http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2011/09/20110926 en Cash Is No Longer King: The Phasing Out Of Physical Money Has Begun http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/cash-no-longer-king-phasing-out-physical-money-has-begun <p><a href="http://theantimedia.org/cash-no-longer-king/"><em>Submitted by Shaun Bradley via TheAntiMedia.org,</em></a></p> <p><strong>As physical currency around the world is increasingly phased out, the era where &ldquo;cash is king&rdquo; seems to be coming to an end.</strong> Countries like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickwwatson/2016/12/01/indias-demonetization-could-be-the-first-cash-domino-to-fall/#6ca320413bb7" target="_blank">India</a> and <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/01/south-korea-to-kill-the-coin-in-path-towards-cashless-society.html" target="_blank">South Korea</a> have chosen to limit access to physical money by law, and others are beginning to <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2016/10/12/central-banks-explore-blockchains-why-digital-dollars-pounds-or-yuan-could-be-a-reality-in-5-years/#1b0a66c876d8" target="_blank">test digital blockchains</a> for their central banks.</p> <p>The war on cash isn&rsquo;t going to be waged overnight, and showdowns will continue in any country where citizens turn to <a href="http://reason.com/archives/2016/12/06/governments-trash-cash-making-alternativ" target="_blank">alternatives</a> like precious metals or decentralized cryptocurrencies. <strong>Although this transition may feel like a natural progression into the digital age, the real motivation to go cashless is <a href="https://mises.org/blog/why-governments-want-central-bank-issued-digital-currency" target="_blank">downright sinister</a>.</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2008/oct/13/creditcrunch-marketturmoil1" target="_blank">unprecedented collusion</a> between governments and central banks that occurred in 2008 led to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/news/specials/storysupplement/bankbailout/" target="_blank">bailouts</a>, <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/09/from-zirp-to-nirp-whats-the-feds-next-move.html" target="_blank">zero percent interest rates</a> and <a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/03/economist-explains-5" target="_blank">quantitative easing</a> on a scale never before seen in history. <strong>Those decisions, which were made under duress and in closed-door meetings, set the stage for this inevitable demise of paper money.</strong></p> <p>Sacrificing the stability of national currencies has been used as a way <a href="https://www.thestreet.com/story/13550156/1/era-of-central-banks-propping-up-stock-market-has-come-to-an-end.html" target="_blank">prop up</a>&nbsp;failing private institutions around the globe. By kicking the can down the road yet another time, bureaucrats and bankers sealed the fate of the financial system as we know it.</p> <p><strong>A <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2014/04/28/is-james-rickards-right-about-a-coming-monetary-apocalypse/#1a38cdca14f8" target="_blank">currency war</a> has been declared, ensuring that the U.S. dollar, Euro, Yen and many other state currencies are linked in a suicide pact.</strong> Printing money and endlessly expanding debt are policies that will erode the underlying value of every dollar in people&rsquo;s wallets, as well as digital funds in their bank accounts. This new war operates in the shadows of the public&rsquo;s ignorance, slowly undermining social and economic stability through inflation and other consequences of central control. As the Federal Reserve leads the rest of the world&rsquo;s central banks down the rabbit hole, the vortex it&rsquo;s creating will affect everyone in the globalized economy.</p> <p>Peter Schiff, president of <a href="http://www.europac.com/" target="_blank">Euro-Pacific Capital</a>, has written several books on the state of the financial system. <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-loser-wins-2013-5" target="_blank">His focus</a> is on the long-term consequences of years of government and central bank manipulation of fiat currencies:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Never in the course of history has a country&rsquo;s economy failed because its currency was too strong&hellip;The view that a weak currency is desirable is so absurd that it could only have been devised to serve the political agenda of those engineering the descent. And while I don&rsquo;t blame policy makers from spinning self-serving fairy tales (that is their nature), I find extreme fault with those</em><strong><em> hypnotized members of the media and the financial establishment who have checked their reason at the door</em></strong><em>. A currency war is different from any other kind of conventional war in that the object is to kill oneself. The nation that succeeds in inflicting the most damage on its own citizens wins the war. &rdquo; </em>[emphasis added]</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>If you want a glimpse of how this story ends, all you have to do is look at Venezuela,</strong></u> where the government has <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/29/investing/venezuela-worthless-currency/" target="_blank">destroyed the value</a> of the bolivar (and U.S. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/06/28/how-to-save-venezuela/the-us-bears-blame-for-the-crisis-in-venezuela-and-it-should-stop-intervening-there" target="_blank">intervention</a> has further exacerbated the problem). Desperation has overcome the country, leading women to go as far as <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-economy-hair-idUSKBN13U2I7?il=0" target="_blank">selling their own hair&nbsp;</a>just to get by. While crime and murder rates have <a href="http://time.com/4341450/venezuela-state-of-emergency-murder-caracas/" target="_blank">spiked</a> to all-time highs, the most dangerous threat to Venezuelans has been extensive government planning. The money they work for and save is now so valueless it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuelas-currency-hyper-inflation-oil-crisis-devalued-shop-keepers-weigh-notes-a7443596.html" target="_blank">weighed&nbsp;</a>instead of counted. The stacks of bills have to be carried around in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/11/27/venezuelas-currency-is-so-devalued-it-no-longer-fits-in-ordinary-wallets/?utm_term=.e261230841b5" target="_blank">backpacks</a>, and the scene is reminiscent of the hyperinflation <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/weimar-germany-hyperinflation-explained-2013-9" target="_blank">Weimar Germany</a> experienced in the 1920s. Few Western nations have ever experienced a currency crisis before, meaning many are blind to the inevitable consequences that come from the <a href="https://mises.org/library/why-central-bank-stimulus-cannot-bring-economic-recovery" target="_blank">unending stimulus</a> we&rsquo;ve seen since 2008.</p> <p><strong>In order to keep this kind of chaos from spreading like a contagion to the rest of the world, representatives are willing to do <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/27/qe4-is-comingand-it-could-fund-the-next-cold-war-analyst.html%27" target="_blank">anything necessary</a>, but this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2013/12/12/cashless-society-a-huge-threat-to-our-freedomcommentary.html" target="_blank">comes at a cost</a>. </strong>Instead of having to worry about carrying around wheelbarrows full of money, the fear in a cashless society will likely stem from bank customers&rsquo; <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/29/when-it-can-be-illegal-to-withdraw-your-own-money.html" target="_blank">restricted access</a> to funds. With no physical way for consumers to take possession of their wealth, the banking interests will decide how much is available.</p> <p>The level of trust most people still have in the current system is astonishing. Even after decades of incompetence, manipulation, and irresponsibility, the public still grasps to government and the established order like a child learning how to swim. The responsibility that comes with independence has intimidated the entire population into leaving the decisions up to so-called &nbsp;&lsquo;experts.&rsquo; It just so happens that those trusted policymakers have an agenda to strip you and future generations of prosperity.</p> <p><strong>Some of the few hopes in this war against centralization are peer-to-peer technologies like <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-price-climbs-to-highest-level-in-nearly-3-years-2016-12-02" target="_blank">Bitcoin</a> and <a href="https://www.ethereum.org/" target="_blank">Ethereum</a>. </strong>These innovative platforms have the potential to open up markets that circumvent state-controlled Ponzi schemes. The future development of crypto-assets has massive potential, but being <a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/technology/news/disputive-blockchain-technology-set-to-be-coopted-by-banks-35148731.html" target="_blank">co-opted</a> is a <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/03/13/central-banks-beat-bitcoin-at-own-game-with-rival-supercurrency/" target="_blank">real danger</a>.</p> <p><u><strong>The greatest threat to individual freedom is financial dependence, and as long as your wealth is under someone else&rsquo;s control, it can never be completely secure. </strong></u>Unfortunately, private blockchains are becoming increasingly popular, creating trojan horses for those just learning about the technology (in contrast, Bitcoin&rsquo;s transaction ledger is <a href="https://blockchain.info/wallet/bitcoin-faq">public</a>) . Without the decentralized aspect of a financial network, it is just a giant tracking database that can be easily compromised like any other.</p> <p>The World Economic Forum released <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_future_of_financial_infrastructure.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> on the future of financial infrastructure. Giancarlo Bruno, Head of Financial Services Industries at WEF&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/world-economic-forum-potential-of-blockchain-in-financial-services-2016-8" target="_blank">stated</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Rather than to stay at the margins of the finance industry, blockchain will become the beating heart of it. It will help build innovative solutions across the industry, becoming ever more integrated into the structure of financial services, as mainframes, messaging services, and electronic trading did before it.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The list of countries who are exploring integrating blockchain technology into their central banking system is extensive. Just to name a few; <a href="http://www.coindesk.com/singapore-central-bank-test-blockchain-backed-digital-currency/" target="_blank">Singapore</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.econotimes.com/National-Bank-of-Ukraine-to-use-blockchain-for-issuing-e-money-394100" target="_blank">Ukraine</a>, <a href="http://www.coindesk.com/french-central-bank/" target="_blank">France</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://news.bitcoin.com/finland-central-bank-blockchain/" target="_blank">Finland</a> and many <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/12/business/dealbook/central-banks-consider-bitcoins-technology-if-not-bitcoin.html" target="_blank">others</a> are in the process of researching and testing out options.</p> <p><strong>For those who appreciate more tangible wealth, diversifying into hard assets like gold and silver is a great first step.</strong> It&rsquo;s not about becoming a millionaire or getting rich quickly, but rather, using precious metals as vehicles for investment in the long-term. Regardless of what events unfold over the decades to come, the <a href="http://schiffgold.com/key-gold-news/want-stable-purchasing-power-buy-gold-and-silver/" target="_blank">wealth preserved</a> in physical form is more secure than any other asset. Forty years ago it was possible to save your money in the bank and accumulate interest over time, but that opportunity <a href="http://business.time.com/2010/12/06/how-you-slowly-lose-money-with-bank-accounts/" target="_blank">no longer exists</a>. Those who fail to adapt to this new financial twilight zone will likely find themselves living as slaves to debt for years.