The Best "Democracy" Money Can Buy: For Every Dollar Spent Influencing US Politics, Corporations Get $760 BackSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 18:37 -0400
Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 Billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. What they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 Trillion in federal business and support. Here is the visual representation of this stunning finding: for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.
And so, a little over a year after the last debt ceiling melodrama, in which the US kicked the can on its maximum borrowing capacity to this Sunday, March 15, in the meantime raking up total US public debt to $18.149 trillion the soap opera with the self-imposed borrowing ceiling on America's "credit card" is back, and the US is once again faced with sad reality of its debt ceiling (now at well over 100% of America's upward revised GDP of $17.7 trillion). Tthe reason: two days from today Congress’s temporary suspension of the debt ceiling, which was approved in February 2014, ends.
It appears that just as the administration is finally figuring out what HFT is, it also decided to take a look at the charts above and has made a decision: the next bailout is about to be unveiled, and it will involve a "streamlined" bankruptcy law allowing students to discharge their student debt.
Just a day after Blackrock saw its biggest Bond ETF outflows in history ($525.8 million pulled on Monday), Actavis sold $21 billion of almost-junk 'BBB-' rated debt (at a minsicule yield of only 3.5%) in the 2nd largest bond issuance ever (2nd only to Verizon's massive $49 billion deal in 2013). The issue was oversubscribed 4.5x (around $90bn in the order book) as a ten-part offering varying from 18-month floaters to 30Y fixeds all went off below guidance. With Treasury liquidty disappearing fast, one wonders just how much rate-locking on this massive deal was responsible for a net short overhang on the Treasury complex the last few days...
- Goldman Employees Reaped $2 Billion From 2008 Options Last Year (BBG)
- On Bush turf, Obama blames immigration woes on Republicans (Reuters)
- Tougher Internet rules to hit cable, telecoms companies (Reuters)
- Russia's Gazprom says can exempt rebel-held areas from Ukraine gas contract (Reuters)
- Allianz Says Pimco Seeing ‘Substantially’ Lower Outflows (BBG)
- Merkel Faces Stepped-Up Dissent on Greek Bailout in Party (BBG)
- SEC Probes Companies’ Treatment of Whistleblowers (WSJ)
- 2-Year Trek From Turf to Table Delays Cheaper U.S. Beef (BBG)
- Turkish jets violate Greek air space (Kathimerini)
Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?
With the invasion of Syria, pardon, the "Islamic State" on behalf of US allies in the middle east imminent, it is time to send the fear meter to Max, and spook the US population with the reminder that far from being expert, Hollywood-quality video editors, ISIS is engaged in not only in selective, carefully sponsored and funded beheadings several thousand miles away, but is operating right under everyone nose.
In its role as global hall monitor, Washington appears to have jabbed its nose into the Greece-EU talks:
*LEW SPOKE WITH SAPIN, DIJSSELBLOEM, VAROUFAKIS TODAY: OFFICIAL
*U.S. URGES SIDES IN GREEK TALKS TO TONE DOWN RHETORIC: OFFICIAL
Treasury Secretary Lew "urges compromise" and explains he is in touch with Eurogroup, IMF, and Greece putting the onus back on Varoufakis' shoulders by urging them to reach a deal of face additional hardhsip.
What is not often covered in the media are the audits of the US official gold reserves stored at the US Mint, which is the custodian for 95 % (7716 tonnes) of the stash – nowadays also referred to as custodial deep storage, and at the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York that safeguards the remaining 5 % (418 tonnes). The lawful owner of the US official gold reserves is the US Treasury. Part one covered the most recent records I could find published by the US government, in this post we’ll examine more historical records and approach this matter from a more critical angle.
The bond market may have gotten so fragmented in recent months that even Bloomberg was amazed at how little trading volume it necessary to make a price impact, the amount of bond traders (and certainly salesmen), and certainly their bonuses, appeared to only go up. "Appeared" being the key word, however, because as Bloomberg reports, "the average number of dealers providing prices for European corporate bonds dropped to a low of 3.2 per trade last month, down from 8.8 in 2009, according to data compiled by Morgan Stanley."
The NYT Exposes The Criminal Money-Laundering Underworld Supporting Manhattan's Luxury Housing BubbleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/07/2015 16:02 -0400
“We like the money,” said Raymond Baker, the president of Global Financial Integrity, a Washington nonprofit that tracks the illicit flow of money. “It’s that simple. We like the money that comes into our accounts, and we are not nearly as judgmental about it as we should be”... Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio program in 2013, shortly before leaving office: “If we could get every billionaire around the world to move here, it would be a godsend.”
Rather than be a problem, Syriza may well be a solution, if it plays its cards right, but that still leaves politicians and investors denominating Tsipras et al as a problem, if not a menace. The world’s major banks got rich off the back of the Greek population at large, and when their wagers got so absurd they collapsed, the banks saw to it that their losses were transferred to European -and American – taxpayers. And those taxpayers are now told to vent their anger at 'those cheating, lazy Greeks'. The Troika, the EU, the IMF, and the banks whose sock puppets they have chosen to be, are a predatory force that has come a long way towards wiping Greece off the map. And that’s what Syriza has set out to remediate. And for that, they deserve, and probably will need, our unmitigated support.
The Treasury-created market has benefited a few savvy investors, while saddling taxpayers with a loss. The Treasury, which has held 185 auctions to date, said it has raised about $3 billion on TARP investments that were originally valued at $3.8 billion, for a loss of $800 million at the auctions. The Treasury “set up this market where investors could come in quickly and flip and profit,” said Christy Romero, TARP’s special inspector general, in an interview. Three private funds have won almost half the shares available at auction, often netting either a profit on paper or on the resale, according to SIGTARP. “As a banker I was happy, but as a taxpayer I was not at all happy,” said Chief Financial Officer Donald Boyer. “The discount came out of taxpayers’ pockets.”
The U.S. government is already bankrupt. This is old news to anyone who has been following the number-crunching of individuals such as former Reagan economic advisor, Professor Lawrence Kotlikoff. The U.S. government, the greatest debtor in the history of the world, claims that it is about to (finally) raise interest rates, which have been permanently/fraudulently frozen at 0% for now over 6 years.