Congressional Budget Office
I think that FERS and MRS are adding to the Debt Owed to the Public in a significant way.
From the 'simplicity' of a Gold Standard to the 'complexity' of our current fiat system, Santiago Capital draws a handy analogy between the over-complicated machines of 'Rube Goldberg' that represents the interactions between the various actors affecting the size and velocity of our monetary base and the 'simplest possible, but no simpler' world of Occam's Razor prone gold. In two brief presentations, Brent Johnson introduces the two systems and explains that in order to keep the shark of our economy alive, one of two things must happen: monetary velocity must be maintained or the monetary base must rise. Obviously both are inflationary. From how the system is designed to its drastic implications, simple, brief, concise, and what to do about it. Simply put "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop"... whether we decide to do it ourselves or the market does it for us, our overly-complicated system of money is going to stop... and as such - buy protection against this absolutely certain eventuality.
Some interesting footnotes in a CBO report.
The below article, recreated in its grotesque entirety, is a real, serious Op-Ed written by a supposedly real, non page-view trolling, Nobel-prize winning economist, in a serious paper, the New York Times. It can be classified with one word: jaw-dropping:"We’re not going to resolve our long-run fiscal issues any time soon, which is O.K. — not ideal, but nothing terrible will happen if we don’t fix everything this year. Meanwhile, we face the imminent threat of severe economic damage from short-term spending cuts. So we should avoid that damage by kicking the can down the road. It’s the responsible thing to do."
The forecast for me is 12-18 inches. I'm hoping it pushes three feet.... Some odds and ends:
The most vocal justification provided for the disappointing Q4 GDP print by the mainstream was an increase in US government "austerity" resulting in a decline in the government contribution to the economic bottom line in the last quarter (or first fiscal quarter of 2013). Ironically, both total spending and total debt issuance in the past quarter increased, which means that far from being austere, the US actually spent more, not less, i.e., the opposite of austerity. And while it is true that Defense spending declined by a tiny amount in the past quarter compared to the year ago, it was more than offset by a surge in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security, or, as they are better known, welfare. And, as the CBO yesterday showed, these two components of US spending, which together account for half of all US spending and which couldn't be funded by all US revenues even if the government spent $0.00 for all other programs, which will soar in the coming years as US society ages, as more workers retire, and as more are reliant on Uncle Sam for the payment of every bill. So the next time someone say that the US has a defense spending problem and nothing else, show them this chart.
Yesterday we had our 15 minutes of fun with the CBO's latest budget forecast, which, while wrong as always, provided the mainstream media with its dose of propaganda optimism, by "forecasting" that the baseline 2013 budget deficit will be some $845 billion, well below the $1+ trillion deficit in 2012 (and quite a bit above the CBO's last year 2013 deficit forecast of $585 billion). It will be higher. And we know that not only because the CBO is a complete and utter failure when it comes to predicting the future (which as Rajoy would say would be "just as forecast, except for everything that does happen"), but because earlier today the Primary Dealers that make up the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (a topic we have written extensively about in the past), released their own 2013 budget deficit forecast. The picture there is far less optimistic: the median estimate is some $929 billion, however it is the upside range that is where reality lies, and this number is, according to the likes of Goldman and JPM (who head the TBAC) as well as the 18 other Primary Dealers, as high as $1.037 trillion.
