Big Tech Strikes Again – Against Research, Science, and Free Speech thumbnail

Big Tech Strikes Again – Against Research, Science, and Free Speech

By 2ndvote .com

On Saturday, YouTube (1.00) banned a licensed therapist for alleged abuse of gay men, following marching orders from graduates of the extreme leftist Southern Poverty Law Center. The group of radicals issued a report which claimed that helping gay men overcome trauma, anxiety, and other mental health challenges is conversion therapy if it results in them being more sexually attracted to women. In other words, the supposed fluidity of a person’s sexuality is only ok if improved mental health results in them remaining on the LGBT spectrum of umpteen genders.

So YouTube has no problem with people becoming more attracted to people of the same sex, or trying to change their gender. It’s only when gay men say they are more attracted to women that the Thought Police come charging in.

At 2ndVote we take a firm position on YouTube banning a licensed practitioner whose work was favorably featured in a peer-reviewed study in 2021, and whose clients find him – often through Google (1.00) searches and YouTube. We find it offensive when the world’s largest advertising company (which is what Google is all about) takes orders from the White House on censoring American citizens, regardless of the accuracy of their speech. The people seeking unbiased expert insights are informed adults making adult decisions, yet that’s not acceptable to the Big Brother alliance.

The key issues here are:

  • YouTube’s ban came on Saturday, with no warning. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the therapist, was not given a chance to appeal the decision. YouTube didn’t ask him about the study, or Nicolosi’s opposition to conversion therapy, or powerful anecdotes from clients.
  • Planned Parenthood (1.17) is at least as controversial as treating gay men for many of the same mental health challenges which affect the rest of society…but YouTube doesn’t ban them. This is selective bias at its worst.
  • American society overcame bigotry and bans decades ago – or so we thought. Now, Big Tech is taking the position that gay men who become more sexually attracted to women are persona non grata, and that bans are appropriate because extremist ‘fact checkers’ who used to work at SPLC say so.

Science, patients, and society are best served by open debate about the merits of matters like therapy. Instead, mainstream media, Big Tech, and a leftist administration are silencing debate and discussion because it goes against the Left’s propaganda. That violation of our basic freedoms is unacceptable to us, and we hope it’s unacceptable to you. Contact YouTube and let them know that open discussions matter!

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

What Gen­er­a­tion Z Doesn’t Get About America’s Economic Pie thumbnail

What Gen­er­a­tion Z Doesn’t Get About America’s Economic Pie

By John Eidson

Gen­er­a­tion Z. Born between 1995 and 2010, they are ​racial­ly and eth­ni­cal­ly diverse, pro­gres­sive and pro-gov­ern­ment” accord­ing to Gen Z data from the Pew Research Cen­ter.


Growing up is a bitch as Generation Z chick YV discovers confiscatory taxation. Watch:

pic.twitter.com/FSNy2weY7g

— yv (@yvtweets) January 15, 2022

Fed a steady diet of economic lies by anti-capitalists in our society, the Millennial [and Gen­er­a­tion Z] generation has been tricked into believing that the wealthy get rich only by stealing an oversized slice of America’s economic pie. By taking more than their fair share, the narrative goes, greedy corporate CEOs leave little but crumbs for everyone else. Such fallacious thinking is referred to as the zero sum theory of economics, the idea that there’s only one finite-sized pie to go around, and that one person taking a large slice means someone else will go hungry.

In truth, America does not have a finite economic pie.  Rather, it has a virtually unlimited supply of ever-evolving economic pies of varying sizes waiting to be made by enterprising people of every race and every income group.

The biggest such pies are made by high-profile capitalists like Warren Buffet, a Democrat, and Charles Koch, a Republican, both of whom generously share their self-created economic pies not only with a myriad of charitable organizations, but also with hundreds of thousands of well-paid employees who eagerly work for their thriving corporate empires.

Millions of other economic pies are made by less famous job creators, those whose small businesses provide more than 80% of America’s private sector employment. Still more economic pies are made by the 160 million people who comprise the backbone of our economy, men and women who earn a slice of their country’s widespread prosperity simply by getting up and going to work so they can provide for themselves and their family by working hard and learning to live within their means.

Unfortunately, there will always be some who habitually make bad decisions, financial or otherwise. Frustrated that self-created problems have kept them from participating in the American dream, they bitterly complain that someone else made off with their share of the pie.  With nothing but crumbs on their plates, these economically ignorant people are prime targets of the party whose election success depends upon inciting class hatred, the means of gaining political power outlined in an 1848 manuscript titled The Communist Manifesto.

A new poll commissioned by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 70% of Millennials are likely to vote for a socialist in 2020. Since socialism-loving Millennials are so obsessed with wealth disparity, here are a few questions for them:

  • If wealth disparity is a bad thing, can aggrieved Millennials explain why so many filthy rich Democrats —Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Oprah, Al Gore, the Clintons, the Obamas, etc. — selfishly cling to the lion’s share of their enviable fortunes, rather than giving away, say, 80% of what they have to the poor?
  • Can Millennials explain how corporate CEOs are any more to blame for wealth disparity than the filthy rich Democrats named above?
  • Can they explain how society is hurt when wealthy job creators like Warren Buffet and Charles Koch use their accumulated capital to create even more good-paying jobs?

If Millennials troubled by wealth inequality reflect on those questions, they will (1) stop blaming others and get to work on a plan for earning a share of their country’s bountiful prosperity, and (2) realize that the party telling them that socialism will make their lives better is playing them for fools.

Millennials might want to read this Jewish World Review article about the unmitigated havoc socialism has inflicted on country after country after country.

John Edison. All rights reserved.

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Imagine Electric Vehicles in Bad Weather

By Ronald Stein

With more than forty percent of the EV’s in America being in California at the end of 2020, the EV popularity in California has gotten President Biden so excited to want the rest of the country to follow California’s lead that Biden issued a new executive order that pushes for half of all new cars sold in America by 2030 to be electric vehicles.

Imagine being stuck on a frigid night inside your car, like those stopped on Interstate 95 in Virginia in a 48-mile backup for nearly a 24-hour standstill because of snow. Imagine being trapped in a frozen electric car with a long dead battery!

Even with the great California year-round weather, the states’ EV user’s experiences do not bode well for projected EV sales in America as the states’ EV users may be sending a caution-to-the-wind (no pun intended) message to America that the EV usage in the state reflects very conservative notices to future EV owners. A few reasons why Californians may be sending the wrong message to America are:

  1. The limited usage of the EV’s of about 5,000 miles per year is a reflection that the EV is a second vehicle, for those that can afford them, and not the family workhorse vehicle.
  2. The primary owners of EV’s are the highly educated and financially well off, and not representative of the majority.
  3. EV owner incomes rank among the highest in the country which may be a reflection of home owners that have easier access to charging their EV from their multi-car garages, or for those folks living in new apartments that may have access to more convenient EV charging capabilities. Most car owners park in the street.
  4. According to ValuePenguin insurance, because electric vehicles cost more outright and are more expensive to repair, the average car insurance for an electric vehicle is about 23 percent more expensive than the cost for the equivalent combustion model.
  5. The ethnicity of Tesla owner’s skews toward Caucasians, at 87 percent. Owners who identify with Hispanic ethnicity make up 8 percent of Tesla owners, leaving 5 percent to other ethnicities.
  6. From that limited elite ownership group, there is a growing percentage of those California EV users that are switching back to gasoline cars, which is sending a message that may further deflate EV growth projections.

EVs are still a luxury product that attract the Benz and Beemer crowd, not low- and middle-income consumers. The average household income for EV buyers is about $140,000. That’s roughly nearly twice the US median, which is about $63,000.

Here are a few examples of inclement weather conditions, that will most likely never occur in the idyllic year-round weather of sunny California’s EV “capital” of America:

  • Imagine Florida with a hurricane coming toward Miami. The Governor orders an evacuation. All cars head north. They all need to be charged in Jacksonville. How does that work? If all cars were electric, and were caught up in a three-hour traffic jam with dead batteries, then what? Not to mention that there is virtually no heating or air conditioning in an electric vehicle because of high battery consumption.
  • If you get stuck on the road all night, no battery, no heating, no windshield wipers, no radio, no GPS (all these drain the batteries), all you can do is try calling 911 to take women and children to safety. But they cannot come to help you because all roads are blocked, and they will probably require all police cars will be electric also. When the roads become unblocked no one can move! Their batteries are dead.
  • How do you charge thousands of cars in the traffic jam? Same problem during summer vacation departures with miles of traffic jams. There would be virtually no air conditioning in an electric vehicle. It would drain the batteries quickly. Where is this electricity going to come from? Today’s grid barely handles users’ needs.
  • Frigid driving conditions: Did you know that 17 percent of car crashes in the United States happen in winter conditions? EV batteries must work harder in the cold, which is why they drain quickly in extreme temperatures. Low temperatures, such as 40 degrees or below, can decrease the driving range for EVs by 40 percent.

