A current Bank of America employee has made a number of whistleblower submissions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the role played by the U.S. banking subsidiary in financing dividend-arbitrage trades: trades which used taxpayer-backed funds to allow hedge funds to avoid paying taxes. The employee’s submissions allege that Bank of America’s London-based Merrill Lynch International unit has extended “extreme levels of BANA leverage” to fund “increasingly aggressive and reckless” tax-avoidance trades. The submissions said the practices risked causing the bank “serious financial and reputational damage.”
Inspired by Scotland's hopes for independence and hot on the heels of Crime'a 95% preference for accession to Russia, 89% of the citizens of Venice voted for their own sovereign state in a ‘referendum’ on independence from Italy. As The Daily Mail reports, the proposed ‘Repubblica Veneta’ includes the five million inhabitants of the Veneto region and has been largely driven by the wealthy 'who are tired of supporting the poor and crime-ridden south' (Venice pays EUR71bn in taxes and receives only EUR21bn in services and investment). The ballot appointed a committee of ten who immediately declared independence from Italy. Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome. Wonder why the US, Europe, and Japan have not announced the referendum "illegal" and announced sanctions yet?
"I don’t think they’ve solved anything. I think they’ve compounded the underlying problems that caused the last crisis, and so now the next crisis will be that much worse because of what the central banks did, in particular the Federal Reserve...The Fed is building an economy that is completely dependent on that cheap money. And so if you take it away, the economy implodes, but if you don’t take it away, then it’s worse." The idea is to preempt capital controls - "get out the window before it slams shut!"
It's difficult to have a meaningful national debate about economic policy when "headline numbers" are juiced to make things appear rosier than reality. Since unemployment statistics are either suspect or blatantly bogus, we must look for other less manipulated statistics for some modicum of truth. Key statistics of employment, income and production are vital propaganda tools for the status quo, and the temptation to adjust them to manage perceptions is apparently irresistible. The con being played here is the assumption that more jobs means more wages which means things are getting better and better in every way, every day. If payroll withholding taxes are declining, and wages/salaries are flatlined, things are not getting better and better in terms of earned income flowing into household bank accounts, purses and wallets.
To the Execs at Walmart, and all of those other retailers that are feeling the SS pinch, I say "Welcome to the club".
One of the biggest games in the Wall Street farce is the game of Beat the Number.
What's your wild guess?
To confirm a reversal in Treasuries we need a bona fide breakout.
Sudden collapse in withholding taxes... so now we can get back to the normal state, where the government borrows more than expected.
Over the past week we have repeatedly exposed the BLS' shennanigans to both keep the headline unemployment rate suppressed and to generate an upward bias in the market courtesy of a "bigger than expected beat" of expectations. Granted, various semantics experts continue to scratch their heads in attempting to explain a collapsing labor force when even Goldman's Sven Jari Stehn just predicted that it will drop to 63.1% by the end of 2012 (and 62.5% by the end of 2015). Funny then that the US will have no unemployment left when the participation rate drops to 58.5%. And no, the "population soared argument based on revised data" doesn't quite cut it when the bulk of said surge not only did not get a job, but was not even counted toward the labor force. Yet what the biggest flaw with all these arguments that vainly (and veinly) attempt to defend the US economy as if it is growing, is that they focus exclusively on the quantity of jobs, doctored or not, and completely ignore the quality. We have decided to step in and fill this void.
If last week's tax data is indicative of what's ahead this month, the "good news" won't be sustained.
Great news from today's BLS report, right (when one excludes that record 1.2 million explosion in people out of the labor force of course)? Wrong. As is well known banks have been firing workers left and right: these are the jobs that actually matter in the grand withholding taxes scheme of things. Yet someone is getting hired supposedly. Well, as we suggested before the NFP report, this is merely rotation from high paying jobs to "low-wage jobs." And no, it's not our words - this is what CRT Capital says. Per Bloomberg: About 113k of NFP gain from “low wage jobs,” David Ader, strategist at CRT Capital Group, writes in note. Additionally, “we didn’t see the drop in courier and messengers as expected - but suspect we will." Moreover, ‘‘long-term stress remains at the U6 measure at 15.1% is still high, but likely falling due to people leaving labor force, and duration on unemployment remains over 40 weeks." But yes, it is an election year, so by November expect the labor participation rate to be under 60% and the unemployment rate to drop to under 6%, or some other propaganda BS.
Record 1.2 Million People Fall Out Of Labor Force In One Month, Labor Force Participation Rate Tumbles To Fresh 30 Year LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2012 08:51 -0500
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over Year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying FIRE jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing. So much for the improvement.
You've just crossed over...
The markets follow the money.