Category Archives: Economy and Debt

November 11, 2017

Socialism: Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Crashes to Under Four Dollars a Month

The monthly minimum wage in the socialist country of Venezuela has crashed to under four dollars a month as hyperinflation continues to crush the country’s shattered economy.

Despite dictator Nicolás Maduro’s five minimum wage hikes over the course of 2017, the monthly minimum wage of 177,507 bolivares is equivalent to $3.41, working out at just over two cents an hour, according to latest real value exchange rates.

Venezuelans also receive a monthly food ticket of 279,000 bolivares a month, bringing people’s total monthly income to around approximately nine dollars a month.

Maduro confirmed last week that the government would debut a new 100,000 Bolivar bill, making it the highest denomination note released in modern Venezuelan history. The move comes less than a year after he tried to relieve pressure on consumers by releasing 500, 1000, 2000, 10,000, and 20,000 bolivar notes, although all of these notes now all have a value of well under half a dollar.

While, ten years ago, a 100 Bolivar note could buy a television, it is now worth just over one cent, with the currency having lost over 99.99 percent of its value since 2010. Yet rates of inflation continue to accelerate amid fears of a default on the country’s colossal debt.

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October 29, 2017

Video: Japan’s Top Economicst – Sweden Was Ruined By Immigrants (And How To Save Her)

Must watch video.

October 20, 2017

Adios, California by Steve Baldwin

A fifth-generation Californian laments his state’s ongoing economic collapse.

It’s not easy watching California self-destruct. After all, my four sons are 6th generation Californians. One relative of ours journeyed here prior to the Gold Rush when the state population was just a handful of people. Family lore has it he was a gunslinger who, victorious in a gun duel, headed to California to avoid the law. He ended up ranching on what is now known as Mammoth Mountain. Other family members took part in the gold rush and one ended up discovering gold in 1895 in the Mojave Desert. My grandparents arrived in Kern County in the 1930s and worked as teachers educating the children of oil workers shortly after the discovery of oil in that region.

Proud of my heritage, I had this urge to run for the state legislature, so I did and I won. I was hoping I could do something in Sacramento to slow the decline of the Golden State. But it was not to be. I quickly discovered that the legislature was so dominated by far left ideologues, there was nothing that could be done to reverse course. My Democrat colleagues were not concerned one bit about how their policies were destroying the economic golden goose that made California so famous worldwide. Indeed, they actually believe their big government and nanny state policies have made California the model of how progressives can succeed in governing. Seriously.

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October 15, 2017

Double Disaster (Video)

By now you’re familiar with the sights of devastation from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. What you may not know is just how bad things were for the U.S. territory before the storm hit. It’s a story of corruption and waste and—Puerto Rican officials say—a lesson for all of us.

Alberto Martinez was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He recorded these pictures after Hurricane Maria.

Alberto Martinez: Puerto Rico was already suffering a financial crisis, now it’s been wrecked by Hurricane Maria.

Martinez also showed us around Puerto Rico over the summer before Hurricane Maria. For all intents and purposes, already bankrupt.

Alberto Martinez: This is the Ponce de Leon Avenue on Santurce. My school is on this avenue…

A college professor, Martinez is planning to include Puerto Rico’s example in a course at the University of Texas on money and corruption.

Alberto Martinez: Now it’s just a bunch of shut down storefronts with graffiti.

He blames more than a decade of poor tax and business policies, and big banks that convinced politicians to borrow like there was no tomorrow.

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September 27, 2017

In Venezuela, they were teachers and doctors. To buy food, they became prostitutes

It’s not just a border phenomenon. Fidelia Suarez, the president of Colombia’s Union of Sex Workers, said her organization has seen a dramatic influx of “Venezuelan women and men working in the sex trade” across the country.

At a squat, concrete brothel on the muddy banks of the Arauca River, Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now sell their bodies at his establishment for $25 an hour.

“We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer,” he yelled over the din of vallenato music. “All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”

And all of them came from Venezuela.

As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country. Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.

The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed. A recent study suggested as many as 350,000 Venezuelans had entered Colombia in the last six years.

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September 20, 2017

California exodus? Poll finds voters consider moving due to sky-high housing costs (Video)

Of the 56 percent of voters who said they’ve considered moving, 1 in 4 said they’d relocate out of state if they did.

More than half of California voters say the state’s housing affordability crisis is so bad that they’ve considered moving, and 60 percent of the electorate supports rent control, according to a new statewide poll.