As Pew Research reported in June, “In each of the past three years, EVs accounted for about 2% of the U.S. new-car market.The reasons why EVs aren’t grabbing consumers by the tailpipe are many, but the main ones are affordability, charging and range functionality and the possible exposure to inclement weather.

Another challenge for EV growth is the EV charging dependence on intermittent electricity generated from breezes and sunshine. Adding EV charging loads onto the grid that is becoming more unstable is like putting salt in the wound. Power outages are now commonplace in California and Texas with more to follow throughout the nation as we adjust to a life dependent upon the time of day and the weather.

Amid tougher emissions regulations worldwide, established automakers are racing to add more EVs to their lineup, but until the current elite owners can demonstrate to the middle-income and those on fixed incomes that their EV’s are their primary family workhorse vehicles, the less fortunate will most likely remain reluctant to buy into the EV evolution.

Growing the supply chain for EV’s without a corresponding growth in demand, could be an economic disaster in the works.

*****

This article was first published by CFACT, The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and is reproduced with permission.

Rand Paul: Federal COVID Stimulus to Blame for Record Inflation thumbnail

Rand Paul: Federal COVID Stimulus to Blame for Record Inflation

By Casey Harper

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., released a new report Tuesday detailing the effects inflation has had on families and businesses around the country and calling it a “hidden tax” on Americans.

In the report, Paul blames the federal COVID-19 stimulus spending for record-high inflation.

“$4.9 trillion in COVID-19 stimulus spending has led to one of the highest and most sustained levels of inflation in U.S. history,” Paul said. “While government stimulus spending was intended as a form of relief, and low and middle-income families, as well as small business owners, were promised that their taxes would not increase, Americans everywhere are now paying a hidden tax called inflation.”

In particular, lower-income families and small businesses have been the hardest hit, according to the report.

“This report concludes that, though no formal tax has been levied to pay for the government’s recent spending trends, a hidden, regressive tax has been levied on the American public, charging more from low and middle-income families and small businesses and less from wealthy families and big businesses,” the report said.

The report comes after record increases in prices in recent months. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released new inflation figures for December showing the price of goods and services have risen at the fastest rate since 1982.

“The all items index rose 7.0 percent for the 12 months ending December, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982,” BLS said. “The all items less food and energy index rose 5.5 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending February 1991. The energy index rose 29.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 6.3 percent.”

Meanwhile, the consumer price index data released this month showed the fastest rise in decades.

“This was the sixth time in the last 9 months it has increased at least 0.5 percent,” BLS said. “Along with the indexes for shelter and for used cars and trucks, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, apparel, new vehicles, and medical care all increased in December. As in November, the indexes for motor vehicle insurance and recreation were among the few to decline over the month.”

Small businesses have been hit hard by rising prices. The National Federation of Independent Businesses released a report last week showing that the recent spike in inflation is among small businesses’ top concerns.

The NFIB report found that 22% of small business owners point to inflation as the biggest problem for operating their business, a 20% increase from the year prior.

Paul’s report says that “82 percent of small businesses reported raising prices in the last several months, 42 percent reported raising prices by 20 percent or more” while “45 percent of small businesses reported taking out a loan to cope with the pressures of inflation in this last year.”

“Large corporations have reported consistent profit margins,” the report adds.

Paul’s report also highlights how higher prices on things like gasoline and food disproportionately affect poorer families.

“Low and middle-income families spend a larger portion of their income on high-inflation items, such as gasoline, used cars, and food,” the report said. “Families in the lowest income quartile spend nearly 40% of their annual income on these three categories. As a means of comparison, families in the top quartile spend only 10% of their annual income on these categories.”

Paul said the prices will likely only increase.

“In recent months, prices on nearly everything from gas, food, and clothes to electricity, car prices, and rent, have all increased, and unfortunately it’s only going to get worse,” Paul said. “Congress needs to realize that further spending at this time of rapidly rising prices is only going to continue the trend of rising prices on this nation’s already vulnerable businesses and families.”

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

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Jobless Claims Soar Past Economists’ Projections

By The Daily Caller

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims increased to 286,000 in the week ending Jan. 15, as the labor market continues to recover after surging COVID-19 cases.

The Labor Department figure shows a 55,000-claim increase compared to the week ending Jan. 8 when claims increased to 231,000. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected claims would decrease to 225,000, MarketWatch reported.

Jobless claims rose sharply last week to 286,000. The labor market, a source of economic growth, faces headwinds as Omicron cases remain high. https://t.co/oJNgmsXtst

— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 20, 2022

COVID-19 cases have continued to soar throughout the country causing weaker growth forecasts, but some experts think the Omicron coronavirus variant will further disrupt the demand for workers, the WSJ reported.

“Someone who’s dependable, who’s been on the job for a year and doesn’t need to learn the ropes—you don’t want to lay that person off when you’re expecting a spring thaw” in economic activity, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) economist Nela Richardson told the WSJ.

The U.S. economy added only 199,000 in December 2021, but unemployment fell to 3.9% from November’s 4.2% figure. Meanwhile, roughly 6.5 million Americans remained out of work at the end of 2021 as the economy was still 3.5 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels.

COLUMN BY

HARRY WILMERDING

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Biden Admin Threatens COVID Funds over Arizona’s School Mask Mandate Ban thumbnail

Biden Admin Threatens COVID Funds over Arizona’s School Mask Mandate Ban

By Cole Lauterbach

Arizona has two months to let schools force mask mandates or risk losing its share of COVID-19 aid from the federal government.

In a letter from the U.S. Treasury Department sent to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office Friday, the Treasury reiterated its position stated in October 2021, warning that the state is using federal COVID-19 relief funds improperly and risks forfeiting part of the $4.2 billion the state received last year.

At issue is a $163 million Education Plus-Up Grant program Ducey announced on Aug. 17, 2021. These funds would be available to district and charter schools but only if they followed all state laws and remained open for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. Schools that return to remote learning would be disqualified.

“The Education Plus-Up Grant Program requires grantees to distribute funds to schools that do not require the use of face coverings. The COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefit Program is available only to families if the student’s current or prior school requires the use of face coverings during instructional hours and on school property,” the letter said.

Ducey’s office said Friday morning that none of the $163 million had been spent, as it would only be distributed after the school completed the entire year in person.

The governor, fresh off of announcing his final budget proposal, responded to Friday’s warning from Washington DC.

“This letter is the latest example of a President that is completely out of touch with the American people,” Ducey said. “First, a failed attempt to mandate vaccines. Then, a complete disregard for the public safety and humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Now, attempting to rewrite rules around public dollars that will result in LESS funding to schools and kids – particularly in low-income communities.

“When it comes to education, President Biden wants to continue focusing on masks. In Arizona, we’re going to focus on math and getting kids caught up after a year of learning loss. We will respond to this letter, and we will continue to focus on things that matter to Arizonans. President Biden should do the same, and he can start by addressing the crisis at the border.”

U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Arizona, initially brought the matter to the administration’s attention in August.

“The state should be giving schools every possible resource to get children back in the classroom safely, not punishing them for following the science,” Stanton said in an Oct. 14 statement.

Fellow Rep. Reuben Gallego, a Phoenix Democrat rumored to be considering a challenge to U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over her refusal to end the filibuster, reacted to the letter Friday afternoon.

“Throughout this pandemic, [Ducey] has misused COVID-19 relief funds to further his own partisan agenda rather than help AZ families in need,” he tweeted. “I applaud [Treasury] for holding him accountable and urge our governor to finally put AZ families, students, and public health first.”

If Ducey doesn’t change the programs in 60 days, the letter said Treasury officials will begin to recoup funds they deem are being misused. The department said it would also withhold any funds that Arizona has yet to receive until the state is compliant.

According to the New York Times, Arizona has received nearly $1.2 billion of the total $4.2 billion it’s slated to receive in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

They’re Now Saying Lockdown Spending Erased Poverty thumbnail

They’re Now Saying Lockdown Spending Erased Poverty

By John Tamny

Some would say it’s the education system’s failings, but the view here is that confusion is a bullish signal of prosperity. Staggering amounts of it enable the kind of sloppy thinking that would be rather impolitic to express during times of relative desperation.

All of this and more came to mind while reading a Wall Street Journal account of the economic implications of the 2020 shutdowns. According to a cheery report on page A1, they “threatened to ruin Americans’ finances”, but “for many, the opposite happened.” Based on this summation, Congress has a magical ability to extract resources from somewhere else, not on planet earth. More realistically, for an individual to be bailed out some other individual must be bailed in, a lot or a little. Looking back to 2020, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs amid political nailbiting that was remarkable even by Washington’s standards, not to mention the millions of businesses that saw their fortunes either severely impaired or erased altogether.

