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: Texas

Texas Beats California: No Income Tax, Booming Economy, Friendly Folks

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 8, 2014:

texas our texas

Texas, Our Texas!

Following Toyota’s announcement April 28 that it would be consolidating its three American business headquarters and moving them from California to a new $300-million campus in Plano, Texas, the debate over why has heated up once again. Toyota follows Occidental Petroleum (which is leaving Los Angeles for Houston, after being there for a hundred years), Raytheon (which is moving its El Segundo headquarters to McKinney, Texas), and Legal Zoom (the largest legal-issues website in the world, which has already moved from Los Angeles to Austin). In the past 18 months more than 50 companies have made the same decision to move from California to Texas.

Some say it’s because of the lower cost of living in Texas. The cost of living in Plano is about a third lower than in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area where Toyota is currently located. As calculated by the Dallas-based conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis, “People of all incomes will save in Texas,” according to Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the institute. Some will save a little; others will save a lot by moving to Texas to keep their jobs with Toyota. As Villarreal explained, the calculation takes into account property taxes “which are pretty high in Texas” — about twice what they are in California for equivalently priced homes. Once real estate taxes are factored in, a single woman in Texas making $75,000 a year will have about $14,000 more in discretionary income than she would if she lived in California, but married workers making $150,000 a year who move from California to Texas would not see as dramatic a jump in discretionary income.

The Manhattan Institute says it makes sense for California companies to make the move to Texas, owing to California’s high taxes, oppressive regulations, expensive electricity, union influence, and the high cost of labor. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the cost per kilowatt-hour for commercial establishments in California is 13.11 cents while it’s only 8.2 cents in Texas — a saving of almost 40 percent. For industrial users, the savings are even greater: 10.72 cents per KWH in California versus just 5.86 cents in Texas. That cuts a heavy user’s energy bill in Texas nearly in half. Advantage: Texas

The advantage enjoyed by Texas is reflected in the states’ comparative economic growth rates: nearly four percent last year in Texas versus half that in California. In job growth, Texas regained the jobs it lost during the Great Recession by May of 2011 while California just made it back to even by May of this year — a three-year difference in favor of Texas. Since May 2011, Texas has added more than a million new jobs, while California has added barely 25,000 new jobs since this past May. Advantage: Texas

According to the blog 24/7 Wall Street, Texas ranks eighth among the country’s most quickly growing states with GDP growth jumping by $1.5 trillion in 2013. Its population continues to grow as well, with unemployment below the national average. California is well off the pace. Advantage: Texas

Bradley Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon in Paso Robles, just announced his candidacy for Congress in California’s 24th district, and in the process noted the difference between California and Texas in an opinion article at the Wall Street Journal: “Texas has no state income tax, while California’s 13.3% marginal rate is the highest in the country. Electricity rates are about 50%-88% higher compared to Texas due to the Golden State’s renewable-energy mandate, and its gas is 70-80 cents per gallon more expensive because of taxes.” Advantage: Texas

Allen’s opponent is incumbent Lois Capps, who sports a dismal Freedom Index rating of just 21 out of 100 on constitutional issues. Out of California’s 53 congressional districts, 18 of them have FI ratings of 20 or lower, while just one has an FI rating of 80 or higher. In Texas, by contrast, just three representatives have a rating of 20 or less out of the state’s 36 districts, with one, Rep. Steve Stockman, holding an FI rating of 95. Advantage: Texas

One of the best measures of the difference between the two states is just how much a Californian would have to pay to move his family to Texas. In November 2012, a Californian living in San Francisco would pay $1,693 to rent a 20-foot U-Haul truck and drive it San Antonio. On the other hand, a Texan in San Antonio moving to San Francisco would pay just $893 for the same truck. (Since then the numbers have become even more favorable: A Californian moving his family on August 1 from San Francisco to San Antonio would have to pay $1,890 for the same truck while a Texan moving the other way would pay only $737.) Advantage: Texas

However, David Horsey, writing for the Baltimore Sun, noted that Californians moving to Texas will leave an awful lot behind:

California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Texas has oil and gas.

California has Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. Texas has Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert.

In California, billionaires get taxed more to pay for programs for the poor. In Texas, billionaires get to keep their money, and the poor go without health care.

