Trump’s immigration plans could cripple the US economy and hurt the workers he’s pledging to protect

  • Published: 24.02.2017
  • Pedro Nicolaci da Costa

President Donald Trump’s immigration plans have no basis in economic fact but are rather a cheap attempt to rally his political base.

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(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

  • Economists agree that immigration is good for the economy
  • Immigration is a source of labor-force growth, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said recently
  • The right-leaning Cato Institute says the deportation of “Dreamers” could cost $60 billion
  • Trump’s other policies could hurt US workers by making businesses less competitive

Economists disagree on a lot of issues. Immigration is not one of them.

Almost unequivocally, experts from the left and the right ends of the political spectrum see immigration as a net benefit to the economy. They cite everything from population growth to increased tax receipts to diversity of people and ideas.

That’s why it is surprising to see Wall Street analysts, who are rather intensely focused at the prospect of corporate tax cuts from President Donald Trump, largely ignore the clearly detrimental impact his immediate immigration orders are already having on economic growth.

During her congressional testimony on February 15, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was not shy about offering a broad retort to immigration restrictions. Trump’s plans include blanket travel bans on citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations as well as orders to increase deportations at the Mexican border with still-shifting guidelines.

“Labor-force growth has been slowing in the United States,” Yellen said. “It’s one of several reasons, along with slow productivity growth, for the fact that our economy has been growing at a slow pace. Immigration has been an important source of labor-force growth. So slowing the pace of immigration probably would slow the growth rate of the economy.”

Her comments are striking because Yellen is usually careful not to discuss topics outside her monetary policy and regulation remit, lest her remarks be construed as political. But the Ph.D. economist and career central banker has a strong, bipartisan body of work to stand on.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal policy institute in Washington, estimates that a policy of mass deportation would “immediately reduce the nation’s GDP by 1.4% and ultimately by 2.6%.”

“Because capital will adjust downward to a reduction in labor — for example, farmers will scrap or sell excess equipment per remaining worker — the long-run effects are larger and amount to two-thirds of the decline experienced during the Great Recession,” the CAP report says. “Removing 7 million unauthorized workers would reduce national employment by an amount similar to that experienced during the Great Recession.”

Over 10 years, US output will have fallen $4.7 trillion short of what it might otherwise have been, CAP says. For comparison, US gross domestic product, the nation’s total spending on goods and services, stood at $18.6 trillion at the end of 2016.

Dreamers drag

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(Center for American Progress)

On the other side of the political spectrum, here’s how the libertarian Cato Institute describes the dangers of Trump’s immigration policies, which advocates fear will eventually encompass immigrants protected under President Barack Obama’s “Dreamers” program.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known better as DACA, gives certain rights, including work permits, to immigrants living in the US illegally who were brought to the US as children.

Cato estimates the budget drag from immediately deporting the approximately 750,000 people protected by DACA would be over $60 billion for the federal government. The think tank foresees a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade from the elimination of this program alone, even though it represents just a sliver of the estimated 11 million people living in the US illegally whose fates are now increasingly uncertain. Keep in mind that figure has been stable for several years, contradicting Trump’s suggestion that this is a sudden and pressing problem.

“Donald Trump has proposed eliminating or severely modifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,” says Neal McCluskey, the director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom. “Many Americans believe that the presence of unauthorized immigrants is harmful to the economy and would like to see steps taken to reduce their presence. However, a repeal or rollback of DACA would harm the economy and cost the US government a significant amount of lost tax revenue.”

The case for immigrants

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(Pew Research Center)

But the cost of restricting immigration goes beyond the expense of deporting people on a greater scale.

Immigrants are more likely than native-born Americans to start a business. Some 24.3% of US engineering and technology startup companies and 43.9% of those based in Silicon Valley in recent years were founded by immigrants, according to a 2012 study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Local economies also tend to derive a perceptible boost from bursts of immigration. Businesses near the border stand to lose the most, and some communities — like Rutland, Vermont — are even making refugee resettlement part of their economic policy. The logic is simple enough: Refugees will reverse the population drain on the town as its younger residents move away and its older residents phase out of the workforce.

Some US real-estate markets, as Trump would well know, are also dependent on foreign demand. Even if his immigration policies don’t target these specific buyers, the hostility toward outsiders is turning them away.

Fear surrounding Trump’s aggressive anti-immigrant positions is already depressing the US real-estate market, Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson told Bloomberg television on Thursday, citing the large sums invested in the market from foreign buyers who had become reluctant to own property in the US.

Hurting constituents

Trump’s policy proposals thus far are also likely to hurt the constituency he promised to help: voters in economically depressed manufacturing and farming regions.

On manufacturing, Trump’s bluster about striking major deals with specific firms like Carrier is a sideshow. The number of jobs created in each instance is paltry, but pressure to keep jobs in the US will raise costs for US firms.

That makes them less competitive, actually endangering the well-paying jobs that do remain in the US and speeding up the automation of industries that can turn to robots instead of foreign labor.

Trump’s proposed offset is to levy a tax on imports, but that creates a whole other set of problems.

Many technology firms, a major source of American corporate strength, are actively fighting Trump’s immigration measures for concern they will narrow the pool of available talent. In farming, Trump’s popularity is already withering, because many agricultural businesses were in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement with 11 other nations including Japan, Canada, and Mexico. The construction industry, heavily reliant on undocumented labor, could suffer worker shortages if Trump’s measures are strictly enforced.

Whether the federal government has the resources to process all these deportations is another major uncertainty hanging over the proposed program.

It’s the politics, stupid

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(Bloomberg News)

Beyond the financial effects, it would be callous to ignore the tremendous human toll that extreme uncertainty about a more militant anti-immigration policy puts on families that are potentially affected by them. Many of those living in the US illegally have been in the country for decades, sometimes generations. They have American children and deep cultural and professional ties to the US. Wide-ranging legal challenges to Trump’s policies only deepen the foreboding sense of a looming unknown.

