• Tag Archives Immigration
  • “Technology Is Replacing Brains As Well As Brawn” – Challenging The ‘Official’ Automation Narrative (& Social Order)

    Academics and economists have repeatedly underestimated the impact that immigration and automation would have on the labor market. As data on productivity gains and labor-force participation clearly show, the notion that innovation ultimately creates jobs by allowing workers to focus on higher-level problems is an illusion. If it were true, then why aren’t we already seeing more of the 20 million prime-age men who have inexplicably dropped out of the labor force welcomed back in?
    ***
    As we’ve noted time and time again, after decimating American manufacturing jobs in the 1990s, automation is now coming for service-industry workers like those in the retail and food-service industries. Earlier this week, we shared an analysis from Cowen that showed new kiosks being adopted by McDonald’s will result in the destruction of 2,500 jobs at its US eateries. And now, Bloomberg has published a ‘quick take’ questioning this ‘official’ narrative and pointing out the very real carnage that service sector workers are already facing. In it, the reporters noted how economists have repeatedly misjudged how our capacity to innovate would impact the labor market. For example, 13 years ago, two leading economists published a paper arguing that artificial intelligence would never allow a driverless car to safely execute a left turn because there are too many variables at work. Six years after that, Google proved it could make cars fully autonomous, threatening the livelihood of millions of taxi and truck drivers. And now Google, Uber, Tesla and the big car manufacturers are all exploring and testing this technology. Ford has said it plans to introduce a fully autonomous car by 2021.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.


  • What If Taxpayers Could Choose if Taxes Went to the State Level or Federal Level?

    In recent years, we’ve examined any number of ways of decentralizing the American political system. These step-by-step moves can include decentralizing the monetary system, decentralizing the military, decentralizing immigration policy, and decentralizing elections.
    Most recently, we looked at decentralizing the welfare state, and found that each US state is more than wealthy enough and big enough to run its own welfare state at the state level without any need of planning or centralization through Washington, DC. Whether or not one thinks a welfare state is a good or necessary thing, the fact remains the US government is not an essential part of the equation.
    One piece of information that stood out the state-level analysis of tax revenue: the amount of taxes collected by the federal government far outpaces that collected at the state level. Nationwide, state-level tax bills are 28 percent the size of the federal tax bill. In a midsize state like Georgia, for example, residents pay 21 billion in taxes to the state government. However, those same residents pay a total of 86 billion to the federal government. The federal tax bill for Georgians is more than four times the size of the state tax bill.1

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on June 16, 2017.


  • U.S. Economy at Risk from Trump’s Poll Numbers

    A new poll is out from the Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago. It doesn’t bode well for Donald Trump’s presidency nor for the U. S. economy. Despite Wall Street’s century-old propaganda campaign to convince Washington that it controls the levers to economic growth in the U. S., and thus must be placated on its every desire, informed citizens understand that economic power rests in the hands of the consumer in a nation where two-thirds of GDP is consumer spending.
    Likewise, consumer confidence in the President of the United States impacts one’s willingness to open the purse strings and buy. The thinking is: if the country is headed in the wrong direction, how safe is my job? Perhaps I should stop spending and put money away for a rainy day.
    The new poll shows that 64 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing. Particularly troubling for a democracy, 65 percent say he doesn’t respect the country’s institutions and traditions. On specific issues, 66 percent disapprove of his handling of health care; 64 percent disapprove of his handling of climate change; 63 percent disapprove of his handling of foreign policy; 60 percent disapprove of his handling of immigration and 55 percent disapprove of how he’s handling the economy.

    This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on June 15, 2017.


