en Money Manager’s Warning: ‘The Bull Move Has Lasted So Long Nobody Can See Its End’ <p>“Here’s when US equity and bond markets will change direction,” Cali Money Man grumbled a few days ago. He is a wealth manager and has been on the job at brokerage firms and large banks through three phenomenal crashes. Unlike others, he hasn’t forgotten the craziness that led up to them.</p> <p>“When investors come to fear the next Fed-talk, that’s when markets will change direction,” he said. “Now they bid up risk in advance on confidence – and afterwards on reassurance – that ZIRP will continue. But eventually they’ll focus on the start and pace of tightening. Fed-speak will assume an aura of bad news.”</p> <p>And on Wednesday, there was some Fed-speak. As the minutes from the Fed’s July 29-30 policy-setting meeting were published, investors hit the sell button, just a smidgen, then changed their minds, but not much. The Dow and S&amp;P 500 ended the day up, the Nasdaq slipped. The reaction seemed uncertain, jittery, frazzled, but finally unconcerned.</p> <p>All eyes have been on the Fed for years. By now nothing else matters. And the minutes had a nasty message buried inside: the Fed was <em><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0009c4;">seriously debating</span></span></a></em> if it should raise interest rates sooner.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Many participants noted that if convergence toward the objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>“Many participants</em>.” No longer just a couple of hawks! And QE is practically history. It confirmed Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s quickly brushed-off warning in July to Congress; and it confirmed what other Fed governors have said recently: rate hikes might come sooner and be quicker than anticipated.</p> <p>Alas, it took the market only about 30 minutes to decide that the FOMC minutes were backward looking and hence irrelevant. What mattered now was what would be said at the big shindig in Jackson Hole. When Yellen speaks on Friday, the pundits will vivisect her oracular pronouncements and read in between the lines to ignore what they don’t like and put in bold italics any hint that ZIRP would last forever, that in fact, the Fed <em>couldn’t ever</em> raise interest rates.</p> <p>That’s what powers the market. Fundamentals have been obviated by the Fed.</p> <p>“I was on a conference call with a group of portfolio managers,” Cali Money Man said today. “Their mood was <em>resigned capitulation</em> to the trend, going fully invested in order to survive. Low-risk assets pay nothing. They’re negative to clients after fees. And even worse after inflation. Yet these ‘low risk’ assets, such as high-grade bonds, face almost certain losses.”</p> <p><em>Almost certain losses</em>: that’s how low-risk assets are being defined today. The Fed’s new world is dripping with ironies.</p> <p>ZIRP and QE, in effect since December 2008, have succeeded in creating a world where fundamentals have been surgically separated from valuations, where “low risk” assets produce almost certain losses, and where everyone has to pile into high-risk bets just to overcome fees and inflation, with a good chance of losing a big part of the investment down the road.</p> <p>And these “principal-agent dynamics,” as Cali Money Man calls them, boil down to one hyper-ironic strategy: take on risk to survive. That strategy, when multiplied by a million times around the world, drives markets even higher.</p> <p>“The bull move has lasted so long – despite weak macro fundamentals, despite its mysterious origins – that nobody can see its end,” he said. “We’re like observers on June 24, 1812, watching Napoleon’s Grand Army march off to Russia, with its victory certain.”</p> <p>And so, one after the other, portfolio managers who have been bearish based on how they saw the fundamentals and other factors capitulate; they can no longer believe their former views. “This is the essence of a one-sided market,” Cali Money Man said. “Oddly, the third one of our generation.”</p> <p>But one-sided markets invariably tip over. It’s just a question of when. And how violently. Cali Money Man added pensively: “I wonder how many of us will be at our desks four years from now.”</p> <p>But not everyone is bullish on US securities. The report by the US Treasury – released on Friday when everyone was on vacation or getting ready to head out of town, and when no one was supposed to pay attention – was a zinger: US net capital outflows soared to $153.5 billion, the largest ever recorded. Read…. <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0009c4;">Foreigners Dump Record Amount of US Securities, But Who the Heck Is Still Buying? </span></span></a></p> Bond Monetary Policy NASDAQ Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:56:28 +0000 testosteronepit 493335 at The Midterm Election: Prospects For A Republican Senate Majority <p><em>Via Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius,</em></p> <ul> <li><strong>The primary election campaign season unofficially concluded Tuesday (Aug. 19) with the outcome of the Alaska Senate primary, which was the last key nomination contest prior to the general election.</strong> While there were a few high profile surprises during the primary season, this year's primary elections do not appear to have affected the general election outlook to the same degree that primary outcomes have over the last couple of elections.</li> <li><strong>The focus is now on the general election on November 4, where Senate Republicans hold 45 seats and need a net gain of six seats to win a majority. </strong>Recent polling shows Republican candidates leading by large margins in races for three Democratic-held seats, and by very slim margins in another four contests. While these early polls are not particularly reliable, overall they imply a tight race with a clear opening for Republicans to take a narrow majority of Senate seats.</li> <li><strong>As the election draws near, the potential effects of a Republican Senate majority seem likely to become more of a focus for market participants.</strong> A slim Republican majority seems unlikely to us to meaningfully alter the outlook for major policy reforms, since Democratic support would still be necessary in the Senate and the President would still have the option to veto. That said, the details of more routine legislation could be affected. Uncertainty could also increase regarding high profile deadlines such as the debt limit or the expiration of spending authority; markets have gradually become accustomed to the way Congress has handled these deadlines, but a change in control could lead to some renewed uncertainty regarding these deadlines, at least temporarily.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="">In the four months since we last wrote</a> about the upcoming midterm election, the outlook has changed only incrementally.</strong> Although there were a few surprising retirements and primary election results over the last few months, none of these seem to have significantly affected the overall prospects for control of the House or Senate.