Debt Ceiling

Frontrunning: March 17

  • Israelis vote as 'King Bibi's' reign hangs in the balance (Reuters), Factbox: Main candidates in Israel's election (Reuters)
  • Iran Can Add Million Barrels a Day of Oil If Sanctions Halt (BBG)
  • Kremlin rules out handing back Crimea to Ukraine (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia Needs More Oil to Feed Local Refinery Expansion (BBG)
  • How Lafarge’s CEO Went From Holcim Merger Architect to Obstacle (BBG)
  • When Yellen Gets Less Predictable She’s Getting Back to Normal (BBG)
  • Iran nuclear talks intensify as sides face tough issues (Reuters)
  • Debunking $1.4 Trillion Europe Debt Myth in Post-Heta Age (BBG)

The Best "Democracy" Money Can Buy: For Every Dollar Spent Influencing US Politics, Corporations Get $760 Back

Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 Billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. What they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 Trillion in federal business and support. Here is the visual representation of this stunning finding: for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.

Debt Ceiling Drama Is Back: Two Days Until US Borrowing Capacity Is Exhausted

And so, a little over a year after the last debt ceiling melodrama, in which the US kicked the can on its maximum borrowing capacity to this Sunday, March 15, in the meantime raking up total US public debt to $18.149 trillion the soap opera with the self-imposed borrowing ceiling on America's "credit card" is back, and the US is once again faced with sad reality of its debt ceiling (now at well over 100% of America's upward revised GDP of $17.7 trillion). Tthe reason: two days from today Congress’s temporary suspension of the debt ceiling, which was approved in February 2014, ends.

3 Things - High Yield Warning, Yellen's Employment & Economy

While the economy is showing some signs of impact from falling oil prices, a port strike in California, weak global demand for exports and an exceptionally cold winter; the markets are pushing all-time highs. There is much hype being placed on the ECB's plans for launching QE in March, however, much remains to be seen as to just how effective it will be in a negative interest rate/deflationary enviroment. But then again...there is always "hope."

Economic Composite Index Suggests Restocking Cycle Is Over

While economic indicators make "very poor bedfellows" for managing portfolios, they do provide some indication as to the relative risk of owning assets that are ultimately tied to economic cycles. Despite commentary to the contrary as of late, economic cycles have not been repealed, and the current economy is likely running on borrowed time. It is important to notice, that despite the "hype" of the mainstream media about the economic recovery, activity never rose past previous peaks in this cycle.

3 Things - Employment, Interest Rates & Retail Sales

The majority of the jobs "created" since the financial crisis have been lower wage paying jobs in retail, healthcare and other service sectors of the economy. Conversely, the jobs created within the energy space are some of the highest wage paying opportunities available in engineering, technology, accounting, legal, etc. In fact, each job created in energy related areas has had a "ripple effect" of creating 2.8 jobs elsewhere in the economy from piping to coatings, trucking and transportation, restaurants and retail. Simply put, lower oil and gasoline prices may have a bigger detraction on the economy that the "savings" provided to consumers.

Paul "Orwell" Krugman Touts Job Growth in the Obama Recovery

If you have a strongly held economic theory, you can always concoct a story ex post to “explain” the data. Rather, what I’m saying is that on the very terms Krugman himself chose to show the virtues of government spending, I can make a much more compelling argument that cutting government spending won’t hurt private sector hiring, and if anything will stimulate it.

The Only Way To Stop The Empire

The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.

HFT War Stories: The Algo That Couldn't Count

This is the first installment in a series of HFT War Stories, submitted anonymously by high frequency and algorithmic traders highlighting the perils of their profession. Today we look at a $2 Billion near miss that never made the news. The public only hears about these types of SNAFUs if they blow up a firm. Hundreds more go unnoticed by anyone but the traders who lived through them.