The Fed Is ‘Chasing Its Own Tail’ On Inflation, And The Housing Market Is Paying The Price, Expert Says

A guest essay published in The New York Times on Tuesday finally pointed a finger at a major culprit behind the housing crisis: The Federal Reserve.

The essay was written by Westwood Capital Investment bank’s managing partner Daniel Alpert, and detailed his take on the Fed’s “relentless attack on inflation” which he thinks is jeopardizing the market. Alpert decries the Fed’s decision to raise key federal funds policy interest rate to a level 22 times what it had been in the year and a half prior.

In normal times, this type of action would make mortgages insanely expensive for homeowners and make homes a lot cheaper, which limits spending power. But Alpert rightly notes these aren’t normal times. As mortgage rates skyrocketed from around three percent to the near eight percent it is now, it caused a catastrophe for the housing market.

Homeowners with good interest rates don’t want to move. And new buyers don’t want to get locked into an overpriced home at a high interest rate. So we have “both a mobility and an inventory crisis,” as Alpert put it.

Housing has helped ensure the cost of just about everything has increased in 2023. “It is an irony that the Fed’s effort to tamp down inflation is causing an increase in core inflation measures,” Alpert notes. “And while the Fed is chasing its own tail, other avenues for controlling inflation have weakened considerably as a result of the unique circumstances surrounding the pandemic.”

The pandemic allowed for Americans to increase their savings rates. And many businesses were locked into cheap financing. So, what happens next?

Alpert thinks the Fed should declare victory and give up on its target of two percent. But the likelihood of that is low. Instead, Alpert wants the Fed to halt and then reverse policies related to mortgage securities and Quantitative Tightening. In layman’s terms, the Fed has to reduce the cost of mortgages or we’re doomed.

AUTHOR

KAY SMYTHE

News and commentary writer.

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Johnson Scores First Win, Dodging Shutdown and Year-End Bloat

That sound you hear in Washington, D.C. is every congressional staffer breathing a sigh of relief. For once, the Hill will be home at a reasonable time for Christmas — not staring down another government shutdown or stuffing an unread trillion-dollar omnibus down the Democrats’ chimney. In the real first hurdle of Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) young tenure, the House did as he asked: they passed a budget bridge to next year that spares America a whole lot of headaches.

By a 336-95 vote, the House decided to cut Mike Johnson some slack — agreeing to his unique “laddered” approach to the continuing resolution (CR) that buys Republicans more time to live up to their fiscal promises. “We were a little bit behind the eight ball here,” Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) admitted to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins immediately following the vote. “Your listeners will remember that we went through a long process without a speaker.” Now that the House has one, he pointed out, it will take some extra time for the chamber “to get our work done.”

With just days to go before a government shutdown, Johnson made impassioned pleas for the GOP to come together and agree to a plan that gives the House a window to debate these budgets individually. “We’re not surrendering,” Johnson argued. “We’re fighting, but you have to be wise about choosing the fights. You’ve got to fight fights that you can win — and we’re going to.” But let’s face it, he said. “It took decades to get into this mess. I’ve been at this job three weeks. … I can’t turn an aircraft carrier overnight, but this was a very important first step to get us to the next stage so that we can change how Washington works.”

Leading up to the vote, several Republicans applauded Johnson for doing his best to avoid both a government shutdown and a 2,000-page “Christmas tree omnibus.” “We set that as one of our goals at the first of the year, that we did not want that to happen again,” Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) told Perkins. Under this plan, the House has until January 19 and February 2 to pass two waves of appropriations bills. “I personally like that,” Carter said. “I personally like the idea of doing it as you can. You know, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right? Well, let’s take these bites as we can get them, and then we go on and we work until February 2nd on everything else and try to get it done as well.”

Not every Republican agreed, insisting that anything the House passed — including a short-term CR — should have spending cuts. According to Grothman, Johnson openly confronted those critics, asking, “How is this going to end? How are you going to wind up ahead of the game by shutting down the government? Because eventually, it’s going to reopen.” And his point, Grothman said, was that “it will reopen when the Republicans get beat up in the news media. And none of these people who are voting against Mike today, breaking from our new speaker, could give him a reason or an explanation of how this was going to end.”

Johnson deserved better from his party, Grothman believed. “I felt sorry for our speaker. Most Republicans stuck with him, but on this first test, a lot didn’t. … He should have got[ten] … every single Republican to vote for him when he called for the vote. And sadly, [93] Republicans voted against him.”

Democrats filled in the blanks, pushing the CR across the finish line. Some, like Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.), snarkily told the media, “Once again, the Republican majority needs Democratic votes to govern,” as if bipartisanship is suddenly the most shocking thing to happen to the House. And maybe it is. Apparently, Congress is so used to one party imposing its will that regular order and compromise seem foreign.

The 93 Republicans’ objections notwithstanding, Grothman insisted that “the most important thing is who wins the arguments over what’s in these bills” in the new year. “…And [with] this [laddered] CR, you’re not going to be able to [roll] every appropriation bill together [in a last-minute omnibus] and have one of these 2,000-page behemoths. You’re going to have to break out a separate vote on education, a separate vote on national defense, a separate vote on military construction and veterans affairs, general government. Hopefully we’ll get as many separate votes as possible so we know what’s in the bills, which will be really a feather in the cap of Mike Johnson. But in order to get there, we had to win today [and] give him more time to get things done. And we did that.”