</p> <p>Control and confidence are two of the most important things in the system we live in. Once these digital spider webs have been put into place, the ability for an individual to maintain privacy or anonymity will all but disappear. Only through understanding the subversive actions being taken can people protect themselves from having to put their future in someone else&rsquo;s hands. <strong>The cash that allows free transactions without tax burdens or state scrutiny won&rsquo;t be around much longer. There will be many rationalizations for a cashless society in the years to come, but without fixing this broken financial system first, this will only ensure that despotism gains an even sturdier foothold.</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="712" height="370" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20161209_cssh.jpg?1481310121" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/cash-no-longer-king-phasing-out-physical-money-has-begun#comments Bitcoin Blockchain Business Cashless society Central bank Central Banks Cryptocurrencies Cryptocurrency Currency Currency war E-commerce Economy Euro Fail Federal Reserve Finance Industry Finland Foreign exchange market France Germany Hyperinflation India integrating blockchain technology Monetary hegemony Money peer-to-peer technologies Peter Schiff Precious Metals Quantitative Easing Trade wars Ukraine US Federal Reserve World Economic Forum Yen Sat, 10 Dec 2016 04:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580201 at http://www.zerohedge.com Trump's Bait And Switch? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/trumps-bait-and-switch <p><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176219/"><em>Submitted by Nomi Prins via TomDispatch.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Given his cabinet picks so far, it&rsquo;s reasonable to assume that The Donald finds hanging out with anyone who isn&rsquo;t a billionaire (or at least a multimillionaire) a drag. </strong>What would there be to talk about if you left the Machiavellian class and its exploits for the company of the sort of normal folk you can rouse at a rally?&nbsp; It&rsquo;s been a month since the election and here&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s clear: crony capitalism, the kind that festers and grows when offered public support in its search for private profits, is the order of the day among Donald Trump&rsquo;s cabinet picks. Forget his own &ldquo;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/us/politics/donald-trump-international-business.html" target="_blank">conflicts of interest</a>.&rdquo; Whatever financial, tax, and other policies his administration puts in place, most of his appointees are going to profit like mad from them and, in the end, Trump might not even wind up being the richest member of the crew.&nbsp;</p> <p>Only a month has passed since November 8th, but it&rsquo;s already clear (not that it wasn&rsquo;t <a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176192/tomgram%3A_nomi_prins%2C_trump%27s_future_piggy_bank%2C_our_country" target="_blank">before</a>) that <strong>Trump&rsquo;s anti-establishment campaign rhetoric was the biggest scam of his career, one he pulled off perfectly. </strong>As president-elect and the country&rsquo;s next CEO-in-chief, he&rsquo;s now doing what many presidents have done: doling out power to like-minded friends and associates, loyalists, and -- think John F. Kennedy, for instance -- possibly family.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here, however, is a major historical difference: <strong>the magnitude of Trump&rsquo;s cronyism is off the charts, even for Washington. </strong>Of course, he&rsquo;s never been a man known for doing small and humble. So his cabinet, as yet incomplete, is already the richest one ever. Estimates of how loaded it will be are almost meaningless at this point, given that we don&rsquo;t even know Trump&rsquo;s true wealth (and will likely never see his tax returns). Still, with more billionaires at the doorstep<strong>,</strong> estimates of the wealth of his new cabinet members and of the president-elect range from my own guesstimate of about $12 billion up to <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/donald-trump-cabinet-billionaires-millionaires-231831" target="_blank">$35 billion</a>. Though the process is as yet incomplete, this already reflects at least a <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/richest-members-obama-cabinet-article-1.1861803" target="_blank">quadrupling</a> of the wealth represented by Barack Obama&rsquo;s cabinet.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s version of a political and financial establishment, just forming, will be bound together by certain behavioral patterns born of relationships among those of similar status, background, social position, legacy connections, and an assumed allegiance to a dogma of self-aggrandizement that overshadows everything else. In the realm of politico-financial power and in Trump&rsquo;s experience and ideology, the one with the most toys always wins. So it&rsquo;s hardly a surprise that his money- and power-centric cabinet won&rsquo;t be focused on public service or patriotism or civic duty, but on the consolidation of corporate and private gain at the expense of the citizenry.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s already obvious that, to Trump, <strong><em>&ldquo;draining the swamp&rdquo;</em></strong> means filling it with <strong>new layers of golden sludge</strong>, similar in color to the decorations that adorn buildings with his name, including the new <a href="https://www.trumphotels.com/washington-dc" target="_blank">Trump International Hotel</a><strong> </strong>on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House where foreign diplomats are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/2016/11/18/9da9c572-ad18-11e6-977a-1030f822fc35_story.html?utm_term=.448bb804bcb2" target="_blank">already flocking</a> to curry favor and even the toilet paper holders in the lobby bathrooms are faux-gold-plated.</p> <p><strong>The rarified world of his cabinet choices is certainly a universe away from the struggling working class folks he bamboozled with promises of bringing back American &ldquo;greatness.&rdquo; </strong>And yet the soaring value of his cabinet should be seen as merely a departure point for our four-year (or more) leap into what is guaranteed to be an abyss of inequality and instability. Forget their wealth. What their business conflicts, relationships, and ideological stances indicate about what they&rsquo;ll <em>do</em> to America is far more worrisome. And though Trump promised (<a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/803931490514075648" target="_blank">and tweeted</a>) that he&rsquo;d be &ldquo;<a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/803931490514075648" target="_blank">completely out</a> of business operations,&rdquo; the possibility of such a full exit for him (or any of his crew) is about as likely as a full reveal of those tax returns.</p> <h3><u><strong>Trumping History</strong></u></h3> <p>There is, in fact, some historical precedent for a president surrounding himself with such a group of self-interested power-grabbers, but you&rsquo;d have to return to Warren G. Harding&rsquo;s administration in the early 1920s to find it.<strong> The &ldquo;Roaring Twenties&rdquo; that ended explosively in a stock market collapse in 1929 began, ominously enough, with a presidency filled with similar figures, as well as policies remarkably similar to those now being promised under Trump, including major<em> </em>tax cuts and giveaways for corporations and the deregulation of Wall Street.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>A notably weak figure, Harding liberally delegated policymaking to the group of senior Republicans he chose to oversee his administration who were dubbed &ldquo;<a href="http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Teapot_Dome_Scandal" target="_blank">the Ohio gang</a>&rdquo; (though they were not all from Ohio). Scandal soon followed, above all the notorious Teapot Dome incident in which Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall leased petroleum reserves owned by the Navy in Wyoming and California to two private oil companies without competitive bidding, receiving millions of dollars in kickbacks in return. That scandal and the attention it received darkened Harding&rsquo;s administration. Until <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Enron-What-Happened-1517868" target="_blank">the Enron scandal</a> of 2001-2002, it would serve as the poster child for money (and oil) in politics gone bad. Given Donald Trump&rsquo;s predisposition for green-lighting pipelines and promoting fossil fuel development, a modern reenactment of Teapot Dome is hardly beyond imagining.</p> <p>Harding&rsquo;s other main contributions to American history involved two choices he made. He offered <a href="http://millercenter.org/president/biography/hoover-life-before-the-presidency" target="_blank">businessman</a> Herbert Hoover the job of secretary of commerce and so put him in play to become president in the years just preceding the Great Depression.&nbsp; And in a fashion that now looks Trumpian, he also appointed one of the richest men on Earth, billionaire <a href="https://www.treasury.gov/about/history/Pages/awmellon.aspx" target="_blank">Andrew Mellon</a>, as his treasury secretary. &nbsp;Mellon, a Pittsburgh industrialist-financier, was head of the Mellon National Bank; he founded both the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), for which he&rsquo;d be accused of <a href="http://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1548&amp;context=ethj" target="_blank">unethical</a> behavior while treasury secretary (as he still owned stock in the company and his brother was a close associate), and the Gulf Oil Company; and with Henry Clay Frick, he co-founded the Union Steel Company. &nbsp;</p> <p>He promptly set to work -- and this will sound familiar today -- cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations. At the same time, he essentially left Wall Street free to concoct the shadowy &ldquo;trusts&rdquo; that would use borrowed money to purchase collections of shares in companies and real estate, igniting the 1929 stock market crash. After Mellon, who had served three presidents, left Herbert Hoover&rsquo;s administration, he fell under <a href="https://www.nps.gov/jofl/learn/historyculture/andrew-william-mellon.htm" target="_blank">investigation</a> for unpaid federal taxes and tax-related conflicts of interest.</p> <h3><u><strong>Modernizing Warren G.</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>Within the political-financial establishment, the more things change, the more, it seems, they stay the same.</strong> As Trump moves ahead with his cabinet picks, several of them already stand out in a Mellon-esque fashion for their staggering wealth, their <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wlross-sec-idUSKCN10Z2YJ" target="_blank">legal</a> entanglements, and the policies they seem ready to support that sound like <strong>eerie throwbacks to the age of Harding</strong>.&nbsp; Of course, you can&rsquo;t tell the players without a scorecard, so here are the top four of the moment (with more <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/30/donald-trump-is-assembling-the-richest-administration-in-modern-american-history/?utm_term=.527a9a21874c" target="_blank">on the way</a>).</p> <p><strong><em>Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (net worth </em><a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/wilbur-ross-trumps-selection-commerce-secretary/" target="_blank"><em>$2.9 billion</em></a><em>) </em></strong></p> <p>Shades of Andrew Mellon, Ross, a <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/donald-trump-commerce-secretary-wilbur-ross/2016/11/30/id/761494/" target="_blank">registered Democrat</a> until Trump scooped him up, made his fortune as a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/business/dealbook/wilbur-ross-commerce-secretary-donald-trump.html" target="_blank">corporate vulture</a> (sporting the <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/11/30/trump-tapping-washington-wall-street-veterans-for-top-jobs/" target="_blank">nickname</a> &ldquo;the king of bankruptcy&rdquo;).