Even as the NATO summit began hours ago in Wales, conveniently enough (for Obama) at the venue of the 2010 Ryder Cup, so far today geopolitics has taken a backseat to the biggest event of the day - the ECB's much hyped and anticipated announcement. So anticipated in fact that even as it has been priced in for the past month, especially by BlackRock which is already calculating the Christmas bonus on its "consultancy" in implementing the ECB's ABS purchasing program and manifesting itself in record low yields across Europe's bond market, Reuters decided to milk it some more moments ago with the following blast: "Plans to launch an asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bond purchase programme worth up to 500 billion euros are on the table at Thursday's European Central Bank policy meeting..." The notable being the size of the program, which at €500 billion, is precisely what Deutsche Bank said a week ago the size of the ABS program would be. Almost as if the bank with the world's biggest derivative exposure is helping coordinate the "Private QE"...
Icahn, Soros, Druckenmiller, And Now Zell: The Billionaires Are All Quietly Preparing For The PlungeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/03/2014 23:03 -0400
"The stock market is at an all-time, but economic activity is not at an all-time," explains billionaire investor Sam Zell adding that "I don't remember any time in my career where there have been as many wildcards floating out there that have the potential to be very significant and alter people's thinking." Zell concludes that "this is the first time I ever remember where having cash isn't such a terrible thing." Zell's calls should not be shocking following Soros. Druckenmiller, and Icahn's warnings that there is trouble ahead.
Labor unions are a dying breed. According to the Pew Research Center, union membership in America “is at its lowest level since the Great Depression.” In 1983, there were approximately 17.7 million union workers. Today, that number stands at 14.5 million, with every estimate showing a continued downward trajectory. Clearly, the Norma Raes of the world are going extinct. But as Samuel Johnson quipped, one should never dismiss the triumph of hope over experience. With economic growth still staggering, the decline of union membership can’t come soon enough. Freed from the demands of overpaid bargainers, innovation and productivity inevitably rise. Increasing numbers of Americans are migrating to states with less strenuous union laws. When given a choice, workers go where the money is; not where there’s tough talk about bargaining rights. Ayn Rand had unions pegged best when she declared their purpose has never been to empower the average worker. “Unions and trade associations,” she wrote, “are not directed against employers or the public but against the best among their own members.” The goal has never been about “raising the weak in any way whatever, but simply forcing the strong down to the level of the moron.”
30 Million Americans On Antidepressants And 21 Other Facts About America's Endless Pharmaceutical NightmareSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/03/2014 22:35 -0400
Has there ever been a nation more hooked on drugs than the United States? And we are not just talking about illegal drugs – the truth is that the number of Americans addicted to legal drugs is far greater than the number of Americans addicted to illegal drugs. They trusted that their doctors would never prescribe something for them that would be harmful, and they trusted that the federal government would never approve any drugs that were not safe. And once the drug companies get you hooked, they often have you for life. Very powerful people will often do some really crazy things when there are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake. The following are 22 facts about America’s endless pharmaceutical nightmare that everyone should know...
The dismaying reality: the only purpose of central bank monetary policy is to keep the bloated, corrupt, inefficient and self-liquidating vested interests of the state-cartel crony capitalism from having to suffer the consequences of real reforms. Japan ably serves as Exhibit #1 of this core dynamic.
The financial market stimulus chorus is now universal - virtually identical from Hong Kong to London to New York, despite ostensibly deep differences in policy regimes. At the end of the day, however, there is not really a dimes worth of difference between the Bush/Obama/Bernanke model and the economic model employed by the politburo overlords in Beijing. Its all about insensible, contagious, addictive credit expansion, and the phony wealth and temporary prosperity which it breeds. All it takes is just another shot of “stimulus”.
Just three months ago, everyone was a believer: bonds traded well above par, Europe's recovery was on track, and Portugal's banking system was a shining example of how Europe's bailout program worked (and Goldman was pitching SPVs full of this crap to any and all greater fools). Today - the ugly truth is exposed as Bloomberg reports, Espirito Santo International debt attracted potential buyers at just 2% of face value. Of course, the words "contained" are trotted out to explain how this is a one-off and not at all representative of the rest of the European banking system. But... Howard Marks' Oaktree Capital seems to disagree - "We continue to think Europe will provide a substantial quantum of attractive investment opportunities for all of our strategies and in particular distressed debt," as a record amount of bad loans are being offloaded by European banks ahead of the stress tests.
“Everyone in the country was in shock. People’s net worth had devalued more than 53% overnight.”
Looking back, it was so obvious. But most people ignored the warning signs following the government's reassurances that all would be well... It’s human nature to want to believe that everything is going to be OK. Are we so different today?
For the past five years there has been a very clear and significant cycle to US macro data.. A year ago, we explained this cycle appears to be created by government agencies need to spend, spend, spend their budgets out ahead of fiscal year-end (Sept). This year has been no different... As in past years, this spike in activity is extrapolated by the smartest people in the room, leaving the reality to miss expectations for the rest of the year. A glance at the chart below might suggest, we just jumped the shark once more in US macro data for 2014...
Capitalism gets into deep trouble when the price of financial assets becomes completely disconnected from economic reality and common sense. What ensues is rampant speculation in which financial gamblers careen from one hot money play to the next, leaving the financial system distorted and unstable - a proverbial train wreck waiting to happen. That’s where we are now.
A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place! Here’s a strategy: just come home.
While many will claim otherwise, often those who are awakening just want the system to be ‘fixed’ so they can go back to sleep.
Gold Lock Down Despite Aggressive Plan To Ban Russia From SWIFT, Terrorism & War Risk; Palladium At Multi-Year High Over $900Submitted by GoldCore on 09/01/2014 16:14 -0400
The 13 year anniversary of the 911 attacks in 2001 looms next week and given developments in recent days and weeks, one must be wary of new attacks in the UK , U.S. and other western nations. The UK has raised the country's terror threat level from substantial to severe, its second highest level. MI5 and MI6 said there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.
Although I never thought it was possible, it makes me angry to write this book review. I'm not angry because I don't like the book. On the contrary, this is the best economics book I've ever read. Indeed, it may be the best and most influential book I've ever read in my life. I only wish I had read it the moment it was published in April 2013.
The entire Ukraine conflict could be resolved tomorrow morning if Kiev, and its western support, would pledge to stop waging war on the Donbass. And give it a separate status, either within Ukraine or in a separate state. After half a year+ of warfare, how else could you resolve this crisis? Only through more bloodshed, that’s how. But our western leadership is simply too trigger happy for comfort.... These clowns are dragging us into war. And yes, maybe it would be a good idea for you to tell them that you don’t want them to. Before your kids, or their friends, their neighbors, start dying in some far away ugly theater they should never have been part of. Is peace impossible in Ukraine today? No. Not at all. But it is as long as the west keeps its hopes for conquering the Donbass alive. It should have known that from the start, and perhaps it did, and started this crusade anyway, because the grand prize it’s after is Russia itself. Over our dead bodies.