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Kevin Van Elswyk



Articles by Kevin Van Elswyk

Janet Is Yellin’ Nonsense. Stagflation Is around the Corner

March 18, 2024

The canary in the coal mine, is the consumer in our current economic period. We can still hear it, but it is growing weaker.We clearly hear Janet Yellen telling us in a March interview that rapidly increasing credit card use by consumers is normative. Is it normative to use credit card debt to offset “transitory” inflation?America has used credit to promote a recovery. Household debt rose to 17.5 trillion in the 4th quarter 2023. Debit and Credit card balances increased by $50 billion to $1.13 trillion over the quarter. The average credit card balance increased 10 percent for 2023. In 12 months, serious delinquency status on credit cards increased by 50 percent. Auto and car loans are transitioning into delinquency higher than pre covid levels.The average credit

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Washington’s Planned Theft of Credit Card Benefits

February 14, 2024

Congressional Democrats are trying to intervene in a complex and varied market they know little about but that consumers navigate without need of help. This will not end well.
Original Article: Washington’s Planned Theft of Credit Card Benefits

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Headline Math, Women’s Wages, and a Very Bad Deal in Higher Education

January 8, 2024

Headline math is a simple percentage expressed as a fact without context. Its design is to create an emotional response, support an opinion, or generate a click past the paywall. Once articulated, it exists in speech as a noun. W. Brian Arthur’s paper “Economics in Nouns and Verbs” explains the use of nouns to express a conclusion as fact, excluding further discussion. Student loan statistics for women are presented as facts, needing no further thought or understanding. However, these facts are instead mistaken assumptions presented without explicit context. Consider the compounding of these facts:
Women in 2021 hold 66 percent of all student loan debt.Following graduation, women will earn 81 percent of what men can expect.Following graduation, 91 percent of men,

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Student Loans: The Continuing Crisis That Is Getting Worse

December 15, 2023

The student loan program is descending into chaos and the Biden administration is clueless about what to do. Furthermore, the value of a college education continues to fall while college costs increase.
Original Article: Student Loans: The Continuing Crisis That Is Getting Worse

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Student Loans: The Continuing Crisis That Is Getting Worse

November 27, 2023

The leviathan does not rest in pursuing free universities, creeping ahead unchecked by either reason, law, or accounting principles. Why is student assessment of their federal-debt-financed degrees so low? Why are 26 percent of past payments delinquent? More than 50 percent of students agree that they either studied the wrong major or wasted time and money. Less than half have found work in their major field of study.
Public dialogue is lured into discussing forgiveness amounts, rationalizations, plans, and terms, without specifics about monthly costs or other options, thereby distracted from asking the following question: How have graduates—assertively promised increased income, personal satisfaction, and positive impact on society—now become a new dependent

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Leviathan Is on the Menu

June 20, 2023

I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.—Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan
California continues to attack businesses and entrepreneurial freedom. Leviathan has awakened, this time with Assembly Bill 257, promoting a state-controlled trade union for all restaurant workers.
Current United States secretary of labor Marty Walsh has left and become head of the National Hockey League’s players union, perhaps to help in the league’s diversity, equity, and inclusion and pride initiatives. Joe Biden has nominated Julie Su as Walsh’s replacement, appointed by Biden as deputy labor secretary in 2021. She received Senate subcommittee approval on April 27 and will go to the floor for a full

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The Ruling Classes Are Inflation Deniers and the Ship of Fools Sails On

April 22, 2023

Continued inflation inevitably leads to catastrophe.
—Ludwig von Mises
Consumers’ behaviors cause the consumer price index (CPI) broad heading of food to understate the real or wallet level of inflation. It is much worse than the top line statistic—it is a serious offense to the poor and fixed-income citizens.
The CPI measures nominal dollar changes based on month over month and year over year for 299 items. The year ending December 2021 posted an overall CPI of 3.4 percent. Food at home was up 6.5 percent during this period. For the year ending 2022 the CPI rose 6.5 percent while food rose 10.4 percent. Compounding the two years the CPI rose 11 percent, and the food at home category rose 17.6 percent.
For this same two-year period nominal hourly wages for

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Climate Activism: The Second Children’s Crusade

April 1, 2023

The "first" Children’s Crusade of 1212 ended in tragedy for those taking part. The "second" crusade is not going to produce any happy endings, either.

Original Article: "Climate Activism: The Second Children’s Crusade"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. 

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Climate Activism: The Second Children’s Crusade

March 24, 2023

Modern secular society embraces a new religion complete with prophets, crusaders, commandments, contrition, and even a holy land: East Anglia, United Kingdom. These congregants will behave idiosyncratically in the economy. The activist green movement increasingly parallels Western religious structure, even generating a modern version of the medieval Children’s Crusade.
Motivated by hope, the first Children’s Crusade assembled in 1212 under the preteen leadership of two boys countries apart—Stephen of Cloyes (France) and Nicholas of Cologne. One claimed a vision and the other a letter from Christ, sparking a movement to retake Jerusalem from the city’s Muslim conquerors. The boys’ preaching and zealous piety created what some historians have called mass hysteria.

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Student Loan Debt: The Financial Time Bomb Politicians Want to Ignore

October 21, 2022

Media reports claim this debt prevents economic recovery. Chuck Schumer would erase it with the flick of a pen. Elizabeth Warren would remove it to free students’ ability to buy a house and form a family. Janet Yellen opines paying off student loan debt (SLD) will free up venture capital. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims the proposed Biden plan is inadequate.
The complexities of SLD are simplified for the public by moving details into an abyss of aggregates; “average student debt,” “average unemployment” and “average wages” headline without context. Political and news media calls for money drown out one simple question: Should taxpayers rescue students from their education loans?
The Department of Education (DOE) supervises student loan program revisions. The

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