en IRS Report Reveals How Obamacare "Spread [$11 Billion] Of Wealth Around" <p>If folks don't like their healthcare then they can give us all their money so we can give it to other folks.<a href=""></a></p> <p>New <a href="">IRS</a> disclosures from the 2014 tax year reveal the specifics of how the so-called "Affordable Care Act" helped to facilitate Obama's desire to, as he famously told "Joe the Plumber", "spread the wealth around."&nbsp; To be precise, <strong>in 2014, Obamacare spread $11.2BN of wealth around</strong>, in the form of healthcare premium tax credits, with nearly <strong>80% going to taxpayers reporting less that $35,000 of adjusted gross income</strong>.&nbsp; Moreover, the average tax filer received $3,600 of healthcare premium support with those in the lowest tax bracket receiving over $5,500 per person.</p> <p>Equally disturbing is the fact that 8.1mm tax filers, those who elected to forgo health insurance, were <strong>hit with $1.7BN in Obamacare it the "young and healthy tax"</strong>.&nbsp; Ironically, <strong>40% of the penalties fell upon people making less than $35,000 per year</strong>...the very same people that Obama apparently intended to "help".&nbsp; </p> <p>Here's how the subsidies and penalties broke down by tax bracket (the original IRS table can be found <a href="">here</a>):</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="ACA Penalties" width="600" height="273" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, the real tragedy of Obamacare is that even if those 8.1mm young and healthy people wanted to buy health insurance, <strong>many of them have now likely been priced out of the market as premiums have soared and coverage "options" have vanished as insurers have pulled out of exchanges all over the country</strong> (something we discussed at length in a post entitled "<a href="">Obamacare On "Verge Of Collapse" As Premiums Set To Soar Again In 2017</a>").&nbsp; In essence, while the bill has seemingly "helped" the 3.1mm people receiving subsidies in the chart above it has <strong>trapped the 8.1mm young and health people with a permanent tax increase as they are now even less likely to buy health insurance after Obamacare has driven up the rates astronomically.</strong></p> <p>But, of course, the Obamacare penalties will only get even worse from here.&nbsp; According to <a href="">The Washington Free Beacon</a>, in 2014, uninsured individuals were required to pay the greater of either a flat penalty of $95 for each uninsured adult or 1% of their household’s adjusted gross income.&nbsp; That said, the penalties are set to <strong>increase in 2016 to the greater of a flat fee of $695 or 2.5% of AGI</strong>.&nbsp; According to the <strong>Congressional Budget Office, taxpayers are expected to pay penalties of $4BN in 2016 and $5BN annually from 2017 through 2024</strong>.</p> <p>Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), also pointed out the irony in the fact that Obamacare is now penalizing many taxpayers who can no longer afford healthcare simply because Obamacare itself has driven up premiums to such an extent they've been rendered completely unaffordable.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“It’s not surprising that the Obamacare mandate numbers are worse than the administration first claimed,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). “<strong>Obamacare penalizes taxpayers who can no longer afford insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable.</strong>”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“As Obamacare continues to unravel, things will only get worse,” Cotton said. “<strong>The legacy of Obamacare is skyrocketing premiums, unaffordable deductibles, the destruction of the individual insurance market, and tax penalties on Obamacare’s victims.</strong>”</p> </blockquote> <p>With that, we'll leave you with this blast from the past...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></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="680" height="380" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Congressional Budget Office Obamacare Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573504 at These Are The Best And Worst U.S. Cities For Rising Home Prices <p>In its latest update <a href="">looking at July home prices</a>, Case Shiller pointed out that " the housing sector continued to expand" at just around 5%, a pace that has held since early 2015.</p> <p>Once again that was an understatement: in 15 of 20 of the tracked metro areas, the pace of home appreciation over the past year was 5% or higher, or more than twice the pace of core inflation. And with rents continuing to soar across the country, in many cases at a double digit clip, not to mention exploding healthcare costs, one wonders just what the BLS "measures" with its monthly CPI update.</p> <p>In any case, for those lucky Americans who can afford to own a house instead of being stuck renting the New Normal American dream (where they are prohibited from peddling fiction as their annual rent increases by 10% or more each year), here is the breakdown of the top US cities with the highest and lowest home price appreciation. </p> <p>At the top, with annual price increases of between 9% and 12%, we find the usual west coast (and thus closest to China) suspects for the second month: Portland, Seattle and Denver, with the cities closest to Vancouver not surprisingly continue to see the highest Y/Y growth. What is surprising is that what until recently was a superstar in this category, San Francisco, has seen its annual price increase drop to just 6.0% from 9.3% in February.</p> <p>On the other end once again are Cleveland, Washington and, the worst performer of all, New York. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="392" /></a></p> <p>Of course, one can debate whether the city with the fastest home price growth, in this case Portland, is "best", for those who <em>already </em>own a house, or "worst", for those who are trying to buy one and find it increasingly more unaffordable.</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="877" height="687" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> BLS China CPI New Normal Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:00:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 573522 at Obama Responds To Veto Override... <p>Despite all his cajoling and fearmongery, President Obama lost his veto-override virginity today... and is not happy. Speaking at a CNN town hall this evening, the president said that<strong> Congress "made a mistake,"</strong> and, <a href="">as The Hill reports,</a> trotted out the tired old excuse that despte their noble intentions, this elimination of sovereign immunity could have <strong>unintended consequences</strong>.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><a href="">As The Hill reports,</a> the override, the first of Obama’s tenure, is a<strong> major blow to the president and raises questions about his diminishing sway over Capitol Hill</strong> and foreign policy four months before he leaves office. While more stoic than his press spokesperson Josh Earnest's earlier outrage, Obama's calm demeanour during tonight's CNN townhall hid his bitterness which was exposed by his carefully chosen - and well-rehearsed - words...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>the measure<strong> sets a "dangerous precedent"</strong> in international law that could have negative consequences for the U.S.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"It's an example of why sometimes you have to do what's hard," </strong>he added. "And, frankly, I wish Congress here had done what's hard."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, he conceded, “I understand why it happened. Obviously, all of us still carry the scars and trauma of 9/11.”</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="591" height="407" /></a></p> <p><strong>Obama reiterated his longstanding argument that the measure carries serious unintended consequences</strong>, despite the noble intentions of its supporters. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The president said the measure could erode the concept of sovereign immunity, leaving&nbsp; American citizens and assets abroad vulnerable to lawsuits if foreign countries pass reciprocal laws. </p> <p>“The concern that I've had is -- has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia per se, or my sympathy for 9/11 families,” Obama said.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> </strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“It has to do with me not wanting a situation in which we're suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work that we're doing all around the world.”</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>As usual his words articulately obscure what he is really saying... between the lines... <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>How dare Americans make me accountable for my actions?!