The fear factor that begins with Mexicans and other Latin-American immigrants is already sending a chill through other communities, particularly those made up of Muslims, who have faced increased discrimination since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Trump critics are warning, rightly, that America should not forget the stain on its democratic history represented by the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Given how flagrantly ill-advised Trump’s immigration stance is, even from the perspective of helping the disaffected workers he promises to represent, why is he sticking to it?

In this case, politics trumps economics, in spades. The reality-TV host turned president is merely pandering to the very base, which includes a significant racist element, that helped launch his campaign. Recall that his opening salvo for the 2016 election was a baseless, broad-brush attack on Mexico in which he mentioned the country 13 times, saying those who cross the southern border are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime — they’re rapists.”

For a president who fancies himself a dealmaker, such brutish language is hardly an adequate starting point for good relations with a neighbor and longtime ally whose relationship with the US wasn’t always so friendly.

ON REVIVING OUR DEPRESSED ECONOMY; ENGENDERING GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT; AND, CREATING MILLIONS OF JOBS: THE LANDASSETS PLAN

PREAMBLE

The Nigerian economy is in dire straits. The plunge into recession began during the Second Republic, when the National Party of Nigeria ruled under the presidency of Shehu Shagari. The descent into full blown depression was enhanced by the tragedy of the coincidence of mismanagement and the then unprecedented plunge of the barrel price of oil in the international marketplace. The rot therefore basically, began during the Shagari years, ably assisted by the adventure into borrowing from the IMF / World Bank by the then outgoing military regime.

It was and still is a crying shame that the succeeding civilian governors just went borrowing all off-shore funds they possibly could, without necessarily putting on ground the projects they had borrowed for. Consequently, every man, woman, and child in Nigeria today is still paying for the irresponsibility of those governors by way of repayment of loans which yielded nothing, and the payment of which has translated into a depletion of the per capita income, and huge losses for the economy. Coupled with the non performing offshore loans, was the import licensing scandal of the early eighties.

The economy made millionaires of politicians and ignorant, “businessmen” whose only achievement was that they knew the thieving officials who issued the said import licenses. As a result, Capital was transferred to people who either wouldn’t, for obvious reasons, invest their “killings” in this economy, or didn’t know anything about investments. So, the funds that would have been invested in this economy to create more wealth and more employment, invariably ended up in economies in which the derivable benefits simply did not accrue to this economy.

THE BARTER ECONOMICS OF THE BUHARI YEARS In fairness to the succeeding Buhari / Idiagbon regime, it became acquainted with the fact that the economy was in a mess and therefore tried to apply a brand of economics which favoured the barter system; which system could have well worked in the interim, but for the Western economies which tightened the credit noose against the barter and any other conceivable economic arrangement or option.

THE BABANGIDA / IMF YEARS OF RESTRUCTURING
As people were wondering how the economy would proceed beyond what seemed like a dead-end, Gen. Babangida struck, pushing out a regime that, to all intents and purposes, had brought some level of sanity to the polity, only to commence the wholesale kow-towing to the IMF / World Bank’s Restructuring Programme, without taking advantage of the once and for all´ devaluation of the Naira, which the financial institutions demanded, instead of embarking on a fruitless talk-shop on whether or not to take the IMF loan, in order to aid the restructuring process.

More than any other thing, the ill advised economic policies of the Babangida years commenced the onslaught on Nigerians; the middle class was wiped out, and glaring poverty began to stare people in the face. Consequently, the poor within the economy increased in quadruples. On the plus (?) side anyway, people started to learn the art of survival by going into new ventures/areas they were not trained for; wholesale drug trafficking and the 419 syndrome, inclusive.

THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY TODAY
In the over thirty odd years since the abrupt end to the second republic, the economy has gone from bad to worse. The pool of the poor has increased at a tremendously scandalous rate. Most efforts at poverty reduction have ended up enhancing the financial status of the same ubiquitous agents that government employs in purchasing the machinery/equipment the beneficiaries of government’s poverty reduction strategies need.

In retrospect, most commentators on the state of the economy have stated without equivocation that the economy is in a worse state now, than was the case thirty odd years ago. It has equally been generally accepted that the problem with the economy, amongst other factors are: I. Its mono-cultural nature – oil being the major exportable product, with virtually no value added; II. Lack of industrialization; III. Lack of long term credit with which to industrialize, enhance the capital formation process, and enhance housing provision for the middle and low income groups.

‘NEEDS’ AND THE RESTRUCTURING PROCESS
The key to revamping the economy lies in restructuring in such a way such that wastages in every facet of the economy would be, if not entirely eliminated, reduced to the barest minimum. The on-going privatization exercise of the Federal government; the personnel reduction within the Civil Service; and the restructuring of the methods affecting contractual obligations by the Federal Government, evidence the foregoing assertion. But, at what cost to the economy, especially with regards to the burgeoning army of the unemployed?

However, irrespective of the method found expedient, the object of former President Obasanjo’s NEEDS is to evolve an economy which is restructured to the extent that individuals, small and medium scale enterprises are empowered, through the provision of economic leveraging, by way of venture capital provision and long term credit, to become part of, and play effective roles in evolving a healthy and vibrant economy Given the foregoing objectives, the problems of the economy at present, can be summed up as being that of finding creative, ingenious, innovative, and constitution – and – people – friendly methods of raising funds for the effective pursuit of government’s Economic Reform (Transformation) Agenda.

So far, the Federal Government, several times since 1999 has come up with increases in the pump price of petrol and petroleum products, and other taxes on each liter of petrol and associated petroleum products which are seen as anti people, and have therefore been resisted by the people under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). The increase of the Pump price of a liter of petrol to N97.00 at the beginning of 2012 was one of the worst episodes of pump price increases in recent years.

The subsequent disclosure of the unprecedented fraud that partnered the N2.6 trillion subsidies on imported fuel and other petroleum products was something else. In any of the North African and Middle-eastern countries, what happened in January 2012 would have, undoubtedly led to a regime change. To date, no one has succinctly put his hand on how the hundreds of billions of Naira required for the aforesaid industrialization, infrastructural provision and maintenance, etc., would be realized. So, what is the way to generating the funds necessary to kick start the reawakening of the economy from its long drawn slumber?