  • Simple (economic) Math

    The essence of capitalism is not strictly capital. In the modern sense, the word capital has taken on other meanings, often where money is given as a substitute for it. When speaking about things like ‘hot money’, for instance, you wouldn’t normally correct someone referencing it in terms of ‘capital flows.’ Someone that ‘commits capital’ to a project is missing some words, for in the proper sense they are ‘committing funds to capital.’
    Just as the focus has been removed from actual capital, and thus a distortion of capitalism, one of the effects has been to devalue the other component that actually makes it all work. Rising living standards were never the fruit of capital alone, as the real strength was in the combination of it with labor. Over the last few decades, the real capital flow has been with eurodollar finance to the offshoring of productive capacity.
    By simple mathematics, businesses are no longer willing to afford labor. Before getting to that math, however, we need to be mindful that the ‘experts’ are almost uniformly suggesting the opposite is true. Instead, we hear constantly of a labor shortage, often serious, whether due to Baby Boomers retiring, lazy Americans addicted to heroin, or the politics of immigration. The problem with all of these is wages, meaning that if there was a shortage, wages would be rising and rising rapidly.
    The New York Times on Sunday published yet another of this type of account (they are becoming more frequent), blatantly headlining the piece, Lack of Workers, Not Work, Weighs on the Nation’s Economy. Focusing on anecdotes from Utah, you get all the familiar but unbacked tropes about the travails of employers who have things to do but can’t do them because they can’t find anyone.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on May 26, 2017.


  • Trump Talks “Trumponomics” With The Economist

    President Trump sat down with The Economist last week to talk trade, immigration, taxes, and health care and the transcript is chock-full of ‘Trumpisms’ that should not go unnoticed. Here are just a few of our favorite exchanges:
    On NAFTA, apparently ‘big’ is not an appropriate adjective to describe the renegotiation that will take place…‘massive’ and/or ‘huge’ are far better descriptors:
    It sounds like you’re imagining a pretty big renegotiation of NAFTA. What would a fair NAFTA look like?
    Big isn’t a good enough word. Massive.
    Huge?
    It’s got to be. It’s got to be.
    What would it look like? What would a fair NAFTA look like?
    No, it’s gotta be. Otherwise we’re terminating NAFTA.
    Some people think this is a negotiating tactic – that you say very dramatic things but actually you would settle for some very small changes. Is that right?
    No, it’s not, really not a negotiation. It’s really not. No, will I settle for less than I go in with? Yes, I mean who wouldn’t? Nobody, you know, I always use the word flexibility, I have flexibility. [Goes off the record.] [Our] relationship with China is long. Of course by China standards, it’s very short [laughter], you know when I’m with [Xi Jinping], because he’s great, when I’m with him, he’s a great guy. He was telling me, you know they go back 8,000 years, we have 1776 is like modern history. They consider 1776 like yesterday and they, you know, go back a long time. They talk about the different wars, it was very interesting. We got along great. So I told them, I said, ‘We have a problem and we’re going to solve that problem.’ But he wants to help us solve that problem.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 11, 2017.


  • Italian Prime Minister Secretly Meets With George Soros In Rome Amid Migrant Transport Scandal

    In the past few weeks, the transport of migrants from the African shores has become a case of national importance for Italy, and is now under investigation from the prosecutor of Catania, who recently testified to the Defence Committee of the Italian Senate and will meet soon with the Superior Council of the Magistrates.
    Harsh criticism of the activities of the NGOs has come from opposition parties Forza Italia, Lega Nord and even Movimento 5 Stelle, normally more neutral on immigration issues, while Prime Minister Gentiloni has opted to let the judicial system run its course.
    Yet, a new element will further exacerbate the situation; George Soros, a billionaire who is incredibly active politically on both sides of the Atlantic, met in secrecy with Prime Minister Gentiloni, less than a week after the latter had commented on the NGOs activities. The meeting was not listed on the website of the Italian government as official and its timing is at the very least suspicious.
    George Soros had penned multiple arguments in favour of immigration, suggesting that Europe should welcome ‘at least one million refugees a year’ and that the EU should create EU-bonds to support attendant expenses.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 4, 2017.


