Category Archives: Economy and Debt

February 20, 2018

Venezuelan refugee crisis could eclipse Syria’s, economist predicts

Around 4 million Venezuelans have fled their country, and the number will keep rising amid a severe shortage of food and cash, according to an economist. He said the outflow will eventually overtake Syria’s, which stands at 5.5 million.

Syria’s civil war has resulted in what’s been dubbed the world’s largest refugee crisis, but another humanitarian calamity may soon surpass it.

The millions of Venezuelans fleeing their turmoil-hit nation could eventually overshadow the number of Syrian refugees, according to an economist.

“The next refugee crisis is not being driven by a violent war but by a socioeconomic disaster of magnitudes hardly seen before,” Dany Bahar, a fellow at think tank the Brookings Institution, said in a Monday note, referring to the South American nation.

About 4 million Venezuelans — over 10 percent of the population — have left the country in search of better living conditions in the last two decades, Bahar said, citing others’ estimates.

In comparison, “the estimates of refugees who left Syria during the war account for about 5 million individuals,” he noted. The latest United Nations data indicates there are currently 5.5 million Syrian refugees.

Bahar said he expects Venzeula’s figure to increase “very rapidly” and eventually exceed that of the Middle Eastern state.

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February 6, 2018

Hard Lessons From the Federal Student-Loan Program’s Coming $36 Billion Shortfall

Prospect of taxpayer losses increases the chances that Congress will make major changes to the program.

U.S. officials have long maintained the federal government would make a profit on its $1.4 trillion student loan portfolio or at least break even, but two recent reports suggest just the opposite will be the case. Government lending to college and graduate students could soon become an immense drain on federal coffers, worsening an already deteriorating U.S. budget picture.

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January 1, 2018

North Dakota’s Pipeline Payoff

Six months later, the Dakota Access Pipeline proves its value.

The Dakota Access Pipeline marks six months of operations on New Year’s Day, and new data show that North Dakota is already enjoying major benefits from the $3.8 billion project.

The pipeline has significantly lowered energy transportation costs and energy companies to move their oil to the Gulf Coast, where it fetches a higher price. So it’s little surprise that energy production has surged since the Dakota Access Pipeline opened.

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December 18, 2017

Report: California Second Worst State for Economic Freedom

A new international report has found that due to the burden of regulatory overreach and the highest taxes in the nation, California ranks 49th out of all 50 U.S. states in economic freedom. Only New York is worse.

When Canada’s Fraser Institute published its 2017 “Economic Freedom of the World” survey in September, the index surprisingly found that the United States suffered the third-worst plunge in economic world freedom (EWF) between 2000 and 2015, by falling 7 places from number 4 to number 11.

The index measures individual components for 1) the size of government and tax rates; 2) impartiality of the legal system and protection of property rights; 3) sound money and inflation; 4) freedom to trade; and 5) regulatory reach and costs.

Co-author Fred McMahon commented, “The freest economies operate with comparatively less government interference, relying more on personal choice and markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced, and how much is produced.”

Researchers at the Fraser Institute teamed with the U.S.-based Independent Institute’s Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation to gain insight into how much of America’s dismal loss of competitive standing was caused by California’s two-decade lurch to the left.

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December 17, 2017

As Venezuela Collapses, Children are Dying of Hunger

For five months, The New York Times tracked 21 public hospitals in Venezuela. Doctors are seeing record numbers of children with severe malnutrition. Hundreds have died.

Kenyerber Aquino Merchán was 17 months old when he starved to death.

His father left before dawn to bring him home from the hospital morgue. He carried Kenyerber’s skeletal frame into the kitchen and handed it to a mortuary worker who makes house calls for Venezuelan families with no money for funerals.

Kenyerber’s spine and rib cage protruded as the embalming chemicals were injected. Aunts shooed away curious young cousins, mourners arrived with wildflowers from the hills, and relatives cut out a pair of cardboard wings from one of the empty white ration boxes that families increasingly depend on amid the food shortages and soaring food prices throttling the nation. They gently placed the tiny wings on top of Kenyerber’s coffin to help his soul reach heaven — a tradition when a baby dies in Venezuela.

When Kenyerber’s body was finally ready for viewing, his father, Carlos Aquino, a 37-year-old construction worker, began to weep uncontrollably. “How can this be?” he cried, hugging the coffin and speaking softly, as if to comfort his son in death. “Your papá will never see you again.”

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Keeping ‘Dreamers’ would cost taxpayers $26B over next 10 years, feds say

The CBO estimates that the bill would increase budget deficits by $25.9 billion over the 2018-2027 period while increasing net revenues by $0.9 billion.

Allowing 2 million illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to remain in the U.S. would cost taxpayers $25.9 billion over the next decade, the Congresssional Budget Office says in a report released Friday.

Dreamers are the prospective beneficiaries of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year to provide a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

They would include those who’ve participated in DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), received temporary protected status, or have fulfilled certain educational requirements.

Under the bill, immigrants who benefited from DACA would be eligible for Medicaid, food stamps, education funding, and various other programs, provided that the applicants meet certain requirements.

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December 5, 2017

They’re leaving California for Las Vegas to find the middle-class life that eluded them

Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It’s close, it’s a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper.

The rent steals so much of your paycheck, you might have to move back in with your parents, and half your life is spent staring at the rear end of the car in front of you.

You’d like to think it will get better, but when? All around you, young and old alike are saying goodbye to California.

“Best thing I could have done,” said retiree Michael J. Van Essen, who was paying $1,160 for a one-bedroom apartment in Silver Lake until a year and a half ago. Then he bought a house with a creek behind it for $165,000 in Mason City, Iowa, and now pays $500 a month less on his mortgage than he did on his rent in Los Angeles.

Van Essen was one of the many readers who responded in October when I reached out to people who got sick and tired of the high cost of living in California. I heard from someone in Idaho and others who moved to Arizona and Nevada.

Solid recent data is hard to come by, but 2016 census figures showed an uptick in the number of people who fled Los Angeles and Orange counties for less expensive California locales, or they left the state altogether.

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December 4, 2017

Donald Trump: People Should Sue ABC for Stock Market Crash Triggered by Fake News

President Donald Trump continued to ridicule ABC News and their reporter Brian Ross for a false report about Mike Flynn’s cooperation with the Russia investigation.

“People who lost money when the Stock Market went down 350 points based on the False and Dishonest reporting of Brian Ross of ABC News (he has been suspended), should consider hiring a lawyer and suing ABC for the damages this bad reporting has caused – many millions of dollars!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Ross was suspended by ABC News for four weeks without pay, after he tried to clarify a report about the investigation.

Ross reported on Friday that Flynn would testify that as a candidate Trump ordered him to contact the Russians, which would be illegal.

The stock market fell more than 350 points on the news.

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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.