[California Governor Jerry] Brown got voters to approve a tax hike to balance the budget and fund education. [Texas Governor Rick] Perry balanced the budget by slashing spending on education.

In lots of places in California, it’s tough to live on a middle class family budget. In lots of places in Texas, it’s hard to live outside a church-going, football-loving, white, heterosexual lifestyle.

Absence of snarky, politically correct, bitter liberals. Advantage: Texas.

 

Gas Prices Ease as U.S. Oil Production Soars

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 7, 2014: 

English: $4.06 Gas Prices, Lewiston, Maine, Cu...

Despite predictions to the contrary, the price of gas over the July 4 weekend dropped by two cents per gallon, confounding seers who were looking at gas approaching $4 a gallon. Those prognosticators were guilty of “straight-line thinking in a curvilinear world” — meaning that since gas this year was 20 cents a gallon more than a year ago, they believed it would continue to go up steadily for the foreseeable future.

With political disruptions in Iraq and Syria seriously reducing their contributions to the world’s oil supplies, one would think that prices would have to go straight up.

One would be wrong.

On July 4, Bank of America reported that U.S. production of crude oil (along with the liquids separated from natural gas) “surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels [per day] in the first quarter.” Francisco Blanch, BofA’s head of commodities research, told Bloomberg,

The U.S. increase in supply is a very meaningful chunk of oil. The shale boom is playing a key role in the U.S. recovery [from the Great Recession].

If the U.S. didn’t have this energy supply, prices at the pump would be completely unaffordable.

The nearly exponential growth in oil production, thanks to the free market’s invention and development of fracking technology, has put the United States firmly on the path of energy independence. As we become energy independent, disruptions in the supply chain from the Middle East will matter less and less.

Texas and North Dakota — which Professor Mark Perry calls “Saudi Texas” and “Saudi Dakota” respectively — are now producing almost half of all U.S. oil, and would rank as the fifth largest oil producing country as a separate nation. The growth in production is astonishing, according to Perry:

A decade ago the combined conventional crude oil production in the states of Texas and North Dakota … represented less than 21% of total U.S. crude oil output.

By 2008, the combined crude oil output in the two states … were producing one-third of all U.S. crude oil.

In eight out of the last nine months, their combined share exceeded 47% of all U.S. oil.

Perry predicts that it will exceed 50 percent sometime before the end of the year. And that prediction could come back to embarrass him, if the International Energy Agency (IEA) is correct. The IEA is estimating that total U.S. crude oil production (currently at 8.4 million bpd) will continue to soar, exceeding 13 million barrels per day in less than five years. That 50-percent increase in oil production would mean that the United States could be producing nearly 80 percent of its domestic needs for energy, closing in on energy independence.

In the very short run, gas prices will remain higher than they should be, thanks to the disruptions of supply in the Middle East, but with the continuing success of fracking making shale oil deposits now available with current technology, prices may reasonably be expected to decline further over time. Blanch admitted as much to Bloomberg:

The shale production story [in the United States] is bigger than Iraqi production, but it hasn’t made the impact on prices you would expect.

Typically such a large energy [production] growth should bring prices lower but in fact we’re not seeing that because the whole geopolitical situation outside the U.S. is dreadful.

Those involved in capitalizing on the fracking revolution, however, are taking a much longer view. The annual investment in oil and gas development and production hit a record $200 billion this year, one-fifth “of the country’s total private fixed-structure spending for the first time,” said Blanch.

The explosion in the oil patch is doing much to offset the otherwise nearly stagnant economy. In the last 10 years, direct jobs in the patch have almost doubled, while “indirect” jobs that support the industry have almost tripled in that same time period. As Professor Perry noted: “No other sector … has added as many jobs for American workers or made as much of an overall economic contribution to the US economy as the oil and gas sector.”

Citizens often don’t know how well they have it here. At present the average cost of gasoline is $3.69 a gallon for regular. In Norway it’s an astounding $9.79 a gallon, while in Germany it’s $8.50, and in England a gallon of petrol is $8.25.

