Flashback: Former Secretary of Interior Salazar ‘Not even Harry Potter can bring down gas prices’

 

Let’s take a look at Obama’s former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for today’s Saturday flashback. With this weeks doom and gloom of historic portions, it’s enough for many of us to want to turn in our chips on the whole thing. But wait. America is humming. The wheels are turning once again. America should be singing after eight long miserable years of Obama. So let’s return to the chilling days of yesteryear. But first the great news:

The only one trumping Trump’s Trumpet on the wonderful economy is Trump.

“We added 304,000 jobs, which was a shocker to a lot of people. It wasn’t a shocker to me.” So says the man. 

Despite a recent shaky period for the government and the stock market, American workers are finally enjoying economic conditions that favor them over their employers. … On Friday morning, Donald Trump tweeted, JOBSJOBSJOBS,” and who could blame him?

Department reported that payrolls had increased by three hundred and four thousand in January, which was about a hundred and thirty thousand more jobs than economists on Wall Street had been predicting.

The job gains were widely spread across the economy, with the construction, health-care, retail, and leisure-and-hospitality sectors showing particular strength. The report also showed that wages are still rising at an annual rate of more than three per cent, while consumer price inflation is falling, because of cheaper energy prices. That means that inflation-adjusted wages are rising, as well, which is key. Keep reading

 

How easy we forget the old miserable days of Obama. Can’t anyone out there on the GOP side give the man some credit? Forget the Democrats.

For today’s Saturday flashback let us take a look at Salazar and the price of gas. There goes that magic wand thing again.

Ken Salazar

Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The man who blocked as much drilling on Federal Lands that he could muster including much of Alaska.

Ken Salazar channels Harry Potter re: energy policy

 

With savants such as Salazar, how can we go wrong? I think this sums up the week quite nicely.

“Not even Harry Potter” can bring down rising gas prices and nobody knows when they will stop rising, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday.

“No one has the ability – not even Harry Potter – to simply wave a magic wand and say that we’re going to have gas prices at $2 or $2.50 or $3. It just doesn’t work that way,” said Salazar, whose department controls oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

“Where it will all end, no-one knows,” he said, then reiterated the view that Obama’s “all-of-the-above” policy would protect Americans from the volatilities of the global market.

Salazar said gas prices were set by “global economics.” The best thing to do in the long run is to “stay the course” on President Obama’s commitment to green energy.

Speaking of magic wands, this post wouldn’t be complete without this magic wand memory-

Barack Obama unfortunately mocked Donald Trump for having “A Magic Wand” during his 2016 presidential campaign. However he was very very wrong indeed… Here are some examples from 2017 of Trump using his magic wand to bring jobs home.

 

Advertisements

It’s the Economy, Stupid

 

It’s the Economy, Stupid

by Mustang- Our man on the beat in Great Britain

 

During the 1992 presidential campaign, where George H. W. Bush sought reelection against William Jefferson Clinton, the United States was in an economic recession.  The impact of this can be demonstrated by the fact that in March 1991, Bush had a 90% approval rating (following the ground invasion of Iraq[1]), but in August 1992, his approval rating was somewhere in the neighborhood of 36%.

James Carville, working for Clinton as his campaign manager, addressed his campaign staff on issues that might work for Clinton during the final run for the White House.  Carville thought the campaign should focus on three things: (1) Change vs. more of the same; (2) Don’t forget about healthcare, and (3) It’s the economy, stupid.

We’ve heard that phrase repeated frequently in subsequent elections.  The problem is that beyond its underlying truth, no one really knows how the economy works.  We do have a sense about the level of our disposable income, but most of us have no clear idea how political policies impact against our financial circumstances.  Not to worry, though … economists don’t know, either.

Here’s something else we do not know: recent history.

