Congressional Budget Office
"...the economic patient is riddled with cancer - central banks are applying a defibrillator, but there's only so much electricity the patient can take before it becomes a burnt-out corpse."
The news is filled with the everyday zigzags of those competing against each other for the Democrat and Republican Party nominations to run for the presidency of the United States. But one of the most important issues receiving little or no attention in this circus of political power lusting is the long-term danger from the huge and rising Federal government debt.
The political class has completely disrupted the American structure of production, made American workers uncompetitive, snuffed the life out of entrepreneurs, and burdened the entire nation with a debt obligation the size of Jupiter. The US economy is not the strongest and most durable in the world — it is an unskilled thirty-two-year-old waiter crashing at his parent’s place and trying to pay down an $80,000 international relations degree.
Two months ago, when we calculated that the US would need a new debt ceiling of $19.6 trillion to last until after Obama's tenure, we may have been overoptimistic: since the hard limit of $18.15 trillion which was raised at the end of October, the US appears to be growing its debt at a far faster pace than we had originally expected, and according to the latest public debt data, as of the last day of January, total US debt just hit 19,012,827,698,417.93.
- Oil slump rocks markets again in equity rout (Reuters)
- Global Stocks on Brink of Bear Market as Oil Slides; Ruble Drops (BBG)
- Global Stocks Slide on Oil Rout (WSJ)
- Emerging Markets Roiled as Stock Selloff Surpasses Asian Crisis (BBG)
- Rising Debt in Emerging Markets Poses Global Threat (WSJ)
- China shares slip as oil slides, outweighing stimulus hopes (Reuters)
Yahoo’s annual Christmas party this year was a Roaring 20s / Great Gatsby theme, complete with champagne towers and a vintage Rolls Royce. The party itself, right down to the theme, was a symbol of waste, indulgence, and excess; it reported costly between $7 and $10 million to stage. The good old days are long gone. This is no longer a company that can afford such largess. And everyone seems to realize it... except Yahoo. Frankly, this seems like the perfect metaphor for the United States of America.
Other than glad-handing and managing whatever undeclared wars he's been let in on, President Sanders won't change anything important because he can't change anything important. Neither can any other president. Political theater is just that--theater. Fans of Obama learned the hard way that hope and change are quietly dumped the moment you enter the Imperial Presidency.
"There are so many fault lines that the nation seems consumed by a conflict of all against all... there is an inevitable “revolution” coming because our politics, culture, education, economics and even philanthropy are so polarized that the country can no longer resolve its differences."
Between the demographic time bomb about to go off - that is, the growth of the elderly population far exceeding the growth of the working age population by several orders of magnitude - and then the weak economy, the huge expansion of entitlements under the health care law, and the dramatic increases of the costs of those entitlements, including for labor, what could possibly go wrong?
A federal shutdown due to a funding lapse looks no less likely than it did two weeks ago, and Goldman Sachs believes the probability is nearly 50%. The Senate is expected to begin voting later this week on a funding extension, but the House looks unlikely to act until shortly before the September 30 deadline. The following attempts to answer the main questions surrounding the shutdown, debt limit deadlines, and ramifications...
The world is becoming increasingly chaotic and the American people are seeking a leader who can bring order, make tough decisions, and capture the zeitgeist of this moment in history. They are in search of a prophet generation (Boomer) Grey Champion, whose arrival marks the moment of darkness, adversity and peril as the Fourth Turning careens towards its climax. The Grey Champion doesn’t necessarily have to be a good person, but they must lead and display tremendous confidence in their cause and path. Franklin, Lincoln, and FDR have many detractors, but during their Fourth Turnings, they most certainly led, casting aside obstacles (sometimes illegally) and enduring dark days and bleak prospects for success. Is there someone of that stature ready to lead the American people now?
- Charting the Market: New Month, Same China (BBG)
- China jitters send stocks tumbling (Reuters)
- Oil falls on weak China factory data (Reuters)
- Euro zone factory growth eases in August despite modest price rises (Reuters)
- Euro-Area Joblessness Falls to Lowest Level Since Early 2012 (BBG)
- Clinton friend advised on U.S. politics, foreign policy (Reuters)
- Korea exports slump as Asia's woes deepen (Reuters)
From both and fundamental and technical viewpoint, there is mounting evidence that the current decline might just be sending a signal that there is more going on here than just an "overdue correction in a bull market." While it is too soon to know for sure, there seems to be little risk in being more conservative within portfolio allocations currently until the market environment clears. However, the proverbial "elephant" is margin debt.
Bernanke Shills for El Militario-Industrio Complexo
As the U.S. economic expansion ages and clouds gather overseas, policy makers worry about recession. But, as WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath warns, their concern isn’t that a downturn is imminent but whether they will have firepower to fight back when one does arrive. "The world economy is like an ocean liner without lifeboats,” economists at HSBC Bank explained, and as looming threats are a reminder that the slow-growing global economy is just a shock away from peril, with rates already at zero, Douglas Elmendorf, the recently departed director of the CBO, warned, "policy makers are thinking about their backup, backup plans."