On September 30, the Economic Cycle Research Institute announced that the U.S. economy officially entered a new recession. On the following Tuesday, October 4, the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index dropped to 1,074.77, the lowest level of the year.
Since then the index has rebounded to 1,224.58, or 14 percent. Reports of rising retail sales, buoyed by reports that retailers Macy’s and Kohl’s are boosting hiring, have led some to suggest that predictions of another recession are premature. The 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated that retail sales for September would rise 0.7 percent and instead they rose by 1.1 percent. And the August numbers were revised upward as well, causing Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, to claim, “It looks like we’re going to be avoiding a recession [after all]. Even though consumers don’t feel good, there is job growth going on and that is fueling some pickup in spending.”
But then the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan results came out on Friday, showing sentiments among those very same consumers dropping in early October to the lowest level in more than 30 years, and their expectations for the future falling to the lowest level since May of 1980.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is no stranger to controversy. The protests have drawn extremists and radicals of various stripes, from labor union members, to far-left Democrats, and members of various communist and socialist movements. As reported earlier by The New American, the movement has even been home to several high-profile anti-Semites, who, like their statist intellectual heroes Marx, Keynes, and Proudhon, blame their woes on perceived Jewish involvement in free-market capitalism. However, an analysis of the movement also reveals deep-seated connections between its Marxist members and radical Islamist groups, a classical example of the Islamo-Communist connection identified on many occasions as fueling the “Arab Spring” protests.
The organizers of the protests are the first to admit that they are directly inspired by the protests raging across the Arab world, which began last winter in Cairo, Egypt’s Tahrir Square, and are informed by the “revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends.” Protesters are told to “Stand, Walk, and Unite like Egyptians,” and are told to wait for their “Tahrir moment.” Just as the protests in Egypt and elsewhere across the Middle East are orchestrated by the collusion of various Leninist, Trotskyite, and socialist parties with the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda, their American incarnation also involves the radical left collaborating with various Islamist subversives.
Talk about Big Nanny government running amok! All across the country, children are being told that their lemonade stands are against the law. And not just lemonade stands, but sales of Girl Scout cookies and Japanese green tea have also been declared enemies of the State.
I kid you not. In community after community, these budding entrepreneurs are being told to pack it up and scoot before they’re charged with various violations. In some instances, in fact, fines have been levied.
I’m beholden to the Freedom Center of Missouri, a relatively new public policy group in the Show Me state, for documenting the following list of outrages. Please note that all of these occurred this year. Such crackdowns are becoming more and more common.
Aug. 6: Massachusetts State police shut down the stand of a 12-year-old refugee from Fukushima, Japan, who was selling green tea he brought with him when he and his family evacuated after the tsunami.
Aug. 1: Police officers in Coralville, Iowa, ordered at least three sets of children to quit selling lemonade during the "Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa" unless they first got a vendor’s permit and a health inspection. This is the first known example of a coordinated set of shutdowns at a single time.
Troubled European nations' credit ratings are continuing to plummet. On October 13 Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain to AA-, three steps beneath the optimum AAA rating. Last week the Fitch agency also downgraded Spanish credit worthiness (as well as Italian). S&P’s cited weak growth in Spain's economy (estimated at one percent this year, a reduction from February's 1.5 percent projection) as well as the general dire situation of the PIIGS EU member-states (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain).
The rating downgrades of these nations over the last year have compounded their general problems of debt, because lower ratings mean that these governments must pay significantly higher interest in order to get investors to buy their bonds. In the case of Spain, the recent downgrade was the third in three years.
“Smash Capitalism” is one of the signs we saw being held by one of the Wall Street mobsters. The overriding theme of the mob is the overwhelming wish to destroy the capitalist system of profit-making free-enterprise and replace it with some vaguely defined social system. But since many of these mobsters are avowed socialists, communists, and anarchists, what we will get is economic chaos, which will lead to a dictatorship of some kind. And since the left has joined with the Islamic extremists in their aim to destroy capitalism, the dictator can easily be either an Islamist or an American socialist such as Obama. (it has been said that the main difference between a socialist and a communist is that a communist is a "socialist in a hurry.")
But since much of this is being led by billionaire George Soros, a poster child for megalomania if ever there was one, he might choose himself as the great dictator of Third Way America. Soros wants a New Financial World Order, which has also been vaguely defined as a partnership between government and business, which is a form of Fascism. The government regulates business to the point where only businesses the government approves of can succeed. That’s crony capitalism on steroids.
But as Ludwig von Mises wrote in Bureaucracy: “There is no compromise possible between these two systems [capitalism and socialism]. Contrary to a popular fallacy there is no middle way, no third system possible as a pattern of a permanent social order. The citizen must choose between capitalism and socialism or, as many Americans say, between the American and the Russian way of life.”
As talk of another possible extension of unemployment benefits is making its way through Washington, the New York Times recently covered a story on Dan Tolleson, a writer with a Ph.D. in politics who has only been able to find short-term work since July of 2009. What fascinated the Times, and likely a number of readers, was the notion that though Tolleson has been unemployed for a lengthy period of time, he stands opposed to an extension of unemployment benefits.
Tolleson explained his stance: “They’re going to end up spending more money on unemployment benefits, while less money is coming in on tax returns. Far better to relax some of these outrageous regulations.”
The Times noted:
Make no mistake — Mr. Tolleson, 54, has collected unemployment checks, saying he had little choice. But his objection to a policy that would probably benefit him shows just how divisive the question has become of providing a bigger safety net to the long-term jobless, a common strategy in recessions.
Tolleson applied for one round of unemployment benefits out of desperation, but when those benefits expired, he elected instead to turn to his local church for help. It was then, however, that he was informed by his church that in order to receive some assistance, he would have to apply for another round of unemployment benefits. Seemingly without options, he did so.
Following the Senate’s rejection of President Obama’s jobs bill on Tuesday, Senate Republicans have offered their own jobs bill, The Jobs Through Growth Act, as an alternative. Presented by Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), the bill is designed to defuse the President’s charge that the Republicans had no plan of their own as well as offer different approaches to stimulating job growth. Said Paul, “We simply cannot look to the failed policies of the last two years for an example of how to grow our economy and create jobs. More government spending and excessive regulation are the problem, not the solution. We have spent too long increasing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators, instead of allowing them to operate more freely and create more jobs.”
McCain said “We just thought it was time to put this all into a package. I will freely admit to you that part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal,” while Portman called it “a pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs … as opposed to the short-term sweetener approach of the Obama administration that simply hasn’t worked.” According to McCain, most Senate Republicans have signed onto the bill.
With the recent decline in the polls of the candidacies of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, Tea Party members have two top-tier candidates to consider as an alternative to the liberal Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney: Herman Cain and Ron Paul. But how do these two Tea Party favorites stack up on economic issues? Here's a quick survey on their differences:
One of the biggest issues leading to the formation of the Tea Party movement was -— after the burgeoning deficit -— reaction against the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) law. Many Americans joined the Tea Party to stop what was obviously political favoritism being sold by fear-mongering government leaders, and it resulted in a number of pro-TARP Republican veterans losing their primaries and anti-TARP Republicans winning the November 2010 general election.
During the housing bubble, profits were privatized. But once "too big to fail" Wall Street banks saw major losses on risky bets made in the real estate market, they came crying to Washington and demanded taxpayers pick up the shortfall. Establishment politicians in Washington obliged, selling the bailout package with a heaping helping of fear. Mitt Romney said "all the jobs" in America would be gone if the trust funds of the super-rich were not bailed out using the tips of cab drivers and waitresses.
It is a classic story of Americana, with all the excitement, dreams, struggle, disappointment, ingenuity, resilience, triumph, love, loss, and enduring lessons common to the most memorable of such tales. Also common to such sagas — particularly those of the Christian sort — the most enduring impact is still uncoiling with the long passage of years and the generations.
Those who knew Garman O. Kimmell, founder and builder of Oklahoma City-based Kimray, Inc., remember him best as a brilliant design engineer and a devout Christian man. He revolutionized the field of oil and gas production and made significant personal contributions to the field of heart treatment. But the technical nature of his inventions, coupled with a humble personality that eschewed personal glory, has consigned him to anonymity in previous American and even Oklahoman histories. That is the problem with history books — most of the men and women who possessed the noblest character and made the greatest contributions were too busy impacting other lives to get their own written about.
An American Boy
As with so many great American leaders across the fields of industry and business who were the children and grandchildren of immigrants in the 19th century, Kimmell took his cue on how to get ahead in America from his forebears. Kimmell’s father, for instance, was an imaginative capitalist.
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s popularity in numerous polls is increasing daily, and while the founder and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza may portray himself as a principled conservative, an analysis of his campaign positions, especially his most controversial flat tax proposal, reveals serious concerns with Cain’s commitment to fiscal conservatism.
Cain’s “9-9-9” tax plan calls for a complete overhaul of the current federal tax code, and it would replace the code, eventually and only temporarily, with three taxes — a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent business transactions tax, and a 9 percent federal sales tax. On paper, the first two look like cuts, because payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare (now nearly 15 percent, including corporate contributions) would be repealed. The sales tax would be new, on top of existing state sales taxes.
The most notorious critique of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan came from Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in Tuesday’s debate. “One thing I would say is, when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down," Bachmann said, "I think the devil's in the details." The Republican presidential hopeful added that Cain’s plan merely creates another federal tax (in the form of a Value Added Tax), and does little to address the need to reduce the national deficit. “The 9-9-9 plan isn't a jobs plan, it's a tax plan," Bachmann started.