Just as many expect that the #1 buyer of Treasuries (the Fed) will soon begin paring back its purchases, the top foreign holder (China) may cease buying, thereby opening a second front in the taper campaign. Little thought seems to be given to how the economy would react to 5% yields on 10 year Treasuries (a modest number in historical standards). The herd assumes that our stronger economy could handle such levels. That is why when it comes to tapering, the Fed is all bark and no bite. But the market understands none of this. This is not unusual in market history. When the spell is finally broken and markets wake up to reality, we will scratch our heads and wonder how we could ever have been so misguided.
Peter Schiff is sympathetic "with what [bitcoin] is trying to achieve," but as he explains in this brief clip he believes, "they are using the wrong vehicle." After rising from less than $20 to more than $600 in one year, many investors are wondering if bitcoin might be worth the risk, Schiff adds, nothing that early adopters pitch bitcoin as "gold 2.0" – a digital currency that cannot be manipulated like fiat money. Bitcoins are even "mined," similar to physical gold and silver (and are scarce and divisble); but as Schiff explains, bitcoins still fail as a substitute for gold and strongly urges investors to avoid this risky new currency. Bitcoin could very well have already hit its top, but Peter is confident gold is still well below its future record highs.
The third stage of bull markets, the mania phase, can last longer and go farther that logic would dictate. However, the data suggests that the risk of a more meaningful reversion is rising. It is unknown, unexpected and unanticipated events that strike the crucial blow that begins the market rout. Unfortunately, due to the increased impact of high frequency and program trading, reversions are likely to occur faster than most can adequately respond to. This is the danger that exists today. Are we in the third phase of a bull market? Most who read this article will say "no." However, those were the utterances made at the peak of every previous bull market cycle.
With gold down 10 of the last 11 days (until today), Peter Schiff tells CNBC that this temporary downswing is due to "the fantasy of a US recovery," that so many actually believe and thus, due to this 'recovery' the Fed will taper back its quantitative easing. "It's not gonna happen," Schiff explains, "we have a phony recovery," and the Fed will more likely increase the amount of QE in order to sustain it, "which is very bullish for gold." Crucially, Schiff clarifies that he "doesn't think a taper is inevitable," as many believe, "but an end to QE won't happen by the Fed's choice - the market will force them to tread on the brakes as the USD collapses." As we noted earlier, Schiff also believes there is an attempt to do "whatever it takes" to pull the EUR down to maintain the USD - but as today's price action shows, it's not working... "Long-term, the fundamentals have never been better for gold."
Despite rewriting history as usual, proclaiming that the administration 'knew' early numbers would be low (not true since they estimated 500,000 and are rumored to only have ~50,000), and changing the definition of what an enrollee is, and managing our expectations via Carney's press conference, we are intrigued to see what the "huge demand" Kathleen Sebelius expected for Obamacare has actually resulted in... Perhaps she needs to call the helpline! Remember, as Peter Schiff noted, the website can be fixed, but Obamacare can't (unless, of course, more keg-standers and sluts sign up).
*OBAMACARE ENROLLS 106,185 IN PRIVATE HEALTH PLANS IN OCTOBER (26,794 on Federal Exchange,79,391 on State Exchanges)
Instead of using inflation statistics as a political ploy to raise taxes and artificially cut spending, the President and Congress should use a measurement that actually captures the eroding standard of living caused by the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies. Changing government statistics to exploit the decline in the American way of life and benefit big spending politicians and their cronies in the big banks does nothing but harm the American people.
Most market watchers expect that Janet Yellen will grapple with two major tasks once she takes the helm at the Federal Reserve in 2014: deciding on the appropriate timing and intensity of the Fed's quantitative easing taper strategy, and unwinding the Fed's enormous $4 trillion balance sheet (without creating huge losses in the value of its portfolio). In reality both assignments are far more difficult than just about anyone understands or admits.
The philosophical roots of Janet Yellen's economics voodoo, it seems, are in many ways even more appalling than the Bernanke paradigm (which in turn is based on Bernanke's erroneous interpretation of what caused the Great Depression, which he obtained in essence from Milton Friedman). The following excerpt perfectly encapsulates her philosophy (which is thoroughly Keynesian and downright scary): Fed Vice Chairman Yellen laid out what she called the 'Yale macroeconomics paradigm' in a speech to a reunion of the economics department in April 1999. "Will capitalist economies operate at full employment in the absence of routine intervention? Certainly not," said Yellen, then chairman of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. "Do policy makers have the knowledge and ability to improve macroeconomic outcomes rather than make matters worse? Yes," although there is "uncertainty with which to contend." She couldn't be more wrong if she tried. We cannot even call someone like that an 'economist', because the above is in our opinion an example of utter economic illiteracy.