  • Key Highlights From Trump’s AP Interview

    First it was his interview with the FT, in which Trump warned China that the US was ready to take North Korea unilaterally; this was followed by the far more dramatic interview in the WSJ where the president flipped on his strong dollar policy, and reversed his stance on interest rates, Janet Yellen and the the Ex-Im bank.
    Today, Trump followed up with another interview this time with the AP. While the soundbites distributed by the press focus tend to focus more on Trump’s media habits – largely irrelevant for markets – the highlights below taken from the transcript (link) are far more relevant to policy and risk assets, especially the last bullet point, as it pertains to Steve Bannon.
    EUR, EGP. Trump speaks of their first visit. He didn’t expect to have “chemistry” with her given they are at odds over Nato and immigration, but they had “unbelievable chemistry.” Same can be said for Egyptian President el-Sissi and Chinese President Xi. Government shutdown takes precedence over healthcare reform. Not many details on the latter, while he doubles down that Democrats must accept his wall. AP: Obviously, that’s going to come in a week where you’re going to be running up against the deadline for keeping the government open. If you get a bill on your desk that does not include funding for the wall, will you sign it?

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 23, 2017.


  • Visualizing The Collapse Of The Middle Class In 20 Major U.S. Cities

    When future historians look back at the beginning of the 21st century, they’ll note that we grappled with many big issues. They’ll write about the battle between nationalism and globalism, soaring global debt, a dysfunctional healthcare system, societal concerns around automation and AI, and pushback on immigration. They will also note the growing number of populist leaders in Western democracies, ranging from Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump.
    However, as Visual Cpitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, these historians will not view these ideas and events in isolation. Instead, they will link them all, at least partially, to an overarching trend that is intimately connected to today’s biggest problems: the ‘hollowing out’ of the middle class.
    VISUALIZING THE COLLAPSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS
    The fact is many people have less money in their pockets – and understandably, this has motivated people to take action against the status quo.
    And while the collapse of the middle class and income inequality are issues that receive a fair share of discussion, we thought that this particular animation from Metrocosm helped to put things in perspective.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 22, 2017.


  • Gross: “All Asset Prices Are Elevated To Artificial Levels”

    Bill Gross’ latest monthly outlook is divided into two sections: in the first, the world’s former bond king provides a revealing glimpse into his mind courtesy of six brainteasers (with answers to questions such as “If forced to choose between killing your favorite pet or an anonymous human being, what would you do?”); in the second he goes back to his favorite topic: slamming the Trump growth narrative Can the Trump Agenda recreate 3% growth?
    The answer: he cites an IMF study which suggests that “unless there is an unforeseen technological breakthrough, productivity growth is unlikely to return to the higher rates of the 1990’s for advanced economics or the early 2000’s for emerging economics. In other words, their warning speaks to a global productivity slowdown, not just a U. S. based phenomena. They warn that increasing tariffs and developing restrictions on immigration will only exacerbate the slowdown. Global growth, and of course U. S. growth, will be lower than average, they forecast.”
    Which then leads to the following, not unexpected conclusion about assets prices:
    Equity markets are priced for too much hope, high yield bond markets for too much growth, and all asset prices elevated to artificial levels that only a model driven, historically biased investor would believe could lead to returns resembling the past six years, or the decades predating Lehman. High rates of growth, and the productivity that drives it, are likely distant memories from a bygone era.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.


  • Trump Admin Cracks Down On Visas For Coders

    As Nasdaq reaches ever record-er, record highs, it seems the ability to create a “Hello World” app is no longer enough to warrant an H1-B visa according to new guidelines from the Trump administration.
    As The Hill reports, the new policy guidance that would make it harder for companies to use the H-1B visa program to bring foreign computer programmers into the U. S. A policy memo from the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changes the way the agency will process visa applications for computer programming positions, making companies jump through extra hoops to fill those jobs with foreign workers…
    The memorandum also does not properly explain or distinguish an entry-level position from one that is, for example, more senior, complex, specialized, or unique.
    Furthermore, the memorandum also did not accurately portray essential information from the Handbook that recognized that some computer programmers qualify for these jobs with only ‘2-year degrees.’ While the memorandum did mention beneficiaries with ‘2-year’ degrees, it incorrectly described them as ‘strictly involving the entering or review of code for an employer whose business is not computer related.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 3, 2017.


