Allow me a rant on a nice Saturday morning.
Will the biggest acquisition in its 36-year history give Microsoft a leg up on Google and Apple?
Unemployment During the Great Depression Has Been Overstated and Current Unemployment Understated (We've Now Got Depression-Level Unemployment)Submitted by George Washington on 06/03/2011 11:47 -0500
No, QE3 is NOT the answer ...
Troica Demands Deep Public Sector Cuts, Higher Taxes As Part Of Greek Bailout #2, Or My Big Fat Greek AnschlussSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/03/2011 10:37 -0500
So here it is:
- EU, IMF: GREECE NEEDS TO REINVIGORATE STRUCTURAL REFORMS (so, fire more people and generate more GDP with whoever is left?)
- EU, IMF: GREECE WILL REDUCE PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYMENT (so, fire even more peple)
- EU, IMF: GREECE TO REDUCE TAX EXEMPTIONS, RAISE PROPERTY TAXES (So, generate more GDP by taxing people more?)
- EU, IMF: `AMBITIOUS' MID-TERM PLAN, WILL MEET 2011-2015 TARGETS (If the targets are all Greek bankruptcy, yes)
- EU, IMF: OVERALL ASSESSMENT GREEK PROGRAM `SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS (uh, where?)
- EU, IMF: GREEK ECONOMY TO STABILISE AT TURN OF YEAR (Idiots)
And now, the people get angry. Expect live webcast from Syntagma square shortly.
Whenever I unleash a tirade at home about how Federal spending has leaped 40% in three years and how the government is now borrowing 42% of its spending, my wife points out that nobody cares because the deficit doesn't impact them at all. This always stops the tirade in its tracks, because it's so obviously true. As long as the Federal checks keep being issued and everyone gets their 17 "low-cost" meds paid by Medicare, the National Defense State gets unlimited billions to spy on the citizenry and indeed, the entire world, gasoline at $1,000 a gallon flows freely in Afghanistan and other distant corners of the Empire, and Wall Street writes itself billions in bonuses, then nobody cares about the deficit. The only way anyone will feel the deficit is if their share of the Federal swag is trimmed to pay the interest on the ballooning debt. But the Federal Reserve has a solution to that eventuality: keep interest rates (and thus yields on new Federal debt) super-low. At zero interest, $50 trillion in debt costs nothing. Heck, you and I could handle the interest payments on $50 trillion at zero interest. At 1%, the interest is "only" $500 billion a year--no big deal, as we can easily borrow another $500 billion a year, no problem. After all, the bond market hasn't barfed yet and we're already borrowing $1.65 trillion a year, plus hundreds of billions "off-balance sheet" in "supplemental appropriations."
The downturn in the economy caught most economists by surprise. They have yet to realize that we are now in a stagflationary economy. All the signs are there, yet they have no explanation for it. QE3 anyone?
This morning, amidst news of Moodys cutting Greece's debt rating to Caa1, I came across a phrase I wish I'd thought of first, reading through a friend's morning commentary. The phrase? "Too Stupid to Stop". According to Bill Blain, Senior Director at Newedge in London, and self-professed Euro skeptic, "'Too Stupid to Stop' is based on politicians behaving as rational maximisers of their electoral objectives." He was referring to the real reason behind all the bank-demanded bailout loans for austerity measures throughout Europe. In the United States, that mantra can be extended to include appointed officials, like Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner (still not admitting our record debt increase came directly from the $4 trillion worth of Treasury issuance and other forms of assistance extended to our banking system since late 2008, as we endure his stomach-churning 'show-begging' to the GOP for a debt cap raise) and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke (ditto). It also, of course, applies to congress people whose political survival depends on corporate and bank contributions and financial support, the ones that believe the Dodd-Frank bill changes anything. Rather than considering how governments have systematically done, and continue to do, the wrong (as in immoral, unfair, and uneconomically sound) thing by trying to preserve banks, any politicians possessing the ability to think independently (an oxymoron, I know) should be asking themselves instead, how clever they could be about closing them down. Take a cue from Iceland. But, the 'Too Stupid to Stop" behavior, prevents this from occurring.
The Federal government borrowed and spent $5.1 trillion over the past four years to generate a cumulative $700 billion increase in the nation's GDP. That means we've borrowed and spent $7.28 for every $1 of nominal "growth" in GDP. In constant dollars, GDP is flat: we got no growth at all for our $5.1 trillion: zip, zero, nada. In constant dollars, the GDP in 2011 might return to the 2007 level, if the economy continues "growing" at the same pace reached in the first three months of 2011. If not, then the GDP will actually be lower than pre-recession levels. If you borrowed $7 to get $1 in your pocket, would that strike you as a good deal? How long do you reckon you could borrow $7 to get $1 of "growth" in your finances? Let's say you need $3,000 a month to pay all the household bills. No problem, just go borrow $21,000 and your household economy will "grow" by $3,000. If this isn't the height of fiscal nonsense, then what is?
It was big news last year when someone pointed out that 134 out of 143 S&P 500 points came on the first day of the month. 10 of 12 first days of the month in 2010 were positive. Everyone was chattering about how great it was to go long ahead of the first day of the month. This culminated in a nice 14 point gain on January 1 after a couple weeks of little movement. By January 28th, an otherwise down day, the talking heads were kept bouyant by the prospects of big gains to be had the following Tuesday. The market didn't disappoint and jumped 21 points on the first of February. In spite of the hype going into March 1st the S&P saw a 21 point sell off. That move seemed to take the wind out of the sails of that 'easy trade' and although we moved up 7 points on April 1st, On May 2nd we slipped 2 points and today we got slammed 31 points. Now for the year we are down 12 points in total on the first trading day of the month. Sadly, by the time my mother heard about on all the financial channels and started trading, she down 48 points. So much for easy money.
Next up: Greece begins criminal proceedings against the rating agency for character defamantion and libel (or is that slander?). Also, Belgium is next. Yet most importantly, there is no mention in the downgrade if the "Vienna plan" currently contemplated, or the latest zany "debt rolling" proposal constitutes an Event Of Default, meaning the market will have even more uncertaintly to grapple with. From Moody's "The main triggers for today's downgrade are as follows: 1. The increased risk that Greece will fail to stabilise its debt position, without a debt restructuring, in light of (1) the ever-increasing scale of the implementation challenges facing the government, (2) the country's highly uncertain growth prospects and (3) a track record of underperformance against budget consolidation targets. 2. The increased likelihood that Greece's supporters (the IMF, ECB and the EU Commission, together known as the "Troika") will, at some point in the future, require the participation of private creditors in a debt restructuring as a precondition for funding support. Taken together, these risks imply at least an even chance of default over the rating horizon. Moody's points out that, over five-year investment horizons, around 50% of Caa1-rated sovereigns, non-financial corporate and financial institutions have consistently met their debt service requirements on a timely basis, while around 50% have defaulted."
Other than that, everything is great!
Richard Koo Calls For, Surprise, More Reconstruction Stimulus To Prevent Japan's Natural Disaster From Becoming A Man-Made CalamitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/01/2011 12:52 -0500
Richard Koo is back with his latest piece titled, not surprisingly, that "Fiscal Consolidation is Not the Answer" - alas, a decimated by (previously secret) debt European continent, and even America, is rapidly starting to disagree with this assessment, which stems from the faulty assumption that the economic "balance" achieved after 30 years of endless balance sheet expansion courtesy of ever declining interest rates is sustainable. Hint: it isn't. And until the world realizes that it is precisely this Fiscal Consolidation that is the answer, we will continue seeing bankers sell bits and pieces of Greece to each other, transfer payments in the US from the government ending up straight in Wall Street pockets, and broadly the Big getting Ever Bigger to Fail. Yet for those who still believe (Krugman) that one last hit is all it takes and after that it will be better, here is Koo's summary, on why Japan, which we continue to believe is the key macroeconomic variable over the near term, may be in very deep trouble unless it commences yet another (what number is that, #20, #50, is anyone even keeping score?) round of fiscal or monetary stimulus: "Fortunately for the Kan administration, Japanese institutional investors have been dealing with this surplus of private savings on a daily basis for more than 15 years and understand its macroeconomic implications. It is only because of their calm and calculated response to these conditions that the yield on 10-year JGBs remains at 1.2%. To prevent this natural disaster from becoming a man-made calamity (ie a recession), the government needs to push ahead with reconstruction efforts. With private savings surging, the necessary funds can be borrowed for now. Later, once businesses and households start looking to the future, funding can and should be shifted to tax hikes and budget reshuffles." That is the conventional wisdom. For all those who wish to read what will happen if and when Japan continues on this unsustainable path of converting private savings into public funding without regard for demographics, please read Dylan Grice (here, here and here).
At this point it looks bad for the working middle class and it looks
like they aren’t going to make it through the next banker made financial
crisis. The middle class just wants the chance for a new beginning.
They want jobs. They know the country has been hijacked by the banking
corporatocracy, supported by the corrupt political class in D.C. It is
time for the middle class to channel their inner Josey Wales and get
plumb mad-dog mean. It is not time to lose your head and give up. The
middle class are being pursued by Wall Street bounty hunters and
government crooks trying to finish them off. It is time to make a stand
and fight. It is essential that we know our enemies and how they
achieved their power. It all began in 1913 with the creation of the
Federal Reserve and the implementation of the personal income tax. I’ve
previously detailed how the baby boom generation contributed to our
fiscal plight in Part One – For a Few Dollars More,
how the actions of the Federal Reserve’s over the last few decades have
impoverished the middle class and placed the country at the brink of
collapse in Part Two – Fistful of Dollars and addressed the nefarious creation of a central bank in Part Three – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Markets around the world are still creeping higher, while economic fundamentals are crumbling everywhere. And there are more signs on the horizon that things about to make a change for the worse: collapsing cattle prices!
Financial power is to achieve what military conquest had done in times past.