It appears the faithful are losing belief... Gallup reports that Democrats economic confidence has faded to its lowest since January (less than half the levels of confidence when President Obama unleashed his 2nd term). Despite exuberance conference board (government sponsored) surveys of confidence (and seasonally adjusted happiness in PMIs and ISMs), Gallup notes U.S. Economic Confidence Index remained flat in June having hovered at this lower level for most of the year (with no post-weather rebound). The outlook also remains dismal - hovering at its lowest since Dec 2013 with only 39% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 56% saying it is getting worse.
Following the rather stunning shenanigans of Q1 GDP with regard healthcare spending (as we detailed here), we thought, four years after its passage in 2010, it worth analyzing Obamacare's economic impact? Beforehand, economists generally believed that the broader coverage would raise the demand for healthcare goods and services, although there was some disagreement about related effects on healthcare inflation. In reality, as UBS notes, there was too much optimism about a positive immediate economic impact and a negative price inflation effect.
Following June's initial largest miss in 18 months, UMich consumer confidence 'final' print inched higher to 82.5, modestly beating expectations - but well below April's peak. In case you were confused at whether you should be exuberant (conference board confidence at highest since 2008) or dysphoric (Gallup survey at lowest in 2014), we don't blame you. What is most worrisome about the UMich data, aside from the non-confirmation of exuberance offered by the government survey, is the tumble in the "outlook' index to 3 month lows.
Abe's honeymoon is over. Following nearly two years of having free reign to crush the Japanese economy with his idiotic monetary and fiscal policies - but, but the Nikkei is up - the market may have finally pulled its head out of its, well, sand, and after last night's abysmal economic data from Japan which saw not only the highest (cost-push) inflation rate since 1982, in everything but wages (hence, zero demand-pull) - after wages dropped for 23 consecutive months, disposable income imploded - but a total collapse in household spending, the USDJPY appears to have finally been dislodged from its rigged resting place just around 102. As a result the 50 pip overnight drop to 101.4 was the biggest drop in over a month. And since the Nikkei is nothing but the USDJPY (same for the S&P), Japan stocks tumbled 1.4%, their biggest drop in weeks, as suddenly the days of the grand Keynesian ninja out of Tokyo appear numbered. Unless Nomura manages to stabilize USDJPY and push it higher, look for the USDJPY to slide back to double digits in the coming weeks.
With stocks at record-er and record-er highs, TPTB must be confused as as to how confused the American public is. While 'government' data showed confidence at Jan 08 highs, Gallup's latest survey shows, only one in five Americans (22%) say the economy is excellent or good, while 34% say it is poor; and worse still, Americans continue to be less optimistic about the economy's future - 38% say the economy is getting better, while 58% say it is getting worse - the worst differential since 2013. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index lost another point last week, the third week in a row, dropping to its lowest in over 2 months. The bottom line, sadly, is that in spit of all the sound and fury, Americans may not have shifted much in their perceptions of the economy's current status, but over the past month, they have become more negative about the economy's future.
Social Media Advertising A Dud: 62% Of Americans Say "Social" Ads Have No Impact On Purchasing DecisionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/23/2014 08:40 -0400
One of the great "paradigms" of the New Normal tech bubble that supposedly differentiated it from dot com bubble 1.0 was that this time it was different, at least when it came to advertising revenues. The mantra went that unlike traditional web-based banner advertising which has been in secular decline over the past decade, social media ad spending - which the bulk of new tech company stalwarts swear is the source of virtually unlimited upside growth - was far more engaging, and generated far greater returns and better results for those spending billions in ad bucks on the new "social-networked" generation. Sadly, this time was not different after all, and this "paradigm" has also turned out to be one big pipe dream. According to the WSJ, citing Gallup, "62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions.
A country dies slowly. Those living during the decline of Rome were likely unaware that anything was happening. The decline took over a couple of hundred years. Anyone living during the decline only saw a small part of what was happening and likely never noticed it as anything other than ordinary. Countries don’t have genetically determined life spans. Nor do they die quickly, unless the cataclysm of some great war does them in. Even in such extreme cases, there are usually warning signs, which are more obvious in hindsight than at the time. Few citizens of a dying nation recognize the signs. Most are too busy trying to live their lives, sometimes not an easy task. Most cannot conceive of the death of a nation. But signs or symptoms precede death for a country often as they do for a person...
It’s no surprise to anyone that Americans have zero faith in their so-called “Representatives.” The vast majority of these folks are lying, thieving, white-collar criminals, and we all know it. The real question is what, if anything, are we going to do about it?
It appears there is something far more structural with America's long-term unemployment problem, something not even the "smartest academics in the (Marriner Eccles) room" can diagnose. Surprisingly, earlier today Gallup reported one factor that may be contributing to America's unemployment malaise - the same problem that is the reason for the insolvent US welfare state coffers: obesity. According to Gallup, Americans who have been out of work for a year or more are much more likely to be obese than those unemployed for a shorter time. The obesity rate rises from 22.8% among those unemployed for two weeks or less to 32.7% among those unemployed for 52 weeks or more.
According to a new Gallup pole, a record amount of Americans now disapprove of President Obama. Now, this is nothing new. Presidential approval ratings go up and down, and Mr. Obama has had a long-term slide thanks to… oh, we don’t know… a total avalanche of foul-ups ranging from the Obamacare fiasco to the IRS targeting his enemies to the VA scandal to the intelligence community’s surveillance of the press, et cetera ad infinitum. But here’s the interesting thing– this poll about the President’s approval rating. It’s about his image– who he is as a person. Do Americans think he’s a trustworthy person with strong character? Nope. Not even close.
Have you heard the one about the “economic recovery” in the United States? It’s quite funny, but it is not actually true. Every day, the establishment media points to the fact that global stock markets have soared to unprecedented heights as evidence that the economy is improving. But just because a bunch of wealthy people have gotten temporarily even richer on paper does not mean that the real economy is in good shape. In fact, as you will see below, things just continue to get even tougher for the poor and the middle class.
We are witnessing implied volatility on all asset classes simply collapse to the lowest levels witnessed in 20 years, or at least the lowest levels achieved prior to the GFC in early 2007.
If you believe that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, you really need to read this article. As we look toward the second half of 2014, there are economic red flags all over the place.
"The DEA doesn’t want the drug war to end,” said Nelson, when asked about a possible connection between the agency’s hatred of legal pot and its buddies in Sinaloa. “If it ends, they don’t get their toys and their budgets. Once it ends, they aren’t going to have the kind of influence in foreign government. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but where there’s smoke there’s probably fire.”
“We’ve spent 1.3 trillion since 1972 on the drug war. What have we gotten for that? Drugs are cheaper and easier to get than ever before,”
However, the Mexican drug cartels have been bailed out by America’s drug warriors who have cracked down on prescription pain killers.