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

Category Archives: Free Market

Is the U.S. Economy Already in Recession?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, October 23, 2021: 

Two professors from Dartmouth College think the U.S. economy entered recession in August. One of them, Bruce Blanchflower, served on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, lending additional credence to their conclusion:

We show [that] consumer expectations indices from both the Conference Board and the University of Michigan predict economic downturns up to 18 months in advance in the United States….

 

Downward movements in [both of these] consumer expectations [indices] in the last six months suggest the [U.S.] economy entered recession [in August].

The professors reported that any time those indices fall by more than 10 points, they accurately predict a recession in the next year to 18 months. The Conference Board’s consumer expectations index has reported at 25.3-point drop in 2021 while the University of Michigan’s index recorded an 18.4-point drop.

Even worse, those two indices predicted the 2008 global financial crash with numbers that weren’t as alarming: just a 19-point drop in the Conference Board index and a 21-point decline in the University of Michigan’s index.

Other measures of the U.S. economy confirm the professors’ conclusion. U.S Industrial Production (reported by Bloomberg) dropped 1.3 percent from the previous month (August), which itself was revised downward to negative territory.

The production of motor vehicles fell by 7.2 percent in September, following a decrease of 3.2 percent in August. And U.S. Manufacturing (again, hat tip to Bloomberg) dropped by 0.7 percent in September compared to August.

Back in May, Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group, said the coming recession would be caused by “the overuse and abuse of economic policy” by the Biden administration.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Paulsen is spot on. Its GDPNow model — a real-time measure of the health of the U.S. economy — was above seven percent in May. By August the model had dropped to 6.1 percent; by the middle of September it declined further to 3.7 percent.

Today GDPNow is reporting U.S. economic growth at just 0.5 percent.

Its next report is due on Wednesday.

Wall Street is also looking ahead to a flatlined economy. Although the popular averages are setting records, they only measure a part of the stock market. The Russell 2000, instead, has remained flat since March.

The political ramifications of such a sharp decline in U.S. productivity can scarcely be overestimated: the midterm elections will turn on “pocketbook” issues, as they always have. With gas prices at the pump jumping, with grocery stores increasingly showing empty shelves, with employment falling far below expectations, and with logjams at ports in California being blamed on the lack of truck drivers, it appears that the Dartmouth professors called it correctly. Not only that, but the precipitous fall from grace by the present occupant of the White House, as measured by recent polls, appears to spell disaster for the Democrats in November.

Pro Basketball Player: Government Threatening Our Freedom

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 6, 2021:  

Jonathan Isaac, starting forward for the Orlando Magic professional basketball team, appeared Monday night on “Fox News at Night,” hosted by Shannon Bream. He has recently gotten attention over his decisions not to wear a BLM shirt or kneel during the National Anthem.

But his decision not to get vaccinated has caused the mainstream media to focus on him once again.

When Bream asked him about his stance, his response was reasonable, well-balanced, and winsome:

I believe what I’m saying is rational…. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave and [I] have the opportunity and the platform to say what it is that [I] feel is right.

 

I’m taking that right to do so, not just for me, but for all of those people who feel like they don’t have a voice.

His stance is reasonable: Individuals have the right to make their own decisions about what goes into their bodies. And government is threatening that right through mandates, while the media is hounding the unvaccinated by suggesting they are selfish — even (in some cases) “terrorists.”  Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar promoted the lie that the unvaccinated are threatening the vaccinated. He suggests that Isaac and others who are refusing to get the jab are putting his teammates and their opponents at a greater risk of infection.

The fact that this is illogical — that those vaccinated allegedly have greater protection from the virus than do those unvaccinated — isn’t considered. MSN calls it a “debate” where there isn’t one, or shouldn’t be. In the land of the free, a citizen is free to determine whether or not the vaccine makes sense to him or her personally, based upon the best information available. Government shouldn’t be involved in the decision-making process at all, even in providing the information needed. That should all be provided by the free market.

But government has overstepped its bounds and is not only providing continuous and often contradictory advice, but is now, through the Oval Office, issuing executive orders and mandates that people must be vaccinated — that government knows best, and personal freedom of choice is expendable in face of the “crisis.”