  • EU Bans Islamic Headscarf, Sparking Angry Protest From Soros-Funded Group

    A ruling by the European Union’s top court on Tuesday, which allows companies to bar staff from wearing Islamic headscarves and other visible religious symbols, has set off a storm of complaint from rights groups and religious leaders. With its first ruling on a hot political issue across Europe, the Court of Justice (ECJ) has found that a Belgian firm which had a rule barring employees who dealt with customers from wearing visible religious and political symbols “may not have discriminated” against a receptionist dismissed for wearing a headscarf.
    The judgment came on the eve of a Dutch election in which Muslim immigration is a key issue; in several weeks France also votes for a president in a similarly charged campaign. Piggybacking on the ruling, scandal-ridden French candidate, conservative Francois Fillon, hailed the ruling as “an immense relief” that would contribute to “social peace”.
    However, the ruling also prompted angry responses: a campaign group backing the women said the ruling could shut many Muslim women out of the workforce. And European rabbis said the Court had added to rising incidences of hate crime to send a message that “faith communities are no longer welcome”. Reactions focused on the conclusion that services firm G4S in Belgium was entitled to dismiss receptionist Samira Achbita in 2006 if, in pursuit of legitimate business interests, it fairly applied a broad dress code for all customer-facing staff to project an image of political and religious neutrality, Reuters reported.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 14, 2017.


  • Water Wars Coming To California? Is The Drought Really Over?

    In California, the poor growth and development policies that have resulted from a lack of vision have led-to and are continuing to lead Californians down a path of unsustainable growth and a widening gap between the demand and availability of critical resources, especially water.
    This gargantuan problem is augmented by a growing financial crises in California as evidenced by an out of control and growing debt problem. All the while, many elected officials in the State along with Governor Jerry Brown are thumbing their noses at the Fed and losing Federal funding for cities that obstinately insist on violating long-established immigration laws. Of course this too is not helpful to the growing State debt, which elected officials will certainly cast-off onto the weakening shoulders of taxpayers using a combination of direct tax increases and other legislative and regulatory ploys that also amount to taxes and less money in the pockets of the People.
    The term ‘drought’ has been used in reference to the severe water shortages that California is experiencing. But what is the real culprit or causation of the growing water shortage? Is drought caused by a lack of precipitation as most people believe? Or is the shortfall of water availability due to some other principal factor, such as water-use outstripping supply?

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 13, 2017.


  • A Critical Week For Markets Begins: Preview Of The Main Events

    A pivotal, catalyst-filled week for global markets is now underway as investors brace for the second US interest rate hike in 2 quarter, a Dutch election, the expiration of the US debt ceiling deal, the imminent invoking of Article 50 by Theresa May, the first G20 finance ministers’ meeting of the Trump era and perhaps the disclosure of Trump’s proposed budget.
    While the key events on the US economic docket will be retails sales and Wednesday’s CPI report, it is the slew of geopolitical and central bank-linked events and announcements which will have a profound impact on capital markets.
    The most important, if mostly priced in, event is this FOMC announcement on Wednesday where the February employment report all but confirmed the Fed’s view that the US labor market is at or very close to full employment, giving them a bright green light to raise rates at the March meeting and continue its message of further normalization. Traders view a quarter-point Fed hike this week as a virtual certainty and will be watching the central bank’s policy decision for signals on what will come next. Futures indicate the market is moving toward policy makers’ December projection of three rate increases in 2017. It would be the first year with multiple Fed hikes since 2006.
    Another key event is the Dutch general election on March whose results should be known on Thursday morning. Focus will be on the performance of the anti-EU, anti-immigration party PVV, and party leader Geert Wilders’ pledge to hold a referendum on EU membership. But current polls do not suggest that he is in a position to achieve an absolute majority, or form a governing coalition and take the country out of the EU. The current government will continue in office until a new coalition is
    formed (that can take weeks, or months). Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, which may be emerge as the biggest party from the elections, is unlikely
    to join the new government. Whether the perceived populist trend is
    shaken is the potential surprise.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 13, 2017.