JOB CREATION / REDUCING THE POVERTY LEVEL
As far back as 1996, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in its Human Development Report observed: among other things, that lack of development in Nigeria may be due to the presence of some or all five (negative) features of growth in most developing countries. These are:
1 Jobless Growth – the overall economy grows, but fails to expand job opportunities;
2 Ruthless Growth – the rich get richer, and the poor get nothing;
3 Voiceless Growth – the economy grows, but democracy/empowerment of the majority of the majority of the population fails to keep pace;
4 Rootless Growth – Cultural identity is submerged or deliberately outlawed by Central government , as in states of former Yugoslavia or the Kurdish area of Iraq and Turkey; and
5 Future less Growth – the present generation squanders resources needed by future generations.

The same UNDP Human Development Report noted that generally, the wealth that was generated during periods of economic recovery and growth was not distributed equitably. The late Prof Claude Ake, in his critique of our social economy observed: “With few exceptions, the political class, both civilian and military, has been interested principally in the accumulation of power, which is maintained in ways that are incompatible with development, especially by institutionalizing a Hobbesian regime that turns society into a war of one against all. Power in Nigeria is invariably used for the accumulation of wealth, a perverse mode of accumulation which is dissociated from capitalist activity, and hence unproductive. It has saddled us with the problems of capitalism without its considerable rewards.’’

To prove the point Prof. Ake made, all you need do is take a look at the out of this world houses in Maitama, Asokoro, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Victoria Garden City, Lekki, etc., and the exotic cars that dot our peculiarly very bad roads.

A reasoned study of the aforementioned UNDP report and Prof. Claude Ake’s comments, as they relate to the Nigerian economy, would always reveal a lot more than we may individually imagine. However, owing to space restraint, one would just surmise that we need to address the issue of wealth creation and distribution in such a way that we can stand convinced that a semblance of wealth redistribution has indeed taken place, enough to create the impression that the Federal Government is democratizing wealth, is institutionalized and sustained.

We must foreclose policies which, rightly or wrongly, paint the picture that government is deliberately squeezing the poor absolutely dry, for the betterment of the already rich and flourishing.

LACK OF LONG TERM CREDIT – THE BANE OF THE ECONOMY
Part of the reason the Nigerian Economy is yet to industrialize, apart from the lack of foresight which characterized the ‘oil boom’ years, and the inability of the rich to invest in productive and wealth creating ventures, is the fact that for as long as anyone can recall, our economy has been consistently run without the long term credit which powers an economy by providing the long term loans for investments, and which are repayable over a long period of time – say, fifteen to twenty years. The investments generated through such loans create manufacturing concerns; provide or create jobs; and create wealth; both for the entrepreneurs and their employees, and generally aid the national industrialization process, and improve the Gross Domestic Product and standard of living of the citizenry.

Invariably also, one finds that in the developed economies, such long term funds come from the Insurance arm of the Finance sector of the economy; the Pension Funds; and such other funds as that for providing seed capital, and for empowering Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. However, it remains crystal clear that the Insurance sector of the Finance industry is grossly underdeveloped, and that such gross underdevelopment has largely accounted for why the economy has remained in its present state of non industrialization. The core of this treatise is to show how the insurance industry could, not only become a major player in the Nigerian economy, but could become the major source of the much sought for, long term funding this economy is pining for.

THE SHOULD-BE ROLE OF THE INSURANCE SECTOR IN THE FINANCE INDUSTRY
Let us reiterate that we have remained unindustrialized because the capital formation process is low and slow; infrastructural capacity even lower; loan able funds for industrial, manufacturing and housing development non-existent; and the economy basically characterized by the mercantilist or cash and carry phenomena. The banks lend short; charge excessive interest rates; offer low interest rates on deposits; make super profits; but generally cannot either point to any significant contribution to the capital formation process, or to any meaningful contribution to reducing the horde of the unemployed.

By their own admission, the insurance companies are worth less than the two top banks in asset worth and annual turnover. With over forty years of independence and their relationship with the insuring public, the insurance industry in Nigeria boasts just an Annual Premium Receivable of merely N200 Billion (2011 figures). It has occurred to our minds that the major source of funding for industrialization and housing programmes in developed economies come from the insurance sector, which alone can afford to provide to the economy the long term investible funds it requires to lend long; since most insurance policies have an average term of twenty years.

The key therefore to Nigeria’s industrialization lies in the improvement of the insurance sector in such a way that the Annual Premium Receivable would experience a quantum leap, with a view to having the insurance sector make available the very important long term investment fund to the economy. We have tried to figure out the way such an expansion could be provoked, and this we have captured in the LANDASSETS PLAN, named after our firm LandAssets Consult Limited.

THE LANDASSETS PLAN
The LandAssets plan, essentially, is a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectored, and multi-facetted plan which seeks to use the dormant wealth of the rich and wealthy (in Real Estate) to create more wealth in the economy, and in the process, create millions of jobs. The potentials of this plan are mind-bogglingly huge. It seeks to introduce a universal insurance coverage for all Real Estate situate within the economy; in the urban and semi-urban environments, especially.