- Tunisian opposition politician shot dead, protests erupt (Reuters)
- China says extremely concerned after latest North Korea threats (Reuters)
- Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs (AP)
- Debt Rise Colors Budget Talks (WSJ)
- Obama proposes short-term budget fix, Republicans swiftly object (Reuters)
- S&P Analyst Joked of Bringing Down the House Before Crash (BBG)
- Dell’s Bigger Challenge Ahead in Turnaround After Buyout (BBG)
- Some of the Mark Carney Gloss Is Coming Off (WSJ)
- Japan Official Says BOJ Tools Sufficient as Shake-Up Looms (BBG)
- S&P Lawsuit Undermined by SEC Rules That Impede Competition (BBG)
- Heavy Clashes Erupt in Syrian Capital (WSJ)
Following today's sequester-delay-seeking, tax-hiking, close-the-loophole speech by the President, it would appear that fiscal policy debates will be balanced a little more to raising effective rates on corporates (as opposed to the 'statutory' rate so many discuss). The US has the second highest global 'statutory' tax rate but less than 10% of S&P 500 firms have paid this rate over the last decade. Somewhat shockingly, since 1975, taxes have had the largest cumulative positive impact on S&P 500 ROE as effective rates fell from 44% to 30%. They estimate each percentage point rise in effective tax rate would lower S&P 500 ROE by 22 bp and EPS by $1.50, all else equal. Closing all the loopholes would smash year-end 2013 expectations from Goldman's 1575 to around 1300 with Staples and Tech the hardest hit. With the 'market' the only policy tool left, it would seem not even the Fed could monetarily save us from this fiscally fubar action.
Everything is going to be on easy street....Chicken in every pot.
We won't spend any time discussing the accuracy of the "impartial" Congressional Budget Office: we already did that in August 2011 when we showed that back in 2001 the CBO forecast total 2011 public debt would be negative $2.4 trillion; instead the real number was positive $10.4 trillion, a delta of only $12.8 trillion. We also won't spend much time on the just released CBO headline grabbing projection that the 2013 budget deficit will be under $1 trillion, or $845 billion to be precise. Instead we will show the progression of the CBO's baseline forecasts for the period 2012 and onward. We will also note that the now-forecast 2013 budget deficit of $845 billion was supposed to be a deficit of just $585 billion one short year ago, a token 40%+ error rate, but in the immortal words of Hillary Clinton: "who cares." Of course we should note that if we apply the same forecast error to the 2013 budget, it means the real final deficit print will be $1.2 trillion - just a tad more realistic. Finally, we will certainly note that while the CBO believes 2013 may see the first sub $1 trillion deficit in 4 years, a number which will decline modestly in the coming years, the deficit then proceeds to grow and grow and grow, until we reach 2024, at which point the US deficit returns to $1 trillion once again... and never gets smaller. And this is the optimistic version.
Following our earlier discussion of the echo-boom in housing, David Stockman appeared on Yahoo's Daily Ticker with Lauren Lyster to pour come much-needed cold water 'reality' onto the hopes of an increasingly sheep-like investing public. Homebuilder stocks up 100%-plus simply reflects that "we are in a bubble once again." The former CBO Director added that "in a world of medicated money by the central bank, things aren't what they appear to be," as he explained there is "no real organic sustainable recovery."
After witnessing the fighting of undeclared never ending wars, passage of freedom destroying legislation like the Patriot Act & NDAA, approval of pork barrel spending to the tune of hundreds of billions, rule by Executive Order, using ZIRP to extract hundreds of billions from senior citizen savers and give it to criminal Wall Street banks, forcing the American people at gunpoint to replenish the Wall Street banks with $700 billion after they had committed the greatest financial fraud in history, and a continuing trampling of the U.S. Constitution, the American people continue to remain willfully ignorant of the truth. The American Dream is dead. We’ve allowed a rich, privileged, elite few to achieve hegemony over our economic and political system with their control of the media and manipulation of our financial markets. They will collapse the country because they will never be satisfied with the amount of wealth and power they’ve accumulated. Their voracious greed will be their downfall.
The underlying trends seen this year have continued, but after strong follow through in Asia, a more subdued tone has been seen in Europe. The US dollar is generally softer, except against the yen and sterling. Japanese markets were closed for holiday, but the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index rose almost 0.3%, lifted by more than a 3% rally in China on speculation that there may be a sharp increase in the cap on foreign investors' ability to invest in Chinese equities. In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is hp about 0.4%, led by a rise in financials. Spanish stock market is at its highest level in almost a year (Feb 2012) and Italy's market is at its best August 2011, though their bond markets are seeing some profit-taking today. With a light economic calendar in North America today, Bernanke's speech in Michigan after the markets close may be the highlight. We identify six key factors shaping the investment climate.
Shooting arrows at kids who are five years old today is nothing to celebrate, even if the arrows won't hit for another decade or two.