  • The Complete Preview Of The March 15 Dutch General Election

    March 15 is not only the day when the FOMC is now widely expected to hike rates by another 25 bps, and when the US debt ceiling suspension expires, but just as importantly, is the date of the 2017 Dutch General Election. Here is a full preview of what to expect courtesy of RBC Capital Markets.
    By way of background, the Netherlands is the euro area’s 5th-largest economy, a founding member of the EU and one of only 3 euro area countries (along with Germany and Luxembourg) to enjoy an AAA rating from the 3 main ratings agencies.
    Netherlands general election – summary
    Dutch voters cast their ballots in the country’s general election on Wednesday March 15th According to opinion polls the (centre-right) VVD party of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte is vying with the anti-immigration, anti-EU, Freedom Party of Geert Wilders to emerge as the largest party The election is the first in a series of votes this year that includes elections in France (April/May) and Germany (September), and potentially also Italy if early elections are announced later this year A victory in the popular vote for Wilders could therefore be interpreted as a signal that anti-EU populist parties are coming to the fore in the EU ahead of those elections

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 6, 2017.


  • Wall Street Scrambles To Change The Trump Narrative Again

    Until yesterday, the prevailing Wall Street consensus was that in the absence of specifics from President Trump on his economic and fiscal plans, the market would be disappointed, and proceed to slide. It did not, in fact quite the opposite.
    As a result, the world’s best paid strategists have again – just like after the election – revised the “Trump narrative” after the fact, and now the prevailing analyst sentiment is that markets will like Trump’s address to Congress as he cooled his rhetoric and likely gained political capital. As Bloomberg adds, the reflation trade, which has been boosting financials, held, even as the speech was short on details, forcing the U-turn in the plotline. Still, while turning tactically bullish overnight, there is an agreement that efforts on tax reform and infrastructure spending are likely a long, uphill slog, as those priorities may get squeezed by other agenda items, like health care.
    Here is a recap of some of the most prominent notes flying around this morning, virtually none of which to Mark Cudmore chagrin, suggest – if only for now – that the “emperor is naked.”
    KBW (Brian Gardner)
    Markets likely to react positively to Trump’s less confrontational, more optimistic tone; may like cooler rhetoric on trade; speech may play well among voters outside of Trump’s base, buying him some political capital Possible to read speech as implicit endorsement of border adjustment tax (BAT), though will be “uphill fight” to include BAT in tax reform even with Trump’s support No direct impact on financials as didn’t mention Dodd-Frank or changes to financial regulations; seemed warmer to legal immigration, which may be good for sectors that rely on immigrant labor, like homebuilders; infrastructure spending may get “squeezed out” by competing agenda items like health care, tax reform

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 1, 2017.


  • Yellen and Trump Speeches Highly Anticipated by Investors

    Investors will have much to mull over this week as Donald Trump gives his first address to Congress, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks Friday. After that, the FOMC goes into their blackout period in anticipation of their March 14-15 policy meeting.
    Tuesday night, Donald Trump will give his first State of the Union address to Congress, which is expected to touch on immigration, tax cuts, regulation, Obamacare, trade agreements, defense, and homeland security. Investors are hoping Trump will lay out more specifics on his tax plan and trade policy.
    Gold investors are waiting on more clarity from Trump as well, with prices holding steady Monday at a 3.5 month high, according to Reuters. ‘Since the beginning of the year, the gold price has always been on the rise,’ said Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Group. ‘This will draw more and more momentum traders into the market.’

    This post was published at Schiffgold on FEBRUARY 28, 2017.


