Murder, Death and Mobsters on Wall St....Who Knew?
Apparently, the highlight of the round-up of the G8 summit in Lough Erne might just have been that David Cameron went for a morning dip to swim a couple of lengths. That’s about as far as he might have got anyhow, considering that little all else was decided.
George Osborne is giving the Mansion-House (residence of the Lord Mayor of London) speech to the city tonight, an annual speech in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer traditionally gives his impression of the state of the British economy.
The 20th century could be categorized as THE century when communications took off and we started living in each other’s pockets. Lives had been ruined by war, trouble and strife. Wealth had been redistributed beyond belief. There were no longer just a few that were making the profits, but there were growing classes of people that wanted recognition.
President Barack Obama stated yesterday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has stayed in his position “longer than he [Bernanke] wanted”. Some will be probably agreeing with Bernanke (and Obama) more than he might have expected after having said that. Although he should have stopped short of adding (for fear of hurting Helicopter Ben’s feelings?) that he has done an “outstanding job”.
China! Honestly, it comes to something when China jumps on the accusatory band-wagon asking the US administration to provide some comments about its monitoring programs and answer up to the international community.
Iran is a right old sorry state (of affairs). Plunged into recession, inflationary pressure that Abenomics wouldn’t mind having a bit of and Bernanke might just be getting if he carries on printing the greenbacks at the rate they are churning out of the Federal Reserve faster than a Ford-T in 1908.
The summit opens today for two days of public display of back-slapping and hand holding, championing the things that the west does best. The summit was preceded yesterday by the parading of 8 life-size puppets with huge heads to draw attention to poverty levels in the world.
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.
Milton Friedman once said that “if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand”. I think if he were around still, he would need to revise that.
The New Deal social insurance philosophers thus struck a Faustian bargain... To get government funded pensions and unemployment benefits for the most needy, they eschewed a means test and, instead, agreed to generous wage replacement on a universal basis. To fund the massive cost of these universal benefits they agreed to a regressive payroll tax by disguising it as an insurance premium. Yet the long run results could not have been more perverse. The payroll tax has become an anti-jobs monster, but under the banner of a universal entitlement organized labor tenaciously defends what should be its nemesis. The puzzling thing is that 75 years later - with all the terrible facts fully known - the doctrinaire conviction abides on the Left that social insurance is the New Deal’s crowning achievement. In fact, it is its costliest mistake.
On this day in 1943 the “Current Tax Payment Act”, was passed by Congress. It provides for income taxes on wages and salaries to be withheld by employers from paychecks. The purpose stated was that is was an emergency provision for the War. Sure — but it is still with us today. Milton Friedman, who was a key player in implementing the “tax withholding” system realized what he had done and sought redemption: "... It never occurred to me at the time that I was helping to develop machinery that would make possible a government that I would come to criticize severely as too large, too intrusive, too destructive of freedom. Yet, that is precisely what I was doing."
Here are some of the most recent top insider dealing stories in the USA. The biggest in terms of fines!
The lesson from the events of 2007-2008 should have been clear: Boosting GDP with loose money can only lead to short term booms followed by severe busts. A policy of artificially cheapened credit cannot but cause mispricing of risk, misallocation of capital and a deeply dislocated financial infrastructure, all of which will ultimately conspire to bring the fake boom to a screeching halt. The ‘good times’ of the cheap money expansion, largely characterized by windfall profits for the financial industry and the faux prosperity of propped-up financial assets and real estate (largely to be enjoyed by the ‘1 percent’), necessarily end in an almighty hangover. The crisis that commenced in 2007 was therefore a massive opportunity: An opportunity to allow the market to liquidate the accumulated dislocations and to bring the economy back into balance. That opportunity was not taken and is now lost – maybe until the next crisis comes along, which won’t be long. It has become clear in recent years – and even more so in recent months and weeks – that we are moving with increasing speed in the opposite direction: ever more money, cheaper credit, and manipulated markets (there is one notable exception to which I come later). Policy makers have learned nothing. The same mistakes are being repeated and the consequences are going to make 2007/8 look like a picnic.
The overtly inflationary policy stance of the FOMC is especially significant when you consider that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is no longer in control of monetary policy.