A little explanation is necessary here: For the purposes of this analysis, the ‘wealth’ in question, simply refers to the value invested by Nigerians in Real Estate (Residential, Commercial and Industrial) all over the country. ’Dormancy,’ in the sense used above, refers to the fact that unlike Real Estate in the developed nations of the West, where ‘dormant’ real estate assumes an aura of kinetics and activity owing to the role such immovable properties take on, through investment by their owners in insurance coverage, most Real Estate in this economy only have a limited form of financial life because:
 They are not covered by insurance;
 They lack any form of amortization
 Any form of fire hazard often spells doom to such properties as they can neither be rebuilt, if completely destroyed, or repaired or renovated, when the destruction is not total: The story of the NITEL property on the Marina, Lagos is instructive. The only thing seemingly going for real estate in the Nigerian context is the annual rent receivable, which translates into nothing when such properties become severely stressed. The LandAssets plan, as posited in an earlier letter to the President would, amongst other things:
 Grow the economy by adding trillions of Naira to the GDP during its first year of implementation;
 Add trillions of Naira to the GDP over a ten-year period;  Improve and standardize the Capital Formation process by providing annually or infrastructural development and maintenance;  Provide long term loan able funds for Industrial, Manufacturing and Housing development;
 Create wealth with the concomitant creation of millions of jobs, traversing the financial {insurance and banking institution}, construction, housing, manufacturing, industrial and service sectors of the economy;
 Raise the funds for giving the economy the required head-start by attracting insurance premium on our national Real Estate, the value of which we have estimated at N 900 trillion;
 Evolve a private sector driven economy which is neither dependent on government nor oil, given that an estimated N13.35 trillion would be realized as Annual Premium during the first five years of implementation;
 Impact the GDP by cumulatively adding over N28.5 Trillion to the economy over a ten-year period. The question naturally, is how is it possible? We began our enquiry by taking a good look at our economy and its attendant problems, which are typical of most developing African and third world countries. Such problems are as follows:

⦁ Lack of fully developed capital formation process;
II. Lack of a well developed manufacturing /industrial sector;
III. Prevalence of high interest (lending) and exchange rates;
IV. An external debt overhang, which basically, enslaves third world nations;
V. Lack of long term loans for meaningful manufacturing/industrial investments;
VI. Lack of response to the phenomenon of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer;
VII. Evidence of non performing wealth all over the economy;
VIII. Lack of wealth creation schemes;
IX. Lack of job creation schemes;
X Lack of any wealth redistribution scheme or policy.

Going through the above set of economic scenario, the resolution of which threw-up quite a maze of probabilities, we opted for the very simplistic approach of seeking to have all Real Estate covered by insurance at premiums most property owners would well afford. For the payment of the above stated premiums, any property country-wide would qualify to be rebuilt from scratch to finish, if completely destroyed by fire or any other natural disaster. If the property is only partially damaged, then such property would be repaired / renovated to the extent of the damage by a concert of the specific insurance company which had underwritten the subject coverage, and this firm, LANDASSETS CONSULT LTD, in its capacity as the coordinating organ between the insurance companies, and the property owners.

The primary, financial responsibility for replacing the property rests with the insurance company while LandAssets Consult stands as the guarantor/implementer of the obligation to the insured. Under the LandAssets plan, with an annual premium injection of N1.25 Trillion, the redevelopment of all the properties gutted by fire nation-wide, and in our current circumstances, all properties damaged by flood would be no object at all.

Under the envisaged economy-wide insurance scheme, the following benefits would accrue to the individual property owners, the insurance companies, and the economy:

 the property owner would not suffer any personal loss through fire or any other natural disaster without commensurate remedy, in the form of restoration of same at no extra cost to him;
 valuation of the subject Real Estate prior to insurance coverage by Estate Surveyors and Valuers;
 provision of jobs to the construction, architectural, and engineering firms, pursuant to the provision /revalidation/updating of the ‘as built’ plan of the properties;
 the insurance companies, with the huge premium that would annually accrue to them, would be empowered to settle claims easily and speedily;
 the existing insurance companies would easily see the need to expand their capacity and services, and there would be ample room for the establishment of new ones, since the present capacity would be highly inadequate to handle an expansion that would be more than 1,000 per cent their current capacity;  provision of funds that the federal and state governments could channel towards rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructural facilities, and the provision of new ones;
 ample funds that the insurance companies would make available for long term loans for industrialization/manufacturing and housing development;
 channeling of such funds through the banking industry would enhance the resultant crash of the current high lending rates regime;
 the consequent creation of employment opportunities in the insurance and banking sectors of the economy, owing to the resultant expansion which the annual injection of N2.7 billion would guarantee;
 the preparation / updating of the National Assets Register into which every property covered within the purview of the LandAssets plan would be integrated;
 provision of jobs to the construction, architectural, and engineering firms, pursuant to the provision/revalidation/updating of the ‘as built ‘plan of buildings for the Land and Asset Registers;
 engagement of law firms for the drawing up and execution of contractual obligations;
 construction/development of specific infrastructural facilities such as fire hydrants;
 creation of jobs in the construction/building industry, and the professional services industry; and,  engagement of management firms to act for LandAssets Consult in the six main geopolitical zones of the country.

TEN – YEAR CASH FLOW PROJECTION OF THE LANDASSETS PLAN

From the projections, deductions and computations we have made, in consonance with our projections above under the subject scheme, we shall be dealing with a net worth of N 900 trillion in Real Estate, country-wide. Our analyses of this net worth show the following computations/figures for the first five years of implementation of the LandAssets plan:
Capital Value – N 900 trn
Rental Value – N 45 trn
Premium – N 2.7 trn
Premium Building – N 2.025 trn
Premium Content – N 0.675 trn
Valuation Fee – N 45 bil
Coord/Management Fee – N 270 bil
Other Professionals N 100 bil
Retention by Insurance Companies … N2.28 trillion (first year)
Retention by Insurance Companies … N2.33 billion (2nd – 5th years)

Note: We project an annual expenditure of 10% of the insurance companies’ retention [i.e. N23.3 billion] as out-going for Loss Adjustments or claims. This would have the effect of creating more jobs.