To those who complain this CR doesn’t cut spending, Carter said, “I get it. But the point is, we’re not going to be able to get [the appropriations bills] done [by Friday’s deadline]. We’re not going to be able to get all 12 bills with the spending cuts done anytime soon, certainly not before January the 19th. And why not go ahead and do what we can do until then? And I know that there may be a certain amount of leverage when you have all of them together. But, you know, we’ve tried that, and it hasn’t worked,” he insisted. “I’ve always said Washington is about big ideas. This is a big idea [that’s] never been done before. We ought to try it.”

And frankly, Perkins replied, “What would be gained by shutting down the government?” The House has to work “inch by inch, mile by mile,” he said. This proposal “is a step in the right direction. It moves us toward responsible governing.”

Absolutely, Carter agreed. “Let’s take incremental wins when we can. Let’s move the ball down the field. No, it’s not a Hail Mary, no it’s not a long touchdown pass, but it is advancing the ball down the field.” As for blaming the speaker over what might have been done with the CR, Carter called that “unfair.” “Mike Johnson inherited this situation,” he insisted. “… And he’s doing the best he can with it. … Personally, I thought it was a dumb thing to do to vacate the chair and to get rid of the speaker, [Kevin] McCarthy. I thought that was a big error on our part, but it is what it is. It’s done.”

At the end of the day, Grothman believes, “Mike will pull us together. [He’s] such a sincere guy. Everybody knows he’s trying to do the best he can. And of course, right now, because we had a new Democrat sworn in [Monday], we only can afford to lose three votes. So it’s tough to have 218 of 221 stick together,” the Wisconsin congressman admitted. “But if anybody can do it, Mike can do it.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

New Gov’t Data Suggests Biden Admin’s Anti-Gas Appliance Push Could Make Home Heating Way More Expensive

  • Americans using electric heating systems, favored by the Biden administration’s climate agenda, will pay significantly more to keep their homes warm this winter than Americans using natural gas, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • Those who use electricity to heat their homes will pay $1,063 on average this winter, while Americans using natural gas will pay an average of $601 to keep their homes warm, according to the EIA data.
  • Attempts to phase out the use of natural gas for home heating and other purposes “would raise costs to consumers, jeopardize environmental progress and deny affordable energy to underserved populations,” American Gas Association President and CEO Karen Harbert told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Americans who heat their homes with electricity could see costs increase this winter as the Biden administration forges ahead with its broad push to diminish the use of fossil fuels in homes and buildings, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Those who rely on electricity to heat their homes will pay an average of $1,063 this upcoming winter, approximately 77% more than Americans using natural gas, who will pay an average of $601 to keep their homes warm, according to the EIA’s projections. The Biden administration, with the encouragement of environmentalist advocacy groups, has proposed regulations and rolled out subsidy programs designed to decrease the use of oil and gas products for home heating and other purposes, citing a perceived need to decrease carbon emissions they generate.

“Natural gas has been one of the principal drivers to achieving our nation’s environmental and economic goals. From providing affordable energy to consumers to driving down emissions, the benefits this fuel has for our nation are tangible and impossible to ignore,” American Gas Association President and CEO Karen Harbert told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Attempts to phase out the use of natural gas for home heating and other uses “would raise costs to consumers, jeopardize environmental progress and deny affordable energy to underserved populations,” she added.

The discrepancy in prices is even more pronounced in the Northeast, where the average cost for using electricity to heat a home is expected to be $1,465, a figure that is about 92% higher than the $761 that natural gas users can expect to pay on average, according to the EIA data.

The effort to change how Americans heat their homes using government action is part of a larger push from the Biden administration to have Americans adopt an array of more efficient, and more expensive, electric appliances in order to fight climate change. As it does on the heating front, the administration uses both regulation, such as its move to phase out gas-powered generators and pool pump motors, and subsidies, like the $2,000 heat pump tax credit from the Inflation Reduction Act, to advance its agenda.

Other appliances the administration has targeted include water heaters, refrigerators and clothes washers. Concurrently, federal agencies, led by the Energy Department, are assisting municipal governments to modify their building codes in ways that limit or ban the use of fossil fuels in new buildings.

Well-funded environmentalist organizations like the Sierra Club and Rewiring America have advocated for the electrification of American homes, and a coalition of 23 state governors has teamed up with the White House to aggressively expand heat pump installations in the effort to reduce the share of Americans relying on natural gas to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature.

The push to electrify home heating and appliances despite their typically higher cost is occurring amid a backdrop of high inflation that is especially hurting the country’s working- and middle-class families.

“The political appointees in the White House, guys like John Podesta, are more interested in helping their big money backers in the green movement than they are in helping provide relief for working-class American families,” Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, told the DCNF. “Higher electricity prices don’t hurt wealthy coastal elites, but they crush the poor, seniors and those living on fixed incomes.”

The White House and the Energy Department did not respond to requests for comment.

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Huge Swaths Of US Face Elevated Blackout Risks This Winter, Grid Watchdog Warns

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Fiscal Insanity by the Congress of the United States of America

The Congress of the United States has been negligent in protecting tax payer money from fraud waste and abuse for 50 plus years.

The majority of the elected career politicians in Congress are put into power by low IQ Americans who do zero research on the “R” politicians and stay misinformed by the fake news.

Our congress is filled with a lazy group of incompetent jackasses who have spent us and keep spending us into financial ruin.

Members of congress have the power of the purse.

They can stop this deficit insanity as per the U.S. Constitution.

The Congress has the power to balance the federal budget – As expressed in Article I, Section 9 of the U. S. Constitution,

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law”

These useless spineless Republican politicians could easily return our republic to fiscal sanity but we have elected a bunch of corrupt lazy useless incompetent socialists and communists with few exceptions.

The new House Speaker has also failed to fund and defund through the enactment of a “regular appropriations acts” commonly called a budget most of the federal agencies required to run the government annually.