&nbsp; He was notorious for devouring the carcasses of dying companies, spitting them out, and pocketing the profits.&nbsp; He bought <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Billionaire-Wilbur-Ross-made-tens-of-millions-on-bankrupt-Pa-steel-factories-shedding-retiree-benefits-.html" target="_blank">bankrupt steel companies</a>, while moving $6.4 billion of their employee pension benefits to the rescue fund of the government&rsquo;s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation so he could make company financials look better. In the early 2000s,&nbsp;his steel industry deals bagged him an impressive <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/12-coal-miners-died-on-this-mans-watch-in-2006-now-trump-wants-to-make-him-commerce-secretary/" target="_blank">$267 million</a>. <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/12-coal-miners-died-on-this-mans-watch-in-2006-now-trump-wants-to-make-him-commerce-secretary/" target="_blank">Stripped of</a> health-care benefits, retired steelworkers at his companies didn&rsquo;t fare as well.&nbsp; <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Trump, of course, has promised the world to the sinking coal industry and out-of-work coal miners. His new commerce secretary, however, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-wilbur-ross_us_582b4c04e4b01d8a014abacb" target="_blank">owned</a> a coal mine in West Virginia, notoriously cited for hundreds of violations, where 12 miners subsequently died in an explosion. <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Ross also made money running <a href="http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/bizfinance/columns/moneyandmind/10279/" target="_blank">Rothschild Inc.&rsquo;s</a> bankruptcy-restructuring group for nearly two-and-a-half decades. A member (and once <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2006/04/29/Weekend-Perspectives-Stopping-another-Sago/stories/200604290117" target="_blank">leader</a>) of a secret Wall Street fraternity, Kappa Beta Phi, in 2014 he <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/02/i-crashed-a-wall-street-secret-society.html" target="_blank">remarked</a> that &ldquo;the one percent is being picked on for political&nbsp;reasons.&rdquo; He has an art collection valued conservatively at <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/liyanchen/2013/10/08/billionaire-art-collector-wilbur-ross-loves-magrittes-paid-100-million-for-his-own/?utm_campaign=forbestwittersf#1215dabd1715" target="_blank">$150 million,</a> or 3,000 times the average American&rsquo;s income of $51,000. In addition, he happens to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/us/politics/wilbur-ross-commerce-trump.html" target="_blank">own</a> a Florida estate only miles down the road from Trump&rsquo;s Mar-a-Lago private club.</p> <p>While Trump has lambasted China for stealing American jobs, Ross (<a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/column-trumps-outrage-over-outsourcing-doesnt-apply-to-his-own-merchandise/" target="_blank">like Trump</a>) has made money from China. In 2010, one of that country&rsquo;s state-owned enterprises, China Investment Corporation, put <a href="http://nypost.com/2016/11/30/china-a-big-investor-in-wilbur-ross-private-equity-funds/" target="_blank">$500 million</a> in Ross&rsquo;s private equity fund, WL Ross &amp; Company. Ross <a href="http://nypost.com/2016/11/30/china-a-big-investor-in-wilbur-ross-private-equity-funds/" target="_blank">has not disclosed</a> whether these investments remain in his fund, though he told the <em>New York Post</em> that if Trump believes there are conflicts of interest among any of his investments, he would divest himself of them. In August 2016, his company had to pay a $2.3 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wlross-sec-idUSKCN10Z2YJ" target="_blank">charges</a> for not properly disclosing $10.4 million in management fees charged to his investors in the decade leading up to 2011.</p> <p>In October, Ross <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-10-13/wilbur-ross-china-will-be-an-investment-opportunity" target="_blank">assured <em>Bloomberg</em></a> that China will continue to be an investment opportunity. &nbsp;As secretary of commerce, the world will become his personal business venture and boardroom, while U.S. taxpayers will be his funders. He is an <a href="http://www.barrons.com/articles/cut-the-top-u-s-corporate-tax-rate-to-22-1480137247" target="_blank">ardent crusader</a> for corporate tax cuts (wanting to slash them from 35% to 15%). As head of the commerce department, the man the <em>Economist</em> dubbed &ldquo;<a href="http://www.economist.com/node/2367396" target="_blank">Mr. Protectionism</a>&rdquo; in 2004 will be in charge of any protectionist policies the administration implements.</p> <p><strong><em>Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (family wealth $</em><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2016/11/23/trump-picks-betsy-devos-daughter-in-law-of-billionaire-amway-cofounder-for-education-secretary/#25243e535313" target="_blank"><em>5.1 billion</em></a><em>)</em></strong></p> <p>DeVos, the <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/betsy-devos-trumps-big-donor-education-secretary" target="_blank">daughter</a> of a billionaire and daughter-in-law of the cofounder of the multilevel marketing empire Amway, has had no actual experience with public schools. Unlike most of the rest of America (myself included), she never attended a public school, nor have any of <a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/betsy-devos-would-be-a-disaster-for-public-education/" target="_blank">her children</a>. (Neither did Trump.) But she and her family have excelled at the arithmetic of campaign contributions. They are estimated to have contributed <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/education-secretary-betsy-devos-vouchers-michigan-trump" target="_blank">at least $200 million</a> to shaping the conservative movement and various right-wing causes over the last half-century.&nbsp; As she wrote in the Capitol Hill newspaper <em><a href="https://devosprize.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/soft-money-is-good-hard-earned-american-dollars-that-big-brother-has-yet-to-find-a-way-to-control/" target="_blank">Roll Call</a></em> in 1997, &ldquo;My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee.&rdquo; That trend only continued in the years that followed. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, since 1989 she and her relatives have given at least <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/12/betsy-devos-big-giving-relatives-family-qualifies-gop-royalty/" target="_blank">$20.2 million</a> to Republican candidates, party committees, PACs, and super PACs.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>The center further <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/12/betsy-devos-big-giving-relatives-family-qualifies-gop-royalty/" target="_blank">noted</a> that, &ldquo;Betsy herself, along with her husband, Dick DeVos, Jr., has contributed more than $7.7 million to federal candidates, committees, and parties since 1990, including almost $4.8 million to super PACs.&rdquo; &nbsp;Her brother, ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince, <a href="https://theintercept.com/2016/03/24/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-under-federal-investigation/" target="_blank">founded</a> the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/13/us/blackwater-contractors-iraq-sentencing/" target="_blank">controversial</a>&nbsp;private security contractor Blackwater (now known as&nbsp;<a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/blackwater-still-top-pentagon-contractor-afghanistan-training/" target="_blank">Academi</a>). He also made&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/?q=erik+prince&amp;cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&amp;cof=FORID%3A11" target="_blank">two considerable donations&nbsp;</a>to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?cycle=2016&amp;strID=C00575373" target="_blank">Make America Number 1</a>, a super PAC that <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/23/politics/donald-trump-super-pac-fundraising/" target="_blank">first backed</a> Senator Ted Cruz and then Trump.</p> <p>So whatever you do, don&rsquo;t expect Betsy De Vos&rsquo;s help in allocating additional federal funds to elevate the education of citizens who actually do attend public schools, or rather what Donald Trump now likes to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/trump-betsy-devos-overton-window" target="_blank">call</a> &ldquo;failing government schools.&rdquo; Instead, she&rsquo;s undoubtedly going to promote privatizing <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/education-secretary-betsy-devos-vouchers-michigan-trump" target="_blank">school voucher</a> programs and charter schools across the country and let those failing government schools go down the tubes as part of a Republican war on public education. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (net worth </em><a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/aug/25/alison-lundergan-grimes/alison-lundergan-grimes-ad-says-mitch-mcconnell-ma/" target="_blank"><em>$25 million</em></a><em>)</em></strong></p> <p>As the daughter of a wealthy <a href="http://www.dallasnews.com/business/economy/2016/11/29/trump-source-former-bush-staffer-elaine-chao-transportation-secretary" target="_blank">shipping magnate</a>, a former labor secretary for George W. Bush, and the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/05/22/how-did-mitch-mcconnells-net-worth-soar/" target="_blank">wife</a> of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao&rsquo;s establishment connections are overwhelming. They include board positions at Rupert Murdoch&rsquo;s <a href="http://newscorp.com/corporate-governance/board-of-directors/" target="_blank">News Corp</a> and at <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/corporate/governance/" target="_blank">Wells Fargo Bank</a><strong>. &nbsp;</strong>While Chao was on its board, Wells Fargo scammed its customers to the tune of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-09/wells-fargo-opened-a-couple-million-fake-accounts" target="_blank">$2.4 million,</a> and incurred billions of dollars of fines for other crimes. She was silent when its former CEO John Stumpf resigned in a blaze of contriteness. &nbsp;<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>In 2008, Chao <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/summary.php?year=2008&amp;cid=N99999984" target="_blank">ranked 8th</a> in Bush&rsquo;s executive branch in terms of net worth at &nbsp;$16.9 million. In 2009, <em>Politico</em> <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2009/06/members-fortunes-see-steep-declines-023693" target="_blank">reported</a>&nbsp;that, in memory of her mother who passed away in 2007, she and her husband received a &ldquo;personal gift&rdquo; from the Chao family worth between $5 million and $25 million. In 2014, the Center for Responsive Politics ranked McConnell, with an estimated net worth somewhere around $22 million, as the <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/summary.php?cid=N00003389&amp;year=2014" target="_blank">11th richest</a> senator. As with all things wealth related, the truth is a moving target but the one thing Chao&rsquo;s not (which may make her a rarity in this cabinet) is a billionaire.</p> <p><strong><em>Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (net worth </em><a href="http://variety.com/2015/biz/news/relativity-steve-mnuchin-co-chairman-1201557256/" target="_blank"><em>between $46 million and $1 billion)</em></a></strong><em> </em></p> <p>Hedge fund mogul and Hollywood producer Steven Mnuchin is the third installment on Goldman Sachs&rsquo;s claim to own the position of Treasury secretary. In fact, when it comes to the stewardship of the <a href="https://www.treasury.gov/about/role-of-treasury/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">country&rsquo;s economy</a><strong>, </strong>Goldman continues to reign supreme.