In 2014, all but a few argued that the path of interest rates was certainly higher. Despite a steady decline beginning on January 1st of 2014 and continuing today, everyone still insists strenuously that interest rates simply have to go up. What if all the arguments about growth in the US economy and much anticipated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve hinged upon a decision-making premise that is flawed? What if instead of the standard and variety of factors informing the consensus perspective about the direction of interest rates it is actually interest rates themselves that are sending signals that should inform our perspective about all other things?
"An alternate, more sophisticated approach to explaining why QE may not work to stimulate aggregate consumption is, perhaps, because the demographic mix of the U.S. (and most parts of the developed world) has shifted toward older people. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, the enormous baby boomer generation, and even retirees, are much wealthier (including human capital) than in the past, and they are wealthier than current generations earlier in their life cycle. So the wealth effect does not lead to an increase in consumption and, potentially, has the opposite outcome."
- Robert Merton
The science of economics has taken a decidedly wrong turn sometime in the 1930s. In the field of monetary science specifically, sober analysis has given way to broad-based support of central economic planning, with both policy makers and their advisors seemingly trying to trump each other with ever more lunatic proposals.
"About 300 paratroopers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, arrived at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, April 14 - 15, to begin a six-month training rotation with Ukrainian national guard forces."
Over the past several weeks we have heard repeated comments that you should ignore the recent retail sales weakness for a variety of reasons such as cold winter weather, consumers don't believe the drop in gas prices, etc. Putting aside the fact that cold weather almost always occurs during winter (which is why the data is seasonally adjusted to begin with), or that more than 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, should we dismiss the data entirely?
SEC Reaches "Appropriate" Settlement With Freddie Mac Execs Who Will Pay Nothing And Receive No PunishmentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/15/2015 15:25 -0400
Three former Freddie Mac executives who understated the amount of subprime exposure on the GSE's book by a factor of 28 came to terms with the SEC today on a settlement which imposes fees no one has to pay and "limitations on future behavior" that "will not limit [anyone] in any practical way."
Can you arbitrage time? Can you buy and sell time? We think that you can from the perspective of time horizons. In our view, financial markets are operating on the wrong time horizon – one that is too long (thanks to central banks ZIRP/NIRP and credit creation) - although there are signs that this is beginning to change.
In spite of the landmark decision 80 years ago against the imposition of economic fascism in America, the U.S. government has continued to grow in power over the American people. But it should be remembered that men of courage, integrity, and principle can stand up to Big Brother and resist the headlong march into economic tyranny. That unanimous Supreme Court decision in 1935 was one bright example of it.
The US stock market is trading at 1929-bubblesque valuations, with a CAPE of 27.34 (the 1929 CAPE was only slightly higher at 30. And when that bubble burst, stocks lost over 90% of their value in the span of 24 months.
GE’s announcement that its getting out of the finance business should be a reminder of how crony capitalism is corrupting and debilitating the American economy. The ostensible reason the company is unceremoniously dumping its 25-year long build-up of the GE Capital mega-bank is that it doesn’t want to be regulated by Washington as a systematically important financial institution under Dodd-Frank. Oh, and that its core industrial businesses have better prospects. We will see soon enough about its oilfield equipment and wind turbine business, or indeed all of its capital goods oriented businesses in a radically deflationary world drowning in excess capacity. But at least you can say good riddance to GE Capital because it was based on a phony business model that was actually a menace to free market capitalism. Its deplorable raid on the public purse during the Lehman crisis had already demonstrated that in spades.
How’s this for a provocative thought: what if the very earthly economic cycles somehow responded to the solar cycle? Unusual as this may sound, actually there is evidence of a relationship between the two.
The Middle East’s ongoing descent into chaos and China’s impending ascendancy to the status of global superpower are just two of the many threats that the US, European Union and Russia all share. Each of these issues should certainly occupy a higher position on their respective agendas than the breakup of Ukraine or the insolvency of Greece. Leaders of all three governments would be well-advised to set aside their differences, or at least to prevent those differences from obstructing cooperation on more important issues. Unlike its predecessor, the Second Cold War will not be bilateral. Today’s world is far more chaotic, kinetic and dangerous than it was fifty years ago.
Stock-market crashes saw the light of day more and more as the world became industrialized. The 19th century saw a rapid increase in their numbers.
"This is not going to be a 1921-style two-year recession that we bounce back from after a little bit of pain and unpleasantness. After a 50-year global economic boon involving what is now a $59 trillion expansion of credit in 50 years, this isn’t going to be a one or two-year hard recession. This is going to be a multi-decade global depression and I’m not sure that anyone alive today would live long enough to see the recovery."
Today’s clueless Keynesian central bankers essentially believe that they can keep the pedal-to-the-metal until a 1970’s style inflationary spiral arises. But none is coming because the worldwide central bank money printing spree of the last two decades has generated massive excessive capacity and malinvestment all around the planet. What is coming, therefore, is not their father’s inflationary spiral, but an unprecedented and epochal global deflation. So the central banks just keep printing, thereby inflating the asset bubbles world-wide. What ultimately stops today’s new style central bank credit cycle, therefore, is bursting financial bubbles. That has already happened twice this century. A third proof of the case looks to be just around the corner.