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: Toyota

Stock Market’s Complacency Index Highest in 24 Years

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 8, 2017:  

Wall Street’s “complacency index” — a measure of confidence that stock prices will continue to rise — hit the highest level since 1993 on Monday. Alternatively called the VIX (for volatility index), it is often referred to as Wall Street’s “investor fear gauge.”

Translation: Investors presently appear to have no fear. The index compares investors betting, through their purchases of options, that the market will go up, to those betting to the contrary. When investor fear is high, the VIX will move above 30 or even higher. When fear declines, the VIX trades below 20. During the day on Monday the VIX touched 9.72, a level not seen in 24 years.

So complacent have investors become that the VIX has dropped by 45 percent just since April 13. By comparison,

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New Job Announcements Before Inauguration More Political than Economic

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 18, 2017:

President-elect Donald Trump has mercilessly hammered American companies with overseas operations, and the message is coming through loud and clear: bring them back, keep them here, or pay dearly once he is in office.

Ford changed its plans, cancelling a project in Mexico and expanding a facility here. Fiat did the same as did Toyota. Sprint’s plans to add new jobs coupled with Lockheed Martin’s willingness to work with Mr. Trump even before he is president all reflect the new reality: Trump plans to keep his campaign promises and create jobs here.

What makes the recent announcements by General Motors and Walmart suspicious is that they not only are timed to appear just before the inauguration, but they also

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GM, Walmart, Amazon Announce New Jobs Ahead of Trump’s Inauguration

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 17, 2017:

English: Trump

First it was Amazon, announcing last week that it will be creating 100,000 new full-time jobs in the United States over the next 18 months. Said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, “These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley, they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities through the country.” When in place Amazon will be employing nearly 300,000 people in the United States.

President-elect Donald Trump was pleased to take some credit,

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Fiat Chrysler Announces $1 Billion Investment in U.S., Creating 2,000 Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 11, 2017:

Italiano: Sergio Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the American arm of Fiat-Chrysler, announced on Sunday that it was investing $1 billion in expanding its plants in Warren, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio — a move which would result in 2,000 new jobs by 2020: “Consistent and combined with previously announced investments, FCA US is further demonstrating its commitment to strengthening its U.S. manufacturing base, and aligning U.S. capacity to extend the Jeep product lineup.”

Some have speculated that

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New Jersey Driving Away Businesses

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 9, 2015: 

Mercedes-Benz

On Tuesday, when Mercedes-Benz’s North American Chairman Stephen Cannon finally confirmed the rumors swirling around his company’s headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey, that he was going to move it to Atlanta, Georgia, he didn’t tell the whole truth:

New Jersey has been a wonderful home to our U.S. operations for our first 50 years, and still is today. The state has worked tirelessly with us as we evaluated our options.

 

Ultimately, however, it became apparent that to achieve the sustained, profitable growth and efficiencies we require for the decades ahead, our headquarters would have to be located elsewhere.

 

That brought us to Atlanta.

It was the location that sealed the deal, according to Cannon:

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Texas 7, California Nothing

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 9, 2014:

Moving Day.

Moving to Texas from California

One would think the good doctor is running for Congress from Texas, but he’s not. He’s running to boot a hard-left Democrat who’s been representing the 24th District in California for 15 years by touting all the good things Texas has been doing compared to California. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Brad Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon from Paso Robles, wrote:

As a Californian, I am pained to say that three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities – and seven of the top 15 – are in Texas.

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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.

 

Three Recent Carjackings: Variations on a Theme

Carjacking suspect crash on I5

When two elderly sisters were attacked by a thug with a knife in an attempted carjacking in Madison, New Jersey, on Monday, they were lucky things didn’t go awry.

The ladies, who wished to remain anonymous, aged 93 and 94, had parked in the lot outside of a CVS Pharmacy and went inside to pick up some prescriptions. They left their car unlocked, which allowed a local thug, Sergio Fernando Solorzano-Vasquez, to climb into the back and wait for the sisters to return. When they returned he attacked them with a knife.

The thug got a surprise when the older sister, in the driver’s seat, reached around and struck the assailant with her right arm while the younger sister jumped out of the car and started screaming. The thug made the right decision and ran from the car and the scene but not before three surveillance cameras got him on film. He was quickly arrested and taken into custody.

The sisters were lucky, and plucky. They were in what Jeff Cooper taught was “condition white,” oblivious to any dangers that might be nearby and therefore unprepared for the attack. For years Cooper trained thousands to avoid condition white as potential miscreants, like Vasquez, are trained to look for people existing “in their own world” and therefore vulnerable to a surprise attack.

But the sisters had something going for them which, in this case, protected them from serious or even fatal injury: the determination not to

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Two Years Later: Where Did the Haiti Earthquake Money Go?

US Navy 100224-N-6278K-064 International Organ...