He’s kicked the can down the road just like the Republican in Name Only, the fake conservative from Communist ran California Kevin McCarthy. He is on the Continuing Resolution stop gap insane game show.

As matter of record the uniparty Congress has enacted one or more Continuing Resolutions (CRs) in all but three of the 47 fiscal years since the start of the fiscal year was changed to October 1 beginning in Fiscal Year 1977.

Congress has the authority to write the terms of appropriations and outright deny appropriations by funding or defunding programs and activities of most federal agencies including the weaponized & corrupt FBI, DOJ, Homeland Security and the ATF on an annual basis through the enactment of the 12 regular appropriations acts.

The weak spineless Republicans control the House and still they do NOTHING to protect our Republic from the Biden Marxists whose goal in life is to collapse our free market capitalist economy and imprison their political opponents.

Wake up America and stop electing these people into office. If income taxes were totally eliminated this would not even hurt our fiscal bottom line if we would only stop wasting the tax revenue the Treasury Dept. collects from corporate taxes and other revenue streams.

Only former President Trump and Congressman Matt Gaetz R-FL seems to understand this and now they are being mercilessly attacked by the cry baby useless RINOs on a mission to spitefully block their protective measures of our Republic.

Look at the funding for the new FBI building by the incompetent Republican members of congress as an example.

©2023. Geoff Ross. All rights reserved.

Americans Are Increasingly Failing To Make Debt Payments As Inflation Continues To Put ‘Strain On Consumers’

Americans are increasingly falling behind on their debt payments as inflation continues to erode real incomes, threatening to cause many consumers to declare bankruptcy.

Delinquency transitions, debts that were previously being paid but no longer are despite outstanding obligations, rose rapidly in the third quarter of 2023 in all forms of debt except for student loans, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Poor U.S. economic conditions linked to rising inflation and interest rates have left Americans unable to pay for previous obligations that they once could afford, according to experts who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Consumers pay for things three ways: income, savings and credit,” Michael Faulkender, chief economist and senior advisor for the Center for American Prosperity, told the DCNF. “We know that wages have not kept up with inflation over the last 2.5 years and that many households have spent all of the savings accumulated during the pandemic. Therefore, in order to maintain their spending levels, they have been adding to their credit card balances, such that aggregate balances have now eclipsed $1 trillion. Rising credit card debt in a rising interest rate environment with incomes not keeping pace will put more and more households into financial difficulty, resulting in delinquencies.”

Delinquency transitions for credit cards and auto loans saw the biggest increase among debt forms in the third quarter, rising to 8% and 7.4%, respectively, according to the New York Fed. Credit card debt increased to $1.08 trillion in the quarter, rising 4.7% from the second quarter, when it exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

Real wages for average Americans have declined since President Joe Biden took office, sinking 2.1% from the first quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2023, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Americans are increasingly turning to their savings to make up the difference in lost wages, with Americans collectively holding $687.7 billion in savings as of September 2023, compared to more than $1 trillion in May and nearly $6 trillion in April 2020.

“It likely indicates that average Americans are not doing well financially,” Jai Kedia, a research fellow for the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute, told the DCNF. “The quarter-by-quarter increase in delinquencies is probably a signal that the economy is not as good as people thought earlier this year — rather that the hard landing many predicted last year but never came may simply have been delayed.”

An economic soft landing refers to a slowdown in market growth that avoids a recession, as opposed to a hard landing, which would result in a recession, slowing economic growth but also ultimately bringing inflation down. Following the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Jerome Powell, chair of the Fed, said a soft landing was not a baseline expectation for the Fed in its fight against inflation.

“The rise in delinquencies is indicative of increasing strain on consumers,” Peter Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, told the DCNF. “Over the past three-and-a-half years, we’ve had widespread unemployment, an uneven recovery, and then both the highest inflation and the most aggressive rate-hiking campaign in four decades. Inflation is still substantially elevated. Unemployment is rising faster now, the economy is slowing under the strain of higher borrowing costs, and bills are going unpaid.”

Inflation peaked under Biden at 9.1% in June 2022 but has decelerated since despite remaining elevated, measuring at 3.7% in both August and September, far from the Fed’s 2% target. In response, the Fed has raised its federal funds rate to a range of 5.25% and 5.50%, the highest point in 22 years, over the course of 11 rate hikes starting in March 2022.

“People respond to incentives,” Kedia told the DCNF. “The government provided massive amounts of fiscal stimulus that was marketed as a one-time gift. People used this windfall to purchase goods and services — perhaps these included down payments on durable items that are now getting difficult to pay back loans on.”

The Biden administration has pushed a number of big government spending bills, including the American Rescue Plan signed in March 2021 that provided $1.9 trillion in stimulus checks, debt bailouts and more. The president also signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which approved $750 billion in new spending, a large amount going to climate initiatives.

“In September 2023, for the fourth month in a row, real spending outpaced real income growth,” Earle told the DCNF. “This suggests that a large and growing portion of recent US spending has been drawn from savings and financed by borrowing. Although wages and salaries increased in September 2023, disposable income declined for the third consecutive month, signaling that American consumers have been saving less to support current and future spending. Not only does this mean that they are living beyond their means, but they are tremendously vulnerable to an unanticipated economic shock.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

AUTHOR

WILL KESSLER

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: The US Could Have Trouble Attracting Lenders To Foot The Bill For Its Massive Debt Deluge, Experts Say

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Berkshire Hathaway Reports $12.8 Billion Loss Amid Falling Investments

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported a substantial loss of nearly $13 billion in the third quarter of the year.

