In welfare state America its virtually certain that through one artifice or another taxes will go up and the national debt burden will rise to crushing heights in order to keep the baby boomers’ entitlements funded. While Keynesians and Wall Street stock peddlers are clueless about the implications of this - it actually doesn’t take too much common sense to get the drift. Namely, under a long-term path of fewer producers, higher taxes and more public debt, the prospects for rejuvenating the previous historically average rates of real output growth are somewhere between slim and none - to say nothing of the super-normal rates implied by the markets’ current bullish enthusiasm.
While the April payrolls came almost precisely as expected, at 223K, a tiny 5K below the 228K expected, the reason stock are soaring is that the already abysmal March payroll prints was revised even lower to just 85,000, the weakest print since June 2012, and pushing the 3 month average job gain to under 200K, or a level which the Fed has indicated previously it will hardly do much if anything material. And, as a result and as we noted in our market wrap today, with a June hike now looking unlikely, the S&P has exploded higher.
The last two months have been nothing if not a lesson in the disater that is the economic-forecasters of the world. With a 3-sigma beat followed by a 5-sigma miss, hope abounds that April will be the 'goldilocks' print - just cold enough to leave the Fed on hold and just hot enough to 'prove' growth remains. Goldman expects nonfarm payroll job growth of 230k in April, in line with consensus expectations. While labor market indicators were mixed in April, the employment components of service sector surveys were strong and better weather conditions should provide a boost. In addition, they see some upside risk to the forecast from a calendar effect, and expect the unemployment rate to decline by one-tenth to 5.4% and average hourly earnings to rise 0.2%.
Ben Bernanke’s skin is as thin, apparently, as is his comprehension of honest economics. The emphasis is on the “honest” part because he is a fount of the kind of Keynesian drivel that passes for economics in the financially deformed world that the Bernank did so much to bring about.
Including the professional class, perhaps only 3% of the workforce is truly independent.
During the heyday of post-war prosperity between 1953 and 1971, real final sales - a better measure of economic growth than GDP because it filters out inventory fluctuations - grew at a 3.6% annual rate. That is exactly double the 1.8% CAGR recorded for 2000-2014. The long and short of it, therefore, is that there has been a dramatic downshift in the trend rate of economic growth during an era in which central bank intervention and stimulus has been immeasurably enlarged. How exactly is the Fed helping when the trend rate of real growth has withered dramatically?
George Soros may owe some $6.7 billion in taxes Bloomberg says, noting that despite the billionaire's call to increase taxes on the wealthy, his fund has employed a loophole that allowed for the deferral of taxes on management fees the reinvestment of which has generated billions in returns.
American banks have largely gained from low interest rates, British banks have suffered losses as a result and in the Eurozone they have been hugely detrimental to banks’ profitability. The ones who have undoubtedly lost out were those quintessential Keynesian villains: the savers. The medicine prescribed by the central banks to correct their “bad” ways has cost them billions. And given that yields have continued to go down since McKinsey's report was published, their misery has only increased. More high fives from Keynes! And yet, even within those groups the impact has been uneven. Who in the household segment is suffering the most because of ultra-low interest rates? The retirees, of course.
"You're the man who brings the President the jobs numbers on Thursday night, the Thursday night before everyone gets to see them."
Baker Hughes has increased the number of jobs it plans to cut from 7,000 to 10,500 and will close 140 facilities worldwide citing a need to "reduce the cost base and resize [the company's] footprint" in the face of challenging market conditions. Meanwhile, JPM reminds Richard Fisher that "the only thing dropping in the Texas economy is the number of jobs."
Over the past several weeks we have heard repeated comments that you should ignore the recent retail sales weakness for a variety of reasons such as cold winter weather, consumers don't believe the drop in gas prices, etc. Putting aside the fact that cold weather almost always occurs during winter (which is why the data is seasonally adjusted to begin with), or that more than 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, should we dismiss the data entirely?
"Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollees in America’s major public support programs are members of working families; the taxpayers bear a significant portion of the hidden costs of low-wage work in America," a new study finds, suggesting that when it comes to straining the public purse, "bad" jobs may be a bigger problem than "no" jobs.
Unemployment is the one statistic that one would have thought is easy to define: just total up the number of people on unemployment benefit and there's your answer.
“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ? George Orwell
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” ? Aldous Huxley
Randolph Duke: Money isn't everything, Mortimer.
Mortimer Duke: Oh, grow up.
Randolph Duke: Mother always said you were greedy.
Mortimer Duke: She meant it as a compliment.