European Economic Community

In 1957, several European nations formed what was then called the European Economic Community (ECC).  Great Britain was not part of this effort, primarily because French President Charles de Gaulle refused to allow British membership.  The UK’s admission finally came in 1973, after de Gaulle stepped down as president.  But two years later, in 1975, Britain’s ruling Labor Party held a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EEC.  Sixty-five percent of the British people answered with an overwhelming “yes”.

In 1983, the Labor Party was trying to win the national election on a platform of withdrawing from the EEC.  The attempt failed and Margaret Thatcher was reelected by a significant margin.

In 1997, fourteen years after the EEC became the European Union (EU) James Goldsmith formed a Referendum Party, pledging to hold a national referendum on the question of the UK remaining in the EU.  Goldsmith’s efforts garnered him less than 3% of the nation’s support and the referendum party failed to win even one seat in the Parliament.

In 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron rejected calls for a referendum on this issue, but a year later, he announced that a referendum would be held were he to be reelected in 2015.  Soon after his reelection, the European Referendum Act was introduced to initiate the process of national referendum.  In 2016, Cameron announced that the referendum would be held on 23 June.  Cameron was a staunch advocate for remaining in the EU; when the vote overwhelmingly demanded withdrawal, Cameron resigned.  Suddenly, the burden of creating an acceptable formula for Brexit fell upon Theresa May, who at the time was serving as Home Secretary … her political background was that of a “one nation conservative.”

This is the recent history of the Brexit novella.  Now, as to economists …

In the USA, there are somewhere around 15,000 non-academic economists.  They earn from around $83,000 to $150,000 annually.  They earn these remarkable salaries even when their predictions and analyses are completely wrong.  In fact, economics is such a lucrative vocation that American universities grant close to 1,000 PhDs every year.  We find these people employed by private corporations, followed by federal and state governments; at the lower end of the income scale we find college professors who earn their pay by spouting economic theory.

In contrast to the foregoing, the United Kingdom only hosts around 1,000 economists, most of whom work for the government in more than thirty different departments.  What this suggests to me is that there is less “noise” about economics in the UK than there is in the United States —which is not to suggest that we understand it any better than our British cousins, only that we’re exposed to more of it than they are.

Economists earn their robust salaries by “studying and analyzing” data in order to identify trends in various economic activities, predict confidence levels, and attitudes among consumers.  To accomplish this, they rely on mathematics and computer programming (normally referred to as models).  From these processes come recommendations about how to improve the economy or take advantage of developing trends.  In the United States, there are no legally required educational requirements or licensure for an economist.  All that’s needed in order to bill oneself as an economist is 21 semester hours of college study, bolstered by a few more hours of introductory statistics, accounting, or calculus.  There are numerous fields within which an economist could be employed, including banking, finance, accounting, marketing, lobbying, and political consulting.  In other words, an economist has about the same veracity in his field as a meteorologist has in his.

I’m no economist.  In fact, the more I know about such things, the less I understand.  Currently, I’m trying to understand the clamor in the United Kingdom regarding its impending exit from the European Union (called Brexit).  Should I rely on anything British politicians are saying about Brexit, I would end up with less understanding, not more.  In this, I join the ranks of most British citizens.  Unhappily, for the British people, their economists know even less than I do.

So —I’ve been searching for a single document that will tell me what “we” might expect to happen in the post-Brexit world.  I’ve sort of found the answer …

According to a paper created by Gemma Tetlow and Alex Stojanovic of the Institute for Government, the result of Brexit all depends on what your definition of the word is, is.  This rather lengthy paper underwhelming concluded, “Brexit will lead to a significant change in the UK’s relationship with other European countries.”

