Our political-financial system has gone from the dysfunctional to the failed to the surreal. Speculation, once left to individuals and investors, is now federally sponsored, subsidized and institutionalized. When this sham finally buckles and the next shoe falls and rates do eventually rise, the stock market will tank, liquidity will die, and the broader economy will plunge into a worse Depression than before. We are not there yet because of these coordinated moves and the political force behind them. But we are on a precarious path to that inevitability.
Moments ago the Obama administration revised its estimate for Obamacare enrollment, now saying - with the bruising midterms safely in the rearview mirror - that it expects some 9.9 million people to have coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges in 2015, millions fewer than outside experts predicted. And actually it is not even 9.9 million: "Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Monday the administration was aiming for 9.1 million paid-up enrollees for 2015, though the range could extend to 9.9 million, according to the agency’s analysis. Ms. Burwell said she respected the work of the Congressional Budget Office and its projections but that she believed HHS figures were based on the best and most up-to-date information." So really 8 million, or less?
Dr. Faber prudently advises clients not only to diversify among asset classes but to also to diversify within asset classes. We share this view. We advise our clients to hold gold and silver in various locations and in various forms but always in secure vaults and safe jurisdictions such as Singapore or Switzerland.
If you like your boots-on-the-ground, you can keep them... and have some more. Whether a strawman or not, Reuters reports that according to US officials, the U.S. military has drawn up plans to significantly increase the number of American forces in Iraq, which now total around 1,400, as Washington seeks to bolster Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State. The White House and Pentagon were expected to announce further details later Friday.
Based on the ridiculous, seasonally-adjusted data released day after day by the various US "Departments of Truth", also known as the BLS, the Census, the Dept of Commerce, UMichigan, ADP, the Conference Board and so on, the US economy is so strong and consumer confidence is so resurgent, America is on the verge of a second golden age. Sadly, for Obama, and last night's epic rout for Democrats, it was all a lie - a lie perpetuated by a manipulated S&P500 which hit daily record highs on unprecedented central bank liquidity injections which have now terminally disconnected the "markets" from the economy, and the welfare of the vast majority of the common "folk" - and said "folk" saw right through it.
Isn't it odd that 'they threw the bums out' last night and yet, economic confidence is high, stocks are high, and now, according to ADP, private payrolls are great too? Something doesn't add up. ADP printed 230k against expectations of 220k, modestly up from a revised 225k in September. Small and Medium-sized businesses added jobs while the largest firms (over 1000 people) slashed jobs (which is great for the stock, right?).
"I was on a panel with Alan Greenspan a week ago... I said, you mean to say that the Federal Reserve is not independent? He immediately said, Marc, I never said the Fed was independent. In other words, the Fed and the Treasury and the government is basically one and the same."
"Japan is engaged in a Ponzi scheme"
"The oil price decline is not necessarily very good for the US - if oil prices went lower, it may actually have an adverse impact on the US economy"
It appears, just as we warned two weeks ago, that the 'dumping strategy' designed to punish Obama's nemesis Putin could have morphed into a Saudi Arabian strategy to keep its foot on the neck of the US Shale Oil industry. In an awkward headline for mainstream media to explain, The Kingdom has raised prices of its Arab Light crude exports to Asia and Europe but cut prices to the USA significantly, potentially pressuring domestic suppliers with foreign 'cheap' imports. While not a primary course of US oil, we suspect the signaling of this move is more worrisome for Shale capex (especially as we noted Saudi Arabia can survive 7.9 years at lower prices) Forget currency wars, meet oil wars...
Despite the Obama Administration continuing to insist that its strategy in Syria is "working," The Telegraph reports that two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the US to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda. Rather stunningly, the Syrian Revolutionary Front, one of the largest "vetted, moderate" US-backed rebel forces, has been effectively wiped out; and has handed over all their weapons and bases including US-provided anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets. Simply out, "as a movement, the SRF is effectively finished," but apart from that US foreign policy is 'nailing it'. As The Telegraph concludes, for the US, the weapons they supplied falling into the hands of al-Qaeda is a realisation of a nightmare.
The short answer, of course, is "nothing" - Congress, or the presidency, have been irrelevant ever since the Fed fully took over the US some time in late 2008. Since then, it has been the role of the central printer of the US, working on behalf of the US banking syndicate, to "get to work", and cover up the fact that Congress, its make up, or its decisions, are now inconsequential. Still, there are those whose job is to overanalyze everything, and those, whose ideological persuasion, is to believe that what there is a difference between the "left" and the "right." Still, since someone has to pay attention to the proceedings in the most farcical and polarized, if only for public consumption purposes, Congress in history may as well present what The Hill thinks will happen. Here are the five areas to watch.
U.S. Ignoring Earthquake Risks to Nuclear Plants
While the Obama administration continues its schizophrenic approach in countering the threat of Ebola spreading on US soil, on one hand demanding that states eliminate mandatory quarantines of citizens in their Ebola response protocol since a ban on travel from west Africa is considered out of the question, while on the other the Pentagon just approved a mandatory 3 week "isolation" of troops returning from Ebola missions, yesterday Canada announced a far more practical solution: America's northern neighbor said it was suspending visa applications for residents of Ebola-hit nations in a bid to prevent the deadly virus from crossing its borders.
When it comes to Ebola, the story that the government is telling us just keeps on changing. At first, government officials were claiming that it was very difficult to spread the Ebola virus. Some of them were even comparing it to HIV. We were given the impression that we had to have “direct contact” with someone else’s body fluids in order to have any chance of catching the virus. But of course that is not true at all. Now authorities are admitting that Ebola is “aerostable”, that it can be “spread through droplets”, and that it can remain on surfaces for up to 50 days. That is far different information than we have been getting up until this point.
Over the last 2 days, more than two dozen Russian military aircraft, in four groups, were tracked and intercepted conducting aerial maneuvers around Europe, according to NATO. As The Wall Street Journal reports, this activity is on a scale seldom seen since the end of the Cold War, prompting NATO jets to scramble in another sign of how raw East-West relations have grown. "There is a troubling trend... of sabre rattling" warned The White House, noting that NATO has intercepted over 100 incursions by Russia year-to-date to which the US Army chief of staff ominously warned, this is "Russian aggression," and "we have to reassure our allies."