</strong></em></span></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="672" height="387" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> President Obama Saudi Arabia Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:54:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 573539 at How The 'Deplorables' Can Save America <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Brandon Smith via,</em></a></p> <p>In my&nbsp;last article, <a href="">&ldquo;The Deplorables &ndash; Who We Are And What We Want,&rdquo;</a> <strong>I examined the basic philosophies that define what I call the liberty movement; the same group of Americans that Hillary Clinton admonishes as part of her &ldquo;basket of deplorables.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>It is important to recognize that<strong> only foolish progressives actually take Clinton&rsquo;s claims at face value.</strong> Clinton seeks to characterize a large subset of conservatives as narrow minded when she mentions the &ldquo;deplorables.&rdquo; But, it is how she defines &ldquo;narrow minded&rdquo; that is the crux of the thing.</p> <p><em>When people like her talk about &ldquo;racists,&rdquo; they are referring to conservatives who&nbsp;want a secure southern border. When they talk about &ldquo;Islamaphobes,&rdquo; they are referring to people who want to stop Islamic refugees from being bused into the country without being vetted or philosophically and morally acclimated to our way of life. When they talk about sexists, they are usually referring to all males in general, because remember, social justice warriors (SJWs) claim that we are &ldquo;subconsciously sexist,&rdquo; even if we think we are fair to women. When they talk about homophobes, they are referring to Christian bakers who do not want to participate in services for gay weddings despite the fact that they should be perfectly free to refuse association with anyone at any time for any reason.</em></p> <p>What Clinton and social justice lunatics are really referring to when they use these attacks are<strong> those people who want to be free to think and do as they see fit as long as they are not violating the constitutional rights of others</strong>. No one in Hillary&rsquo;s basket is actually narrow minded, but she and her cronies pigeonhole them as narrow minded anyway.</p> <p><strong>Clinton is not actually worried about real racists, or real sexists or real homophobes. </strong>What she and the establishment are worried about are true conservatives, because our principles are not built on hate; they are built on reason and truth. It&rsquo;s easy to defeat a movement driven by hate; it&rsquo;s next to impossible to defeat a movement driven by truth.</p> <p><u><strong>It is absolutely essential for liberty activists to understand that the goal of the establishment will be to redefine the core of our movement.</strong></u> If they can repaint us as hateful, then we can be beaten. If they can fool us into acting against our principles in the name of winning by any means, then once again, we can be beaten. If we are able to retain our principles and repel the propaganda, then we will NEVER be beaten. Even the greatest war machines on Earth can be crushed by the force of a principled rebellion.</p> <p>As my readers know well, I do not hold much optimism for America in the short term. Our economic status is dismal. In my article, <a href="">&ldquo;Brexit Aftermath - Here&rsquo;s What Happens Next,&rdquo;</a> I warned that global markets would be experiencing a slow grinding decline into the U.S. elections. This is now occurring. It is my belief that international financiers and central banks will pull stimulus support from the global economy just before or just after the elections. I believe that the establishment will attempt to blame conservative movements for the fiscal crisis they created.</p> <p>By extension, and as I have been predicting for many months, I believe that Donald Trump will be allowed into the White House. Whether Trump is aware of this dynamic or not, I do not know. The point is, our fight is just beginning, and it has nothing to do with a Trump presidency.</p> <p>The U.S. cannot be saved from financial crisis; <strong>instability is a mathematical certainty.</strong> It is how we respond to this instability that&nbsp;will determine our success or failure. <strong>Here is what we &ldquo;deplorables&rdquo; must accomplish in the next decade</strong> if we are to rebuild America and defeat globalism.</p> <h3><u><strong>Put An End To Economic Harmonization</strong></u></h3> <p>Economic harmonization is nothing more than a globalist phrase meaning the socialist redistribution of wealth. Globalists and progressives will assert that capitalism is the cause of all our ailments. They will say it leads to an unfair allocation of wealth into the coffers of a select few through the &ldquo;natural&rdquo; evolution of corporate power. In reality, most socialist nations work side by side with corporations, and even the existence of the legal corporate model is owed to government interference in free markets. That is to say, there is nothing natural about corporations.</p> <p>It was western governments that fabricated special legal protections for corporations including corporate personhood and limited liability. Without government protection, corporations could not exist at their current level of dominance. Therefore, bigger government and more government intervention in free markets will likely only serve to secure even greater empires for the corporate elite.</p> <p>These empires can only be dismantled by removing government as a factor in free markets, and allowing true competition in business to return instead of corporate favoritism. As a part of this shift, the middle class must be allowed to thrive through innovation and production. Taxation designed to redistribute wealth only seems to harm burgeoning entrepreneurs and stifles their ability to use good ideas to compete with larger businesses and their superior capital.</p> <p>Economic harmonization will eventually result in equality &mdash; it will make everyone equally poor. Only a handful of elites will ever be able to pursue economic success within this kind of framework.</p> <h3><u><strong>The End Of Forced Multiculturalism</strong></u></h3> <p>We&rsquo;re tired of Cloward-Piven strategies used by cultural Marxists to undermine western principles and heritage. The bottom line is, some cultures are completely incompatible and they should not be roommates. Are we racist for holding this view? No, we&rsquo;re just being practical. One look at the scheisse-storm hitting Europe right now and only an idiot or a Leftist with an agenda would argue that mass immigration of contrary cultures is a good idea.</p> <p>Uncontrolled migrations of peoples from socialist nations into nations that desire free markets will only make the effort towards free markets impossible. Illegal immigration by people who only want taxpayer funded entitlements and that import their socialist ideals as they invade is counter to the health of a liberty-based model.</p> <p>Harshly theocratic cultures also will not be able to integrate into a society that respects individual freedom. Social justice groups assume that religious freedom requires us to remain apathetic in the face of unchecked theocratic immigration (as long as it is anything other than Christian).&nbsp; But, potential immigrants and illegal immigrants do not have legal rights under the U.S. Constitution. Religious freedom has nothing to do with immigration.</p> <p>For example, fundamentalist Islamic culture does not mix with the traditional Western ideals of liberty and free market participation. Period.</p> <p>Leftists are willfully blind to the distinction. Globalists understand the problem full well and they intend to exploit it. Their goal is to import counter-ideologies en masse in order to annihilate the last vestiges of the West.</p> <p>Why? Because this is about eliminating the final obstacle to total globalization. They seek to wash out conservative and classical liberal thinking to make way for a collectivist system that outlaws sovereign philosophies as &ldquo;barbaric.&rdquo; It is not exactly an &ldquo;ethnic cleansing;&rdquo; more like an ideological cleansing of true conservativism.</p> <p>We aren&rsquo;t going to allow that.</p> <p>This is why many in the liberty movement do in fact support a ban on all immigration into Western nations until the damage done by the multicultural cabal can be mitigated. Some may argue for a limited ban on the immigration of certain groups (including Muslims) and this is an issue where the &ldquo;deplorables&rdquo; diverge.</p> <p>I personally don&rsquo;t know how such a selective ban could be enforced without an insanely large, intrusive and expensive immigration bureaucracy designed to investigate and weed out millions of people not allowed under such a law. A simpler solution would be to freeze ALL<em> </em>immigration for a period of time (perhaps 10&nbsp;years or more).</p> <p>This would eliminate the need for the U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS). The $3.2 billion allocated to that entity could be spent better securing U.S. borders.</p> <p>Frankly, there is nothing wrong with denying citizenship to immigrants for a period of time. The extreme left acts as if open immigration into our country is some kind of human right. It&rsquo;s not.