Isaac told Bream:

I believe that we’re entering a period of time where the government is setting a precedent that in light of any emergency, your personal autonomy, your religious freedom, and your freedom as a whole becomes negotiable.

Isaac added:

I would just say [to those deciding not to be vaccinated and being pressured and hounded and abused as a result], stay encouraged. It may feel like hopelessness but there are people who are out there [who] are trying their best to hold the line.

 

And I believe that we’re going to see a great revival through this as well, as people begin to [open] their eyes.

One of those “holding the line” is Julius Ruechel, a Canadian libertarian writer who encourages his readers to stand firm in the face of such government threats. In July he wrote “The Emperor Has No Clothes: Finding the Courage to Break the Spell,” followed by his more recent “A Glimmer of Hope: Crisis Brewing in the Ranks as More Police Officers Stand up to say “NO” – Tyranny Collapses if Enough People Refuse to Participate.”

He makes the case in his first article that people are cowed into silence through the threat of peer pressure and the risk of being ridiculed for taking a stance that goes against the government position. He wrote:

The Ash Conformity Experiments of the 1950s showed how powerful peer pressure is. No one wants to stand up against the herd. Standing alone is psychologically painful.

 

That is why, in Hans Christian Andersen’s folktale, it was the innocent voice of a little boy and not the self-righteous adult townsfolk who broke the spell about the emperor’s new clothes.

In his more recent article, Ruechel expresses his hope that recent pushback by police officers in Canada and healthcare workers in the United States is perhaps the beginning of the end for these government mandates: “Momentum is building. Courage begets courage. Something big is brewing.”

Orlando Magic basketball player Jonathan Isaac may not know Julius Ruechel. But they are kindred spirits in the freedom fight against government tyranny. Both recognize the need for citizens not only to become informed and then exercise their personal responsibility, but to also take a stand when challenged by the powers-that-be who would encroach on and abrogate and override those rights.

Massachusetts’ Anti-gun Threats Force Departure of Smith & Wesson

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 1, 2021:  

“An Act to Stop Mass Shootings,” a bill co-authored by anti-gun Massachusetts State Representatives Frank Moran and Marjorie Decker, and supported by anti-gun Representative Bud Williams, was the last straw. In the news release issued by Smith & Wesson on Thursday, the gunmaker that has been based in Springfield, Massachusetts, for nearly 170 years said it was left “with no other alternative” but to move its headquarters and part of its manufacturing facilities out of the state.

Said Mark Smith, S&W’s president and CEO:

This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative.

Anti-gun bills “would,” said Smith, “prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing firearms that are legal in almost every state in America, and that are safely used by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens every day.”

Those bills, which are likely to be passed by the anti-gun Massachusetts legislature, would ban the manufacture of the firearms that made up more than 60 percent of the company’s gross revenue last year. They would preclude the company, and many of the 24 other gunmakers presently located in the state, from manufacturing so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The state already forbids its citizens to purchase, sell, or possess such items. The bills would be an extension of the state’s anti-gun mentality, applying it to gunmakers as well.

S&W’s move, scheduled for the summer of 2023, will end some 550 jobs in and around Springfield. The company will also close operations in Connecticut and Missouri as part of the move.

Said Smith:

We are deeply saddened by the impact that this difficult decision will have on so many of our dedicated employees, but in order to preserve future jobs and for the viability of our business in the long run, we are left with no choice but to relocate these functions to a state that does not propose burdensome restrictions on our company.

Many gun-friendly locales bid for the opportunity to host the gunmaker’s new headquarters, but the winner was Maryville, Tennessee. Key factors included, said the company:

Support for the 2nd Amendment;

Business friendly environment;

Quality of life for employees;

Cost of living and affordability;

Access to higher education institutions;

Availability of qualified labor for its operations and headquarter functions; and

Favorable location for efficiency of distribution.

It helped that, back in 2019, the Blount County Commission passed a resolution declaring the county, where Maryville is located, a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary.” The governor is equally supportive of the move.