&nbsp; Bill Clinton appointed the company&rsquo;s former co-chairman Robert Rubin to Treasury in gratitude for his ability to bestow on him Wall Street cred and the contributions that went with it. George W. Bush appointed former Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Hank Paulson as his final Treasury secretary, just in time for the &ldquo;too big to fail&rdquo; economic meltdown of 2007-2008.</p> <p>Now, Trump, who swore he&rsquo;d drain &ldquo;the swamp&rdquo; in Washington, is carrying on the tradition. The difference? While Rubin and Paulson pushed for the deregulation of the financial industry that led to the Great Recession and then used federal funds to bail out their friends, Mnuchin, who spent 17 years with Goldman Sachs, eventually made an even bigger fortune by being on the predatory receiving end of federal support while scarfing up a failed bank.</p> <p>In 2008, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/about/learn/symbol/" target="_blank">formed in 1934</a> to insure the deposits of citizens at commercial banks, closed 25 banks, including the Pasadena-based <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/IndyMac.html" target="_blank">IndyMac</a> Bank. In <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2009/pr09001a.html" target="_blank">early January 2009</a>, the FDIC agreed to sell failed lender IndyMac to <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2009/pr09001a.html" target="_blank">IMB HoldCo LLC</a>, a company owned by a pack of private equity investors led by former Goldman Sachs partner Mnuchin of Dune Capital Management LP for about $13.9 billion. (They only had to put up <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2009/pr09001a.html" target="_blank">$1.3 billion</a> in cash for it, however.)</p> <p>When the <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/IndyMacMasterPurchaseAgrmt.pdf" target="_blank">deal</a> closed on March 19, 2009, IMB formed a new federally chartered savings bank, OneWest Bank (also <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/IndyMacMasterPurchaseAgrmt.pdf" target="_blank">run</a> by Mnuchin), to complete the purchase. The FDIC took a $10.7 billion <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/bank" target="_blank">loss</a> in the process. OneWest then set about foreclosing on IndyMac&rsquo;s properties, the cost of which was fronted by the FDIC, as was most of the loss that was incurred from hemorrhaging mortgages. In other words, the government backed Mnuchin&rsquo;s private deal big time and so helped give him his <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/02/steve-mnuchin-profile-donald-trump-treasury" target="_blank">nickname</a>, the &ldquo;foreclosure king,&rdquo; as he became an even wealthier man.</p> <p>By October 2011, protesters were marching outside Mnuchin&rsquo;s Los Angeles mansion with &ldquo;Stop taking our homes&rdquo; <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-08-31/steven-mnuchin-businessweek" target="_blank">signs</a>. OneWest soon became <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/business/dealbook/donald-trumps-pick-for-fund-raiser-is-rife-with-contradictions.html?_r=1" target="_blank">mired</a> in lawsuits and on multiple occasions&nbsp;settled for millions of dollars. Nonetheless, Mnuchin sold the bank for a cool <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-08-31/steven-mnuchin-businessweek" target="_blank">$3.4 billion</a> in August 2015. <a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176162/" target="_blank">Shades of the president-elect</a>,&nbsp;he also <a href="http://variety.com/2015/biz/news/relativity-steve-mnuchin-co-chairman-1201557256/" target="_blank">left</a> another beleaguered company, Relativity Media, where he had been co-chairman, two months before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015.</p> <p>Mnuchin&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/steven-mnuchins-defining-moment-seizing-opportunity-from-the-financial-crisis-1480547063" target="_blank">policy priorities</a> include an overhaul of the federal tax code (aimed mainly at helping his elite buddies), financial deregulation (including making the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 significantly more lenient for hedge funds), and a review of existing trade agreements. He has indicated no support for reinstating the <a href="http://www.federalreservehistory.org/Events/DetailView/25" target="_blank">Glass-Steagall Act</a> of 1933, which separated commercial banks that held citizens&rsquo; deposits and loans from the speculative practices of investment banks until it was repealed in 1999 under the Clinton administration.</p> <h3><u><strong>Gilded Government </strong></u></h3> <p>Hillary Clinton certainly <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3605113/Hillary-Clinton-pocketed-21-6-MILLION-two-years-making-speeches-corporate-America-picked-six-figure-check-nearly-week-left-Obama-administration.html" target="_blank">cashed in</a> big time on her Wall Street connections during her career and her <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/07/clinton-and-wall-street-whats-the-deal-really/" target="_blank">presidential campaign</a>. And yet her approach already seems modest compared to Trump&rsquo;s new open-door policy to any billionaire willing to come on board his ship. His new incarnation of the old establishment largely consists of billionaires and multimillionaires with less than appetizing nicknames from their previous predatory careers. They favor government support for their private gain as well as deregulation, several of them having already specialized in making money off the collateral damage from such policies.</p> <p>Trump offered Americans this <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/30/donald-trump-only-hires-the-best-people-at-generating-unhelpful-headlines/?utm_term=.69314ac7a672" target="_blank">promise</a>: &quot;I&#39;m going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people.&quot; In his world, best means rich, and serious means seriously shielded from the way much of the rest of the country lives. Once upon a time, I, too, worked for Goldman Sachs. I left in 2002, the same year that Steven Mnuchin did.&nbsp; I did not go on to construct deals that hurt citizens. He did. Public spirit is a choice.</p> <p>Aspiring to run government as a business (something President Calvin Coolidge tried out in the 1920s with dismal results for America), Trump is now surrounding himself with a crew of crony capitalists who understand boardroom speak, but have nothing in common with most Americans.&nbsp; So give him credit: his administration is already one of the great political bait-and-switch productions in our history and it hasn&rsquo;t even begun.&nbsp; Count on one thing: in his presidency he&rsquo;ll only double down on that &ldquo;promise.&rdquo;</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="707" height="463" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20161209_swamp.jpg?1481320793" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/trumps-bait-and-switch#comments American people of German descent American Presbyterians Barack Obama Business Business Center for Responsive Politics China Clinton administration Cronyism Department of Commerce Dick DeVos Donald Trump Donald Trump Economy Enron Fail Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Federal Tax Florida goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs Great Depression Hank Paulson Hank Paulson Harding’s administration Henry Paulson Herbert Hoover’s administration John Stumpf Kappa Beta Phi Market Crash Meltdown Mnuchin navy New York Post News Corp Newspaper Ohio Politics Private Equity Real estate Recession Republican National Committee Robert Rubin Rupert Murdoch Securities and Exchange Commission Securities and Exchange Commission Steven Mnuchin The Economist The Heritage Foundation Too Big To Fail United States Warren G. Harding’s administration Wells Fargo West Virginia White House White House Wilbur Ross Sat, 10 Dec 2016 03:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580212 at http://www.zerohedge.com NBC's Fake News King Brian Williams Launches Crusade Against "Fake News" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/nbcs-fake-news-king-brian-williams-launches-crusade-against-fake-news <p>Now this is rich.&nbsp; Brian Williams, the <strong>disgraced ex-NBC journalist who was literally fired for falsely reporting that he was in a helicopter during the Iraq war that took on combatant fire</strong>, is now going on a crusade against "fake news."&nbsp; On his MSNBC show last night, Williams decided to attack retired General Flynn and Donald Trump for spreading "fake news" via their twitter accounts.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<strong>The retired Army 3-star general has passed on some gems himself.</strong>&nbsp; Here are a few...Flynn retweeted accusations that Clinton is involved with child sex trafficking and has "secretly waged war" on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that Obama is a "jihadi" who "laundered" money for Muslim terrorists.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>As we talked about here last night, fake news played a role in this election and continues to find a wide audience.</strong>&nbsp; A BuzzFeed news study of Donald Trump's own tweets where they followed back news stories to their root source found more of them came from Breitbart originally than any other single source."</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kgMa-TUo6lM" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, we should probably just ignore that time Williams simply "mis-remembered" being in a helicopter taking on combatant fire when he was actually completely safe in a convoy about an hour away.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.” </strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pCl4Y5-mfL0" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This pretty much sums it up...</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Brian%20Williams%202_0.JPG" alt="Williams" width="500" height="630" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And, of course, more breaking news from Williams' current employer, the beacon of impartiality and purveyor of "real news," MSNBC.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Breaking news from network that pays Brian Williams $10 million/year<a href="https://t.co/toK3WxAhBU">https://t.co/toK3WxAhBU</a></p> <p>— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) <a href="https://twitter.com/iowahawkblog/status/807215489671950336">December 9, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In conclusion:</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Glass%20Houses_0.JPG" alt="Glass Houses" width="500" height="292" /></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="1117" height="651" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016.12.09%20-%20Brian%20Williams.JPG?1481288922" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/nbcs-fake-news-king-brian-williams-launches-crusade-against-fake-news#comments Alt-right American studies Breitbart Breitbart News Brian Williams Business Catholic Church Computing Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump Iraq Mass media Michael T. Flynn MSNBC MSNBC NBC News News satire Politics of the United States Software Tea Party movement Twitter Twitter Twitter Sat, 10 Dec 2016 02:41:02 +0000 Tyler Durden 580154 at http://www.zerohedge.com With 65% of ATMs Nonoperational, Goldman Warns India Is "Returning To Barter System" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/65-atms-nonoperational-goldman-warns-india-returning-barter-system <p>India continues to stagger from bad to worse followinhg Modi&#39;s demonetization. With just <strong>35% of ATMs nationwide operational,</strong> Goldman warns the shortage of cash continues to incentivize the use of alternate payments, including extension of informal credit and a <strong>return to barter systems</strong>. Addtionally, the slowdown in activity is dramatically reflected in <strong>lower tax collections and discounts offered by luxury car companies</strong>.