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: Federal Reserve

The Internet: Gutenberg Press 2.0

In a remarkable coalescence of time and circumstance, Michael Hart typed the Declaration of Independence into his computer on July 4th, 1971, Independence Day, and launched Project Gutenberg,

http://www.gutenberg.org/    Project Gutenberg

the world’s largest non-profit digital library available on the Internet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/business/michael-hart-a-pioneer-of-e-books-dies-at-64.html?_r=3&pagewanted=2   the world’s largest digital library

On his way home from a fireworks display, Hart stopped in at a grocery store and was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment. He typed the text into his computer, intending to send it as an email to his friends on Arpanet. A colleague persuaded him that his message would cause the system to crash and so Hart merely posted a note that the full text could be downloaded instead. And thus, according to the obituary noting his passing on September 6th, 2011 in the New York Times, “Project Gutenberg was born.”

http://www.gutenberg.org/   Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg, with more than 38,000 free eBooks available online, represents Hart’s goal to “encourage the creation and distribution of e-books to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” Even in its infancy Hart saw the potential, according to the Times, of “overturning all established power structures.” (emphasis added)

It is doubtful that Hart in 1971 had any idea of how the growth of the Internet would impact the world, just as the son of a cloth merchant in the small German town of Mainz, Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gutenberg   Gutenberg

would have any idea of how his invention of the moveable-type printing press in 1436 would impact his world. Not only is the Gutenberg press responsible for the printing revolution that spread across Europe and the world, it had enormous impact in the flowering of the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. It was responsible for the formation of the basis for the modern market economy, the development and spread of the concept of national sovereignty, and the revolution leading to the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the American republic.

Gutenberg’s first project was the printing of 180 copies of the Bible, each of which sold for much less than a handwritten Bible which could take a single scribe more than a year to complete. Within six years there were 1000 copies in print.

http://thedailybell.com/2645/Martin-Luther   there were 1000 copies in print

As his printing press was copied and spread throughout the continent,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_spread_of_the_printing_press   spread    through the continent

by the year 1500 one thousand printing presses were in operation and had already produced more than eight million books. By 1600 that number had grown more than twenty-fold to between 150 and 200 million. And the discovery and development of sea routes West (Christopher Columbus, 1492) and East (Vasco da Gama, 1498) greatly expanded the use of his printing press. By 1620 the impact of the Gutenberg press caused English philosopher Francis Bacon to remark that it “has changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world.” In America, Mark Twain wrote:

What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg. Everything can be traced to this source, but we are bound to bring him homage…for the bad that this colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored.

The press enabled friends of Martin Luther to distribute copies of his “95 Theses” across Germany within two weeks, all across Europe within two months, and within the year into France, England and Italy.

The challenge of the Reformation to the existing establishment led to The Thirty Years’ War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years’_War   Thirty Years’ War

which ended with the signing of a series of peace treaties summarized as the Peace of Westphalia, establishing vital concepts now taken for granted: sovereignty of states, right to self-determination, equality between states and the principle of non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty  vital concepts

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion was propelled by the Gutenberg miracle so that by 1560 the Scottish parliament had repudiated the Pope’s authority and approved in its stead the Protestant Confession of Faith. The Scottish Reformation reached America and influenced the American Revolution. Calvin’s influence was so great that Leopold von Ranke,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_von_Ranke  Leopold von Ranke

one of the profoundest scholars of the times, concluded that “John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.”

Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)   Common Sense

rode not only the revolutionary discontent of the colonies but the increasingly common printing press to become, according to historian Gordon S. Wood, “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era.” First published anonymously in January, 1776, the 48-page booklet sold 120,000 copies in its first three months, 500,000 in its first year, and went through twenty-five editions in its first year alone. George Trevelyan, author of History of the American Revolution, said,

It would be difficult to name any human composition which has had an effect at once so instant, so extended and so lasting…It was pirated, parodied and imitated, and translated into the language of every country where the new republic had well-wishers. It worked nothing short of miracles and turned Tories into Whigs.

And so, from the development of movable type in 1436 to the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in 1455, to the explosive duplication of Luther’s 95 Theses beginning in 1518, to the Scottish immigration to America in the 1600s, to the Peace of Westphalia in 1668, to the bursting forth of “Common Sense” in January 1776, to the Declaration of Independence, one can trace the impact that the Gutenberg Press had on political, social and religious institutions in just over three hundred years.