The debut of Healthcare.gov has been probably the worst launch of a major website in history, millions of Americans are having their current health insurance policies canceled, millions of others are seeing the size of their health insurance premiums absolutely explode, and this new law is going to result in massive numbers of jobs being lost. It is almost as if Obamacare was specifically designed to wreck the U.S. economy. Americans are going to pay far more for health care, the quality of that care is going to go down, they are going to have to deal with far more medical red tape, and thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering getting rid of the health plans that they offer to employees altogether due to Obamacare. If the U.S. health care system was a separate nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet, and now Obamacare is going to absolutely cripple it. To say that Obamacare is an "economic catastrophe" would be a massive understatement. Of course we were assured that it wouldn't turn out this way.
Since Obamacare made its debut, discussions have focused on Ted Cruz' efforts to defund the law and the shockingly bad functionality of the Website itself. Fortunately for Obama, polling indicates that Senator Cruz has lost, at least for now, the battle for hearts and minds. The President has not been nearly so lucky on the technological front. If current trends continue, the rollout may go down as the worst major product launch in history. But given the government's enormous resources, it's safe to say that the site itself will ultimately be fixed. But when it is finally up and running, the plan's many deeper, and more intractable, flaws will come into focus. That's when the fun will really begin.
Last week, Peter Schiff began his epic take-down of the myth of Janet Yellen's forecasting ability. As proof of her wisdom supporters had pointed to speeches she delivered in 2005 and 2006 in which she supposedly issued clear warnings about the dangers then building in the frothy real estate markets. Without any attempt at reasonable fact checking, these claims have been parroted by the media.. and that is what Schiff so diligently destroyed. However, Schiff notes in this follow-up, there is a key statement she makes (in justifying the 'fundamentals' behind the housing bubble) that relates to credit and speculative leverage that is crucial to understand the way she sees the world and thus - what to expect from her Fed.
It is rare that investors are given a road map. It is rarer still that the vast majority of those who get it are unable to understand the clear signs and directions it contains. When this happens the few who can actually read the map find themselves in an enviable position. Such is currently the case with gold and gold-related investments.
When President Obama nominated Janet Yellen to be the next Chair of the Federal Reserve Board the praise he offered was similar to what had already poured in from around the country. In their assessments of Ms. Yellen's long career, Congressman, editors, and academics have underscored how her prescience and caution distinguish her from the reckless overconfidence that have plagued her male colleagues at the Federal Reserve. As proof of her wisdom supporters have pointed to speeches she delivered in 2005 and 2006 in which she supposedly issued clear warnings about the dangers then building in the frothy real estate markets. Without any attempt at reasonable fact checking, these claims have been parroted by the media. However, a brief review of the speeches in question reveals that she issued no such warnings at that time.
The popular take on the current debt ceiling stand-off is that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has a delusional belief that it can hit the brakes on new debt creation without bringing on an economic catastrophe. While Republicans are indeed kidding themselves if they believe that their actions will not unleash deep economic turmoil, there are much deeper and more significant delusions on the other side of the aisle. Democrats, and the President in particular, believe that continually taking on more debt to pay existing debt is a more responsible course of action. Even worse, they appear to believe that debt accumulation is the equivalent of economic growth.
Unlike her predecessors, Janet Yellen has never had a youthful dalliance with hawkish monetary ideas. Before taking charge of the Fed both Alan Greenspan, and to a lesser extent Ben Bernanke, had advocated for the benefits of a strong currency and low inflation and had warned of the dangers of overly accommodative policy and unnecessary stimulus. (Both largely abandoned these ideals once they took the reins of power, but their urge to stimulate may have been restrained by a vestigial bias against the excesses of Keynesianism). Janet Yellen, who has been on the liberal/dovish end of the monetary spectrum for her entire professional career, has no such baggage. As a result, we can expect her to never waver in her belief that stimulus is the answer to every economic question.