And then there were the rich. They account for the vast majority of Congress’s spending power, and spend Congress did to paper over its panic, and also to subsidize it. About the latter, does anyone seriously think lockdowns could have lasted two weeks let alone multiple months absent the long fingers of the national political class? The question pretty easily answers itself. After which, it should be said that a $2.9 trillion spending bill had to come from somewhere. In order for the finances of some Americans to be bolstered, the finances of others had to be shrunk. The others are consequential in this case, as they always are.

That’s the case because the Journal’s Rachel Louise Ensign comically informed readers that the “first two rounds of stimulus payments lifted 11.7 million people out of poverty.” Except that “stimulus payments” could never eradicate poverty. If they could, as in if spending money could break the scourge that is poverty, there wouldn’t have been anyone to lift out of poverty in 2020 to begin with.

More realistically, poverty is erased by economic opportunity either born of individual initiative, or work opportunities that are a consequence of capital formation that leads to businesses that need employees. Extra “stimulus payments” could never realistically lead to capital formation precisely because they’re “spending money” or helicopter drops of money. Translated for those who need it, no business is going to expand or attract investment for expansion based on a helicopter drop. What Ensign presumes to have pulled 11.7 Americans out of poverty did no such thing. It was fake, artificial, or insert your adjective here. For businesses to expand, they need savings.

All of which brings us to a worthwhile counterfactual: what if politicians had wisely done nothing in March of 2020? Some will scoff at the notion, but the people are the marketplace, and it’s rare that substitution of limited knowledge for that of the marketplace turns out well. It certainly didn’t in 2020. As even Ensign acknowledges, absent the shifting of wealth from one set of pockets to another set (bailing out by bailing in), the political reaction to the virus “threatened to ruin Americans’ finances.” Ok, so let’s imagine politicians going against type and not “doing something.”

If so, it’s not unrealistic to suggest a high number of Americans still lock down. As the New York Times reported in the teeth of the lockdowns, the states that locked down last (you know, the red states that don’t believe in science) were populated by people who were responding to the virus the most, and on their own. What was true in the U.S. was also true outside the U.S. Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal reported that while Angela Merkel was still downplaying the virus, shelves in German stores were bereft of masks and hand sanitizer.

Back to the U.S., without a political response Americans were to varying degrees going to lock down in total for months or more, stay home voluntarily for weeks on end, some were going to wear masks, some weren’t, and some were going to live their lives as they had before. Amen to 330 million different choices. Absent variety, and in particular variety of choice that rejects expert opinion, we’re blinded to what causes a virus to spread, what is the best or worst way to avoid illness, or perhaps to the reality that caution amid a rapidly spreading pathogen is of no consequence at all. Who knows?

What we know is that based on the variety of choices we Americans would have made on our own, savings for all too many of us would have voluntarily grown a great deal. Ensign reported on how “Savings, Debt Levels Strengthen for Many,” but that was going to happen regardless. People were scared. Force was superfluous on the matter of savings.

Of course, not all of us were going to morph into shut-ins. This would have been good for certain businesses. Likely operating with staffs that would have voluntarily shrunk (workers, like anyone else, have varying perceptions of risk), they would have adjusted to a lower-cost, lower-customer count interim. Not all would have survived, but business failure is the norm in the best of times. The main thing is that rather than having their decisions guided by the culture that gave us the Post Office and the DMV, businesses would have been free to innovate on their own.

All of which brings us to the others, as in the rich. A nothing response means they keep their trillions as opposed to being relieved of them. Brilliant. Talk about individuals who were going to spend less during self-imposed lockdowns. Imagine reduced “rich” spending combined with shorter political fingers. Imagine all the savings that would have been directed toward businesses and entrepreneurs.

In other words, imagine all the poverty that could have been erased in 2020 by reduced spending voluntarily arrived at, and that would have flowed directly to businesses and entrepreneurs in need of capital. Talk about poverty erasure. Ensign tiptoed around this truth but missed that spending could never be a cure for poverty. Only savings can be. Imagine if savings had been allowed to reach much greater, much more natural heights in 2020.

*****

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

China’s Trade Surplus Surges To Record $676.4B in 2021 thumbnail

China’s Trade Surplus Surges To Record $676.4B in 2021

By The Geller Report

This can’t continue. The Republican Party must make repatriating our manufacturing back to the United States a major issue in 2022 and 2024. President Trump or Governor DeSantis will take the fight to China when they take office in January 2025.

#China’s intermediate goal is to destroy #American industry. To defend our country, therefore, our goal must be to rebuild our manufacturing capabilities. This in turn supports our neighbors and communities. A strong #America starts on the factory floor.

— Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) January 16, 2022

Many countries are seeing a revival of industrial policy | The Economist “We have been destroying our national champions while China has been nurturing its own,” laments Michael Pillsbury, who helped craft Donald Trump’s hawkish China policy. https://t.co/KBJiHmWxID

— Michael Pillsbury (@mikepillsbury) January 13, 2022

China’s trade surplus surges to record $676.4B in 2021

By I-24, January 14, 2022

BEIJING (AP) – China’s politically volatile global trade surplus surged to $676.4 billion in 2021, likely the highest ever for any country, as exports jumped 29.9% over a year earlier despite semiconductor shortages that disrupted manufacturing.

The country’s monthly trade surplus in December swelled 20.8% over a year earlier to a record $94.4 billion, customs data showed Friday.

China piled up a series of monthly export surpluses in 2021 but they prompted less criticism from the United States and other trading partners than in earlier years while their governments focused on containing coronavirus infections.

Exports rose to $3.3 trillion in 2021 despite shortages of processor chips for smartphones and other goods as global demand rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic. Manufacturers also were hampered by power rationing in some areas to meet government efficiency targets.

The surplus with the United States, one of the irritants behind a lingering U.S.-Chinese trade war, rose 25.1% in 2021 over a year earlier to $396.6 billion. Trade envoys have talked since President Joe Biden took office in January but have yet to announce a date to resume face-to-face negotiations.

Exports to the United States gained 27.5% over 2020 to $576.1 billion despite tariff hikes by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, that still are in place on many goods. Chinese imports of American goods rose 33.1% to $179.5 billion.

In December, China’s monthly trade surplus with the United States rose 31.1% over a year earlier to $39.2 billion. Exports to the U.S. market rose 21.1% to $56.4 billion while imports of American goods edged up 3.3% to $17.1 billion.

Chinese imports in 2021 rose 30.1% to $2.7 trillion as the world’s second-largest recovery rebounded from the pandemic.

Economic growth weakened in the second half of the year as Beijing carried out a campaign to reduce what it sees as dangerously high debt in the real estate industry, but consumer spending was above pre-pandemic levels.

Manufacturing activity edged higher in December but new export orders contracted, according to survey earlier by the government statistics bureau and an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing.

Chinese exporters benefited from being allowed to resume most normal business in early 2020 while foreign competitors faced anti-coronavirus restrictions on travel and trade. That advantage carried into 2021 as other governments renewed controls in response to the spread of new virus variants.

Earlier, forecasters said Chinese exporters would benefit from the spread of the latest variant, omicron, which Beijing appeared to be keeping out of the country. More recently, however, China has responded to outbreaks within its own borders by imposing travel restrictions on major cities including Tianjin, a manufacturing center where omicron was found.

China’s global trade surplus was a 26.4% increase over 2020, which economists said then was among the highest ever reported by any economy. They said the only comparison as a percentage of the economy’s size likely was Saudi Arabia and other oil exporters during their price boom in the 1970s, but their total revenues were smaller.

The swollen trade surplus has strained the ability of China’s central bank to manage the exchange rate of its yuan, which has risen to multi-year highs against the U.S. dollar as money flows into the country. The People’s Bank of China has tried to limit the ability of banks and other traders to speculate on the currency’s movement.

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

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VIDEO: How the Democratic Boom Led to Economic Bust thumbnail

VIDEO: How the Democratic Boom Led to Economic Bust

By Family Research Council

It isn’t exactly the one-year anniversary card Joe Biden was hoping for. Twelve months into this ill-advised marriage, Americans have three words for how this president makes them feel: “frustrated” (50 percent), “disappointed” (49 percent), and “nervous” (40 percent). Any love they had for this administration has been lost — and quickly. Just 25 percent of the country feels “calm” or “satisfied” by his leadership, and based on the crises we’re facing, even that feels generous.

Of course, like any union, it would help if the other person listened. Americans feel ignored — and worse, they feel like their problems have been ignored. Sixty-seven percent said he couldn’t care less about what matters to them because he’s too obsessed with other issues. And, of course, it doesn’t help his case that the White House seems intent on denying whatever emergencies Americans are facing. When White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain called the supply-chain crisis “an overhyped narrative,” for instance, it didn’t exactly thrill the families making five stops to find bread.