  • With All Eyes On Trump Tonight, US Futures, Global Stocks Hug The Flatline

    With traders focused on President Trump’s address to Congress tonight where he is expected to outline his economic priorities and provide plan details, European stocks are little changed for a second day and Asian stocks decline modestly as U. S. futures trade around the flatline. Oil declines, trading just under $54, while the dollar is little changed. Before the open, the US reports the second reading of 4Q GDP, with attention also on the Chicago PMI print as well as the Conference Board consumer confidence index. Salesforce and Ross Stores are among companies reporting.
    World stocks hover just shy of all-time highs and are on course for a fourth straight month of gains on Tuesday, as investors awaited a speech by U. S. President Donald Trump for signals on infrastructure spending and tax cuts. Global share markets have risen more than 10 percent since Trump won power in November and investors are hoping a speech to U. S. Congress later will detail his “big” spending promises.
    Traders are in a holding pattern ahead of Trump’s State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. It actually is technically called the State of the Union as it’s his first address but it’s the annual event that will become it. Yesterday’s headlines were largely dominated by reports of Trump proposing to boost military spending by $54bn, offset by cuts in nonmilitary budgets. The President was also reported as telling governors yesterday that ‘we’re going to start spending on infrastructure, big’ but in reality markets were largely unmoved by the headlines and clearly just waiting for the main event.
    As DB’s Jim reid writes, perhaps the biggest focus for the market in the address are clues as to whether the President supports the much talked about border adjustment tax – a key feature of House Speaker Ryan’s tax reform plan. Economists believe that the President will not directly mention the BAT but will highlight the necessity of increasing economic growth and work wages. Other topics which could be addressed include repealing of the Affordable Care Act, pulling out of trade agreements, immigration, de-regulation and of course other tax cuts. In terms of timing the address is scheduled for 9pm EST in the US tonight.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 28, 2017.


  • So It Begins, Corporate Media Sets Up Narrative That The Economy Is Worsening – Episode 1211a

    The following video was published by X22Report on Feb 22, 2017
    Philadelphia passed a soda tax and sales have plummeted and the companies will be laying off employees. Restaurant traffic and sales have declined as people shy away from eating out. Existing home sales magically rebound as mortgage applications are declining. Corporate media will use the immigration ban as the catalyst to the housing crash. Trump says the budget is out of control. Corporate media saying Trump will use alternative facts to counter the economic decline.


  • Could Trump’s Immigration Ban Cause Another Housing Crash?

    How important are immigrants to the U. S. housing market? At least according to University of Washington economist Jacob Vigdor they could own roughly 12.5% of the housing stock in the U. S. worth about $3.7 trillion in aggregate.
    Here’s the math…there are roughly 320 million people in the U. S. and 125 million houses, or about 2.5 people per household. Since there are 40 million immigrants living in the U. S., that implies they could own around 16 million homes. Using an average home price of $225,000 would imply an aggregate household value of ~$3.7 trillion for immigrant families alone. Per Bloomberg:
    Fueling housing demand, immigrants replace baby boomers retiring from the labor force, according to University of Washington
    economist Jacob Vigdor.
    By his reckoning, the country’s 40 million immigrants add $3.7 trillion to total housing wealth. In Houston’s home county, the newcomers boosted the value of the typical home by $25,000 during the decade ended in 2010. Between 2015 and 2065, according to a Pew Research projection, future immigrants and their descendants will account for 88 percent of the U. S. population increase, or 103 million people.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 22, 2017.


  • Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s Why

    Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
    On August 15, 1971, President Nixon killed the last remnants of the gold standard.
    It was one of the most significant events in US history – on par with the 1929 stock market crash, JFK’s assassination, or the 9/11 attacks. Yet most people know nothing about it.
    Here’s what happened…
    After World War 2, the US had the largest gold reserves in the world, by far. Along with winning the war, this let the US reconstruct the global monetary system around the dollar.
    The new system, created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, tied the currencies of virtually every country in the world to the US dollar through a fixed exchange rate. It also tied the US dollar to gold at a fixed rate of $35 an ounce.
    The Bretton Woods system made the US dollar the world’s premier reserve currency. It effectively forced other countries to store dollars for international trade, or to exchange with the US government for gold.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 18, 2017.