</p> <p>Goldman Sachs&nbsp; recently introduced their India<strong><em> &#39;De-monetization dashboard&#39;</em></strong> in which they<strong> track the progress of the Indian government&#39;s recent currency reform</strong> announced on November 8 via a variety of high-frequency data, including money supply, credit/deposit, interest rates, physical asset premia, real economic activity, price indicators and capital flows.</p> <p><strong>This week&rsquo;s update shows that cash availability at ATMs is still low.</strong> On real economic activity, there were no major data releases this week. However, PMIs and auto sales data released last week suggested a significant slowdown in activity. Separately, anecdotal evidence suggested continued weakness in activity as shown in the lower indirect tax collections and various discounts given by luxury car companies.</p> <h3><u>Monetary infrastructure</u></h3> <p>According to Livemint, 95% of ATMs (out of 200,000 in the country) have been re-calibrated to accept new notes but only 35% of the re-calibrated ATMs are operational. Banks are preferring to make cash available in their own branches instead of making cash available at ATMs. Daily data from ATMs in the four key metro cities &ndash; namely Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai &ndash; show that people are still facing a &lsquo;cash crunch&rsquo; in about half of the ATMs. The shortage of cash continues to incentivize the use of alternate payments including electronic payment systems, extension of informal credit and a return to barter systems. The government has further announced various measures to promote digital and non-cash transactions including discounts on digital purchase of fuel, suburban train tickets, and service tax exemptions on transaction charges up to INR 2000 on December 8.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Exhibit 1: Shortage of cash in ATMs continues</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india1.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india1.png" style="width: 601px; height: 374px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: CashNoCash, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Exhibit 2: Still very elevated search interest for retailers accepting electronic payment</strong></p> <p><em>Trends in Google searches for key financial terms in India</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india2.png"><em><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india2_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 330px;" /></em></a></p> <p><em>Source: Google, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em></p> <h3><u>Real activity indicators</u></h3> <p>On real activity, no major data was released this week. However, last week, India&#39;s Nikkei Markit manufacturing PMI moderated in November after rising to a 22-month high in October (Exhibit 3). The weakness was across the board, suggesting softening in manufacturing activity post the de-monetization announcement on November 8. The Nikkei Markit services PMI also dropped sharply in November driven by a significant decline in new business, also indicating the potential impact of the cash shortage.</p> <p>Separately, industry-wide November auto sales (Exhibit 4) showed commercial vehicle sales declined by over 18% mom s.a., car sales declined by 4% mom s.a. and two-wheeler sales dropped by 15% mom s.a. Furthermore, registrations of motor vehicle have fallen since November 2016.</p> <p><strong>Exhibit 3: India&#39;s composite PMI declined sharply in November led by weak services PMI</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india3.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india3.png" style="width: 600px; height: 371px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: Haver Analytics, Nikkei Markit</em><br />&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Exhibit 4: Auto sales contracted sharply in November</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india4.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india4.png" style="width: 600px; height: 359px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: CEIC, Company data, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em><br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Exhibit 5: Motor vehicle registrations have fallen</strong></p> <p><em>(December data only partial month)</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india5.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india5_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 360px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: Road Transport Office, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em><br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The latest anecdotal evidence (Exhibit 6) suggests continued weakness in activity during the fourth week post announcement of de-monetization.</strong> The slowdown in activity is reflected in lower tax collections and discounts offered by luxury car companies.</p> <p><strong>Exhibit 6: Real activity anecdotal evidence</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india6.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india6.png" style="width: 599px; height: 886px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: Live Mint, The Economic Times, Times of India, Business Standard, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em></p> <h3><u>Monetary and financial indicators</u></h3> <p><strong>Money supply</strong></p> <p><strong>Reserve money expanded by 0.5% yoy as of the week ending December 2, 2016 after a decline of 16.8% yoy the previous week. </strong>This was mainly driven by a INR4.7 trillion increase in bankers&#39; deposits with the RBI (+128.4%yoy) post the temporary increase in Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to absorb excess liquidity in the system on November 26 (Exhibit 7). This increase in CRR will be withdrawn from December 10 as announced by the RBI. The central bank also mentioned that they have distributed INR 4 trillion of new high denomination notes so far.</p> <h3><u>Trends in hard assets premia</u></h3> <p><strong>Domestic gold and silver premia, as measured by the difference between USD-equivalent domestic prices and global prices, appear to have normalized after an initial spike.</strong> Bitcoin premia (we calculate this as the difference between the price of Bitcoin on India exchanges and those abroad) also moderated somewhat this week (Exhibit 15).<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Exhibit 15: Hard assets premia somewhat normalised four weeks post announcement</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india7.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india7_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 373px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: CEIC, Haver Analytics, Bloomberg, Unocoin, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em><br />&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Exhibit 16: Google Trends on gold prices have normalised while Bitcoin stayed elevated</strong></p> <p><em>Trends in Google searches for key physical asset words</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india8.jpg"><em><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_india8_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 356px;" /></em></a></p> <p><em>Source: Google, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research</em><br />&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="481" height="288" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20161209_india4.png?1481307783" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/65-atms-nonoperational-goldman-warns-india-returning-barter-system#comments Alternative currencies Auto Sales Banking in the United States Bitcoin Bitcoin Business Cryptocurrencies Economy of New York City Finance goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs Google Google Trends India Indian government Markit Markit Money Supply Nikkei Road Transport Office Rockefeller Center Subprime mortgage crisis Sat, 10 Dec 2016 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580194 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Mainstream Media Is Asking For A Government Bailout Via Censorship http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/mainstream-media-asking-government-bailout-censorship <p><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/12/09/the-mainstream-media-is-asking-for-a-government-bailout-via-censorship/"><em>Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_liar.jpg"><img height="340" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/12/02/20161209_liar.jpg" width="600" /></a></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>The current controversy is different. Many people in Washington are irate over Wikileaks &mdash; not because the email were untrue but because they proved what many had long suspected . . . that Washington is a highly corrupt place full of truly despicable people. For people who make their living on controlling media and information, it was akin to the barbarians breaching the walls of Rome. So the answer is to call for government regulation to combat what will be declared &ldquo;fake&rdquo; news or propaganda. It is only the latest effort to convince people to surrender their rights and actually embrace censorship. </em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From Jonathan Turley&rsquo;s:&nbsp;<a href="https://jonathanturley.org/2016/12/09/washington-post-issues-correction-to-fake-news-story/" target="_blank">Washington Post Issues Correction To &ldquo;Fake News&rdquo;&nbsp;Story</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Watching Hillary Clinton attack&nbsp;&ldquo;fake news&rdquo; and calling for legislative action against free speech she doesn&rsquo;t like got me thinking. <strong>Why is she doing this?</strong> Yes, it&rsquo;s obviously related to her notorious personality trait of never taking responsibility for anything and attaching herself to an invented controversy in order to deflect blame for her monumentally&nbsp;embarrassing loss to Donald Trump. But there&rsquo;s more going on here. A lot more.</p> <p>To set the stage, we need to examine the types of people who are most jumping on the &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; meme. What you&rsquo;ll find is that it&rsquo;s a who&rsquo;s who of the most contemptible and corrupt people in America. As Glenn Greenwald so accurately noted in <a href="https://theintercept.com/2016/12/09/a-clinton-fan-manufactured-fake-news-that-msnbc-personalities-spread-to-discredit-wikileaks-docs/" target="_blank">his piece</a> published earlier today:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>But the problem here goes way beyond mere hypocrisy. Complaints about Fake News are typically accompanied by calls for &ldquo;solutions&rdquo; that involve censorship and suppression, either by the government or tech giants such as Facebook. But until there is a clear definition of &ldquo;Fake News,&rdquo;&nbsp;and until it&rsquo;s recognized that Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it, the dangers posed by these solutions will be at least as great as the problem itself.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Just in case you think the above is an exaggeration,<em><strong> is there an individual in America more distrusted and more widely viewed as a compulsive liar than Hillary Clinton? </strong></em>The list of her outright lies is nearly&nbsp;endless (see:&nbsp;<strong><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/05/12/video-of-the-day-watch-hillary-clinton-lie-for-13-minutes-straight/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Video of the Day – Watch Hillary Clinton Lie for 13 Minutes Straight">Video of the Day &ndash; Watch Hillary Clinton Lie for 13 Minutes Straight</a>)</strong>. Not only that, but Hillary Clinton was more than happy to promote obvious fake news stories one week before the election. Here&rsquo;s the most egregious example:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. <a href="https://t.co/8f8n9xMzUU">pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU</a></p> <p>&mdash; Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/793250312119263233">November 1, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>This was fake news, but somehow I doubt Hillary will be looking for&nbsp;Congress to take her to task for legitimizing and spreading&nbsp;it.