recession levels. However, all Washington negotiators can do is talk about raising taxes, or not, and how much revenue can come from limiting deductions on one hand and economic growth on the other.

She says that Washington considers spending cuts as “poisonous.” We’ve heard this before. Cuts to Social Security was considered for years to be the third rail in politics: touch it and you die. George Bush trotted out a plan to modify Social Security with private accounts. Remember them? Didn’t think so. Down the memory hole.

Biden can’t believe the Republicans even want to

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Three State Studies Confirm Freedom Works Best

North Dakota state quarter

North Dakota state quarter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year 247 Wall St. publishes the results of its survey of all 50 states and then ranks them from top to bottom – from “best run” to “worst run.” CNBC does the same only with a more concentrated focus on the business environment in each state, and then ranks the states on their overall “measure of competitiveness.” The Mercatus Center at George Mason University looks at all 50 states from the perspective of individual freedom and then ranks the states based on its Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.

The parallels and correlations between economic and business performance and personal freedom are clear and persuasive: when state governments stay within their limits of protecting lives and enforcing contracts, the states thrive. And vice versa. North Dakota and California are examples sufficient to prove the point.

247 Wall St. admits that measuring the effectiveness of how a state government manages its affairs and allows the free market to operate is

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The Fiscal Cliff: What Really Needs to Be Done

Piggy Bank

(Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

Now that the national elections are history, attention in Washington is firmly focused on the “fiscal cliff”: the day of reckoning created by the congress during the budget ceiling debate in the summer of 2011. When the Super Committee failed in its mandate to create a plan to address the deficits and the national debt, the result was the misnamed Budget Control Act of 2011 which, in current parlance, kicked the can to December 31, 2012. All that act did was to raise the debt limit immediately by $400 billion, thus averting a government shutdown, while allowing further increases in the debt limit without another congressional confrontation with the White House. The tradeoff was the promise of spending cuts in the future.

That future is now.

If nothing is done, and the economy runs off the so-called fiscal cliff, the impact will be a combination of $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts over the next decade.

There will be automatic spending cuts of $120 billion annually in both defense and non-defense spending, there will be increases in income and capital gains tax rates, the reestablishment of the so-called “death tax” (the estate tax), 27 million households will now be subject to the “wealth tax” under the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), while those enjoying the payroll tax “holiday” will see their Social Security withholding taxes return to the 6.2% rate from the current temporary 4.2% rate. There would be the confluence of another flurry of other tax increases and spending cuts as well, including 27% cuts to Medicare providers and at least four other tax increases imbedded in Obamacare.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the fiscal cliff will cost families making $70,000 a year more than

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Obama Intends to Bring Down Capitalism

ENEMY OF THE ECONOMY

ENEMY OF THE ECONOMY (Photo credit: SS&SS)

I have great respect for the work done by the Cato Institute. I attended one of their week-long economic seminars a couple of years ago, thanks to my generous brother, and was greatly impressed and informed by their work. I still refer to the copious notes I took there.

But Alan Reynolds fails to see that Obama intends the results of his actions. Reynolds explains Obama’s actions through abysmal economic ignorance:

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed (November 2) President Obama wrote that “in the eight years after” Bill Clinton left office, “we followed a different path. Bigger tax cuts for the wealthy we couldn’t afford. . . . The result of this top-down economics? Falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis . . .”

Obama had taken up that theme during the first presidential debate, arguing that “The approach that Governor Romney’s talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003, and we ended up with . . . the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

This is a remarkably imaginative theory — albeit one that reveals appalling economic illiteracy. Who else would have imagined that the housing bust and subprime-mortgage crisis were actually caused by cutting the top two tax rates in mid-2003?

He goes on say that at least Obama is consistent in his

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George McGovern: The Liberal Who Got Mugged

English: Senator George McGovern speaking at t...

Senator George McGovern speaking at the Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California during his book tour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

George McGovern, known for his ultra-liberal stance on issues of his day, passed away on Sunday, October 21st, at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at age 90.

Active in promoting liberal programs almost from the first, McGovern was convinced that government could be used as an instrument to improve society, especially in providing food for the poor in America and around the world. He saw the American government and the United Nations as tools to promote sustenance for them. He helped create the United Nations’ World Food Program which distributed U.S. food “surpluses” to needy people abroad, and issued the McGovern Report, which set up nutritional guidelines for Americans.

He served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN agencies for Food and Agriculture, and was appointed the first UN Global Ambassador on World Hunger in 2001.

But he is primarily remembered for

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Tax Cuts for the Rich or Tax Relief?

English: The Subsidised Mineowner - Poor Begga...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all about how you frame the question, isn’t it? The issue appears to be tax cuts for the rich: should we or shouldn’t we? By framing the question that way, discussion is limited. By re-framing the question, it changes the answers. Thanks to Investors Business Daily for pointing this out.

President Obama warned that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney’s proposed income-tax  cuts will “cost” the government revenue and repeat Bush policies that he says  blew up the deficit.

“The centerpiece of his economic plan are tax cuts,” Obama said at Tuesday’s  presidential debate in New York. “That’s what took us from surplus to deficit.”

The mantra from the Obama camp is annoyingly repetitive and consistently wrong:

The Obama camp has strenuously opposed Romney’s pro-growth strategy, arguing  that tax breaks, especially for the wealthy, “rob” programs for the middle class  and poor because they don’t raise revenues and don’t “pay for themselves.”

“It has never been done before,” Vice President Joe Biden insisted in last week’s debate with Romney running-mate Paul Ryan.

But history has shown that when entrepreneurs are allowed “relief” – to keep more of what they earn – they earn more. What a surprise!

The historical tables in the back of the latest “Economic Report of the  President” show that the Bush tax cuts generated more, not less, federal  revenues — a phenomenon that also held true for Presidents Clinton, Reagan and  Kennedy.

All four leaders, two Republicans and two Democrats, slashed taxes for top  individual earners or investors. And once these rate reductions took effect and  began stimulating economic activity, record individual income-tax receipts  poured into the U.S. Treasury.
A great example is what happened when President Kennedy, against the advice of his Keynesian advisors, cut tax rates on

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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.