Said Smith on Thursday:

The strong support we have received from the state of Tennessee and the entire leadership of Blount County throughout the process, combined with the quality of life, outdoor lifestyle, and low cost of living in the Greater Knoxville area has left no doubt that Tennessee is the ideal location for Smith & Wesson’s new headquarters.

Steve Troy, the founder and head of gunmaker Troy Industries, also located in Springfield, Massachusetts, agrees. Back in May, in response to threats from groups such as Stop Handgun Violence to pressure Massachusetts legislators to ban the making of firearms, he announced he was moving his operations to Tennessee.

His move was the first olive out of the bottle. With S&W’s announcement, many of the other two-dozen gun makers in the Bay State may be encouraged to make similar moves. At present, the gun industry supports nearly 8,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

State Representative Bud Williams, the Democrat who represents Springfield, doesn’t care. He remarked, “It’s unfortunate that [Smith & Wesson has] taken that position. I guess it’s in response to the ban on making assault weapons.”

Once passed, Massachusetts will join California, New York, and New Jersey in banning the manufacture of firearms. Those states are also suffering an exodus of businesses and citizens tired of oppressive government and who are finding much more friendly locales.

Acclaimed Yale Economist Shiller Declares U.S. Housing Market in a Bubble, Warns of Eventual Collapse

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 28, 2021:  

Robert Shiller, the Yale economist and inventor of the Case-Shiller Index, told Yahoo Finance Alive on Wednesday that the U.S. housing market has “aspects of a bubble to it.”

Shiller added:

This is not a market that collapses overnight … but you can see that we’re seeing price increases now that haven’t [been seen] since those years just before the [2008] financial crisis.

The Case-Shiller Index — now called the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index — released on Tuesday showed that prices for the average home in the United States rose more than 13 percent since last April. Three major cities — Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle — led the way, with annual gains of 20 percent, 19.1 percent, and 18.3 percent, respectively. Home prices in all 20 cities included in the index increased as well.

The reasons behind a housing-market bubble include:

Keep reading…

Jobs Report Disappoints, but Stocks Rise

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 7, 2021:  

In normal times, Wall Street would greet a jobs report such as that just issued Friday morning by the Labor Department with a sharp decline in stock prices.

But these are hardly normal times. With massive government subsidies, spending, and the extension of unemployment benefits, what’s left of the free market in labor can hardly be seen. Instead of declining, stocks rose.

The Labor Department reported that

Keep reading…

Economic Growth Continues, But It Won’t Last Forever

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 3, 2021: 

The melt-up in stock prices — increasingly being driven by the stampede of new investors operating out of fear of missing out (FOMO) — is breathtaking. The most commonly used indicator, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, has jumped more than 80 percent since its low last March.

Stockholdings among U.S. households have increased to 41 percent of their total financial assets in April, the highest level in history going back to 1952.

The rebound from the pandemic lows is historic:

Keep reading…

Don’t Believe China’s Growth Numbers

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 16, 2021:  

On Friday, April 16, journalists for the New York Times and Forbes magazine exulted over the report from China’s Communist Party reporting agency, the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC). Written in the CCP’s usual stilted style, the report read, in part:

Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, all regions and departments conscientiously carried out the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC….

 

As a result, the economy delivered a stable performance….

 

Production demand was expanded, market vitality was enhanced, employment and prices were stable, and people’s well-being was strongly guaranteed.

 

The national economy made a good start.

In their coverage,

Keep reading…

Newsmax Viewership Gains Force Fox News to Reshuffle Its Programming

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 12, 2021: 

Thanks to enormous gains at Newsmax, specifically gains of viewership of Greg Kelly’s “Greg Kelly Reports” seen during the critical evening hour, Fox News has been forced to reshuffle its programming. This is the first such change for Fox since 2017.

The biggest change is that, starting Monday, September 18, Martha MacCallum’s “The Story” will move to a mid-afternoon slot. It will be replaced by what Fox News calls “a rotating group of FOX News opinion hosts … entitled [sic] ‘FOX News Primetime’.” A permanent host for the new program will be named sometime in the future, depending on how the new show’s anchors perform in light of the surging competition from Newsmax.