CRITICAL PATH ANALYSIS
The above income streams assume maximum returns from year one to the tenth year. However, in walking the critical path, we have assumed income streams of 30% in the first year; 50% in the second; 60% in the third; 90% in the fourth and fifth years; and maximum returns from the sixth. Given the foregoing assumptions, the Critical Path income stream would be as follows:
Year                                                 Income                                                Annual Premium
1st                                                     30                                                         0.810
2nd                                                   50                                                          1.350
3rd                                                    60                                                          1.620
4th                                                    90                                                         2.430
5th                                                    90                                                         2.430

6th                                                    90                                                        2.700

7th-10th                                        100                                                       3.000

THE IMPACT OF THE LANDASSETS PLAN ON THE INADEQUACIES IN THE ECONOMY
If allowed to function as outlined above, the LandAssets Plan has the capacity to impact the entire economy in such a way that the following would result:
1. the problem of mobilization of long-term capital for investment would be finally and adequately addressed, with the Insurance Companies becoming the major players, as should be;
2. the problem of funding infrastructural provision and maintenance would also be over, vide the establishment of the Infrastructure Development and Management Fund (IDMF), to which the participating insurance companies would subscribe, and particular effort would be made to construct fire hydrants and such other provisions for fighting fire, with a view to blotting out our national shame of always knowing that properties worth billions are always destroyed by fire, because of lack of water and other firefighting equipment;
3. investments in the solid minerals exploitation area by insurance companies vide long term loans and direct investment with their surplus funds from the envisaged Annual premium;
4. Investments by the insurance companies in other aspects of the industrialization / manufacturing processes;
5. Investments by the insurance companies by granting of loans and direct investments in housing provisions;
6. elimination of individual losses sustainable by property owners who, prior to the introduction of this scheme, often found it impossible to restore burnt/ destroyed properties;
7. prompt settlement of claims without recourse to time and finance wasting on court actions and the attendant declining from assumed insurable risks, which itself has the effect of destroying the insuring company’s reputation;
8. reversing the perceived ignoble trend of foisting the cost of running the economy on the poor;
9. using the wealth of the rich to administer the needs of the economy in a way that further enhances the benefits to such property owners, thereby fostering a win-win situation between the insuring companies and property owners;
10. fostering a new economic scenario whereby the poor and their champion, the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) would accept that government policy is not making further financial demands on the poor; 11. creation of employment opportunities in every sector of the economy, thereby generating employment opportunities of at least two million jobs in its first year of implementation;
12. provision of a conducive economic climate for the implementation of Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government;
13. enhancement of the GDP of the economy and the per capita income;
14. reduction of the lending rate, thereby reducing the misery index of the economy;
15. effectively evolving a private sector driven economy;
16. increasing the exportation quotient of the solid mineral sector, thereby increasing the economy’s external / offshore income;
17. effectively beginning the process of wealth creation and redistribution;
18. effectively increasing by several folds, the size and capacity of the overall finance sector of the economy; and,
19. Effectively transforming the economy for good.

THE WAY TOWARDS IMPLEMENTATION
The way to implementing the LandAssets plan, which from the foregoing, looks reasonably sufficiently clear-cut, is for the Presidency as the executive arm of government, to prevail on NAICOM to examine the entire concept and to, therefore evolve the inevitable public / private sector collaboration it has always advocated.

On our part, we shall be readily available whenever required. We are equally set for, and would commence a series of seminars/workshops aimed at explaining the scheme to representatives of the property owners, the insurance companies, and all professionals relevant to implementing the scheme. We have long come to the inevitable conclusion that opportunities, huge ones at that, truly abound in Nigeria. The NEEDS document bears testimony to that fact.

Please, let’s get to work by integrating and implementing the LandAssets Plan and giving the economy the necessary head start by providing the funds relevant to meeting the ‘residual financial gap’, as observed in the NEEDS document. Finally, like the President, we see Nigeria in the hands of the LORD, like Samaria after the Assyrian siege, as prophesied by Pastor E. A. Adeboye; a totally different country, from the economic perspective.

Is South Korea a ‘nation in trouble’?

The headlines in South Korea’s newspapers have been largely negative in recent months, dominated by scandal, political impasse and social unrest. But some say it shows the nation is evolving into a mature society.

Park Geun-hye Südkorea (picture-alliance/dpa/Yonhap)

The headline for The Korea Herald’s editorial column on Monday, October 3, was blunt and unequivocal: “Nation in trouble.” And, for once, the threat to South Korean society was identified as being internal, rather than the one posed by its belligerent and unpredictable neighbor to the north.

The respected publication identified a “lack of efficient and trusted leadership” as the prime reason for the “current dismal state of the nation,” pointing to the paralysis in the National Assembly since the opposition passed a vote of no-confidence in Kim Jae-soo, the agriculture minister, in early September.

The intervening days have seen hunger strikes by politicians, boycotts of parliamentary sessions and increasingly bitter accusations hurled by both sides.

Deep-seated malaise

But the malaise goes deeper than that, the Herald insists, citing intermittent strikes by the union of Hyundai Motor – which dragged down the nation’s overall car production by more than 12 percent in August – and the first walk-out by railway and subway workers in South Korea in 22 years.

Elsewhere, Samsung Electronics has been in the headlines for a new generation of mobile phones with an alarming propensity for catching fire as well as reports of exploding washing machines, while Hanjin Shipping Co., the seventh largest maritime transport company in the world, is struggling under a debt estimated at six trillion won ($5.37 billion) and went into receivership in September.

Watch video01:44

South Korea cracks down on corruption

Meanwhile, the management of the massive Lotte Corp. conglomerate have been caught up in allegations of scandal that prompted the vice chairman, Lee In-won, to commit suicide in August, shortly before he was to be interviewed by investigators looking into suggestions that the company operated a slush fund and carried out breach of trust involving transactions between the group’s companies.

All three companies have previously been held up as examples of the South Korean economic miracle, but have suddenly been brought down to earth with a bump.

Structural issues

The unrest in politics, business and industry has been mirrored by growing dissatisfaction among the public, believes Daniel Pinkston, a professor of international relations at the Seoul campus of Troy University.

“There have been some high profile problems at Hanjin, Lotte and Samsung, but a lot of the larger problems are more structural in nature and relate to the social expectations of this generation after the era of rapid economic growth in South Korea,” Pinkston told DW.

“Globally we are obviously seeing issues relating to slower economic growth, but in South Korea that translates directly to fears over employment and job security,” he said. “Even people with good jobs and salaries are now anxious about the security of their position, their retirement and the education of their children.

DW RECOMMENDS

Samsung struggles to free cargo from insolvent Hanjin ships

The South Korean electronics giant is seeking a US court order to unload goods worth millions of dollars from Hanjin vessels moored near US ports after the world’s seventh-largest container carrier filed for bankruptcy. (09.09.2016)

South Korea threatens to reduce Pyongyang to ‘ashes’

North Korean defector: ‘I am still not free’

“You can really sense that lack of peace of mind here in Korea now,” he added.

“There’s a sense of angst or anxiety, which is a new phenomenon for these generations because the country is still a developed nation, with relatively high income levels, technological skills and industrialization levels. But the paradox is that people are less happy and feel less safe.”

President Park ‘unlucky’

With businesses teetering, the government could have served as the rock for society to hold fast to, but more than one year ahead of presidential elections, the incumbent, Park Geun-hye, is increasingly looking like a lame-duck leader.

“She may be deserving of a degree of criticism of her leadership, but she has been unlucky in some ways,” insists Pinkston. Some of her appointments turned out to be ill-judged – and therefore short-lived – but the sinking of the ferry Sewol in April 2014, with the deaths of 304 people, caused chaos in the administration.

In addition, defeat in the election earlier this year effectively left Park unable to force through the structural reforms that the economy undoubtedly needs, while there has also been factional in-fighting between groups within the ruling Saenuri Party.

“For several months, stuff has simply not been done,” Pinkston said. “The assembly is split, the opposition is making life as hard as possible for Park and everyone is looking to the presidential election in December of next year – which is a long way off,” he noted, adding: “I don’t think we can expect any meaningful initiatives or policies and we will instead get a gradual malaise spreading through society.”

Watch video01:45

Hanjin cargo to be unloaded by October

Yet, some in South Korea prefer to see the upside of the problems that the nation is presently going through.

‘Healthy’ debate

Rah Jong-yil, a former South Korean ambassador to the UK and Japan, believes it is “healthy” for the society to be able to debate the issues that it faces. “It is true that there have been all sorts of irregularities affecting the government, business and society, but I believe we need to look at this from a different perspective.

“We regularly hear about these matters being exposed now, but even as recently as 10 years ago we would never have heard of these things as they happened,” he said.

“Back then, these scandals and misbehavior – even criminal acts – were considered commonplace and therefore acceptable,” he pointed out. “That they are being exposed and debated like this tells me that our country is evolving and making progress. I believe we are on the way to making a better society and this is the process that we need to go through.”

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

Africa’s biggest economy has crashed into recession

NigeriaReuters/Phil Allen

Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has officially entered recession after two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Gross domestic product shrank by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016, following a 0.36% shrinking in the first quarter, according to data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

Those two consecutive quarters of economic shrinkage mean the country is in its first recession in more than 20 years.

Recession in Nigeria may be an unwelcome development, but it is not unexpected. Earlier in the year, Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, warned “recession was imminent,” the Financial Times reports.

“We have long warned of a slow-burning crisis in Nigeria,” Capital Economics’ Africa economist, John Ashbourne, said in May. “It now seems that this view was too optimistic: The country is headed into a full-blown economic crisis.”

The International Monetary Fund has also warned on the state of the country’s economy, forecasting that growth will shrink by 1.8% in 2016.

The big driver of the slump in the Nigerian economy, which was one of Africa’s great success stories until recently, has been the persistently low price of oil over the past 2 1/2 years. Nigeria relies heavily on oil and is the largest producer of the commodity on the continent, producing roughly 2.4 million barrels a day. Given that oil’s price has slumped from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to roughly $48 now, it is perhaps unsurprising that the country has struggled to find economic growth.

The Nigerian oil industry’s problems have been made even worse by a series of major disruptions in the oil-rich Niger Delta area, caused largely by a militant group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers. Most notably, the group attacked a Chevron offshore facility in May and the underwater Forcados export pipeline operated by Shell in late March. The production disruptions caused by these attacks and others have wreaked havoc with the already stricken industry.

Dr. Yemi Kale, the CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics, tweeted to illustrate just how badly oil revenues in the country had been hit:

38. Oil GDP contracted by -17.48% in Q2 2016 (due to substantial disruptions in oil production); -1.89% in Q1 2016 and -6.79% in Q2 2016.

Growth in non-oil sectors of the country’s economy has also been badly hit, as Business Insider’s Elena Holodny wrote in May, with manufacturing taking the biggest hit. Non-oil GDP contracted by 0.38% in Q2, according to a tweet by Kale. The country’s decision to unpeg the naira against the dollar does not appear to have led to a hoped-for influx of dollar investment. Instead the government is now dealing with inflation.

“This is very bad news for Nigeria’s government, which has justified the current FX system as a method of promoting non-oil industries,” Ashbourne of Capital Economics said. “It is now clear that these policies have — as we’d long argued — made a bad situation worse.”

While things look pretty bleak for the economy, research from Barclays circulated to clients on Wednesday argues that the worst of Nigeria’s crisis may be over.

“Economic activity in Q3 16 continues to be hampered by security concerns in the Niger Delta, ongoing FX shortages, rising inflation and significantly tighter monetary policy. That said, the decision by militants to stop attacks, the implementation of the 2016 budget and better availability of FX, despite it remaining a massive constraint, suggests a marginally better outlook for H2,” Ridle Markus argued in Barclays’ “Sub-Saharan Africa Daily” note.

Markus did say, however, that “for the year as a whole, we fear that the economy is set to contract, which will be the first full-year recession since 1991.”

U.S. inflation tame despite economy gaining momentum

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON, Aug 16 (Reuters) – U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July but a rise in industrial output and home building suggested a pickup in economic activity that could allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year.

Tuesday’s economic reports came as influential New York Fed President William Dudley said the U.S. central bank could raise interest rates next month, citing a tightening labor market that he said was starting to spur faster wage growth.