The company disclosed that it lost $12.8 billion, equivalent to $8,824 per Class A share, for the quarter, according to Associated Press (AP). This loss is significantly larger than the $2.8 billion loss, or $1,907 per Class A share, that Berkshire Hathaway reported for the same period last year.

The majority of these losses are unrealized, as Berkshire Hathaway did not sell most of its stocks, with its largest holding being a significant stake in Apple. Accounting rules mandate that the company include the value of its investments in its earnings. At the end of the quarter, Berkshire Hathaway valued its investments at $341.1 billion, a decrease from the previous quarter when it reported a value of $353 billion, the outlet added.

Buffett has long emphasized that investors should focus on Berkshire Hathaway’s operating earnings, which exclude the varying value of its investments from quarter to quarter. Berkshire reported that its operating profit surged by nearly 41% to $10.8 billion, or $7,437.15 per Class A share, up from $7.65 billion, or $5,215.60 per Class A share, in the same quarter the previous year.

The company’s overall portfolio spans various industries, including insurance, transportation (BNSF railroad), utilities, and manufacturing and retail firms. The company continues to maintain a significant cash position, with $157.2 billion in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, up from $147.4 billion at the end of the second quarter, AP further reported.

AUTHOR

MARIANE ANGELA

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Congress Needs To Save Small Businesses, Warren Buffett Says Urging Coronavirus Relief

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Total Agency Loan Volume Is Projected to Decline 15-30% From Its Series Low Set in January 2023

By Edward J. Pinto | Tobias Peter | Sissi Li

PDF to full report

Key takeaways:

  • The median purchase rate rose 1/8 ppts. to 7 5/8% in week 42, setting a new series record.
  • Mortgage News Daily reported a daily avg. 30-year rate of 7.90% on October 24th.
  • Purchase volume was down 46% from the same week in 2019 and down 31% YTD compared to 2019.
  • Y-o-y HPA was 4.8% in September 2023, up from 4.6% in August 2023 but down from 8.9% in September 2022. It is projected to remain around 5% for October and November 2023.
  • Despite the subdued rate of purchase activity and historically high rates, y-o-y HPA has begun to accelerate. This is because buyers are well-qualified and highly motivated by a historically tight supply. Cooling, yet still strong job numbers, low levels of foreclosures in most areas, work from home, and continued home price arbitrage opportunities provide further support for robust HPA.
  • As interest rates have moved sharply higher since mid-2022, no cash-out volume has disappeared almost entirely. Cash-out volume has also contracted sharply due to higher rates, but has hovered between 30,000 to 42,0000 loans since November 2022. This is down over 80% from a peak of 250,000 loans in October 2021.
  • Up until recently, purchase volume had been less affected by mortgage rate changes but had also shown a clear seasonal pattern over the last 10 years. With the exception of the pandemic disruptions of 2020, volume consistently peaks in June with a trough in January.
  • For the mortgage industry, things will almost certainly get worse before they get better. We are expecting the total agency loan volume (refi and purchase loans combined) to decrease to 125,000-150,000 by January 2024. This would be a 15%-30% decline from the series low (combined volume of 175,000) set in January 2023.

EDITORS NOTE: This AEI report is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

UN Refugee Fund for Gaza Is Being Used to Finance Terrorism and Anti-Semitism, Experts Say

In the wake of the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas terrorists that killed over 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7, increased scrutiny is being centered on the ideology that fueled the barbarity that took place. Experts say that funds allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have not only been funneled to terrorists in Gaza, but have also been used to fund educational materials for Palestinian youth that is rife with anti-Semitism.

UNRWA was established in 1949 by the U.N. General Assembly with the original purpose of aiding the refugees that resulted from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Since then, the fund has been renewed almost every year and has grown astronomically to a current annual budget of over $1 billion. The Biden administration contributed $153.7 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to the fund in June, which the UNRWA commissioner claimed would “help us keep over 700 schools and 140 health centres open over the next months.” For decades, however, the fund has been embroiled in controversy, as reviews of the fund’s expenditures showed that a significant amount of money was going to terror-group affiliates.

In 2018, the Trump administration ended funding for UNRWA due to the corruption that was uncovered. A report found that less than 5% of the population that it funded actually met the original definition of a “refugee.” But as experts have observed, this was only the tip of the iceberg. It was found that a number of the UNRWA staff working in Gaza had personal ties to terrorism and that “UNRWA schools in Gaza have been used by Hamas to launch rockets against Israel.”

What has become particularly distressing to observers is how the money is being used to fund schools that indoctrinate Palestinian youth to hate Israel and the Jewish people. On Monday, Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, joined “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss the situation.

“Our first report on Palestinian schoolbooks … was in 1998, and they were filled with poison,” he explained. “At that time … [an] American representative said, ‘I read this material and I wanted to vomit.’ It’s just unimaginable.’ Americans condemned it then, and the United States continued funding the Palestinian Authority year after year after year, knowing what was happening already then.

Marcus continued, “[W]e did a report in 2007, which I decided to release in the Senate, and I turned to Hillary Clinton. I wanted a Democrat … someone who would [not] be automatically pro-Israel. And she appeared at a press conference with me … [and] said, ‘The Palestinians are profoundly poisoning the minds of their children.’ And that was 2007. I call the Palestinians who are running through the streets today murdering Israelis, the Hamas, as well as the Palestinian Authority, Fatah people, the mainstream. They are the poisoned generation. They were brought up on hate, on demonization. And that’s what we have today.”

Marcus went on to describe the specific beliefs that have been espoused by religious authorities in Gaza.