In essence:

1.     There are as many economic projections about the effects of Brexit as there are British economists

2.     Each projection depends on as many varying economic assumptions (otherwise known as guesses)

3.     None of these economic models will be accurate if any of their assumptions are wrong

 

Well, I suppose that economic relationships are at best difficult to understand.  As an example, two years ago, the United Kingdom was the tenth largest export economy in the world.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the UK imported from other countries far more than it exported.  We call this a negative trade balance.  In 2016, the UK had a negative trade balance of $235 billion.  Of course, the British trade imbalance is far less than ours, but as a measure of the British economy, comparing it to the trade imbalance in 1995, (using the current value of money) it came to only $52 billion.  The question then becomes, how has membership in the EU benefited the British economy or its people?

There is more that confuses me.  Why wouldn’t the United Kingdom prefer trade with the United States over the European Union?  The US and UK share a common language, a similar legal system, similar institutions, are culturally compatible, and, allowing for sophisticated marketing schemes, American consumers might prefer British goods over those made in China.  In both economies, the service sector is the largest percentage of the national economy.  Neither country produces as many goods as they did forty or fifty years ago … significant because the services sector simply sells things to people who earn their living by selling things to other people.  Wealth isn’t what you sell, it’s what you produce.

The European Union hosts a single market.  There are economists who argue that EU membership fails to serve the interests of the British people, particularly as it applies to agriculture.  EU regulations control the way farmers produce their goods, how much of it they are allowed to produce, and amazingly, how much they can charge.  This is not free-market capitalism—and agriculture is but one sector of several.  Even if we ignore such limitations as language, legal systems, enforcement mechanisms, there is hardly any convincing argument favoring EU membership.

Granted, there is much I don’t understand about the complexities of a national economy —but here is what I do know:  Great Britain is the third largest economy in Europe (after Germany and France).  The agricultural sector is intense, highly mechanized, and perhaps the most efficient in all of Europe.  The UK produces 60% of Europe’s food needs and does so with less than two percent of the total labor force.  The British control large sources of energy.  Financial services are key drivers of British GDP growth.  It’s weakest link: manufacturing.  Why, then, shouldn’t the UK capitalize on its strengths while working to improve its weakest sector?

My guess is that British politicians, much like our own, rely too heavily on the advice of egg-head economists, and not enough on basic common sense.  High tax rates are harmful to every economy.  In Great Britain, social service expenditures are far too high.  Deficit spending is a major problem … one of the highest in the G-7 nations (3.6% of GDP).  Currently, the UK is attempting to lower its corporate tax rate from 20% to 17% … a good first step, but income taxation is a disaster of epic proportions.  British citizens are taxed at 20% of their income up to £46,350, and 40% of their income over that amount to £150,000.  This makes no sense to me; every £1 (or dollar) a citizen pays in taxes equates to £1 (or dollar) that is unavailable for consumer spending or saving.  Consumer spending benefits the national economy; saving money is in the long-term interest of individual citizens.

As Great Britain seeks to reestablish its economy, Brexit may indeed cause an economic slowdown, but in the long-term, the economy could grow substantially … but this depends entirely upon how well British politicians understand the impact of their all-too-often brainless policy decisions.

Maybe there is someone in reader-land who could sort this out for me.  I’d certainly welcome the education.


[1] In the United States, people always approve of ground invasions whenever they don’t have to participate in them.

Mustang has other great reads over at his two blogs – Thoughts from Afar

with Old West Tales and Fix Bayonets

China’s real national debt: $46 trillion, 330% of GDP

 

While we are concerned with our mounting debt, apparently China is having its own financial issues. Recall how President Reagan outspent the Soviet Union in defense spending to their detriment as they attempted to keep up with us. It looks like things are not so swell over China way. With China, they have a population of over one billion. Should we be concerned about a restless unhappy population? I am no expert on China by a long shot. Will it end like the Soviet Union if the Chinese can’t get their financial ship in order? Will they become more aggressive if there is a financial crisis? Zero Hedge goes on in the link below regarding the censorship China is implementing concerning the bad financial news.

 

 

China’s Shadow-banking system is collapsing (and with its China’s economic-fuel – the credit impulse), it’s equity market has become a slow-motion train-wreck, its economic data has been serially disappointing for two years, and its bond market is starting to show signs of serious systemic risk as corporate defaults in 2018 hit a record high.