“The strong housing starts and industrial output performance will bolster the Fed confidence that growth momentum has rebounded, potentially supporting the bias for a near-term hike,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York. “Nevertheless, with inflation continuing to miss to the downside, the case for caution remains strong.”

July’s unchanged reading in the Consumer Price Index followed two straight monthly increases of 0.2 percent, while in the 12 months through July, the CPI rose 0.8 percent after increasing 1.0 percent in June.

The so-called core CPI, which strips out the volatile food and energy prices, edged up 0.1 percent in July after rising 0.2 percent in each of the previous three months. The year-on-year core CPI increased 2.2 percent in July after advancing 2.3 percent in June.

The Fed has a 2.0 percent inflation target and tracks an alternative inflation measure which has been stuck at 1.6 percent since March.

NY FED RAISES POSSIBILITY OF SEPT RATE RISE

The New York Fed’s Dudley told Fox Business television on Tuesday that “it’s possible” for the Fed to hike rates at its Sept. 20-21 policy meeting. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart also told reporters that he was not ruling out a move next month.

The Fed raised its benchmark overnight interest rate last December for the first time in nearly a decade.

Fed officials view the labor market as either at or near full employment. Following Dudley’s remarks, financial markets were placing a 58.9 percent probability of a rate increase at the Fed’s December policy meeting, up from 46.7 percent late on Monday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. A September rate hike has been virtually priced out.

The weak inflation data, however, pushed the U.S. dollar lower against major currencies. U.S. stock prices slipped from record highs on Dudley’s comments. Yields on U.S. government debt rose.

SUBDUED INFLATION SEEN TEMPORARY

With rents and healthcare costs continuing to rise, some economists do not expect July’s moderation in underlying inflation to be sustained. Medical care costs climbed 0.5 percent last month, adding to June’s 0.2 percent gain.

There were also increases in the costs of hospital services, doctor visits and prescription medicine. Rents increased by 0.3 percent.

But Americans got some relief from gasoline prices, which dropped 4.7 percent last month, the first decline since February.

The cost of food consumed at home fell for a third straight month, with prices for meat, eggs, dairy and cereals declining. Prices for new motor vehicles rose for the first time since February, while the cost of apparel was unchanged.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION UP

In a separate report on Tuesday, the Fed said U.S. industrial production shot up 0.7 percent last month after rising 0.4 percent in June.

Production was boosted by a 0.5 percent jump in manufacturing output, the largest gain since July 2015.

Despite benign inflation, economic growth is picking up after output averaged 1.0 percent in the first half of the year.

Warmer-than-usual weather boosted utilities production by 2.1 percent. Mining output increased 0.7 percent as oil and gas drilling surged 4.9 percent, suggesting the energy-related drag on business spending was easing.

“Overall, these factors suggest the outlook for the U.S. industrial sector has improved modestly and support our expectation of healthier economic growth in the second half of 2016,” said Jesse Hurwitz, an economist at Barclays in New York.

In a third report, the Commerce Department said housing starts increased 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.2 million units in July, the highest level since February.

Last month’s increase in groundbreaking activity supports the view that investment in residential construction will rebound after slumping in the second quarter for the first time in more than two years.

Following the industrial production and housing starts data, the Atlanta Fed raised its third-quarter GDP growth estimate by one-tenth of a percentage point to a 3.6 percent annual rate.

The firming housing market is boosting home improvement retailers such as Home Depot Inc. The company on Tuesday raised its full-year earnings forecast after reporting a 6.6 percent rise in quarterly sales.

Groundbreaking on single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, rose 0.5 percent to a 770,000-unit pace in July, also the highest level since February.

Housing starts for the volatile multi-family segment increased 5.0 percent to a 441,000-unit pace. Groundbreaking on multi-family housing projects with five units or more jumped to the highest level since September 2015.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3743318/U-S-consumer-prices-unchanged-underlying-inflation-slowing.html#ixzz4HXVRyjPt
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Britain faces prospect of post-Brexit recession

Britons across different industries are already feeling the effects of the Brexit vote. The construction sector has been hit particularly hard. Workers have been laid off. Samira Shackle reports from London.

UK flag (photo: picture-alliance/dpa/E. Lesser)

In the run up to Britain’s referendum on membership of the European Union, warnings from the Remain camp that exiting could precipitate an economic crisis were dismissed as “Project Fear.”

In the seven weeks that have passed since the June 23 vote, there are signs that these warnings could be borne out.

“The UK is likely headed for at least a mild recession in the medium term,” said Martin Michaels, economist at the Institute of Directors, a UK business body.

“Much of the economic fallout from the referendum results has impacted investment rather than consumption, so the costs are skewed toward the future,” he added.

“Some of these problems are being stored up, and when Article 50 is triggered, it will likely exacerbate the current issues affecting investment decisions, but will also affect consumption as individuals begin to increase savings and decrease consumption.”

Data released on August 9 by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) showed that Britain’s economy began to contract in the month following the vote. It contracted 2 percent in July, bringing quarterly growth down to 0.3 percent. The think tank said there was a 50/50 chance of Britain entering a technical recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth – by next year.

Pound drops against the euro

Perhaps the first thing that most ordinary Britons noticed was the drop in the value of sterling.

“A holiday in Italy or France suddenly feels less affordable given the fall in the value of the pound against the euro,” said Surrey resident Julia Barnes.

Shopping center (photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)The result has so far impacted investment rather than consumption, but it’s likely to affect people’s future spending habits

“Of course it isn’t the worst thing that’s happened, but it does make you realize that this isn’t a joke and it’s going to have repercussions for all of us.”

Feeling the effects of uncertainty

Across different industries, people are feeling the effects of the lingering uncertainty. “The day after the referendum result, we were called into a meeting and warned that a huge chunk of our funding is likely to disappear,” said James Gregory, who works in the charity sector.

“It hasn’t happened yet, but it will once Brexit is finalized, and for now we are operating with a huge question mark over everything,” he added.

One industry that has been hit particularly hard is construction. Britain’s builders reportedly had their worst performance in seven years in July after a collapse in new orders.