But it took just three years from the start of the commercialization of the internet in 1995 (the year the first sale on Echo Bay – later to become EBay – was completed)

http://sixrevisions.com/resources/the-history-of-the-internet-in-a-nutshell/    first sale on Echo Bay

that the political power of the Internet as the “alternative media” began to be felt. Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff had been investigating the relationship between Monica Lewinsky

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewinsky_scandal#Denial_and_subsequent_admission    Monica Lewinsky

and then-President Bill Clinton for nearly a year, and his story was about to be published on Saturday morning, January 17th, 1998. After listening to one of the taped conversations between Lewinsky and a friend, Isikoff’s editors decided to spike the story. Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drudge_Report    The Drudge Report

an online news aggregator, learned of the decision to withhold the story, and ran his exposé with the headline: “Newsweek Kills Story on White House Intern: 23-Year-Old Sex Relationship with President,”

http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2002/01/17/20020117_175502_ml.htm   ran his expose

which instantly, profoundly and permanently transformed the Internet into an alternative to the mainstream media. By Sunday morning, so many individuals were seeking more information from Drudge’s website that it couldn’t handle all the traffic.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1998/clinton_scandal/50031.stm   couldn’t handle all the traffic.

According to BBC News, “This may be the first time that a story of such consequence developed on the Internet. Love him or hate him, Matt Drudge’s report on the Clinton scandal is the most visible sign to date of the changing nature of journalism.”

The Presidential campaign of 2008 is considered to be the first “Internet election”

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/The-Internet-and-the-2008-Election.aspx   internet election

with candidates using the Internet to promote their positions. PewInternet noted that “a record-breaking 46% of Americans used the Internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views, and mobilize others…[and] 6% of Americans made political contributions online, compared with 2% who did that during the entire 2004 campaign.” One of those enjoying the Internet’s capability to raise campaign funds was Presidential candidate Ron Paul whose “money bomb” raised a record $4.3 million in a single day, followed by another $4.4 million raised just a few days later.

The Internet had a significant role in the retirement of Dan Rather from CBS in 2005. In 1988 Rather interviewed six former servicemen, each of whom had witnessed horrible acts during their time in Vietnam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Rather    interviewed

Two of them said that they had killed civilians and each talked about the impact the war had on their personal lives, including periods of depression, unemployment, drug use, and homelessness. Unfortunately for Rather, authors B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, in doing research for their book Stolen Valor

http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Valor-Vietnam-Generation-History/dp/096670360X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316710624&sr=1-1   Stolen Valor

obtained the service records of all six of those interviewed by Rather and discovered that only one of them had actually been stationed in Vietnam, and that he had only served as an equipment repairer. Bloggers on the Internet had a field day.

http://www.vvaw.org/veteran/article/?id=421    had a field day

And then in 2004 Rather reported on a series of memos he had obtained about President George W. Bush’s service with the Texas Air National Guard. The memos found their way onto the Internet and were declared by experts to be forgeries. The mainstream media reluctantly printed the story of the forgeries, forcing CBS initially to defend Rather’s report. Two weeks later CBS retracted the story. In 2005 Rather left CBS after being relegated to a corner office with few responsibilities.

The internet’s video-sharing website, YouTube, has more than one billion videos in its online library

http://thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/computers/4458-the-power-of-the-internet    more than one billion

but none more damaging to the credibility of one of the establishment’s favorite institutions, The Federal Reserve System, than the confrontation between Congressman Alan Grayson and Fed spokesman Elizabeth Coleman. In five minutes and 26 seconds,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXlxBeAvsB8&feature=player_embedded   In five minutes and 26 seconds

on May 5th, 2009, Coleman stuttered and stammered and deflected and finally wilted under Grayson’s barrage of questions about the Fed’s off-book balance sheet activity. Her lack of preparation and inability to answer the simplest of questions has been viewed by more than four million people, doing irreparable damage to the prestige of the Fed. As noted by Anthony Wile

http://thedailybell.com/2024/Is-Anyone-Minding-the-Store-at-the-Federal-Reserve.html   noted by

“It is one of the single most astonishing moments (or minutes) ever manifested or preserved in this already amazing digital era.” Wile wrote:

During the questioning of Coleman, Grayson asks her over and over if there is a formal accounting available for the trillions in off-book balance sheet activity for the Fed. He asks patiently, and he repeats the question many times. Coleman stutters, makes statements that are obviously evasive and finally all but admits that she actually has no authority even to examine the Fed’s off-balance sheet activities. She admits this in a frazzled manner, but only after losing her way so badly that she has to ask Grayson to repeat the question (which he has already asked about ten times).

