The dust has barely settled on the latest high profile banker suicide in which Deutsche Bank's associate general counsel, and former SEC regulator, Charlie Gambino was found dead, having hung himself by the neck from a stairway banister, and here comes the latest sad entrant in the dead banker chronicles of 2014 when earlier today, the Post reports, a Citigroup banker was found dead with his throat slashed in the bathtub "of his swanky downtown apartment, authorities said Wednesday."
From its very inception, the Leninist/Marxist ideology of the Soviet Union made it a central priority to dispel and subjugate religious and spiritual expression. The state was “god.” No other god could be allowed to flourish, for if the people were given license and freedom of belief in something beyond themselves and beyond the establishment, they would retain a sense of rebellion. The collectivist philosophy requires the utter destruction of all competitors; otherwise, it can never truly prevail. The New World Order, an ideal often touted by globalists and defined by their own rhetoric as a scientific dictatorship in which collectivism is valued and individualism is criminalized, seems to me to be — in its ultimate form and intention — a battle for the human soul.
If you could stay home and watch television, play video games and hang out with your friends all day at government expense, would you do it? Of course most Americans that collect money from the government each month are not abusing the system. Many truly are incapable of taking care of themselves, and others are just receiving government benefits (such as Social Security) that they feel that they have earned by a lifetime of hard work. But with each passing year the number of Americans jumping on board “the safety net” continues to grow rapidly, and a lot of these people should be able to take care of themselves. What would our forefathers say about us today? The following are 21 facts that prove that dependence on the government is out of control in America…
With Japan planning a few trillion Yen stimulus plan of airdropping "gift cards" directly to the poor to spur spending (and the virtuous awesomeness of economic utopia), it appears Switzerland is about to go one step further. As Motherboard reports, Switzerland could soon be the world’s first national case study in basic income. Instead of providing a traditional social net - unemployment payments, food stamps, or housing credits - the government would pay every citizen a fixed stipend. The proposed plan would guarantee a monthly income of CHF 2,500, or about $2,600 as of November 2014; meaning every Swiss family can expect an unconditional yearly income of $62,400 without having to work, with no strings attached. What could go wrong?
For the 13th month in a row, according to Bloomberg data, China Manufacturing PMI missed expectations. Printing at a 6-month low of 50.0 (against expectations of 50.2), the most notable individual component was the slump in output to a contractionary 49.5 reading for the first time since May. New export orders (umm US decoupling?) also dropped. It seems after last month's idiocy (take a look at these charts for a good laugh), that Japan's Manufacturing PMI is also catching down to reality having missed expectations and dropped to 52.1. Chinese and Japanese stocks are tumbling after this data (with Nikkei 225 200 points off US day session closing levels).
The average person assumes the powers-that-be actually know what they are doing and would never lead us into disaster, but quoting my breakfast companion, that would be a very poor assumption. Simply, while mass war on the level of the wholesale slaughter commonplace in the last century is unimaginable to most in the modern context, it is never more than the equivalent of a faulty alarm system away from occurring. Those history buffs among you will confirm that up until about a week before World War I began, virtually no one in the public, the press, the political class, or even the military had any idea the shooting was about to start. And 99.9% of the people then living had no idea the war was about to begin until after the first shot was fired.
The consensus - perhaps until today, judging by the performance of Japanese stocks relative to the Yen - is that Abe calling a snap election is bullish, enabling him to re-confirm his mandate to push ahead with uber-dovish devastation of the Japanese economy. However, what few are willing to consider is... what happens if the world's greatest policy madman does not get elected? As the following chart shows, with only 4.4% of Japanese households believing they are better off in the past year, perhaps an unelected Abe is the black swan no one is considering currently...
"QE is a necessary condition for recovery in Europe, but is not sufficient in itself. The question is where does this bridge take us? The eurozone can survive a couple more years of miserable growth, but it can’t go on forever like this before people lose hope. There is political risk almost everywhere."
While hopes of the J-Curve recovery in the deficit are long forgotten in the annals of Goldman Sachs history, silver-lining-seekers will proclaim the very modest beat in tonight's Japanese trade deficit a moral victory for a nation whose economic data has been nothing but abysmal for months. However, the near $1 trillion Yen deficit is the 44th month in a row as exports to US and Europe rose modestly in Yen terms but dropped to China and US in volume terms. USDJPY continues its march higher (now 118.25) but, unfoirtunately for Abe's approval ratings, Japanese stocks continue to languish an implied 1000 points behind - unable to break back above pre-GDP levels... as faith in Kuroda's omnipotence falters.
Seven of the 30 largest U.S. corporations paid more money to their chief executive officers last year than they paid in U.S. federal income taxes, according to a new study by Center for Effective Government and Institute for Policy Studies. As Reuters reports, the study said the seven companies, which in 2013 reported more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits, came out ahead on their taxes, gaining $1.9 billion more than they owed... and at the same time their CEOs were paid - on average - over $17 million each. While some of the firms dispute the findings, the study concludes its findings reflected "deep flaws in our corporate tax system."
Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the same error is being repeated by the Bank of Japan. The starting point of their analysis is the contrarian fact that Japan needs a strong yen. Japanese exports are hardly sensitive to their prices; Japan has a large proportion of "necessary" imports (commodities) whose price rises when the yen weakens. Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the Bank of Japan has just increased the size of its quantitative easing program, which will lead to a steeper depreciation of the yen. The only benefit will be a temporary rise in the Nikkei, an automatic result of the conversion of Japanese companies' results into yen. Nothing more...
Keynesian fiscal policies and central banking regimes have buried the public sectors of most of the world’s major economies in unsustainable debt. Now they propose to double down on more of the same because an entire generation of politicians have been house-trained in permanent fiscal profligacy and endless kicking of the fiscal can down the road. To be sure, in perhaps putting off Japan’s day of fiscal reckoning once again, Prime Minister Abe is proving himself to be a certifiable madman. In short order, however, he will have plenty of company all around the planet.
18 months ago President Obama warned a graduating class to "reject" those that "warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner." It appears he went full Keyser Soze...
The word "volatile" comes to mind when reflecting on today's cross-asset class action. US equities dumped into and beyond the US open, decoupling entirely from JPY carry, only to reverse perfectly at the European close and recover all the way back to USDJPY right as the FOMC minutes hit. A kneejerk sent stocks higher but that quickly decoupled also and stocks fell. Small Caps underperformed and are back in the negative year-to-date. Treasury yields were volatile, ramping higher into the US open, rallying post, then whipsawing on FOMC minutes to close 3-4bps higher on the day.The USD was flat on the day despite the surge in USDJPY back above 118. Commodities were a mess with a big dump on Swiss Gold polls, rip higher on Russian buying rumors and dropped again on FOMC (oil and copper followed suit). HY Credit was "bidless" and continues to decouple from stocks (along with VIX).