The problem with democracy.
Despite the fact that myself and everyone else acting like they know what lays ahead are proven wrong time and time again, we continue to make predictions about the future. It makes us feel like we have some control, when we don’t. The world is too complex, too big, too corrupt, too lost in theories and delusions, and too dependent upon too many leaders with too few brains to be able to predict what will happen next. This is the time of year when all the “experts” will be making their 2013 predictions - but few will address where they were wrong in previous predictions. I’m more interested in why I was wrong. It seems I always underestimate the ability of sociopathic central bankers and their willingness to destroy the lives of hundreds of millions to benefit their oligarch masters. I always underestimate the rampant corruption that permeates Washington DC and the executive suites in mega-corporations across the land. And I always overestimate the intelligence, civic mindedness, and ability to understand math of the ignorant masses that pass for citizens in this country. It seems that issuing trillions of new debt to pay off trillions of bad debt, government sanctioned accounting fraud, mainstream media propaganda, government data manipulation and a populace blinded by mass delusion can stave off the inevitable consequences of an unsustainable economic system. Will 2013 be the year it all collapses in a flaming heap of rubble? I don’t know. Maybe you should ask an “expert”.
The beginning of the year has traditionally been a time of optimism when we all look forward to the exciting things that are going to happen over the next 12 months. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of things about 2013 that we already know are going to stink. Taxes are going to go up, good paying jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be destroyed, the number of Americans living in poverty will continue to soar, our infrastructure will continue to decay, global food supplies will likely continue to dwindle and the U.S. national debt will continue to explode. Our politicians continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess, and yet they continue to expect things to magically turn around. But that is not the way that things work in the real world. Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes. Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything will be “okay” somehow is not going to help anyone.
We would expect the ingredients of the speech to be a pinch of self-denigration mixed with 6 fluid ounces of 'millionaires-and-billionaires', and a quart of "it's the other guys' fault." This coming from the man who precisely a week ago announced he would propose a "scaled down" plan, which today turned out was a complete lie: some leadership. Nevertheless. it will be interesting to see how his 'new' plan, same as the 'old' plan, is different from the 'new new' plan-to-come as he pushes the Senate to propose a 'new new new' deal that will really be a 'skinny irrelevant' deal - no doubt heralded by all asunder as a 'grand new' deal. Though it appears we should have no fear as McConnell and Reid are working on it and McConnell is "hopeful and optimistic." Farce!
Looks like today everyone in Congress was short. Here's why:
OBAMA SAID NOT TO MAKE NEW OFFER IN FISCAL CLIFF TALKS
OBAMA OFFER DETAILED BY SOURCE FAMILIAR WITH WHITE HOUSE MTG
OBAMA SAID REITERATING PROPOSAL FROM LAST WEEK ON FISCAL CLIFF
So much for a deal, and so much for the invisible DJIA support at 13,000.
In the spirit of the holidays and hope for a more prosperous 2013, we thought readers might appreciate a little humor to partially offset the relentless 'cliff' doom and gloom. So please, don’t take this too seriously. But if you happen to stumble across a ‘paperbug’ or two over the holidays, perhaps you could share some of the points made here. Humor sometimes helps people realize just how hopelessly misguided they are... Quantitative easing changes nothing. Remember, the PhDs are in charge of our economies and they know exactly how much our money should be worth. Those of us concerned that our money might lose purchasing power are just being paranoid. Choice is dangerous. Think Adam and Eve and you’ll get my point. Those arguing in favour of monetary freedom, of choice in money, of repealing legal tender laws, they’re just like that nasty snake Lillith in the Garden of Eden, the source of all trouble I tell you. ‘Tis the season to borrow and spend folks, as indeed it has been since 1971.
The sure sign of a halfwit is someone who believes a politician’s promise. There are two types of promises that originate from a politician’s breath. The first is a starry-eyed pledge that is practically unworkable. The second is an assurance that would constitute a threat if given by a private individual. When announced, these promises are sold as a cure-all for all of society’s ills. They hardly ever come into fruition but are referred back to only if they aid in another reelection campaign. The masses have been fooled by years of unrelenting propaganda - they are assured by campaigners for public office of a life that requires minimal effort, little intellectual stimulation, and no prudence whatsoever. Under normal circumstances, breaking a promise is regarded as unbecoming for any man. Even worse is that such a criminal gang is still respected by the greater public. This terrible truth ends up reflecting worse upon the latter than the former.
Update: the BLS disclosed that it had to estimate the data for 19 states due to holiday office closures. Good enough for Ministry of Truth work.
In what is a traditional slowdown to the layoffs season in the week leading into Christmas, initial unemployment claims, dropped from an upward revised 362K (was 361K) to 350K, below a consensus print of 360K, and the lowest seasonally-adjusted number in nearly 5 years. The boost, of course, was all in the ARIMA X-12 seasonal adjustments, as the not seasonally adjusted number rose by 39K to 441K. Although in a world in which only Case-Shiller says to use its Non-Seasonally Adjusted print as a far more accurate indicator of concurrent data, nobody cares about the BLS pre-adjustment data. In fact, judging by the market response, nobody cares about BLS data anymore, period, with absolutely no response by the market following the Claims print. Perhaps the only realm, unfudged notable number was the jump in people claiming claims at the State level, which soared by 71K in the week ending December 8, to a 3.238MM total. This happened even the surge of those collecting EUCs finally ended, with just 4K new collectors of EUCs and Extended Benefits. The good news is that at least nothing is Sandy's fault, at least this week.
When the magic of Christmas, boiled down to just one number, got ugly.
As a start, identify the trends.
Three and a half years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, the earnings and employment gap between those in the under-35 population and their parents and grandparents threatens to unravel the American dream of each generation doing better than the last. We have noted a number of times that these divides are growing and warned of the social tension this could create and, as Bloomberg notes, it does not appear to be getting any better, Generation Y professionals entering the workforce are finding careers that once were gateways to high pay and upwardly mobile lives turning into detours and dead ends. "This generation will be permanently depressed and will be on a lower path of income for probably all of their life - and at least the next 10 years," as middle-income jobs are disappearing. A 2009 law school graduate sums it up rather succinctly: "I had a lot of faith in the system, the mythology that if you work really hard you can achieve anything, and the stock market always goes up. It was pretty naïve on my part."
The political dysfunction of the world's largest economy is epic. Even though Mr. Market is not forcing the US hand, the political class is intent on shooting itself in the foot. Yet the uncertainty over next year's marginal tax rates has not impacted the hiring process as the average monthly non-farm payroll growth has not diminished. Nor have investment plans been adversely impacted. Non-defense durable goods orders, excluding aircraft, a useful proxy for capital investment, rose 2.7% in November after posting a 3.2% increase in October.
Italy is not as fortunate. Its economy is contracting. Mr Market is likely to be less patient. Although Italy's net debt issuance in 2013 appears less than in 2012, there is little room for error.
Monti was looked upon as the savior of Italy after Berlusconi had undermined its gravitas on the world stage with his antics that are unbecoming of a man of his stature. Yet Monti took his role too seriously and not seriously enough.
Post-Hyperinflationary Zimbabwe Welcomes The Holidays With 80% Unemployment, Empty ATMs And Paralyzed TransportSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/24/2012 13:02 -0500
Zimbabwe's hyperinflation, courtesy of one Gideon Gono - the brilliant man behind such grand monetary experiments as QE and its offshoots throughout the developed world - and numerous one hundred trillion dollar Zimbabwe dollar bills, may have come and gone, and the country may no longer have a functioning currency of its own, but it certainly has the aftermath of the most recent episode of modern-era monetary hyperinflation to contend with. And with the holidays here, AP provides a very bleak snapshot of what the country which currently has an 80% unemployment, has to look forward to. Zimbabweans are facing bleak holidays this year amid rising poverty, food and cash shortages and political uncertainty, with some describing it as the worst since the formation of the coalition government in the southern African nation.... Banks have closed, ATMs have run out of cash and transport services have been paralyzed." It gets worse: "Zimbabwe's unemployment is pegged at around 80 percent with many people in Harare, the capital, eking out a living by selling vegetables and fruits on street corners." And all of this is after the massive economic imbalances in Zimbabwe's economy should have been "fixed" (or so conventional economic theory would have one believe) courtesy of hyperinflation, which left any savers in tatters, destroyed the value of the old currency, benefited solely debtors but also allowed a fresh start to a government, which could only remain in power due to a violent power grab by the democratically elected-turned-dictator Robert Mugabe.