The ink on Barack Obama's Chuck Hagel termination letter hasn't dried yet but already the US president's new, and seemingly far more hawkish advisors, are having their warmongering presence felt. Case in point: the Eastern European theater of (Cold) war, where Military.com reports that the new Army commander in Europe plans to bolster the U.S. armored presence in Poland and the Baltic states and keep rotations of U.S. troops there through next year and possibly beyond to counter Russia. Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, who replaced Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell earlier this month as commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Army was looking to add about 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the forces in Eastern Europe.
Nobel Prize Winning Economists, Federal Reserve Chair and Other Top Experts: War Is BAD for the Economy
Our nations (Western nations) are rapidly going bankrupt. This is not a suggestion or an assertion. It is a simple fact of arithmetic, for anyone capable of operating a calculator, and who can understand the concept of “compound interest”. Indeed, the bankruptcy of these already-insolvent regimes has only been delayed via permanently (fraudulently) keeping interest rates frozen at near-zero – to minimize their already gigantic interest payments.
"As was true at the 2000 and 2007 extremes, Wall Street is quite measurably out of its mind. There’s clear evidence that valuations have little short-term impact provided that risk-aversion is in retreat (which can be read out of market internals and credit spreads, which are now going the wrong way). There’s no evidence, however, that the historical relationship between valuations and longer-term returns has weakened at all. Yet somehow the awful completion of this cycle will be just as surprising as it was the last two times around – not to mention every other time in history that reliable valuation measures were similarly extreme. Honestly, you’ve all gone mad."
The bottom line is this: we, as a species, all over the globe, have already mined the richest ores, found the easiest energy sources, and farmed the richest soils that our Environment has to offer. So, if we are getting less and less net energy for our efforts, and the other basic resources we need to support exponential economic growth are requiring a lot more energy to extract because they are depleting, then does it make sense to keep piling up exponentially more money and debt?
The oil industry is no longer what it once was, it’s not even a normal industry anymore. Oil companies sell assets and borrow heavily, then buy back their own stock and pay out big dividends. What kind of business model is that? Well, not the kind that can survive a 40% cut in revenue for long. Cheap oil a boon for the economy? You might want to give that some thought.
Here are a couple of reasons why Keynesian economists are truly a menace in today’s bubble ridden and debt-impaled world. It seems that both Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff and Princeton’s Paul Krugman are on the global advice circuit, peddling what amounts to sheer snake oil to desperate politicians and policy-makers who have already buried themselves - so far to no avail - in unprecedented waves of fiscal and monetary “stimulus”.
You can’t force people to spend, not if you’re a government, not if you’re a central bank. And if you try regardless, chances are you wind up scaring people into even less spending. That’s the perfect picture of Japan right there. There’s no such thing as central bank omnipotence, and this is where that shows maybe more than anywhere else. And if you can’t force people to spend, you can’t create growth either, so that myth is thrown out with the same bathwater in one fell swoop. Some may say and think deflation is a good thing, but I say deflation kills economies and societies. Deflation is not about lower prices, it’s about lower spending. Which will down the line lead to lower prices, but then the damage has already been done, it’s just that nobody noticed, because everyone thinks inflation and deflation are about prices, and therefore looks exclusively at prices.
If you ever needed proof that the financial press has been completely indoctrinated in the cult of Keynesian central banking consider the following...
It is no secret that one of the primary drivers of relentless S&P 500 levitation over the past two years, ever since the start of Japan's mammoth QE, has been the use of the Yen as the carry currency of choice (once again as during the credit bubble of the early-2000s), whose shorting has directly resulted in E-mini levitation. One look at the intraday chart of any JPY pair and the S&P500 is largely sufficient to confirm this. Those days, however, may be coming to an end, at least according to Goldman which overnight released a note saying that the Yen is "Almost at breakeven: Further yen depreciation could be a net burden."
We should be glad the price of oil has fallen the way it has (losing another 6% today as we write this). Not because it makes the gas in our cars a bit cheaper, that’s nothing compared to the other service the price slump provides. That is, it allows us to see how the economy is really doing, without the multilayered veil of propaganda, spin, fixed data and bailouts and handouts for the banking system.
As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; we thought this weekend's reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.