The only thing that will keep the price of gas from continuing its two-year decline is government, either through restrictions on energy development or through increased taxation. At present about $2.37 of that $3.69 represents the cost of crude oil. Refining costs are about $.45 a gallon, while distribution, marketing costs, and profits (estimated to be between eight and 15 cents per gallon) cost another $.33 a gallon. Taxes (federal and state) take up the balance: $.42 a gallon. Federal excise taxes are $.184 cents a gallon, while state taxes average about $.24 cents a gallon. If gas continues to drop in response to the natural laws of supply and demand (greater supply means greater demand thanks to the lower price), the temptation to raise state and federal excise taxes will become overwhelming.

In Germany, for instance, half the cost of a gallon of gas is due to taxes. In Great Britain the tax take on a gallon of gas is more than 60 percent. In Sweden it’s even higher.

At present, however, the laws of supply and demand are providing an enormous advantage to American drivers compared to their counterparts abroad. And they continue to confound the experts predicting ever higher prices at the pump as well.

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at badelmann@thenewamerican.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Keep Reading…

New Jersey Governor Christie’s Lipstick Problem

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of Ne...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 23, 2014:

Thanks to the current age of skepticism, aided and abetted by the internet, the “lipstick” strategy being used by Chris Christie is about to fail, revealing instead the economic pig that New Jersey has become during his administration.

Back in March 2012, Christie touted his budget that would only balance if a miracle occurred:

Keep Reading…

Government cuts California oil Reserve Estimates by 96 Percent

English: Monterey Formation, Gaviota State Par...

Monterey Formation, Gaviota State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A federal government agency reported on Tuesday that its previous estimate of the amount of recoverable oil from California deposits was way too optimistic. Its 2012 estimate that the Monterey formation contained 13.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil was cut to 600 million barrels, just 4 percent of its previous estimate. Adam Sieminski, head of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), said:

Keep Reading…

NJ Gov. Christie’s Conservative Light is Dimming

Chris Christie

Chris Christie (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Less than six months into his second term New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is having an increasingly difficult time pushing the New Jersey “comeback” theme that gained him reelection in January. This is in addition to the Bridge Gate scandal that has already seen five of his top lieutenants resign or be fired, with three investigations continuing into the matter.

First of all there’s the $807 million budget shortfall in his $33 billion budget that must be filled by the end of June. Then there’s the state’s credit rating which has been downgraded three times so far this year (it’s only May!) and

Keep Reading…

Obama Picks Another Leftist for Housing Secretary

English: Cropped picture of Julian Castro at a...

Julian Castro at a UTSA event. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Determined to stuff every nook and cranny of his administration with hard-core leftists, news leaked on Saturday that the President will nominate San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (no relation, at least by birth, to Fidel) as the next head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He’s a perfect fit.

During a reshuffling of his cabinet, the president is moving Sylvia Burwell from his Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and moving current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to take her place. That leaves the HUD spot open for Castro. The official announcement is expected soon.

What makes the appointment especially important is

Keep Reading…

Media’s Celebration over Fracking Verdict is Premature

Aerial view of resource extraction in Texas. A...

Aerial view of resource extraction in Texas. (Photo credit: Amy M. Youngs)

On April 22, when the 6-person jury’s verdict awarding $3 million in a strange nuisance lawsuit in Dallas was announced, the national media nearly frothed at the mouth, salivating over what they perceived as a “breakthrough” case in its war against fracking.

The headline from CNN screamed “Texas family plagued with ailments gets $3M in 1st-of-its-kind fracking judgment,” implying that the first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest, that the next ones will now come out more easily. The Los Angeles Times wrote that the verdict “is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation” and quoted environmentalist Gary Wocker who exclaimed:

Keep Reading…

Tesla Sales Model Upsetting Traditional Auto Dealers

Tesla S, close-up on the rear.

