Everything Is Fine, But...

Everything is going to be just great.  Haven't you heard?  The stock market is at an all-time high, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that inflation is incredibly low, and the official unemployment rate has been steadily declining since early in Barack Obama's first term.  Of course we are being facetious, but this is the kind of talk about the economy that you will hear if you tune in to the mainstream media.  They would have us believe that those running things know exactly what they are doing and that very bright days are ahead for America.  And it would be wonderful if that was actually true. Unfortunately, as I made exceedingly clear yesterday, the U.S. economy has already been in continual decline for the past decade.

Funny Friday Fiction (Or Fact): Drunk Ben Bernanke Speaks

Claiming he wasn't afraid to let everyone in attendance know about "the real mess we're in," Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke reportedly got drunk Tuesday and told everyone at Elwood's Corner Tavern about how absolutely fucked the U.S. economy actually is. Bernanke, who sources confirmed was "totally sloshed," arrived at the drinking establishment at approximately 5:30 p.m., ensconced himself upon a bar stool, and consumed several bottles of Miller High Life and a half-dozen shots of whiskey while loudly proclaiming to any patron who would listen that the economic outlook was "pretty goddamned awful if you want the God's honest truth." "Look, they don't want anyone except for the Washington, D.C. bigwigs to know how bad shit really is," said Bernanke, slurring his words as he spoke. "Mounting debt exacerbated—and not relieved—by unchecked consumption, spiraling interest rates, and the grim realities of an inevitable worldwide energy crisis are projected to leave our entire economy in the shitter for, like, a generation, man, I'm telling you."

A Modest Proposal

Decades ago, John Maynard Keynes famously wrote in his book The General Theory: "If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank-notes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal-mines. . . and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again. . . there need be no more unemployment." To Keynes, all that mattered was that people were employed doing something, anything. The quality of employment didn’t matter. Clearly this line of reasoning worked out well for the Soviets. So considering that the ‘quality’ of jobs doesn’t matter in this Keynesian worldview, though, we’ve come up with a simple idea.


If You're Spanish, Move To Norway

As the nations of Europe argue over and over that France is not Greece, Portugal is not Ireland, and reality is not fantasy, Bloomberg has in fact quantified just where each of these troubled nations stands for the next five years. The bad news for the Spanish - facing demands for Rajoy's resignation over the graft - is that they have the worst five-year outlook of all European nations. Worse than Portugal, notably worse than Greece, and dismally worse than Bulgaria. On the bright side, Norway - with the best outlook by far over the next five years - looks attractive (or closer still Luxembourg.)

40 Stats That Show The U.S. Economy's Real Collapse Over The Past Decade

The "coming economic collapse" has already been happening.  You see, the truth is that the economic collapse is not a single event.  It has already started, it is happening right now, and it will accelerate during the years ahead.  The statistics in this article show very clearly that the U.S. economy has fallen dramatically over the past ten years or so. The mainstream media will continue to scoff knowingly, "An economic collapse is never going to happen.  We can consume far more wealth than we produce forever.  We can pile up gigantic mountains of debt forever.  There is no way that the party is over.  In fact, the party is just getting started.  Woo-hoo!"Anyone with half a brain should be able to see what is coming.  Just open your eyes and look at the facts...

When 60 Years Of Lies Clash With Reality: Michigan Governor Snyder Authorizes Detroit's Bankruptcy

"Both before and after the appointment of an emergency manager, many talented individuals have put enormous energy into attempting to avoid this outcome. I knew from the outset that it would be difficult to reverse 60 years of decline in which promises were made that did not reflect the reality of the ability to deliver on those promises. I very much hoped those efforts would succeed without resorting to bankruptcy. Unfortunately, they have not. We must face the fact that the City cannot and is not paying its debts as they become due, and is insolvent..... I know we share a concern for the public employees who gave years of service to the City and now fear for their financial future in retirement, and I am confident that all of the City's creditors will be treated fairly in this process. "

Richard D. Snyder Governor, State of Michigan

The Jobs Number Is BS Says Former Head Of BLS

After every non-farm payroll report we provide our own breakdown of what the real unemployment rate is in a country in which the labor force participation rate has not been adjusted to normalize for the Second Great Depression. In the most recent such endeavor we found the "Real Unemployment Rate" to be 11.3%. Today, courtesy of the Post's John Crudele we find that our estimate was spot on not just from anyone, but the former head of the BLS himself: Keith Hall.

Stock Prices Are Outrunning Corporate Profits: When Has This Happened Before?

Global conditions in early 1928 were oddly similar to today (Benjamin Strong puzzling over a strange brew of rising stock prices, uneven economic recovery, suspect banking practices and unusual strains in Europe’s monetary system), but skewed in a direction that would cause our current policymakers to apply even stronger stimulus than we’ve seen in 2013. The analogy suggests to us that today’s Fed is threatening mistakes that aren’t unlike those of the 1920s Fed. But what about the stock market? Unfortunately, a few market characteristics fit the late 1920s timeline pretty well... There can be little doubt that today’s Fed-fueled asset price rallies merely bring future price appreciation forward to the present. Asset prices eventually return to fundamental values, and as they do the Fed’s cherished wealth effects work in reverse. This is another risk that should be considered when you decide whether to take Bernanke’s bait and “reach for yield” in stocks and other risky assets.

Frontrunning: July 18

  • MSM always "ahead" of the curve: Fed’s Messages Raise Volatility in Threat to Profits (BBG)
  • Bernanke Plays Down Link Between Jobless Rate, Fed Moves (WSJ)
  • Draghi to Carney Face Test Backing Guidance on Rates (BBG)
  • House Republicans Vote to Delay Obamcare Mandates (Reuters)
  • China media accuses Japan PM of dangerous politics (Reuters)
  • China will replace America as the leading superpower, global attitudes survey finds (SCMP)
  • Nonqualified mortgages make up as much as $1.5 trillion of the $10 trillion home-loan market (BBG)
  • Dell $24.4 Billion Buyout Plan Is a Nail-Biter as Vote Looms (BBG)
  • Republicans could see more bruising Senate primaries (Reuters)
  • GM delays Chevy Cruze debut by a year (Reuters)
  • Peltz needs support for PepsiCo restructuring dealsa (FT)
  • Sweaty Wall Streeters Skip Booze for Spin-Class Meetings (BBG)

Somnolent Market Summary Ahead Of Bernanke's Repeat Performance

Stocks in Europe recovered from a cautious start to the trading session and gradually edged back into positive territory, though the DAX index in Germany under performed following less than impressive earnings by SAP. Company’s shares fell around 3% after the company trimmed its outlook for 2013 software revenue, blaming slowing economic growth in China. Elsewhere, Akzo Nobel shares fell 5% in early trade after the company said that its Q2 net profit almost doubled from the same period last year thanks to the sale of its North American paints division and a tax gain. Going forward, market participants will get to digest the release of the weekly jobs report, Philadelphia Fed survey for the month of July and earnings report releases from Morgan Stanley, Verizon, BlackRock and Google. Finally, today is the second day of Bernanke's semi-annual testimony.

Bernanke: The Only Game In Town

It is becoming much more apparent that, as we have seen each year for the past three, the Fed's prediction of stronger economic growth by the end of 2013 will be revised lower from the current level of 2.5%. Either Bernanke was lying back then or is he lying now? The problem is that the Fed is literally caught in a "liquidity trap" from which there is currently no escape.  If they reduce liquidity the markets tank, taking down consumer confidence and negatively impacting the economy.  If they keep the liquidity going they will inflate an asset bubble which will ultimately burst destroying the financial markets and the economy.  The choice is, ultimately, a lose-lose scenario even as the bullish case for equities persists. Of course, as Chuck Schumer stated to Bernanke at the last Humphrey-Hawkins testimony, "You are the only game in town."

Pivotfarm's picture

For once it might seem just a little better if you have greying temples and are a bit hard of hearing these days rather than young and boisterous, raring to go and hit the career ladder, thinking that you’re going to get to the top in one go.

Quote Of The Day

Based on the following quotes just uttered by the Chairman...


... Bernanke's next career as a sit-down comedian smash hit is guaranteed.