</p> <p><a href="">As noted in our previous report,</a> the <strong>composition of the House continues to look unlikely to change significantly due to an apparent lack of competitive seats and the absence of national political momentum sufficient to create a "wave" for either party.</strong> Regarding the Senate, most observers expect Republicans to gain at least four seats due to the composition of seats up for re-election this year and as a result of several Democratic retirements. While there is no formal consensus expectation, the average midpoint of the ranges projected by several well-known election forecasters rounds up to a six-seat Republican gain, i.e., just enough to win a majority.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Exhibit 1 demonstrates the challenge that Senate Democrats currently face</strong></span>: the recent average polling margin in each Senate seat up for re-election this year is shown on the horizontal axis and the two-party margin in the 2012 presidential election in that state is shown on the vertical axis. Democrats will have five open Senate seats where the incumbent is retiring. Three of these will be in states that voted heavily Republican in the 2012 presidential election --South Dakota, West Virginia, and Montana--and polling over the last several months has consistently favored the Republican candidates in these contests. Four Democratic incumbents are also running in states that voted Republican in the presidential election in 2012: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Current polling suggests these races are close to even, with Republicans leading narrowly in three of them as well as in Iowa, which voted slightly Democratic in 2012. A few other Democratic seats beyond these appear fairly competitive, either because they are in states that tend to be closely split at the presidential level, or the incumbent is not running, or both.</p> <p><strong>Fewer Republican seats appear to be competitive</strong>. In part, this is because there are fewer Republican seats up for re-election at all: only 15, compared to 21 Democratic seats. It is also because, with the exception of Maine, which does not appear to be a close contest, there are no Republican seats up for re-election this year in Democratic-leaning states. That said, recent polling implies that contests will be competitive for Republican-held seats in Georgia, where the incumbent is retiring, and Kentucky, which has voted strongly Republican in recent presidential contests but where sparse early polling indicates a very close race.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 366px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>As the election draws near, we have begun to receive more frequent questions about the implications of a potential Republican Senate majority.</strong> In general, we would expect the effect on policy outcomes to be fairly limited, since the government would still be divided, just in a different way than it was before:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>1. There should be little effect on most of the major policy debates. </strong>Even if Republicans gain a slim majority in the Senate, they would still need Democratic support to reach the 60 votes usually necessary to pass legislation in that chamber. Just as importantly, President Obama could veto any legislation he opposed and Republicans would be far short of the 67 votes needed to overcome a veto. Many of the major policy items on the agenda, such as immigration reform, housing finance reform, or changes to financial, energy, or environmental regulation, would therefore still require a bipartisan agreement as they do today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. The policy specifics of routine legislation could shift incrementally.</strong> Although major reforms in most policy areas are no more likely to pass under a Republican-majority Senate than a Democratic one, control of the Senate majority could have an effect on more routine deadline-driven legislation. Examples in this area might include the extension of expired and soon to expire tax provisions (so-called "tax extenders") that Congress is likely to pass by early 2015 if not late this year, or the renewal of the highway program that needs to occur by May 2015. Republican majorities in both chambers might reduce the likelihood that revenue is raised from corporate tax changes to pay for these bills, for example.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. Fiscal policy changes could reach the President's desk.</strong> Although most legislation would need to surpass the usual 60-vote threshold in the Senate, if Republicans won House and Senate majorities, they could use the budget “reconciliation” process to pass fiscal legislation through both chambers of Congress with only a simple majority vote. This procedural mechanism, which is tied to the annual budget process, has been used to enact significant fiscal policy changes in the past, including several rounds of deficit reduction legislation in the 1980s and 1990s, tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Changes to the ACA might be a focus for reconciliation legislation, and tax reform could theoretically be addressed using this process as well. That said, President Obama would still have the option to simply veto whatever legislation arrives at his desk and would presumably do so if the reconciliation process was used mainly as a way to circumvent Democratic opponents in the Senate. So while a potential Republican Senate majority might result in greater legislative debate on fiscal policy, it is much less likely to result in enactment of significant fiscal policy changes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Uncertainty regarding fiscal deadlines could return.</strong> Markets have gradually become accustomed to the way Congress has dealt with events such as the debt limit, the "fiscal cliff," or the expiration of government spending authority: the House would often pass a bill seen as unlikely to become law, the Senate would then pass a compromise bill, which the House would accept, often at the last minute and relying on significant Democratic support. This pattern could change if Republicans took the majority in the Senate. For example, when the next debt limit increase becomes necessary in Q3 or Q4 of 2015, Republicans might try to use the reconciliation process noted above to couple it with other political priorities and pass it only with Republican votes in the House and Senate, potentially attracting a presidential veto. Spending legislation that will need to be renewed to avoid a government shutdown could become another source of uncertainty. In an interview this week, Senate Republican Leader McConnell said that under a Republican majority, "we're going to pass spending bills, and they're going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy. That's something [President Obama] won't like, but that will be done. I guarantee it." While the eventual outcome of these debates would presumably be the same as under the current composition of Congress--the debt limit is eventually raised, spending authority is eventually extended--it might take market participants time to get used to a new process.