U.S. Deploys Forces to Mideast to Deter Iran

Source: Wall Street Journal

“The Pentagon is sending a carrier and its accompanying ships as well as what is known as a bomber task force to the region in coming days in response to ‘a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,’ National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday. ‘The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces,’ he said….The move to deploy additional forces to the region was based on a specific threat to U.S. forces operating in the region, according to a U.S. official. There have been indications recently of Iran or its proxies assembling and moving assets both on land and at sea, the official said….The Trump administration has been pushing to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero and has taken other steps to ratchet up the economic pressure on Iran, including by designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization….Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also warned last month of a potential military confrontation in the region, though he insisted that it wouldn’t be caused by Iran.”

3 Ways to Help Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap

Source: Mises Institute

“The media has placed a lot of emphasis on the racial wealth gap. There are many proposed explanations for this gap in the media and academia…Although there are undoubtedly myriad causes of and explanations…I simply want to point toward three relatively straightforward ways that we can begin to make headway toward closing this gap…low interest rates tend to favor big business by incentivizing large, long-term investments…which clearly advantages large market players over small businesses. One of the best ways to build wealth is by establishing a successful business…the data clearly indicate that minority-owned businesses are smaller on average. Thus, reversing policies that inhibit the growth and competitiveness of small businesses…could help minority households generate and maintain higher amounts of wealth…Large up-front costs, such as business registration, licensing, and regulation compliance make it difficult for small businesses to raise enough initial capital to begin their business venture. Given the already established fact that minorities are more likely to own small businesses and have disproportionately less wealth to invest in starting a business, it logically follows that increasing start-up costs for small businesses will harm minority entrepreneurs…we should also abolish policies that directly steal wealth from innocent people. Civil asset forfeiture essentially allows police to seize property from people provided that the property is suspected of being connected to a crime. In 43 states , between 50 percent and 100 percent of the assets seized can be used as funding for the police departments, which presents a direct profit motive to seize people’s property regardless of their innocence. Additionally, in order to get the property back, many states require that victims of civil asset forfeiture go to court, which is an expensive process that many people cannot afford…An article by James Devereaux points to a study from the economics department of George Mason University, which found that police departments retaining revenue from asset forfeiture is linked to disproportionately increased arrest rates of black and Hispanic Americans…Ending the disproportionate appropriation of wealth from minority individuals without due process is an obvious way to try to close the racial wealth gap…Ultimately…Raising artificially low interest rates, removing occupational licensure, and repealing civil asset forfeiture are seemingly unrelated and irrelevant policies; however, what they all have in common is that they do not require complex policy goals but rather the simple repeal of existing, unjust laws. Regardless of the debated historical causes, focusing on existing injustices can aid progress toward a more perfect union.”


Global Aging Changes Everything

Source: Reason

“From Ninja Economics comes the incredible chart showing that ‘for the first time ever there are now more people in the world older than 65 than younger than 5.’ At first blush, this might seem like a vaguely interesting fact and not much else. But in reality, this development will affect virtually every aspect of our future lives. First and foremost, it means that the global human population will start to fall, since aging populations have fewer kids (and as Reason’s Ronald Bailey notes, global fertility rates have been falling for years). The impact on the world’s economy will be staggering, especially since there are effectively no known cases where long-term economic growth takes place against the backdrop of a shrinking population….What will an older world look like…It’s not at all clear. One of the great things about capitalism and free markets is that they are constantly changing what gets produced and consumed. ‘Creative destruction,’ Joseph Schumpeter famously wrote, is ‘the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.’ For all the recent talk about ‘late capitalism,’ the increasingly capitalistic global economy that has emerged over the past half-century or more has been pretty great for most people…That should give us some faith that we’ll figure out a way to increase living standards even in a world whose population is shrinking.”

Gold steadies as Trump’s tariff threat supports dollar

Spurce: CNBC

“Gold was little changed on Monday as the dollar gained after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods, escalating Sino-U.S. trade tensions and prompting investors to sell riskier assets. U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday said he would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week. He also said he would target a further $325 billion of Chinese goods with 25 percent tariffs ‘shortly,’ essentially covering all products imported into the United States from China. ‘We are seeing the markets reacting to uncertainty about trade talks. It is creating some nervousness in the markets. The dollar is a tad stronger, countering some of the potential moves we would have seen otherwise in gold,’ said Ole Hansen, commodity strategist at Saxo Bank….Physical demand for the metal had been robust last week with India and Singapore leveraging the correction in prices ahead of a key gold-buying festival.”


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