"Of all the economic bubbles that have been pricked, few have burst more spectacularly than the reputation of economics itself." – From The Economist, July 16, 2009.
Mainstream economists continue to dominate their profession and wield huge influence on public policies. They merely needed to close ranks after the financial crisis and wait for people to forget that their key theories and models were wholly discredited. Meanwhile, heterodox economists who stress credit market risks and financial fragilities – the Austrians, the Minskyites – remain stuck on the fringes of the field. It doesn’t much matter that the crisis validated their thinking. Nonetheless, we’ll continue to explain why we think a shake-up is overdue...“Mythbusting” the theories of mainstream economists.
Manhattan has been transformed into nothing more than an oligarch playground, or as some call it, “Disneyland for Wall Street.” We have discussed at length the head-shakingly insane money-laundering inflows that are 'stashed' into NYC real estate but, as the following reports, one of the most shocking and disturbing revelations from that article was the fact that: "The Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year." Forget China, ghost residences come to the US. Welcome to Planet Oligarchy, where empty skyscrapers loom over the hordes of freedom-hating, destitute slaves.
Long-duration Treasuries continue to look attractive; a view that Scotiabank's Guy Haselmann has unwaveringly maintained for the past six months for a variety of diverse reasons. Of all of the various reasons, private pension demand is the most interesting and compelling (and the least understood). The bottom line is that PBGC rule changes will cause persistent and incremental demand over time that overwhelms net visible secondary market supply. Concerns about funding status will trump the private defined benefit plan manager’s fiduciary desire to ‘maximize return per unit of risk’. There are other factors, but the point is that Treasuries as a relative asset class looks attractive.
Those following the labor force participation rate (which as even the Census Bureau showed is declining not so much due to demographics but due to older people working longer and pushing younger people out of the labor force as we showed yesterday) will hardly be surprised to learn that alongside today's impressive NFP print, the reason why the unemployment rate took another big step lower from 6.3% to 6.1%, was once again as a result of the number of people not in the labor force, which in June rose to a fresh record high of 92,120K, up 111K from June.
Where Disposable Income Goes To Die: Since 1990 Real Rents Are Up 15% While Median Incomes Are UnchangedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/02/2014 10:48 -0400
To the Fed's Janet Yellen, runaway inflation - at least that which can not be "hedonised" away by the BLS like iPad and LCD TV prices - may be simply "noise", which probably explains why she doesn't rent. But for the record number of Americans who are forced to rent as house prices are too high for the vast majority of the population while mortgage origination has tumbled to record lows (as banks can generate far higher returns on reserve by buying stocks than lending out said money), inflation is going from bad to worse. Case in point: as the WSJ shows, since 1990 asking rents - in real terms i.e., adjusted for inflation - have increased a whopping 15%. The change in median income over the same period? 0%.
Following the rather stunning shenanigans of Q1 GDP with regard healthcare spending (as we detailed here), we thought, four years after its passage in 2010, it worth analyzing Obamacare's economic impact? Beforehand, economists generally believed that the broader coverage would raise the demand for healthcare goods and services, although there was some disagreement about related effects on healthcare inflation. In reality, as UBS notes, there was too much optimism about a positive immediate economic impact and a negative price inflation effect.
The news that hundreds of thousands of people will lose water supplies is not a stunning headline anymore - poor old Ukraine... or Iraq. However, this time, the 'it couldn't happen here' crowd might be stunned to hear that The Motor City is playing serious hardball with residents who have fallen behind on paying their water bills. Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department has begun turning off the taps of 150,000 residents who are at least two months behind on payments. As one advocate notes, "sick people have been left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe, and parents cannot cook." Of course, given that these are generally voting members of the US public, we would be stunned if the Federal government did not create a new fund to 'help' them out of this 'unfairness'.
The United States Of Debt: Total Debt In America Hits A New Record High Of Nearly 60 Trillion DollarsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/17/2014 21:22 -0400
What would you say if we told you that Americans are nearly 60 trillion dollars in debt? Well, it is true. When you total up all forms of debt including government debt, business debt, mortgage debt and consumer debt, we are 59.4 trillion dollars in debt. 2008 should have been a major wake up call that resulted in massive changes. But instead, our leaders just patched up the old system and reinflated the old bubbles so that they are now even larger than they were before. They assure us that they know exactly what they are doing and that everything will be just fine. Unfortunately, they are dead wrong.
When looking at residential real estate, we often tend to focus almost solely on recent price movements in assessing the health of the housing market at any point in time. But as both homeowners and income-earners in the larger economy, of which the housing market is an important component, to really understand what's going on, we need clarity into the larger cycle driving those price movements. The more we look at today's data, the more it looks like that we are in a new type of pricing cycle -- one that homeowners and housing investors have no prior experience with. And the more we learn about the fundamentals underlying the current cycle, the harder it becomes to justify today's home prices on any sustained level. Meaning a downward reversion in home values is very probable in the coming years.
If you make more than $27,520 a year at your job, you are doing better than half the country is. But of course $27,520 a year will not allow you to live "the American Dream" in this day and age. After taxes, that breaks down to a good bit less than $2,000 a month. You can't realistically pay a mortgage, make a car payment, afford health insurance and provide food, clothing and everything else your family needs for that much money. That is one of the reasons why both parents are working in most families today. The American Dream is becoming a mirage for most people. No matter how hard they try, they just can't seem to achieve it. And here are some hard numbers to back that assertion up. The following are 15 more signs that the middle class is dying...
One of the things that this era of American history will be known for is conspicuous consumption. Even though many of us won't admit it, the truth is that almost all of us want a nice vehicle and a large home. They say that "everything is bigger in Texas", but the same could be said for the entire nation as a whole. We live in a debt-based system which is incredibly fragile. We experienced this firsthand during the last financial crisis. But we just can't help ourselves. We have always got to have more...
The US trade balance collapsed in April dashing hopes for the exuberant hockey-stock rebound in Q2 GDP. This is the biggest trade deficit since April 2012 and the biggest miss from expectations since October 2008. The last 2 months have seen the biggest slide in the deficit in a year as trade gaps with the European Union and South Korea reach records and the deficit with China surged by $7billion to $28 billion. Impots of capital goods, autos, and consumer goods all set records. And Q2 GDP downgrades in 3...2...1...
There was a small ray of hope just after the Lehman collapse that one of the most deplorable characteristics of US society - the relentless urge to build massive McMansions (funding questions aside) - was fading. Alas, as the Census Bureau today confirmed, that normalization in the innate desire for bigger, bigger, bigger not only did not go away but is now back with a bang. According to just released data, both the median and average size of a new single-family home built in 2013 hit new all time highs of 2,384 and 2,598 square feet respectively.
Iif there is to be a real housing recovery, households have to be formed at a much faster pace. Alas, in recent years household formation has not made a "combeack", it has crashed. In fact, according to Census Bureau data, in Q1 the number of households formed each month was 189,000, down from 1,563,000 in 2013, dropping more or less in a straight line since the article's publication!
"The DEA doesn’t want the drug war to end,” said Nelson, when asked about a possible connection between the agency’s hatred of legal pot and its buddies in Sinaloa. “If it ends, they don’t get their toys and their budgets. Once it ends, they aren’t going to have the kind of influence in foreign government. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but where there’s smoke there’s probably fire.”
“We’ve spent 1.3 trillion since 1972 on the drug war. What have we gotten for that? Drugs are cheaper and easier to get than ever before,”
However, the Mexican drug cartels have been bailed out by America’s drug warriors who have cracked down on prescription pain killers.