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. Congressional Republicans and the White House might be able to find common ground on a narrow set of issues.</strong> There may be a few issues where congressional Republicans are closer than congressional Democrats to the Obama Administration's position. One of these could be international trade, where Congressional Republicans have tended to be more supportive of bilateral and regional trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which could be finalized late this year or next, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which allows the administration to negotiate trade agreements subject to an up or down vote in Congress but no amendments and is seen as an important tool to pass TPP in Congress.</p> </blockquote> <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="935" height="570" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Jan Hatzius Nomination None President Obama White House Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:44:42 +0000 Tyler Durden 493334 at Trouble In Socialist Paradise: Maduro Rating Plummets As Shoppers Prepare To Be Fingerprinted <p>It appears Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has run out of other people's money. <strong>Just 8 months after his exuberant 60% approval rating</strong> at the end of last year after local elections (appealing to the ever-more-impoverished ultra-poor who remain entirely dependent on his 'fairness'), the socialist leader's popularity has plunged. As Bloomberg reports, Hinterlaces polling shows <strong>only a 39% approval rating (oddly similar to President Obama's</strong>). There are numerous reasons of course, but we suspect the news that <strong>Maduro has announced a mandatory grocery fingerprinting system to combat food shortages</strong>, will not exactly endear him to his 'followers'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hope and Change, it appears, fades after socialists win elections...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Maduro Approval Rating Falls to 39% in Venezuela: Hinterlaces</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The President’s rating has fallen from abt<strong> 60% after Dec. 8 local elections</strong>, director of Hinterlaces polling company, Oscar Schemel, comments by phone.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">But this is even better... (via AP)</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Venezuelans soon may need to have their fingerprints scanned before they can buy bread.</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President Nicolas Maduro has announced a <strong>mandatory grocery fingerprinting system to combat food shortages.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said late Wednesday the program will<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> stop people from buying too much of a single item</strong></span>, but did not say when it would take effect.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The move was met with skepticism. Critics say the new system is <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>tantamount to rationing and constitutes a breach of privacy.</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The socialist South American country has been grappling with shortages of basics like cooking oil and flour for more than a year. <strong>The administration blames the shortages on companies speculating and people smuggling subsidized staples out of the country.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In the spring, Venezuela tried a similar system in government-run supermarkets on a voluntary basis.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Coming to an American grocer near you soon...?</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="379" height="248" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:20:41 +0000 Tyler Durden 493333 at Pakistan Opposition Leader Slams US: "You Like Only Those Governments In Muslim Countries That Are Your Slaves" <p>It is no secret that of all geopolitical crises in the past 5 years, the US has been the instrumental puppetmaster in virtually all of them: from Libya, to Egypt, to Syria, to Ukraine ("<a href="">US Revealed As Alleged Mastermind Behind Ukraine Unrest</a>"), even the ISIS insurrection in Iraq whose success would have been impossible without prior US weaponizing of al-Qaeda splinter groups in neighboring Syria. And now it appears the US has found yet another country for its "intelligence services" to alienate. <a href="">According to go the WSJ</a>, the leader of protests against Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lashed out at the U.S. Thursday, accusing Washington of interfering in the country's political crisis.</p> <p>As <a href="">a reminder</a>, the nuclear-armed country neighboring India is currently gripped in a political crisis, where the opposition-leader (and cricket legend) Imran Khan asked his followers two days ago to surround the nation's parliament building, and calling for a Tahrir-Square-like protest to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. While political instability is a hallmark of Pakistan's coup-prone government, Khan's concerns at the demise of law-and-order in the nation along with a belief that May 2013's election was "stolen" through conspiracies to rig the results, have led him to demand his followers stop paying taxes and utility bills.</p> <p>Yesterday the government agreed to begin talk with Khan howeverm earlier today the former cricketer said he had suspended talks with the government saying the administration planned an "aggressive crackdown" on the thousands of demonstrators currently protesting in front of Parliament. Mr. Khan claims that the government came to power after rigging the 2013 elections.</p> <p>And while his domestic ambitions are clear, it is his hatred of a certain country in the international arena that was most notable: <strong>"You like only those governments in Muslim countries that are your slaves," Mr. Khan said in remarks directed at the U.S. "Is there another democracy for you, and another for us?</strong>"</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="553" height="369" /></a></p> <p>If Khan succeeds in overturning the Sharif government, one can be sure that this will only be the beginning. In the meantime, the US is certainly doing everything in its power to antagonize yet another future anti-American regime:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Mr. Khan's comments came after the State Department said Wednesday that Mr. Sharif's government was legitimate. "<strong>We support the constitutional and electoral process in Pakistan," said spokeswoman Marie Harf. Mr. Sharif, she added, "is the prime minister, period</strong>."</p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, if Khan ascends to power and if Sharif requests US assistance, America will find its drones delivering "humanitarian assistance" to yet another country in a world where daily US bombings, pardon, <em>"lethal ordnance delivery advisory work</em>" have become so common it is easier to keep track of the countries the US isn't liberating.