In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.The U.S. was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Here’s a fun fact: Although we all hate the U.S. dollar, as it continues to hemorrhage wealth, its foothold as the world’s reserve currency isn’t going to disappear overnight.A Russian gas deal with China won’t change that — as we’ll highlight below.But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s dive into a story that’s right […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
“As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress of the United States. It is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding […]
The Keynesian disaster recovery plan has been to lower rates, force people to take more risk in search of yield, and entice others to borrow and spend and, magically, more jobs will be created. If people won’t buy stocks, central banks will.Back in 2011, Ben Bernanke, when asked if QE2 was driving up stock prices, […]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices are rising at a 2.1% annual rate. This suggests to us that the current stock market boom will die with a bang, rather than a whimper.Fed economists say they don’t think inflation rates are rising. They think the most recent reading is a fluke. But why […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
As the world gets more digital, people forget about the benefits of transacting in cash. And government officials know that.
The experts will tell you the recession is over, but they’re only torturing the data to hide the truth. The economy never recovered from the downturn it experienced. But the downturn happened in 2000, not 2008. The country’s been in the middle of a 14 year recession and hardly anyone knows the truth.
Every time Bitcoin crashes, it winds up at a price greater than it’s previous high. Yet the experts still call it a currency fad that will fade away. But a little over a year since it really took up, the digital currency is still going strong, and is once again seeing its price rise. But is there another reason why people are buying Bitcoins.
All paper currency has a shelf life. It could be 5 years or 500 years, but at some point, the value of any paper currency eventually reaches zero. That's why, for centuries, people have turned to one shiny metal to safeguard their personal store of wealth. And, as Jim Rickards explains, you still have that option. Read on...
Edward Snowden’s one year visa in Russia expires at the end of next month. With only a few weeks left before he finds himself without a safe country to live in, he sat down to give an exclusive interview. Here are the most important things he wants you to remember from his recent sacrifice.
It’s a destructive cycle that comes around everytime your politicians ask you to take to the polls. The government’s meddling creates unexpected problems that eventually overshadow the planners’ original intentions. But that only leads the way for even more interventions.
Politicians love inflation. It’s a way to pay for the government’s debts without upsetting the public by raising taxes, or their special interests by cutting government. So they’ll flood the economy with easy money and eat away at your savings. But that’s only part of the story...
Obama recently claimed this was the “Decade of the Brain”. But it not the first time the government made that promise. The last time they did it, they wasted millions of your tax dollars. Now they’re back for round two. But this time, their failure could mean more than squandered money. It could mean making Alzheimer’s even worse for those who suffer from it.
“So we have, indeed, had a disappointingly slow recovery, and our consistent expectations for a pickup in growth have been dashed over a number of years… And the labor market is behaving in some perplexing ways and showing patterns that are novel.”–Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen in a speech to the Economic Club of New […]
Politicians who love Big Government love talking about the minimum wage. It’s one of the few policy where they don’t have to ask their constituents to pony up the extra tax dollars to pay the higher costs. Instead, they pass the buck to business owners. They can’t print money, nor can they can force you to pay more. So they cut back hours and fire the very workers politicians tried to help. But that’s how things go when you mess with the economy.
Economists aren’t physicists. But they sure do like to act like they are sometimes. When scientists reach a consensus about something, it usually means they’re breaking new ground on a theory based on hard facts and proven evidence. When economists agree on something, it shows the limitations of a field that tries to model how humans are supposed to behave. And that’s where the danger lies. Especially when it comes to things like U.S. Treasurys.
Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Austrian economics does more than tell you what happens when the government disturbs market forces. In the hands of knowledgeable investors and entrepreneurs, it can tell you exactly what to expect from the market. Market behavior depends on how people behave. And how people behave is central to the Austrian perspective.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
World War II might have dragged the country out of the Great Depression, but it did so at a great price. Central planning took center stage, and politicans and bureaucrats suddenly knew what was best for America, the economy, and your life. On top of that, they replaced the free market with a new economic system… Creditism.
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
Oh, how the media love a good strike. Look at these fast-food workers and peasants standing up to the owners of capital! They aren’t going to take the oppression anymore. The suits in the boardrooms had better shape up and stop hoarding all that money. They need to give it up to the men and women who are doing the work by giving them not $8 per hour, but $15. And they need to act now.
And so goes the media narrative on the “nationwide” walkouts from fast-food restaurants this week. Thousands of stories poured out in the papers and wire services. The signs, the screaming, the demands, the sad stories of exploitation, the reporters shouting over the yelling — it’s all a scene out of the old storybooks.
But wait just a minute, here. These people are demanding a doubling of wages? You don’t even have to study economics for more than a few seconds to see that this would be catastrophic for employment.
Think of it this way: What if the price of a Big Mac suddenly went from $4 to $8? Are you going to buy as many? McDonald’s can’t make you. Do a quick mental experiment and imagine what would happen to the demand for this sandwich. Well, in the same way, no one can force McDonald’s to buy labor at $15 an hour. Demand for labor would collapse. Bankruptcies would abound. People would suffer.
