• Vitaliy Katsenelson
    10/03/2015 - 18:26
    Any money manager, whether he is managing separate accounts or a mutual fund, will go through stretches where he looks smarter or dumber than he really is, though his IQ hasn’t actually changed.


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Here we go:

  • 5-4 decisions, with Roberts joining the court's liberals.
  • Court says federal government can’t threaten to withhold money from states that don’t fully comply on Medicaid extension
  • ScotusBlog conclusion: So the mandate is constitutional
  • The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government's power to terminate states' Medicaid funds is narrowly read
  • The ACA is upheld as a tax, not a penalty
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Previewing The Supreme Court Decision(s)

We posted this on Monday. With the SCOTUS ruling due out in minutes, here again is a preview of the various permutations that can come out today, and their impact on capital markets: "BofA outlines five possible scenarios and their potential impact across the healthcare sectors. They base the likelihood of their scenarios on a review of the March oral arguments, previous circuit court decisions, as well as surveys of legal experts and former Supreme Court clerks. Everything you need to know about the possible outcomes and actions to take."

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Guest Post: Who Destroyed The Middle Class - Part 3

Forty five years after the War on Poverty began, there are 49 million Americans living in poverty. That’s a solid good return on the $16 trillion spent so far. It’s on par with the 16 year zero percent real return in the stock market. We have produced a vast underclass of ignorant, uneducated, illiterate, dependent people who have become a huge voting block for the Democratic Party. Politicians, on the left, promise more entitlements to these people in order to get elected. Politicians on the right will not cut the entitlements for fear of being branded as uncaring. The Republicans agree to keep the welfare state growing and the Democrats agree to keep the warfare state growing -bipartisanship in all its glory. And the middle class has been caught in a pincer movement between the free shit entitlement army and the free shit corporate army. The oligarchs have been incredibly effective at using their control of the media, academia and ideological think tanks to keep the middle class ire focused upon the lower classes. While the middle class is fixated on people making $13,400 per year, the ultra-wealthy are bribing politicians to pass laws and create tax loopholes, netting them billions of ill-gotten loot. These specialists at Edward Bernays propaganda techniques were actually able to gain overwhelming support from the middle class for the repeal of estate taxes by rebranding them “death taxes”, even though the estate tax only impacts 15,000 households out of 117 million households in the U.S. The .01% won again.

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The Obamacare Outcome Matrix

With the Supreme Court likely to announce its decision on the constitutionality of Health Care Reform Law this Thursday, BofA outlines five possible scenarios and their potential impact across the healthcare sectors. They base the likelihood of their scenarios on a review of the March oral arguments, previous circuit court decisions, as well as surveys of legal experts and former Supreme Court clerks. Everything you need to know about the possible outcomes and actions to take.

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Q&A On Today's Obamacare Supreme Court Decision

In about an hour, the US Supreme Court, three years after Chrysler, is about to have a profound impact on Wall Street one more time. As Goldman explains, the court is expected to release some of the final opinions of the current session, which ends this week. Rulings on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as the Arizona immigration law are likely to capture the greatest amount of attention. With a number of opinions to get out, it is possible the court could wait until later this week (possibly Thursday, June 28) to release some of the remaining rulings for this term, though the court has not yet announced any additional dates for the release of opinions. Trading in the online prediction market intrade.com implies a 74% probability that the court will find the mandate unconstitutional; prior to the oral arguments in March, it implied only around a 35% probability the court would rule against the mandate. Goldman believes that the outcome is fairly unpredictable and that many market participants probably are relying too heavily on the oral arguments in trying to predict the outcome of the case.

