Important pillars of the bull case evaporated throughout 2015. Global price pressures weakened, the global Credit backdrop deteriorated and the global economy decelerated. The huge bets on central bank policies left markets at high risk for abrupt reversals and trade unwinds – 2015 The Year of the Erratic Crowded Trade. Indeed, a global bear market commenced yet most remain bullish. Serious and objective analysts would view this ominously.
As we move into winter, darkness has fallen up on us. Oil, ca. 65% of the nation’s economy, will not see the required $70 barrel anytime soon. American innovation, once again, turns a scarce resource into an abundant commodity. Despite optimistic Norwegian media articles, the potential for $20 per barrel looms. Production overwhelms demand while inventories rise to record highs. Although, still considered the best place to live, the cracks, in the oil based economy, are forming.
In this day and age it seems like almost everything is disposable, and many employers have found that they can make a lot more money if they have a workforce that can be turned on and off like a faucet. In America today, there are more than 17 million “independent workers”, and they represent a bigger share of the workforce than ever before.
"In March, I introduced a federal budget amendment that would impose a temporary surtax to pay for our military operations against ISIS. When the Senate reconvenes in 2016, I again plan to explore this option."
The $1.15 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last Friday and quickly signed by President Obama is just the latest triumph in the plutocratic management of politics that has accelerated since 9/11...proof that Washington can work. Mainstream media didn’t stop to ask: “Yes, but work for whom?” Instead, the anchors acted as amplifiers for official spin - repeating the mantra-of-the-hour that while this is not “a perfect bill,” it does a lot of good things. “But for whom? At what price?” went unasked. Secrecy today. Secrecy tomorrow. Secrecy forever. They are determined that we not know who owns them.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
It becomes ever more tempting to conclude that the timing of the Fed’s rate hike was really quite odd, even from the perspective of the planners...
This is what happens when the Fed’s academic-based nonsense collides with economic realities: perversions of capital that lead to massive bubbles and eventually even more massive crises.
"We don't gloat or feel terribly excited about the economic conditions right now. We approach every single repo and seizure as an opportunity to help respect the dignity of the debtor."
In the world of fiction, the most famous threshold may be that of 88 miles per hour. In the non-fictional world of economics and finance, however, an even more important threshold is that of 5% unemployment. At that moment everything changes. Wall Street's most prominent former converted permabull, Jim Paulsen, explains.
The world didn’t completely fall apart in 2015, but it is undeniable that an immense amount of damage was done to the U.S. economy. So don’t be fooled by all the happy talk coming from Barack Obama and the mainstream media. When you look at the cold, hard numbers, they tell a completely different story. The following are 58 facts about the U.S. economy from 2015 that are almost too crazy to believe...
The Fed will never succeed in its attempt to manage inflation and unemployment by varying interest rates. This is because it and its economists do not accept the relationship between, on one side, the money it creates and the bank credit its commercial banks issue out of thin air, and on the other the disruption unsound money causes in the economy. This has been going on since the Fed was created, which makes the question as to whether the Fed was right to raise interest rates recently irrelevant.
This Is Canada's Depression: Surging Crime, Soaring Suicides, Overwhelmed Food Banks "And The Worst Is Yet To Come"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/23/2015 23:44 -0500
The news out of Canada - and especially out of Alberta, the heart of the country's oil patch - has just gone from disturbing to downright terrifying.