Tesla S, close-up on the rear. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Washington State, Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, has created a way to sell his cars without having to go through a car dealer: by persuading the state legislature to

Keep Reading…

The Surprise Decision from San Diego not to Appeal

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 24, 2014: 

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore is in a pickle. On February 13th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that California’s onerous requirement that an applicant must show “good cause” in order to receive a permit to carry concealed was an infringement of rights under the Second Amendment (MIA wrote about that decision here). Every sentient observer of the scene predicted that Gore would

Keep Reading…

Obama Links California Drought to Climate Change

President Obama had plenty of photo ops in California last Friday as he strolled farmlands parched by the ongoing drought. To them he added the inevitable offer of government money to help those suffering – money that presumably belongs to taxpayers outside the drought area. He reiterated the long-questioned connection between climate change and the drought:

Keep Reading…

Gun Accessories Maker Keeps its Promise to leave Colorado

Just when some of its customers were beginning to question the company’s sincerity about moving out of Colorado in response to anti-gun legislation passed last summer, Magpul Industries announced it has finalized its moves to

Keep Reading…

Looking Ahead to 2014 – and a Brighter Future

The latest Rasmussen poll shows 41% of American adults expecting the year 2014 to be a good year “at the very minimum” while just 23% expect the year to turn out poorly. Even the briefest look back at a few of the momentous events of 2013 bode well for the future. There’s the catastrophe called Obamacare which reflects badly, as Lew Rockwell noted, on the Obama “regime, which hates nothing more than looking ridiculous and incompetent, and being the butt of the people’s jokes.”

There’s the continuing rollout of secrets from Edward Snowden which not only keeps the surveillance state on the defensive but has exposed it as untruthful and sinister.

There’s the Benghazi scandal that simply will not go away, as evidenced by the loud condemnation of a New York Times report that tried to deflect responsibility away from the Obama administration by repeating provable lies.

While each of these can be looked at as positives in the cause of freedom, a look ahead provides great encouragement as well. The home-schooling movement continues to thrive and has been enhanced by the employment of the new technology, which makes resources easily accessible and can bring the classroom into the home. Consider, for example, the online school Freedom Project Education (FPE), which offers “a classical education for students … rooted firmly in Judeo-Christian values … similar to that received by America’s Founding Fathers, promoting liberty, citizenship, and independent thinking.”

The fracking revolution, resulting in what economist Mark Perry calls the “Great American Energy Boom”, has the increasingly likely potential to wean the US off most if not all foreign suppliers of energy, perhaps as soon as 2030. The impact of such an event can scarcely be underestimated, ranging all the way from removing a primary excuse for continuing foreign military entanglements to a vastly more robust economy. At present Midland, Texas, has the third-highest per capita income of any city in the country, while the unemployment rate in North Dakota is the lowest of any state.

Favorable fracking news continues to roll in on nearly a daily basis. A study from the University of Texas at Austin last week showed that as coal-fired plants are converted to natural gas, the need for water drops precipitously:

The researchers estimate that water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is 25 to 50 times as great as the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the natural gas.

This is good news on two fronts: Texas is in its third year of serious drought conditions, and the greenies have used the amount of water used in fracking as an argument against it. Such good news reduces the impact of that drought on the state while defanging such environmentalists’ attacks.

Across the world remarkable improvements in living conditions are increasingly being enjoyed as advances in medicine and technology are reducing mortality and improving literacy while decreasing poverty and hunger. According to Chris Higgins, writing for Mental Floss:

We are making tremendous advances in life expectancy, disease prevention, poverty and hunger…

Every single country in the world has lower mortality rates overall than they had in 1950…

Global literacy rates are rising … with youth aged 15 and younger doing especially well…

We’re on track … to halve world hunger [compared to its 1990 rate] by 2015…

[Since the year] 2000, over 600 million people have been pulled out of extreme poverty. This represents the fastest decline in global poverty in all of human history. (Higgins’ emphasis)

Freedom is advancing on the micro level as well. The US Postal Service continues its downward spiral into irrelevance thanks to the internet and some are expecting it to disappear altogether within a decade. Cartels that protect taxi companies are being challenged by apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar which provide transportation services by connecting travelers with drivers over the internet.

The alternative cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin, continues to gain momentum even as competitors such as Zerocoin enter the digital currency arena offering the advantage of secure anonymity of transactions. There is also growing interest in making gold and silver legal tender — at least as an alternative to, if not replacement for, today’s fiat (unbacked) currency.

Free market options to the heavy-handed federal mandates of Obamacare are becoming increasingly available including cost-sharing ministries and doctors outside the system accepting cash-only patients along with monthly packages of services provided for a modest ($50 to $100) monthly fee. There are an increasing number of retail cash-only health care clinics opening in big box stores like Walmart and pharmacies like Walgreen’s.