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Guest Post: The Tiresome Eurozone Soap Opera Has Entered Re-Runs

What's more tiresome than a hastily rehearsed soap opera that replays the same boring plots again and again? Re-Runs of that soap opera. The Eurozone "drama" is now in re-runs and I for one am switching channels. Nothing will change until some critical part of the worm-eaten, corrupt construct of artifice and denial collapses in a heap. Until then, all we have is replays of the same boring plot lines:

Put-upon Greece: We were just minding our business here in the sunny south, living happily on borrowed billions in a thoroughly corrupt Status Quo, and suddenly we're debt-serfs squeezed by rapacious Eurozone enforcers of the banking cartel. What did we do to deserve this? It's not fair.

Put-upon Germany: We were just minding the store here, racking up 40% of our GDP in exports and raking in bank profits loaning money to our Eurozone compatriots, when suddenly everyone who's lived beyond their means demands that we refinance their debts because we're rich. Excuse us, but did anyone look at how we got rich? Hard work, cuts in spending, high taxes and a tight lid on wages. What did we do to deserve this? It's not fair.

Married couple in counseling: France and Germany: It's all his/her fault. They never bothered to understand me, etc.

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Guest Post: Is Capitalism Incompatible With Democracy?

Capitalism can be subverted by either an Elite or the majority. Marx traced out how Capital (wealth) naturally consolidates into monopolies or cartels (shared monopolies). These concentrations of wealth then buy political influence via campaign contributions, armies of lobbyists and the full spectrum of cronyism: sweetheart deals, envelopes of cash, revolving doors between the cartels and their regulators, plum jobs for lazy nephews and so on. This base corruption of the Central State, which is now the dominant force in the economy, allows Elites to change the rules rather than accept failure (also known as losses). Thus we have Crony Capitalism: profits are private and yours to keep, losses are transferred to the taxpaying public. This mechanism is well known and catches most of the attention. But M.M. highlighted the way the democratic majority can subvert capitalism. This is generally ignored for the simple reason that most commentators are part of the majority subverting capitalism to benefit their own self-interest.

This leads to a terminal state of self-delusion and self-justification

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The CBO Will Need A Bigger Chart To Forecast Exponentially-Rising US Debt

Sometime in 2042 the CBO will need a bigger chart to represent US public debt because per the just updated Extended Alternative Fiscal Scenario, which the CBO itself admits " is more representative of the fiscal policies that are now (or have recently been) in effect than is the extended baseline scenario," this is when it literally falls off the chart. And it is to ridiculous debt load that Keynesian lunatics want to add MORE debt? Actually why not, it is not as if the US will ever repay any of these exponentially-rising obligations.

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Guest Post: The Face of Corporatist Hypocrisy

As a guy who is living in a taxpayer-funded villa after his bank-insurance-derivatives-hedge fund-ponzi company blew up, we know Benmosche is a hypocrite. In my view, management should be held personally liable a long time before taxpayers. That’s right, I believe in personal responsibility and that means no hiding behind limited liability and bailouts, no matter how “systemically important” you claim to be. But let’s set aside disgust at government for first setting up this scenario via Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and then in 2008 throwing money at hypocritical grifters like Benmosche.

Is he wrong about social security and medical services?

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Guest Post: The Lie That Is Social Security


The problems facing the U.S. economy are daunting especially when it comes the issues of Government spending and the current deficit. We recently wrote about the dependency on Government programs which is currently making up as much as 35% of personal incomes. Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare make up the largest portions of the current spending requirements of the Federal Budget. The current administration has promised that cuts will not be made to government "entitlement" programs but is that a promise that any administration can actually keep? When it comes to Social Security the facts are rather alarming. By 2017 the Social Security Administration will pay out more in benefits than it takes in. This is not surprising given that in the 1950's there were roughly 5 workers for every retiree. Today, it is roughly half of that. With 78 Million "baby boomers" moving into retirement the demands on social security are set to spiral higher in the coming years ahead. Is it really any wonder then that with demographics heading in the wrong direction, not to mention a much slower growth economy, that the Social Security Administration has moved up its estimate that the Social Security Fund will be exhausted entirely by 2033?

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Guest Post: U.S.A. 2012: Is This What We've Become?