</p> <h3><u><strong>A Less Inclusive Republican Party</strong></u></h3> <p>It is perfectly healthy to be discriminating against ideologies and people that are destructive to inherent freedoms. I remember after Barack Obama took office for a second term that the common argument by Democratic and Republican elites alike was that it was &ldquo;time for the Republican Party to be more inclusive&quot; if they ever wanted to win the White House again.&nbsp; What that really means in translation is, it was time for the Republican Party to move completely away from conservative values and be more like the Left.</p> <p>In reality, the Republican Party needs to stop accommodating socialist and globalist ideals and be more selective in who its friends are, and who its leaders are. Either that, or the party needs to go the way of smallpox and die so that more honest political organizations can take its place.</p> <h3><u><strong>The Eradication Of Language Policing</strong></u></h3> <p>We &ldquo;deplorables&rdquo; have seen political correctness and social justice fear mongering turn our society into a simpering cesspool of terrified effeminate spineless men, deluded miserable vitriolic women who think they are men, and the rest of us who are supposed to walk on eggshells whenever the PC police are around while being sure to use the &ldquo;proper pronouns.&rdquo; I think not.</p> <p>I think instead, the deplorables are going to say whatever the hell we feel like saying. Why should we concern ourselves with the irrational feelings of others? Why should we censor ourselves just to satisfy the ignorant notion that language shapes environment? Language is irrelevant to our internal monologue. Changing the language is not going to change our souls. Thus, controlling it is pointless and only serves to oppress the public.</p> <p>We&rsquo;re not going to refer to anyone by a gender other than what their genetics dictate. We don&rsquo;t care if you wear make-up and a wig and a tampon. If you were born with a Y chromosome, then you are a man. Your personal freedoms do not include the right to force others to recognize you as a woman, a &ldquo;trans,&rdquo; a diva, a porpoise, etc. Your feelings do not matter. We are no longer going to participate in your gender role-play fantasies.</p> <p>Some of us may at times play with race related jokes and have fun at the expense of other groups. We might argue that women actually don&rsquo;t make very good Ghostbusters or that movies pontificating about slavery are becoming extraordinarily boring. We will probably refer to illegal immigrants as illegal immigrants and stare at beautiful women like we have x-ray vision.</p> <p>Understand, there is nothing you can do to stop us, so you might as well spend your time doing something more constructive, like dropping out of gender studies and enrolling in a real college course.</p> <h3><u><strong>No More Recognition Of Victim Group Status</strong></u></h3> <p>For decades now it has become trendy for anyone besides white heterosexual males to blame all their failures on white heterosexual males. With all the gnashing of teeth over &ldquo;white male privilege,&rdquo; we might forget that the only groups with privileges under the law are victim groups. So much government preference is being given to these groups that almost everyone is now clamoring to categorize themselves as a victim in some sense.</p> <p>The &ldquo;transgender&rdquo; movement is the culmination of this insanity; primarily because there is no such thing as a transgender person except the extremely rare occasion when someone is born with both male and female genitalia. Gender is biological, it is not fluid. You cannot argue with nature about your gender. Laws that govern gender issues should follow biological standards, not hollow psychological standards.</p> <p>Today, anyone can simply say they are a victim group by virtue of what amounts to a mental illness. It is time to stop treating this mental illness as a civil rights issue. In turn, it is also time to stop government from designating privileges to groups based on arbitrary victimhood. Everyone today has equal rights under the law. Everything else should be based on merit. If you fail, then it is your own fault. To foster the notion in our society that the evil white man is to blame for all the inadequacies of every loser in the world is to do more harm to those losers than good. Instead, let them take responsibility for their failings so that they might actually strive to do better.</p> <h3><u><strong>Limited Government</strong></u></h3> <p>There are only a few reasonable purposes behind government &mdash; to defend the inborn liberties of the populace, to repel foreign invaders and to secure a sound monetary framework. That&rsquo;s about it. But while we deplorables see these as limited powers and responsibilities, socialists and globalists see these as excuses for an infinitely expanding government behemoth.</p> <p>For example, you can build a functioning military based on the militia model, in which every able-bodied citizen rises to the defense of their community and nation in the event of attack. This would be a cost-effective and less intrusive model.</p> <p>Or, you can build a massive standing army with hundreds of bases around the world and a police state here at home, all funded by an unsustainable fiat money and debt system. This would be the big government model, which socialists argue is what government should do to fulfill its role.</p> <p>Government can also be used to force private associations in the name of protecting the &quot;rights&quot; of others. A Christian taxpayer might be forced to fund entities they oppose, like Planned Parenthood (which receives around $500 million in tax dollars per year). This is the problem with open-ended nanny government; the individual freedom to associate is violated in the name of protecting the victim status of others.</p> <p>This comes from a &ldquo;fluid interpretation&rdquo; of the Constitution and the role of government that allows expansion to be rationalized. To put an end to this would require we &ldquo;deplorables&rdquo; to assert a literal and limited interpretation.</p> <h3><u><strong>True Free Markets</strong></u></h3> <p>The establishment has spent the better part of the past 30 years trying to convince the world that globalism is a natural extension of the free market. It&rsquo;s not. The fact is, globalism is a system thrust upon the people, not an organic evolution of economics.</p> <p>True free market philosophy would dictate that if a model is destroying the wealth standards of a society, that society would naturally abandon it. If a model is elevating corporations, which are a product of government charter and are artificially supported by taxpayer dollars, then this is not conducive to real competition. If a model is allowing those same government chartered corporations to export jobs while destroying any chance for smaller competitors to fill the void through unfair taxation and other laws, then this creates economic instability. Without government intervention, globalism would not exist, because no society with a free market would naturally seek to destroy itself.</p> <p>The &ldquo;deplorables&rdquo; want the end of all welfare, including corporate welfare and the concept of the &ldquo;too big to fail&rdquo; company. We want the end of government intervention in business and special favors for corporate elites. We also want the end of central banking and fiat debt based currency. It&rsquo;s funny, but the mainstream media constantly accuses us of seeking an unfair world, but we are actually the only group of people working for a level playing field.</p> <p>This concept terrifies progressives and corporate elites alike because without a socialist welfare system and special treatment for victim groups and companies, all success would then rely on merit. This means, they would have to work harder than most, or be smarter than most or be more naturally gifted than most in order to be more prosperous than most. Take a look at the millennials permeating the halls of universities today&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;those that espouse socialist ideals&nbsp;&ndash;and you will find yourself struggling to identify a single person with exceptional merit or work ethic.</p> <p>Take a look at all the banks and corporate monstrosities that should have collapsed eight years ago due to terrible business practices.&nbsp;Under a free market, they would be failures, and rightly so.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong>As mentioned in my first article on the &ldquo;deplorables,&rdquo; these changes&ndash; which represent a redress of grievances over decades of American corruption&nbsp;&ndash;will not take place without years of struggle and sacrifice. </strong>Again, this is not about a Trump presidency or any other future election. This is about action on the part of regular men and women, average conservatives, everyday. This is about self sufficiency, localized economies, the return of individual producers, the refusal to comply with social justice-based laws and legislation, the return of community-based security rather than reliance on state and federal security, local efforts for border security, the punishment of criminal financial institutions, etc.; all of which will probably come at the cost of a fight with the establishment.