So what would repair the relationship, the pollsters at CBS/YouGov asked? Would passing Biden’s $5 trillion dollar Build Back Better get the president out of the doghouse? Seventy-six percent fired back a resounding “NO.” Americans want at least one thing, for starters: an end to this sky-high inflation. Unfortunately, like every other issue this White House is facing, the president has no idea how. His policies, most people agree, are only making things worse. But instead of changing directions, Biden stands at the podium barking at reporters that any criticism of the job he’s doing on the economy is “malarky.”

But then, we’ve got it all backwards. Maybe the issue isn’t that the president doesn’t understand the economy. Maybe the issue is that what we see as a problem is the Left’s idea of progress. Dr. Dave Brat, former congressman and dean of Liberty University’s School of Business, tried to unpack some of the complicated layers of the supply chain crisis on “Washington Watch,” but there’s a lot more to it than Economics 101. When asked to explain the source of the problems, Brat answered simply that “we no longer have a free market system.” Not really. “The free market system… is based on the price system.” That’s one way to allocate things in the world. The other is by government fiat. America, he argues, is no longer “using the price system. [We’ve] made a massive move toward the government command system.” And frankly, Brat said, “we live in a quasi-socialist environment now.”

The professor uses this example: building a house. “I’m sitting in a house that has a hundred thousand pieces to it. In the old days, if you wanted to build a house, you built the house.” Now, he says, “see if you can name one part of your house that’s not regulated by the government. And of course, if you regulate it, that changes the price — because it’s got all sorts of new rules it has to follow right? You have your outlets six feet apart now, and you kind of have a certain kind of paint in case the baby licks the paint… The roof’s got to have a pitch. The water heater, the furnace, the air conditioner… every single thing you can name right now is run and managed by the socialists.”

Karl Marx wanted the government to take over all production, Brat reminds everyone. He wanted to own capital. “Well, they knew they couldn’t achieve that. But you don’t have to own it if you can run it and manage it,” Brat explained. “So the government, it doesn’t matter what sector you look at, [everything’s big now]. Big banks, big airlines, big automobile, big tech. And the government loves that because they can run those. They can put the thumb on all those big monopolies, and they’re all on the same side.”

Throw in a global pandemic, and suddenly, the government has the power to decide who works, what mandates they have to meet to work, whether there even is work. “The federal government really messed up the labor market,” he shook his head. First, the president locked us down, which stopped the economy. Then, Democrats decided to pay people to stay home. And to top it all off, they forced employers to fire the unvaccinated workers they did have. Thousands of others retired. “So it’s just a crazy set of misfirings from the government. And again, it all comes down to not letting the price system allocate resources, including the price of labor.”

How do we know he’s right? Because of last Christmas. Most families had presents under the tree because U.S. companies got creative. They operated like a free market should — meeting obstacles with ingenuity. They changed their ports or expanded their shipping capacities. And, as NRO’s Dominic Pino reminds people, that wasn’t Washington’s idea. “The government didn’t command anyone to do those things. Biden didn’t sign an executive order telling Costco to charter its own container ships or Amazon to build its own shipping containers… Congress didn’t pass a law mandating that people get their Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. Those things happened on their own because they made sense economically. Price signals were allowed to work, and they delivered decent results.”

At the end of the day, Pino argues, “The relevant criterion for government intervention is not whether the market is perfect. The relevant criterion is whether government will do better than the market. Does anyone think that putting Joe Biden in charge of supply chains would have delivered a better result than the one we observed?”

Now, a handful of weeks later, when stores everywhere are sporting bare shelves, the answer is the same. Let the free market work. Yes, there’s a worker shortage and supply chain issue and Fed issue, but the root problem is the heart of the Left’s agenda: big government. If America wants to fix these problems, Brat insists, “you’ve got to reduce the size of the federal government… If you don’t like fascism, let’s not have a big state to hand a fascist, right?” We need to get back to the “50 independent experiments” like the founders intended. That means sticking to the Judeo-Christian principles and constitutional government. Only then will we prosper. Only then will we have the kind of growth we’ve never seen before.

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Unpacking Supreme Court Justices’ Reasoning in Vaccine Mandate Decisions

By Sarah Perry Parshall and Paul Larkin

For nearly 100 million American workers waiting breathlessly for an answer, a Thursday Supreme Court decision delivered good news for many, although not all.

In a rare late-day release of opinions, the Supreme Court issued its rulings in a pair of federal vaccine mandate cases that went to the court on an emergency basis.

In the first case—anticipated to have applied to approximately 84 million employees—and by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court in National Federation of Independent Business v. OSHA stayed the implementation of the vaccination mandate that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had issued in November 2021, requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees (with very limited exceptions) to direct their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask at work and provide weekly negative tests for the disease.

In an unsigned opinion, the majority concluded that the government was not likely to prevail on its argument that OSHA possesses the authority to issue the vaccination mandate. It wrote that neither OSHA nor Congress had ever imposed such a requirement and that, “although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”

“As its name suggests,” the court explained, “OSHA is tasked with ensuring occupational safety—that is, ‘safe and healthful working conditions.’” That means OSHA is only empowered “to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures,” and according to the justices, “no provision of the Act addresses public health more generally, which falls outside of OSHA’s sphere of expertise.”

The court classified the COVID-19 virus as not an “occupational hazard,” but a “universal risk” that “is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, filed a concurring opinion. He emphasized that under the court’s “Major Questions Doctrine,” the court will not presume that Congress empowered an agency to resolve a question of broad economic or social policy without expressly authorizing in the statute’s text the authority to do so. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, he concluded, grants OSHA no such power.

Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented. Breyer concluded that because “COVID-19, in short, is a menace in work settings,” as proved by the number of people it has sickened or killed, OSHA could adopt a vaccination or mask-and-test requirement for businesses.

The Daily Signal’s parent organization, The Heritage Foundation (which had filed an application with the Supreme Court to halt the OSHA mandate), reacted to the news Thursday. Heritage President Kevin Roberts trumpeted the victory in a public statement, saying:

The federal government has no business dictating the private and personal health care decisions of tens of millions of Americans, nor does it have the authority to coerce employers into collecting protected health care data on their employees. By striking down the Biden regime’s unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Supreme Court has signaled its agreement with this basic tenet of a well-functioning and free society.

While the OSHA mandate is stayed for now, litigation on the merits of the government’s employer vaccine rule will continue in the lower court (the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals).

In its second opinion of the afternoon, the court—in Biden v. Missouri, another unsigned opinion, but this time, by a 5-4 vote—allowed the Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine mandate (administered through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for workers at federally funded health care facilities to take effect.

The court wrote that a global pandemic “provide[s] no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have.” It noted that as a condition of receiving federal funds, Congress authorized the secretary to promulgate such “requirements as [he] finds necessary in the interest of the health and safety of individuals who are furnished services in the institution.”

The court noted that it would be the “very opposite of efficient and effective administration for a facility that is supposed to make people well to make them sick with COVID-19.” It also concluded that the vaccine rule was not, as the states had claimed, arbitrary and capricious, and that the longer, more complicated notice-and-comment period as required by the Administrative Procedure Act (ensuring transparent rule-making from the federal government) would have been impossible.

Thomas, joined by Gorsuch, Alito, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, dissented, saying that the statutory provisions relied on by the government did not support its vaccine rule.

The justices noted that those provisions direct the “administration” of Medicare and Medicaid and are those that serve “the practical management and direction” of those programs, but there was no connection to that administration and a rule requiring “millions of healthcare workers to undergo an unwanted medical procedure that cannot be removed at the end of the shift.”

Thomas wrote that the government had a shaky foundation for its virtually unlimited vaccination through the Department of Health and Human Services, and if Congress had wanted to grant the agency the power to impose a vaccine mandate across all facility types and upset the state-federal balance (because only the state possesses the police power to mandate vaccination), it would have specifically authorized one.

In both cases, the question before the court was not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so.

For now—and until the litigation in the appellate courts below comes to an end—the answer is clear.

*****

This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

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The Forgotten 15.9 Million People

By Craig J. Cantoni

The rest of the story about race and poverty

You probably won’t be surprised by the following poverty rates by race/ethnicity:

Asians:  8.1%

Non-Hispanic Whites:  8.1%

Hispanics:  17.0%

Blacks:  19.5%

U.S. Average:  11.4%

Year:  2021

Source:  https://www.federalsafetynet.com/us-poverty-statistics.html

You might be surprised, however, by the following absolute numbers of Americans in poverty, especially the last number:

Asians:  1.6 million

Blacks:  8.5 million

Hispanics:  10.4 million

Non-Hispanic Whites:  15.9 million

If the last number surprises you, perhaps the reason is that it is rarely cited by the media or social-justice activists. The number reveals the falsity of the popular refrain that all whites come from privilege.

