Debt, if used for productive investments, can be a solution to stimulating economic growth in the short-term. However, in the U.S., debt has been squandered on increases in social welfare programs and debt service which has an effective negative return on investment. Therefore, the larger the balance of debt becomes, the more economically destructive it is by diverting an ever growing amount of dollars away from productive investments to service payments. The relevance of debt growth versus economic growth is all too evident as shown below...
It appears the reality of the so-called "28 pages" - removed from the 9/11 Commission report - being unclassified may be getting closer and many suspect. Why do we say that? Because none other than CIA Director John Brennan did the Sunday talk-show circuit to start the propaganda, playing-down the report's significance, warning that information in the 28 pages hasn't been vetted or corroborated, adding that releasing the information would give ammunition to those who want to tie the terror attacks to Saudi Arabia - "I think there's a combination of things that are accurate and inaccurate [in the report]."
The sad truth may be that rackets of this kind are unreformable, and that we can’t begin to do things differently until they collapse. Likewise in virtually all other areas of American life, the real trend as yet un-discussed in this election campaign, will be unwinding and downscaling of the onerous, toxic hyper-complexity of the age now passing and finding our way to a workable re-set of what used to be known as political-economy. In the meantime: a clown show.
The 2016 election has laid bare the deep insecurity of America’s ageing working-class, their resentment toward foreigners, competition, change. While America’s youth clamor for fairness, a future free from crushing student debt, the oppression of a government owned by and run for big business, the US Treasury is responding, warning our trading partners against artificially weakening their currencies, stealing our growth, depressing our wages, destroying our jobs.
For months, the best performing strategy of 2016 was being long "low hedge fund concentration stocks." Amusingly, as of a few days ago, the second best performing strategy of 2016 is being long "high hedge fund concentration stocks", demonstrating vividly just how schizophrenic hedge fund traders have become...
From here, we expect Abadi to face more calls to resign to pave the way for fresh elections. On balance, those calls will be narrowly dismissed, not because Abadi has any political capital left to appoint a new cabinet, but because a dearth of consensus over who’d replace him. Iran is more than happy to keep Abadi in post to bring Iraq to its knees, while the US won’t want the horrifying nightmare of orchestrating an Iraqi election before US Presidential elections are out the way. Fall short on the 2018 dates, and you’ll merely highlight the ingrained presence ISIS still has in Iraq, amid inexorable state collapse.
According to leaked negotiating drafts and internal positions, which were obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, it seems the stumbling blocks ahead of the TTIP's implementation are indeed substantial, and potentially dealbreaking. As the Guardian reports, talks for a free trade deal between Europe and the US face a serious impasse with "irreconcilable" differences in some areas. The leaked texts also show that the two sides are at odds "over US demands that would require the EU to break promises it has made on environmental protection."
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced that he would take command of all of China’s armed forces, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Xi is already chairman of the Central Military Commission that oversees the army. He is now taking a more direct role as head of the new Joint Operations Command Center, which puts him in operational command of the PLA in times of war. The new title in all likelihood means little in terms of actual command, but it has tremendous political significance. Officially, the Chinese are reforming their military, which is logical (read why here). The roots of this change, however, lie in China’s economic crisis and the need to preserve the regime.
While the Arab countries floated themselves on oceans of petro-dollars forty years ago, they have little need for them now. So we must now turn our attention to China, which is well positioned to act as white knight to Saudi Arabia. China’s SAFE sovereign wealth fund could easily swallow the Aramco stake, and there are good strategic reasons why it should. A quick deal would help stabilise a desperate financial and political situation on the edges of China’s rapidly growing Asian interests, and keep Saudi Arabia onside as an energy supplier. China has dollars to dispose, and a mutual arrangement would herald a new era of tangible cooperation. The US can only stand and stare as China teases Saudi Arabia away from America’s sphere of influence.
In Japan, the European Union and Switzerland, where negative nominal interest rates have already been adopted, it was observed that demand for safes and cash increased. At the same time, we learn that negative rates have boosted demand for gold in Japan (sales of gold to Japanese consumers rose to 32.8 metric tonnes in 2015 from 17.9 tonnes a year earlier). According to Takahiro Ito, chief manager at Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K.’s store in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, “Many customers are wagering that it’s better to turn their savings to gold as a safe asset rather than deposit money at banks that offer low interest rates."
Over the years, Zero Hedge has proven to be a magnet for media attention. Today, it is Bloomberg's turn.
..because our system makes (and keeps) us sick.
For the past twenty years, movements have arisen to challenge American imperialism. The Trump movement is different: it is massive, and it is capable of winning. That’s what has the Establishment in such a panic. If we step back from the daily news cycle, and consider the larger significance of the Trump phenomenon, the meaning of it all is unmistakable: we haven’t seen anything like this in American politics – not ever. Revolution is in the air. The oligarchy is tottering. The American people are waking up, and rising up – and those who try to ignore it or disdain it as mere “populism” will be left behind.