</p> <p>While you are welcome to vote for whatever candidate you please, <strong>remember that central leadership is not the solution. Self leadership is the solution. We do not need a hero on a white horse. The future is in OUR hands. </strong>Only by the efforts of millions of liberty champions in large and small ways can America return to prosperity, and to freedom.</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="486" height="270" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Central Banks Corruption Donald Trump ETC Fail Global Economy Reality Too Big To Fail White House Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573521 at Obama Humiliated: For The First Time, Congress Votes To Override President's "Sept 11" Bill Veto <p><em><strong>Summary: </strong></em>US Congress, first the Senate and then the House, humiliated the president when it voted on Wednesday to override Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House rejected a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue Saudi Arabia. The House easily cleared the two-thirds threshold with a 348-77 vote to push back against the veto. The Senate voted 97-1 in favor of the override earlier in the day, with only Democratic Leader Harry Reid voting to sustain the president’s veto. </p> <p>“We can no longer allow those who injure and kill Americans to hide behind legal loopholes denying justice to the victims of terror,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). </p> <p>The White House immediately slammed lawmakers following the Senate vote.</p> <p>“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done possibly since 1983,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One, an apparent reference to a 95-0 vote to override President Ronald Reagan that year. </p> <p>The override was widely expected in both chambers, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle characterizing it as an act of justice for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. </p> <p>The so-called Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA) would amend current law to allow victims of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil to sue countries that are not formally designated as sponsors of terrorism — like Saudi Arabia.</p> <p>As reported before, the implications for capital markets should the House follow the Senate in overriding Obama's veto, they could be dramatic: <a href="">as noted earlier</a>, the threat of the 9/11 bill passing has put on hold Saudi plans to issue its megabond, effectively putting even more pressure on the kingdom's finances; alternatively as Saudi Arabia has threatened before, should the bill pass, it would (and may have no other choice considering its liquidity crisis) have to sell US reserves, among which billions in Treasurys and an unknown amount of US equities. </p> <p>* * * </p> <p><em><strong>Update: </strong></em>moments ago the House also overrode Obama's veto, meaning that as of this moment, the Sept 11 bill is now law. </p> <ul> <li><strong>HOUSE HAS VOTES TO OVERRIDE VETO OF SAUDI BILL, VOTE ONGOING</strong></li> </ul> <p>This is the first time an Obama veto has been overriden by Congress. </p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Late last Friday, <a href="">we reported that in a troubling development for all Americans</a>, Barack Obama sided with Saudi Arabia when he vetoed the <em>Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act </em>, better known as the "Sept 11" bill, allowing Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over its involvement in terrorism on US soil, passed previously in Congress, despite clear signs that the veto may be rejected by both the Senate and the House. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="420" /></p> <p>Moments ago, that is precisely what happened, <strong>when the Senate voted overwhelmingly 97 to 1, to override President Obama’s veto of a bill letting the victims of the 9/11 attacks sue Saudi Arabia, striking a blow to the president on foreign policy weeks before he leaves office. </strong>The vote marks the first time the Senate has mustered enough votes to overrule Obama’s veto pen. </p> <p><strong>Democratic Leader Harry Reid was the sole NO vote.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="" width="500" height="271" /><br /></strong></p> <p>As <a href="">the Hill reported</a>, <strong>not a single Democrat came to the Senate floor before the vote to argue in favor of Obama’s position.</strong></p> <p>Obama has never had a veto overridden by Congress.</p> <p>Ironically, the White House promptly called the veto the most embarrassing action by lawmakers in years. What it failed to comprehend is that it was Obama's veto of the Sept 11 that was the most embarrassing action by a US president, perhaps ever.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I think President Obama should spend the balance of his term on pitfalls on fat shaming and golf. He is done. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Cate Long (@cate_long) <a href="">September 28, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <p>Lawmakers don’t want to be seen as soft on punishing terrorist sponsors a few weeks before the election, at a time when voters are increasingly worried about radical Islamic terrorism in the wake of recent attacks in Manhattan, Minnesota and Orlando, Fla. Oddly enough, Obama had no problem with those particular optics. </p> <p>The House will take up the matter later on Wednesday, and Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters last week that he expects there be to enough votes for an override.</p> <p>As a reminder, the legislation, sponsored by Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, would create an exception in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to allow the victims of terrorism to sue foreign sponsors of attacks on U.S. soil.</p> <p>It was crafted primarily at the urging of the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks who want to sue Saudi Arabian officials found to have links with the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. It passed the Senate and House unanimously in May and September, respectively, but without roll-call votes.</p> <p>“This is pretty much close to a miraculous occurrence because Democrats and Republicans, senators [and] House members have all agreed [on] the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which give the victims of a terrorist attack on our won soil an opportunity to seek the justice they deserve,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor before the vote.</p> <p>President Obama warned in a veto message to the Senate last week that the bill would improperly give legal plaintiffs and the courts authority over complex and sensitive questions of state-sponsored terrorism. He also cautioned that it would undermine protections for U.S. military, intelligence and foreign service personnel serving overseas, as well as possibly subject U.S. government assets to seizure.</p> <p>Obama sent a letter to Senate leaders reiterating his <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">threats</span> concerns that the measure could put U.S. troops and interests at risk.:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“The consequences of JASTA could be devastating to the Department of Defense and its service members — and there is no doubt that the consequences could be equally significant for our foreign affairs and intelligence communities,” he wrote in the letter, which was later circulated by a public affairs company working for the embassy of Saudi Arabia. </p> </blockquote> <p>For once, using threat as a negotiating tactic, especially when on behalf of a foreign sponsor of terorrism and one of the Clinton foundation's biggest donors, failed to work.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>The Saudi Embassy and a high-priced team of lobbyists it hired waged an intense campaign to persuade lawmakers to sustain the override, but it came too late. Surprisingly, the White House seemed to have recognized it as a lost battle and put in less effort, according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who on Tuesday characterized the administration’s lobbying effort as zero. </p> <p>Senators who are worried about the risk posed by the bill to U.S. personnel in foreign countries huddled on the Senate floor Tuesday to discuss passing additional legislation to protect them.&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>These lawmakers acknowledged the 9/11 victims bill had too much political momentum to stop weeks before Election Day, especially after both chambers approved it unanimously.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>“The focus right now is how can we over a period of time create some corrective legislation to deal with whatever blowback might occur,” Corker said. Ryan told reporters last week that he had concerns with the legislation but said he would nevertheless allow it to come to the floor.