A cautionary note: Statistics by race are always squishy, because the racial categories are ill-defined, because the categories overlap, because a large percentage of Americans have biracial parents, because the “Hispanic” category is a catchall and not a single race or single ethnicity, and because the “White” and “Asian” categories are also catchall categories, encompassing hundreds of ethnic groups and an array of skin shades and socioeconomic classes. Moreover, there is variation in the numbers depending on the source and the reporting period, a problem compounded by the COVID pandemic’s negative impact on income.

Except for whites, the poverty rates for all four groups have declined significantly over recent decades. To wit:

From 1970 to 2019, the poverty rate for blacks declined from 31.8% to 18.8%. (The decrease in poverty for blacks is even more significant if one goes back to 1965, when the poverty rate for blacks was 40%.)

From 1970 to 2019, the poverty rate for Hispanics declined from 22% to 15.7%, even though a lot of poor and unskilled Hispanics immigrated to the US during this period.

From 1985 to 2019, the poverty rate for Asians declined from 19% to 7.3% (numbers aren’t reliable prior to 1985 for Asians).

From 1970 to 2019, the poverty rate for whites increased slightly from 7.0% to 7.3%.

Note:  The above numbers were interpolated from a graph, so they may not exactly match published statistics.

Source: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/poverty-rates-for-blacks-and-hispanics-reached-historic-lows-in-2019.html

In any event, regardless of someone’s race, ethnicity or pigment, it stinks to be in poverty.

It should go without saying that poverty varies considerably by locale, but it has to be said because that’s another complexity generally overlooked by the media and social-justice activists. Several examples are below.

The poverty rate as of 2019 was:

32.3% for blacks in Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit),

35.7% for whites in Harlan County, Kentucky,

34.0% for Hispanics in Erie County, New York,

22.0% for Hispanics in my home county of Pima County, Arizona (the county reports a rate of 23.6% for 2021),

32.9% for Asians in Calhoun County, Texas,

8.3% for Asians in Palo Alto, California,

4.2% for whites in Palo Alto, California, and

0.86% for whites in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Source:  https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/acs-percentage-poverty-2015-2019.html

The last two locales above (Palo Alto and Chevy Chase) are populated by progressives who bemoan white privilege and virtue-signal about diversity and inclusion. Whites in Harlan County probably have a different perspective on those topics.

Poverty also varies considerably by the ethnic groups and nationalities within each catchall category. For example, within the Asian category, Hmong Americans and Cambodian Americans have poverty rates of 37.8% and 29.3%, respectively.

For some sick reason, many of America’s intelligentsia and media want Americans to believe that poverty isn’t lowered in two-parent families. They point out the fact that black children with two parents in the household are mired in poverty at double or triple the rates of white children with two parents in the household. But what they don’t point out is that the poverty rate of black children decreases significantly if both parents are in the household. Not only that, but crime decreases and test scores increase. 

Also left unsaid is that it takes generations of stable family life to build social and financial capital. For example, my working-class parents had more income and education than their poor and poorly educated immigrant parents, I have more education and income than my parents did, my son has more income and education than I did at his age, and his kids might have a chance of getting into a prestigious university and joining America’s elites, although having elite status would be anathema to my son and his delightful wife, who, by the way, has a Filipino mother and a Mediterranean father. (What race does that make her?)

A related subject for another day is income inequality, which is indeed a growing problem in the U.S. but not as serious a problem as reported, after all forms of income are included in comparisons; that is, not just wage income but also income from transfer payments (welfare and entitlements), earned income tax credits, and the value of such non-cash benefits as public education and free or subsidized medical care. Incidentally, metro San Francisco, which is one of the most liberal parts of the country, has the highest income inequality of all major U.S. metro areas.

A very serious problem for a fuller discussion on another day is the middle class being under siege, especially the lower half of the middle class. This is an important issue because a thriving middle class keeps the nation, and any nation, from bifurcating into a two-class society of a powerless poor and the powerful wealthy, as is common in Latin America.

In the last 37 years, college tuition has increased 129 percent in constant dollars—this by institutions that profess to care about inequality and social justice while reaping the benefits of sticking students with $1.6 trillion in student loans. Housing costs have seen a similar increase, resulting in a decrease in homeownership, so that nearly three in eight homes today are rentals. As author and commentator Victor David Hanson says, “The result is a new American peasantry, of millions of Americans who own little or no property.” In that sense, they are similar to property-less medieval peasants dependent on property-owning overlords.

The bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie have been hated by the intelligentsia throughout history. America is no exception. After bearing the above costs and the brunt of the downsides of globalization and immigration, America’s lower middle class has been insulted as clingers, deplorables and irredeemables. 

At the same time, as seen at the beginning of this commentary, the nearly 16 million whites in poverty have been largely ignored or demeaned.

This doesn’t make for racial and class harmony but does make for political extremism and demagoguery.

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Biden Brings Us Record Inflation, It Impacts Your Taxes Too

By Gary Polland

Inflation rages due to runaway Federal spending by Joe Biden and his Democrat allies. John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics uses the numbers based on how CPI was calculated from 1980 and 2017 (real numbers), before the politicians took out a number of factors that results in the understatement of inflation.

For 2021, actual inflation rate was 15%. It does not just result in higher prices, but inflation also drives your taxes higher.

Here is a list of federal taxes not indexed for inflation:

1. Mortgage debt cap to which interest is deductible1.

2. Exemption for sale of a home

3. State and local tax deduction

4. Deductions for capital losses

5. Thresholds for the 3.8% surtax on net investment income

6. Threshold for paying taxes on Social Security payments, not adjusted since

1994!

7. No adjustment for inflation’s impact on investment income

*****

This article was published in Texas Conservative Review, and is reproduced with permission.

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Florida Will Not Enforce Vaccine Mandate Upheld by SCOTUS for Healthcare Providers

By Dr. Rich Swier

Multiple news organizations are reporting the Florida will not enforce the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate. It appears that reason is now returned to fight back against the bureaucracy when it comes to mandating getting vaxxed, in spite of what the SCOTUS ruled.

Here’s what Governor DeSantis said during his State-of-the-State address on healthcare freedom and the biomedical security state:

DeSantis: “We reject the biomedical security state that curtails liberty, ruins livelihoods and divides society. And we will protect the rights of individuals to live their lives free from the yolk of restrictions and mandates.” pic.twitter.com/JDMIeAImnU

— Michael P Senger (@MichaelPSenger) January 11, 2022

We’re sure that this may lead to another lawsuit. Time will tell but we hope that Florida once again is leading the way when it comes to choosing to get jabbed or not to get jabbed. Florida is the my body my choice state.

BREAKING REPORT: Florida WILL NOT Enforce Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Vaccine Mandate Upheld by SCOTUS for healthcare providers…

— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) January 15, 2022

Florida won’t enforce federal health care worker vaccine mandate

By Kirby Wilson

TALLAHASSEE — The Supreme Court has ruled. The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on health care workers will go into effect.

Except Florida won’t do its part to enforce it.

The rule requires employees at federally regulated health care facilities like hospitals and long-term care facilities to be vaccinated. It conflicts with a state law passed in November that limited employers’ ability to mandate vaccines.

If health care companies decide not to abide by the Biden administration’s requirement that 100 percent of workers be vaccinated or qualify for an approved exemption, they risk losing Medicare or Medicaid funding. Both federal programs are major funding sources for health care providers.

If those companies enact the federal vaccine mandate without offering employees a series of broad, state-specified exemptions, firms with fewer than 100 employees risk a $10,000 state fine every time they fire a worker for being unvaccinated. For larger companies, the fine would be $50,000 per violation.

Read more.

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David Takes on Goliath

By Bruce Bialosky

When growing up, “Polack” jokes were all the rage for a while. People would ask me if I were of Polish descent given my last name. I would answer no — that is for names ending in “ski” and not “sky.” I am Lithuanian. That was a made-up fable. Flash forward 40 years when a cousin located me after listening to the Dennis Prager radio show where I was a guest. We met up and he provided me with a complete family history showing my ancestors had come to America from a small town in Lithuania. My heritage was indeed validated after all. I currently could not be prouder to be from the great country of Lithuania.

That is because little Lithuania (with its three million residents) told China to take a long walk off a short pier. China has decided to try to crush Lithuania economically because it allowed Taiwan a representative office in their capital, Vilnius.

Because of their refusal to kowtow to China, the fascists who run China have blocked all imports from Lithuania. It gets worse. China is trying to crush Lithuania. Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mantas Adomenas, stated, “China has been sending messages to multinationals that if they use parts and supplies from Lithuania, the companies will no longer be allowed to sell to the Chinese market or get supplies from China. We have seen some companies cancel contracts with Lithuanian suppliers.” 