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s the downright comical example of Brian Williams. You know, the <em>NBC</em> anchor who literally lost his job for promoting fake news about himself<em> (see:&nbsp;<a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/02/04/nbcs-brian-williams-is-forced-to-admit-his-tale-of-being-on-a-downed-helicopter-in-iraq-was-pure-fantasty/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to NBC’s Brian Williams is Forced to Admit His Tale of Being on a Downed Helicopter in Iraq Was Pure Fantasy">NBC&rsquo;s Brian Williams is Forced to Admit His Tale of Being on a Downed Helicopter in Iraq Was Pure Fantasy</a>)</em>. Now he is one of the &ldquo;esteemed pundits&rdquo;&nbsp;railing against the terror of fake news. You can&rsquo;t make this stuff up.</p> <p><a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/309488-once-suspended-for-exaggerating-details-brian-williams-slams" target="_blank"><em>The Hill</em> </a>reports:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, who lost his job with NBC&rsquo;s nightly news for exaggerating details of his time reporting in Iraq, slammed President-elect&nbsp;<span class="rollover-people">Donald Trump</span>&nbsp;and members of his transition team for spreading fake news throughout the election.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Pure comedy, but let&rsquo;s get serious. At this point, I want to direct your attention to what is perhaps the most astute commentary on the fabricated&nbsp;&ldquo;fake news&rdquo; push to date. The following was the concluding paragraph to&nbsp;Jonathan Turley&rsquo;s,&nbsp;<a href="https://jonathanturley.org/2016/12/09/washington-post-issues-correction-to-fake-news-story/" target="_blank">Washington Post Issues Correction To &ldquo;Fake News&rdquo;&nbsp;Story</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>The current controversy is different. Many people in Washington are irate over Wikileaks &mdash; not because the email were untrue but because they proved what many had long suspected . . . that Washington is a highly corrupt place full of truly despicable people. For people who make their living on controlling media and information, it was akin to the barbarians breaching the walls of Rome. So the answer is to call for government regulation to combat what will be declared &ldquo;fake&rdquo; news or propaganda. It is only the latest effort to convince people to surrender their rights and actually embrace censorship.&nbsp;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This perfectly describes what is going on at&nbsp;the most macro level, and reminded me exactly of what Wall Street did in the aftermath of its destruction of the U.S. economy during the financial crisis. Faced with a potential loss of their fortunes, jobs and reputations, Wall Street invented a meme that the industry&nbsp;needed to be bailed out without consequences in order to &ldquo;save Main Street.&rdquo; This was one of the most brazen, yet successful examples of propaganda I have witnessed in my entire life.</p> <p>Wall Street got exactly what it wanted and then some. It proceeded to pay out record bonuses the very next year (2010) and not a single executive was held accountable or went to jail. Free market capitalism was completely suspended in order to save some of the wealthiest and most privileged people in America. They used the levers of the state to save themselves and preserve this key segment of status quo power.</p> <p>Fast forward eight years, and we&nbsp;witness yet another spectacular status quo failure. Due to&nbsp;its clownish and completely inaccurate coverage of the 2016 election, the mainstream media and the pundit class generally completely torched its reputation. As a result, alternative, independent media is eating their lunch. Rather than accept the consequences of this&nbsp;historic&nbsp;failure, legacy media has decided to&nbsp;take a page from the Wall Street playbook. They are asking for a government bailout. However, this bailout&nbsp;is far more dangerous than the one which preceded&nbsp;it.</p> <p><strong>While the Wall Street bailout consisted of showering financial criminals with infinite sums of money until they were once again masters of the universe, the media is asking for a bailout via censorship.</strong> Yes, that&rsquo;s right. Hillary Clinton and other status quo fake news peddlers are actively asking for Congressional action in order to silence their competition. &nbsp;This isn&rsquo;t just about protecting the status quo narrative for the sake of maintaining a&nbsp;transparently false&nbsp;manufactured reality. It&rsquo;s equally&nbsp;about preserving the status, wealth, reputation and careers of individuals whose failures should have landed them on the street, unemployed for their almost incomprehensible&nbsp;and well documented incompetence. Just like we continue to suffer from incompetent criminal elites on Wall Street, the media now wants to build a similar government-sponsored wall around itself. Such an outcome would be an unmitigated disaster for this nation.</p> <p>Instead, what we actually need in this country (and what I expect to happen) was perfectly articulated in a recent article by Nathan J. Robinson in his must read article in <em>Current Affairs</em> titled,<em>&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/12/the-necessity-of-credibility" target="_blank">The Necessity of Credibility</a>. He&nbsp;writes:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>Yet it is telling that after the election,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/1/30/10873476/donald-trump-never-president" target="_blank">the people who were most wrong</a>&nbsp;during the campaign are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/30/13631532/everything-mattered-2016-presidential-election" target="_blank">still producing voluminous commentary.</a>&nbsp;No outlet that wanted to regain trust and build audiences would be keeping such people on its staff. But &ldquo;pundit tenure&rdquo; is powerful. Thus is also likely that the quest for credible media will necessitate the creation of&nbsp;new&nbsp;media.</strong>&nbsp;CNN&nbsp;and&nbsp;The Washington Post&nbsp;have never shown a particularly encouraging capacity for introspection and self-improvement, and it&rsquo;s unlikely that they&rsquo;re contemplating major internal overhauls in their mission and accountability practices. Their institutional imperatives consist, after all, largely of seeking views and clicks. For them, the 2016 election was a success rather than a failure. A lot of people, after all, tuned in. Why should they do things any differently? Thus it would be useful to have fresh, truly independent outlets, ones that disclose their biases, are transparent in their methods, and are constantly trying to improve themselves rather than simply pursuing the same useless sensationalism and empty horse-race punditry.&nbsp;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The last thing this country needs is another bailout of establishment crooks.</strong></p> <p>For related articles, see:</p> <p><em><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/12/08/then-we-will-fight-in-the-shade-a-guide-to-winning-the-media-wars/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to ‘Then We Will Fight in the Shade’ – A Guide to Winning the Media Wars">&lsquo;Then We Will Fight in the Shade&rsquo; &ndash; A Guide to Winning the Media Wars</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/10/14/obama-enters-the-media-wars-why-his-recent-attack-on-free-speech-is-so-dangerous-and-radical/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Obama Enters the Media Wars – Why His Recent Attack on Free Speech is So Dangerous and Radical">Obama Enters the Media Wars &ndash; Why His Recent Attack on Free Speech is So Dangerous and Radical</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/08/26/hillary-clinton-enters-the-media-wars/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Hillary Clinton Enters the Media Wars">Hillary Clinton Enters the Media Wars</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/09/13/the-death-of-mainstream-media/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to The Death of Mainstream Media">The Death of Mainstream Media</a></em></p> <div style="float: none; margin: 10px 0 10px 0; text-align: center;"> <div class="lbk-banner">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p><em><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/11/25/liberty-blitzkrieg-included-on-washington-post-highlighted-hit-list-of-russian-propaganda-websites/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Liberty Blitzkrieg Included on Washington Post Highlighted Hit List of “Russian Propaganda” Websites">Liberty Blitzkrieg Included on Washington Post Highlighted Hit List of &ldquo;Russian Propaganda&rdquo; Websites</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/12/06/additional-thoughts-on-fake-news-the-washington-post-and-the-absence-of-real-journalism/" rel="bookmark" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Additional Thoughts on “Fake News,” The Washington Post, and the Absence of Real Journalism">Additional Thoughts on &ldquo;Fake News,&rdquo; The Washington Post, and the Absence of Real Journalism</a></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="742" height="420" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20161209_liar.jpg?1481312193" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/mainstream-media-asking-government-bailout-censorship#comments Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump Espionage Fake news website Hillary Clinton Information sensitivity Iraq Main Street MSNBC National security NBC Politics Politics Politics of the United States Reality Trump Organization Twitter Twitter United States Whistleblowing WikiLeaks Sat, 10 Dec 2016 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580208 at http://www.zerohedge.com Tucker Carlson Takes on Washpo Reporter Who Claimed Trump Won Because of 'Angry White Men' http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/tucker-carlson-takes-washpo-report-who-claimed-trump-won-because-angry-white-men <p>The warm blanket that democrats wrap themselves in at night is a dream that angry white men will die off in large enough numbers so that a true renaissance of psychotic illiberals -- like Jennifer Rubin -- can rise to power and lead America into the next phase towards its ultimate demise. It's a very potent and divisive thing for journalists to say, pretending to know the spirit and soul of men based upon the color of their skin. The lie, or fake news, of massive hordes of white men descending from their trailer park thrones on election night to vote for Trump, en masse, is a myth.</p> <p> The same, so called racist, white men were the good folks &nbsp;who voted for Obama twice, once in 2008 and again in 2012 -- &nbsp;so there's always that. </p> <p>Specifically tackling the argument of who voted for Trump, the numbers don't lie. He received less white votes than Romney and 3x the amount of black Americans. Perhaps the very nervous and mentally addled Jennifer Rubin should set aside her confirmation bias prior to making scathing allegations about a race of people. Then again, it's rather trendy to deride and to shame white people these days, isn't it? </p> <p><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2016/12/whites.jpg"><img src="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2016/12/whites.jpg" alt="whites" width="596" height="213" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-61718" /></a> <a href="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2016/12/hispanics.jpg"><img src="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2016/12/hispanics.jpg" alt="hispanics" width="599" height="214" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-61719" /></a> <a href="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2016/12/blacks.jpg"><img src="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2016/12/blacks.jpg" alt="blacks" width="603" height="213" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-61720" /></a> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/62cp3PPN-xg" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> Jennifer Rubin and her ilk are perfect examples of why democrats have lost over 900 legislative offices over the past 6 years and hold just 11 governorships. The party, literally, is dying. When it comes to the discussion of race and moving on, I believe <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRnTovm26I4">Morgan Freeman had the best public response</a> to a journalist in recent times. It was short, poignant, and absolutely true.