</p> <p>“I’m going to let Congress work its will because that’s what Congress does. I do think the votes are there for the override,” he said.</p> <p>The veto override is a big win for Schumer, whose home state bore the worst of the 9/11 attacks.</p> <p>“This bill is near and dear to my heart as a New Yorker, because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice — finally giving them a legal avenue to hold accountable foreign sponsors of the terrorist attack that took from them the lives of their loved ones,” Schumer said on the floor. He co-sponsored the bill when it was first introduced in December 2009 by the late Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.). </p> <p>Schumer revived the bill last year by teaming up with Cornyn, a fellow member of the Judiciary Committee. They overcame an early objection from colleagues by empowering the president to pause a lawsuit against a foreign government if the administration proves good-faith effort to reach a settlement are underway. The administration initially wanted unilateral authority to stop a lawsuit regardless of the status of negotiations, something the 9/11 families rejected. </p> <p>Efforts to override Obama’s vetoes of legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and a special budget package dismantling the Affordable Care Act failed earlier this Congress.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Now we wait to see if the Veto is likewise overriden in the House, in what is set to be a historic humiliation for the outgoing <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">Saudi</span> American president.</p> <p>As for the implications for capital markets should the House follow the Senate in overriding Obama's veto, they could be dramatic: as <a href="">noted earlier</a>, the threat of the 9/11 bill passing has put on hold Saudi plans to issue its megabond, effectively putting even more pressure on the kingdom's finances; alternatively as Saudi Arabia has threatened before, should the bill pass, it would (and may have no other choice considering its liquidity crisis) have to sell US reserves, among which billions in Treasurys and an unknown amount of US equities. </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="763" height="418" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Bob Corker Capital Markets John Cornyn President Obama Saudi Arabia White House World Trade Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:47:55 +0000 Tyler Durden 573478 at Janet Yellen On The Fed Buying Stocks: "Maybe In The Future, Down The Line..." <p>There was an interesting exchange during Janet Yellen's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday morning, when South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney asked Yellen if the Fed will openly (as opposed to indirectly via Citadel) buy stocks. Specifically, he said that "there's been some attention in the last few months about the resent decision by the Bank of Japan to start purchasing equities and my question to you is fairly simple. Is the United States Federal Reserve looking at the possibility of adding the purchase of equities to its tool box as it looks at monetary policy?"</p> <p>This was her response: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"Well, the Federal Reserve is not permitted to purchase equities. We can only purchase U.S. treasuries and agency securities. I did mention in a speech in Jackson Hole, though, <strong>where I discussed longer term issues and difficulties we could have in providing adequate monetary policy</strong>.<strong> Accommodation may be somewhere in the future, down the line that this is the kind of thing that Congress might consider, </strong>but if you were to do so, it's not something that the Federal Reserve is asking for."</p> </blockquote> <p>And there you have the apolitical Fed hinting to Congress all it would to keep the stock market propped up in perpetuity is a small change in the law for Yellen to lift the offer, or as Chuck Schumer would put it, "get to work Mrs; Chairwoman."</p> <p>Also, not asking for <em><strong>yet</strong></em>, because we are certain that there was a time when neither the BOJ nor the SNB imagined they would have to officially intervene in the stock market to keep it propped up. Furthermore, as the WSJ <a href="">notes</a>, "Yellen’s tentative openness to changing the law suggests <strong>Fed officials have been giving a lot of thought to new ways to jolt the economy </strong>in an era of low inflation and low interest rates."</p> <p>Alas, in a time when the Reuters writes that "<a href="">any ECB scheme to buy stocks could total 200 billion euros</a>", to keep hammering the idea that central bank purchases of stocks are just a matter of time, we get the feeling that the spot Yellen envisions as being "somewhere in the future" is not that far off. </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="1074" height="624" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of Japan Citadel Federal Reserve House Financial Services Committee Janet Yellen Japan Monetary Policy Reuters South Carolina Testimony Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:45:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 573535 at "When Hillary Gets Scared, She Plays The Russia Card" <p><em>By Gary Leupp, Professor of History at Tufts University, originally posted on <a href="">Counterpunch</a></em></p> <p><strong>Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s Campaign Against Russia</strong></p> <p>George H. W. Bush&rsquo;s unsurprising support for Hillary Clinton strengthens the alliance of careful, conniving warmongers (including both neocon and &ldquo;liberal interventionist&rdquo; camps), admiring former generals,&nbsp; middle and upper-class &ldquo;Clinton Coalition&rdquo; African-Americans (including clerics and TV commentators like MSNBC&rsquo;s awful anchor/DNC shill Joy Reid snarling first about Bernie as much as Trump, and now trashing Putin along with Trump), Wall Street donors, older women too driven by identity politics, masochistic and naive former Bernie supporters settling for &ldquo;the lesser evil,&rdquo; and miscellaneous communities of the confused.</p> <p>It is a rainbow coalition of everyone she needs on board when she starts bombing Syria&mdash;seriously bombing Syria, courageously doing so one-upping Barack Obama (who she thinks blew his opportunities to take out Assad in 2011 and 2013) and producing another regime change accompanied by her triumphant Tarzan yell. This time it will be: &ldquo;We came, we saw, Syria died!&rdquo;</p> <p>Hillary was, you recall, a leading cheerleader of the destruction of the modern Iraqi and Libyan states, and continues to justify those regime-change actions while bemoaning their aftermaths, which she blames on others.</p> <p>For someone doing so poorly in the polls, and exciting so little enthusiasm&mdash;barely edging over a buffoon whose main purpose seems to be to reveal to the world the depths of the U.S. electorate&rsquo;s abject ignorance and moral depravity&mdash;Hillary can boast on the one hand that the Democratic Party platform is the &ldquo;most progressive&rdquo; in the party&rsquo;s history (thanks to the Bernie supporters, whom she regularly acknowledges, pandering with little success); and on the other hand her candidacy is solidly supported by Goldman-Sachs and the neocons and the whole military-industrial complex. From left to right, such a big tent!</p> <p>Everybody else (especially, we&rsquo;re supposed to believe, less-educated &ldquo;middle-class&rdquo; white men over 40) is for Trump. But (the Hillary camp wants to believe) with such high negatives among blacks, Latinos and women Trump <em>can&rsquo;t </em>win barring some horrible failure of the good people to go to the polls.</p> <p>But polls are showing Trump and Clinton neck and neck, or even showing the billionaire leading, including in some key states. This brings out the worst, most dishonest streak in Clinton&rsquo;s character. Her response indicates that she remains the eternal Goldwater Girl. Running scared, she resorts to the least creative yet tried-and-true ploy imaginable: Cold War-era style redbaiting.</p> <p>Never mind that there are few Reds in Moscow anymore, and that Russia is a thoroughly capitalist society posing no threat to the U.S.&nbsp; Never mind that Russia like the U.S. has a multiparty democratic political system (rigged, like that in the U.S.) and like the U.S. is controlled by its billionaire One Percent (that by the way invests heavily in the U.S. and Britain). There is no ideological divide, and Russia does not head an international ideological movement.</p> <p>The basis for its deteriorating relationship with the U.S. and some of its allies is that Washington has steadily expanded NATO to surround the Russian Federation since 1999 (when during Clinton&rsquo;s husband Bill&rsquo;s administration it added Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary); wants to add Georgia and Ukraine to the alliance; and spends billions trying to influence elections or fund movements for regime change such as the one that toppled Ukraine&rsquo;s elected president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.</p> <p>The U.S. press has virtually ignored one of the most important geopolitical developments of our time. NATO expansion has been a non-story. Russia&rsquo;s reactions to it (including recent war games held on Russian territory, in response to the biggest NATO war games ever in Poland earlier this year) are invariably depicted as &ldquo;threatening&rdquo; to Europe. Vladimir Putin is personally vilified as a brutal dictator who imprisons and assassinates political foes and journalists and has ambitions to restore the Soviet Union.</p> <p>All of this is accepted without questions by cable anchors, coached no doubt by news editors who shape the packaging of the news. Instead of noting the obvious fact that NATO is by its very expansion provoking Russia, the mainstream press declares with a straight face that <em>Russia</em> is provoking <em>NATO&mdash;</em>by opposing its expansion!</p> <p>The reportage on Ukraine has been particularly bankrupt. Talking heads repeatedly refer to Russian &ldquo;invasions&rdquo; of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and Crimea that never happened. They methodically avoid discussion of the neo-fascist element in the post-coup regime and how its actions prompted separatism among Russian speakers in the east. Journalists for the top newspapers routinely cite unnamed &ldquo;government officials&rdquo; as confirming Russian responsibility for all manner of offenses, from shooting down planes to hacking U.S. emails, blissfully free of any need to provide evidence. This is why polls show Putin the most despised man in the U.S.</p> <p>The vilification is absurd, especially given the kid gloves treatment of much worse leaders in the U.S. camp. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resembles Putin in many respects but the U.S. press ignores his repression, military aggression, aid to terrorists, and mass detention of journalists.) But the press generally echoes the State Department, to which it is sometimes literally wed (Christiane Amanpour). And the post-Cold War State Department and Pentagon have felt the need to posit a new Enemy in the form of a Russia that threatens its neighbors and (in Syria and elsewhere) supports horrible regimes.</p> <p>So when Hillary gets scared, she plays the Russia card. Her campaign has been doing it in several ways. It notes that Trump campaign staffers arranged the removal of a call to arm Kiev against separatists in the Republican platform, implying that this shows Trump&rsquo;s support for Putin&rsquo;s objectives in Ukraine (rather than, say, a disinclination to exacerbate the conflict and to support the Minsk Agreement).</p> <p>It notes that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort also worked as a campaign advisor and lobbyist for Ukraine&rsquo;s Yanukovich for over a decade, and implies that this connection explains the platform change. (As though there were something especially nasty about a professional political operative from the U.S. selling his services to a politician who won what everyone acknowledges was a &ldquo;free&rdquo; election in Ukraine in 2010. But Yanukovych, because he opposed NATO membership for Ukraine and decided to reject EU membership due to the austerity conditions it would impose on Ukraine, was considered &ldquo;pro-Russian&rdquo; by the State Department.&nbsp; <em>Ergo</em>, Manafort must be a Putin agent. Such accusations forced him to resign as campaign manager Aug. 19.)</p> <p>The campaign responded to the devastating Wikileaks revelation that the DNC rigged the primary process in favor of Clinton against Sanders&mdash;a scandal serious enough to result in the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other top DNC officials&mdash;by blaming the leaks on Russia! Even if someone in that country hacked the accounts announcing to the world how corrupt the U.S. political process is, what should it matter more than if the hacker was a high school kid in Florida? Because, the Clinton campaign echoed by the entire bourgeois media proclaims, <em>Russia is trying to influence our elections!</em></p> <p>The media sometimes uses the term &ldquo;bromance&rdquo; and posits a soul-mate relationship between the Russian leader, who has in fact never met Trump nor said more than a couple sentences relating to him (in answer to reporters&rsquo; questions). He has called him &ldquo;flamboyant&rdquo; (which is true), not &ldquo;brilliant&rdquo; as the press sometimes reports. It&rsquo;s common sense to imagine that he prefers Trump to the warmongering Clinton, who wants regime change in Syria, and more NATO expansion, and has preposterously compared Putin to Hitler. But Putin has in fact been diplomatically silent on the U.S. election. (RT TV has contrasted this silence to the active U.S. support for the reelection of Russian president Boris Yeltsin, a total buffoon&mdash;opposed by the initially more popular Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov&mdash;in 1996.)</p> <p>But Goldwater Girl Hillary wants to make it clear: she is anti-Putin, anti-Russian, while Trump is a Putin fan. (The press refers to Trump&rsquo;s repeated &ldquo;praise&rdquo; for Putin, alluding to his occasional vague comments to the effect that Putin is sharp and popular. But my impression is that his references to Putin are largely allusions to his supposed high estimation of his own narcissistic and solopsistic self. Like the poet Apollinaire, Trump praises all who love him. And he is mercurial. Fawning generals could use these traits to affect his actual policies in power towards Russia. And recall Trump has boasted about being the &ldquo;most militaristic&rdquo; of candidates.)</p> <p>That the first woman president of the U.S. will be elected (as still seems likely, I think, although not with high confidence) might be brought to power by a coalition of self-defined progressives and war criminals like George H. W. Bush, whipped up in part by tired old Russia-baiting, is depressing. It&rsquo;s depressing that 27 years after the end of the Cold War it&rsquo;s still possible to exploit a Russian bogeyman to win support for hot war.</p> <p>That Hillary in power will try (and possibly) succeed in going to war once again, this time targeting Russia or its allies (the Syrian state, the Ukrainian Russian separatists), is frightening.&nbsp; The electorate is malleable, its collective memory short. What should be universally acknowledged truths (the Iraq War was based on lies, produced horrible death and suffering, generated more terrorism that spread to Syria, etc.) are in fact not grasped adequately by the masses. If they were, how could anybody vote for hideous Hillary?</p> <p>Remember how the ratings of an unpopular (and actually un-elected) president named George W. Bush leaped from around 50% at 9/11 to 70% just before the invasion of Iraq. Weak, unpopular presidents are sufficiently motivated to study history as to realize that war brings scared people together, causing them to unite around you. While the good thing about this nationally embarrassing farce will be the election of a highly unpopular president (vulnerable to overthrow), the really, really bad thing is that president might provoke World War III with Russia.</p> <p>In that connection it might be worthwhile to check out the <a href="">anti-Goldwater ad</a> of the Democrats in 1964, raising this very issue. Fear, people, fear.</p> <p>* * *</p> <div> <p class="author_description"><em><b>Gary Leupp</b> is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of&nbsp;<a href="">Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan</a>;&nbsp;<a href="">Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan</a>; and&nbsp;<a href="">Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900</a>.&nbsp;He is a contributor to&nbsp;<a href="">Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion</a>, (AK Press).&nbsp;He can be reached at:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></em></p> </div> <p>&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="500" height="334" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama ETC Florida Hungary Iraq Japan MSNBC Neocons Poland ratings Ukraine Vladimir Putin Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:23:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 573524 at How Much Money Have Humans Created - A Visual History <p><strong>The dollar amounts are so staggering, that simply telling you how much money humans have created probably wouldn&rsquo;t convey the magnitude.</strong> However, <a href="">The Money Project&#39;s</a> data visualization in this video, allows us to relate numbers in the millions, billions, and trillions to create the context to make it more understandable.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><a href=""><em>Source: Visual Capitslist</em></a></p> <h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Starting With Context</span></h2> <p>The median U.S. household income of&nbsp;<a href="">$54,000</a>&nbsp;is a number that most people can relate to. It&rsquo;s enough money to save up to buy a car, or maybe even a house depending on where you live.</p> <p>Multiply that income by eight, and that number is now big enough to count as being in the top 1% of earners. People in the &ldquo;one percent&rdquo; make at least&nbsp;<a href="">$430,000 per year</a>.</p> <p>Famous celebrities and businesspeople have fortunes that dwarf those of many &ldquo;one percenters&rdquo;. Actor George Clooney, for example, has a net worth of&nbsp;<a href="">$180 million</a>. Meanwhile, author J.K. Rowling is estimated to have a net worth of roughly&nbsp;<a href="">$1 billion</a>&nbsp;according to Forbes.</p> <p>Zuckerberg takes things to a whole new level. His net worth worth is&nbsp;<a href="">$53 billion</a>, thanks to the value of Facebook stock. Lastly, Bill Gates regularly tops the &ldquo;richest people&rdquo; lists with a wealth of&nbsp;<a href="">$75 billion</a>&nbsp;&ndash; though lately that number has been a little higher based on stock fluctuations.</p> <p>However, even the wealth of the richest human on Earth is not enough to get up to our unit of measurement that we use in the video: each square is equal to $100 billion.</p> <h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The World&rsquo;s Money</span></h2> <p>Some of the world&rsquo;s biggest companies take up just a few squares with our unit of measurement. ExxonMobil for example has a market capitalization of about $350 billion, and the world&rsquo;s largest public company by market capitalization, Apple, is at about $600 billion.</p> <p>The total of the world&rsquo;s physical currency &ndash; all coins and bills denominated in dollars, euros, yen, and other currencies &ndash; is about&nbsp;<a href="">$5 trillion</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, if we add checking accounts to the equation, the number for the amount of money in the world goes up to&nbsp;<a href="">$28.6 trillion</a>according to the CIA World Factbook. This is called &ldquo;narrow money&rdquo;.</p> <p>Add all money market, savings, and time deposits, and the number jumps up to&nbsp;<a href="">$80.9 trillion</a>&nbsp;&ndash; or &ldquo;broad money&rdquo;.</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s nothing compared to the world of Wall Street.</p> <h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Wall Street</span></h2> <p>All stock markets added together are worth&nbsp;<a href="">$70 trillion</a>, and global debt is&nbsp;<a href="">$199 trillion</a>.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s all impressive, but the derivatives market takes the cake. Derivatives are contracts between parties that derive value from the performance of underlying assets, indices, or entities. On the low end, the notional value of the derivatives market is estimated to be a whopping&nbsp;<a href="">$630 trillion</a>&nbsp;according to the Bank of International Settlements.</p> <p>However, that only accounts for OTC (over-the-counter) derivatives, and the truth is that no one actually knows the size of the derivatives market. It&rsquo;s been estimated by some that it could be as high as&nbsp;<a href="">$1.2 quadrillion</a>, and others estimate it could be even higher.</p> <p>There are many financial critics who worry about the risk that these contracts pile onto the global financial system. With the sheer size of the derivative market dwarfing all others, it&rsquo;s understandable why business mogul Warren Buffett has called derivatives&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;financial weapons of mass destruction&rdquo;</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="807" height="457" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Bank of International Settlements Bill Gates notional value OTC Warren Buffett Yen Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:11:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573516 at Libertarian Gary Johnson Has Another "Aleppo Moment" <p>If the rest of the world was already laughing violently, watching the spectacle that is America's presidential election, we wonder how it would react if it knew that there is actually a third candidate for the US presidency, one who can't name a single foreign world leader. </p> <p>Sadly, that is precisely what happened today when during a New Hampshire townhall moderated by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had another "<em>Aleppo moment</em>" when asked who his favorite foreign leader is, as the clip below shows.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Gary Johnson had an "Aleppo moment" after <a href="">@hardballchris</a> asks who his favorite foreign leader is <a href="">#JohnsonTownhall</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— MSNBC (@MSNBC) <a href="">September 28, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>It did not end there.</p> <p>Johnson continued, adding that Hillary Clinton would likely start a nuclear war if faced with a tough split-second decision. "I think she is going to press the button ... She is going to be hawkish, she is going to be more hawkish in that role," Johnson said. "I think that she is not going to air on the side of not being an aggressor."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">.<a href="">@GovGaryJohnson</a> says he thinks <a href="">@HillaryClinton</a> would press the nuclear button <a href="">#JohnsonTownhall</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Hardball (@hardball) <a href="">September 29, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The presidential candidate added that he would be the only candidate <em><strong>who could be trusted with the nuclear codes as president.</strong></em></p> <p> "I think she is going to shoot. She is going to shoot. She is not going to be herself. She is not going to be perceived as weak. She is going to shoot," he said later.</p> <p>And just to make it fair, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, Johnson's running mate, said that Donald Trump is not to be trusted with the nuclear codes either, and pointed to the GOP nominee's past support for countries like Japan and South Korea expanding their own nuclear capabilities. Weld said Trump would be better off running a laundry business than campaigning to become the President of the United States.</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="618" height="372" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Donald Trump Japan MSNBC Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:06:49 +0000 Tyler Durden 573532 at No Need For Yield Curve Inversion (There Is Already Much Worse Indicated) <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Jeffrey Snider via Alhambra Investment Partners, </em></a></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Though I highly doubt he will admit it, he&rsquo;s just <a href="">not the type</a>, even Ben Bernanke knows on some level that bond market is decidedly against him, or at least his legacy.</strong> Economists have a funny way of looking at bonds, decomposing interest rates into Fisherian strata. To monetary policy, interest rates break down into three parts: expected inflation over the term of the security; the expected path of real short-term rates; and the residual term premium. Policymakers love to focus on the last one even as (or especially because) it is the most esoteric.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>To gain monetary &ldquo;stimulus&rdquo;, officials believe that they must arrest and reduce term premiums.</strong> What is a &ldquo;term premium?&rdquo; It is what economists believe is the extra return a bondholder demands in order to hold a longer range fixed income instrument. In other words, all else being equal (as economists like to surmise) where the path of real short-term rates is the same as are inflation expectations, the term premium determines where an investor will buy a bond in maturity versus something shorter or longer. Economists like Bernanke argue that term premiums are high where risk is perceived to be high; in other words, you have to be compensated that much more for holding a bond for that much longer.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">From that perspective, term premiums make sense in a monetary policy setting, as does the surface considerations for QE. <strong>If QE can affect long-term rates while holding the others equal or better, that suggests lower risk of investing overall.</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><u><strong>The trouble for policymakers is that on this side of the Great &ldquo;Recession&rdquo; we don&rsquo;t even need to account for the academic posturing.</strong></u> On March 20, 2006, new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke discussed the unusual nature of low interest rates of that time. Alan Greenspan had <strong>left Bernanke <a href="">his &ldquo;conundrum&rdquo;</a> where he raised short-term rates considerably (in his view) but longer rates failed very conspicuously to follow</strong>. In a speech to the Economic Club of New York, Bernanke noted <a href="">this disparity</a>:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="color: #000000;">For example, since June 2004, the one-year forward rate for the period two to three years in the future has risen almost 1-1/2 percentage points. As the ten-year yield is about unchanged even as its near-term components have risen appreciably, it follows as a matter of arithmetic that its components representing returns that are more distant in time must have fallen. In fact, the one-year forward rate nine years ahead has declined 1-1/2 percentage points over this tightening cycle.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>The question was about how to interpret the apparent inconsistency. </strong>To Bernanke, it was a matter of breaking down the constituent parts of rates:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="color: #000000;">To the extent that the decline in forward rates can be traced to a decline in the term premium, perhaps for one or more of the reasons I have just suggested, the effect is financially stimulative and argues for greater monetary policy restraint, all else being equal. Specifically, if spending depends on long-term interest rates, special factors that lower the spread between short-term and long-term rates will stimulate aggregate demand. Thus, when the term premium declines, a higher short-term rate is required to obtain the long-term rate and the overall mix of financial conditions consistent with maximum sustainable employment and stable prices.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="color: #000000;">This was not the only possibility (and again there are serious doubts as to just how realistic this view actually is). Juxtaposing that more hopeful condition against another scenario, Bernanke gives us his own answer to the current predicament delivered long before its appearance.</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="color: #000000;">However, if the behavior of long-term yields reflects current or prospective economic conditions, the implications for policy may be quite different&ndash;indeed, quite the opposite. The simplest case in point is when low or falling long-term yields reflect investor expectations of future economic weakness. Suppose, for example, that investors expect economic activity to slow at some point in the future. If investors expect that weakness to require policy easing in the medium term, they will mark down their projected path of future spot interest rates, lowering far-forward rates and causing the yield curve to flatten or even to invert.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="color: #000000;">In terms of Fisherian decomposition of longer term interest rates, this means that where the expected path of short run real rates is low and gets lower then reduction in long-term rates is not helpful via lower term premiums but increased (perceived) risk accompanying that mark down. <strong>Typically we see this behavior where the UST curve inverts, but that <em>is not the only way to observe it</em>; and I would argue, given the state of short end activity, it is not the correct way.</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><u><strong>In fact, there is an alternate method to derive what might be the expected path of short run rates, real or otherwise &ndash; the eurodollar futures curve.</strong></u> In the last nearly three years of this &ldquo;rising dollar&rdquo; and its preceding months, the eurodollar curve has not just flattened but done so in remarkable fashion. What it suggests about both the time value of money and overall risk/opportunity is nothing short of alarming. It qualifies in every way for Bernanke&rsquo;s definition of &ldquo;if investors expect that weakness to require policy easing in the medium term, they will mark down their projected path of future spot interest rates.&rdquo; <em><strong>In the case of eurodollar futures, though they are not connected to spot rates but 3-month LIBOR, it is perhaps a more appropriate substitute (we could also use the OIS curve, as <a href="">its history</a> accomplishes the same result).</strong></em></span></p> <p><img alt="abook-sept-2016-eurodollar-futures-curve-rising-dollar" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-40748" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 328px;" /></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>What was once a curve is now not. It has become a straight line that serves as a reminder of the death of money and time value, two key components that more than suggest risks and (lack of) opportunity.</strong> The yield curve doesn&rsquo;t invert because current short rates are already near zero, so the decomposition of far forward expectations of spot rates indicates a huge increase in risk perceptions. From that view, falling longer-term rates simply confirm the worst regardless of inversion.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>We don&rsquo;t find declining term premiums leading to &ldquo;stimulus&rdquo; as the media presumes, rather we see a yield curve increasingly comfortable with the idea that there has been and likely will be no such thing.</strong> In other words, short-term rates get stuck around where they are now and the consequences are increasingly no economic opportunity for it. Even as the eurodollar futures market reacts to expectations of perhaps another &ldquo;rate hike&rdquo; in the near future, the only potential effect on the full futures curve is to further flatten it out beyond its already massively distorted condition.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>The bond market selloff of the past month or so, which has apparently fizzled just as Alan Greenspan was assuring the world it was <a href="">only getting started</a></strong> (once more preserving for posterity how little he knows about bonds, interest rates, and money, as if knowing anything about any of those would be useful to a central banker), has been, I believe, a microcosm of these forces at work if in reality as opposed to the academic manner in which policy and orthodox views take them. <strong>In other words, as the UST market was selling off and nominal rates turned slightly higher and the curve steeper, the eurodollar futures curve <em>moved in sympathy</em>.</strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">From Bernanke&rsquo;s own formula, that meant <strong>as rates were rising one significant view (I would argue the only view) of the expected path of future short-term rates was also rising</strong>. The eurodollar futures curve was decompressing into higher calendar spreads, suggesting that the appearance of higher nominal rates for UST&rsquo;s <strong>was not an increased view of risk but rather a decreased view of it</strong>.</span></p> <p><img alt="abook-sept-2016-eurodollar-futures-calendar-spread" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-40747" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 585px;" /></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Conversely, since Greenspan&rsquo;s appearance, nominal rates have fallen back as have calendar spreads of eurodollar futures</strong>. Before the selloff had completed, it was thought that the Federal Reserve might undertake a second &ldquo;rate hike&rdquo; which would confirm the judgment of lower risk (an eventual higher anticipated path of short-term rates) whereas since<strong> the bond selloff has reversed without any Fed action at all (&ldquo;chickening out&rdquo; and once more endorsing the prior negative view that all is not well &ndash; Bernanke&rsquo;s second option).</strong></span></p> <p><img alt="abook-sept-2016-eurodollar-10s-ust-cmt" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-40749" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 336px;" /></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>It isn&rsquo;t quite the interest rate fallacy but it is perhaps as close as an academic economist may ever come to describing it.</strong> People focus entirely too much on yield curve inversion in this context as the only definitive signal, but by Bernanke&rsquo;s own formulaic approach we again see that what is important is the potential difference between expected short-term rates and how that reflects upon current levels of long-term interest &ndash; and really how changes in each reflect upon one another. From that harmonized view, where long-term nominal rates have fallen but so have expectations for short rates, it adds up even in the orthodox terms to a very negative outlook entirely devoid of &ldquo;stimulus.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>There is no bond market riddle. </strong>As each curve gets squashed by righteous pessimism, they together indicate nothing good about the near-term future, even more so than what their past corroboration has already been proved as valid. Each constituent part of the financial picture increasingly confirms there is no money in monetary policy. We truly don&rsquo;t need the UST curve to invert, especially since the highly negative real money scenario at this moment&nbsp;<a href="">no longer involves recession</a> and the regular business cycle and has more than enough <a href="">corroboration</a> about economic and financial risk. </span></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="583" height="308" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alan Greenspan Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke Bond EuroDollar Federal Reserve fixed Futures market LIBOR Monetary Policy Reality Recession Yield Curve Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573502 at