One might think such an action is against the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The WTO, where President Clinton supported China becoming a member, has once again proved their worthlessness by not stepping in to stop this obviously unacceptable act by the Chinese. 

If you are not aware, China is preying on smaller countries by using their economic might to crush any opposition to their plans and to assure non-recognition that Taiwan even exists on the planet. They have really dug themselves into the Western Hemisphere unlike any country has since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823. 

The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Panama stopped their recognition of Taiwan in favor of China. These three countries, which would have a greater affinity to Taiwan because of their size and desire to stay independent, have been bought off by China. These countries are just a few of the Western Hemisphere countries playing footsie with China. Other countries in Latin America like Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile, have close economic ties with China and would be pressured by the Chinese bullies to comply with their policy wishes.

This is what makes Lithuania’s stand more unique. The bigger question is what will the EU do? The EU did state they are launching an investigation into whether the WTO rules have been violated by China’s actions against a member state. It is yet to be seen whether Lithuania’s actions will cause a real rift between the EU and China. It will be a test of whether the EU leadership has a commitment to its member states or whether the larger EU members (France and Germany) are the unprincipled money-grubbing lackeys I have always thought them to be. At a recent meeting of the 27 members, the issue was not even brought up as France — which holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU — vetoed it. 

A recent EU statement: “The EU remains committed to its One China Policy and recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole government of China.” That is all well and good if we were still living in the 1970s when there was still some question as to whether the government of Taiwan had any interest in going back to the mainland. Fifty years later Taiwan is an independent democracy of 24 million people who want to maintain their independence from the Bullies of Beijing. 

The Free World must back Lithuania here and tell China to stop its unreasonable demands that the world comply with all its actions. If we do not draw a line here, they know we will do nothing to stop them from taking over Taiwan. The first country that needs to step up and back the Lithuanians is you guessed it – the United States. This is a good test of the backbone of Joe Biden and Antony Blinken.

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41 Inconvenient Truths on the ‘New Energy Economy’

By Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.” He’s right.

A week doesn’t pass without a mayor, governor, policymaker or pundit joining the rush to demand, or predict, an energy future that is entirely based on wind/solar and batteries, freed from the “burden” of the hydrocarbons that have fueled societies for centuries. Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy “transformation” is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future. Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.”

He’s right. So, in my recent Manhattan Institute report, “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking,” I did just that.

Herein, then, is a summary of some of the bottom-line realities from the underlying math. (See the full report for explanations, documentation, and citations.)

1. Hydrocarbons supply over 80 percent of world energy: If all that were in the form of oil, the barrels would line up from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, and that entire line would grow by the height of the Washington Monument every week.

2. The small two-percentage-point decline in the hydrocarbon share of world energy use entailed over $2 trillion in cumulative global spending on alternatives over that period; solar and wind today supply less than two percent of the global energy.

3. When the world’s four billion poor people increase energy use to just one-third of Europe’s per capita level, global demand rises by an amount equal to twice America’s total consumption.

4. A 100x growth in the number of electric vehicles to 400 million on the roads by 2040 would displace five percent of global oil demand.

5. Renewable energy would have to expand 90-fold to replace global hydrocarbons in two decades. It took a half-century for global petroleum production to expand “only” ten-fold.

6. Replacing U.S. hydrocarbon-based electric generation over the next 30 years would require a construction program building out the grid at a rate 14-fold greater than any time in history.

7. Eliminating hydrocarbons to make U.S. electricity (impossible soon, infeasible for decades) would leave untouched 70 percent of U.S. hydrocarbons use—America uses 16 percent of world energy.

8. Efficiency increases energy demand by making products & services cheaper: since 1990, global energy efficiency improved 33 percent, the economy grew 80 percent and global energy use is up 40 percent.

9. Efficiency increases energy demand: Since 1995, aviation fuel use/passenger-mile is down 70 percent, air traffic rose more than 10-fold, and global aviation fuel use rose over 50 percent.

10. Efficiency increases energy demand: since 1995, energy used per byte is down about 10,000-fold, but global data traffic rose about a million-fold; global electricity used for computing soared.

11. Since 1995, total world energy use rose by 50 percent, an amount equal to adding two entire United States’ worth of demand.

12. For security and reliability, an average of two months of national demand for hydrocarbons are in storage at any time. Today, barely two hours of national electricity demand can be stored in all utility-scale batteries plus all batteries in one million electric cars in America.

13. Batteries produced annually by the Tesla Gigafactory (world’s biggest battery factory) can store three minutes worth of annual U.S. electric demand.

14. To make enough batteries to store two day’s worth of U.S. electricity demand would require 1,000 years of production by the Gigafactory (world’s biggest battery factory).

15. Every $1 billion in aircraft produced leads to some $5 billion in aviation fuel consumed over two decades to operate them. Global spending on new jets is more than $50 billion a year—and rising.

16. Every $1 billion spent on data centers leads to $7 billion in electricity consumed over two decades. Global spending on data centers is more than $100 billion a year—and rising.

17. Over a 30-year period, $1 million worth of utility-scale solar or wind produces 40 million and 55 million kWh respectively: $1 million worth of shale well produces enough natural gas to generate 300 million kWh over 30 years.

18. It costs about the same to build one shale well or two wind turbines: the latter, combined, produces 0.7 barrels of oil (equivalent energy) per hourthe shale rig averages 10 barrels of oil per hour.

19. It costs less than $0.50 to store a barrel of oil, or its equivalent in natural gas, but it costs $200 to store the equivalent energy of a barrel of oil in batteries.

20. Cost models for wind and solar assume, respectively, 41 percent and 29 percent capacity factors (i.e., how often they produce electricity). Real-world data reveal as much as ten percentage points less for both. That translates into $3 million less energy produced than assumed over a 20-year life of a 2-MW $3 million wind turbine.

21. In order to compensate for episodic wind/solar output, U.S. utilities are using oil- and gas-burning reciprocating engines (big cruise-ship-like diesels); three times as many have been added to the grid since 2000 as in the 50 years prior to that.

22. Wind-farm capacity factors have improved at about 0.7 percent per year; this small gain comes mainly from reducing the number of turbines per acre leading to a 50 percent increase in average land used to produce a wind-kilowatt-hour.

23. Over 90 percent of America’s electricity, and 99 percent of the power used in transportation, comes from sources that can easily supply energy to the economy any time the market demands it.

24. Wind and solar machines produce energy an average of 25 percent–30 percent of the time, and only when nature permits. Conventional power plants can operate nearly continuously and are available when needed.

25. The shale revolution collapsed the prices of natural gas & coal, the two fuels that produce 70 percent of U.S. electricity. But electric rates haven’t gone down, rising instead 20 percent since 2008. Direct and indirect subsidies for solar and wind consumed those savings.

26. Politicians and pundits like to invoke “moonshot” language. But transforming the energy economy is not like putting a few people on the moon a few times. It is like putting all of humanity on the moon—permanently.

27. The common cliché: an energy tech disruption will echo the digital tech disruption. But information-producing machines and energy-producing machines involve profoundly different physics; the cliché is sillier than comparing apples to bowling balls.

28. If solar power scaled like computer-tech, a single postage-stamp-size solar array would power the Empire State Building. That only happens in comic books.

29. If batteries scaled like digital tech, a battery the size of a book, costing three cents, could power a jetliner to Asia. That only happens in comic books.

30. If combustion engines scaled like computers, a car engine would shrink to the size of an ant and produce a thousand-fold more horsepower; actual ant-sized engines produce 100,000 times less power.

31. No digital-like 10x gains exist for solar tech. Physics limit for solar cells (the Shockley-Queisser limit) is a max conversion of about 33 percent of photons into electrons; commercial cells today are at 26 percent.

32. No digital-like 10x gains exist for wind tech. Physics limit for wind turbines (the Betz limit) is a max capture of 60 percent of energy in moving air; commercial turbines achieve 45 percent.

33. No digital-like 10x gains exist for batteries: maximum theoretical energy in a pound of oil is 1,500 percent greater than max theoretical energy in the best pound of battery chemicals.

34. About 60 pounds of batteries are needed to store the energy equivalent of one pound of hydrocarbons.

35. At least 100 pounds of materials are mined, moved and processed for every pound of battery fabricated.

36. Storing the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil, which weighs 300 pounds, requires 20,000 pounds of Tesla batteries ($200,000 worth).

37. Carrying the energy equivalent of the aviation fuel used by an aircraft flying to Asia would require $60 million worth of Tesla-type batteries weighing five times more than that aircraft.

38. It takes the energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil to fabricate a quantity of batteries that can store the energy equivalent of a single barrel of oil.

39. A battery-centric grid and car world means mining gigatons more of the earth to access lithium, copper, nickel, graphite, rare earths, cobalt, etc.—and using millions of tons of oil and coal both in mining and to fabricate metals and concrete.

40. China dominates global battery production with its grid 70 percent coal-fueled: EVs using Chinese batteries will create more carbon-dioxide than saved by replacing oil-burning engines.

41. One would no more use helicopters for regular trans-Atlantic travel—doable with elaborately expensive logistics—than employ a nuclear reactor to power a train or photovoltaic systems to power a nation.

This article is republished with permission from Economics 21. 

Single Payer: A Toxic Brew of Politics and Medicine thumbnail

Single Payer: A Toxic Brew of Politics and Medicine

By The Daily Skirmish – Liberato.US

The Left’s dream of socialized medicine is still kicking around.  The Left has been salivating for single payer for a hundred years, and they’re not about to give up now.

A single payer healthcare proposal made it out of a committee in California’s legislative Assembly earlier this week.  Governor Gavin Newsom campaigned on single payer in 2018, but a separate measure would have to be put to the voters to fund the gargantuan program with huge tax increases.  Even then, the tax increases being proposed would only bring in less than half of what single payer was estimated to cost when it was considered in 2018.  Unsurprisingly, there are no cost estimates this time, because the idea was shelved in 2018 after Californians realized how much it would cost.  The same reality check occurred some years ago in Vermont.  Single payer died there when it became known payroll taxes would have to consume 25 percent of everyone’s paycheck to pay for it.

The radical California Nurses Association is pushing single payer, holding a ‘Day of Action’ in 15 California cities last Saturday.   Leftists elsewhere in the country also continue to agitate for single payer.  A nationwide march for single payer was also held last Saturday in all 50 states.   Far-left publications recently urged their readers to continue to fight for single payer, although the publications are split on whether to fight at the national or state level.  The Yale School of Medicine ran an editorial praising single payer and the resolution New Haven passed last August supporting Medicare for All for the entire country.

Similar resolutions passed in several New Jersey cities and Duluth last year.  Single payer proposals are also kicking around in New YorkOregon, and Ohio.  The idea has not been abandoned at the national level, either.  Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal would put more building blocks in place by creating a public option for health insurance, increasing Obamacare subsidies, and ramping up Medicaid.  Critics say this is just a stone’s throw away from single payer.

But no matter how you get there, single payer is still a bad idea.  The stratospheric cost is reason enough to oppose single payer, not to mention the experience of the National Health System in Britain which shows such programs are continually broke and always pleading for more money.  There’s never enough money for single payer and, when more money isn’t forthcoming, single payer is forced to ration your healthcare even more than it usually does.  Long wait times and rationing, that’s the fate of anyone on single payer.  It takes three years to get a tooth removed in Britain.  Is that what you want?

Horror stories about rationing and long waits are familiar.  But there’s another aspect of single payer that’s just as insidious that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.  Healthcare would become completely politicized under single payer and, if private medicine is banned, you won’t have anywhere else to go.  Look what’s happened recently in the pandemic.  The federal government told Florida to pound Daytona Beach sand when the state asked for more monoclonal antibody treatments.    The Woke FDA is saying life-saving COVID treatments should be doled out based on skin color.  That’s despicable.  We also have the spectacle of public health authorities falling all over themselves lately to tell everyone they need an N95 mask.   Maryland’s going to give out 20 million of them.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, what this really means is everything you’ve been told about cloth masks for the last two years has been a lie – that cloth masks work and should be mandated.  You’ve been fed a line of bull for political reasons.   What do you think’s going to happen when the government gets its hands on all of healthcare under single payer?   Every single aspect of medicine will become politicized.  You will be told what healthcare you can have and no more.  You will be told how to behave and what rules you must obey in order to get it.  Too bad for you if Washington decides it doesn’t like your diet or your lifestyle choices.  When rationing isn’t enough, we will have to bring the hammer down to make sure you don’t cost the government too much money for your healthcare.

And, of course, the politicians who pass single payer and implement it will exempt themselves from whatever rules they impose on the rest of us.  That’s what happened in Obamacare with the congressional exemption.  It’ll happen again in spades if you fall for single payer.  You’ve been warned.

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©Christopher Wrights. All rights reserved.

They Are Neither Socialists nor Communists thumbnail

They Are Neither Socialists nor Communists

By Bruce Bialosky

A wise man during a recent lunch pointed out to me that Republicans and Conservatives often banter about terms, calling Leftists either Socialists or Communists. Mark Levin has an excellent, well-researched, bestselling book out on the subject called American Marxism. But are they really?

This very thoughtful and insightful person stated that they really are not Marxists, etc. He suggested I write a piece on the topic. Here we are.

Most Leftists have abandoned the name Communists because it became tattered — not because of the failed policies or the millions of people murdered. The reason is because of the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the collapse, Leftists have abandoned the term much like they stopped calling themselves Liberals and have since ruined the word progressive.

The preferred term these days is “Socialist.” They have even become more inventive with many calling themselves “Democratic Socialists.” The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has sold itself a bill of goods that they are not totalitarians. They just want all decisions made through the government.

If they are neither Socialists nor Communists, what are they? They are something you cannot call someone without casting a negative aspersion on them or you or both. What they are and what my enlightened friend pointed out is that they are Fascists. Now that your ears are burning, hear me out on this because my friend is correct.

Fascism used to compete with Communism. The reality is both are a form of totalitarian government that oppresses and murders people, but they are distinctly different. That is why in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the two groups were fighting on the streets of Germany to contest the ruling government. As you know, the Fascists won that battle and the Nazis became the symbol of evil for all mankind.

So why was my friend correct that they are Fascists? Communism is a manner of government where all the means of production is controlled centrally. There is no division between the government and the economy.

Fascism is central control through a capitalist system. Socialism nationalized property explicitly, while fascism coopts the means of production by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the totalitarian authority wants it used. That is why after WWII Germany was able to again become a productive society so quickly despite the complete devastation of the country. Their industrial leaders (capitalists) were still in place after the war. Think Volkswagen.

If you think of post-war China which is often called Communist China, it has not been Communist the entire time. Certainly, it started out as Communist under Mao Tse-Tung. They even had the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s so Mao could cleanse the country of capitalism. Then Deng Xiaoping came to power acknowledging that Communism does not work as an economic system and the country was a mess. He instituted changes that allowed capitalism to flourish in the country. Currently, Xi Jinping is cracking down on capitalists and their companies, thinking he can go back to the days of Mao without killing their economy. Notice all the capitalists he is either harassing or arresting. We will see how that works out. But for over 30 years China was fascist and still is. It just has not acknowledged it.

We are experiencing a lot of fascism in America. Interestingly, it radiates mostly from those who state they are anti-fascists. For example, look at how free speech is being suppressed. Anybody who is not a lying politician knows the Left has been suppressing free speech through private companies, the most prominent of which are Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others. These companies function as news services while stating they are exempt from normal press rules allowing them to block speech the Left does not like.

The entire pandemic has operated in a fascistic manner through private industry. Face mask mandates, vaccine mandates, proof of vaccination mandates, mask mandates on airplanes. Companies are forced to use resources to control their customers while the companies’ non-compliance would result in significant financial penalties.

When President Biden announced private industry vaccine mandates, he had no authority. He stated the rules would be issued through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Every company fell in line except to my knowledge one — The Daily Wire. For over two months there were no rules, but companies were complying. As soon as the regulations were issued multiple lawsuits were filed and many courts ruled against the mandate. Yet so many companies were used to our government operating in a fascistic manner they just complied based on a speech by the President.

States, particularly ones run by Leftists, have gotten into the act. They have forced their policies down the throats of capitalist companies. We who live in California have a multitude of these diktats forced on capitalist companies who once again are subject to severe penalties for non-compliance. For example, you cannot get a straw for a drink in California unless you beg for it. Now you cannot get plastic silverware with take-out food unless you beg for it. Neither of these rules will solve any kind of pollution problems, but legislators are fascists and keep issuing these diktats.

Recently, they required stores to have gender-neutral toy shelves if they are selling toys. There are hundreds of these kinds of top-down fascistic rules where legislators who have never run a business control businesses that are just trying to operate and produce a profit.

If you think that these fascist directives for business just affect major businesses – think again. Gardeners are typically entrepreneurial immigrants who are working their way up the economic ladder for themselves and their families. There is not a high level of education needed nor are the businesses capital intensive. California has outlawed a mainstay of these hardworking people’s tools – gasoline leaf blowers and lawnmowers. Not only will these people need to buy new battery-operated equipment, but it is estimated a three-person crew will need to carry with them 30 or more fully charged batteries to complete their daily workload. Another fascistic order telling small businesses how to operate.

