Congressional Budget Office
Well, it's one way to start a deficit cutting scramble. Washington Times reports that the preliminary number for the February deficit, which will formally be released by the FMS shortly, is $223 billion: this is the largest single month deficit in history! So much for prudent budgets and all that. At least the number can only get better from here. Unless, of course, it gets much, much worse, and rates continue creeping higher, resulting in 30% of total revenues being dedicated to paying gross interest, as was previously discussed on Zero Hedge. Then 40%. Then 50%... One gets the picture.
During his presentation to the Senate yesterday (to be followed promptly by another presentation before Congress shortly), Bernanke discussed the impact of the $61 billion spending cut on GDP. In doing so he referenced a report published by Goldman strategists Jan Hatzius and Alec Phillips. He did so incorrectly. And the first thing Hatzius did this morning is to correct the Chairman: "Some have wondered—e.g. in the Q&A portion of Fed Chairman Bernanke’s monetary policy testimony on Tuesday—how such seemingly small cuts could have such a noticeable impact. But it is important to remember that we are talking about a hit to the quarter-on-quarter annualized growth rate of spending here, not about a hit to the level of GDP. For illustration, it is useful to go through a simplified version of the calculation underlying our estimates for the House-passed spending cut." Hatzius clarifies further: "We estimate that the $25bn cut in our budget projections reduces growth in Q2 by around 1 percentage point (annualized); this effect is already incorporated in our forecast that real GDP will grow 4% (annualized). In addition, we estimated that the $61bn cut passed by the House would reduce growth in Q2 and Q3 by 1½-2 percentage point (annualized) in Q2 and Q3. (In other words, relative to the assumptions currently embedded in our forecast, the House-passed package would imply an additional ½-1 percentage point drag on growth in Q2 and an additional 1½-2 percentage point drag in Q3.) Spending would then be maintained at that lower level thereafter, and the effect on GDP growth would dissipate quickly in Q4 and would be essentially neutral by 2012 Q1." So perhaps the Chairman will keep this in mind as this report is surely reference once again today.
Who believes this stuff?
$50 billion lost a year. Wonder why we're broke?
Initial Claims, which were obviously revised higher from 410K to 413K, dropped well below expectations, printing at 391K, on expectations of 405K. With claims continuing to hug the 400K line, this means that unfortunately the economy is not creating nearly enough jobs: as a reminder per the CBO, the US needs to create over 100K jobs a month just to stay in line with population growth. Continuing claims dropped from an (upward) revised 3935K to 3790K, as more and more people hit the 6 month continuing benefits cliff. They also are hitting the end of their 99 week extension period: those on extended benefits dropped by -111,087. That said, with California claims data partially estimated, and all of Massachusetts, Hawaii and Oklahoma data based entirely on the wind, this data has the credibility of an NAR report. And while the employment picture was better than expected, the capital goods data was a total disaster: January US Capital Goods orders non-defense ex. aircraft plunged by -6.9% M/M on expectation of just a -1.0% drop (Prev. 1.4% Rev. 4.3%). And just excluding Transportation, durable goods collapsed by 3.6% on expectations of a 0.5% increase. Time for those downward GDP revisions.
Full initial claims report.
Until now, in our Non Farm Payroll growth forecasts, Zero Hedge had been using 90,000 as the number of monthly jobs the US should be creating each month just to keep up with population growth. However, per the CBO budget released in January, it may be time to revise this estimate. As the chart below shows, according to the traditionally optimistic Congressional Budget Office, the US has to create 121,000 jobs per month in 2011 just to keep pace with population growth. This number declines modestly over the next several years, but still averages 106,000 per month over the next 5 years. And the kicker is that this number does not account for the 3 million people who are not currently in the workforce that the CBO defines as Potential Workforce. Assuming the inflow of this portion of the population into the workforce over the next three years, it adds an additional 83,000 people that have to be incorporated in the work force. This means that in 2011, in the "best" case scenario, the monthly NFP number has to be over 200,000 before the unemployment rate is reduced by even one basis point excluding the impact of the BLS' favorite trick of fudging the labor force participation rate, which we have discussed extensively in the past.
European Sovereign Debt Crisis Deepening - Risk of Contagion And Bond Market Crash, And Why Rising Rates Mean Gold StrengthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/16/2011 10:26 -0400
There is a real sense of the “calm before the storm” in markets globally. Complacency reigns, despite signs that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is deepening and that Japanese and US bond markets also look very vulnerable due to rising inflation, very large deficits and massive public debt. US Treasuries have been sold by some of the largest investors (both private and sovereign) in the world recently (see news). These include large creditor nations Russia and China but also PIMCO, the largest bond fund in the world. A global sovereign debt crisis is now quite possible. At the very least, we are likely to have a long period of rising interest rates which will depress economic growth. Contrary to some misguided commentary, rising interest rates will benefit gold as was seen when interest rates rose sharply in the 1970s. It was only towards the end of the interest rate tightening cycle in 1980, when interest rates were higher than inflation, that gold prices began to fall.