Two years after the Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010—which killed 316,000, injured 300,000 more, left one million homeless, and destroyed $8 billion in property—most of the billions of dollars pledged to help the island recover can’t be accounted for. And of that which can be, precious little found its way into the hands and mouths of the Haitians themselves.

Some $12 billion was pledged, including $2.75 billion from the United States, $650 million from the European Union, and the balance from 35 other countries.

Much of the U.S. government’s aid was funneled through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reported that it helped build a 10-megawatt power plant and repaired and upgraded five electric power substations in Port-au-Prince, provided some $10 million in financing for 46 “micro financial institutions and financial cooperatives” and another 7,600 loans to coffee, cocoa, and mango growers. USAID rebuilt roads, irrigation systems, and storage and processing facilities, while offering “improved seeds, fertilizer and technologies to more than 9,700 farmers [who] have increased rice yields by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers.”

According to the USAID report, the agency built 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms, which allowed some 60,000 students to return to school after the earthquake. It also helped build a temporary Parliament building to replace the one destroyed by the earthquake.

So far, so good. But when the Government Accounting Office (GAO) looked at the progress made by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), a joint effort between the Haitian authorities and international donors to coordinate the flow of assistance last May, the GAO was chagrined to find that

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Two-Tier Wage Pacts Bringing Jobs Back to Detroit

English: 2011 New York Auto Show - Chrysler 30...

Last week’s announcement that the auto industry could add as many as 167,000 jobs by 2015 merely confirmed what some economists were saying: that lower wages allow car manufacturers to hire more people more profitably. As part of the agreement between the federal government and the unions in 2007, a lower tier of wages was created in order to halt the hemorrhaging of cash the carmakers were experiencing that led to the bailouts. The unions reluctantly agreed to accept the two-tier system, concluding that a lower-paying job was better than none at all.

Before the agreement, auto workers were making about $29 an hour, plus benefits (health insurance and a pension plan), which brought the total to $50 an hour or more. The onset of the recession pricked that “high wage bubble” which had been hidden prior to the recession. Under the 2007 agreement, entry-level workers were paid $14 to $16 an hour, plus benefits, bringing their total compensation to about $25 an hour. Although those wages affect only about one in every six workers, it was enough to allow Chrysler to turn a profit last quarter of $212 million, potentially setting the stage for its first profitable year since 2005.

At present it takes between 20 and 30 man-hours to produce a new vehicle. Chrysler’s costs are the lowest of the big three automakers, averaging about

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NY Times Targets Rep. Issa; Issa Fires Back

Darrell Issa

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself”—Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.

In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that

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GM’s IPO: Where’s the Weevil in the Hardtack?

Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 20...

Image via Wikipedia

Steven Rattner, former counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, celebrated in Huffington Post, “In the end, it was a blow out!” With the old General Motors successfully selling shares in its new General Motors at $33 per share, taxpayers will allegedly be getting back part of the $50 billion in bailout money used to rescue the company 17 months ago.

As Rattner exulted:

The mother of all initial public offerings—that of the refreshed, revitalized and revamped General Motors—went off better than almost anyone expected….

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Chevy Volt Misses the Mark

Chevrolet Volt plug-in

Image by Argonne National Laboratory via Flickr

Now that the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ electric car, is about to arrive in selected dealers’ showrooms around the country, it has been getting a lot of press. Some are puff pieces, one of which appeared in USA Today, while others are much more critical.

According to James Healey of USA Today, the Volt “represents a staggering amount of engineering…which combines an electric motor…and a small gasoline engine to create a drive train that uses no gasoline for 25 to 50 miles, [and] then sips it.”

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Toyota—The Jihad Continues

Current (2008) logo for the United States Nati...

Image via Wikipedia

Now that the Department of Transportation is opening a formal investigation into the 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla over possible steering problems while the government is continuing with hearings by the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on February 24th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on February 25th, and by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on March 2nd about Toyota’s “timely” response to braking and accelerator complaints, some are beginning to question “Why?”

More than that, the questions are “Why just Toyota?” and “Why now?”  Some are asking “Is there something else going on here?”

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Toyota Under Fire

DALY CITY, CA - FEBRUARY 03:  The Toyota logo ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The unrelenting attacks on Toyota are a metaphor for similar attacks on the free-market economy by its detractors.

Up until August, 2009, Toyota had become the premier automobile manufacturer in the world. Through its “relentless pursuit of perfection” (Toyota’s Lexus brand’s marketing slogan), Toyota enjoyed increasing sales and profitability through its successful efforts to serve its customers better than its competition.

In August, a horrendous car crash involving a family driving a Lexus automobile killed the driver, Mark Saylor, a California Highway Patrol officer, his wife and daughter, and his brother-in-law. A recording of a passenger’s frantic 911 call, lasting 52 seconds, was broadcast throughout the media and pushed Toyota into the unwelcome and unaccustomed spotlight of negative public attention. That attention continues today.

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