QE3 ended 17 months ago and shockingly the S&P 500 is exactly where it was 17 months ago. How many bull markets go flat for 17 months? As John Hussman accurately points out, we are experiencing a topping formation in the third and biggest bubble of the last 16 years. It’s a long way down from here.
"...we’re in a phase where we’re realizing that the people who have been allocating capital thus far have done a horrendous job...the result is that most of the things we’ve funded are mostly crap and largely worthless."
Simple Janet should have the decency to resign. The Fed’s craven decision last week to punt on interest rate normalization is not merely a reminder that she is clueless and gutless; we already knew that much. Given the overwhelming facts on the ground - 4.9% unemployment, 2.3% core CPI and a 23.7X PE multiple on the S&P 500 - her decision to “pause” after 87 months of ZIRP actually proves she is a blindfolded monetary arsonist - armed, dangerous and lost.
It’s actually pretty easy. At an apt moment very soon, Trump should offer Governor Kasich the VP slot and Senator Cruz the vacant Supreme Court seat. Such a grand bargain would not only clear the primary field and quash any backroom hijacking of the nomination by the Washington GOP establishment; it would also permit each man to play his highest and best role at this great inflection point in the nation’s history.
“I don’t want anybody that even thinks that Donald Trump can be a good president to live in my home... I want to pick people who don’t mind spending a night in jail during a Gandhi-type of protest." - Mark Holmes
See how it works? Central banks destroy the real economy with cheap money and extractive policies. Then, as the economy slumps, they need to bring their policies in line with the slumping economy. They need to swear off raising rates back to normal. And since their policies can never produce real prosperity, they can never produce an economy that can support normal interest rates. Normal? Forget it. Eventually, normal will make a comeback. But not because the Fed wants it. Instead, the markets will normalize – brutally – over the Fed’s dead body... which is just the way we’d like it.
In the same way that FDR had an existential political interest in generating inflation and preventing volatility in the US labor market, so does the US Executive branch today (regardless of what party holds the office) have an existential political interest in generating inflation and preventing volatility in the US capital markets. Transforming Wall Street into a political utility was an afterthought for FDR; today the relative importance of the labor markets and capital markets have completely switched positions. Today, the quote would be "markets are too important to be left to investors."
As we detailed previously, the growth of federal income and employment tax withholdings, the broadest and most timely read on the health of the job market "has been sinking at an alarming rate." What is worse, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, IRS and Treasury data show refunds tracking 2-3% below last year’s levels - not good news for companies that focus on the low-end consumer, the cohort that tends to spend (rather than save) their refunds.
Indeed, what party other than the BOJ could be buying negative coupon debt? The answer is exactly why the coming financial crash will be so severe and long-lasting. To wit, it is front-runners expecting to cop a capital gain, and then get out before the house of cards collapses. That’s what might otherwise be called an ambush. The trillions of speculator dollars crowded into trades of this type throughout the global financial markets will never get through the narrow door of liquidity that remains in the casinos. The dotcom and the post-Lehman meltdowns were only the rehearsal.
“The pilot would also test whether a basic income would provide a more efficient way of delivering income support, strengthen the attachment to the labour force, and achieve savings in other areas such as health care and housing supports. The government will work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to implement a Basic Income pilot.”
"...the GOP establishment’s putative “jobs” candidate from 2012 was never really a businessman at all. Willard M. Romney is no expert on shiny things on a hill. The country would be far better served if he would get his dimming light back under a bushel where it belongs."
Behold! The "wealth effect."
At the end of the day, America is on a slippery slope toward failure because the Warfare State and the Welfare State are suffocating what was once a prosperous capitalism and a resilient free society lightly intruded upon by the machinery of state. But now both parties have become handmaidens of the state. Maybe The Donald’s startling but palpable momentum toward the White House will have one saving grace. His relentless campaign against the “politicians” and the Washington money rackets may end up knocking the hypocritical stuffings out of both parties.
“Overall, the trend of more cash at home reflects concern about the outlook for economy among households. This isn’t a good thing.”
"... the average Joe isn’t as gullible as he once was and the personal savings rate remains high and is rising. Get out and buy something you don’t need, your kids can pay for their own education. If you really want to see people spend and invest there has to be some belief this won’t all end in tears."