The whistle-blower website Wikileaks.org has proven the power of exposure as a disinfectant, especially in its leaking of the Kroll Report,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Moi    Kroll Report

an intelligence report commissioned by the Kenyan government in 2004. For political reasons the government sat on the report until Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, published the report on the Internet. Interviewed on TED TV by Chris Anderson, Assange said

http://thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/computers/4458-the-power-of-the-internet    Interviewed by

This report…became a dead albatross around [the president’s] neck.

Anderson: And…word of the report leaked into Kenya, not from the official media, but indirectly [via the Internet]. And in your opinion, it actually shifted the election?

Assange: Yes. This became front page [news] and was then printed in all the surrounding countries of Kenya, in Tanzania and South Africa…

It ran for 20 nights straight on Kenya TV [and] shifted the vote by 10 percent…which changed the result of the election.

Anderson: So your leak really substantially changed the world?

Assange: Yes.

The Internet revolution is reaching into the highest levels of the education cartel which for years has required students to pay enormous sums for the privilege of attending prestigious schools to obtain a piece of paper that many are finding of questionable value in today’s marketplace. In 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) started putting all of its courses’ lecture notes, videos and exams online where students could access them for free. In the ten years that followed nearly 100 million students have taken advantage of the opportunity. Recently, MIT introduced “MITx” which grants, for a small fee, a certificate of accomplishment to students proving their mastery of the subject. This innovation challenges at its very core the paradigm that only a wealthy few should have access to such learning. As Kevin Carey noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education,

http://chronicle.com/article/MIT-Mints-a-Valuable-New-Form/130410/  noted

“It is simply untenable [for traditional universities] to claim global leadership in educating a planet of seven billion people when you hoard your educational offerings for a few thousand fortunates living together on a small patch of land.”

The internet is also allowing citizens to stand up against corrupt politicians and police behaving badly. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) discovered how his attempts to keep people attending his town halls from taping them using cellphones failed miserably and led him to change his policy.

http://teapartyeconomist.com/2012/01/19/bonehead-congressman-who-confiscated-cell-phones-backs-off-too-late/  failed miserably

Said a chastened Chabot, “We will be modifying our policy to allow individual citizens to bring cameras to our town hall events…”

Simon Glik was walking by the Boston Common on October 1st, 2007 when he observed what he perceived to be an excessive use of force by three police officers in subduing a suspected drug offender. He used his cell phone to take pictures of the event and was arrested. He sued and courts ruled in his favor: “We conclude…that Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public place, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause.”

http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/10828-courts-and-dept-of-justice-agree-videotaping-police-is-ok  ruled in his favor

Last September the pro-life film “180” was released with expectations that it could change the abortion debate significantly. Producer Ray Comfort said that “knowledge is very, very powerful and when we have knowledge…it can change our whole perspective.” Comfort expressed the hope that the video would go viral. In the first 24 hours of its release on YouTube, there were 30,000 visits. By October 9th, there were 638,000 visits. As of February 15th, 2012, there have been more than 2,350,000 visits.

Attempts to pre-empt the Internet or to restrict it are failing. When Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, purchased MySpace for $580 million in July 2005, he intended on inserting Fox News political content into the site and thus help to redirect the political conversation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Space#Politics   inserting Fox News studio content

At the time, MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the United States, while Facebook, its primary competitor lagged behind. However, by April, 2008, Facebook surpassed MySpace based on monthly unique visitors, and Murdoch’s attempt to get political with his acquisition failed. With three-quarters of its workforce laid off, Murdoch sold what was left of the company in June 2011 for $35 million, taking a loss of half a billion dollars.

When it appeared that federal attempts to threaten the internet such as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Internet Privacy Act) were going to be enacted, users rebelled mightily and loudly. Millions of people signed online petitions, overloaded circuits with phone calls, and generally stood in the gap and said NO. As Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group said:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223531/Twitter_Facebook_fuel_SOPA_protests?taxonomyId=70  said

“This is huge. [Social networks] pretty much drove the mass objections and stopped this bill from becoming law. I think we are actually seeing the beginning of a huge change in the political process worldwide that [has] social networks at the core.”

Even before the cratering of those efforts to regulate and emasculate the internet, clever individuals had been hard at work developing “work-arounds,” just in case. A Firefox add-on called, appropriately “de-SOPA” allows searchers to get past any sites that might have been censored by using IP addresses instead of web addresses.

http://lifehacker.com/5869665/desopa-for-firefox-bypasses-sopa-dns-blocking  deSOPA

And if that doesn’t work, there’s Pirate Bay Dancing

http://boingboing.net/2011/11/30/mafiaafire-teams-latest-brow.html Pirate Bay Dancing

that also was developed in anticipation of such attempts at regulation.