But, if you were to read the Chinese press, none of that would be evident, as The New York Times reports a government directive sent to journalists in China on Friday named six economic topics to be “managed,” as the long hand of China’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ have now reached the business media in an effort to censor negative news about the economy.

The New York Times lists the topics that are to be “managed” as:

  • Worse-than-expected data that could show the economy is slowing.
  • Local government debt risks.
  • The impact of the trade war with the United States.
  • Signs of declining consumer confidence
  • The risks of stagflation, or rising prices coupled with slowing economic growth
  • “Hot-button issues to show the difficulties of people’s lives.”

The government’s new directive betrays a mounting anxiety among Chinese leaders that the country could be heading into a growing economic slump. Even before the trade war between the United States and China, residents of the world’s second-largest economy were showing signs of keeping a tight grip on their wallets. Industrial profit growth has slowed for four consecutive months, and China’s stock market is near its lowest level in four years.

“It’s possible that the situation is more serious than previously thought or that they want to prevent a panic,” said Zhang Ming, a retired political science professor from Renmin University in Beijing.

Mr. Zhang said the effect of the expanded censorship strategy could more readily cause people to believe rumors about the economy. “They are worried about chaos,” he added. “But in barring the media from reporting, things may get more chaotic.”

More at Zero Hedge

Flashback Obama: ‘What magic wand does Trump have to bring jobs back?’

 

Trump and his magic wand. This for my Flashback Saturday. Enjoy!

 

Our former community organizer never had a clue. It seems like a million years ago we put up with Obama but we did. Here are the magic words.

 

Donald Trump used his magical wand to bring jobs back to America. The United States economy is booming because of the wand and corporations have been quick to move back to America. Barack Obama unfortunately mocked Donald Trump for having “A Magic Wand” during his 2016 presidential campaign. However he was very very wrong indeed… Here are some examples from 2017 of Trump using his magic wand to bring jobs home.

 

Obama thanks Obama for robust economic growth

 

After all, Obama must stay relevant. I wonder if he will take credit for the good work being done getting rid of Isis?

The most unsurprising brag stretch of the week:

Former President Barack Obama is taking credit for the robust economic growth that is taking place under President Trump.

At a conference of mayors in Chicago, Mr. Obama congratulated himself Tuesday for strong employment numbers in the U.S. this year, saying his climate-change policies have contributed to growth.

“As we took these actions, we saw the U.S. economy grow consistently,” Mr. Obama said. “We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far, a streak that still continues by the way.”

He added wryly, “Thanks, Obama.”

H/T: Michelle Malekin

Recall this? 

So much for that!

Posted in Obama. Tags: . 19 Comments »

The Looney Left

by Mustang

No one I know on the right believes that capitalism is perfect.  No one I know on the right thinks that our economy should operate without any regulation or oversight.  What we do believe on the right is that they, who govern least, govern best.  And while I think there should be oversight, we should pay as much attention to those who are doing the oversight, as we are to those whose corporate behaviors we intend to monitor.  I am confounded by the fact that placing government in an oversight role is akin to hiring a fox to guard the hen house.

But what is it, exactly, that the leftist believes about the economy?  There are several variables, of course.  Some of these people are Keynesian ideologues who dream about a welfare state through industrial democracy.  Others believe government should nationalize the economy and govern through central planning.  One might recall that the Soviet Union tried central planning, too.  Yet, the American left persists with this twaddle.  It is the classical demonstration of insanity—at least according to Albert Einstein.  Still other leftists are anarchist communists.  Amazingly, while many of these people denounce globalization, they seek to impose it through their illogical support of the United Nations.