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Diplomats in Islamabad say they are concerned about the stability of Pakistan and fear that a battle for survival is consuming Mr. Sharif's government, sinking his economic-revival program and hopes of forging peace with traditional foe India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Mr. Khan and Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri, whose supporters are staging a parallel sit-in protest, are demanding Mr. Sharif's resignation</strong>. Government aides say they believe that the demonstrations are secretly backed by the military and its spy agencies. The prime minister has clashed with the armed forces over a range of issues in recent months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The protesters have been gathering in Islamabad since Friday, having set off the previous day by car and bus from the eastern city of Lahore, 200 miles away. Mr. Khan insists that he won't call off the protest until Mr. Sharif quits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Mr. Sharif is determined not to resign, he won't use force against the demonstrators, aides said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The political impasse is hurting the economy, the prime minister concedes," said one aide. "But he is confident that he can handle the situation. He will just wait them out. Their numbers are thinning."</p> </blockquote> <p>Worst case, if the economy truly collapses, Pakistan can just blame snow in the upcoming winter: after all if it works for the US it should work for everyone. </p> <p>Meanwhile the political situation in Pakistan has reached a fever pitch:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Some 30,000 security forces have been deployed around Islamabad in response to the protests, including soldiers requisitioned by the government. </strong>Mr. Khan had promised to bring one million protesters to Islamabad, but the actual numbers are much smaller, with independent estimates putting the combined strength of the two demonstrations at between 20,000 and 60,000.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Sharif enjoys a majority in Parliament. Mr. Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party gained just 34 out of 342 seats in the May 2013 election that saw a landslide victory for Mr. Sharif. The other opposition parties are supporting the prime minister, bolstering his position.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Parliament, in the absence of Mr. Khan's PTI, passed a unanimous resolution Thursday that "rejects the unconstitutional demands" of the protesters.</p> </blockquote> <p>And while the US so far has backed Sharif, that is hardly assured for the indefinite future. After all it was not that long ago that the US flip flopped in its Pakistan political alliance, during its latest intervention in the country:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Mr. Sharif's last government was ousted in a coup in 1999 by then-army chief Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Sharif's determination to prosecute Mr. Musharraf for treason is one of the main sources of his friction with the current military leadership.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S., Washington allied itself with Mr. Musharraf's military-led government. However, by 2008, in a change of policy, Washington backed a transition to democracy in Pakistan, supporting elections that year that brought to power the Pakistan Peoples Party led by President Asif Ali Zardari.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the Musharraf years and early period of Mr. Zardari's government, then-U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson played a central role in Pakistani politics, including as a mediator between the military and the politicians, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables have shown. However, U.S. officials insist that they no longer seek to influence internal politics in Pakistan, <strong>where anti-American sentiment runs high.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Hardly surprising considering anti-American sentiment appears to be the dominant theme covering the world these days, even in countries that supposedly pass for US allies.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Mr. Khan, in his speech, singled out current U.S. ambassador Richard Olson. "Please don't take sides and please do not back stooges like Nawaz Sharif," Mr. Khan told a roaring crowd, in remarks in English directed at Mr. Olson. "If you want Pakistan to be a friend of the United States, <strong>we are willing to be friends, but please [understand], a Prime Minister Imran Khan can never become a stooge like Nawaz Sharif.</strong>"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Islamabad Thursday denied local media reports of a hands-on U.S. role in the current crisis. "<strong>The United States is in no way involved in the process or discussions between parties. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and unhelpful to the dialogue between parties," </strong>said the U.S. embassy.</p> </blockquote> <p>Just in case anyone needed proof that is. As for the fact that virtually every populist and nationalist leader around the globe now uses America as a enemy symbol around which to "rally the troops", that may be something even the GOTUS should carefully evaluate, whether or not he is on (permanent) vacation. </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="553" height="369" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> India Iraq SPY Ukraine Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:50:05 +0000 Tyler Durden 493332 at 30 Facts That Prove The American Middle-Class Is Being Destroyed <p><em>Submitted by <a href="">Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog</a>,</em></p> <p><strong>The 30 statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.&nbsp;</strong> Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a staggering pace.&nbsp; Yes, the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights this year and there are a few isolated areas of the country that are doing rather well for the moment.&nbsp; <strong>But overall, the long-term trends that are eviscerating the middle class just continue to accelerate.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>Over the past decade or so, the percentage of Americans that are working <a href="" target="_blank" title="has gone way down">has gone way down</a>, the quality of our jobs has plummeted dramatically and the wealth of the typical American household has fallen precipitously. &nbsp;Meanwhile, we have watched median household income decline <a href="" title="for five years in a row">for five years in a row</a>, we have watched the rate of homeownership in this country decline for eight years in a row and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.&nbsp; Being a part of the middle class in the United States at this point can be compared to playing a game of musical chairs.&nbsp; We can all see chairs being removed from the game, and we are all desperate to continue to have a chair every time the music stops playing.&nbsp;<strong> The next time the music stops, will it be your chair that gets removed?</strong></p> <p>And in this economy, you don&#39;t even have to lose your job to fall out of the middle class.&nbsp; Our paychecks are remaining very stable while the cost of almost everything that we spend money on consistently (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is going up rapidly.&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Bloomberg">Bloomberg</a> calls this &quot;the no-raises recovery&quot;...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Call it the no-raises recovery: Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meager improvements since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation, raising the real value of compensation per hour by only 0.5 percent. That marks the weakest growth since World War II, with increases averaging 9.2 percent at a similar point in past expansions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg.</p> </blockquote> <p>There are so many families out there that are struggling right now.&nbsp; So many husbands and wives find themselves constantly fighting with one another about money, and they don&#39;t even understand that what is happening to them is the result of long-term economic trends that are the result of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.&nbsp; Without middle class jobs, we cannot have a middle class.&nbsp; And those are precisely the jobs that have been destroyed <a href="" title="during the Clinton, Bush and Obama years">during the Clinton, Bush and Obama years</a>.&nbsp; Without enough good jobs to go around, we have seen the middle class steadily shrink and the ranks of the poor grow rapidly.</p> <p><strong>The following are 30 stats to show to anyone that does not believe the middle class is being destroyed...</strong></p> <p><strong>1.</strong> In 2007, the average household in the top 5 percent had 16.5 times as much wealth as the average household overall.&nbsp; But now the average household in the top 5 percent has <a href="" target="_blank" title="24 times as much wealth">24 times as much wealth</a> as the average household overall.</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> According to a study recently discussed in the New York Times, the &quot;typical American household&quot; is now worth <a href="" target="_blank" title="36 percent less">36 percent less</a> than it was worth a decade ago.</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> <a href=";PID=4003003&amp;SID=1l92zowprtged" target="_blank" title="One out of every seven Americans">One out of every seven Americans</a> rely on food banks at this point.</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> <a href=";PID=4003003&amp;SID=1l92zowprtged" target="_blank" title="One out of every four military families">One out of every four military families</a> needs help putting enough food on the table.</p> <p><strong>5.</strong> <a href=";PID=4003003&amp;SID=1l92zowprtged" target="_blank" title="79 percent">79 percent</a> of the people that use food banks purchase &quot;inexpensive, unhealthy food just to have enough to feed their families&quot;.</p> <p><strong>6.</strong> One out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is &quot;<a href=";hpt=hp_t2" target="_blank" title="in collections">in collections</a>&quot;.</p> <p><strong>7.</strong> Only <a href="" target="_blank" title="48 percent">48 percent</a> of all Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.</p> <p><strong>8.</strong> The price of food continues to rise much faster than the paychecks of most middle class families.&nbsp; For example, the average price of ground beef has just hit a brand new all-time record high <a href="" target="_blank" title="of $3.884 a pound">of $3.884 a pound</a>.</p> <p><strong>9.</strong> According to one recent study, <a href="" target="_blank" title="40 percent">40 percent</a> of all households in the United States are experiencing financial stress right now.</p> <p><strong>10.</strong> The overall homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level <a href="" target="_blank" title="since 1995">since 1995</a>.</p> <p><strong>11.</strong> The homeownership rate for Americans under the age of 35 is at <a href="" target="_blank" title="an all-time low">an all-time low</a>.</p> <p><strong>12.</strong> According to one recent survey, <a href="" target="_blank" title="52 percent">52 percent</a> of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.</p> <p><strong>13.</strong> The average age of vehicles on America&rsquo;s roads has hit an all-time high of <a href="" target="_blank" title="11.4 years">11.4 years</a>.</p> <p><strong>14.</strong> Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made <a href="" target="_blank" title="to someone with subprime credit">to someone with subprime credit</a>.</p> <p><strong>15.</strong> Amazingly, <a href="" target="_blank" title="one out of every six men">one out of every six men</a> in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.</p> <p><strong>16.</strong> One recent study found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank" title="completely given up">completely given up</a>&rdquo; looking for a job.</p> <p><strong>17.</strong> <a href="" target="_blank" title="36 percent">36 percent</a> of Americans do not have a single penny saved for retirement.</p> <p><strong>18.</strong> According to one survey, <a href="" target="_blank" title="76 percent">76 percent</a> of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p><strong>19.</strong> More than half of all working Americans <a href="" target="_blank" title="make less than $30,000 a year">make less than $30,000 a year</a> in wages.</p> <p><strong>20.</strong> <a href="" target="_blank" title="Only four">Only four</a> of the twenty fastest growing occupations in America require a Bachelor&rsquo;s degree or better.</p> <p><strong>21.</strong>&nbsp; In America today, one out of every ten jobs is filled <a href="" target="_blank" title="by a temp agency">by a temp agency</a>.</p> <p><strong>22.</strong> Due to a lack of decent jobs, <a href="" target="_blank" title="half of all college graduates">half of all college graduates</a> are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.</p> <p><strong>23.</strong> Median household income in the United States is <a href="" target="_blank" title="about 7 percent lower">about 7 percent lower</a> than it was in the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation.</p> <p><strong>24.</strong> Approximately <a href="" target="_blank" title="one out of every four">one out of every four</a> part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.</p> <p><strong>25.</strong> It is hard to believe, but <a href="" target="_blank" title="more than one out of every five children">more than one out of every five children</a> in the United States is living in poverty in 2014.</p> <p><strong>26.</strong> According to one study, there are <a href="" target="_blank" title="49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity">49 million Americans</a> that are dealing with food insecurity.