“Mahmoud Abbas is the head of the Palestinian Authority — he’s seen as the moderate,” he noted. “He has a personal adviser on Islam … name[ed] Mahmoud al-Habash. He went on TV and he said that the Jews have been the enemies of Islam since the beginning of time, literally since the time of Adam. … [He also said] when you see a Jew, it actually might be Satan in the form of a human. … He literally said that the Jews are subhuman. [He also] said that the Jews are humanoids — creatures that Allah created in the form of humans but aren’t really humans. So you’ve got the top religious figure in the Palestinian Authority [saying] that Jews are actually subhuman, either Satan or animals, but they’re humanoids, so of course you can kill them.”

Marcus also pointed out that Palestinian textbooks for schoolchildren include quotes from a hadith (an Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad) that commands Muslims to kill Jews, and that TV programs owned and controlled by the Palestinian Authority teach children similar lessons. “Children have said they’ve learned in school to hate the Jews and kill them,” he noted. “We’ve had many, many chants and children’s programs where they talk about the Jews being the descendants of apes and pigs. … And one of the worst things that they’ve taught these kids is that they should go out and die for Allah, that if they [fight] against Jews and they’re killed, that’s the best thing that can happen to them.”

Perkins further wondered if peace is possible when Palestinian youth are taught that Israel has no right to exist.

“They deny Israel the right to exist as a state, and they deny Jews the right to exist as individuals,” Marcus somberly emphasized. “Those two together make peace impossible.”

AUTHOR

Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Simple Econ 101’: Here’s How California’s E-Truck Push Could Hamstring The American Economy

  • California’s push to electrify the heavy-duty trucking fleet in the state is likely to hurt independent trucking operators and drive up costs for goods across the entire American economy, experts on California policy and the trucking industry told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • California will ban the sale of new diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks starting in 2036, and trucking companies that move products between state’s ports and distribution hubs will not be allowed to register new diesel trucks with the state starting in 2024, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  • The state’s policies will require more trucks “to haul the same amount of freight” and “have a real impact on the supply chain and the cost and reliability of transportation for the goods that consumers depend on every day,” Jeremy Kirkpatrick, a spokesperson for the American Trucking Association, told the DCNF.

California’s push to transition diesel trucks to electric models in the coming years is likely to damage the state’s trucking industry as well as the larger American economy, experts on California policy and the trucking industry told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

California law will ban the sale of new diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks in the state starting in 2036, and trucking companies that move products between the state’s ports and distribution hubs will not be allowed to register new diesel trucks starting in 2024, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The policies could drive up costs for operators and consumers, an outcome that would hurt the overall U.S. economy, given that California’s 12 ports handle approximately 40% of all imported containers to the U.S. and 30% of all of its shipping container exports, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

“There are serious issues with range and charge times, operability in cold weather environments and reduced payloads because of the battery weight,” Jeremy Kirkpatrick, a spokesperson for the American Trucking Association, told the DCNF. “That means more trucks will be needed to haul the same amount of freight. All of this will have a real impact on the supply chain and the cost and reliability of transportation for the goods that consumers depend on every day.”

The state’s policies effectively mandate that nearly all of the state’s freight hauling, package delivery and box trucks would be zero-emission vehicles by no later than 2045, according to the office of Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Without incentives, electric trucks are nearly three times more expensive up front than a diesel powered rig, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), President Joe Biden’s signature climate bill, provides incentives that can cover about $40,000 of the overall cost of electric trucks, which have an average cost of about $400,000, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

“Electric trucks in particular have limited range based on numerous factors (weight, outside air temperature, etc.), and many cannot operate much over 250 miles before needing to be recharged (diesels can operate well over 1,000 miles depending on fuel tank size),” Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs and communications for the Western States Trucking Association, told the DCNF. “The recharging times (supposing there are sufficient charging points), can take hours, not minutes as with diesel. This takes away significantly from the hours of service drivers are allowed daily under both state and federal regulations.”

“As trucks time out, many will not be replaced, reducing the required number of available trucks to California ports and rail yards,” Rajkovacz continued. “It is simple Econ 101; when a shortage hits, prices go up.”

California’s policies on truck emissions are the strictest in the nation and are oriented around the state’s goal to achieve an overall emissions reduction of 85% by 2045, according to Newsom’s office.

“These vehicles are far more expensive and cost-prohibitive for most truckers,” Kirkpatrick told the DCNF. He added that “96% of trucking companies in this country are small businesses operating ten trucks or fewer. The charging infrastructure is nowhere near in place, and even if it was, there’s not electricity on the grid to power the fleet.”

There were less than 700 electric truck chargers across the entire state as of July, and the state estimates that more than 150,000 new chargers will be required in order to power the fleet of the future, according to The Wall Street Journal. California’s grid already struggles to comfortably meet periods of peak demand, as the state’s grid operator issued “Flex Alerts” over a 10-day period in September 2022 urging residents to turn up their thermostats during the late afternoon and evening hours to conserve energy amid a heatwave.

The potential problems of an electrified trucking fleet will not be exclusive to California, as eight other states have opted into at least some of California’s rules for truck emissions. Those states are Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont, according to CARB.

“There are new technologies coming fast and mandating pure electric vehicles closes off innovation and creates obsolete trucks within a few years,” Edward Ring, senior fellow for the California Policy Center. told the DCNF. “Meanwhile, our entire fleet gets sidelined and countless independent truckers are wiped out.”

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor

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‘A Hit Job On Michigan And On Detroit’: Trump Calls Biden EV Push A ‘Government Assassination’ Of Auto Jobs

Former President Donald Trump ripped President Joe Biden’s push for electric vehicles, calling it a “hit job” on Detroit and the auto industry.

Trump spoke in Clinton Township, Michigan, to a crowd of union workers instead of attending a debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, that aired on Fox Business Network Wednesday. Trump currently leads a 42.2% lead over Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida among Republican primary voters in the Real Clear Politics average of polls from Sept. 14 though September 26, drawing 56.6% of the vote, compared to 14.4% for the Florida governor.

WATCH:

“Biden’s mandate isn’t a government regulation. It’s a government assassination of your jobs and of your industry. The auto industry is being assassinated, and it makes no difference what you get,” Trump told those attending the speech. “I don’t care what you get in the next two weeks or three weeks or five weeks, they’re gonna be closing up and they’re going to be building those cars in China and other places. It’s a hit job on Michigan and on Detroit.”

The UAW walked off the job at three auto manufacturing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri at midnight Sept. 15, after failing to reach an agreement with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler). The union sought a four-day work week and a 36% salary increase over five years, according to Bloomberg.

“But on the electric vehicles, this year to comply with the mandate, a sixty thousand loss. They’re gonna lose sixty thousand dollars for every car produced. That sounds like a great deal, but honestly, for UAW and for auto workers and for everybody and for the country, it’s not sustainable,” Trump said.

Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which spends $370 billion to combat climate change, into law in August 2022. The legislation is loaded with green energy provisions, including a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles.

Despite Biden’s push for electric vehicles, the Biden administration blocked efforts to start mining for copper and nickel near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in January, the Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency made a determination Jan. 31 that would block the mining of 1.4 billion tons of copper, gold, molybdenum, silver and rhenium in Alaska in order to protect salmon.

AUTHOR

HAROLD HUTCHISON

Reporter.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

BIDENOMICS: China Dumps Nearly $500 Billion in U.S. Bonds

Countries continue divesting from U.S. Treasury Bonds.

World’s second-largest economy offloaded US$13.6 billion worth of US debt in July

But China still remains the second-largest foreign holder of US Treasury bills, having been surpassed by Japan in mid-2019

By: Frank Chen, South China · Post 19 Sep, 2023

Amid persistent concerns over the safety of its overseas assets – most of which are US dollar-denominated – China has slashed its holdings of United States Treasury bills for the fourth straight month.

[..]

The world’s second-largest economy offloaded US$13.6 billion worth of US debt in July, bringing China’s holdings to US$821.8 billion, according to the latest data from the US Department of the Treasury.
China’s overall holding of US debt remains at a 14-year low, after reaching that level in June.

Beijing has been continuously cutting China’s US debt holdings since early 2022, with two exceptions – in March of this year and July 2022, when it increased holdings by US$20.3 billion and US$320 million, respectively.

Beijing remains the second-largest foreign holder of US Treasury bills after being surpassed by Japan in June 2019.

The reduction in US Treasury bills holdings between March 2022 and this past July – China dumped US$191.4 billion, Japan slashed US$116.5 billion, Ireland cut US$44.4 billion, Brazil shed US$8.6 billion and Singapore got rid of US$4.8 billion – was partly because of the slew of aggressive US interest rate hikes that have dampened bond prices.

Keep reading.

AUTHOR

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There’s an Easy Fix That Would Solve Our Housing Crisis: Light Touch Density

We’re living through one of the greatest housing crunches the U.S. has ever known. It’s resulted in record numbers of homelessness and entire generations certain they will never become homeowners, that critical milestone of the middle class. But there is a simple solution to the problem. The answer to our housing crisis is to legalize duplexes, triplexes, and other forms of light-touch density (LTD) housing, allowing the market to build more affordable housing options for more Americans.

The reason this is the solution to our housing crisis is simple: It increases the supply of housing for middle-income households, when what we have now is the opposite—long-standing exclusionary zoning laws that limit most areas of the nation to single-family detached homes, banning LTD homes.

LTD housing can take many forms: duplexes, triplexes, quads through eight-plexes, townhouses, cottage courts, accessory dwelling units, and other similar structure types. By allowing more units on a single parcel of land, LTD is both naturally affordable and naturally inclusionary, creating upward mobility naturally through a more accessible housing market. All it takes is repealing the laws that ban it.

This is already happening across the nation. California, Austin, and Vermont have each passed legislation entitled HOME. In California, it stands for Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency; in Austin, Home Options for Middle-Income Empowerment, and in Vermont, Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone. What these and other enactments have in common is a recognition that the solution to our nation’s worsening housing crunch is to repeal zoning laws that only allow the building of single family detached housing.

How did we end up with such laws? If you look back over the first 70 years of the 20th century, housing was generally abundant and affordable to people of all classes, though racial and ethnic segregation was of course rampant. As renowned planner John Nolan observed in 1917, building a range of housing types on varying lot sizes helps to ensure that new housing could be built that wage earners could afford. For example, in New England in 1940, duplexes, triple deckers, and four-plexes comprised one-third of the region’s housing stock and offered naturally affordable housing to the masses. Boarding homes were common as homeowners could help pay their mortgage by letting out rooms for a small fee (much like Airbnb today). For newcomers or those who had fallen on hard times, single-room occupancy buildings around bus and train stations provided a safety net in the form of cheap short-term housing. In 1970, even San Francisco was affordable.

But the economic inclusiveness and the threat of racial integration that came with these housing variations also posed a potential threat to the status quo—one that proved to be unbearable to certain segments of our government that were invested in segregation. They realized that zoning laws could be used to raise prices and rents, making homes unaffordable to Blacks, Jews, and Eastern and Southern Europeans. At the encouragement of the U.S. Commerce Department, states and municipalities started to adopt zoning laws in the 1920s, which restricted most of the nation’s residential land to more expensive single-family detached homes, while outlawing or excluding other, more affordable housing options.

These zoning policies ultimately replaced private property rights with vague and nebulous communal rights—think of the Not-In-My-Backyard or NIMBY movement—and the opinions of city planners. In so doing, they made homes and land scarce and expensive. In short, land use regulations prevented the market from building more housing, especially in high-demand places where people with well-paying jobs lived.

With the market constrained, demand eventually started to outstrip supply in high-demand cities. Home prices started to rise faster than incomes, leading to increased unaffordability. Across the country, once-affordable neighborhoods gradually priced out existing residents and potential newcomers; high prices make even older, smaller homes unaffordable to moderate-income buyers and renters.

Nowhere is this trend more visible than in California, which had home prices relative to incomes that was about on par with the national average in the 1970s. Since then, a booming economy coupled with restrictive land use regulations gave bureaucrats and NIMBYs the ability to delay for years or even stop the market from responding to any additional demand. Today, California’s home prices relative to incomes are about double the rest of the country.

To tackle today’s housing crunch, we need to build more housing to undo the damage done by misguided zoning policies. The key is to return to the light-touch density housing types of the early 20th Century.

By implementing by-right LTD across the country, an estimated 930,000 additional housing units could be created annually (depending on the maximum allowed density) over the next 30 to 40 years. This moderate density increase would expand the construction of more naturally affordable and inclusionary housing, thereby keeping home prices more aligned with incomes and keeping housing displacement pressures low.

Houston is an example of how a city can experience rapid population and wage growth and not sacrifice affordability. In 1998, as reported by Zillow, mid-tier home prices nationally and for the Houston metro were the same, while Los Angeles’ metro’s homes were 76 percent above the national level. Houston implemented a LTD law authorizing much smaller lots in 1998. By 2023, homes in the Houston metro area were 13 percent below the national level, while Los Angeles’ had risen to 160 percent above the national level. This goes a long way toward explaining why LA’s homeless rate in 2021 was 11 times that of Houston’s.

Rather than disciplined, knowledge-based policy solutions, others choose the path of scapegoating investment firms that buy up single-family homes for their unaffordability. But this reasoning fundamentally misdiagnoses the problem. While it’s true that such investor purchases have recently increased, this narrative ignores the fact that the rise in home prices long pre-dates this trend. Moreover, 50 percent of the purchases of single-family homes were made by people who own less than 10 homes, in other words, mom and pop investors. Just 10 percent are owned by mega-investors with 1,000 properties or more, as CoreLogic pointed out.

This is all cause for optimism. Knowledge based solutions are prevailing. States such as California, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana and cities such as Austin, Minneapolis, and Charlotte have also already passed reforms scaling back single-family detached zoning laws and legalizing LTD zoning. Many more jurisdictions are considering similar reforms.

Legalizing light-touch density is the most effective and politically palatable way to solve our housing crisis. LTD zoning unleashes the private sector to close the housing supply gap and provide more housing opportunities and affordable homes for more Americans.

Originally appeared in Newsweek

AUTHOR

Edward J. Pinto

Senior Fellow and Codirector, AEI Housing Center.

RELATED ARTICLE: Prevalence of GSE Appraisal Waivers

EDITORS NOTE: This AEI column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Inflation Surges Above Expectations Despite Fed’s Rate Hikes

Inflation rose significantly in August, marking the second month in a row that inflation has ticked up, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release on Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a broad measure of the prices of everyday goods, increased 3.7% on an annual basis in August, compared to 3.2% in July, according to the BLS. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile categories of energy and food, remained high, rising 4.3% year-over-year in August, compared to 4.7% in July.

“This will be the second acceleration in a row, showing that inflation is anything but dead,” E.J. Antoni, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Although we’ve been told that inflation has been trending back towards 2%, that’s false. If anything, the annualized monthly data show it was trending towards 3% and is now climbing again.”

The rise in inflation was partly driven by an increase in the price of gasoline, accounting for half of the total gain, with the energy index rising 5.6% for the month. The second largest contributor to the increase was the price of shelter, which has risen for the past 40 months in a row.

The Federal Reserve, in an attempt to lower inflation, has raised its federal funds rate to the highest point since 2001 after a series of 11 rate hikes, bringing the current rate to a range of 5.25% and 5.50%. The Fed will announce on Sept. 20 whether it will raise rates again at the conclusion of its Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

Jerome Powell, chair of the Fed, hinted in August at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium that the Fed will raise rates if factors like high inflation, a hot labor market and sustained growth continue.

The job market has cooled in recent months, with August only adding 187,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs. The number of jobs added for June and July were both revised down to reflect further softening, adding 80,000 and 30,000 fewer than was previously reported, respectively.

GDP grew less than previously thought for the second quarter of 2023, with the economy growing 2.1% instead of the 2.4% that was originally reported.

“I expect the Fed will continue with a combination of pauses and 25-basis-point hikes for several more months, while continuing to slowly run off the balance sheet,” Antoni told the DCNF. “To put the inflation of the last two and a half years in perspective, roughly all of the household net wealth generated over that time has been confiscated by the government through the hidden tax of inflation.”

AUTHOR

WILL KESSLER

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Discouraging’: Small Business Owners Sour On Economy As Inflation Picks Back Up

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Share of U.S. Born Men in the Labor Force Declined Dramatically Since the 1960s

The following study is from the Center for Immigration Studies that looks at the decades-long decline in labor force participation among the U.S. born men and women and its implications for immigration policy.

Working-Age, but Not Working in California

Share of U.S.-born men in the labor force declined dramatically since the 1960s

Washington, D.C. (August 31, 2023) – A new analysis of government data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows the dramatic decline in the labor force participation of working-age U.S.-born men over the past six decades nationally and in California, particularly for men without a bachelor’s degree. One of the arguments for allowing in so many immigrants is that the low unemployment rate means that no potential workers are available. But this ignores the massive increase in the number of working-age (16 to 64) people not in the labor force in states like California who do not show up as unemployed because they are not actively looking for work.

“There is consensus that the enormous decline in labor force participation in states like California is contributing to serious problems such as social isolation, drug addiction, and crime,” said Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research and lead author of the report. “It seems very unlikely we will ever address this issue if immigration remains high and businesses can simply turn to immigrant workers to fill jobs.”

Among the Findings:

  • The labor force participation rate of working-age (16 to 64) U.S.-born men in California fell from 91 percent in 1960 to 82 percent by 2000 and was just 75 percent in April of this year.
  • Among U.S.-born women (16 to 64) in California, 68 percent were in the labor force in April 2023, down some from the 70 percent in 2000. The labor force participation of U.S.-born women California was traditionally much lower than men’s, but increased dramatically after 1960, peaking in 2000 and remaining roughly the same since.
  • Research shows the fall-off in labor force participation is associated with profound social problems such as overdose deaths, crime, suicide, and welfare dependency — to say nothing of the fiscal and economic damage.
  • At the same time that the labor force participation rate of the U.S.-born was falling, the immigrant share of the overall labor force in the state tripled from 11 percent in 1960 to 34 percent in 2023.
  • Working-age immigrant men in California have not experienced the same decline in their labor force participation, though the rate did decline from 91 percent to 87 percent between 1960 and 2000, it has changed little since 2000.

Among Men Without a Bachelor’s Degree:

  • The participation rate of U.S.-born men (16 to 64) in California without a bachelor’s fell from 90 percent in 1960, to 78 percent in 2000, to just 68 percent in 2023.
  • The participation rate of “prime age” (25 to 54) U.S.-born men in the state without a bachelor’s declined from 97 percent in 1960, to 89 percent in 2000, to just 81 percent in 2023.
  • While the overall participation rate of U.S.-born women (16 to 64) overall has changed relatively little since 2000 in California, the rate for U.S.-born women without a bachelor’s declined significantly from 67 percent in 2000 to 60 percent by 2023.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT.

©2023. Center for Immigration Studies. All rights reserved.

Chinese Parent Behind Company Building Michigan Battery Plants Employs 923 CCP Members

The Chinese parent company of Gotion Inc., which intends to build two electric battery plants in Michigan, employs 923 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members, including its CEO, according to its 2022 ESG report.

The Fremont, California-based Gotion Inc. — which is “wholly owned and controlled” by Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co., according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing — seeks to “invest $2.4 billion to construct two 550,000-square-foot production plants” for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Big Rapids, Michigan, Fox News reported.

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supports Gotion’s plan, and the Biden administration approved the project in June. However, some Republicans have raised red flags over Gotion’s CCP ties through its parent company Gotion High-Tech.

While Gotion Inc.’s representatives deny CCP influence, Chinese-language documents show its Hefei-based parent company is led by a CCP member and employs hundreds more of them.

“Gotion High-Tech founded a CCP branch in 2010 that was upgraded to a CCP committee in 2014,” reads Gotion High-Tech’s 2022 ESG Report. “The CCP committee’s subunits are two CCP general branches and 11 party branches, currently with 923 CCP members, among which over 50% hold master’s degrees or higher.”

Gotion High-Tech’s CEO, Li Zhen, is also identified as the party secretary for the firm’s CCP committee within a section of the 2022 ESG report highlighting the company’s 2022 “party building work situation.”

“The company’s party secretary for its CCP committee, chairman of the board of directors, Li Zhen, led a portion of CCP member representatives, company leader groups and every level of core personnel on a road trip to Anhui province’s Jinzhai Revolutionary Martyr’s Memorial Tower, to tour the Red Army Memorial Hall and Jinzhai Revolutionary Museum,” the firm’s ESG report states.

View Hefei Gotion2022 ESG Report

Questions about Gotion’s CCP-ties arose after The Midwesterner reported that Gotion High-Tech’s “Articles of Association” state that: “The Company shall set up a Party organization and carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. The Company shall ensure necessary conditions for carrying out Party activities. The secretary of the Party committee shall be the chairman.”

In August 2023, Politico reported that Gotion’s North American manufacturing vice president Chuck Thelen criticized those who cited this language in the China-based parent company’s Articles of Association.

Thelen, Politico reported, has insisted that there is no such language in the U.S.-based company’s articles of incorporation. Thelen said the Chinese Communist Party has no presence in the North American company.

“‘The rumors that you’ve heard about us bringing communism to North America are just flat-out fear-mongering and really have nothing based in reality,’” Politico quoted Thelen as saying.

Likewise, an unnamed spokesperson for Gotion told Fox News: “Gotion Inc. makes it very clear in the [Foreign Agents Registration Act] filing that it is not supervised, directed, controlled or financed by any foreign government or foreign political party. … It’s unequivocally spelled out in the FARA document.”

However, lawmakers remain concerned, given that Gotion’s proposed Michigan battery plant will “be located within 60 miles of military armories and 100 miles from Camp Grayling, the country’s largest U.S. National Guard training facility,” Fox News reported.

Camp Grayling occupies 148,000 acres and hosts live-fire combat training exercises, according to its website.

Gotion did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Li Zhen could not be reached for comment.

AUTHOR

PHILIP LENCZYCKI

Daily Caller News Foundation investigative reporter, political journalist, and China watcher. Twitter: @LenczyckiPhilip.

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