And that competition is fierce.

Keep reading…

People Continue to Leave California in Droves

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 30, 2020:

When Ben Shapiro, founder of the Los Angeles-based conservative website Daily Wire, announced in September that he and his company were leaving for Nashville, he made a noisy exit. He wrote:

We’re leaving because all the benefits of California have steadily eroded — and then suddenly collapsed….

 

All the costs of California have steadily increased — and then suddenly skyrocketed….

 

Nearly every public space in Los Angeles has become a repository for open waste, needles and trash….

 

Looters were allowed free reign … during the Black Lives Matter riots….

 

To combat these trends, local and state governments have gamed the statistics, reclassifying offenses and letting prisoners go free.… In July, the city of Los Angeles slashed police funding, cutting the force to its lowest levels in over a decade….

 

California’s top marginal income tax rate is now 13.3%; legislators what to raise it to 16.8%….

 

California has the worst regulatory climate in America….

 

The state legislature is dominated by Democrats. California is not on a trajectory toward recovery; it is on a trajectory toward oblivion. Taxpayers are moving out — now including my family and my company. In 2019, before the pandemic and the widespread rioting and looting, outmigration jumped 38%, rising for the seventh straight year. That number will increase again this year.

 

I want my kids to grow up sate. I want them to grow up in a community with a future, with more freedom and safety that I grew up with.

 

California makes that impossible. So, goodbye, Golden State. Thanks for the memories.

Shapiro took nearly all of his company’s 75 employees with him. And they’re not alone. In July, Joe Rogan, host of The Joe Rogan Experience, announced he was moving to Texas, citing the need for “a little more freedom” and decrying “the traffic … the economic despair … [and] the homelessness problem that’s accelerated radically” in Los Angeles over the last decade.

A locally prominent developer, Paul Petrovich, is headed for

Keep reading…

Senate Temporarily Blocks Confirmation of Gold Advocate to the Federal Reserve

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 18, 2020: 

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell realized that he couldn’t get enough votes to break the filibuster of Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday, he changed his vote to “no.” That gives him a procedural opportunity to bring her nomination back to the floor once the three Republican senators who were missing (two due to COVID, one due to a family emergency) are back in Washington.

The confirmation hearing will likely continue the week after Thanksgiving, and will also likely result in the confirmation of Shelton to fill a vacancy on the board.

So, why the filibuster?

Keep reading…

Labor Department: October Job Gains Exceed Expectations Once Again

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 6, 2020:  

Hard on the heels of Wednesday’s report from ADP showing the economy adding more than 400,000 jobs in October came the announcement from the U.S. Labor Department: Job gains were closer to 640,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting just 530,000 new jobs in October.

When considering that this reflected the layoff of some 147,000 government census workers in October, the economy’s rebound last month was, in one economist’s words, “amazing.” Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors, said:

Keep reading…

Passage of Prop 22 Sets Tone for National Gig Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 5, 2020: 

When Kim Kavin, co-founder of Fight for Freelancers, learned that California voters passed Proposition 22 overwhelmingly on Tuesday, she was delighted: “Everybody is celebrating today.… We are just thrilled about this one result.”

But her organization is located in New Jersey, on the opposite side of the country from California. And Proposition 22 is just simply another

Keep reading…

Unemployment Rate Drops More Than Forecast as Economy Continues Recovery

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 2, 2020:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported early Friday morning that the economy continues its surprisingly strong recovery from the greatest shutdown in U.S. history. The report, based on two surveys — the household survey and the establishment survey — said, “Improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity” following the COVID-inspired shutdown.

Specifically, total non-farm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, dropping the unemployment rate by half of one percent, to 7.9 percent. Forecasters were expecting a drop to 8.2 percent.

Most of the gains were in leisure and hospitality, retail businesses, healthcare, and in professional and business services. Job recovery in food services and drinking places has totaled nearly four million over the last five months.

