If governments have proven anything to us over the last seven years, it is that they will do anything to keep the banks from going down. If just 10% of people hit their breaking points and withdrew their money in cash - there wouldn’t be enough cash in the system to support this demand. And the banks would subsequently collapse. When a government is bankrupt, the central bank is nearly insolvent, the banking system is illiquid, and an entire population suffers from interest rates that are either negative or below the rate of inflation, capital controls are a foregone conclusion. In fact, we expect the next round of capital controls will be designed to protect the banks... from you.
We're all about to be taken to the woodshed, warns David Stockman in this excellent interview... "it's a coup d'etat, the central banks have taken over - it's an unconstitutional domination of the entire economy."
"Six years after the recession ended, many U.S. states are hard pressed to balance budgets because of a sluggish recovery and their own policy decisions and in fact, thirty-two states faced budget gaps in fiscal 2015 or 2016 or both." Bloomberg reports. Indeed, state and local governments are so broke that "even Republican governors loath to raise taxes have proposed higher levies."
- Tsipras Endgame Nears as Greek Bank Collateral Evaporates (BBG)
- Shi'ite forces ordered to deploy after fall of Iraqi city (Reuters)
- Ratings agency Fitch to downgrade many European banks (Reuters)
- Bubble Blowing to Continue So Long as Yellen Isn’t Raising Rates (BBG)
- Greece's Debt Battle Exposes Deeper Eurozone Flaws (WSJ)
- Obama to set new limits on police use of military equipment (Reuters)
- China April home prices fuel hopes of bottoming out, but long road to recovery (Reuters)
- Hedge Funds Close Doors, Facing Low Returns and Investor Scrutiny (NYT)
- ASIC's Greg Medcraft 'quite worried' about Sydney, Melbourne house prices (Fin Review)
"UBS officials are confounded by the outcome, some of the people familiar with the negotiations said. The bank believes it provided early cooperation which helped prosecutors break open the foreign-exchange investigations and, as a result, was promised immunity by the antitrust division of the Justice Department."
The FDIC explains, banks have grown far larger and even more complex since 2008, and that "[s]uch trends have not only continued, they accelerated as a result of the crisis." The FDIC goes on to suggest that its current tools and business model are “not sufficient to mitigate the complexities of large institution failures." Not only are they not equipped to handle it, they’re not entirely sure what to do: that’s why the FDIC is "seeking comment on what additional regulatory action should be taken..."
- Amtrak train in Philadelphia wreck was traveling at twice speed limit (Reuters)
- The engineer has no recollection of the crash and “no explanation” for what happened (WSJ)
- Taliban claim attack on Afghan guesthouse that killed 14 (Reuters)
- Chicago’s Junk Rating From Moody’s Puzzles Investors (BBG)
- House votes to end spy agencies' bulk collection of phone data (Reuters)
- Wesley Clark: The Penny-Stock General (BBG)
- AOL’s Armstrong to Leave $213 Million Richer After Verizon Deal (BBG)
We can now add another to the list of government agencies out of control this month. In the latest example of abuse by the unaccountable feds, we learn that Pentagon employees have been caught using their government credit cards on gambling and escorts, amongst other things. Their punishment? A “stern warning.”
While the US is waking up in anticipation of what is once again said to be the "most important nonfarm payrolls number" at least since the last most important such number, because anything 250,000 and above puts the June rate hike right back on the Fed calendar, while a collapse in this lagging indicator will be explained away with harsh rain showers in April, and send stocks soaring due to yet another delay in tightening expectations despite Yellen's outright warning of overvalued stocks, the UK has been up all night following a dramatic election, whose outcome has been largely the opposite of what the experts predicted, with Conservatives set to win an outright majority, resulting in embarrassment for Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP, both of which have already seen dramatic changes in their leadership, and moments ago both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage announced they would stand down as party leaders.
The one most interesting category was defense spending: a category despised by progressives even though at this rate spending on interest for the progressives' beloved government debt will soon eclipse defense. It is here that outlays actually dropped from a year ago, declining to just over $150 billion for the quarter. Which is surprising, because as Politico wrote overnight, among the items funded by general taxpayer revenue were such discretionary expenses as hookers and blackjack, after a defense department audit founds that Pentagon employees used their government credit cards to gamble and pay for “adult entertainment.”
"If you were to ask me, since we’re making forward-looking statements, what will the second quarter look like in Las Vegas? Weak. Do you hear me? Weak. So I’m trying to lower expectations here. This notion of a big recovery is a complete dream," Steve Wynn says, underscoring not only the weakness in gaming revenue from the Vegas strip to Macau, but also the fact that there simply is no economic recovery in the US.
To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, anyone who wants the government and Federal Reserve to create a housing recovery, deserves to get it good and hard, like a four by four to the side of their head. Subprime mortgages, subprime auto loans, and subprime student loans driven by preposterously low interest rates are the liquefying foundation of this fake economic recovery. Most rational people would agree that loaning money to people who will eventually default is not a good idea. But it is the underpinning of everything the Fed and government apparatchiks have done to keep this farce going a little while longer. It will not end well – Again.
It's not easy being a millionaire in the New Normal.