The word "sacrifice" has been sacrificed on the altar of expediency. The politicians we elect (those who dare speak the truth of our impoverishment and complicity don't get elected--we abhor and fear the truth) have ground the word "sacrifice" into meaningless with overuse; it now means nothing but yet another clarion-call to swallow lies and artifice to protect our share of the loot. The government can't be the problem, because the government issues me a nice check every month. And so we cling to easy falsehoods...  The problem is our consumerist, Central-State dominated society/economy that depends on ever-rising debt and and leverage is unsustainable, and placating ourselves with expedient simplicities that shift the accountability and responsibility from ourselves to someone or something else solves nothing. This reliance on excuses, denial and expediency is the hallmark of adolescence; in adulthood, these are the hallmarks of failure and pathology.
Is this what we've become, brittle, simulacra "grown-ups" who are incapable of acknowledging the truth of our situation? If we cannot dare acknowledging reality, then how can we solve our problems? If we cannot bear an awareness of our systemic rot and unsustainability, then how can we move past denial and expediency? If we have lost the ability to live within our means and to acknowledge difficult facts, then we have lost everything: our national integrity, our ability to problem-solve, our vigor and our future.

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Guest Post: The Taxpayer Funded PR Campaign For Obamacare Begins

Only in public schools and universities is the fairy tale still taught that governments are representative of the people.  The blue collared man on the street realizes the chips are stacked against him.  For those who don’t have political connections, the pseudo fascist system that is still referred to as “capitalism” in the U.S. is akin to a casino game of chance.  That is, the odds are always in the house’s favor.  The house is the federal leviathan and its equivalent at the state and local level as well as the big, cartelized industries which feed off government protection. With Obamacare, the middle class will end up being liable for yet another entitlement program that, like any other government initiative, will cost more than was initially estimated.  Worse yet, they will be bombarded with advertisements they paid for which attempt to convince them that Uncle Sam has once again delivered prosperity with a badge and a gun. The disheartening part is some Americans will be foolish enough to actually believe it.


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Guest Post: More Than 30 Blocks Of Grey & Decay

Our entire society is in a downward social and economic spiral. We are just at different levels of decay (Dante’s circles of hell). At the current pace it won’t be long before I’m writing about the 50 States of Squalor. It is virtually impossible to reverse a decline that has been underway for the last three decades. We sold our souls to Wall Street and chose a debt financed illusion of wealth over productive savings and investment which would have led to real wealth. Our choices are reflected in the continued deterioration and decay along West Chester Pike and the squalor that is West Philly. Grey and decay will carry the day. The words on the Statue of Liberty should be revised from,  ”Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, to “we have become your indebted, materialistic, obese, aging masses yearning for the government to protect and sustain us as our once great nation decays.”

As a nation, we have chosen this path. We made the choices and now we will suffer the consequences.

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One Half Of Simpson-Bowles Goes There: "Krugman Borders On Hysteria"

We have all thought it. We have all muttered it under our breaths (and some of us have even written about it on blogs) but the Keynesian Krusader's borrow-and-spend-our-way-to-growth dogma was bazooka'd by former Senator Alan Simpson yesterday. "I say why don't you read our report and then get back to me", Simpson says of Krugman in a must-watch interview on Bloomberg TV, adding that "Paul Krugman is a great economist, but he ain't the best in the world. This is nuts...I love to read his stuff because it borders on hysteria" Critically, he adds on the growing demographic crisis "This is not 20 years ago, it isn't 10. It is now. You have 10,000 a day coming into the system. The demographics are there. It is all different -- it is not the same". The former Senator goes on to discuss whether US will become the next Europe, how lawmakers will sell cutbacks to the American public, whether policymakers keeping rates low are contributing to the problem, and finally on Simpson-Bowles 2.0. - "The people of America are telling their elected people how it is. Erskin and I go all over the country and tell them we do not do BS or mush, but pull up a chair and we will tell you where the country is, and they are thirsting for that."

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