This comes on the heels of other reports and surveys earlier this week showing

Keep reading…

Latest Economic Surveys Show Resilience of U.S. Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 30, 2020:

The Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence jumped in September by the biggest increase in 17 years. The index clocked in at 101.8 for the month, up from 86.3 in August. Economists were expecting a reading of just 89.6.

Inside that index were two indicators driving the increase: how consumers feel about the economy right now (98.5 currently, up from 85.8 in August) and how consumers feel about the next six months (104 currently, up from 86.6 in August).

On Wednesday morning, payroll processor ADP reported that

Keep reading…

Big Banks Are Optimistic About U.S. Economy, for Good Reason

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 21, 2020: 

Three of the world’s largest investment banks — Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank — are optimistic about stocks in the coming months, and for good reasons: a strong housing market, the improved chances for a COVID-19 vaccine in the near future, the increasing likelihood of President Trump’s reelection, a strong GDP number in the third quarter, economic momentum left over from 2019’s amazing performance, and forecasts of the robust recovery extending into 2021.

Goldman Sachs analyst David Kostin told his clients last week to expect the S&P 500 index, currently trading around 3,260, to close the year at 3,600 and at 3,800 by next summer: “Despite the sharp sell-off [in stocks] we remain optimistic about the path of the U.S. equity market in coming months … [the] economic data show a continuing recovery.”

Wells Fargo’s chief investment officer, Kirk Harman, told CNBC on Tuesday,

Keep reading…

New Jersey the Fourth State to Enact “Millionaires” tax

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 18, 2020:  

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he doesn’t hold a grudge against anyone making more than a million dollars a year in his state.

It’s just that he needs their money more than they do. It’s their duty to “sacrifice”: “We do not hold any grudge at all against those who have been successful in life. But in this unprecedented time, when so many middle-class families and others have sacrificed so much, now is the time to ensure that the wealthiest among us are also called to sacrifice.”

Murphy made the announcement on Thursday, adding that he expects the two-percent increase — from 8.75% to 10.75% on incomes of a million and up — will raise $390 million this year alone. He’s using his state’s $10 billion shortfall in revenues as an excuse.

He expects the increase to fall on about 16,500 residents, assuming that they stand still for the plucking.

Most are likely to stand still for the shearing, but

Keep reading…

Jobs Reports Show the US Turning into a Part Time Worker Economy

When the two-part employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was issued on Friday, the news was modestly positive: from its business “establishment” data it noted that employment increased by 162,000, a little less than expected but not far from the average of 175,000 new jobs a month that the economy has been generating for the last three months. The estimates for May and June were revised downward slightly but

Keep reading…

Atlanta Mayor’s Spat with Street Vendors Goes National

A conservative journalist writing in the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution on Saturday, October 26th, claimed that Atlanta’s mayor blatantly broke the law and when a court demanded he uphold the law instead, he refused. The issue went national when the spat was picked up by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, the day before Atlanta voters were to go to the polls to

Keep reading…

Regulators are now going after the Bitcoin

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 20th, 2013:

 

Six federal agencies were invited to a Senate committee hearing on Monday to explain why each should be granted the privilege of regulating the Bitcoin. Four showed up:

Keep reading…

U.S. Treasury to Offer Small Business Owners “Forgivable” Bridge Loans

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 23, 2020: 

In an interview with CNBC on Monday morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged small business owners — the most important driver of job creation and economic growth in the U.S. economy — to keep paying their people even while their businesses are shut down: “If you’re a small business [owner], we ask that you not lay people off.”

The Federal Reserve is working closely with his agency to create a Main Street Business Lending Program that would give those owners an unsecured “bridge loan” to allow them to continue to pay their employees during the economic shutdown — a loan that would later on be forgiven once the threat of the virus has ended and their businesses have reopened.

The initial amount intended for the program is $300 billion — an enormous amount in absolute terms, but tiny in terms of the size of the U.S. economy. It could be, and likely will be, extended and expanded as officials such as Mnuchin begin to understand the damage the shutdown has already caused to the economy.

Thousands of small businesses are already on the brink of insolvency, with bankruptcy for many of them just around the corner.

The ripple effect of just one coffee shop shutting its doors is enormous.

Keep reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann