The 33 States Where Our Tax Dollars Go To Support The Non-Working Class

The Cato Institute released an updated 2016 study showing that welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job in 33 American states, and the District of Columbia.

Even worse, welfare pays more than $15 per hour to stay home in 13 states.

According to the study, welfare benefits have increased faster than minimum wage. It’s now more profitable to sit at home and watch TV than it is to earn an honest day’s pay.

Hawaii is the biggest offender, where welfare recipients earn $29.13per hour, or a $60,590 yearly salary for doing nothing.

Here is the list of the states where the pre-tax equivalent “salary” that welfare recipients receive is higher than having a job:

  1. Hawaii : $60,590
  2. District of Columbia :$50,820
  3. Massachusetts : $50,540
  4. Connecticut : $44,370
  5. New York : $43,700
  6. New Jersey : $43,450
  7. Rhode Island : $43,330
  8. Vermont : $42,350
  9. New Hampshire:39,750
  10. Maryland : $38,160
  11. California : $37,160
  12. Oregon : $34,300
  13. Wyoming : $32,620
  14. Nevada : $29,820
  15. Minnesota : $29,350
  16. Delaware : $29,220
  17. Washington : $28,840
  18. North Dakota : $28,830
  19. Pennsylvania : $28,670
  20. New Mexico : $27,900
  21. Montana : $26,930
  22. South Dakota : $26,610
  23. Kansas: $26,490
  24. Michigan : $26,430
  25. Alaska : $26,400
  26. Ohio : $26,200
  27. North Carolina : $25,760
  28. West Virginia : $24,900
  29. Alabama : $23,310
  30. Indiana : $22,900
  31. Missouri : $22,800
  32. Oklahoma : $22,480
  33. Louisiana : $22,250
  34. South Carolina : $21,910

Hawaii, D.C. and Massachusetts pay more in welfare than the average wage their taxpaying citizens earn there.

Is it any wonder that they stay home rather than look for a job. Time for a drastic change. Americans are not stupid.

Note that California is $18.50 an hour. Are we Nuts or what? How do we undo this type of stupidity

Politicians on the Gravy Train

Now if you think paying the unemployed more than the employed s bad, check out these salaries:

  • Salary of retired United States Presidents $180,000 FOR LIFE Salary of House/Senate—$174,000 FOR LIFE.
  • Salary of Speaker of the House $223,500 FOR LIFE!
  • Salary of Majority/Minority Leader $193,400 FOR LIFE!

NOTE: The average Salary of a teacher—$40,065; Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN—$38,000.

Nancy Pelosi will retire as a Congress Person at $174,000 Dollars a year for LIFE. She will retire as SPEAKER at $223,500 a year Plus she will receive an additional $193,400 a year for when she was Minority Leader, the fact that she has become rich while in office notwithstanding. That’s $803,700 Dollars a year for LIFE including FREE medical which is not available to us, the taxpayers.

She is just one of the hundreds of Senators and Congresspersons that float in and out of Congress every year!

I think we found where the cuts should be made! From the state houses to the White House.

If you agree please share this column with your friends and on your social media sites.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: States Where Welfare Recipients Are Paid More Than Minimum Wage

Iran has made $44,700,000,000 in Illegal Oil Sales since Biden took office

Biden’s handlers’ relentless determination to appease the Islamic Republic has ended up lavishly financing the global jihad.

Cash Bonanza: Iran Has Made $44.7 Billion in Illegal Oil Sales Since Biden Took Office

by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, August 2, 2022:

Iran’s illegal oil trade has boomed under the Biden administration, with the hardline regime selling more than $44 billion worth of its heavily sanctioned oil to malign regimes like China, Syria, and Venezuela, according to figures published by a watchdog group.

From January 2021, when President Joe Biden took office, to June 2022, Iran sold around $44.7 billion in oil primarily to China. The regime’s export revenues between March 2021 and March 2022 from oil, gas, and related products “totaled $39 billion, compared [with] $22 billion for the previous year—a rise of 77 percent and an extra $17 billion,” according to United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), a watchdog group that tracks Iran’s network of illegal oil tankers.

“This drastic increase in revenue is not surprising when you look at the increase in oil exports that have occurred under the Biden administration,” UANI chief of staff Claire Jungman told the Washington Free Beacon. “This is the result of terminally lax sanctions enforcement.”

In addition to looser sanctions on Iran, the Biden administration has turned a blind eye to enforcement as it seeks to ink a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal. These moves are meant to appease Iran and cajole it into signing a deal that will remove virtually all sanctions on the hardline regime, including its oil trade. China is the primary beneficiary of this policy, with Iranian oil imports quadrupling to the country in 2021 to $23.1 billion. The China-Iran oil pipeline is on pace to hit around $27 billion in 2022, according to UANI’s figures.

If sanctions on Iran are lifted as part of a new nuclear deal, Iran-China trade could reach around $60 billion per year, according to one former U.S. official.

“China made a mockery of the credibility of our sanctions programs and emboldened rogue actors across the world to follow suit,” Gabriel Noronha, a State Department special adviser for Iran during the Trump administration, told the Free Beacon.

Iran’s foreign currency reserves— which were nearly drained under the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign—will have “increased nearly tenfold by the end of this year,” according to Noronha.

“The United States refused to enforce its sanctions even while Iran was continuing to advance its nuclear program and its regional terror attacks,” Noronha said. “The result was that Iran’s economy revived itself.”

This financial relief gave Iran a cushion and lessened pressure that could have forced it into accepting a more stringent nuclear deal.

“The Iranian leadership does not feel pressure to finalize the nuclear deal because they’ve already enjoyed the benefits of effective sanctions relief,” Noronha said. “The fact that the Biden administration can’t even manage a return to the notoriously weak [nuclear deal] is evidence of the sheer diplomatic malpractice carried out by the Biden administration, particularly Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. envoy for Iran Rob Malley.”

As Iran and China boost their oil alliance, the U.S. emergency crude stockpiles dropped to their lowest levels in 37 years. This comes after the Biden administration agreed to sell China several million barrels from the U.S. stores, sparking a congressional investigation….

AUTHOR

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

China Launches World’s Largest Container Ship

Our friend LC wrote the following to us,

I remember hanging a picture of the worlds largest new container ship on my office wall it was owned by Mitsui Ocean Lines (Japanese) and it held either 1,400 or 1,700 TEUs containers (cannot remember for sure, but it was gigantic). And that was only maybe 35 yrs. ago at most. Today, Mediterranean Steamship Corp. (Switzerland) launched a new vessel that holds 24,116 TEUs. Now that is really big, times have changed.

Future World’s Largest Containership Launched in China

Mike Schuler

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has announced the launched of what is claimed to be the world’s largest capacity containership coming in at 24,116 TEUs.
The ship, named MSC Tessa, was floated out of its building dock at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding’s Changxing Shipbuilding Base, located on Shanghai’s Changxing Island, on August 1. Hudong Zhonghua is one of the major shipbuilding units belonging to state-owned CSSC.

With a carrying capacity of 24,116 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), MSC Tessa will surpass Evergreen’s Ever Alot by 112 TEU to take the title of the world’s largest containership.

Ever Alot, the world’s first 24,000 TEU containership, was also built by Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding and was only recently delivered in June to a subsidiary of Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine Corporation.

MSC Tessa measures in at 399.99 meters long with a beam of 61.5 meters. It is one of four ultra-large containerships on order at Hudong Zhonghua for Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s largest container shipping operator. Delivery is planned for later this year.

CSSC said in addition to the float out, MSC’s No. 4 newbuilding has now entered the building dock, joining No. 2 and No. 3, “forming a spectacular scene of batch construction.”
CSSC, which is a major shipbuilder for China’s PLA Navy, said MSC Tessa and the three other newbuilds, which will be classed by DNV, are designed independently by MSC and it holds no intellectual property rights to the design.

The shipbuilding conglomerate did however share the following design highlights:

  • Hybrid scrubber desulfurization unit
  • Small bulbous bow, large diameter propellers and energy-saving ducts
  • A new bubble drag reduction system which reduces total energy consumption corresponding total carbon emissions by 3%-4%
  • A new shaft generator system which can effectively reduce fuel consumption, optimize EEDI energy efficiency indicators, and reduce GHG emissions.
  • Optimized superstructure, radar mast, and other design features that maximize TEU capacity compared to similarly-sized ships (by dimensions)

QUESTION: Why isn’t America building the world’s largest container ships?

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

How Airline Regulations Hurt Passengers

To help passengers, airline regulations should be scrapped, not increased.


If you’ve been anywhere near an airport in the last two years, you’ve probably gathered that things in the airline industry have changed. Delays and cancelations are causing more headaches than ever, baggage mishandling is up, unruly passenger cases are up…it’s really a mess. Unsurprisingly, flight complaints remain significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The most common complaint category is refunds. Many passengers feel that airlines have been bad about issuing refunds for missed flights, and some have been calling on the government to do something about this problem.

On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation responded to these calls with new proposed regulations that would create stricter rules for airlines regarding refunds.

According to current regulations, airlines are required to give refunds if a flight is canceled, or if a flight experiences a “significant delay” or change and the passenger chooses not to travel. However, under the current rules, the airline gets to decide what constitutes a “significant delay.” Unsurprisingly, passengers don’t always agree with the decisions airlines make.

“In practice, the circumstances in which airlines are required to make refunds have often been subject to interpretation,” writes Alison Sider in the Wall Street Journal. “The government doesn’t define significant change or delay in current rules, leaving it up to airlines to determine that.”

The new rules being proposed by the DOT are designed to eliminate the ambiguity in the current rules. Under the proposed rules, refunds would be mandatory for passengers who choose not to fly if the departure or arrival time changes by more than 3 hours for a domestic flight or 6 hours for an international flight. The new rules would also require refunds for missed flights if there is a change in the departure or arrival airport, an added connection, or a change of aircraft that constitutes a “significant downgrade” in the traveler’s experience.

Aside from clarifying (and, in practice, expanding) when refunds are mandatory, the proposed rules would also require airlines to issue non-expiring vouchers for passengers who don’t want to fly because of public health concerns or who can’t fly due to public health regulations such as stay-at-home orders or border closures.

“When Americans buy an airline ticket, they should get to their destination safely, reliably and affordably,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. “This new proposed rule would protect the rights of travelers and help ensure they get the timely refunds they deserve from the airlines.”

At first glance, it’s easy to think that these regulations would be a pure win for consumers. After all, doesn’t it help to have more refunds and vouchers?

Yes, on the surface. But everything comes with a cost, and airline regulations are no exception. In a world of scarcity, you can’t get something for nothing. There’s no such thing as a free refund.

So where is the cost? Here, as in many cases, the cost is hidden, and it requires some digging in order to find it.

A good place to start is to look at this policy from the airline’s perspective. Now, this isn’t to say that airlines and their profit margins are the only thing that matters. Far from it. What I’m saying is, in order to help consumers, it’s important to understand how airlines make decisions and what incentives they face.

When an airline gets hit with a regulation, whether it be about safety or staffing or refund policies, the airline is essentially forced to take on additional costs. When they have to pay out more for refunds, for instance, their average cost per flight goes up. The result is a leftward shift in the supply curve and a higher price.

Now, some airlines may choose to offset the price increase by cutting back on other perks and services (meals etc.), but consumers ultimately pay somehow for the privilege of having their guaranteed refunds.

To give an analogy, say the DOT decided that, in the name of consumer welfare, every flight needed to have at least 20 flight attendants. Undoubtedly, consumers would have a better experience, but clearly that flight is going to be more expensive than a flight with fewer attendants.

The point is, there’s always a tradeoff between perks and price. Generous refund policies are nice to have, but just like generous staffing and generous safety standards, they come at a premium.

So far we’ve established that, all else equal, the more-consumer-friendly refund policies being proposed by the government will lead to higher prices because they impose higher costs on airlines. The benefit is that more people get refunds. The cost is more-expensive airfare.

So, is this a good tradeoff? Is the benefit to consumers worth the cost? To answer this question, we need to understand how markets deal with tradeoffs. Let’s begin by considering two hypothetical extremes.

Luxury Air is an airline that cares deeply about customer satisfaction. To show this, they have a very generous refund policy, even more generous than what the government requires. They will give anyone a refund for any reason at any time. Naturally, they have to charge a lot more than anyone else to stay in business with that kind of policy, so that’s what they do. Lots of perks. High prices.

Frugal Air is an airline that cares deeply about affordability. To show this, they have the lowest prices in town. They will always match their competitors. Naturally, they can’t afford to be very generous with their refund policies, so they don’t give any refunds for any reason. It’s a bit of a risk, but hey, you get what you pay for.

Now, back to the real world. In the free market, airlines begin by offering a combination of prices and perks somewhere along the spectrum from Frugal Air to Luxury Air. Then, consumers patronize the airlines that best satisfy their wishes. If consumers don’t think it’s worth it to pay for Luxury-Air-style refund policies, the businesses offering those flights will go under. Likewise, if consumers are turned off by “no refunds for any reason,” those kinds of policies will also be weeded out.

What we’re left with is the airlines that offer the optimal tradeoff between perks and price as judged by consumers. Thus, through a process akin to natural selection, consumers “choose” the refund policies and corresponding prices that best suit their wishes. The policies that the market “selects for” are the ones that consumers prefer the most. In other words, the market naturally gravitates toward a sort of goldilocks zone.

Now, consider what happens when a regulator comes in. Essentially, they mandate a specific spot on the Frugal-to-Luxury spectrum and force airlines to be “no less luxurious” than that. A mandate to provide refunds in certain circumstances is a mandate to provide extra perks, which invariably leads to higher prices. But—and this is the key—the “degree of luxury” they mandate is arbitrary, and the fact that they have to force the market up to it indicates that it is not in the goldilocks zone where consumers are happiest.

If consumers really believed those better refund policies were worth the extra expense, they would have favored airlines that offered that tradeoff, and the industry as a whole would have gone in that direction to maximize profits (that is, the goldilocks zone would be at a higher degree of luxury). The fact that the airlines aren’t offering them for the most part is all the evidence we need to conclude that consumers don’t think the benefit of more refunds is worth the cost. Thus, imposing a policy like this is most likely a net harm to consumers.

Again, the analogy to flight attendants is a bit easier to conceptualize. If the market is selecting for 3 attendants per flight and $100 tickets, a government mandate of 5 attendants per flight (which makes for, say, $120 tickets) pushes consumers away from their preferred perk/price combination. Hence, the regulation designed to help consumers ultimately ends up hurting them, because even though they got an extra benefit, it wasn’t worth the extra cost.

Consumers are perfectly capable of regulating airlines through their purchasing decisions—they do it every day. The DOT might think they’re helping, but they’re really not. Airline passengers are far better off when they, not bureaucrats, decide how airlines are run.

This article was adapted from an issue of the FEE Daily email newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free-market news and analysis like this in your inbox every weekday.

AUTHOR

Patrick Carroll

Patrick Carroll has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is an Editorial Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education.

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

HARVARD-CAPS HARRIS POLL: Biden Approval Remains at Historic Lows

Voters overwhelmingly believe we are in or headed for a recession. Inflation and affordability are the top issue across the political spectrum.


NEW YORK, NY /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) today released the results of the July Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll, a monthly collaboration between the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard (CAPS) and the Harris Poll, a Stagwell research and insights firm.

Four in ten voters report feeling pessimistic about their lives over the next year in the face of historic inflation levels and data suggest we are looking at another hyper-partisan election cycle. The topics surveyed in this month’s poll include the political impact of Roe vs. Wade, voter views on the Biden administration energy policy, the January 6 hearings, and the 2024 presidential election. Download key results here.

“Democrats can still hold onto hope ahead of the midterms, with the race a dead heat despite President Biden’s approval rating being at a historic low and nearly half of Americans believing the country is currently in a recession,” said Mark Penn, Co-Director of the Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll. “Looking to 2024, most voters are still open to a moderate independent candidate, but among Republicans, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is solidifying his status as the second choice. In these divided times, voters themselves seem to be holding contradictory opinions on issues such as energy policy and Trump’s legal culpability in the January 6 riots.”

GOP ON THE RISE AS ECONOMY STRUGGLES 
  • Biden’s approval remains at a historic low of 38%.
  • 84% think the economy is either in recession or will be within the next year.
  • Perceptions on inflation seem to have peaked slightly: 33% of voters, up from 28% last month, think the U.S. economy is strong today, and inflation – while still the number one issue facing the country – fell 6 points.
  • Approval rating of the Republican Party neared 50 percent for the first time since February 2022 in our poll – now 5 points higher than the Democratic party approval rating.
2022 MIDTERMS ARE IN DEAD HEAT, WITH INFLATION AND ROE VS. WADE AS THE DRIVING CONCERNS
  • The generic Congressional ballot is split 50-50, with Democrats and Republicans voting along party lines; Independents lean with Republicans 54-46
  • Inflation and affordability is overwhelmingly the biggest concerns for both Democrats and Republicans, followed by Abortion Rights for Democrats and Immigration for Republicans
  • Democrats have made little progress mobilizing on abortion so far: 39% of voters, up from 36% in June, say the Supreme Court’s decision has made them more likely to vote for a Democrat in the midterms
VOTERS SEEKING FRESH CHOICES ON THE BALLOT IN 2024
  • Voters are tired of hyper-partisanship: Strong majorities of over 6 in 10 voters don’t want either Joe Biden on Donald Trump to run in 2024
  • A majority open to considering a “moderate independent candidate” in case the choice is between Trump or Biden.
ENERGY POLICIES – VOTERS BLAME BIDEN, ARE SKEPTICAL ABOUT CLIMATE ‘EMERGENCY’ 
  • 59% of voters oppose the Biden administration’s energy and gas policies, and 63% think they are responsible for most of the increase in gas prices
  • 45% think climate change is an immediate threat, including 66% of Democrats and 41% of independents. Voters want the administration to emphasize lower prices and energy independence over climate change.
  • Climate change is an immediate threat to 45% of voters, including 66% of Democrats and 41% of independents
  • Voters are wary of the climate issue being politicized: Only four in ten say that an emergency climate declaration by the Biden administration would be legitimate
JAN 6. HEARINGS & ELECTORAL COUNT – VOTERS SPLIT ON DETAILS BUT WANT COUNTRY TO MOVE ON
  • Voters are split on how and whether Trump should be held responsible: 53% of voters think Trump should face criminal indictment for his actions on January 6, but 54% think he should be allowed to run for president again.
  • Nevertheless, 69% think it is time to unite the country and heal.
  • Voters are split 50-50 on whether Congress should be involved in certifying presidential elections instead of the courts. Still, clear majorities believe the role of the Vice President and state governors should be purely ceremonial.
THE U.S. ON A GLOBAL STAGE – TAIWAN 
  • 48% of voters think Taiwan is neutral towards the U.S., 36% think it is an ally, and 16% think it is an enemy
  • 52% of voters support senior U.S. government officials visiting Taiwan even if China has signaled it might act military to prevent them from doing so—surprisingly, 59% of Democrats support it, over 10 points higher than Republicans and Independents.

The July Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the United States from July 27-28, 2022, among 1,885 registered voters by The Harris Poll and HarrisX. Follow the Harvard CAPS Harris Poll podcast at https://www.markpennpolls.com/ or on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast platforms.

About The Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing.

About the Harvard Center for American Political Studies

The Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) is committed to and fosters the interdisciplinary study of U.S. politics. Governed by a group of political scientists, sociologists, historians, and economists within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, CAPS drives discussion, research, public outreach, and pedagogy about all aspects of U.S. politics. CAPS encourages cutting-edge research using a variety of methodologies, including historical analysis, social surveys, and formal mathematical modeling, and it often cooperates with other Harvard centers to support research training and encourage cross-national research about the United States in comparative and global contexts. More information at https://caps.gov.harvard.edu/.

About Stagwell

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 12,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

©All rights reserved.

The Democrat Economists in Charge of Deciding ‘If’ There’s a Recession

Why the Biden administration wants the “experts” to determine if there’s a recession.


Facebook is now censoring posts and videos about the Biden recession by using partisan fact-checks from left-leaning outlets to wrongly condemn them as “misinformation”.

The fact checks rely on the same argument being propounded by the Biden administration and its media allies that only the National Bureau of Economic Research and, more specifically, its Business Cycle Dating Committee, can officially decide if there’s a recession.

And anyone who isn’t on the Committee talking about a recession is spreading “misinformation”.

That’s an obvious problem because 2 out of 3 American voters, including even 53% of Democrats, believe that there’s a recession. That’s a whole lot of people to censor.

Totalitarian Communist regimes in Russia and China have criminalized discussions about domestic economic problems, and the American Left is trying to deploy its propaganda machine of partisan media outlets, fact checkers and Big Tech monopolies to duplicate their efforts.

It’s bound to fail.

Declaring that only a small group of “experts” is allowed to call it a recession despite the fact that two consecutive quarters of a shrinking economy is the definition of a recession is a gatekeeping fallacy.

And the experts are hardly any more objective than the fact checkers citing them.

Peter Blair Henry, the current vice chair of the National Bureau of Economic Research, was the head of the Obama campaign’s economics advisory team and then served on his transition team. And Henry has promoted Biden’s disastrous inflationary “Build Back Better” plan.

Of the eight economists on the Business Cycle Dating Committee, the team that the White House and the media insist are the only ones who get to decide if it’s a recession, several held posts in the Obama administration, and others were clearly aligned with the Democrats.

Christina and David Romer, a husband and wife team, already an innate conflict of interest, were described as “staunch Obama supporters” in an IMF profile. Romer had provided “briefing memos” to Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s radical economic adviser, during the campaign, and she went on to chair Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. In that role, she aggressively pushed for an even bigger “stimulus package” than the one that damaged the economy under Obama.

Robert J. Gordon compared Trump to Hitler and declared that he would miss Obama’s “eloquence”. He claims that America’s growth is over and proposes a program of a “progressive tax code”, eliminating deductions, legalizing drugs, and providing a lot more welfare.

Gordon had joined lefty economists in arguing that the era of permanent economic malaise was upon us. During the 2016 election, his “The Rise and Fall of American Growth” was frequently cited as expert evidence that serious GDP growth of the kind Trump was urging was impossible.

The economist, or someone by that name from his university, appears to be a donor to Democrat candidates, the DNC and at least one anti-Republican PAC.

Gordon was also a signatory to an open letter titled, “Economists Oppose Trump’s Re-Election”.

The pro-Biden and anti-Trump letter included the contention that Trump “claimed to have the unique ability to generate growth (in real GDP) of between 4% and 6%, but never surpassed 2.9% in his first three years in office. Furthermore, analysts at Goldman Sachs and Moody’s Analytics have projected that Joe Biden’s economic plans, if implemented, would actually generate faster growth in both employment and real GDP.”

Gordon, along with other lefty academics, was expressing a political preference for Biden over Trump while claiming that this position was backed up by their “expert” opinion.

Biden’s economic plans led to a massive disaster, but there’s no reason to think that Gordon or any of the other economists involved in this letter are ready to admit that they were wrong.

And that Biden has inflicted a recession on America.

Another of the members of the Business Cycle Dating Committee who also signed the anti-Trump and pro-Biden letter is Mark Watson of Princeton. Watson was also the co-author of an infamous argument claiming that the economy performs better under Democrat presidents.

His work was cited by Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers co-authored together with James Stock, a member of the council who serves as another member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee.

Obama had appointed Stock to his Council of Economic Advisers in 2013. Stock was both an Obama and a Hillary donor. He also contributed $2,800, close to the maximum, to Biden.

The political conflict of interest in determining that the economy is in recession is obvious.

Of the remaining Business Cycle Dating Committee members, Robert Hall appears to have donated to a Democrat candidate. James Poterba had vocally praised Obama’s economic council members, calling them  “realists and pragmatists who are looking for what will work to address the particular problems we are facing”.

What that means is that of the eight Business Cycle Dating Committee members, a quarter are former members of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, half are public Obama supporters, one is a Biden donor, two have expressed public opposition to Trump and support for Biden.

This group of experts is anything but non-partisan and the lean is anything but conservative.

It’s fair to say that 6 of the 8 Business Cycle Dating Committee are either Democrats or aligned with Democrats. Another is ambiguous and only one has expressed no recent public political preference.

It’s obvious why the Biden administration is betting that a group stocked with its own political allies will be less likely to state the obvious about the state of the economy. Democrats, their media and their tech monopolies are using expert gatekeeping by their own allies to deny that there’s a recession even though the vast majority of Americans know that it’s already here.

It doesn’t take the Business Cycle Dating Committee to state the obvious. All it can do is stonewall what everyone can see around them. Beyond their political allegiances, many members of the Committee have a history of being fundamentally wrong about the economic measures of the Obama and Trump administrations. Many supported the Obama era inflationary spending that deepened our national debt and suppressed our economic potential.

There’s no reason to think they’ve learned to be any more correct or any less biased.

The new technocratic totalitarianism insists that the nature of reality is controlled by small groups of partisan handpicked experts and that ordinary people have no right to disagree, and that furthermore it is the job of the tech monopolies who control the marketplace of ideas to immediately stamp out such dissent as “disinformation” and a “threat to democracy”.

But reality isn’t controlled by experts and the efforts by the Biden administration to build a wall of experts around reality is as doomed to failure as similar measures in totalitarian states.

After first denying the reality of inflation, the Biden administration is trying to deny the recession.

The same experts who tried to deny the disastrous effects of Obama’s economy are trying to tell the same lies for Biden. But no amount of lies will turn a recession into a recovery.

AUTHOR

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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

PODCAST: We Need to Fight Crime, Not the Right to Bear Arms!

GUESTS AND TOPICS

TIM WILSON

Tim Wilson is a Senor Fellow at the London Center, a former British Army officer who served in a variety of command appointments on numerous operational tours during a 32 year military career. Lt Col Wilson has written for a range of publications on diverse topics including surviving a nuclear attack, terrorist tactics and asymmetric warfare and has appeared as a guest on numerous TV and radio shows. Since immigrating he has worked on a number of projects including research into the smuggling operations of Iraq during the UN’s Oil-For-Food program, sanctions evasion by Iran and suspicious North Korean shipping activities. As a direct result of his research he has briefed and advised Congressional staffs and officials at State, Treasury and other government agencies. Tim moved to the USA in 2005 and proudly became an American citizen in 2011. He is a firm advocate of The Constitution and Bill of Rights and believes in American Exceptionalism and the benefits of maintaining and continually improving the greatest military in the world.

TOPIC: We Need to Fight Crime, Not the Right to Bear Arms!

JACK KALAVRITINOS

Jack Kalavritinos is Executive Director of the Coalition Against Socialized Medicine. Jack has more than 25 years of experience in public affairs and health communications, served as director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as the associate commissioner for External Affairs at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He spent over seven years at Medtronic on policy initiatives. He also served as a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and as the White House Liaison at the Department of Labor. Most recently, Jack advised clients on strategic communications, policy, and advocacy as part of JK Strategies and APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council.

TOPIC: Resurrecting Failed Drug Price Controls Before the Midterms Won’t Help Americans.

©Conservative Commandoes Radio—UANTV. All rights reserved.

Why Are Gas Prices Falling?

Does Biden deserve credit or does the second law of demand explain our less painful trips to the pump?


Anyone who has a car is breathing a sigh of relief this last week. After two years of increasing gas prices, we’ve finally had a significant fall in gas prices.

Gas prices are still high at $4.33/gallon (nearly double the $2.18 they were in July of 2020), but there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Since the current administration has taken a great deal of heat over high fuel prices, perhaps it’s no surprise to see the White House taking credit for the lower prices. Earlier this month, President Biden noted that gasoline prices had fallen for 30 consecutive days.

“Our actions are working, and prices are coming down,” Biden said days later.

However, there is little evidence to indicate the majority of the price drop is due to any particular policy change.

This leaves us with an important question. Why exactly are prices falling?

Several outlets have undertaken the task of explaining this price decrease. Some seem to have arrived at an answer that is in the right direction.

An article on MarketWatch pinpoints the ultimate cause as falling demand. “Gasoline demand weakness against historical seasonal strength is pressing retail prices lower,” MarketWatch reported analyst Brian Milne saying.

The New York Times reported a similar explanation:

A report by ESAI Energy, an analytics firm, said on Wednesday that the firm expected a global surplus of four million barrels a day in the roughly 100-million-barrel-a-day market in the second quarter. “This is a significant drop in demand,” said Sarah Emerson, ESAI president.

In other words, the oil purchasing decisions are falling below what the oil industry expected. Four million less barrels a day are being utilized than industry experts had anticipated. The Times continues:

An Energy Department report released Wednesday showed that gasoline demand in recent weeks had dropped by 1.35 million barrels a day, or more than 10 percent. A recent survey from AAA seems to back this up, highlighting that two thirds of Americans have claimed to have changed their driving habits since the price increases.

So there’s our answer, right? Falling demand means lower prices.

There are several problems with this explanation, but the problems manifest in one particular issue. Neither of these articles gives a satisfactory answer for why demand would be falling.

In order to understand why demand is changing we first need to eliminate a fallacious reason. It might be tempting to say demand is falling because the price is high. In fact, the MarketWatch article seems to suggest this explanation. But this claim is wrong.

It’s true that when the price of gas (or any good or service for that matter) rises, people will purchase a smaller quantity of that good or service. Economists call this the first law of demand.

But the key part of that statement is when the price rises. Higher prices have existed for a while and cannot explain suddenly lower quantity demanded. Why didn’t the higher prices lead to a lower quantity demanded earlier?

In fact, committing to this explanation that higher price leads to lower demand is contradictory because it would be akin to saying “higher prices cause lower demand which causes lower prices.” This circular reasoning is confusing and incomplete at best.

MarketWatch and The New York Times missed it by that much.

I believe the outlets are right to pinpoint changing demand as the relevant factor for falling prices, and they’re right that higher prices are part of the story, but the explanation is missing the most important part.

To see what’s really going on, consider an example.

Imagine you’ve booked your vacation for the summer and you’ve decided to do a cross-country trip in an RV. The RV is rented, you’ve put in for vacation days at work, the insurance is covered, you’ve paid for tickets for sights and attractions, and your family is packed and ready.

You go to bed and gas prices are $2/gallon. The next morning you pull into a gas station with the RV and the price has skyrocketed to $4/gallon. The cost of your travel has doubled.

Do you cancel? In some cases the answer could be yes, but for many people the higher cost of gas is less than the cost of planning an entirely new vacation and executing the plan within a day. The cost of doing the logistics of canceling bookings and organizing something to do with your vacation days is high on short notice.

Now imagine a different scenario. You’re six months out from your trip and gas prices skyrocket to $4. You haven’t rented an RV or put in for vacation days. You assume gas prices will stay high until your vacation. Do you change your vacation plans? It seems likely.

The answer isn’t certain, but what we can say with certainty is that it’s more likely that someone will change vacation plans in the second scenario with six months notice relative to the first scenario with no notice.

Why? Simply put, it’s more costly to find substitutes in the short run than in the long run.

This illustrates a principle called the second law of demand which states that people are relatively more responsive to price changes in the long run than in the short run. Economists call this responsiveness “elasticity”.

Or, as the late and great economist Walter Williams put it, “demand curves are relatively more elastic in the long run than in the short-run.”

With this insight in hand, we are now equipped to give a more robust explanation for falling gas prices.

To begin, gas prices increase substantially. It’s too costly for people to substitute their gas usage in the short run. You still need to drive to your vacation, work, or church the next day if gas prices go up. But, as more time passes, there is more ability to cheaply discover alternatives like bus routes, carpool situations, financing for electric cars, or telework options.

In the case of vacations you could substitute your RV trip with the “staycation” option, which is growing in popularity, given you have time to plan.

Then, as more people substitute these options for gas, gas stations face a new lower demand. Again, this doesn’t occur immediately because it’s costly to make these substitutions in the short run.

Admittedly, confirming this theory as the number-one cause of falling gas prices would require significant statistical work, but the theory is consistent with the basic facts of lower demand and the time that’s passed since gas prices have risen.

Is it possible that releases of supply from the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve have had some impact? It certainly should make some difference, but as the articles above indicate, the basic evidence seems to show demand changes are the driver here—not supply changes.

Even Biden’s own Treasury Department estimates the US strategic reserve release to have impacted prices from 13 cents to 33 cents with a little more potentially due to international releases. This upper estimate, based on very generous assumptions, still leaves about half of the price drop unexplained.

And even without statistical testing, the second law of demand is an economic law which means it certainly plays some role in the more responsive demand, everything else held constant.

It’s not clear that we’re out of the woods on inflation yet. However, I remain confident that consumer-side substitutions and supplier-side innovations will continue to work to make gas prices more affordable—so long as meddlesome regulators stay out of the way.

AUTHOR

Peter Jacobsen

Peter Jacobsen teaches economics at Ottawa University where he holds the positions of Assistant Professor and Gwartney Professor of Economic Education and Research at the Gwartney Institute. He received his graduate education George Mason University and received his undergraduate education Southeast Missouri State University. His research interest is at the intersection of political economy, development economics, and population economics. His website can be found here.

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

New housing market data reveals a stunning shift as these 21 of the top 50 metro areas show price declines for June

In the Fortune article below Shawn Tully interviews Ed Pinto and cites AEI Housing Center data on HPA to discuss the cooling housing market. He also writes about the geography of these changes, as western metros face the most drastic downturns in HPA.


It’s finally happening. After soaring 40% from pre-pandemic levels in the greatest boom in decades, home prices peaked in June, and started falling in July. That’s the stunning, sudden shift revealed in a new set of data just introduced by the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center, one of the top sources for in-depth, city-by-city numbers on all things housing, from appreciation to inventories and mortgage originations. “The market just reached a turning point,” says Ed Pinto, the AEI Housing Center’s director. “Prices will keep falling on a national basis for August through December. It’s likely that we’ll see declines in around four out of five metros in some of the months ahead.”

Until now, the AEI had measured prices primarily on a year over year format. And by that yardstick, housing still looked strong in June. That month, the AEI found that the value of the average home had grown by 15% from June of 2021. But its data also showed over the 12-month span, “home price appreciation,” or HPA, was slowing fast, down substantially from a summit of 17.5% in April. The question that pullback posed for America’s homeowners: What’s happening right now, week by week or month by month? Is it possible that in my city, in Atlanta or Phoenix or Raleigh, prices are actually starting to decline?

The AEI’s new data answers that query. The measure displays price changes from one month to the next. Hence, the numbers provide an up-close view of precisely when the patterns turn, by how much, and what the moves foreshadow. They’re a guide to reading the market’s pulse. The AEI’s figures are based on actual closings for the month, as reported in the public records. Pinto deploys a methodology that compares sales of similar quality homes, eliminating distortions from shifts in the sales “mix”––for example, a deceptive boost to average prices as a higher share of pricey homes sell in June than in May.

An astounding number of markets are already posting declines

The AEI calculated the figures for the nation’s 50 most active housing markets. The AEI’s below, “Home Price Appreciation (Month over Month),” shows the changes from one month to the next from the start of 2019 through June of this year. Let’s begin with the national data. The overall market has been on such a relentless rampage, for so long, that only twice in that period have prices retreated, and each time by just 0.1%. As recently as January, America’s monthly HPA was 2.6%, sliding in May to a still robust 1.1%. But in June, appreciation hit a virtual freefall, shrinking to just 0.2%.

View Home Price Appreciation (Month-Over-Month) Chart.

Behind that national downshift are astounding reversals in sundry cities that were thriving just months ago. In June of 2021, only four metros showed a fall in prices from May and last year, the only May-to-June loser was Louisville at a tiny -0.1%. In April, not a single one of the fifty metros endured a decline from March. But this June, no fewer than 21 locales suffered drops from their May prices, some of them big. In general, the steepest falls came in the expensive west coast markets, as well as western metros that gained legions of buyers from the exodus from California. Eleven of the hardest-hit addresses fit this category. The biggest loser was San Francisco at -3.8%, followed by San Jose (-3.2%). Among the other western cities logging large declines are Seattle (-1.8%), Los Angeles (-1.5%), Portland (-1.3%), Denver (-0.9%) and Phoenix (-0.6%). Almost all of these metros were rocking as recently as February, with San Francisco up 2.8% over January, San Jose ahead 3.9%, and Seattle gaining 3.5%.