“The construction industry has grown steadily over the past few years, and for the sector to experience two consecutive quarters of negative growth demonstrates the powerful effect uncertainty and a lack of confidence can have,” said Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders.

Allie Wells is a recently qualified architect who was due to start a new job at an architecture firm in July. “The week before my start date, they called me up and told me that there wasn’t a job for me anymore,” she told DW.

“They said they had lost a third of their new contracts overnight and were having to make existing staff members redundant.”

A contractor walks in a tunnel (photo: picture-alliance/PA Wire/J. Brady)Britain’s construction sector has been hit hard after a collapse in new orders

Britain faces the prospect of a freeze in new homes being built after the current batch of projects is completed. Shares in property development companies have tumbled – but the repercussions go much further.

“The country’s housing crisis and the enormous skills shortage our sector faces owe much to how the construction industry suffered during the last economic downturn,” Berry said. “It’s pivotal that we learn from those mistakes and find a way to keep Britain building.”

Worse than downgrade during 2008 crash

The Bank of England recently slashed its growth forecast for 2017 from 2.3 percent to 0.8 percent, the biggest ever downgrade in growth from one inflation report to the next. The cut exceeds that made during the 2008 financial crash.

The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has admitted that “businesses’ confidence has been dented” by the Brexit vote. He has hinted that his autumn statement might include spending increases and tax cuts to shore up the economy.

“Our job is to restore as much certainty as we can, as quickly as we can,” he told reporters last month.

But with the exact nature and timeframe of Britain’s exit from the EU still very much up in the air, restoring confidence is not a simple proposition.

“At the moment, the main issue affecting the UK’s economy is the one least likely to dissipate in the near future: uncertainty,” Michaels said.

“There is little the government can do to reduce uncertainty while trying to negotiate the UK’s future relationship with the EU,” he said, “but it can help businesses thrive in other ways.”

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Nailing the Coffin of the Renter Economy: Eliminating unnecessary Middleman-ship and Unearned Income (Part 1)

#DasukiGate: N850 Million Traced To Bank Account Of Buhari’s Personal Assistant (DETAILS)

By Gabby Ogbechie.

One misdemeanor within the Nigerian economy is the placement of Corporate and Government Agency funds on short terms by managing accountants and their principals, the Chief Executive Officers of such institutions. The practice has become so ingrained in the economy that no one bathes an eyelid any more to such malfeasance. However, with the privilege of deciding what bank to keep certain funds for certain specific term, these individuals get away with conducts that can only be classified as blatantly corrupt, and government either isn’t aware that such corrupt practices exist, or pretend it doesn’t exist.

The Buhari Presidency has been touted as being a righteous one, with zero tolerance for corruption, so it wasn’t surprising how people reacted to the padding of Budget 2016 with expenditure items which were simply out of this world. Similarly, people were outraged when confronted with the notion that for doing practically nothing,  one Systemspecs Ltd. collected N25 billion from the N1 trillion paid into the TSA fund ( Please see  POLITICS, POLITICIANS AND GRAFT: Dasukigate and the TSA fraud); N850 Million Traced To Bank Account Of Buhari’s Personal Assistant (DETAILS); and How APC Chieftain, Jsfaru Isa Was Given N300 Million Contract To ‘Refund N100 Million To EFCC’.

One naturally would like to know why an administration with zero tolerance for corruption would condone, time and again, the stink of unalloyed corruption in its operations. In deference to President Mohammadu Buhari, who may not be aware of what is going on in the hundreds of Federal Government Departments and Agencies, it is apposite that he realizes that there are a variety of practices going on within his administration which are more corrupt than where the current war on corruption seem to be focused.

Most Pensioners of the Nigerian Ports Authority, who normally receive alerts from their banks between the 23rd and 30th day of every month indicating that their pension allowances had been credited into their bank accounts waited endlessly for that notification to no avail until the 8th of the current month.

Naturally, such notification would read:

Your Acct, xxxxxxxxxx Has Been Credited with NGN xxxxx.xx

On xx-xx-2016 By NEFT FROM: NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY/

NEFT. Bal: NGN xxxxx.xxCR.

This month, it read:

Your Acct. xxxxxxxxxx Has Been Credited with NGN xxxxx.xx

On xx-xx-2016 By NEFT FROM: NPA/ GWANDU BELLO P NO.

Bal: NGN xxxxx.xx CR.

Without splitting hairs over who Bello Gwandu is, or what his name is doing in the accounts of NPA Pensioners who may well number over ten thousand; and whose monthly payment may involve over N5 billion per month, it simply means that these accounts are being used by the NPA to benefit an individual, Bello Gwandu by channeling such delayed payments through an account created in his name, and for this singular purpose.

Someone might just say, does it really matter? Yes it does. Lets look at the mathematics of it all: If the Monthly Pensions Payment is N5 billion, and like obtained last month, the payment is regularly delayed for two weeks (since Pensioners hardly have a voice and therefore cannot be heard); Bello Gwandu places this sum in a fixed deposit account for two weeks for the said two weeks at 15%; and receives a yield of N 345,205,479.45 per annum.

One would love to ask, is this what zero tolerance for corruption is? Administrations before President Buhari’s have touted anti-corruption in the past, and practiced, or let to be practiced, what they have constantly condemned. If ”Bello Gwandu” is the same as the Bello Gwandu who was at a time the Managing Director of the NPA who was sacked by the administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo for corrupt practices, we are forced to opine that the problem of Nigeria, like late Chinua Achebe posited, is leadership.

If, with all the money he made being NPA’s London Representative, Managing Director, and spending millions of pounds buying properties in London for the NPA which were, at best worth only ten percent of their Purchase Value, he cannot come up with a better way of employing his supposedly vast resources to make legitimate money, then its a huge pity.

If I were privileged to make ten percent of the sum Gwandu made over time, I would be employing well over a hundred thousand Naira right now.

We shall continue this discussion at a latter date, with revelation which would make your imagination turn somersaults

 

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