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Content originally generated at&nbsp;</span><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/" style="font-size: 13.008px;">iBankCoin.com</a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/tucker-carlson-takes-washpo-report-who-claimed-trump-won-because-angry-white-men#comments Democratic Party Jennifer Rubin Political parties in the United States Politics Renaissance Rubin Social Issues Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:57:32 +0000 The_Real_Fly 580251 at http://www.zerohedge.com Don't Be Fooled. The Trump Rally Is Not A Sign Of Economic Health http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/dont-be-fooled-trump-rally-not-sign-economic-health <p><a href="https://fee.org/articles/a-rising-stock-market-does-not-signal-economic-health/">Submitted by Steven Horowtiz via The Foundation for Economic Education,</a></p> <p>The headlines tell us that the Dow Jones is up around 1,000 points since Donald Trump won the election on November 8th.<strong> The conventional wisdom is that this shows how much confidence people have in Trump&rsquo;s ability to generate a healthy American economy. </strong>The argument is that if people are willing to buy stock in American firms, this indicates their belief that those firms will see improving profits over the next few years. They then draw the conclusion that more profitable firms indicate a healthier American economy.</p> <p>Although this argument is correct about stock prices reflecting an increasing belief in the profitability of US firms, it makes a major error in assuming that profitable firms necessarily mean a better economy.</p> <h3><u>The Economy Isn&#39;t A Thing</u></h3> <p>First, it&rsquo;s important to understand that phrases like &ldquo;a healthier economy&rdquo; are themselves problematic. The &ldquo;economy&rdquo; is not the thing we should be concerned about. In fact, in some fundamental sense there&rsquo;s no such thing as &ldquo;the economy.&rdquo; As Russ Roberts and John Papola memorably put it in the music video &ldquo;Fight of the Century:&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The economy&rsquo;s not a car.<br />There&rsquo;s no engine to stall.<br />No experts can fix it.<br />There&rsquo;s no &ldquo;it&rdquo; at all.<br />The economy is us</p></blockquote> <p><strong>Things are not &ldquo;good/bad for the economy.&rdquo; They are good or bad for the people</strong> who comprise the market process, specifically in our capacity as consumers. All the economy amounts to is people engaging exchanges in order to better satisfy their wants. What we should care about is whether or not people are able to better satisfy those wants.</p> <p>And &ldquo;better satisfy&rdquo; here means not just more and better goods and services, but at cheaper prices too. Lower prices mean that consumers have income left over to purchase goods they otherwise couldn&rsquo;t, enabling them to better satisfy their wants by satisfying more of them.</p> <h3><u>Distorted Signals</u></h3> <p><strong>In a genuinely free market, the profitability of firms is a good reflection of their ability to better satisfy the wants of consumers. </strong>Our willingness to pay for their goods and services reflects the fact that we receive value from those products, so their profits are at least a general signal of having created that value and satisfied consumer wants.</p> <p><strong>Trump&rsquo;s policies may well enrich many firms, but they will impoverish the average American.</strong></p> <p>In fact, consumers get much more value out of most innovations than is reflected in the profits of firms. A famous study by economist William Nordhaus estimated that profits made up only about 2.2% of the total benefits created by innovations. If you doubt this, ask yourself how much it would take for you to give up your smartphone and its connectivity. Then multiply that by all of the smartphone users in the world. Then compare that to the profits made off smartphones. The total value to consumers will dwarf the profits of smartphone producers.</p> <p><strong>However, when markets aren&rsquo;t free, profits do not necessarily reflect value creation.</strong> Firms who profit through privileges, protections, and subsidies from governments demonstrate that they are able to please political actors, not that they can deliver value to consumers by better satisfying their wants. The profits of cab companies with monopoly licenses reflect their ability to foreclose competition, not the quality of the services they provide.</p> <p>In a world of this sort of crony capitalism, <strong>profits are de-linked from a connection with consumers </strong>and we cannot say with confidence that any given firm&rsquo;s profits reflect value creation.</p> <p>Notice though that such firms might still be profitable! In a world of cronyism, many firms will do very well, especially to the extent that they have connections with those in power, or are willing to do what they are told in order to curry such favor. <strong>To the extent that cronyism will make many firms profitable, that would be reflected in rising stock prices and stock indexes.</strong></p> <p>That, I would argue, is precisely what we&rsquo;re seeing today as Trump takes power.</p> <h3><u>The Trump Effect</u></h3> <p>Trump&rsquo;s economic nationalism and cronyism will surely enrich a number of American firms. Tariffs on imported cars, for example, might well improve the profitability of US car manufacturers. The same would go for steel or agricultural products. Firms like Carrier that are willing to exercise political clout, or roll over in the face of demands or threats from various levels of government, could see their profits rise as a result of new government-granted privileges. The record-setting Dow Jones sure could be right that the profit stream for many US firms will increase under Trump.</p> <p><strong>But don&rsquo;t confuse that profitability with improved economic well-being.</strong> Trump&rsquo;s policies may well enrich many firms, but they will impoverish the average American. We are not better off having to pay more for domestically produced goods thanks to a 35% tariff on imports. We are not better off when firms are given tax breaks or direct subsidies to keep their production in the US where labor or other inputs are more expensive, raising the costs of those goods and increasing our $20 trillion dollar national debt.</p> <p><strong>Profits will be seen as the reward for knowing the right people, not innovation and efficiency.</strong></p> <p>We are not better off when firms have to meet the conditions set by a strongman before he will &ldquo;allow&rdquo; them to operate in the US, which only serves to reorient the economy away from pleasing consumers to pleasing Trump.</p> <p>This sort of cronyism and discretionary use of power turns the positive sum social cooperation of the market into a negative sum battle among firms to curry favoritism and power from the state. Entrepreneurial energy that could have brought forth innovative technologies and cheaper, better goods and services is diverted to seeking profits through what Ayn Rand so memorably called the &ldquo;aristocracy of pull.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>This diversion of entrepreneurship will have profound long-term effects, as it severs the link between profit-seeking and satisfying consumer wants. </strong>Profits will be seen as the reward for knowing the right people and how best to curry favor from them, not from innovation and efficiency.</p> <p>And when profits become about favoritism not value-creation, the moral case for the market, or what&rsquo;s left of it anyway, disappears as well. Profits can at least in principle be justified in terms of their link with consumer want satisfaction and the creation of value. As profits become increasingly arbitrary, even those firms who continue to create value will have a harder time justifying their profits. This loss of confidence in the ethical basis of the market will erode support for truly competitive markets even more, even as profits for many might increase.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t be fooled. The Trump rally is not a sign of economic health, but of what quite likely will be harm to all Americans through higher prices, fewer choices, and a reduction in entrepreneurial innovation.</strong></p> <p>Profits and rising stock prices in truly free markets reflect real value creation and want satisfaction. Profits and rising stock prices in a system of economic nationalism and cronyism reflect the satisfaction of the desires of those with political power. <em><strong>Firms and political actors might win more power and influence, but average Americans, many of whom voted Trump and his crew into office, will be the big losers.</strong></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="963" height="509" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20161129_GDP.jpg?1481312026" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/dont-be-fooled-trump-rally-not-sign-economic-health#comments Capitalism Cronyism Donald Trump Economic ideologies Economy Foundation for Economic Education headlines National Debt Nationalism Production for use Profit smartphone smartphones Social philosophy Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580207 at http://www.zerohedge.com Record High Lease Returns Set To Wreak Havoc On Used Car Prices http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/record-high-lease-returns-set-wreak-havoc-used-car-prices <p>About a month ago we warned that declining used car prices could spell disaster for subprime auto securitizations (see "<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-27/slumping-used-car-prices-spell-disaster-subprime-securitizations">Slumping Used Car Prices Spell Disaster For Subprime Auto Securitizations</a>").&nbsp; While it's always difficult to predict the exact timing of when bubbles will burst, a combination of record-high lease returns in 2017 and 2018, combined with rising interest rates could imply that the auto bubble is on the precipice.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-12-07/automakers-on-course-for-a-used-car-pile-up-thanks-to-leasing">Bloomberg </a>recently pointed out, strong used car pricing is a critical component required to prop up the overall auto market.&nbsp; While American's love their brand new cars, if used car prices become too soft then substitution can hurt new car sales.&nbsp; Add to that the impact of falling residual values on the finance arms of the auto OEMs and you have all the ingredients required for an auto market meltdown.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Thanks in part to low interest rates, leasing has become an increasingly popular way to drive away a new car. <strong>It accounts for almost a third of all new car transactions in the U.S. and it's also huge in the U.K., </strong>as I explained here. <strong>For BMW and Mercedes-Benz in particular, it's been a boon for sales.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Typically a lease lasts about three years, after which the customer returns to the showroom for another vehicle -- which is when things could get difficult for the industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"There's going to be a lot of units coming back over the next several years,"</strong> Ford Motor Co. warned last month. <strong>"They're going to get to levels that we have never seen on an absolute basis in the industry before".</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In 2017,&nbsp; about one million more off-lease vehicles will be available in the U.S. compared with 2015</strong>. That additional volume will put downward pressure on used car prices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>If cars depreciate too quickly, consumers will be unwilling to pay high prices for new vehicles. High residual values also help to keep monthly lease payments low. In other words, <span style="text-decoration: underline;">if used car prices fall, the whole system comes unstuck</span>:</strong> automakers' earnings will likely fall and car finance companies (often a subsidiary of the manufacturer) may have to book writedowns on the value of their leased assets.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> </blockquote> <p>As the following chart depicts, with nearly 1mm more cars coming off lease in 2017 than 2015, it's difficult to envision a scenario where used car prices don't come under tremendous pressure. </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Auto%20Lease%20Volume.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Auto%20Lease%20Volume_0.JPG" alt="Auto Leases" width="600" height="283" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, how we got here is fairly obvious.&nbsp; <strong>The majority of Americans buy cars based on one factor: monthly payment.</strong>&nbsp; And when it comes to managing your monthly payment to the lowest level possible, leasing is the way to go.&nbsp; Per the <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/auto/lease-buy-car.aspx">Bank Rate</a> calculator below, buying a $30,000 car comes with a monthly payment of around $600 while leasing the same vehicle might only cost $420 per month.&nbsp; </p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Bank%20Rate_0.JPG" alt="Bankrate" width="600" height="216" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, why buy a $30,000 Ford for a $600 monthly payment when you could lease a $40,000 BMW for $560?&nbsp; <strong>You can afford it so long as you can cover the monthly payment, right?</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Bank%20Rate%202_0.JPG" alt="Bankrate" width="600" height="215" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Not surprisingly, these dynamics have caused lease share of U.S. vehicles to skyrocketed in the wake of the "great recession" as people seek to maintain their excessive lifestyles on smaller budgets.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Auto%20Lease%20Volume%202.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/12/09/2016.12.09%20-%20Auto%20Lease%20Volume%202_0.JPG" alt="Auto Lease" width="600" height="220" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, the problem is that leased vehicles get returned to their originating lenders every 3 years for brand new leases...we wouldn't want anyone driving around in a 5-year-old clunker now would we?&nbsp; But, as we all know, vehicles have useful lives of 15-20 years.&nbsp; Therefore, it doesn't take too many excessive lease cycles to flood the market with used supply and bring the whole ponzi crashing down.&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="870" height="482" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Autos%202_1.JPG?1481293403" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/record-high-lease-returns-set-wreak-havoc-used-car-prices#comments Baseball Hall of Fame balloting Business Business Business law Contract law Economy Education Ford Landlord–tenant law Law Lease Meltdown Mercedes-Benz Politics Private law Property law Recession Vehicle leasing Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580161 at http://www.zerohedge.com Joe Scarborough: ‘Hillary Clinton Cost Hillary Clinton the Election,’ Not Fake News http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/joe-scarborough-%E2%80%98hillary-clinton-cost-hillary-clinton-election%E2%80%99-not-fake-news <p><strong>Joe Scarborough dropped an epic dose of truth on Hillar</strong>y and her disaffected, snowflake supporters this morning after Clinton herself took to the stage yesterday to blame "fake news" for her stunning loss.&nbsp; Apparently not a buyer of the "fake news" excuse, Scarborough blasted Hillary, and democrats in general, saying that "<strong>Hillary Clinton cost Hillary Clinton the election."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“When you look at this ‘fake news,’ and you see what happened up at Harvard and you hear everybody writing articles saying millennials cost Hillary Clinton the election, and dogs with three legs cost Hillary Clinton the election, and comets passing in the night– <strong>Hillary Clinton cost Hillary Clinton the election.&nbsp; Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff cost Hillary Clinton the election.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Listen, if you care about Democrats digging out of the hole that they have put themselves in now, you’ve got to ask yourself; <strong>what have Democrats done to so offend Americans that they only have 11 governorships, they’ve lost control of the Senate, they’ve lost control of the House, they lost 900 legislative seats over the past six years?”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“It wasn’t fake news.&nbsp; It was something much, much bigger.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, Joe's deflated co-host, Mika Brzezinski, could only muster this response: <strong>“Ugh, I don’t think people are ready to hear that, Joe.” </strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Clinton addresses the 'epidemic of fake news' <a href="https://t.co/DlbqxmyfJJ">https://t.co/DlbqxmyfJJ</a></p> <p>— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) <a href="https://twitter.com/Morning_Joe/status/807206175049543681">December 9, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script> <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="896" height="561" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Joe%20Scarborough.JPG?1481297987" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/joe-scarborough-%E2%80%98hillary-clinton-cost-hillary-clinton-election%E2%80%99-not-fake-news#comments Bibliography of Hillary Clinton Edmund Hillary Harvard Hillary Clinton New Zealand Politics Politics of the United States Pre-2016 statewide opinion polling for the United States presidential election Rodham family Senate United States Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580170 at http://www.zerohedge.com Has The Trumpian Revolution Begun? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/has-trumpian-revolution-begun <p><a href="http://buchanan.org/blog/trumpian-revolution-begun-126120"><em>Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,</em></a></p> <p>The wailing and keening over the choice of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA appears to be a <strong>lead indicator of a coming revolution far beyond Reagan&rsquo;s.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Trump Taps Climate Skeptic For Top Environmental Post,&rdquo; said The Wall Street Journal. &ldquo;Climate Change Denial,&rdquo; bawled a disbelieving New York Times, which urged the Senate to put Pruitt in a &ldquo;dust bin.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Clearly, though his victory was narrow, Donald Trump remains contemptuous of political correctness and defiant of liberal ideology.</strong></p> <p>For environmentalism, as conservative scholar Robert Nisbet wrote in 1982, is more than the &ldquo;most important social movement&rdquo; of the 20th century. It is a militant and dogmatic faith that burns heretics.</p> <p>&ldquo;Environmentalism is well on its way to becoming the third great wave of redemptive struggle in Western history,&rdquo; wrote Nisbet, &ldquo;the first being Christianity, the second modern socialism.&rdquo; <strong>In picking a &ldquo;climate denier&rdquo; to head EPA, Trump is rejecting revealed truth.</strong></p> <p>Yet, as with his choices of Steve Bannon as White House strategist and Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, he has shown himself to be an unapologetic apostate to liberal orthodoxy.</p> <p><strong>Indeed, with his presidency, we may be entering a post-liberal era.</strong></p> <p>In 1950, literary critic Lionel Trilling wrote, &ldquo;In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.&rdquo;</p> <p>The rise of the conservative movement of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan revealed liberalism&rsquo;s hour to be but a passing moment. Yet, today, something far beyond conservatism seems to be afoot.</p> <p>As Hegel taught, in the dialectic of history the thesis calls into existence the antithesis. What we seem to be seeing is a rejection, and a counterreformation against the views and values that came out of the social and political revolutions of the 1960s.</p> <p>Consider the settled doctrine Trump disrespected with Pruitt.</p> <p>We have long been instructed that climate change is real, that its cause is man-made, that it imperils the planet with rising seas, hurricanes and storms, that all nations have a duty to curb the release of carbon dioxide to save the world for future generations.</p> <p><strong>This is said to be &ldquo;scientific truth,&rdquo; and &ldquo;climate deniers&rdquo; are like people who believe the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it. Some hold the matter to be so grave that climate deniers should be censored for promoting socially destructive falsehoods.</strong></p> <p>Yet, the people remain skeptical.</p> <p>Their worry is not that the rising waters of the Med will swamp the Riviera, but that tens of millions of Arabs, Muslims and Africans may be coming across to swamp Europe, and that millions of Mexicans may cross the Rio Grande to swamp the USA.</p> <p><em><u><strong>Call them climate deniers or climate skeptics, but they see the establishment as running the Big Con to effect a transfer of wealth and power away from the people &mdash; and to themselves.</strong></u></em></p> <p><strong>Across the West, establishments have lost credibility.</strong></p> <p>The proliferation of minority parties, tearing off pieces of the traditional ruling parties, points to a growing distrust in ruling regimes and a return to identifying with the nation and tribe whence one came.</p> <p>A concomitant of this is a growing disbelief in egalitarianism and in the equality of all races, creeds, nations, cultures and peoples.</p> <p>The Supreme Court may say all religions are equal and all must be treated equally. But do Americans believe Christianity and Islam are equal? How could they, when Christians claim their faith has as its founder the Son of God and God himself?</p> <p>After calling for a ban on Muslim immigration, Trump was elected president. After inviting a million refugees from Syria&rsquo;s civil war into Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel admits having made a mistake and is now in favor of letting German cities and towns decide if women should be allowed to wear burqas.</p> <p><strong>A sea change in thought is taking place in the West.</strong></p> <p>Liberalism appears to be a dying faith. America&rsquo;s elites may still preach their trinity of values: diversity, democracy, equality. But the majorities in America and Europe are demanding that the borders be secured and Third World immigrants kept out.</p> <p>The next president disbelieves in free trade. He wants a border wall. He questions the wisdom of our Mideast wars and the need for NATO. He is contemptuous of democratist dogma that how other nations rule themselves is our business. He rejects transnationalism and globalism.</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship,&rdquo; </strong></em>said Trump in Cincinnati,<strong><em> &ldquo;We pledge allegiance to one flag, and that flag is the American flag. From now on, it&rsquo;s going to be America first. &hellip; We&rsquo;re going to put ourselves first.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s not Adlai Stevenson or Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama.</p> <p>Nothing seems settled or certain. <strong>All is in flux. But change is coming. &ldquo;Things are in the saddle, and ride mankind.&rdquo;</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="235" height="138" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20161209_revo.jpg?1481310446" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-09/has-trumpian-revolution-begun#comments Academia Barack Obama Business Climate change denial Climate change skepticism and denial Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump Environment Environmental Protection Agency Germany Liberalism New York Times North Atlantic Treaty Organization Oklahoma Political ideologies Politics Senate Social theories Supreme Court The Apprentice Wall Street Journal White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580202 at http://www.zerohedge.com