“The clearest trend is the pullback in these west coast cities, and those influenced by the California craziness,” says Pinto. In these places, the giant price increases in the last two years, from already expensive levels, has so diminished affordability that the fast-shrinking ranks of buyers are hammering values in spite of historically low volumes of homes for sale. From the fourth quarter of 2019 to Q1 of this year, prices jumped from $1.2 to $1.6 million in San Jose, $575,000 to $819,000 in Seattle, from $466 to $623,000 in Denver, and from $340,000 to $516,000 in Phoenix. The only out West markets that still showed strength were Las Vegas, a venue that’s cooling but still managed a 0.2% increase over May, and Boise, where prices waxed 1.8%, maintaining a record of consistent, month over month advances. Boise keeps thriving as a favorite destination for work-at-home refugees from California who can sell a home in, say, San Jose, get a much bigger abode at half the cost in their adopted city, and still bank hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In recent months, the hottest markets have clustered in the sunshine state. Cape Coral, which was scoring year over year increases in the mid-30% range, is backpedaling fast (you can read my recent feature on Cape Coral’s market here). Its gain of 2.8% from April to May flip-flopped to a negative 1.0% in June. Tampa, North Port, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami are all way down from February increases, but still advanced between 0.2% and 1.1%.

By contrast, a number of older metros that didn’t experience big price gains demonstrated remarkable resilience, for a simple reason: Many remain relatively cheap. St. Louis, Nashville, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Columbus and New York all ranked in the top ten for May to June gains. Tied for first place with Boise the Big Apple, which garnered a month over month increase of 1.8% and is one of few stalwarts that appear on a rising trajectory.

The downdraft in June radically transforms the outlook for this year and 2023

Pinto also gets a good look at where prices are headed by studying “rate lock” data from Optimal Blue. Those numbers reflect contract prices for sales that will close in around 90 days. For Pinto, the rate lock trend points to falling prices, at the national level, for July through December of 2022. “We expect the national month over month HPA to go negative in July for the first time in years,” he says. “From there, prices should fall 3% to 5% from June levels by year end. Those total increases will accumulate gradually over the seven months from June to December.” By year end, Pinto expects that home prices will still be 4% to 6% above December of 2021, but probably remain on a downward path.

Pinto forecasts that if overall prices slide by around 4% from here to year end, a far larger number of metros than the 21 that were negative in June will be soon posting falling prices from month to month. “I wouldn’t be surprised if some months, we see 40 cities showing declines,” he says.

So where does Pinto see values heading in 2023? It would seem that if prices are falling in December, they’d keep tumbling through most of 2023. But that’s not necessarily the most likely scenario, says Pinto. “We’ve seen a decline in mortgage rates in recent weeks from 6% to around 5.5%,” says Pinto. “If rates rates continue to recede, that would give a boost to appreciation.” He points out that although inventories are growing, stocks remain extremely slim. “We’re still at around one month of supply at the current level of demand,” he says. “To get declining prices, we’d need to see seven ‘months of supply, and that could be a long way off.” For Pinto, it’s highly possible that a combination of stable or falling rates, and limited volumes of homes for sale, could sustain gains of 4% to 6% next year.

Still, Pinto says it’s never been more difficult to predict housing ‘s future. “There are so many factors pushing and pulling in different directions,” he says. “My crystal ball is getting foggier.” The AEI’s new monthly numbers enable homeowners to watch the market’s course, not just over long spans, but as it evolves. Folks are super-anxious about what today’s tumultuous times mean for the future of their biggest asset. They want to see whether the value of their ranch of colonial waxed or waned in the last 30 days. Now they can. The AEI numbers don’t hand homeowners a crystal ball. But following the AEI’s fresh data will keep your thumb flush on the market’s pulse of the market that, for most Americans, counts more than any other by far.

©Edward Pinto. All rights reserved.

Texas Now Produces More Oil Than Every Country in the World Besides Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq

This “energy miracle” in the Lone Star State has to be one of the most remarkable energy success stories in history.


As a result of the impressive, “eye-popping,” and ongoing surges in Texas’s oil production over the last decade, the Lone Star State recently surpassed Canada’s oil output for the first time this year (except for a few previous outlier months when production in Canada dropped sharply, see chart below), and now produces more oil (4.6 million barrels per day) than all other countries except for Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq (see map below).

And if the recent year-over-year output increases of 25-35 percent in recent months continue in Texas, it won’t be long before the state’s crude oil production tops Iraq’s daily output (of 4.7 million barrels), and it will only be Russia and Saudi Arabia that out-produce the Lone Star State.

The near quintupling of oil output in Texas, from about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2008 to what will likely be more than 5 million bpd by the end of this year—ranking the state as the world’s No. 4 oil-producing “nation,” fueled by 35 percent annual increases in recent months—has to be one of the most remarkable energy success stories in history.

And this “energy miracle” in the Lone Star State has nothing to do with Obama’s recent delusional claims of his alleged contributions to America’s new position as the world’s No. 1 oil producer, and everything to do with the contributions of free-market capitalism, Yankee ingenuity, technological innovation, revolutionary drilling and extraction techniques supported by modern Made-in-the-USA equipment, and, most importantly, the contributions of America’s many risk-taking “petronpreneurs” who are the real “miracle workers” in America’s amazing energy success story.

This article is reprinted with permission from the American Enterprise Institute.

AUTHOR

Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.

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

How The Roman Government Destroyed Their Economy

The similarities with Democrat policies is staggering…

How Roman Central Planners Destroyed Their Economy

Spending, inflation, and economic controls destroy wealth and create conflict.

By: Richard M. Ebeling, Fee Stories, October 5, 2016:

In 449 B.C., the Roman government passed the Law of the Twelve Tables, regulating much of commercial, social, and family life. Some of these laws were reasonable and consistent with an economy of contract and commerce; others prescribed gruesome punishments and assigned cruel powers and privileges given to some. Other regulations fixed a maximum rate of interest on loans of approximately 8 percent. The Roman government also had the habit of periodically forgiving all interest owed in the society; that is, it legally freed private debtors from having to pay back interest due to private creditors.

In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar discovered that almost one-third of the Roman citizenry was receiving their grain supply for free from the State.

The Roman government also set price controls on wheat. In the fourth century, B.C., the Roman government would buy grain during periods of shortages and sell it at a price fixed far below the market price. In 58 B.C., this was improved upon; the government gave grain away to the citizens of Rome at a zero price, that is, for free.

The result was inevitable: farmers left the land and flocked to Rome; this, of course, only made the problem worse, since with fewer farmers on the land in the territories surrounding Rome, less grain than before was being grown and brought to the market. Also, masters were freeing their slaves and placing the financial burden for feeding them on the Roman government at that zero price.

In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar discovered that almost one-third of the Roman citizenry was receiving their grain supply for free from the State.

To deal with the financial cost of these supplies of wheat, the Roman government resorted to debasement of the currency, that is, inflation. Pricing-fixing of grain, shortages of supply, rising budgetary problems for the Roman government, monetary debasement and resulting worsening price inflation were a continual occurrence through long periods of Roman history.

Spending, Inflation and Economic Controls Under Diocletian

The most famous episode of price controls in Roman history was during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (A.D. 244-312). He assumed the throne in Rome in A.D. 284. Almost immediately, Diocletian began to undertake huge and financially expensive government spending projects.

There was a massive increase in the armed forces and military spending; a huge building project was started in the form of a planned new capital for the Roman Empire in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) at the city of Nicomedia; he greatly expanded the Roman bureaucracy; and he instituted forced labor for completion of his public works projects.

The Roman government stopped accepting its own debased money as payment for taxes owed and required taxes to be paid in kind.

To finance all of these government activities, Diocletian dramatically raised taxes on all segments of the Roman population. These resulted in the expected disincentives against work, production, savings, and investment that have long been seen as the consequences of high levels and rates of taxation. It resulted in a decline in commerce and trade, as well.

When taxation no longer generated enough revenue to finance all of these activities, Emperor Diocletian resorted to debasement of the currency. Gold and silver coinage would have their metal content reduced and reissued by the government with the claim that their metallic value was the same as before. The government passed legal tender laws requiring Roman citizens and subjects throughout the Empire to accept these debased coins at the higher value stamped on each of the coin’s faces.

The result of this was inevitable, too. Since in terms of the actual gold and silver contained in them, these legal tender coins had a lower value, traders would only accept them at a discount. That is, they were soon devalued in the market place. People began to hoard all the gold and silver coins that still contained the higher gold and silver content and using the debased coins in market trading.

This, of course, meant that each of the debased coins would only buy a smaller quantity of goods on the market than before; or expressed the other way around, more of these debased coins now had to be given in exchange for the same amount of commodities as before. The price inflation became worse and worse as the Emperor issued more and more of these increasingly worthless forms of money.

The penalty imposed for violation of these price and wage controls was death.

Diocletian also instituted a tax-in-kind; that is, the Roman government would not accept its own worthless, debased money as payment for taxes owed. Since the Roman taxpayers had to meet their tax bills in actual goods, this immobilized the entire population. Many were now bound to the land or a given occupation, so as to assure that they had produced the products that the government demanded as due it at tax collection time. An increasingly rigid economic structure, therefore, was imposed on the whole Roman economy.

Diocletian’s Edict Made Everything Worse

But the worst was still to come. In A.D. 301, the famous Edict of Diocletian was passed. The Emperor fixed the prices of grain, beef, eggs, clothing, and other articles sold on the market. He also fixed the wages of those employed in the production of these goods. The penalty imposed for violation of these price and wage controls, that is, for any one caught selling any of these goods at higher than prescribed prices and wages, was death.

Realizing that once these controls were announced, many farmers and manufacturers would lose all incentive to bring their commodities to market at prices set far below what the traders would consider fair market values, Diocletian also prescribed in the Edict that all those who were found to be “hoarding” goods off the market would be severely punished; their goods would be confiscated and they would be put to death.

In the Greek parts of the Roman Empire, archeologists have found the price tables listing the government-mandated prices. They list over 1,000 individual prices and wages set by the law and what the permitted price and wage was to be for each of the commodities, goods, and labor services.

A Roman of this period named Lactanius wrote during this time that Diocletian “ . . . then set himself to regulate the prices of all vendible things. There was much blood shed upon very slight and trifling accounts; and the people brought no more provisions to market, since they could not get a reasonable price for them and this increased the dearth [the scarcity] so much, that at last after many had died by it, the law was set aside.”

The Consequences and Lessons from Roman Economic Policy

Roland Kent, an economic historian of this period, has summarized the consequences of Diocletian’s Edict in the following way:

“ . . . The price limits set in the Edict were not observed by the traders, in spite of the death penalty provided in the statute for its violation; would-be purchasers finding that the prices were above the legal limit, formed mobs and wrecked the offending traders’ establishments, incidentally killing the traders, though the goods were after all of trifling value; traders hoarded their goods against the day when the restrictions should be removed, and the resulting scarcity of wares actually offered for sale caused an even greater increase in prices, so that what trading went on was at illegal prices, therefore, performed clandestinely.”

The economic effects were so disastrous to the Roman economy that four years after putting the Edict into law, Diocletian abdicated, claiming “poor health” – a euphemism throughout history reflecting that if the political leader does not step down from power, others will remove him, often through assassination. And while the Edict was never formally repealed, it soon became a dead letter shortly after Diocletian left the throne.

Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, a leading historian on the ancient Roman economy, offered this summary in his Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire (1926):

“The same expedient [a system of price and wage controls] have often been tried before him [Diocletian] and was often tried after him. As a temporary measure in a critical time, it might be of some use. As a general measure intended to last, it was certain to do great harm and to cause terrible bloodshed, without bringing any relief. Diocletian shared the pernicious belief of the ancient world in the omnipotence of the state, a belief which many modern theorists continue to share with him and with it.”

Finally, as, again, Ludwig von Mises concluded, the Roman Empire began to weaken and decay because it lacked the ideas and ideology that are necessary to build upon and safeguard a free and prosperous society: a philosophy of individual rights and free markets. As Mises ended his own reflections on the civilizations of the ancient world:

“The marvelous civilization of antiquity perished because it did not adjust its moral code and its legal system to the requirements of the market economy. A social order is doomed if the actions which its normal functioning requires are rejected by the standards of morality, are declared illegal by the laws of the country, and are prosecuted as criminal by the courts and the police. The Roman Empire crumbled to dust because it lacked the spirit of [classical] liberalism and free enterprise. The policy of interventionism and its political corollary, the Fuhrer principle, decomposed the mighty empire as they will by necessity always disintegrate and destroy any social entity.”

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLES:

GDP fell 0.9% in the second quarter, the second straight decline and a strong recession signal

Chile’s Left-Wing Constitutional Suicide Pact

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Zuckerberg’s Edsel: Meta FAIL, Loses $2.8 Billion

Massive failure.

Meta Takes 2.8 Billion Dollar Loss On Its Metaverse Bet

By: Rosemarie Miller, Forbes Staff, July 29, 2022:

Meta reports a $2.8 billion loss in its Facebook Reality Labs while facing a FTC lawsuit. The Reality Labs Division contains augmented and virtual reality operations known as the metaverse……

Meanwhile, the U.S. has slipped into a recession, based on the gross domestic product data released today. GDP contracted 0.9% in the second quarter, following a 1.6% decline in the first three months of the year. That makes two consecutive negative quarters, a working definition of recessionRead more…

 

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: Facebook’s FIRST EVER Decline in Revenue and Biggest Drop in Daily Users

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Watch: Biden says U.S. ‘not in a recession’ despite two consecutive quarters of shrinking economy

FLASHBACK 2008: Nancy Pelosi, The ‘Technical Definition of Recession’ Is Two Quarters of Negative Growth


Another awful public appearance by President Biden. The Biden Administration believes that the American people are stupid, and hold them in total contempt. It’s horrible.

Watch below. #Trump2024!

Biden, on Monday, said the U.S. is ‘not coming into recession’

By Fox News, July 28, 2022

President Biden said the United States “is not in a recession,” despite Thursday’s GDP report, saying it is “no surprise that the economy is slowing down” amid inflation.

The U.S. economy shrank in the spring for the second consecutive quarter, meeting the criteria for a recession as record-high inflation and higher interest rates forced consumers and businesses to pull back on spending.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, shrank by 0.9% on an annualized basis in the three-month period from April through June, the Commerce Department said in its first reading of the data on Thursday. Refinitiv economists expected the report to show the economy had expanded by 0.5%.

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTCICLES:

‘It’s An Absurd Argument’: Economists Take Apart One Of Biden’s Favorite Talking Points

China’s increasing US real estate portfolio a major cause for domestic concern: Carter

In the Past Year, Chinese Investors Purchased $6.1 BILLION Worth of Property in The US After Being Banned by Other Countries for Pushing Up House Prices

NYC Mayor Fires Another 200 Employees for Not Getting Experimental COVID Vaccine

 EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Biden Administration Says U.S. Not in a Recession, but Federal Statutes Say Otherwise. Who is Right?

Is the U.S. economy in recession? The answer is, paradoxically, both easier and more complicated than you might think.


As expected the United States posted negative growth for the second consecutive quarter, according to government data released on Thursday.

“Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022, following a decrease of 1.6 percent in the first quarter,” the US Bureau of Economic Analysis announced.

The news prompted many outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, to use the R word—recession, which historically has been commonly defined as “economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”

The White House does not agree, however, and following the release of the data, President Biden said the US economy is “on the right path.”

The comments come as little surprise. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had recently hinted that the White House would contend the economy wasn’t actually in a recession even if Q2 data indicated the economy had contracted for a second consecutive quarter.

“There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession,” Yellen said. “And most of the data that they look at right now continues to be strong. I would be amazed if they would declare this period to be a recession, even if it happens to have two quarters of negative growth.”

“We have a very strong labor market,” she continued. “When you are creating almost 400,000 jobs a month, that is not a recession.”

Yellen is not wrong that NBER, a private nonprofit economic research organization, looks at a much broader swath of data to determine if the economy is in a recession, or that many view NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee as the “official recession scorekeeper.”

So White House officials have a point when they say “two negative quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of recession,” even though it is a commonly used definition.

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that federal statutes, the Congressional Budget Office, and other governing bodies use the two consecutive quarters of negative growth as an official indication of economic recession.

Phil Magness, an author and economic historian, points out that several “trigger” provisions exist in US laws (and Canadian law) that are designed to go into effect when the economy posts negative growth in consecutive quarters.

“For reference, here is the definition used in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985,” Magness wrote on Twitter, referencing a clause in the Act. “This particular clause has been subsequently retained and replicated in several trigger clauses for recessionary measures in US federal statutes.”

It’s worth noting that Magness doesn’t contend the two consecutive quarters definition is the best method of determining whether an economy is in a recession, but simply points out that claims that it’s an “informal” definition of recession are untrue.

“It may not be a perfect metric, but it has a very long history of being used to determine policy during recessions,” Magness writes.

Some readers may find it strange that so much heat, ink, and energy is being spent on something as intangible as a word, which is a mere abstraction that has no value. And some policy experts agree.

“Whether [we’re] in a technical recession is less interesting to me than the following 3 questions,” Brian Riedl, an economist at the Manhattan Institute, recently said. “1) Are jobs plentiful? (Yes – good) 2) Are real wages rising? (Falling fast – bad) 3) Is inflation hitting fixed income fams? (Yes – bad.)”

Others contend that definitions matter, and that by ignoring the legal definition of recession, the Biden White House can continue to argue that the US economy is “historically strong” even as economic growth is negative, inflation is surging, and real wages are crashing.

As Charles Lane recently pointed out in the Washington Post, words have power. He shares a colorful anecdote involving Alfred E. “Fred” Kahn, an economist who served in the Carter Administration who was instructed to never use the words “recession” or “depression” again.

In 1978, Kahn — a Cornell University economist in charge of President Jimmy Carter’s inflation-fighting efforts — said that failure to get soaring prices under control could lead to a “deep, deep depression.” Carter’s aides, perturbed at the possible political fallout, instructed him never to say that word, or “recession,” again.

We don’t know whether this instruction stirred the wrath of Kahn, a verbal stickler notoriously disdainful of cant and euphemism; in a previous government job, he had sent around a memo telling staff not to use words like “herein.”

It did trigger his wit, though: In his next meeting with reporters, Kahn puckishly said the nation was in “danger of having the worst banana in 45 years.”

Lane’s anecdote about Kahn is instructive because it reveals something important about these debates. While they may have a certain amount of importance as far as political spin goes, they are meaningless as far as economic reality is concerned. Substituting the word “banana” for recession did not change economic conditions or the economic outlook one bit, which no doubt was precisely Lane’s point.

My colleague Peter Jacobsen made this point effectively earlier this week.

“[You] don’t need a thermometer to feel if it’s hot outside,” he wrote. “Economic issues, especially inflation, top the list of concerns for voters going into the 2022 midterms, and it isn’t particularly close. So officially defined recession or not, it doesn’t really matter.”

Moreover, Jacobsen explains, macroeconomic data like GDP have historically been the tool of politicians and bureaucrats, who use them to justify economic interventions.

“When GDP numbers fall below a certain level, politicians can use that data to try to push income back up. Or perhaps when the economy is ‘running too hot’ politicians can use fiscal and monetary policy to slow down the economy.

All of these metaphors about economies running hot or stalling are based on a central planning view of the economy. In this view, the economy is like a machine which we can adjust to bring about the proper results. Without macroeconomic statistics, central planners have fewer means by which to justify particular interventions. We can’t claim we need stimulus if we can’t point to some data indicating it’s necessary.”

The takeaway here is an important one. We don’t need “bureaucratic weathermen” telling us when the economy is good or bad anymore than we need them “managing” the economy with the money supply, which is precisely how we got here in the first place.

So while the debates over the R word are likely to continue, it’s important to remember it doesn’t really matter if you call this economy a recession or a banana. The fundamentals speak for themselves.

AUTHOR

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

RELATED VIDEO: GDP Report Shows Economic Plunge

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

Despite Leadership Opposition, 24 Republicans Help Send CHIPS Package To Biden’s Desk

The House of Representatives passed the $280 billion semiconductor chip and scientific research and development package on Thursday afternoon, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk.

Despite opposition from GOP leadership, 24 Republicans joined 219 Democrats in supporting the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. All 187 “no” votes on the legislation came from Republicans, while Democratic California Rep. Sara Jacobs, whose family founded chip-maker Qualcomm, voted present.

The bill’s companion legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, with seventeen Republican votes in support. Republican leader Mitch McConnell had threatened to filibuster the funding following reports that Senate Democrats had renewed negotiations on an infrastructure package, but ultimately voted in favor of the bill. Later Wednesday evening, Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced that he would support a reconciliation package, leading House Republicans to oppose the subsidy package.

“This legislation comes to the House precisely as Senate Democrats have allegedly struck a deal on their partisan reconciliation bill, pairing up a tone-deaf agenda that on one hand gives billions away in corporate handouts, and on the other hand undoes historic tax cuts implemented by Republicans,” Minority Whip Steve Scalise wrote in a memo urging Republicans to vote against the package.

The CHIPS and Science Act includes $52 billion in subsidies for domestic semiconductor manufacturers, and $200 billion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research. The $200 billion includes grants to the National Science Foundation, as well as cash for schools to increase their STEM curriculum offerings.

“This final product is a result of months of bipartisan negotiations. It is also the result of dedicated efforts and long hours put in by the committee’s staff,” Democratic Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the bill’s lead sponsor, said in a floor speech. The provisions “that form this package are vital to ensuring a bold and prosperous future for American science and innovation, maintaining our international competitiveness, and bolstering our economic and national security.”

AUTHOR

MICHAEL GINSBERG

Congressional reporter.

RELATED ARTICLE: EXCLUSIVE: Bipartisan Group Of Reps Propose Semiconductor Supply Chain Review

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