</p> <p><strong>27.</strong> Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.&nbsp; But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps <a href="" target="_blank" title="actually exceeds">actually exceeds</a> the number of women that have jobs.</p> <p><strong>28.</strong> If the middle class was actually thriving, we wouldn&rsquo;t have <a href="" target="_blank" title="more than a million public school children">more than a million public school children</a> that are homeless.</p> <p><strong>29.</strong> If you can believe it, Americans received&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="more than 2 trillion dollars">more than 2 trillion dollars</a> in benefits from the federal government last year alone.</p> <p><strong>30.</strong> In terms of median wealth per adult, the United States is now <a href="" target="_blank" title="in just 19th place">in just 19th place</a> in the world.</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="541" height="540" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bureau of Labor Statistics ETC Homeownership Rate Musical Chairs New York Times recovery Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:26:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 493331 at "Disturbing Pattern" Continues, Administration Broke The Law With Bergdahl Swap, GAO Says <p>"In our view, the meaning of the (law) is clear and unambiguous," the <strong>nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote, The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, for five Taliban leaders</strong>. <a href="">As AP reports,</a> the GAO charges that the administration failed to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange, and furthermore, used $988,400 of a wartime account to make the transfer without express appropriation - breaking the Antideficiency Act. So it seems The White House's previous statement that it "acted lawfully" are once again false. As Republican Senator Susan Collins exclaimed, "<strong><em>The president's decision is part of a disturbing pattern where he unilaterally decides that he does not have to comply with provisions of laws with which he disagrees</em></strong>."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">As AP reports,</a> <strong>The Pentagon broke the law</strong> when it swapped Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, for five Taliban leaders, congressional investigators said Thursday.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said <strong>the Defense Department failed to notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the exchange</strong> — a clear violation of the law — and <strong>used $988,400 of a wartime account to make the transfer</strong>. The GAO also said the <strong>Pentagon's use of funds that hadn't been expressly appropriated violated the Antideficiency Act</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"In our view, the meaning of the (law) is clear and unambiguous,"</strong> the GAO wrote to nine Republican senators...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Section 8111 prohibits the use of 'funds appropriated or otherwise made available' in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, to transfer any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay to the custody or control of a foreign entity' except in accordance" with the law.</p> </blockquote> <p>But, but, but they said it was lawful...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby defended the Pentagon's actions, saying that as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stated in his congressional testimony earlier this year, <strong>the Defense Department "acted lawfully in the operation to recover Sgt. Bergdahl, a judgment that was supported by the Justice Department."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So it must be a political witch-hunt... those cynical Republican abiders by the law...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Lawmakers, especially Republicans, were angry with President Barack Obama and members of the administration for failing to notify them about the swap. </strong>Some in Congress have said Bergdahl was a deserter and the United States gave up too much for his freedom. Several lawmakers have cited intelligence suggesting the high-level Taliban officials could return to the Afghanistan battlefield.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said it was <strong>"completely disingenuous" for the administration to suggest that notifying Congress might have compromised the transfer</strong> because dozens of administration officials knew well in advance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"It's not hard to imagine that the president didn't notify us until after the fact because he knew the proposed transfer would have been met with opposition,"</strong> Collins said in a statement Thursday.<strong> "The president's decision is part of a disturbing pattern where he unilaterally decides that he does not have to comply with provisions of laws with which he disagrees."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This matter, it appears, is far from over...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Last month, a bitterly divided House Armed Services Committee voted to condemn Obama for the swap.</strong> The Republican-led panel backed a nonbinding resolution that disapproves of the exchange and faults Obama for failing to notify Congress 30 days in advance of the swap, as required by law.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bipartisan resolution raised national security concerns about the transfer of the five Taliban, who had been held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than a decade, and<strong> the "repercussions of negotiating with terrorists." </strong>The measure also expresses relief that Bergdahl has returned safely to the United States.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The full House is expected to consider the measure in the fall, just a few weeks before the midterm elections.</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br />Totalitarian enough for you yet?</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="481" height="479" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Barack Obama national security Testimony Fri, 22 Aug 2014 00:49:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 493330 at Artist's Impression Of President Obama's Urgent Matters In Washington <p>Presented with no comment...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="419" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>Source: Investors</em></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="781" height="546" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> President Obama Fri, 22 Aug 2014 00:37:24 +0000 Tyler Durden 493305 at Liberian Police Open Fire On Ebola Protesters <p><strong>Police in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighbourhood.</strong> As Reuters reports, at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces, witnesses said, though it was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire. Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighbourhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease. <strong>"The soldiers are using live rounds," said army spokesman</strong> Dessaline Allison, adding: "The soldiers applied the rules of engagement. They did not fire on peaceful citizens." Locals are angry, "I don't have any food and we're scared," screamed one, adding, <strong>"it is inhumane." <br /></strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="399" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><em>As Reuters reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Police in the Liberian capital fired live rounds and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd trying to break an Ebola quarantine imposed on their neighbourhood</strong>, as the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa hit 1,350.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="383" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the sprawling oceanfront West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, <strong>at least four people were injured in clashes with security forces,</strong> witnesses said. It was unclear whether anyone was wounded by the gunfire, though a <strong>Reuters photographer saw a young boy with his leg largely severed just above the ankle.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="399" /></a><br /></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the West Point neighbourhood under quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="309" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The soldiers are using live rounds," said army spokesman</strong> Dessaline Allison, adding: "The soldiers applied the rules of engagement. They did not fire on peaceful citizens. There will be medical reports if (an injury) was from bullet wounds."</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Witnesses said the clashes in West Point started after security forces early on Wednesday blocked roads to the neighbourhood with tables, chairs and barbed wire.</strong> Security forces also came in to escort the local commissioner out of the neighbourhood, they said.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"We just saw it (the blockade) this morning. We came out and we couldn't go anywhere. I haven't heard from anybody in authority what happened," Barry, 45, who works as a money changer, told Reuters.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>As RT reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Residents of West Point were outraged at the move, protesting, throwing stones and shouting at police.</strong> Witnesses also stated that the violence began after the security forces blocked roads to the neighborhood with tables, chairs and barbed wire. Locals told Al Jazeera they hadn’t been warned.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="337" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"I don't have any food and we're scared," </strong>Alpha Barry, a local who has four children under age 13, said.</p> <p><strong>"It is inhumane," </strong>resident Patrick Wesseh told AFP by telephone.</p> <p><strong>"They can't suddenly lock us up without any warning, how are our children going to eat?"</strong> he added.</p> <p>On Saturday, youths with clubs stormed an Ebola medical facility in West Point.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br />The death toll from the spreading virus mounted by 106 in just two days, and constituted 1,350 victims. In Liberia alone, 576 people have died from 972 cases, AFP reported.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Scenes are very reminiscent of Ferguson, Missouri</span></em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>*SENEGAL CLOSES BORDERS W/GUINEA ON EBOLA CONCERNS, AFP SAYS<br /></strong></li> </ul> <p>In addition, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>South Africa has imposed travel bans on citizens from Ebola-Hit nations (as Bloomberg reports)</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Ban is for all non-South African citizens travelling from high risk countries, unless travel is considered absolutely essential, Dept. of Health says in e- mailed statement.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Ban is for citizens of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>South African citizens wanting to travel to Ebola-hit countries requested to delay travel unless absolutely essential</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>South Africans returning from these countries to be subject to more stricter screening process<br /></strong></p> </blockquote> <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="867" height="447" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Reuters Fri, 22 Aug 2014 00:26:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 493329 at The Stunning Charts Showing Just How Much Richer The Rich Have Gotten While The Poor Drown In Debt <p>The Fed's epic wealth redistribution scheme has gotten so simple, even a 5 year old Census Bureau employee gets it. </p> <p>In the latest <a href="">Household Wealth report by the government agency</a>, the Census found that for the period ended 2011 the rich got richer (and would get much richer in the subsequent 2.5 years), while the poor, i.e. the majority of the US population, got poorer. In fact, not only did the poor get poorer, but the first quintile of the US population, or the bottom 20% by net worth, certainly not by representation as it happens to be the most populated, saw a decline in net worth from negative $905 in 2000 <strong>to negative $6,029, in other words debt</strong>.&nbsp; Remember this chart <a href="">showing that the rich have assets and the poor have debt</a>...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="550" height="550" /></a></p> <p>... Well here it is again, this time with numbers populated from the Census Bureau:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="233" /></a></p> <p>In the meantime the rich have gotten ridiculously rich. The numbers, for 2011, are straightforward: the median net worth of the top 20% rose 0.4% to $630,754, and has increased by $61,379 in net worth since the year 2000. A simple infographic showing this:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="612" height="648" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A time lapse at the change in net worth across all cohorts. Of note: the 4th and 5th quintiles have done well. Everyone else, not so much. <strong>In fact, the median net worth for all households declined by 6.8% ot $5,046 between 2000 and 2011!