Recent surveys and research studies by sources from the UN to streetRx.com put the size of the illegal drug market in the U.S. at anywhere from $200 to $750 billion. The market is notoriously hard to track by design, and it is constantly evolving as prices and usage fluctuates; but as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, there’s a plethora of data on the topic: formal surveys by the CDC and user-submitted blog posted on websites like Hightimes.com trace price, usage, and traffic stats for marijuana, powder and crack cocaine, d-methamphetamine, and heroin. Legalized dispensaries now allow us to estimate potential tax revenue from marijuana sales, while incarceration rates for drug offenders reveal the economic impact of the illegal drug trade. In short, while the illegal drug market might be hard to track – if only by virtue of its illegality – Colas points out that we can learn a lot about its size and scope by aggregating these formal and informal data. Most surprising of them all: illicit drug use is no longer the realm of just the youth.
"A liquidity trap is a situation described in Keynesian economics in which injections of cash into the private banking system by a central bank fail to lower interest rates and hence fail to stimulate economic growth. A liquidity trap is caused when people hoard cash because they expect an adverse event such as deflation, insufficient aggregate demand, or war. Signature characteristics of a liquidity trap are short-term interest rates that are near zero and fluctuations in the monetary base that fail to translate into fluctuations in the general price levels." Importantly, this evidence is mounting that the Federal Reserve has now become trapped within this dynamic. The important point is that, for the first time that we are aware of, someone (of apparent note to the status quo) has verbally stated that we are indeed caught within a liquidity trap. This has been a point that has been vigorously opposed by supporters of the Federal Reserve actions.
This is what happens when Central Banks attempt to control the economy.
Resets occur when the price of everything that has been repressed, manipulated or obscured is repriced. The greater the manipulation and financial repression, the more violent the reset. What been manipulated, obscured or repressed? Virtually everything: risk, credit, assets, labor, currency, you name it. Everything that has been manipulated by central banks and central states will be repriced. Trust is difficult to price. Every reset erodes trust in the capacity of the centralized status quo to manipulate/repress price to its liking. Once trust in the system is lost, it cannot be purchased at any cost.
Dept. of Defense on Irregular Financial Warfare
The status quo is as intellectually bankrupt as it is financially bankrupt. Our leadership cannot conceive of any course of action other than central bank credit creation and expanding state control of the economy and social benefits, paid for with money borrowed from future generations.
Hypocrisy as a Weapon
As Alan Greenspan described this week, in an interview with John Stewart on “The Daily Show,”
“We really can't forecast all that well. We pretend that we can but we can't. And markets do really weird things sometimes because they react to the way people behave, and sometimes people are a little screwy.”
Which means they don’t necessarily go along with your central planning, no matter how good you think it is. But still economists insist that, if they are allowed to monkey around with it, they can make an economy better. And therefore, the Fed, which has lived by the sword of QE, will probably die by it too.
As the status quo crumbles, the state responds in the only way it knows: expand control and become increasingly authoritarian.
"We see upside surprise risks on gold and silver in the years ahead," is how UBS commodity strategy team begins a deep dive into a multi-factor valuation perspective of the precious metals. The key to their expectation, intriguingly, that new regulation will put substantial pressure on banks to deleverage – raising the onus on the Fed to reflate much harder in 2014 than markets are pricing in. In this view UBS commodity team is also more cautious on US macro...
A reduction in retirees' disposable income coupled with a global rise in the price of oil could crimp the assumptions underpinning RV Nation.
Earnings can be massaged in countless ways to beat estimates. You can release loan loss reserves, massage depreciation numbers, implement one time charges or writedowns, reprice bonds, etc.
These men are masters of the capital markets. They are voting with their feet and pulling their capital out of them.
Money put into the system would, in normal times multiply aggressively in use (e.g. Fed to bank, bank to business, business to consumer, consumer to restaurateur, restaurateur to farmer, farmer back to bank etc etc.) In reality, as Citi notes, there are often even more legs to this multiplier. However when QE puts artificial support under the Equity and Bond market you get misallocation of capital and no velocity of money. If ever there was a chart of the gross misallocation of capital caused by QE, this has got to be it...
In one sense, the past couple of weeks’ debt ceiling debate was just one more in a long line of annoying-but-otherwise-pointless pieces of bad political theater. But in another sense it was a turning point, one that may have put the democrats completely in charge. Once the civil war costs the republicans control of the House of Representatives (November 4, 2014), the democrats will be relieved of the need to fool the middle about their commitment to fiscal sanity. The incoming Clinton administration and its congressional majorities will ramp up domestic spending and finance it with higher taxes, more borrowing and way more money printing. Janet Yellen (the perfect Fed chair for this transition) will expand QE and make it permanent. The Fed’s balance sheet will grow in trillion-dollar chunks as it buys up all the bonds issued by the government and the mortgage packagers and pretty much anybody else with paper to sell. Could there be a better environment for gold?