Fantasy or comedy? I couldn't decide which way to label the Obama budget, so I went with both. The bottom line is that the Obama administration has brought forth the most unbelievable revenue increase that I have ever seen proposed in a budget, a whopping 65% increase in revenues in just four years, which will - miracle of miracles - drop the deficit as a percent of GDP from nearly 11% to just 3.2% over those same four years. The only problem with this scenario is that it stands virtually no chance of actually happening. Revenue will be far lower than projected and the deficit correspondingly higher.
Since the president's latest Kool Aid, pardon, budget, is making inexplicable waves in the media for some odd reason (why, we wonder - the realized and near-term projected deficit will be revised higher by about 50% within 3-6 months with 100% confidence), here are some additional interactive charts and forensic drill downs to help readers make some sense of the latest plate of steaming lies served piping hot by the propagandura. And no, there is absolutely no chance the deficit will be cut in half by the end of Obama's first term as had been promised at the peak of Obama's popularity.
Zero Hedge had an opportunity recently to ask Eric Sprott a variety of questions touching on everything from investment recommendations, to policy guidelines, to a general outlook for the world economy. As Sprott has long been a rare voice of contrarian reason in a field of lemming-like uniformity, lately driven by nothing more than a pursuit of centrally planned momentum and Bernanke-induced "heatmapping", we believe the answers were vastly more interesting and illuminating than anything available for mass media consumption.
Claims, inventories, the federal budget balance, and the Fed’s balance sheet…No POMO today, but we do get a new POMO schedule at 2 PM.
Federal Reserve Chairman Rudolph Shalom Von Bernankestein will testify before the House Budget Committee starting at 10 am Eastern today. Congressional employees of the Fed and the Banking syndicate are expected to question the Fed's plans on avoiding inflation and the current unemployment rate. We expect more of the same "QE is working because after spending $2 trillion we got 650,000 part time jobs, and we are certain it is working because rates are surging, and wholesale mortgage are now again at the higest since April, which doesn't make sense but I am a Princeton economist (Ph.D.) and you don't get this complicated stuff."
Yesterday Richard Fisher, now it is Jeffrey Lacker's turn to speak out against QE2 and inflation concerns. Just more jawboning or are we actually going to see more dissenting votes finally? Keep in mind Lacker is an alternate member on the FOMC board in year 2011 and is not a voting member. From remarks presented by Lacker to the University of Delaware. "The Committee recognized that the provision of further monetary stimulus at this point in the business cycle is not without risks, and therefore committed to regularly review the pace and overall size of the asset-purchase program in light of incoming information and adjust the program as needed. The distinct improvement in the economic outlook since the program was initiated suggests taking that re-evaluation quite seriously. That re-evaluation will be challenging, because inflation is capable of accelerating, even if the level of economic activity has not yet returned to pre-recession trend."
Love them or hate them, only the most self-deluded can claim that the NIA, and its predictions, have been incorrect so far in this monetary 'printing' cycle. Sure they may have an agenda, and yes, Gen Ben may one day pull his money (if he is willing to see the S&P plunge to 666 and well below, so not really), which would kill all commodities, and certainly gold, in their tracks, but focusing solely on their message will have spared many massive real (not nominal) losses as surging commodity prices dwarf the modest pick up in stocks. Today's note from the NIA, while unpleasant, looks at the disastrous long-term consequences of the Chairman's monetary policy, and concludes rightfully so, that absent a diametric shift, which after today's press meeting may well require a revolution as the creature appears to be well on its way to QE3, 4 and so on, what is happening in Egypt is a preview of what will happen in the US in a few short year. Furthermore, the NIA's prediction that rice is up, up and away is in line with what Zero Hedge has been claiming since October (link). Also as a reminder, and as David Tepper just confirmed today, the realization that Rubber is the third and last R-bubble is starting to percolate...
The lies come hot and heavy:
- Initial claims for unemployment insurance have generally been trending
down, and indicators of job openings and firms' hiring plans have
- QE 'Effective at easing financial conditions'
- Recovery likely to be 'more rapid' in 2011 than 2010
- 'Overall inflation remains quite low'
- Recovery in consumer, business spending may be solid
- Economy seems to have strengthened in recent months
But here's the only one that matters:
- Unemployment, inflation likely to defy Fed mandate
Which mandate is that Genocide Ben: would that be the mandate to kill off half the world with your revolutionary policies before the Russell hits 36,000?