So what’s with these demands? Sure, everyone wants more money (universal rule!) but this is a horrible way to go about it.
If you look a bit more deeply, you begin to the see the hoax. There’s every indication that people outside the restaurants protesting didn’t actually work for the place they were protesting. It was a classic “rent-a-mob” situation, and the rent was being paid by political activists whose agenda has nothing to do with helping the average burger flipper.
These were mostly media stunts cooked up by the Service Employees International Union, which bused in these so-called workers as a fulfillment of a little charade and subsequent media blitz. The SEIU coordinates these protests with various professional worker groups and in conjunction with the press to make the biggest possible splash.
Notice that in the course of the protests, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King reported on no cases of actual shutdowns due to striking workers. A rare case was reported in Detroit, but it seemed to come and go. There were sporadic reports of some closings, but due more to the chaos than refusal to work. As Labor Notes reported, “A Qdoba Mexican Grill was entirely shut down when a crowd occupied the store. A Subway was unable to stay open because of a large crowd out front.”
In other words, the most these so-called walkouts accomplished was to block the entrances for consumers. As soon as the ruckus ended, consumers poured back in and workers happily served up the food and drink that people wanted.
That alone is enough to cause any objective observer to suspect a rat. Among all the media stories about these so-called strikes, only Bloomberg hinted at the reality: “Moments after protesters left a Wendy’s in downtown Manhattan, about 20 people piled into the store for lunch. When chanting strikers entered the Chicago McDonald’s, workers continued to pour coffee and bag food for a throng of customers.”
RealClearMarkets provided some more detail — and did so even before the protests began. In short, these were not workers, but pressure groups acting in a coordinated fashion through politically driven “workers centers” — Fast Food Forward and Low Pay Is Not OK — backed by the American Federation of Teachers, the new incarnation of the Obama-ite ACORN, and other highly politicized parasites:
“Fast Food Forward and Low Pay Is Not OK are allied with other worker centers, including Stand Up KC, Raise Up Milwaukee, Fight for 15, Central American Resource Center, MassUniting, Rally for 15, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Flint-15. At Low Pay Is Not OK’s website, people can download a strike kit (“Download 15 Steps for $15/hour”) and a strike letter… Fast Food Forward activists do not have to worry about losing their own jobs, so they seek extraordinary wage increases of up to 100%.
“Fast Food Forward is funded by New York Communities for Change, which was set up in 2010 to replace the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN. ACORN closed down due to financial shenanigans and scandal, but NYCC has the same address and leadership. Jonathan Westin, a former ACORN organizer, directs NYCC and Fast Food Forward.
“The SEIU has contributed over $100,000 to NYCC, according to documents filed with the Labor Department. These documents also show that NYCC received $353,881 from the United Federation of Teachers between Aug. 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.”
If you want to follow the money further, you can trace Teachers Union dollars straight back to you and me in the form of the taxes we pay. So to some extent, this whole charade was a subsidized racket.
Stranger still, consider that these so-called strikes have no real end game. You can’t negotiate with an entire industry. Wages in these franchises are decided by the local owners, not dictated by the center. If McDonald’s corporate headquarters suddenly mandated a $15 minimum, it would stand in massive contract violation with the owners of the stores — robbing them of their rights.
It would never happen. But if it did, the result would be to bankrupt thousands of stores, throw possibly millions of people out of work, and do terrible damage to future job creation. These franchises operate on extremely thin margins as it is, and the owners never know for sure whether they are going to make it another year.
As for the workers themselves, they are mostly entry-level jobs, and some 75% of the new workers in these restaurants end up leaving for other positions after a year of work. In other words, these are brilliant places to get your foot in the door. They hire people who really need the experience and train them in money management, cooking skills, interpersonal skills, and the ethic of the commercial marketplace.
The agenda of these activists groups is to ruin this beautiful opportunity for people. And what’s the point? Well, labor unions of the sort represented by SEIU are nearly extinct in this modern, dynamic, entrepreneurial economy. They once dominated. Now, the percentage of private sector workers who are unionized is down to 6.6%. Even the rate of government unionization is collapsing by one-third.
Looking at this bigger picture, you can see that these stunts are really acts of desperation. The unions need to shore up their membership. They will do it at the expense of the poor, the low-wage workers, small-business owners, and consumers. They really don’t care. At this late stage, these near-death unions are willing to pillage anyone and everyone just to survive.
The mainstream press is not doing anyone favors by covering up the true racket here. The fast-food franchises are not owned and run by fat cats, but by mostly local business owners who scraped up enough money to take on a risky investment. They have suffered terrible economic strain over the past five years, with ever-increasing regulatory costs, higher minimum wages, and the constant threat of death by Obamacare.
Despite all this, fast food has been a growth industry — a bright spot in a dim economic landscape. This faked “strike” charade is the last thing they need right now. The trolls will always be with us. If only the attention-hungry press would learn to spot them and ignore them so business could get on with making the world a better place.