</strong></p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="300" /></p> <p>This is how the <a href="">Census phrases it</a>: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Median net worth increased between 2000 and 2011 for households in the top two quintiles of the net worth distribution (the wealthiest 40 percent), while declining for those in the lower three quintiles (the bottom 60 percent), according to new statistics released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. <strong>The result was a widening wealth gap between those at the top and those in the middle and bottom of the net worth distribution. Each quintile represents 20 percent, or one-fifth, of all households</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S.: 2000 to 2011 and associated detailed tables, median household net worth decreased by $5,124 for households in the first (bottom) net worth quintile and increased by $61,379 (or 10.8 percent) for those in the highest (top) quintile (Figure 1). Median net worth of households in the highest quintile was 39.8 times higher than the second lowest quintile in 2000, and it rose to 86.8 times higher in 2011. (Figure 2).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report also details a widening of the wealth gap for households sharing the same demographic characteristics, such as age, race and Hispanic origin, and educational attainment of the householder. For example, the median net worth for non-Hispanic whites in the highest quintile was 21.8 times higher than for those in the second-lowest quintile in 2000; in 2011, this had increased to 31.5 times higher. For blacks, the ratio increased from 139.9 to 328.1, and for Hispanics, the increase was from 158.4 to 220.9.</p> </blockquote> <p>As noted above, keep in mind that this data is only through 2011. Based on historical data, and as we have reported previously total household net worth surpassed previous records in mid 2013 and is currently in uncharted territory courtesy entirely of the relentless engineered rise in the Fed-manipulated stock market. In fact, based on Q1 data, total household net worth is at a <a href="">record high of $81.8 trillion</a>, with the bulk of it, or $67 trillion, derived from financial assets.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="390" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Which means that in the interim two years <strong>the rich not only got even richer, but have now surpassed all previous records. </strong></p> <p>And by implication, America's poor, that 20% on the net worth scale which is far greater than 20% in terms of population and that has only debt to show and no assets, are currently so deep in debt, there is no wonder the US economy is a complete disaster to all but the choice few who comprise the top quntile, and to the paid economists and pundits who make money by cheerleading the "growing" US economy to its final resting place.</p> <p>But nowhere is the "financialization" of the US economy more evident than in this chart showing the relative net worth ratio of quntile to the next quintile right below it. Quote Census: "The distribution of net worth became more spread out between 2000 and 2011. <strong>The ratio of median net worth of the highest quintile to the second quintile increased from 39.8 to 86.8 between 2000 and 2011, and the ratio of the highest quintile to the third quintile increased from 7.7 to 9.2. The ratio of the highest quintile to the fourth quintile was 3.0 in 2000 and showed no statistically significant change over this period</strong>."&nbsp; </p> <p>The surge took place precisely as the last credit bubble peaked and then burst. "Ironically" the richest did not get nearly as hurt as everyone else. </p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="516" /></p> <p>It is safe to say that the net worth ratio of the top quntile to the second higher is now, 2014, well over 100%. And to thin it was just 40% at the beginning of the century. </p> <p>Here Census does a curious detour, because in addition to just wealth quntiles it also looks at wealth distribution by race. And while it is no surprise that in absolute terms rich whites are richer than rich blacks or hispanics, with a net worth at the end of 2011 of $754,244, $229,041 and $250,462 respectively...</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="344" /></p> <p>... the wealth redistribution <em><strong>within </strong></em>the ranks is far greater among blacks than the other two racial cohorts. In fact, while the ratio of the wealthiest 20% of whites increased only modestly, the increase was somewhat greater for the fifth hispanic quintile, and soared for the richest 20% of all blacks.</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p>From the Census: "the ratio of median net worth of non-Hispanic whites to that of blacks rose from 10.6 to 17.5 between 2000 and 2011, and the ratio of non-Hispanic whites to Hispanics also increased from 8.1 to 14.4. <strong>"However, when looking at the highest quintile for these groups, we see that <span style="text-decoration: underline;">blacks experienced higher relative increases in median net worth than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics</span>," </strong>Census Bureau economist Marina Vornovitsky said.</p> <p>This is a finding that probably won't be mentioned too often by the president in his populist, race-baiting speeches.</p> <p>Finally, why is any of this important? </p> <p>Simple: the trends presented here confirm not only why class animosity within American society is at all time highs, they also explain why without the life support of the Fed, the US economy would crumple. </p> <p>The chart below, <a href="">which we have shown before</a>, explains why: with the purchasing power of the poor being funneled to the rich couretsy of the Fed, and as a result of ever greater indebtedness which limits how much more debt they can carry, the poor have no choice but to consume less and less. Something which the US economy has demonstrated vividly to all but the 1% who continue to live, oblivious, in its ivory tower. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="550" height="566" /></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="1126" height="968" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Census Bureau Purchasing Power Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:59:44 +0000 Tyler Durden 493328 at Ukraine Central Bank "Friends" USDollar Sellers, Posts 'Failed' FX Intervention On Facebook <p>Forget Bloomberg, ignore Reuters, dismiss that 'well-informed trader' source... Ukraine's Central Bank has decided that critical medium for expressing its desperation to stop the collapse of its currency is... <strong>Facebook</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the Hrynia near record closing lows against the USD,<strong> the Ukraine Central Bank 'posted' that</strong>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> <span style="text-decoration: underline;">it had been offering dollars at 13.2 Hrynia and bidding at 12.95 Hyrvnia... </span></p> </blockquote> <p>looks like their intervention failed dismally once again...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="313" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>UAH closes at 13.35 - just shy of record closing lows of 13.4...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="318" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Chart: Bloomberg</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="961" height="502" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Reuters Ukraine Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:41:25 +0000 Tyler Durden 493327 at