Fascism is attractive to these totalitarians. They do not have to control the means of production; they just control the laws under which the method of production works. Use the wrong material in a building and you are fined. Do not enforce the Fascists’ laundry list of incomprehensible rules and you are fined. The Fascists line their coffers while getting their societal plans enforced. They use the fines to force more diktats down the throats of people just trying to make a living. And as opposed to Communism, in a Fascist government the companies are capable of producing a product like an automobile or a washing machine.

Whether Communist, Socialist, or Fascist, they are all totalitarians. They are all run by people who think they know better than the average person, so they try to tell people how to run their lives. The name “Fascist” was ruined forever by Hitler and his gang of thugs. The Left likes to tell you that Fascism is right-wing which is the big lie. It is akin to Communism but just differs in the means of production. Communism’s means of production has failed everywhere it has been tried. So, what is a totalitarian to do other than become a Fascist but call themselves Socialists?

Most Reckless Fed Ever: “Real” Federal Funds Rate Now the Most Negative Ever thumbnail

Most Reckless Fed Ever: “Real” Federal Funds Rate Now the Most Negative Ever

By Wolf Richter

/in , , , /by

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Even most junk bonds have negative “real” yields. And the Fed is still fueling this madness.

After a year of brushing off inflation as temporary, while inflation spread deeper and further into the economy, and got worse month after month, the Fed is finally talking about tightening. But so far, it’s just talking about it. It’s still repressing short-term interest rates to near 0% – with the effective federal funds rate, which the Fed targets with its interest rate policy, at 0.08%. And the Fed is still printing money hand-over-fist, though at a slightly slower rate than two months ago.

Meanwhile, the broadest measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) jumped by 7.04%, the highest and worst since June 1982, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. But we cannot compare today to 1982:

  • In June 1982, inflation was coming down; now inflation is spiking.
  • In June 1982, the effective federal funds rate (EFFR) was 14.2%. Today it’s 0.08%.
  • In June 1982, the Fed did not engage in QE; today it’s still massively buying assets.

So now we have the bizarre situation where the EFFR is 0.08% and CPI-U inflation is 7.04%, and the inflation-adjusted EFFR, or “real” EFFR, is a negative 6.96%, the most negative real EFFR in the data going back to 1954:

The “real” interest rate on savings accounts and CDs is similarly negative in the -7.0% range. The real yield of short-term Treasury bills is similarly negative in the -7.0% range.  Even the 10-year Treasury yield, now at 1.7%, is -5.3% in real terms.

Even most junk bonds are traded with yields below the rate of inflation. The average BB-rated “real” junk bond yield is -3.3%. Taking more risk, the average B-rated “real” yield is -2.0%…..

*****

Continue reading this article at Wolf Street.

‘We Will Cut Taxes.’ Ducey Lays Out His Final Arizona Budget Priorities thumbnail

‘We Will Cut Taxes.’ Ducey Lays Out His Final Arizona Budget Priorities

By Cole Lauterbach

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is reaffirming his commitment to lowering the state’s tax burden.

In his final budget address, the Republican governor took the podium in the joint session of the state Legislature on Monday to give special attention to his seven-year record of shrinking and streamlining government.

“We will cut taxes,” Ducey said. “It’s really not that complicated; it’s just basic common sense. Government takes in more than it needs to pay the bills, and the taxpayer should get to keep his or her hard-earned dollars.”

The speech marks Ducey’s eighth and final budget address. The two-term Republican is term-limited after the current year. Ducey boasted about the state’s historic tax cut that he signed but remained tied up in court, contrasting it with federal proposals to increase taxes.

“It all makes our commitment of returning money to the people more important than ever. Washington D.C. might have their eye on your paycheck – but at this Capitol, the only special interest on our mind is the taxpayer,” Ducey said.

If it withstands a legal challenge, Arizona’s progressive income tax that tops out at 4.5% would gradually flatten out to 2.5% with another cut for wealthy filers who must pay Prop. 208’s 3.5% surcharge for income over a certain amount.

Ducey highlighted Arizona’s economy, one of the few states fully recovered from the pandemic-related job losses. A report from Arizona’s Office of Economic Opportunity estimates the state will create an additional 700,000 jobs by 2030, many of which are in the technology sector.

In addition to educational programs to assist in learning loss, Ducey proposed a new push to educate Arizonans to take on technology jobs. Computer chip fabrication factories such as Intel, solar panel companies like Meyer Burger and others plan to expand in Arizona in the coming years. Ducey wants to provide the education needed to fill these high-paying jobs.

“Let’s invest in the worker, arming them with the skills they need for our growing semiconductor and advanced manufacturing industries,” he said. “So come June, we’re launching a summer camp with an emphasis on catching kids up in key areas: math, reading, and American civics. We will lead the way to eliminate learning loss.”

Despite pay increases in recent years, Arizona public school teachers remain some of the lowest-paid in the nation.

As of Jan. 1, Arizona is officially in a Tier 1 Colorado River water shortage. The change doesn’t affect residential Arizonans, but the nearly 18% reduction of water to the state will hit the agriculture industry. To address this, Ducey is proposing a $1 billion investment to “secure Arizona’s water future for the next 100 years.”

Ducey plans to submit his budget for legislative consideration on Friday.

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Inflation Hit a 40 YEAR HIGH in December and Bidenflation ‘Tax’ Costing Americans $5K Per Year thumbnail

Inflation Hit a 40 YEAR HIGH in December and Bidenflation ‘Tax’ Costing Americans $5K Per Year

By The Geller Report

Bidinflation ‘Tax’ Costing Americans THOUSANDS Per Year.


They are laughing at your struggle as they consolidate their power and move to federalize stealing elections.

Inflation rose at the fastest pace in nearly four decades in December, as rapid price gains fueled consumer fears about the economy and sent President Biden’s approval rating tumbling.

The consumer price index rose 7% in December from a year ago, according to a new Labor Department report released Wednesday, marking the fastest increase since June 1982, when inflation hit 7.1%. The CPI – which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents – jumped 0.5% in the one-month period from November.

Economists expected the index to show that prices surged 7% in December from the year-ago period and 0.4% from the previous month.

Bidenflation ‘Tax’ Costing Americans $5K Per Year

By  Dillon Burroughs • Daily Wire Jan 11, 2022   DailyWire.com •

A new report published on Tuesday revealed that inflation under President Joe Biden is costing American families an average of $5,000 per year.

The report by the Washington Examiner noted West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is correct to speak out over his concerns regarding inflation that is impacting the nation’s households worse than any time in the past 40 years

The report based the $5,000 “Bidenflation tax” on two recent studies.

“A new analysis by the Penn Wharton Budget Model found inflation costs the average U.S. household $3,500 in higher prices. The analysis showed that ‘inflation requires the average U.S. household to spend around $3,500 more to achieve the same level of consumption of goods and services as in previous years,’” Bruce Thompson noted in the report.

Worse, the same study found that lower-income households are impacted more.

The second part of the inflation “tax” was based on inflation pushing taxpayers into higher tax brackets, resulting in higher taxes.

A recent Congressional Budget Office report showed that just “a 1 percent increase in inflation would increase individual income taxes by 1.1 percent.” The two factors combine for tremendous additional stress on American family finances.

“At today’s 6.8% inflation rate, this translates into a 7.5% tax increase, a $1,500 tax increase for a household earning the median family income. With $3,500 in lost purchasing power and $1,500 in higher taxes, this painful Biden inflation tax is costing the typical family $5,000 a year,” Thompson noted.

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) said in a December statement that if the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spend bill is passed, American households can expect this stealth tax to be even higher.

“Americans have been extremely clear that inflation and rising costs are their top concerns right now,” Crapo wrote.

“Inflation is now at 6.8 percent, reaching a near 40-year high. The producer price index is up 9.6 percent, the fastest pace on record. This analysis is telling us that even without the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spend legislation, lower-income households will experience a $3,500 stealth tax. If Democrats push forward with their bill, which is front-loaded with inflationary spending and full of job-killing tax hikes, Americans can expect to pay even more to keep up with rising costs without getting ahead,” he added.

An op-ed by Freedom Works economist Stephen Moore highlighted the concern in remarks responding to Biden’s speech after the December jobs reports.

“While the president was boasting of wage gains for bartenders, kitchen help and waitresses, he ignored an inconvenient truth: for six straight months now, prices have been rising faster than wages,” Moore wrote.

“While the president was boasting of wage gains for bartenders, kitchen help and waitresses, he ignored an inconvenient truth: for six straight months now, prices have been rising faster than wages.” #Bidenflation #ampFW https://t.co/H47FDbjDWr

— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) January 10, 2022

“Wages are up on average by about 4.6% this past year, but price inflation is up more than 6%,” he added.

In a related Twitter post, Freedom Works noted: “Most low/moderate income workers are suffering a DECLINE in the purchasing power of their paychecks. The Biden Inflation Tax is a direct result of all the debt spending that is pouring like an uncapped fire hose into the economy.

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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