There’s crowdfunding that’s allowing small investors to join with eager entrepreneurs offering inventive, creative alternative products and services. There’s 3-D printing. There’s Bitmessage  poised to replace today’s fully-surveilled email with encryption tools. There’s TOR which, coupled with the Deep Web will allow anonymous websurfing once again. The list goes on.

The Internet, of course, makes it possible to reach a much larger audience than otherwise would be the case. TheNewAmerican.com received more than 600,000 unique visitors during December, according to editor Gary Benoit. The parent of that website, The John Birch Society, has led the way in the freedom fight for over 50 years. In an email to members it reminded them that:

one highly effective attribute of the JBS is its focused coordination of efforts…

In 2013, JBS members worked on stopping Agenda 21, exposing Common Core, opposing gun control, blocking con-con calls, nullifying Obamacare, and educating others on the free trade agenda.

JBS CEO Art Thompson looked ahead to 2014:

Based on the knowledge we have at hand, the JBS and all of our affiliated efforts reach approximately 20 million people in our first layer of influence…

Increasing what we are capable of doing by doubling our size would give the JBS a geometric growth in influence. In other words, doubling in size would more than double our effectiveness.

After that, by again doubling our numbers we could impact a third of all the adults in America. And this does not take into consideration the accompanying indirect influence within a second and third layer of the population.

In 2013 the battle for freedom saw significant victories, even beyond those outlined briefly here. There’s nothing to show that momentum slowing in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rise of “Saudi America”

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 6th, 2013:

 

Back in early February Citigroup apologized for missing the huge explosion of oil and natural gas occurring in Texas, North Dakota, and elsewhere. Its report, entitled “Energy 2020: Independence Day” began:

Keep Reading…

“Saudi Texas” is changing the world’s economic and political landscape

The virtual explosion in Texas’ production of natural gas and oil, thanks to fracking, caught even Citigroup off-guard. In February it apologized for so widely missing the mark in its report the previous year entitled “Energy 2020: Independence Day”:

Momentum toward North American energy independence accelerated last year [2012] well beyond the wildest dreams of any analyst and

Keep Reading…

Even Lower Gas Prices are Coming, says CNBC

On Friday Anthony Grisanti was jubilant. Writing for CNBC, he predicted that gas prices, down significantly from where they were in April, would continue to slide by at least another 10 cents per gallon, perhaps more. That would bring the average price, currently at $3.29 a gallon, closer to

Keep Reading…

Mixed Reactions to New Law Reopening Government

Once the 11th-hour vote to avoid the potential default was passed by the Senate and the House and signed into law by President Obama, key players in the game of fiscal chicken just ended began issuing their justifications and frustrations. That game, variously called “political brinkmanship”, a “temporary fix”, “a temporary ceasefire” and “a political achievement for Obama”, does everything the president wanted while

Keep Reading…

Astounding Increases in US Oil Production Reported

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013:

The advances in drilling and fracking technology coupled with the enormous untapped shale oil reserves are keeping the oil industry’s reporting agencies hopping, just trying to keep up with the gains in oil and natural gas production. For instance, the increase in US oil production in September was an amazing

Keep Reading…

US oil output is up 25 percent from just one year ago

If the increase in US oil output continues to increase by 25% every year, as it did from September 2012 to September 2013, total US output would double every three years. It’s a simple case of mathematics, compound interest, and the Rule of 72.

The main thing working to keep that from happening is

Keep Reading…

The Far-reaching Consequences of the Fracking Boom

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013:

Even the people at IHS, Inc. (one of the world’s preeminent global consulting and forecasting firms) missed perhaps the most important impact the fracking boom is likely to have: it just might dampen the enthusiasm for the empire builders in Washington to continue to

Keep Reading…

George Mitchell, the Father of Fracking, Dead at 94

With his determination and the ability to ignore naysayers, George Mitchell, the owner of a Fortune 500 company, Mitchell Energy & Development Company, poured himself and $6 million of his company’s money into the task of finding ways to access the natural gas he knew was underground of his property north of Houston, Texas. It took him more than 10 years to find those ways. Since 2000, his discoveries have changed the world and are responsible for

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann