en Picking Up the UK Tab <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.25em; font-size: 24px; font-weight: normal; line-height: 1.15; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; max-width: 90%;"><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Picking Up the UK Tab</strong></em></span></a></h1> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href=""><span style="color: #3366ff;">Posted with permission and written by Jeff Thomas, International Man (CLICK FOR ORIGINAL)</span></a></strong></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><span style="color: #3366ff;"><a href=""><img src="" width="710" height="430" /></a><br /></span></strong></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Back in the late 90’s, I began saying, “I’ll give the EU twenty years.” At that point, the EU seemed to be going great guns, but I believed that it was an ill-conceived concept that wouldn’t stand the test of time. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">There were several reasons for my view. First, I didn’t believe that those countries that were entitlement-focused, such as the Greeks, would ever be as fiscally responsible as, say, the Germans, so the Germans (and other countries where there was a responsible work ethic) would end up subsidizing the Greeks (and to a lesser extent, Spain, Portugal, etc.) </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Second, culturally, there was so great a divide between, say, the Austrians and the French, that they could never substantially agree on the union’s laws and directions. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Third, the countries of Europe have been at war with each other countless times over the centuries. They might agree to trade cooperation, but they would never agree to having a former enemy dictate policy to them. And it was baked in the cake that some members would have a louder voice than others and so, would seek to dominate. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In recent years, we’ve watched the EU stumble repeatedly. Invariably, Brussels has arrogantly assumed that it can dictate to all EU members, and offers few apologies for doing so. The individual countries’ leaders then do their best to explain to their own voters why Brussels should be able to behave like an oligarchy, and the voters understandably have become increasingly angry. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Eventually, the wheels were sure to come off the trolley and, with the UK Brexit vote, we’ve witnessed the first major blow to the survival of the EU. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Whilst the “leave” vote has been acknowledged, we should expect to see politicians placing stones in the road to Brexit, in addition to creating repeated delays. It would also not be surprising to see demands for a recall or even a nullification by the UK Supreme Court. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In the midst of this, we’re already seeing the predictable back-pedaling by those politicians and pundits who, up until the vote, were warning that a Brexit would spell unmitigated disaster for Britain. Most of them are now speaking instead of “working on crafting a successful settlement”. (After all, when the sky has failed to fall, they won’t want the public to remember that they ranted like veritable Chicken Littles prior to the vote.) </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But, in one sense, the Brexit will unquestionably spell disaster – not to Britain, as was claimed, but to Brussels. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Britain was never fully married to the EU; she was more a “woman on the side,” but in this case, it was the woman that was picking up the tab for the affair.<strong> </strong><span lang="EN">In 2015 alone, the UK paid <span class="tgc">£13 billion</span></span><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"> into the EU budget, whilst EU spending on the UK was £4.5 billion. The UK's “net contribution” was therefore about £8.5 billion - a loss of 65% of its investment. Not money well-spent, considering the trade restrictions heaped on the UK by Brussels.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">The £8.5 billion loss, of course, went to support the net-receiver members of the EU, such as the ever-unapologetic Greece.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">Most of the above will be common knowledge, but here’s a few pertinent questions that no one seems to be asking - at least not publicly:<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><strong><span lang="EN">At what point does the UK cease to pay into the EU?<br /> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><strong><span lang="EN"><br /></span></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">Well, Brussels and those UK politicians that support the EU oligarchy concept will wish to delay that eventuality as long as they can. Consequently, we shall witness a struggle within British politics as politicians attempt to appear as though they’re honouring the voters’ edict, whilst finding repeated excuses to delay the Brexit. On the surface, it might not seem that they’d receive significant push-back, but, for those Britons who voted “leave” <em>and,</em> indeed for many who voted “remain,” the idea of Brussels demanding continued annual payment, whilst kicking the UK for choosing to leave, will result in the great majority of Britons becoming more than a little cross. (If we’re going to split the sheets, let’s get on with it. Any discussion of <em>alimony</em> should be a non-starter to say the least.)<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><strong><span lang="EN">Who’s going to pick up the tab when that flow of revenue ends?<br /> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><strong><span lang="EN"><br /></span></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">Well, now, that really is a puzzler. A large part of the reason why the UK had to be such a significant net-contributor was that most full EU members couldn’t scrape up their “fair share.” Even most of the larger members, such as France, are broke. They can no longer pay their domestic bills, let alone take on more major EU funding.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">When all else fails, it typically falls to Germany (the country that was really responsible for the EU’s creation in the first place) to pick up the tab. And it wouldn’t be surprising if Mrs. Merkel were to attempt to sell the idea to the German people that her “Fourth Reich” must come up with the cash, or her dream will fall apart.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">Interestingly, Mrs. Merkel enjoyed an increase in popularity after the Brexit vote, after having lost a great deal of support as a result of the refugee crisis. However, once the German people learn that they may be hit with yet another EU bill, her ratings may head south again. She’s up for a fourth term in 2017 and it’s uncertain whether the German people will know by that date how the EU hopes to share out the former UK portion of the EU tab.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><strong><span lang="EN">Will that impact the continuation of the EU?<br /> </span></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><strong><span lang="EN"><br /></span></strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">The bill will most assuredly go to the remaining net-payer members and, whoever gets handed the tab, the voters in these countries will most assuredly be asking themselves whether they’re facing diminishing returns. Certainly, Germany, France and the UK are presently taking the greatest shellacking. Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Finland are also net-contributors. But <em>all</em> the other 19 members are net-receivers.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">Certainly, the politicians in these countries share in the EU power and will want to stay in, but their <em>voters</em> who, increasingly, are feeling the squeeze of the unacknowledged Greater Depression may assert themselves at the polling stations, demonstrating that they’re not willing to throw good money after bad.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN"><br /></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="tgc"><span lang="EN">In the end, the conceptual problems with the EU’s existence may be outweighed by the economic ones. But of one thing we can be fairly certain: should the EU bite the dust in the coming years, the demand for its demise will come from the bottom up, not the top down.<br /> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h1 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.25em; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-weight: normal; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 24px; line-height: 1.15; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; max-width: 90%;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 20.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px; font-family: &quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Verdana, sans-serif;">Please email with any questions about this article or precious metals</span></em><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 1.15; font-family: inherit;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 20.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px; font-family: &quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Verdana, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 20.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px; font-family: &quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Verdana, sans-serif;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; text-decoration: underline;"><a href=" Picking Up the UK Tab Article" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 1.2; font-family: inherit; word-wrap: break-word; color: #222222;">HERE</a></span></strong></em></h1> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.25em; font-size: 24px; font-weight: normal; line-height: 1.15; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; max-width: 90%;"><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Picking Up the UK Tab</strong></em></span></a></h1> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href=""><span style="color: #3366ff;">Posted with permission and written by Jeff Thomas, International Man (CLICK FOR ORIGINAL)</span></a></strong></em></span></p> ETC Finland France Germany Greece Italy Netherlands Portugal Precious Metals ratings Fri, 26 Aug 2016 03:50:10 +0000 Sprott Money 570618 at Paul Craig Roberts: Trump Vs. Hillary Summarized <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,</em></a></p> <p>The US presidential election this November will tell whether a majority of the US population is <strong>irredeemably stupid.</strong> If voters elect Hillary, we will know that Americans are stupid beyond redemption.</p> <p><em><strong>We don&rsquo;t know much about Trump, and anti-Trump propaganda rules in the place of facts.</strong></em></p> <p><u><strong>But we know many facts about Hillary. </strong></u>We know about her violation of classification laws and the refusal of the Democratic administration to do anything about it. The Democrats prefer to control the White House than to enforce the law, another nail in the coffin in which the rule of law in the US lies.</p> <p><em><strong>We know from their words and deeds and material success that the Clintons are agents for Wall Street, the Big Banks, the military/security complex, Israel, agribusiness, and the extractive industries. </strong>Their large personal fortune, approximately $120 million, and the $1,600 million in their foundation, much of which came from abroad in exchange for political favors, attests to the unchallengable fact that the Clintons are agents for the oligarchy that rules America, indeed, that rules the American Empire from Australia and Japan, through North America and Western and Eastern Europe to the Russian border.</em></p> <p><em><strong>We know</strong> that Hillary, like Bill, is a liar.</em></p> <p><em><strong>We know</strong> that Hillary is a warmonger.</em></p> <p><em><strong>We know </strong>that Hillary made the most irresponsible statement ever uttered by a presidential candidate when she declared the President of Russia to be the &ldquo;new Hitler,&rdquo; thereby raising tensions between the nuclear powers to a higher level than existed during the Cold War.</em></p> <p><em><strong>We know </strong>that Hillary is allied with the neoconservatives and that her belief in the neocons&rsquo; ideology of US world hegemony is likely to result in war with Russia and China.</em></p> <p><u><strong>All we know about Trump is that the oligarchs</strong></u>, <em>who sent America&rsquo;s jobs overseas, who flooded the country with difficult-to-assimilate immigrants, who destroyed public education, who bailed out Wall Street and the &ldquo;banks too big to fail,&rdquo; who sacrificed American homeowners and retirees living on a fixed income, who intend to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, who have given the public killer cops, relentless violations of privacy, the largest prison poplulation in the world, and destroyed the US Constitution in order to increase executive power over the American people</em>, <strong>are violently opposed to Trump</strong>. <em>This opposition should tell us that Trump is the person we want in the Oval Office.</em></p> <p><strong>Some claim that it is all a charade and that Trump is playing a role in order to elect Hillary.</strong> American politics are so corrupt that anything is possible. However the ruling elites and their puppets seem to be genuinely concerned about Trump&rsquo;s challenge to their control, and they have united against Trump. They have used their money to buy up &ldquo;progressive&rdquo; websites paid to bring the print and TV anti-Trump propaganda onto the Internet, thus joining the Internet presstitutes with the print, TV, and NPR whores who are working overtime to demonize Trump and to elect Hillary.</p> <p><strong>The entire power structure of our country is behind Hillary. </strong>Both Democratic and Republican political establishments and both ideologies, neoliberals and neoconservatives, are united behind Hillary.</p> <p><strong><em>How much more evidence do Americans need in order to know that a vote for Hillary is a vote for their own emasculation?</em></strong></p> <p><em>Apparently, Americans remain captives of their insouciance. According to news reports, a majority of voters still haven&rsquo;t a clue about the consequences of voting for Hillary. Polls report that Hillary is well in the lead. Are these real polls or just another presstitute lie to discourage Trump supporters? Why vote when they have already lost?</em></p> <p><strong>The propaganda assault against Trump, vicious as it was, did not succeed during the Republican primary.</strong> Despite the media condemnation of Trump, he swept the other Republican candidates aside effortlessly.</p> <p>The current media demonization of Trump might fail as well. Indeed, it is so transparent that it could elect him.</p> <p>All that is required is for enough Americans to awake from their insouciance to recognize that it is the enemies of their own lives, their own living standards, and their own liberty who are violently opposed to Trump.</p> <p><strong>If Americans cannot reach this realization, they have no future, and neither does the planet Earth.</strong></p> <p>The ruling oligarchy hates Trump because he disavows war with Russia, questions the purpose of NATO, opposes the offshoring of Americans&rsquo; jobs, and opposes the uncontrolled immigration that is transforming the United States into a multi-cultural entity devoid of unity. The oligarchs are replacing the United States with a Tower of Babel. <em>Oligarchic power grows exponentially among the disunity of diversity.</em></p> <p><strong>In other words, Trump is for America and for Americans.</strong></p> <p>This is why the oligarchs and their whores hate Trump.</p> <p><strong>The imbecillic Americans who vote for Hillary are voting for war and their own immiseration.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>Possibly, a vote for Trump is the same. However, in the case of Trump we do not know that. In the case of Hillary we most certainly do know it.</strong></u></p> <p>Of course, it could matter not how Americans vote. Those who program the electronic voting machines will determine the vote, and as the establishments of both political parties totally oppose Trump, the programmed machines can elect Hillary. We know this from our electoral history. The US has already experienced elections in which exit polls show a winning candidate different from the candidate selected by the electronic machines that have no paper trail and no way of affirming the vote.</p> <p><strong>If Hillary gets into the Oval Office, nuclear war is likely before her first term is over. A vote for Hillary is a vote for nuclear war.</strong></p> <p>If you look at the forthcoming election realistically, you have no alternative but to conclude that the entirety of the presstitute media and American Establishment prefers the risk of nuclear war to the risk of losing control of the government to the voters.</p> <p>That Americans permitted the rise of unaccountable power tells us all we need to know about the dereliction of duty of which United States citizens are guilty. The American people failed democracy, which requires accountable government. The American government has proven that it is not accountable to the US Constitution, to US statutory law, to international law, or to voters.</p> <p><strong><em>If the result of Americans&rsquo; dereliction of duty is nuclear war, the American people will be responsible for the death of planet Earth. One would hope that with responsibility this great on their shoulders, the American people will reject the unequivocal war candidate and take their chances on holding Trump accountable to his words.</em></strong></p> <p><em>Note: I just heard a NPR report that young people were deserting the Republican Party, had turned leftwing and were flocking to Hillary. So now in America the leftwing candidate is a warmonger and agent of Wall Street! Amazing.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="564" height="393" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia China Eastern Europe Fail fixed Israel Japan Medicare Neocons Too Big To Fail White House Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 570641 at CNN Cancels Dr. Drew's Show One Week After He Voiced "Grave Concern" For Hillary's Health <p>One week ago, board-certified medicine specialist, TV personality and CNN employee Dr. Drew Pinsky broke the <a href="">mold of conformity</a>, when he said that he is "gravely concerned" about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s health, pointing out that treatment she is receiving could be the result of her bizarre behaviors. </p> <p>Appearing on KABC’s McIntyre in the Morning, Pinsky said he and his colleague Dr. Robert Huizenga became “gravely concerned….not just about her health but her health care,” after analyzing what medical records on Hillary had been released. Pinsky pointed out that after Clinton fainted and fell in late 2012, she suffered from a “transverse sinus thrombosis,” an “exceedingly rare clot” that “virtually guarantees somebody has something wrong with their coagulation system.” “What’s wrong with her coagulation system, has that been evaluated?” asked Dr. Drew.</p> <p>Pinsky described the situation as “bizarre,” and said that Hillary’s medical condition was “dangerous” and “concerning”. Dr. Drew also went on to add that it was a sign of “brain damage” when Hillary had to wear prism glasses after her fall.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Just as stunning as Pinsky's assessment which promptly went viral and led to the immediate takedown of <a href="">the original interview webpage by KABC-AM radio</a>, was that it came from an <a href="">employee of HLN</a>, which is part of the pro-Clinton CNN network. </p> <p>As such it is probably not surprising that earlier today, just one week later, CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz <a href="">announced Thursday </a>that "<strong>Dr. Drew and I have mutually agreed to air the final episode of his show on September 22</strong>." </p> <p>"Dr. Drew and his team have delivered more than five years of creative shows and I want to thank them for their hard work and distinctive programming," Jautz said in a statement. "Their audience-driven shows, in particular, were innovative and memorable TV. And Dr. Drew has been an authoritative voice on addiction and on many other topical issues facing America today." </p> <p>"It has been a privilege working at HLN," Pinsky said in a statement of his own. "My executive producer Burt Dubrow and our outstanding staff and contributors were consistently exceptional. I am very excited to stay within the CNN Worldwide family as a contributor."</p> <p>There was no mention of the Hillary fiasco in the official parting statement; it was deemed redundant.</p> <p>HLN will air reruns of "Forensic Files" and episodes of CNN originals in the "Dr. Drew" 7 p.m. ET time slot. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1259" height="700" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Medical Records PrISM Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:20:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 570642 at Pokemon Go Claims First Fatality; Incites Stampede; But DAU Drop Leaves Hope For Humanity <p>A few weeks back we <a href="">wrote </a>about how Pokemon Go had claimed its first fatality in the United States.&nbsp; <strong>Now, Japan mourns its first victim, as Yukiko Nakanishi was tragically lost to the addictive game.</strong>&nbsp; Nakanishi was crossing the road when a truck struck and killed the 72 year-old hairdresser from Kitayama City.&nbsp; Meanwhile, Keiji Goou, the truck driver, was arrested by police admitting that he <strong>&ldquo;wasn&rsquo;t looking ahead properly because [he] was playing Pokemon Go.&rdquo;</strong>&nbsp; Per the <a href="">Tokyo Reporter</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Tokushima Prefectural Police on Wednesday arrested a male truck driver in Tokushima City after one woman was killed and another seriously injured due to an <strong>accident caused by his playing of the popular game Pokemon Go while he was behind the wheel.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Keiji Goou, 39, was arrested on reckless driving charges for allegedly hitting two women while playing Pokemon Go on a road in the Katanokamicho area at around 7:25 p.m. on Tuesday, Jiji Press reports (Aug. 24). One woman died in the incident while the other was seriously injured.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Goou has admitted to the charges, telling police, according to the Tokyo Broadcasting, he <strong>&ldquo;wasn&rsquo;t looking ahead properly because I was playing Pokemon Go.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Police named the woman who died as Yukiko Nakanishi, 72, a hairdresser from Kitayama City.</p> </blockquote> <p>Apparently police in Japan have <strong>cited 1,000 Pokemon Go players for traffic infractions and recorded 79 Pokemon Go-related traffic incidents in just the past year.</strong></p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, Pokemon Go players in Taiwan have apparently completely lost their damn minds.</strong>&nbsp; The video below recently surfaced on YouTube and allegedly shows a stampede of people running to catch a &quot;Snorlax&quot; (if that actually means anything to anyone reading this).&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="337" src="" width="600"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>If all of this leaves you questioning, as we do often, the future of humanity</strong> then fear not as <a href="">Bloomberg</a> reports that the Pokemon Go hysteria may finally be on a down slope.&nbsp; After launching in early July, daily active users of Pokemon Go seemingly peaked just a couple of weeks later around 45mm users and has been steadily declining ever since.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Pokemon Go DAU" height="325" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, <strong>after surging a mere 2 trillion yen in the first 2 weeks of July, Nintendo&#39;s shareholders have finally realized that profits, not mass hysteria, actually drive valuations</strong>...well, in the long-run anyway...unless you&#39;re the Fed... then the mass hysteria can stretch into the long-term...but that&#39;s a story for another post.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="Nintendo" height="318" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1200" height="682" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Japan Yen Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 570617 at "Things Are Worse" - Dollar Stores' Startling Admission: Half Of US Consumers Are In Dire Straits <p>If there was any confusion about how the lower half of the US consumer class is doing these days, it was quickly lifted following today's distressing earnings calls of dollar store titans, Dollar General and Dollar Tree.</p> <p>Discount retailer Dollar General said it was cutting prices on its most popular items such as bread, eggs and milk, intensifying a price war among already commoditized products with retail giant Wal-Mart Stores to win back falling market share. It shares fell the most on record, plunging by 18% after the company missed on revenue, blaming aggressive competition, lower food prices and reduction in SNAP, or food stamp, coverage in 20 key states.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="256" /></p> <p>It's larger ultra-discount rival Dollar Tree Inc also reported lower-than-expected sales, sending its shares down 10%, the biggest dollar drop decline since going public in 1995.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="253" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dollar General, whose product selection prices are already among the lowest in the country, cut prices by 10% on average on about 450 of its best-selling items across 2,200 stores during the quarter, CEO Todd Vasos said on a conference call. It's just the beginning: quoted by <a href="">Reuters</a>, he said the company expects to extend the price reductions to more product categories and markets.</p> <p>One factor for the declining operations is the aggressive cost-cutting by retail giant, Wal-Mart, which recently reported better than expected results. It now appears WMT solid performance was mostly on the back of margin reductions and major cost-cuts in an attempt to win market share from its lowest-priced competitors.&nbsp; As Reuters notes, Wal-Mart's strategy of cutting prices has helped the world's largest retailer to boost sales in the latest two quarters.</p> <p>"Wal-Mart's been doing better lately, lowering prices, and that's been a concern that (it) could impact dollar stores," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said.&nbsp;"Historically, it hasn't as much but maybe we are seeing something different here." Retailers are also grappling with a drop in grocery prices, further cutting into margins. Dollar General said prices for milk were down about 8% and for eggs over 50 %.</p> <p>But the biggest factor by far impacting the performance of both dollar stores was the sharp, adverse turn in the purchasing power of the lower half of US consumers.</p> <p>Both Dollar General and Dollar Tree said pressures on their core lower-income shoppers contributed to the same-store sales misses that both retailers reported. On today's conference call, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said that he was surprised to admit that while on the surface things are supposed to be getting better, the reality is vastly different for low-income US consumers:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>I know that when we look at globally the overall U.S. population, it seems like things are getting better. But when you really start breaking it down and you look at that core consumer that we serve on the lower economic scale that's out there, that demographic, <strong>things have not gotten any better for her, and arguably, they're worse. </strong><strong>And they're worse, because rents are accelerating, healthcare is accelerating on her at a very, very rapid clip</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Making matters worse, he added that the company's core consumers base, 65% of which is comprised of lower-income shoppers, has been impacted by the recent reduction or elimination in foodstamps: "now couple that in upwards of 20 states where they have reduced or eliminated the SNAP benefit, and it has really put a toll on [the core consumer]."</p> <p>He elaborated that the reduction in foodstamps benefits promptly filtered through the entire business model, and culminated with Dollar General being forced to cut prices to remain competitive.&nbsp; This is what he said:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>That SNAP benefit reduction and/or elimination happened in April. That was the kickoff, and you could see it immediately in the numbers. So I believe that those are the things that are affecting her today. Again, our core customer, and by the way, we've seen this play out before. If you dial the clock back to October of 2013 and coming into November of 2013, when the last large SNAP benefit reduction happened, it happened almost exactly the same way on our comps and in how we saw traffic. Obviously, we're up at a little higher level at that time, <strong>but rest assured, that our traffic slowed tremendously then, very similar to as it did now</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The difference here is we're going to take aggressive price action to get that consumer back in the store. She needs a little motivation to get back in. <strong>We need to help her stretch her budget for a time period until she figures it out. </strong>Our core customer is very resilient. They'll figure it out over time, <strong>but they need a little help as they tend to now try to </strong><strong>figure out how to make ends meet with less money during the month.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Dollar Tree, which said that fewer than 5% of its customers were SNAP recipients, echoed its competitor when explaining the stress being felt by its own shopper base. As CEO Robert Sasser said on the call,<strong> "the consumer is still seeing a lot of pressure on cost increase with rent and just food and healthcare and taxes and all the things. So we see them as still being under pressure. I think that's the number one issue that we see out there."</strong></p> <p>But back to the Dollar General call, where analysts were incredulous and were wondering if the deterioration in spending may have been the result of, wait for it, the recovery and broader consumer improvement, leading to "trading-up" to higher price point competitors. The exchange was amusing:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><strong>Q. </strong></em>I understood the issues with SNAP and deflation, but <strong>is there a piece of this that's just related to the consumer job – labor market getting better, so that consumers spending a little bit better and they're trading up? </strong>Is that not possible?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Vasos: </strong></em>I am not going to say, it's not possible, <strong>but we have not seen that in our data. </strong>Once again, remember that over 60% to 65% of our sales and consumer base is on that lower demographic area that – of the economic scale. <strong>And when you keep that in mind, her life hasn't gotten any better. </strong>And that's really that customer that we're serving the most, and that we're intent on making sure has enough money and enough products inside her <strong>house to be able to feed her families</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>And then there are soaring healthcare and rental costs:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>[The] core consumer, I tell you, has gotten no better as far as her economic well-being. Matter of fact, she tells us, while we're out in the stores or even through all of our panel data that we do, <strong>that while things haven't gotten a lot worse as far as income coming in, other than the recent SNAP decrease, my expenditures are going up at a very rapid rate</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Healthcare is one of the big ones, because most of our consumers, while she may be working, doesn't have healthcare</strong>, and we all know that she's having to now pay for this healthcare or be taxed on it, right? <strong>So that is starting to really play against that low-end consumer right now, and it will continue to play against her</strong>. You couple that with those rents that we talked about, those increased rents are real, and in many parts of where we serve our customer, <strong>the affordability and availability of rental units are getting more and more scarce, which is driving up prices</strong>. And we're seeing that <strong>because most of our core customers cannot and do not own their own homes</strong>.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The punchline:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>And when we're out in stores and we drop prices like we do, I can tell you, I've been out in stores in the middle of the aisle and heard <strong>customers come up to our store manager in tears and thanking them for being there and thanking them for the prices that we offer in a real convenient nature for her, where she can walk to the store, because she can't afford anything else</strong>. When you hear that, <strong>that really brings home where this core customer is</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>We wonder if this particular tearful customer would also be accused by the president of peddling fiction.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="350" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="569" height="398" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Dollar General Market Share Price Action Purchasing Power Reality recovery Reuters Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:52:56 +0000 Tyler Durden 570631 at Risks Of Loose Money - Exposing The Link Between Monetary Policy And Social Inequality <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Claudio Grass via,</em></a></p> <p>It has been almost eight years since former U.S. President George W. Bush warned the world that<strong><em> &ldquo; without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.&rdquo; </em></strong>The government&rsquo;s response to the crisis was a USD700 billion rescue package that would prevent U.S. banks from collapsing and encourage them to resume lending, which was soon to be followed by a series of Quantitative Easing (QE) packages injecting money into the economy. <em><strong>The rationale of government intervention was to boost spending, restore confidence in the market and revamp economic growth to everyone&rsquo;s benefit &ndash; but did it succeed in doing so?</strong></em></p> <h2><u>QE: Faith-based monetary policy</u></h2> <p><strong>With QE still ongoing (albeit tapered), it is no longer part of a &ldquo;rescue&rdquo; package &ndash; it has now become the new normal &ndash; despite a complete lack of positive results.</strong> Since end-2007, the Federal Reserve&rsquo;s balance sheet expanded from about USD890 billion to more than USD4.5 trillion! And yet, U.S. growth rates have remained in the vicinity of 2% since 2010 (see chart below). Europe is no different. The European Central Bank (ECB), which first embarked on QE in March 2015, raised the monthly amount for asset purchases from EUR60 billion to EUR80 billion, and expanded the range of assets to include corporate bonds &ndash; but despite that, the growth outlook remains dim with 1.4% in 2016, and 1.7% in 2017 (source: <a href="">Bloomberg</a>).<em><strong> So why are governments still clinging to an approach that simply doesn&rsquo;t deliver?</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="gdp_growth_US_2007_2015" class="aligncenter wp-image-2893 size-full" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 319px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;All present-day governments are fanatically committed to an easy money policy, &rdquo;</em></strong> Ludwig von Mises observed in 1949 in &ldquo;Human Action&rdquo;, and to this day, little seems to have changed. Ever since governments, represented by their central banks, monopolized the production of money, and accordingly fractional reserve banking &ndash; our markets have never been free from government intervention. Monetary expansion happens all the time, not just in crises. In fact,<strong> the world has grown accustomed to this monetary policy, the new normal </strong>&ndash; and here is why:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;To increase liquidity&rdquo;, they say, &ldquo;unemployment is high&rdquo; or &ldquo;economic growth rates are lower than expected&rdquo;, and &ldquo;inflation is too low&rdquo;. But as we see in the chart below, the economy hasn&rsquo;t really improved now, has it?</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img alt="real_rates_gdp_growth_2006_2014" class="aligncenter wp-image-2894 size-full" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 409px;" /></a></p> <h2><u>The false promises of QE &ndash; a monopoly only has one winner</u></h2> <p><strong>Even though Keynesians and other opponents of free market economics say there is no such thing as a &ldquo;trickle-down effect&rdquo;, the very assumption of QE is that it will trickle down to revamp the economy by boosting spending. </strong>But with low growth rates, weak currencies, and zero-to-negative interest rates, one wonders: who stands to gain from this monetary policy direction?</p> <p>Our economies have been dominated by the financial sector. Compared to the 1960s, the share of the financial sector has more than doubled from 4% to about 10% today, according to <a href="">Forbes</a>. This can be attributed to the closure of the gold window back in 1971, where the American administration looked for an easy way to finance its warfare-welfare state. <strong>The American citizen was deluded into thinking that the higher spending is because of the better performance of the economy, when in reality the government is printing its way out of the debt burden with an unbacked currency. </strong>However, inflation does not affect everyone equally.</p> <p>There are those who are wealthy and well-connected to the banking system who benefit from inflation, because they are the first to receive the newly-created money. <em><strong>The lower you go down the socio-economic pyramid, the more adverse the effects, as money begins circulating and loses value. The fiat money system in a way protects a certain strata of society: the financial sector (and those connected to it) and central banks. Everyone else, is impoverished by the system, and what is worse, becomes dependent on it.</strong></em></p> <p>Also, you will find that those familiar with the system may know what to do to hedge against the risks of any deterioration in the economy and its currency. But others, like middle class professionals and the working class, they just don&rsquo;t have access to the intricate higher levels of the financial markets. They are more likely to go to the bank to deposit their savings. But even then &ndash; the system hits them once again with negative interest rates.</p> <h2><u>Our system penalizes saving and encourages reckless spending</u></h2> <p>On the surface, negative interest rates imposed by central banks aim to encourage lending and stimulate spending. <strong>But in reality, because banks are required to pay for keeping their reserves at the central depository, they will end up charging money for accounts, lower interest rates on savings, and possibly even deny opening accounts for lower income clients.</strong> These will ultimately discourage depositors with limited means of income from keeping money in banks altogether and thereby increase the number of the &ldquo;unbanked&rdquo;, which in the <a href="">U.S. amounts to about 7% of households</a> (about 25 million people). And what if banks do not actually pass on the negative rates on the deposit side? Then, <strong>the ironic outcome is that they will end up charging <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">more</span></em> on loans, by introducing higher fees even on credit cards, or interest rate floors on variable loans, as already seen in German banks</strong> (<a href="">Bloomberg</a>). The whole idea of imposing this policy to make loans easier and cheaper has completely boomeranged and created the opposite effect.</p> <p>And so, <strong>what we are looking at is a flawed system that penalizes saving and encourages reckless spending and printing money</strong>. Although we all appear to be stuck in the same environment that combines negative interest rates and price inflation, we have<strong> the lower strata of society that is doomed to lose</strong>, as they end up spending more, discouraged by negative rates, and <strong>instead accumulate debt to keep up with the increasing prices</strong>. And then we have the &ldquo;winners&rdquo;, who know how to take advantage of the system and thrive in it. Doesn&rsquo;t that look like entrapment to you? All this is &ldquo;justified&rdquo; by a government monopoly on money production. Conversely, are we to assume that a free market environment, free from government intervention, would ensure social equality? <strong>The fact is that, realistically, there is no such guarantee, nor was there such a utopian promise ever made. </strong>But as my friend Philip Bagus said in a recent <a href="">interview</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;We should distinguish between morally justified and unjustified inequality. When someone gets rich because he is productive and satisfies the wishes of people in a cheaper and better way than his competitors, we should applaud him. The resulting income inequality is justified. The problem starts if someone earns an income due to government intervention such as licenses, other regulations, or simply tax transfers. The resulting income inequality is unjustified. Getting richer at the expense of others through the use of the fiat monetary system, which represents a government monopoly and banking privileges, is unjust.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <h2><u>The longer we wait, the worse the hit</u></h2> <p><strong>The truth is, that our government officials have not solved the problem.</strong> They merely prolonged the downfall and generally poisoned the investment environment. If they had really addressed the root causes, they would have left the bubble explode. Yes, it is a harsh experience to endure. Bush wanted to spare his citizens from a great deal of misery &ndash; true, but the economy has not exactly flourished since then. In fact, our monetary policy direction has been prolonging the slowdown since 2008. <strong>The longer we wait, the worse the hit we will take. </strong>We are going from one bubble to another and are just postponing the inevitable. In a normally functioning business cycle we have a boom and bust. Yes, not everyone suffers equally from the bust: the working class is the most vulnerable to recessions. <strong>But under our current system, which has stripped them from their savings, they are exposed to greater risks than ever before.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="191" height="197" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Central Banks European Central Bank Federal Reserve Fractional Reserve Banking Ludwig von Mises Monetary Policy New Normal Quantitative Easing Reality Unemployment Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 570634 at Jackson Hole Conference Schedule And List Of Attendees Released <p>The Kansas City Fed <a href="">has released </a>the schedule of its two day Jackson Hole symposium which, officially kicked off with dinner on Thursday night, hosted by dissident regional Fed president, and dissenter, Esther George (she voted against Yellen's decision to keep rates unchanged in March, April and July). The highlight is tomorrow's 10am ET Janet Yellen speech titled "The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Toolkit." </p> <p>The speech is important because no matter what Yellen says, the market is virtually assured to surge as Citadel's momentum ignition algos are greenlighted by the NY Fed trading desk. </p> <p>Note the symbolic bear in the glass cage on the photo below.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="333" /></p> <p><em><strong>Key highlights: </strong></em>Chair Yellen to give speech Friday morning; panel discussion Saturday with Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, European Central Bank Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure and Bank of Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens</p> <p>Outline of the program (all times Eastern):<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Thursday:</strong></span></p> <p><strong>8 p.m. </strong>- Opening Reception and Dinner</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Friday</strong></span></p> <ul> <li><strong>10 a.m.</strong> - Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivers opening remarks on “The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Toolkit”</li> <li><strong>10:30 a.m.</strong> - Adapting to Change in Financial Market Landscape: authors Darrell Duffie and Arvind Krishnamurthy (Stanford), discussant Minouche Shafik, deputy governor at Bank of England</li> <li><strong>11:55 a.m</strong>. - Negative Nominal Interest Rates: author Marvin Goodfriend (Carnegie Mellon), discussant Marianne Nessen, head of monetary policy at Sweden’s Riksbank</li> <li><strong>12:55 p.m</strong>. - Evaluating Alternative Monetary Frameworks: author Ulrich Bindseil, director of general market operations at European Central Bank, discussant Jean- Pierre Danthine (Paris School of Economics) and Simon Potter, executive vice president at Federal Reserve Bank of New York</li> <li><strong>3 p.m.</strong> - Luncheon address by Christopher Sims (Princeton)</li> <li><strong>4 p.m.</strong> - Conference adjourns for the day</li> </ul> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Saturday</strong></span></p> <ul> <li>10 a.m. - Central Bank Balance Sheets and Financial Stability: author Jeremy Stein, Robin Greenwood and Sam Hanson (Harvard), discussant Randall Kroszner (University of Chicago)</li> <li>11 a.m. - Structure of Central Bank Balance Sheets: author Ricardo Reis (Columbia), discussant Laura Veldkamp (New York University)</li> <li>12:25 p.m. - Overview panel: Bank of Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens, ECB Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda</li> <li>2:15 p.m. - Lunch</li> <li>4 p.m. - Conference adjourns</li> </ul> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="707" height="471" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of Japan European Central Bank Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank Janet Yellen Japan Mexico Monetary Policy Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:12:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 570639 at At least 1 Dead, Multiple Injured In Major Explosion At Belgian Sports Complex <p>A powerful explosion went off just after midnight local time at the Plaine Chalon sports facility in Chimay, Belgium, partially destroying the building and burying an unknown number of people under the rubble, local media report. At least <strong>one person is reported dead and four were injured (two seriously)</strong> after the building collapsed, Belga News Agency reported citing emergency services spokesperson. </p> <p>Photos appearing to show the aftermath of the explosion have surfaced on the social media. Half of the building has crumbled as seen on the photo posted by Vince Crate, a local resident.&nbsp; Footage from the scene shows a heavy police presence. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="348" /></p> <p>While the cause of the explosion remains unknown, local law enforcement sources told BNO News it appears to a gas explosion. There is no indication of terrorism. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="454" /></a></p> <p>Rescuers are working at the site, and more people are believed to be trapped under the rubble.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#Belgium</a> emergency services expect many more deaths in the <a href="">#Chimay</a> rubble, unknown if explosion terrorism related <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Roeland Roovers (@r0eland) <a href="">August 26, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="fr">????<a href="">#BELGIQUE</a> : Une explosion a détruit une partie du centre sportif du <a href="">#Chimay</a>. Plusieurs blessés sont à déplorer. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— (((Lies Breaker))) (@Lies_Breaker) <a href="">August 26, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="it">UPDATE [26.08-02:32] <a href="">#Chimay</a> <a href="">#Vallonia</a> <a href="">#Belgio</a> <a href="">#ESPLOSIONE</a> centro sportivo +1 morto <a href="">#feriti</a> (probabile incidente) <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Emergenza24 (@Emergenza24) <a href="">August 26, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="Plaine Chalon" width="510" height="340" /></p> <p><em>Plaine Chalon Sports Complex in Chimay, Belgium</em></p> <p><em><img src="" width="500" height="532" /><br /></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="893" height="811" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Belgium Twitter Twitter Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:02:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 570636 at Restaurants In D.C. Slash Jobs After Minimum Wage Hike <p>A few days ago we wrote about the job losses starting to pile up in Seattle in the wake of that city&#39;s passage of a $15 minimum wage (see &quot;<a href="">Something &quot;Unexpected&quot; Happened When Seattle Raised The Minimum Wage</a>&quot;).&nbsp; In that post, we noted that seemingly no amount of empirical evidence would ever be sufficient to convince certain elected officials that setting artificially high labor rates would ultimately only serve to hurt the people at the lower end of the pay spectrum due to permanent job losses.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Seemingly no amount of empirical evidence can convince progressives that raising minimum wages to artificially elevated levels is a bad idea.&nbsp;</strong> Somehow the basic idea that raising the cost of a good ultimately results in lower consumption of that good just doesn&#39;t compute.&nbsp; Though it does seem odd that <strong>progressives in states like California lean heavily on higher taxes as a way to curb, for example, fuel consumption</strong>.&nbsp; Could it be that the left actually does understand the basic economics of the minimum wage debate but don&#39;t find the math behind it to be particularly &quot;politically expedient&quot; in certain instances?</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Despite the futility of our efforts, we thought we would offer up one more example of minimum wage hikes killing jobs for low-income workers.</strong>&nbsp; This example comes from Washington D.C.&nbsp; For those not familiar, back in early June, the City Council of Washington D.C. passed legislation to raise the District&#39;s minimum wage from $10.50 per hour to $15.00 by 2020.&nbsp; Minimum wage in the District was already scheduled to increase to $11.50 in July 2016 and the remaining increase will be phased in over the next 4 years.</p> <p>On the back of that increase, Mark Perry, of the <a href="">American Enterprise Institute</a>, decided to take a look at how the restaurant industry (often one of the hardest hit industries by minimum wage hikes given the disproportionate share of employees working for minimum wage) in Washington D.C. has responded to the minimum wage hike there.&nbsp; Perry took a look at BLS labor data for restaurant jobs in Washington D.C. compared to surrounding suburbs.</p> <p><strong>The picture pretty much tells the story:</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="DC Food Jobs" height="366" src="" width="600" /></strong></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BLS data shows that restaurant job growth in D.C. basically stopped for a period of time after the July 2015 minimum wage hike to $10.50.&nbsp; Then, after a brief period of growth in early 2016, D.C.&#39;s restaurants actually started to shed a number of jobs heading into the July 2016 increase to $11.50.&nbsp; Meanwhile, restaurant jobs in suburbs surrounding Washington D.C. continued to grow in line with their recent history.&nbsp; As Perry points out, &quot;<strong>The last time DC experienced restaurant job losses in five out of six consecutive months was 25 years ago in 1991, and the last time 1,400 jobs were lost over any six-month period was 15 years ago during the 2001 recession.&quot;&nbsp; </strong>Per the <a href="">American Enterprise Institute</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>New BLS data for restaurant employment in July for both the District of Columbia (city only, see dark line above, data here) and the surrounding suburbs in Virginia and Maryland (full DC MSA data here, the light blue line shows the MSA minus the city of DC) are displayed above and tell the story pretty clearly. Since the DC minimum wage increased in July 2015 to $10.50 an hour, restaurant employment in the city has increased less than 1% (and by 500 jobs), while restaurant jobs in the surrounding suburbs increased 4.2% (and by 7,300 jobs). An even more dramatic effect has taken place since the start of this year &ndash; <strong>DC restaurant jobs fell by 1,400 jobs (and by 2.7%) in the first six months of 2016 between January and July &ndash; that&rsquo;s the largest loss of District food jobs during a 6-month period in 15 years.</strong> Perhaps some of those job losses were related to the $1 an hour minimum wage hike on July 1, bringing the city&rsquo;s new minimum wage to $11.50 an hour. <strong>In contrast, restaurant employment outside the city grew at a 1.6% rate in the suburbs (and by 2,900 jobs) during the January to July period.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>If expensive cities like Washington D.C. and Seattle are already having a difficult time digesting even the initial phases of their proposed $15 minimum wage we fear how a similar federal wage hike might impact less expensive states in the Southeast and Midwest portions of the country where current minimum wages are much lower. &nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="516" height="550" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> BLS Recession Washington D.C. Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 570607 at The Disgusting Silence Fueling Crony Capitalism <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mark St.Cyr,</em></a></p> <p><em>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a kind of hush, all over the world tonight. All over the world you can hear the sounds, of lovers in love&hellip;.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>Those lyrics (by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens performed by Herman&rsquo;s Hermits 1967) <strong>pretty much sum up what can only be called the coziest relationship big business has ever had with governments and their duly appointed central bakers, since the time of kings and their crony riddled courts.</strong></p> <p><strong>Free market capitalism</strong> - the very heart, soul, and driving engine that has propelled technology, medicine, transportation, manufacturing, efficient markets, and so much more - is <strong>not only under assault</strong>; it is being<strong> left out to hang like some dried, dead leaf by the very people who should be at the forefront for its defense</strong>. i.e., CEO&rsquo;s and business leaders of all stripes.<em><strong> Yet, so far &ndash; the silence is deafening.</strong></em></p> <p>If you turn to any business/financial main stream outlet, the only thing you&rsquo;ll hear is either: what will Janet say tomorrow. Or second: how will the &ldquo;markets&rdquo; react. What you won&rsquo;t hear is how an un-elected group of policy wonks, who have never run a business in the private sector, will decide the fate of much of the global economy via a dictate much along the lines of &ldquo;Yes, no, maybe; of that you can be sure.&rdquo;</p> <p>The markets will react in their now typical reflexive manner via HFT (high frequency trading) algorithmic, parasitic, front running enabled programs, vacuuming up Billions of dollars across the global markets for the sole purpose of doing nothing more than enriching themselves, and the leeches which enable them.</p> <p><strong>To state these markets have anything to do with actual business formation is ludicrous.</strong> I used to call them &ldquo;casinos&rdquo; but I now feel I&rsquo;m insulting casinos. After all; at least there you know what you&rsquo;re getting into.</p> <p>Today, pension funds, insurance providers, and any other business that needs the stability and safety of a stable and secure market product are left in dire straights. Savers, retirees, and small business people alike either can&rsquo;t retire, stay retired, or sell their businesses allocating their funds to a stable product. But as bad as that is, it&rsquo;s not the worst in my opinion.</p> <p><strong>What is absolutely disgusting is the deafening silence coming from big business in general, and the so-called business trade associations that say &ndash; they are the voice of business. i.e., Chamber of Commerce&trade; et al.</strong></p> <p>You hear a lot of , &ldquo;Business climate blah, blah, blah.&rdquo; &ldquo;Financial climate blah, blah, blah.&rdquo; &ldquo;Employment climate blah, blah, blah.&rdquo;</p> <p>What you don&rsquo;t hear is anything resembling: &ldquo;And that is all secondary to the crony-capitalism running rampant within the business community. For the very fact that companies are allowed to just financially engineer their balance sheets, and be rewarded for that engineering via funds to purchase their stocks or bonds, or have others do the same using the Fed. (and others) as their piggy bank creates those very conditions of business apathy, stagnation, and more. Yet? (insert crickets here.)</p> <p>Where are the voices from the business community? Where are the so-called &ldquo;business leaders&rdquo; that should be standing up and decrying at every conference or interview &ldquo;The Fed. (again, and others) needs to get out-of-the-way. They are the ones inflicting this stagnation via their stranglehold to an &ldquo;emergency&rdquo; policy stance!&rdquo; But they won&rsquo;t, for their bonuses require that things stay just the way they are. After all: you get to blame a boogeyman you have no control of, while at the same time, much like the Fed. you can engineer earnings &ldquo;beats&rdquo; far easier than if you tried to actually sell a pair at a discount.</p> <p>GM&trade; should be now known as &ldquo;a division of FORD&trade;.&rdquo; Yes, it&rsquo;s an over-simplistic, hypothetical. But the point and the argument stands. Want something more recent? How about VW&trade;? We know the ECB is in there buying them and more, <a href="">much more</a>. And we haven&rsquo;t even talked <a href="">about Japan</a>.</p> <p>People will say &ldquo;The Fed. isn&rsquo;t doing that here.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s somewhat true, they are not openly stating such. But indirectly through other sources which benefit directly from the Fed&rsquo;s largess? It&rsquo;s unquestionable, as well as undeniable. And business leaders know it.</p> <p><u><strong>If you build a company that deserves market share, yet can&rsquo;t compete because your competitor is being kept afloat, for their bonds or stock is on the radar of some central bankers buy sheet is not only unfair competitively &ndash; it&rsquo;s damn well un-American. </strong></u>Well, at least as it used to be seen. Today? We&rsquo;re all part of the &ldquo;global economy&rdquo; is the rallying cry by many of today&rsquo;s business leaders that are just salivating at the chance of being on that list.</p> <p><strong>From my point of view &ndash; it&rsquo;s disgusting.</strong> And it should be argued against at every possible moment. Especially by those at the top. Then again, maybe I&rsquo;m just part of a dying breed. But I doubt it.</p> <p>Next month I&rsquo;ll be giving another speech at an entrepreneurial center where I&rsquo;ll be confronted by a hall full of onlookers with questions that fall around &ldquo;What I just don&rsquo;t understand today is &hellip;.&rdquo; Where I&rsquo;ll have to go through the painstaking process of pointing out what they thought they knew about business &ndash; is no longer. For business fundamentals at certain levels no longer apply.</p> <p>The only thing that makes me feel that maybe, just maybe, there&rsquo;s hope for free enterprise, and free market capitalism going forward is from the reaction of those in that hall once we conclude. For it is they that then go silent, and are<strong> legitimately pissed off.</strong></p> <p><u><em><strong>And all that furor is directed directly at undermining those cronyism infested business models.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="401" height="284" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Cronyism Ford Front Running Global Economy HFT High Frequency Trading High Frequency Trading Japan Market Share Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 570632 at