Telex is another of many innovations designed to foil attempts to restrict the flow of truth by Internet. The developer’s software turns the Internet itself into an anti-censorship device. Software that is installed on a computer connects with the Internet service provider that has Telex stations attached to the wires carrying the digital traffic. “So,” says the developer, “if you’re in China, and you want access to a banned site like YouTube, you just type YouTube.com into your computer, and the Telex station will see that connection, and disguise it as something innocuous. You might be watching YouTube, but to a censor, it will just seem as if you’re visiting a harmless, non-blocked site.” If governments pursue Internet censorship, they will find that the free-market innovators have gotten there first, in plenty of time to make such efforts not only fruitless but obsolete.

Because of the Internet, false renditions of history are exposed. Half-truths are uncovered. Statist assumptions are questioned. George Orwell’s Memory Hole has been illuminated. History, it is said, is written by the survivors. With more than 300 million websites feeding the Internet and billions of people seeking the truth, when this history is written it will proclaim the free unhindered flow of information via the Internet as the victor. With this new information, the final choice lies, where it always has, in the hands of an informed electorate. Writing to William Charles Jarvis on September 28th, 1820, Thomas Jefferson said:

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

All that the Gutenberg press did then, and all that the Internet is doing now, is informing the peoples’ discretion. The rest is up to them.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Economy Adds Another 204,000 Jobs in April

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 2, 2018: 

The booming U.S. economy added another 204,000 jobs in April, down slightly from the (revised) 228,000 jobs it created in March, but still more than forecasters predicted. Those forecasters have consistently underestimated the health of the economy and their record remains unbroken. Economists polled by Econoday expected 190,000 new jobs in April.

This is the sixth straight month of job growth over 200,000 which continues to confound observers. “The labor market continues to maintain a steady pace of strong job growth with little sign of a slowdown,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

Keep Reading…

Starvation, Suicides Increasing Under Venezuela’s Hyperinflation

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 17, 2018: 

When Venezuela’s legitimate but outlawed National Assembly reported on the country’s runaway inflation numbers last week, the statistics were so astronomical that few could relate to them. Prices increased by 67 percent in March, 453 percent in the first quarter, and 8,878 percent over the last year.

Marxist Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government stopped reporting on those price increases two years ago, and he has sharply criticized any efforts by the National Assembly or websites such as Dolartoday.com since then to tell the truth. A spokesman for the National Assembly, Congressman Rafael Guzman, told a press conference that the runaway prices are beyond the control of the government:

Keep Reading…

CBO Update: Trillion-dollar Deficits to Arrive Two Years Sooner

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 10, 2018: 

According to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), released on Monday, the U.S. economy is going great guns. But that growth, no matter how robust, will never catch up with government spending. Hence, despite that growth, annual deficits of a trillion dollars will arrive two years sooner than originally projected.

That previous projection, made by the CBO last June, showed a deficit of $563 billion for 2018, rising to $689 billion next year. Now, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act behind them, the CBO projects this year’s deficit to be $804 billion and next year’s to be just a touch below a trillion dollars, at $981 billion.

The CBO is considered by many to be less partisan than most government entities and as likely to create more accurate projections than those coming from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It covered itself with this disclaimer:

Keep Reading…

New Unemployment Claims Drop Further, Beating Estimates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 30, 2018: 

English: A map of the 12 districts of the Unit...

A map of the 12 districts of the United States Federal Reserve system.

New claims for unemployment insurance dropped last week to the lowest level in 45 years, according to the Department of Labor: “Seasonally adjusted initial claims [for unemployment insurance benefits were] 215,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s level [which was revised downward].”

Once again the economy is beating forecasters, who expected new claims to come in at 230,000. Either way, the performance of the economy continues to astound Democrats increasingly worried about the midterms and delight Republicans who voted for tax cuts and tax reform.

The last time new claims were this low was in 1973, when the labor force was much smaller. In 1973, the U.S. labor force was 100 million; today it is more than 160 million. Translation: Unemployment claims are the lowest in U.S. history when compared to the workforce.

It gets better.

