The Obamacare that consumers will finally be able to sign up for next week is a long way from the health plan President Obama first pitched to the nation. As Politico notes, millions of low-income Americans won’t receive coverage. Many workers at small businesses won’t get a choice of insurance plans right away. Large employers won’t need to provide insurance for another year. Far more states than expected won’t run their own insurance marketplaces. And a growing number of workers won’t get to keep their employer-provided coverage. But, apart from that - and all the exemptions - six more days and we will all get to see the shiny new exchanges; which may (or may not) prove Sen. Barraso right when he said "It was bad policy and bad politics. They got it wrong on all accounts."
Yesterday we highlighted the plight of Tom Palome and his cohorts as they face a need to work well into once-thought-retirement age. However, there are hundreds of formerly prosperous communities all over America that are being steadily transformed into rotting, decaying hellholes. The good paying middle class jobs that once supported those communities are long gone, and they have been replaced with low paying service jobs if they have been replaced at all. When you visit those communities, it is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of the air. The following are 20 quotes from ordinary Americans about the economic despair that is rapidly growing around them.
When Obamacare was thought up it was more than just a presidential pledge to woo the poverty-stricken Americans into believing (and voting) that healthcare should be provided for all and sundry and that any Tom, Dick and Harry could get through life by being provided for by the state.
There is a reason why every fiat currency in the history of the world has eventually failed. At some point, those issuing fiat currencies always find themselves giving in to the temptation to wildly print more money. Today, the Fed finds itself faced with a scenario that is very similar to what the Weimar Republic was facing nearly 100 years ago. Like then, the U.S. economy is struggling and like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, the Fed has decided to adopt the same solution that the Weimar Republic chose. The Fed is recklessly printing money out of thin air, and in the short-term some 'positive things' have come out of it. But quantitative easing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too.
Many well-meaning commentators look back on the era of strong private-sector unions and robust U.S. trade surpluses with longing. The trade surpluses vanished for two reasons: global competition and to protect the dollar as the world's reserve currency. It is impossible for the U.S. to maintain the reserve currency and run trade surpluses. It's Hobson's Choice: if you run trade surpluses, you cannot supply the global economy with the currency flows it needs for trade, reserves, payment of debt denominated in the reserve currency and credit expansion. If you don't possess the reserve currency, you can't print money and have it accepted as payment. In other words, the U.S. must "export" U.S. dollars by running a trade deficit to supply the world with dollars to hold as reserves and to use to pay debt denominated in dollars. Other nations need U.S. dollars in reserve to back their own credit creation.
- Triumph Confirms 'Era of Merkelism' (Spiegel)
- Merkel must reach out to leftist rivals after poll triumph (Reuters)
- Norwegian Air says both its Dreamliners hit by technical issues (Reuters)
- Chinese court gives Bo Xilai life sentence (CBS)
- Social Dems Deflect Talk of Merkel Alliance (Spiegel)
- Blasts shake Nairobi mall, smoke pours from building (Reuters)
- Open-Government Laws Fuel Hedge-Fund Profits (WSJ)
- Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Holier Than Mother Teresa (Matt Taibbi)
- BlackBerry move away from consumers unlikely to stem decline (Reuters)
- And another Greek strike: Greek teachers, civil servants to strike against layoffs (Reuters)
Why aren't rising stock markets being greeted with wild celebrations? We think the study of socionomics may offer some clues.
72% of the poor and 71% of the middle-class believe government policies (fiscal and monetary) have done little or nothing to help them. Of course, this will be eschewed by the academics (as Santelli recently exclaimed regarding the arrogance of the intellectuals) because "the people" just don't get it. But when 69% of all Americans, according a new Pew study, say large banks and financial institutions have benefited the most from post-recession government policies; communications policies are going badly awry. Despite a surging stock market, exploding home prices, and low rates spurring all kinds of subprime auto loan exuberance, there has been little change in these perceptions since July 2010.
The Fed's failure yesterday to announce some sort of tapering of its QE program, despite the consensus of an overwhelming percentage of economists who expected action, once again reveals the degree to which mainstream analysts have overestimated the strength of our current economy. The Fed understands, as the market seems not to, that the current "recovery" could not survive without continuation of massive monetary stimulus. Mainstream economists have mistaken the symptoms of the Fed's monetary expansion, most notably rising stock and real estate prices, as signs of real and sustainable growth. But the current asset price bubbles have nothing to do with the real economy. To the contrary, they are setting up for a painful correction that will likely be worse than the one we experienced five years ago. Following this playbook, the Fed will likely maintain the pretense that tapering is a near term possibility and that it has a credible plan on the shelf to bring an end to QE. In reality the Fed is stalling for time and hoping that the economy will inexplicably roar back to life. Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy.
This is The System Of The World. It lays out in logical frankness how the various layers of the facade we call “democracy” and “free markets” interoperate and together create a grotesque caricature of the ideals they purport to serve and keep us all enslaved. Join us on a trip through The System.
Are you ready for Janet Yellen? Wall Street wants her, the mainstream media wants her and it appears that her confirmation would be a slam dunk. She would be the first woman ever to chair the Federal Reserve, and her philosophy is that a little bit of inflation is actually good for an economy. She was reportedly the architect for many of the unprecedented monetary decisions that Ben Bernanke made during his tenure, and that has many on Wall Street and in the media very excited. Noting that we "already know that Yellen is on board with Bernanke's easy money policies", CNN recently even went so far as to publish a rabidly pro-Yellen article with this stunning headline: "Dear Mr. President: Name Yellen now!" But after watching what a disaster Bernanke has been, do we really want more of the same? It doesn't really matter whether she is a woman, a man, a giant lizard or a robot, the question is whether or not she is going to continue to take us down the path to ruin that Bernanke has taken us.
It is unknown whether the Philly Fed was using the BLS' pre-upgrade computers to calculate their diffusion index of broad manufacturing conditions, but the bottom line is that while the Fed is telling the market the economy is deteriorating and is adjusting its GDP forecast accordingly, the manufacturers in the Philadelphia region did not get the memo, and as a result the general business activity number soared from 9.3 to 22.3, more than double the expected 10.3. This was driven by a jump in both New Orders and Shipments, both printing at 21.2, a jump in Inventories to -1.8 from -11.3, as well as the Number of Employees and the Average Employee workweek, which soared from low single digits and negative, to over 10 each. The only negative in the report is that while Prices Paid jumped to 25.3, prices received barely budged. Then again, with the Fed micromanaging everything now, who needs profits when one can just go public and sell stock indefinitely.
It has been a "Summer of Recovery" for the U.S. economy with GDP growth rising from 1.1% in the first quarter to 2.5% in the second and manufacturing surveys showed sharp jumps in new orders and outlooks. The same occurred in the Eurozone with Markit's PMI reports showing sharp bounces higher and hopes that the recession that has plagued the region was finally coming to an end. The question of sustainability remains. The recent uptick in the Eurozone has now ended which most likely suggests that the recent pop in domestic production is likely ephemeral. The next couple of months of data should be telling in the regard and also suggests why employment reports have been much weaker than anticipated. With hopes once again running high that the economy is set to regain "escape velocity" in the coming year there is plenty of margin for disappointment.
- Bernanke Resets Policy by Doing Nothing as Markets Soar (BBG)
- Stocks Jump to Five-Year High as Metals Rally on Fed (BBG)
- Centre-left bigwig says hard to stay allied with Berlusconi (ANSA)
- J.P. Morgan 'Whale' Fine Put at Over $900 Million (WSJ)
- Banks’ $10 Billion Sweet Spot Sets Off Buying Spree for Lenders (BBG)
- Time to taper? Not if you look at bank loans (Reuters)
- Mortgage Lending Reaches 5-Year High (WSJ) ... and then plunges as Fed gives "all clear" for a few months
- Yellen Chances Grow as Obama Aides Test Senate Support (BBG)
The equity market’s reactions to monetary policy inflection points, when (or if) the Fed takes the first step to normalize monetary policy following easing in response to recession, have been reasonably similar. As Barclays' Barry Knapp notes, irrespective of the pace of policy accommodation removal – the average policy normalization-related correction during the prior six business cycles is 8.9%. While our memories of an extremely volatile September – five years ago – remain fresh, the last four have been exceptionally tame. However, while another period of fiscal uncertainty seems likely, Knapp fears there is a key difference between this September and the surprisingly low volatility Septembers in 2009-12. In those periods, the Fed was either buying assets or had pre-announced a new program; this year, it is preparing to weaken the portfolio balance effect.