Congressional Budget Office
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."
Did you take out a $245,000 loan to pay for your degree? Good news, the Department of Education wants you to know that "your payment could be as low as $0 a month!"
"My faith is that governments and central banks will continue to run up debt and debase currencies until a crisis brings the whole experiment to a disastrous conclusion. There is simply no historical precedent to reach any other conclusion. I also have faith that human beings will always prefer a piece of gold to a stack of paper. Separate a paper currency from its perceived value and you just have a stack of paper and ink. However, if they would just print it on softer and absorbent stock and put it on rolls, it might have some intrinsic value if we run out of toilet paper."
Hyperinflation in the U.S. is coming sometime in the next 20 years or so, and this isn't a cry from a Chicken Little, but a conclusion that the analysis strongly suggests. It is possible hyperinflation could happen during the next few years, but that seems unlikely since it would require a series of major crises and political blunders – events unprecedented in the history of the United States. If this led to a corruption of Constitutional rights in the midst of an exaltation of the Executive Branch that resulted in loss of the rule of law, hyperinflation might result. It is much more probable that hyperinflation will be preceded by a long slow decline that will include a protracted period of high inflation, and that the crash of the dollar and hyperinflation will be the final tumble off a looming, steep cliff.
Financial experts in New York, London, and Brussels have tut-tutted Greece’s economic travails as Athens considers its future with the European Union. Why did they borrow so much money? How can they ever pay it back? Do they think that much debt is sustainable? Instead of pointing fingers at the innumerates running Athens, they should consider our own situation.
The Export-Import Bank died last night when its charter expired. After 81 years, what is commonly known as Boeing’s Bank is headed toward Washington’s trash bin. When Congress returns it could revive Ex-Im, which primarily subsidizes big business exports. But a proper burial for what Barack Obama once called “corporate welfare” would save Americans money, reduce economic injustice, and promote economic growth. Ex-Im’s closure is a very rare victory for the good guys in Washington. Crony capitalism is running rampant in America, undermining confidence in a market economy.