Keep Reading…

Fed Sees Inflation Coming, Raises Rates to Head it Off

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 22, 2018: 

Following the unanimous and much-anticipated decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by another quarter of a percent on Wednesday, the new chairman, Jerome Powell, said, “The economic outlook has strengthened in recent months. Several factors are supporting this outlook: fiscal policy [i.e., Trump’s tax cuts to individuals and corporations] has become more stimulative, ongoing job gains are boosting incomes and confidence, foreign growth is on a firm trajectory, and overall financial conditions remain accommodative.”

This raises the question:

Keep Reading…

Is the Federal Reserve Working Against Trump’s Reelection in 2020?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 23, 2018: 

English: Short-Run Phillips Curve before and a...

Short-Run Phillips Curve before and after Expansionary Policy

In politics, according to FDR, there are no coincidences. He famously said that “in politics if something happens you can be sure it was planned that way.” The announcement by Trump that he has filed for reelection in 2020 and the pronouncement by the Federal Reserve following it may just be one of those “planned” coincidences.

The pronouncement from Jerome Powell, the new head of the Fed, was, on the surface, comforting:

Keep Reading…

Globalist Trump Advisor Gone, Will Americanist Take His Place?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: 

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN10 - Gary D. Cohn, Pre...

Gary D. Cohn, FORMER Trump advisor

Following the president’s decision to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, announced his resignation on Tuesday. Cohn had led a team pushing Trump not to impose those tariffs, but lost out to another team pushing to keep America first.

Wall Street took the news poorly, thinking that those tariffs could lead to a trade war. But the Wall Street Journal intimated indirectly in its coverage that something much different, and vastly more important, is at stake.

Keep Reading…

Economy’s Performance Continues to Beat Forecasts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 2, 2018: 

Three more measures of how the U.S. economy is performing once again beat economists’ forecasts: consumer confidence, jobless claims, and manufacturing. Tuesday’s release by the University of Michigan of its monthly “Survey of Consumers” showed all three of its indexes notching highs not seen in years. Its Index of Consumer Sentiment (“How are you feeling about your finances today?”) hit 99.7 compared to January’s robust 96.3. That is the second-highest level since 2004, reflecting, according to the survey’s chief economist Richard Curtin, consumers’ “favorable assessments of jobs, wages, and higher after-tax pay … overall, the data signal an expected gain of 2.9% in real personal consumption expenditures during 2018.”

The forecasters in this instance nearly got it right. The consensus reported by the Wall Street Journal expected 99.5. But that’s about as close as any of them got.

The U of M’s Index of Current Economic Conditions (“How does the economy look to you from your personal perspective?”) also beat expectations,

Keep Reading…

Despite Stock Sell-off, Few See Recession

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 9, 2018: 

Barbara Friedberg must be feeling pretty good right about now. Last October she made “10 Bold Stock Market Predictions for 2018,” and already she is scoring five out of 10:

Value stocks will triumph;

Cash will be king;

Inflation will inch up;

Market volatility will return; and

Bonds will offer higher yields.

The jury is still out on her prediction that “the Bull Market [in stocks] will end in 2018.”

Friedberg is no lightweight. She is a former portfolio manager and has taught finance and investments at several universities. She authored a popular book in 2014, How to Get Rich Without Winning the Lottery.

Despite the mantra that stocks’ performance is often a harbinger for future economic performance, few at present agree with her about the bull market in stocks being over.

The sell-off (which appears to be continuing as this is being written) in stocks is impressive. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA, or The Dow) has lost 3,227 points since its high on January 26, or 12 percent, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has dropped by 290 points, or 10 percent, since then as well. This is into “correction” territory and should be drawing negative outlooks on the future of the U.S. economy from every quarter.

But they can’t be found. Aside from perma-bears Michael Snyder and David Stockman, few of the usual suspects can be found who agree with Friedberg. When the Wall Street Journal polled its economists, they remained adamant about the health of the economy: GDP will continue to grow and unemployment will continue to drop:

Keep Reading…

Markets Move Higher Following Crash Instigated by Obscure Agency

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 7, 2018: 

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

With Wall Street regaining its footing following the decline that started last Thursday, commentators in the mainstream media are still searching for the decline’s cause. Initially they claimed that it was an unexpected surge in inflation evidenced by the rise in the yield of 10-year U.S. Treasury notes approaching three percent (in early September it was closer to two percent). This was followed by the jobs report that announced that wages increased 2.9 percent year-over-year, up from just over two percent previously.

Writers at the Wall Street Journal dug deeper: The selloff was caused by — ready? — “volatility sellers, risk-party funds and algorithmic trading.” They then went into mind-numbing detail about how these strategies work and how the crash cost people using in them in excess of $200 billion.

Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, told TheStreet.com that maybe it was the Federal Reserve’s unhappiness with The Donald:

Keep Reading…

Treasury Advisory Committee Says U.S. Must Borrow Trillions, Sending Stocks Down

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 5, 2018:

When an obscure advisory committee announced last Wednesday that the U.S. Treasury would have to borrow billions to fund Trump’s tax reform program, the stock market pitched headlong into a selloff, dropping Thursday, Friday, and early into Monday. Before the selloff, the Dow was approaching 26,300, but by the close on Friday it had lost 760 points. The rout continued into Monday, with the Dow down more than 1,200 points from Wednesday’s high. [Note the rout continued into Tuesday but found some footing by the end of the day.]

Much handwringing by commentators blamed the selloff on various technical factors:

Keep Reading…

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

Credit Card Debt Hits $1 Trillion, Raising Alarms

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 9, 2018: 

For the first time in history credit card debt hit $1 trillion last year, reported the Federal Reserve on Monday. This eclipsed the previous record set almost 10 years ago, just before the housing and credit bubbles burst. In addition, “non-revolving” (i.e. auto and student loans) debt is approaching $3 trillion.

These numbers have put credit card debt on “watch” at Seeking Alpha, which said that that trillion dollar number is “scary.”

A closer look behind the numbers reveals that these may not be such “scary” numbers after all.

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U.S. Economy’s Stunning Performance Continues to Bewilder Forecasters

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 14, 2017:

US Retail Sales 1992–2010

US Retail Sales 1992–2010. Threy’ve been on a tear ever since.

Economic forecasters continue to fall behind reality, as shown by the latest numbers from the Commerce Department. Forecasters predicted that November’s retail sales would increase just 0.3 percent over October. Instead, retail sales jumped an astonishing 0.8 percent. In an economy where two-thirds of economic activity is geared toward providing consumers with goods and services, that’s huge miss — on the order of a three-quarters of a billion dollar miss.

October’s numbers dumbfounded them as well:

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Head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Resigns, Giving Trump Chance to Abolish It

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 15, 2017: 

English: Richard Cordray, Attorney General of Ohio

Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray, the rogue head of the unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), announced on Wednesday that, effective at the end of the month, he would be leaving his post. His term doesn’t run out until July of 2018, but he’s leaving early with no reason being offered. In an internal e-mail he told his 1,623 employees, “I have told the senior leadership … that I expect to step down from my position here before the end of the month.”

The CFPB was created in July 2011 as part of the Dodd-Frank bill that was hastily passed following the real estate crisis of 2007-2008 that led to the Great Recession. It is physically located inside

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Trump’s Establishment Pick for Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, Won’t Rock the Boat

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 3, 2017: 

Nothing will change with Trump’s nomination of Powell to head the Fed. He has a strong establishment background and opposed former Congressman Ron Paul’s effort to “Audit the Fed.”

In announcing his pick to replace Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen, President Trump was generous in his praise for Jerome Powell, a present Fed board member:

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What’s in the GOP Tax Bill?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 6, 2017:

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The GOP tax reform bill presented last Thursday attempts to be “revenue neutral” within 10 years. By giving most of the cuts to corporate taxpayers, there’s precious little left for the middle class to enjoy. The problem is not only the mathematics — trying to match the “give” with the “take” — but the politics: Democrats will work to scuttle any attempt to relieve fiscal pressure on entrepreneurs (i.e., capitalists) who are largely carrying the burden of supporting the government. Absent any attempt to cut spending — the tax bill’s 429 pages offer little help with that — what’s left, as has been said, is simply moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic.

First,

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The U.S. Economy is Built on Papier-mâché and Politicians’ Promises

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

What a perfect definition of the American economy! Papier-mâché is defined as a “composite material consisting of paper pieces of pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.” Add in a dose of political promises that everyone knows cannot be kept – not even close – and we have the American economy.

From a distance it looks pretty good. More than pretty good: to the untrained eye the American economy is setting world records, to wit:

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U.S. Economy Continues to Surprise to the Upside

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 31, 2017: 

One measure of how the U.S. economy continues to exceed expectations is the Economic Surprise Index published by Citigroup. It’s a tool that is used to measure how the economy compares to those expectations and, at the moment at least, it reflects the ebullience reported elsewhere. Any reading above zero indicates that the economy’s performance is exceeding projections. On Tuesday it hit 40 — its highest level since April.

That performance has repeatedly been reported in The New American and elsewhere, with these notable results:

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Adelmann