As misguided politicians and regulators continue to target short-term lenders, which provide American…
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Image of the Day: Sure Enough, Credit Card Balances Are Exploding

As misguided politicians and regulators continue to target short-term lenders, which provide American consumers with vital financial lifelines when the only alternatives are skipping payments, bouncing checks, running up credit card debts or even going to dangerous loansharks, we've consistently noted how short-term lenders' role becomes increasingly important as the U.S. economy deteriorates and credit card reliance skyrockets.  Sure enough, the New York Fed numbers provide an alarming illustration:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Credit Card Debt Skyrocketing[/caption]

All the more reason to protect consumers' access to legal, reliant, efficient short-term lending rather than irrationally target it.…[more]

December 05, 2022 • 02:38 PM

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Biden Energy Blunders Beget Global Instability and Domestic Pain Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 17 2022
[A]fter just one year in office, Biden Administration energy policies are sowing chaos overseas and consumer pain here at home.

The peril of presidential policy blunders is that, by the time their consequences become obvious, it’s too late to avert the painful lessons.  

Both at home and overseas, we’re witnessing that dynamic due to the self-inflicted wound that is the Biden Administration’s energy policy.  

Here at home, the federal government reports that rising energy prices account for a disproportionate 21% share of the alarming overall rise in consumer price inflation.  For perspective, the average U.S. household spent $1,200 more on energy expenditures in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the University of Pennsylvania.  

According to a new Gallup survey released this month, public satisfaction with energy policies has fallen to an all-time low, which in turn helps explain Joe Biden’s unprecedented plummet in popularity:  

Americans’ satisfaction with a variety of aspects of U.S. society and the state of policy in key issue areas remains subdued in 2022 after falling in 2021…  Of all the issues and societal aspects measured in the survey, satisfaction with energy policies has fallen the most this year.  Higher gas prices are likely the reason this sentiment has dropped 15 percentage points in the past year.  Energy satisfaction had generally been stable between 2014 and 2021, before the steep decline this year.  The 27% currently satisfied with energy policies is the lowest Gallup has measured in its trend.  

As with its other myriad policy blunders from Afghanistan to Covid mitigation, the Biden Administration claims powerlessness and preposterously denies blame.  

As summarized by a damning Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) report released this month, however, Biden’s energy policies are inflating prices by persecuting production:  

One week into his presidency, President Biden issued an executive order establishing a moratorium on leasing federal lands for oil and gas production.  President Biden has since called for the re-implementation of an Obama-era rule to require oil and gas producers, processers, and refiners to install expensive technology to detect methane leaks, and in a counterproductive attempt to protect the environment, has begun rolling back any reforms from the Trump Administration that lower costs for energy producers.  The Biden Administration also revoked permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline — a pipeline that would have transported 830,000 barrels of oil a day — proposed fee hikes on domestic energy producers leasing government land, and faces internal pressure to reinstate a misguided ban on oil exports.  These and other federal actions would directly and indirectly halt new investments that are critical to expanding domestic supply.  

Investors and business leaders make business decisions based on policy actions as well as the political discussion that often precedes policy.  The perceived political climate can directly influence forward-looking investment decisions, especially in heavily regulated industries.  The Biden Administration has consistently threatened oil and gas producers with new taxes, regulation, and reporting requirements that raise costs for domestic producers.  

Meanwhile, the Biden Administration’s weakness and miscalculation is triggering dangerous instability overseas.  

As itemized above by the JEC, it has embraced the same European model of demonizing fossil fuels and mandating alternative energy production that has left Europe more vulnerable to Russian threats to curtail gas imports amid the winter freeze.  Whereas President Trump imposed sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe, Biden inexplicably relented in servility to the Germans.  That makes forcefully standing up to Vladimir Putin’s aggression nearly impossible.  

Wasn’t President Trump supposedly the one enabling Putin’s self-interest?  

Biden Administration policies are also strengthening the Iranian dictatorship.  

After President Trump tightened sanctions on Iran in 2017, its oil exports plummeted from 2.5 million barrels per day to less than one-sixth that amount – 400,000 barrels per day – in 2020.  Today, its exports again exceed 1 million barrels per day and rising, continuing its nuclear malfeasance while Biden weakly resumes the Obama delusion that Iran can be our friend.  That in turn jeopardizes Middle East stability, thereby undercutting global energy markets and stability even more.  

Amid this growing chaos, China amplifies its menace toward Taiwan and across the Pacific region, assured that its sudden allies Russia and Iran have Biden sufficiently distracted.  Biden’s catastrophic blunder in Afghanistan only exacerbates that sense of American weakness and distraction.  

The greatest irony is that the green energy agenda favored by squeamish Europeans and environmental alarmists in the U.S. didn’t even achieve its stated ends.  While the U.S. charged ahead with the fracking revolution, we achieved energy independence and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by shifting toward greater use of cleaner-burning natural gas.  Europe, meanwhile, increased greenhouse emissions as its green energy sources failed and it abandoned nuclear energy, forcing it to rely on dirtier sources.  

In any event, after just one year in office, Biden Administration energy policies are sowing chaos overseas and consumer pain here at home.  Whether Biden is wise enough to reverse course by encouraging domestic energy production rather than penalizing it is an open question, but it’s incumbent upon elected leaders and the American public to force his hand.

Quiz Question   
Which of the following Presidents replaced the traditional candles with electric lights on the White House Christmas tree?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this week in the biggest sleeper case of its 2022-23 term.The justices already have before them the blockbuster dispute of whether government-funded or -run colleges and universities can continue to use race in making admissions decisions, testing whether the court will live up to the Constitution's promise of equal protection of the laws and that the government…[more]
 
 
—John Yoo, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, and Robert Delahunty, a Fellow of the Claremont Institute's Center for the American Way of Life in Washington, D.C.
— John Yoo, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, and Robert Delahunty, a Fellow of the Claremont Institute's Center for the American Way of Life in Washington, D.C.
 
Liberty Poll   

Congress is debating adding $45 billion more than requested to defense spending for 2023. Considering a fragile economy and geopolitical threats, do you support or oppose that increase?