The findings from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies reflect broad concerns Californians have over the soaring cost of living. Amid an unprecedented housing shortage, rents have skyrocketed and tenants have faced mass evictions, especially in desirable areas.

“It’s an extremely serious problem,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo. “People are being forced to consider moving because of the rising cost of housing – that’s pretty prevalent all over the state.”

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September 17, 2017

The day that destroyed the working class and sowed the seeds of Trump

“Those numbers only reflect the jobs that were lost in the plant; the ripple effect was equally devastating. Grocery stores, pizza shops, gas stations, restaurants, department stores, car dealerships, barber shops all saw their business plummet and they started closing,” said Steinbeck.

Forty years ago, on Sept. 19, thousands of men walked into the Campbell Works of Youngstown Sheet and Tube along the Mahoning River before the early shift.

Like every fall morning, they were armed with lunch pails and hard hats; the only worry on their minds was the upcoming Pittsburgh Steelers game on “Monday Night Football.” The only arguing you heard was whether quarterback Terry Bradshaw had fully recovered from the dramatic hit he took from a Cleveland Browns player the season before.

It was just before 7 a.m., and the fog that had settled over the river was beginning to lift. As the sun began to streak through mist, the men made their way into the labyrinth of buildings where they worked.

In the next hour their lives would change forever.

From then on, this date in 1977 would be known as Black Monday in the Steel Valley, which stretches from Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio eastward toward Pittsburgh. It is the date when Youngstown Sheet and Tube abruptly furloughed 5,000 workers all in one day.

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September 16, 2017

Kelly told Trump Mexico was on the verge of collapse like Venezuela: report

Kelly thinks Mexico may collapse, yet still doesn’t want the US to have a border wall. Really makes you think…

White House chief of staff John Kelly likened Mexico to Venezuela during a conversation with President Trump this month, telling Trump that Mexico was similarly on the verge of collapse, according to The New York Times.

Kelly made the comments to Trump after the president met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Kelly has long been an advocate for increased security measures along the U.S. southern border, and made that a focus of his efforts during his short tenure as Homeland Security secretary.

The Trump administration is currently under fire from the president’s base for not making enough progress on building the wall, which was one of his key campaign promises in 2016.

Venezuela is facing a wave of violent antigovernment protests, resulting in numerous deaths in recent months. The South American country is dealing with food and medicine shortages, as well as hyper inflation.

Mexico is an important U.S. ally in both trade and law enforcement.

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August 11, 2017

Struggling Americans Once Sought Greener Pastures—Now They’re Stuck

The country is the least mobile since after World War II, even in economically depressed rural locales.

When she graduated from high school, Taylor Tibbetts was a bright star in this small Northern Michigan town. She won an $18,000-a-year swimming scholarship to Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., and departed for her freshman year with high hopes.

Once on campus, however, she felt overwhelmed by her courses and scared and isolated among students from all over the country with different values. After just a week, her mother reluctantly agreed to bring her home.

Three years later, sitting on a vinyl booth at her family’s pizzeria in West Branch where she now works, Ms. Tibbetts, 21, says she longs to live in a thriving city like Denver or Nashville, and regrets her inability to leave here.

“I can’t be the kid that just stays here forever,” she says.

Like a lot of small towns in sparsely populated American counties, West Branch, population 2,067, is in an economic funk brought on by the decline of manufacturing and farm consolidation. In recent years, a handful of retailers, a flour mill and a carpet shop have all closed their doors.

What is troubling about this rural town and many places like it is that while lots of struggling residents see leaving as the best way to improve their lives, a surprising share remain stuck in place. For a number of reasons—both economic and cultural—they no longer believe they can leave.

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June 21, 2017

Which Are Death Spiral States?

Does your state have more takers than makers? Check it out.

California has a powerful economy, with 14 million private-sector jobs. It also has burdens: welfare recipients (12.6 million), generously paid government employees (2.1 million) and people collecting government pensions (1.3 million).

Add up the numbers. There are 114 clients drawing from the government for every 100 people chipping in by working outside the government and paying taxes. We’re calling this the Feedme Ratio. Six states have a number over 100.

These states are at risk of going into a downward spiral in the next recession. The burdens will remain but too many of the providers—employers in the private sector—might shrink or decamp. Why add jobs in a state that asks each productive worker to carry not just his or her own weight but also the weight of one other person?

New York is on the list of at-risk states, with a Feedme Ratio of 108. New Mexico is in the worst shape, with 143 government clients for every 100 private-sector workers.

The three other states with Feedme Ratios over 100: West Virginia at 116, Mississippi at 111 and Arkansas at 103. You can check your state on this map.

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