Still other leftists advocate in favor of Marxian economies.  They seek to make a distinction between Marx the philosopher, and Marx the economist.  I suspect they do this in order to mask their goal of imposing communism on the rest of us.  It is convoluted even for leftists, which is why the leftist mentality is at best inane.  If there is anything we can count on from the left, it is the regurgitation of talking points that make no sense to anyone, including the leftists themselves.

And then we are blessed with the left-leaning libertarians who demand a decentralized economy run by trade unions, worker’s councils, and cooperatives —people I like to think of as fascists wearing sheep’s clothing.  Leftist will argue that a society without substantial equality will distort the development of not only deprived persons, but also those who privileges undermine motivation and their sense of social responsibility.  It is a collectivist mentality, and might I add, the bane of a free society —for whom better to dictate to everyone else than the leftist with all the best ideas?

Ah, but there’s the catch.  Leftist ideas are not the best ideas; among clear-thinking people, they are unfathomable.  Who but a mentally deficient person, or a psychotic, can prefer regulation in place of free markets, or bureaucracies more than corporations, or government controlled insurance plans, rather than private insurances, and more government control over the economy rather than less.

We do have to acknowledge the consistency of the American left, however, for in spite of all that history tells us about the failure of communism and socialism in the 20th Century, American leftists remain committed to its irrational concepts.  Still, we must remind ourselves that it was not an easy task to produce such troglodytes: it has taken 100 years to brainwash these people.  As we have seen, leftists live in a bizarre world.  It is a world of opposites where progressive is regressive.  It is the land of Cheech and Chong.

When government policy seeks to diminish capital investments, no one in a proper mental state will want to risk their capital.  Without capital, businesses cannot remain competitive.  A non-competitive business is only a few steps away from closing its doors.  This doesn’t mater to leftists, however.  What matters is that government regulates businesses —for their own good— and when people begin losing their jobs, well … we can put them on government assistance programs.

Still, our topic is far too complex for the space allocated to a blog post.  For example, we have not even touched upon corrupt government, which forces corporations to find some way of profiting within a sullied framework.  If businesses want to survive in a corrupt environment, they have to find some way of accommodating the devil; and they do find ways.

Our question to the leftist provocateur remains: who will hire American workers when government bureaucracy replaces the American corporation?  Who will pay salaries when businesses have been taxed or regulated out of existence?  When businesses fold, when workers are unemployed, when the US no longer manufactures anything, when the economy is destroyed (we’re close to that now), then who will carry the tax burden for the United States?

Oops.  I guess the left didn’t think about that.  Maybe government will round everyone up and march them off to government-controlled factories, a la the Soviet Union.  Yes, that should work!

Department of Labor to ban financial advice from the airwaves?

Anyone out there who might have a clue how the Department of Labor controls what programming we have on the radio or television? Really, we know what this is about. Beginning of the Ministry of Thought Control being granted the purview to eliminate programing by ‘Rule.’ First the airwaves, soon the internet. Follow the link at the bottom of the post if you wish to get into the weeds and the politics of the issue.

Radio stations which carry money-related broadcasts like Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard and others will force the hosts to stay away from individual calls. Even telling an individual or family that it would be a good idea to put away the plastic and get out of debt is technically a form of “financial advice” that ultimately affects their ability to retire comfortably (or at all).

A proposed 33-page rule applying to investment advisers emanating from the Department of Labor would redefine the fiduciary relationship between investment advisers and their clients investing for retirement, which is the predominant objective of most investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rule “could be released as soon as this month.”

One side effect of the rule is that it could mark the beginning of the end of financial talk radio and TV broadcasts. Since such programs tend to lean center-right (there are exceptions, including Suze Orman), it seems mighty convenient for the government and its regulatory army that the press, particularly the Associated Press, has paid no visible attention to this apparently imminent rule.

DOL’s rule, once in effect, would require advisers to act in their clients’ “best interests,” a stricter standard than the current requirement that they place their clients in “suitable” investments.

More at Newsbusters

%d bloggers like this: