http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/phonebook en Establishment Republicans plan to solve wage stagnation and entitlements … on your back http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-06/establishment-republicans-plan-solve-wage-stagnation-and-entitlements-%E2%80%A6-your-back <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">from <a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/wage-stagnation-and-entitlements/">The Great Recession Blog</a> by <a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/about-the-great-recession-blog-author-david-haggith/">David Haggith</a></p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Establishment Republicans have a plan to help workers because they hear you after all the clamor that has formed&nbsp;around Donald Trump. That is how they bill it anyway — a plan to help laborers. They have heard through their marble walls&nbsp;that some of you are not happy with wages that have been stagnant&nbsp;for decades. So, they have hatched a brave new plan.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Are you ready to see some innovative thinking now that they have had the better part of a decade to come up with something?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Their creative plan to help the common worker is to make it illegal for unions to withhold union dues automatically “so that you have more money in your paycheck.” That’s it. Boost your pay by stripping as much away&nbsp;from unions as they can. The marvelous creativity here is in how they manage to construe that as being for the benefit of the American worker to such a degree that they even believe it themselves.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Never mind that unions are the only thing that might give you enough unified strength to&nbsp;get your pay or benefits improved against cost-slashing corporations. Never mind that your pay stopped going up as soon as Reagan started breaking unions and as soon as Bush I started shipping factories to Mexico in that great sucking sound to the south. &nbsp;That is when pay stagnated while corporate profits soared … unless you were working in upper management where your pay rocketed&nbsp;into the Vanderbiltian stratosphere.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">What the Republican establishment calls “the&nbsp;<em>Employee</em>&nbsp;Rights Act” (ERA) is just another disembowelment of unions to make sure that the corporate execs and stockholders continue to get the lion’s share of corporate&nbsp;fat. How else will they build up their bonuses and dividends and buy back&nbsp;the company’s own stocks in order to inflate the value of their stock-options? Money going to union bosses could be going to them.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Now, some of you hate unions. I can understand that because unions have used a lot of their own evil tactics to coerce membership. I used to hate unions, too, because of all their goldbricking; but it’s a well established historic fact that — corrupt as they have sometimes been —&nbsp;they are the only thing that significantly forced up wages, working conditions and benefits for decades. Even non-union shops only paid more in many&nbsp;cases because they had to match or beat union shops in order to keep the unions out.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; font-size: 1.4em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px; background-color: #f8f8f8; color: #40271c !important;">The Heritage Foundation has a plan for&nbsp;the working man</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">(And woman. I just wanted that line to rhyme.) Steve Moore, a visiting fellow of the Heritage Foundation, is concerned that union leaders are getting rich and fat off these dues. Maybe they are, but corporate executives also get rich and fat when there are no union leaders, and the Heritage Foundation wants to assure you they have what is best for your income in mind.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">According to Moore, “The ERA puts the GOP firmly on the side of working-class Americans and higher pay.&nbsp;(“<a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/StephenMoore/Republicans-Workers-Pay-Raise-Trump/2016/03/01/id/716784/#ixzz41hXgo964" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">Stephen Moore: Republicans Can Give Workers a $1 Billion Pay Raise</a>“) You see, the neocons&nbsp;are not formulating their plan for the sake of helping their rich constituents — the one percenters who back both parties. No, they are doing it to put a billion dollars in your pocket. They are glad to do that since all of that money would otherwise go&nbsp;to people&nbsp;who campaign against the wealthy corporate bosses who own the politicians.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">If you’re going to give money back to the proletariate, do it by stripping it from unions that seek to diminish the grasp&nbsp;of the one-percenters. Take the money from the one area that&nbsp;<em>might</em>&nbsp;in the long run help workers get more money for their labor because unions just help workers redistribute wealth to themselves. We know the wealth rightfully belongs to the corporate leaders and stockholders and that redistribution to the people doing the work simply appeals to the envy of the working class. It is most important that we keep the wealthy rich so the workers have something to aspire toward. For all those reasons, you can know by the ERA that the GOP is now firmly on the side of the working class.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Why is it that&nbsp;the only plan establishment Republicans can ever come up with to help labor and improve wages is a plan that helps the establishment, such as&nbsp;giving&nbsp;tax breaks to stock investors that&nbsp;<a href="http://thegreatrecession.info/blog/rich-pay-80-percent-of-taxes-not/" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">put their taxes lower than the middle class</a>. They repeat inanely that&nbsp;those investors are the “job creators” until people believe it is true because it has been said so many times. True, they are the job creators … in Mexico … in China … in&nbsp;India where they moved all of their factories.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; font-size: 1.4em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px; background-color: #f8f8f8; color: #40271c !important;">The “entitlement”&nbsp;trap</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Have you noticed that&nbsp;governments, whether they are run by Democrats or Republicans, have no problem with underfunding their employee retirement plans? Even the most liberal cities have struggled to find ways to get out of paying the pensions they promised. The only thing that stands in their way is government employee unions. The citizens of those governments (municipal, county and state) had no problem deriving the benefits of new roads and parks, etc., off the backs of government employees&nbsp;by promising them&nbsp;“great government benefits.”</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">We have probably all&nbsp;talked at one time or another about how so and so that we know got a good government job with great government benefits like that was a good move for them. We probably even recommended a job like that to a friend or two: “The benefits are great, man.” We knew the benefits were the one thing that could drive our neighbors or relatives to take a government job in spite of all the red tape that comes with working for the government.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Will&nbsp;we&nbsp;now insist that our&nbsp;fellow citizens be&nbsp;treated fairly by taxing ourselves&nbsp;what it takes to honor those promises that we knew were being made? I doubt it. For many, those&nbsp;coveted government benefits have turned&nbsp;out to be a lie all along because governments never paid for the program as they went … always figuring some future government would deal with the problem of underfunding, but that never stopped them from&nbsp;continuing to hold out the promised retirement benefits. We’ve known these programs were underfunded for decades now.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Several states and municipalities&nbsp;declared bankruptcy during the Great Recession just so their&nbsp;citizens could&nbsp;escape the higher taxes that would be pushed on them in order&nbsp;to make good on the promises made to those other citizens who served them. Can you believe those nasty employees felt&nbsp;“entitled” to what was made as a promise of deferred gains in their retirement years if they would work below going wages at present? Greedy bastards.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">I’m not talking about the wealthy people who serve at the head of local government and who sit on counsels. I’m talking about the gal who mowed your park lawns or sat in a back office drawing up sewer plans or drove the bus. I’m also not talking about the lazy four guys who stood around a hole while&nbsp;one guy leaned on a shovel and sometimes pretended to dig.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">We all know those inefficiencies in government existed and were inexcusable, but there are many government employees in low-paying and mid-level positions who worked diligently for benefits for twenty years that they are now being deprived of just as they hit retirement. What about them? Do the bad apples we sometimes tolerated justify shorting our promises to those who worked dutifully at their tasks?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">The reason they are said to be “entitled”&nbsp;is because you and I already extracted the work out of them. They are entitled to the benefit because they already paid for it with their labor. Now, surprise, surprise, they want what our leaders promised them for decades. Greedy bastards.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">And what about your entitlements?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; font-size: 1.4em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px; background-color: #f8f8f8; color: #40271c !important;">The Social Security slough</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Nowhere are fraudulent promises more&nbsp;true than in Social Security. Some people who talk about balancing the budget by taking the money from entitlements like Social Security have forgotten that the reason they, themselves, are entitled to those&nbsp;benefits is that it was their&nbsp;money in the first place! They only allowed the government to take it (and very reluctantly even then)&nbsp;based on the government’s pledge of the United State’s good faith and credit that the money would be there for them when they retire or become disabled.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">They probably even mumbled that the money wouldn’t be there when they retired, and now here they are.&nbsp;Some of them&nbsp;are such saps they are already willing to lie down and let the government keep that money without a fight, accepting the mantra that it is bad to feel entitled to that which you created and provided in the first place.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Establishment Republicans have a similar answer to solve the federal government’s huge deficit problems. Their solution is to whittle down your retirement benefits under social security because YOU are the problem, not them. Their talking point is targeted at&nbsp;making anyone who expects to receive those benefits appear greedy via a concerted plan of&nbsp;turning “entitlement” into a dirty word.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Before you let them strip you of your dignity, try to remember that you’re “entitled” to those benefits&nbsp;because the money was actually yours in the first place. You’re simply entitled to get your own money back. So, talking about these “entitlement” people as if they are someone other than you and are the problem with America is the same as talking about homeowners as being the problem with&nbsp;real estate because they think they have a right to own the home they’ve been paying for. If they’d just let the banks keep the home, we wouldn’t all have to bail out these miserable banks. Greedy homeowners, feeling they are entitled to retire in the home they have been paying for all these years!</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Politicians, however,&nbsp;want to use Social Security funds&nbsp;to balance the budget that both parties&nbsp;have refused to balance for thirty-plus years. Republicans mostly railed against Social Security&nbsp;when it was created&nbsp;as something that was taking people’s money away and redistributing&nbsp;it to government to waste. Now they rail against those who want their money back.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">The only difference between Republicans and Democrats on Social Security is that Democrats still think it is the money is owed&nbsp;back to you (though they have no idea how to make the math work after decades of their own profligacy with the money).&nbsp;Republicans think the best thing to do with this money that they kept telling you you would never see once the government got it … is to make certain that you never do see it! They want to fulfill their own predictions.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">In the end, who was the greater thief? The group that promised your money back but now doesn’t know how to deliver on its promise&nbsp;and still balance a budget they never tried to balance in the first place? Or the group who kept warning you that, once you let government get its hands on the money, you would never see it again and now wants to make certain you actually never do see it again?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">While neither party has shown any will to actually balance the budget, they have no problem finding ways to make the wealthy wealthier.&nbsp;Republicans are concerned,&nbsp;of course, that union dues only make Democrats wealthier — the wrong people — because 90% of union political contributions go to Democrats. Is it any wonder that union contributions go mostly to Democrats&nbsp;when the ERA&nbsp;is the most creative&nbsp;thing the Republican-controlled congress&nbsp;could&nbsp;come up with as an answer for laborers who are finally concerned that their wages haven’t risen against inflation since 1977?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">This is their best plan? Give the unions one last stab in the back so that laborers have even less strength in negotiating wages? A little candy now to deprive you of a lot more later?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">You see, everyone could have a job if everyone&nbsp;were willing to work for scrap meat as they ought to; but greedy American workers keep thinking they are entitled to some of that corporate revenue so they can live better than their Central American competition. If they wanted to be competitive, they would downsize to corrugated metal shacks. Unions are the reason people don’t have good paying jobs. They keep insisting that the jobs pay better, which forces&nbsp;those jobs to leave the country.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">That’s how much establishment Republicans&nbsp;care about wage stagnation. They care enough to make certain&nbsp;it continues so&nbsp;that corporate leaders can keep inflating their overstuffed bonuses&nbsp;and pack their golden parachutes and puff up their stock options. The Employee Rights Act is the establishment’s&nbsp;most creative plan in years to help the flagging economy.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; font-size: 1.4em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px; background-color: #f8f8f8; color: #40271c !important;">The government’s self-created entitlement trap</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">Now, to be sure, there is a lot of greedy entitlement thinking in this world, too — the kind where people feel entitled to assistance just because they&nbsp;<em>need</em>&nbsp;it or&nbsp;<em>want</em>&nbsp;it and where they endlessly suck off the government and give nothing productive back — but what I want to remind people of here is there is also genuine entitlement where you are only receiving something that you personally earned and that was promised to you; it came out of your paycheck in the first place, and it was supposedly held in trust for you.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">You are not greedy if you refuse the idea of pushing back your retirement age from what was originally stated and demand&nbsp;the government provide the retirement benefit that it promised you&nbsp;<em>when it took your money that you were reluctant to trust to government in the first place.</em>&nbsp;So, before you let politicians strip away the retirement benefits you already put in your labor for on the basis that it is inevitable now, make certain you strip away every benefit they ever promised to themselves first. (And watch how fast they sue the government they helped create.) Make sure they do a lot of other things first. Don’t make it easy for them to get out of their promises by making “entitlement” a nasty word.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">It’s nasty when people feel entitled to&nbsp;<em>other</em>&nbsp;people’s things, and apparently your politicians&nbsp;feel entitled to your things, which they already extracted&nbsp;from you for decades based on a pledge to give it all back. Why bend over and make it easy for them to kick you in the keister? Force them to end every entitlement of every politician alive today, especially those who have already retired, before they touch one cent of yours … for those retired politicians are the ones who made the promises in the first place.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; color: #40271c; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; background-color: #f8f8f8;">It is one thing to feel entitled to things you never earned; quite another to feel entitled to that which you already did earn.</p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-06/establishment-republicans-plan-solve-wage-stagnation-and-entitlements-%E2%80%A6-your-back#comments China Donald Trump ETC India Mexico Neocons Real estate Recession Fri, 06 May 2016 05:33:58 +0000 Knave Dave 530636 at http://www.zerohedge.com Lawmakers To Obama: Don't Supply Syrian Rebels With Stingers http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/lawmakers-obama-dont-supply-syrian-rebels-stingers <p><a href="http://www.dodbuzz.com/2016/05/04/lawmakers-to-obama-dont-supply-syrian-rebels-with-stingers/#.VytIpR2pH2Q.twitter"><em>Authored by Brendan McGarry via DoDBuzz.com,</em></a></p> <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p>More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers are <strong>urging President Barack Obama to refrain</strong> from supplying Syrian rebels with American-made shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.</p> <p>The 27 members of Congress, led by Reps. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, and Ted Yoho, a Republican from Florida, on Tuesday sent a letter to the president<strong><em> &ldquo;urging him to maintain his policy of refusing to transfer shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) to Syrian combatants,&rdquo;</em></strong> including those trained by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.</p> <p><strong>The missiles are primarily designed to target helicopters. </strong>One type is the FIM-92 Stinger, made by Raytheon Co., whose use against Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan during the 1980s was popularized by the book and movie, &ldquo;Charlie Wilson&rsquo;s War.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;While we may have differing perspectives regarding the appropriate US response to the horrific violence in Syria, we agree that <strong>MANPADS would only lead to more violence, not only in Syria, but potentially around the world</strong>,&rdquo; Conyers said in a statement released Wednesday by his office.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_manpad.png"><img height="311" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_manpad_0.png" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The release cites <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-readies-plan-b-to-arm-syria-rebels-1460509400#:VQG0dIjkVlc6qA">an April 12 article</a> in The Wall Street Journal by Adam Entous that reported the CIA and its partners in the region had prepared plans to arm moderate rebels in Syria with more potent weapons than the Soviet-era BM-21 &ldquo;Grad&rdquo; truck-mounted rocket launchers:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The agency&rsquo;s principal concern focuses on man-portable air-defense systems, known as Manpads. <strong>The CIA believes that rebels have obtained a small number of Manpads through illicit channels. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Fearing these systems could fall into terrorists&rsquo; hands for use against civilian aircraft</span>, the spy agency&rsquo;s goal now is to prevent more of them from slipping uncontrollably into the war zone</strong>, according to U.S. and intelligence officials in the region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Coalition partners have proposed ways to mitigate the risk. They have suggested tinkering with the Manpads to limit how long their batteries would last or installing geographical sensors on the systems that would prevent them from being fired outside designated areas of Syria. But Washington has remained cool to the idea.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Syrian rebels have also reportedly acquired other U.S.-made weaponry.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.defensetech.org/2016/04/19/more-images-surface-of-damaged-russian-tank-in-syria/">A YouTube video</a> published Feb. 26 appears to depict a<strong> Syrian rebel in Sheikh Aqil, a town near Aleppo, firing a BGM-71 TOW (for tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) missile at a T-90 tank, Russia&rsquo;s main battle tank</strong> that entered service in the 1990s, presumably operated by Assad forces.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://players.brightcove.net/77374810001/88d0ebc6-f605-4871-933f-6f15b61803fc_default/index.html?videoId=4784409863001" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>U.S.-backed rebels in the country may have acquired both the older TOW, developed in the 1970s and also manufactured by Raytheon, <a href="http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/02/25/russia-trumpets-report-us-may-have-sent-javelins-syrian-rebels.html">as well as</a> the newer FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, developed in the 1990s and made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp.</p> <p>In his letter,<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> Conyers cites recent instances in which extremist organizations captured U.S.-supplied weaponry in Syria</strong></span>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In late 2014, the headquarters of the CIA-backed militia Harakat Hazm &mdash;<strong> one of the biggest recipients of U.S. arms including powerful TOW anti-armor missiles &mdash; was overrun by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda&rsquo;s primary Syrian affiliate</strong>. Harakat Hazm fled its positions, leaving behind many of their weapons that were seized by al-Nusra. Last September, Syrian rebels vetted and trained by the United States handed over their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and<strong> just last month, Nusra attacked a Western-backed rebel faction, taking over bases and seizing U.S.-supplied weapons including antitank missiles.</strong></p> </blockquote> </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="759" height="393" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_manpad.png?1462496068" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/lawmakers-obama-dont-supply-syrian-rebels-stingers#comments Afghanistan Barack Obama Florida Michigan SPY Wall Street Journal Fri, 06 May 2016 02:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530625 at http://www.zerohedge.com Natural Gas is Sexy Once Again from a Macro Fundamentals Standpoint (Video) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/natural-gas-sexy-once-again-macro-fundamentals-standpoint-video <p>By <a href="http://www.econmatters.com/search/label/EconMatters"><span style="color: #f24024;">EconMatters</span></a> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-N8TUKHH-_vk/Vyv9fkLFJqI/AAAAAAAAJ3Q/jG-Phy7oo1UtJSrtEIs95ePv-IvrBcSbwCLcB/s1600/Tesla-model-3.jpg" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-N8TUKHH-_vk/Vyv9fkLFJqI/AAAAAAAAJ3Q/jG-Phy7oo1UtJSrtEIs95ePv-IvrBcSbwCLcB/s400/Tesla-model-3.jpg" width="400" height="205" border="0" /></a></div> <p> The mild winter has Nat Gas stocks at record levels, but the last time this many natural gas rigs went offline in 2012, prices rebounded to the $5 level nicely on a long trending trade. Traders and Investors are trying to anticipate and evaluate the likelihood of this move in Natural Gas happening again.</p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vfyGxfjSLfU?feature=player_embedded" width="320" height="266" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p></p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BlxHf_XPjxU/VywCZU0bXnI/AAAAAAAAJ3g/_ptM5viAWx0ciYNRVexEis8ZXocOEqv9ACLcB/s1600/Coal-v-Natgas-COTW-1024x693.png" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BlxHf_XPjxU/VywCZU0bXnI/AAAAAAAAJ3g/_ptM5viAWx0ciYNRVexEis8ZXocOEqv9ACLcB/s640/Coal-v-Natgas-COTW-1024x693.png" width="640" height="432" border="0" /></a></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-71mIUpVjKyE/VywCgHmj6NI/AAAAAAAAJ3k/saCWUT2p26YGmMOahps5fRLNB1D1h8GXQCLcB/s1600/20160505_Supply.png" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-71mIUpVjKyE/VywCgHmj6NI/AAAAAAAAJ3k/saCWUT2p26YGmMOahps5fRLNB1D1h8GXQCLcB/s640/20160505_Supply.png" width="640" height="526" border="0" /></a></div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/--y0F7mpsEPo/VywClf449TI/AAAAAAAAJ3o/z8VWHNZ9_1Atl2N1V6OnHvWjopgMVwM3ACLcB/s1600/ngs.gif" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/--y0F7mpsEPo/VywClf449TI/AAAAAAAAJ3o/z8VWHNZ9_1Atl2N1V6OnHvWjopgMVwM3ACLcB/s640/ngs.gif" width="640" height="422" border="0" /></a></div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1NeOCg6r9P8/VywCsMa3XPI/AAAAAAAAJ3s/0RYBH4D9Q9U1LM2sfaP9en63WYc2IAc0QCLcB/s1600/download%2B%25286%2529.png" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1NeOCg6r9P8/VywCsMa3XPI/AAAAAAAAJ3s/0RYBH4D9Q9U1LM2sfaP9en63WYc2IAc0QCLcB/s640/download%2B%25286%2529.png" width="640" height="362" border="0" /></a></div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-boDcpNXRLwY/VywC2-452_I/AAAAAAAAJ30/4Aj8iHGN5ucl6RLV1bOifJzJh59GvatBACLcB/s1600/download%2B%25288%2529.png" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-boDcpNXRLwY/VywC2-452_I/AAAAAAAAJ30/4Aj8iHGN5ucl6RLV1bOifJzJh59GvatBACLcB/s640/download%2B%25288%2529.png" width="640" height="362" border="0" /></a></div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-F6ZnWqwkNFQ/VywCyN_aL5I/AAAAAAAAJ3w/uCCAmqzqLPA_2UI3sTattUo40YFKmXUawCLcB/s1600/download%2B%25287%2529.png" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-F6ZnWqwkNFQ/VywCyN_aL5I/AAAAAAAAJ3w/uCCAmqzqLPA_2UI3sTattUo40YFKmXUawCLcB/s640/download%2B%25287%2529.png" width="640" height="362" border="0" /></a></div> <p> © <a href="http://www.econmatters.com/" target="_blank"><span style="color: #f24024;">EconMatters</span></a> All Rights Reserved | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="http://www.facebook.com/EconMatters" target="_blank"><span style="color: #f24024;">Facebook</span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="http://twitter.com/#!/EconMatters" target="_blank"><span style="color: #f24024;">Twitter</span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="http://www.youtube.com/c/Econmatters" target="_blank"><span style="color: #f24024;">YouTube</span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=EconForecast" target="_blank"><span style="color: #f24024;">Email Digest</span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="http://astore.amazon.com/econforecast-20?_encoding=UTF8&amp;node=80" target="_blank"><span style="color: #f24024;">Kindle</span></a><strong>&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;</em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">&nbsp;</span><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">&nbsp;</span></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/natural-gas-sexy-once-again-macro-fundamentals-standpoint-video#comments Nat Gas Natural Gas Twitter Twitter Fri, 06 May 2016 02:42:59 +0000 EconMatters 530631 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Number Of Americans Renouncing Citizenship Just Keeps Going Up http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/number-americans-renouncing-citizenship-just-keeps-going <p>Today the IRS published the latest figures on renunciation, showing that <strong>yet another 1,158 Americans have renounced their citizenship in the first quarter of 2016</strong>. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_black.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_black_0.png" width="600" height="447" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While this may not be setting a record for a single quarter, <strong>the trend is quite clear.</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sovereignman.com/trends/infographic-the-number-of-americans-renouncing-just-keeps-going-up-19202/"><em>Source: SovereignMan.com</em></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="602" height="448" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_black.png?1462495180" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/number-americans-renouncing-citizenship-just-keeps-going#comments Fri, 06 May 2016 02:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530624 at http://www.zerohedge.com Deep State Democrats & The Donald - Ron Paul Destroys The 2-Party System Myth http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/deep-state-democrats-donald-ron-paul-destroys-2-party-system-myth <p><a href="http://theantimedia.org/ron-paul-destroy-two-party-system/"><em>Submitted by Nick Bernabe via TheAntiMedia.org,</em></a></p> <p>Longtime congressman and former presidential candidate <a href="http://theantimedia.org/?s=ron+paul/" target="_blank">Ron Paul</a> made it clear in a recent interview on <em>CNN&nbsp;</em>that <strong>he will vote 3rd party</strong> if the presidential race comes down to Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.</p> <p>Though Paul didn&rsquo;t specify which candidate he would vote for, he did say Libertarian or Independent party candidates are a possibility. Paul also said he couldn&rsquo;t support Ted Cruz, who has since dropped out of the race, because he&rsquo;s a<strong> &ldquo;theocrat&rdquo; who wants to rule with religion.</strong> Paul didn&rsquo;t comment on his specific reasons for not supporting Clinton, but one can speculate the fiercely anti-war Paul opposes her <a href="http://theantimedia.org/video-could-bring-down-hillary-campaign/" target="_blank">militaristic tendencies</a>.</p> <p><strong>Then&nbsp;Paul went even further, saying both the Republican and Democratic parties &mdash;&nbsp;from Reagan to Obama &mdash;&nbsp;are controlled by the &ldquo;<a href="http://theantimedia.org/forget-the-new-world-order-heres-who-really-runs-the-world/" target="_blank">Deep State</a>&rdquo; and powerful special interests. </strong></p> <p>Watch the interview below:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ml_sdZ55TgI" width="560"></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="379" height="265" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_apul.png?1462494915" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/deep-state-democrats-donald-ron-paul-destroys-2-party-system-myth#comments Donald Trump Ron Paul Fri, 06 May 2016 01:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530622 at http://www.zerohedge.com Churn, Baby, Churn - The China Commodity Bubble Exposed In 1 Simple Chart http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/churn-baby-churn-china-commodity-bubble-exposed-1-simple-chart <p><strong>The frenzied trading that smashed Chinese commodity markets through the roof in the last month has begun to unfurl rapidly</strong> as authorities crackdown on the speculative fever and force exchanges to curve excess 'churn'. Of course, there are still some who cling to the belief that any of this was 'real' demand, real buying, and real economic growth (<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/surprise-baltic-dry-index-plunges-most-november-commodity-bubble-bursts"><em>just don't look at The Baltic Dry in the last few days</em></a>) but, as Bloomberg reports, <strong>it was nothing but "churn baby churn" as trading volume exploded but open-interest remained flat</strong>.</p> <p><em><strong>“With more speculators being let in on this secret, more money poured in<br /> the game,”</strong></em> Fu said. <strong><em>“Prices went higher and higher with explosive<br /> growth in trading volumes.”</em></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_comms.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_comms_0.png" width="600" height="298" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Bloomberg reports,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The slowdown marks a return toward normality after a frenzy that drew comparisons with the credit-driven stock market rally last year that preceded a $5 trillion rout. Investor appetite has waned after the exchanges raised transaction fees and margins amid orders from regulators to limit speculation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“It’s pretty crazy to see such a quick move in trading volumes, compared with historical levels,”</strong> Zhang Yu, an analyst with Yongan Futures Co., said by phone from Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. <strong>“Some investors are exiting after the exchanges’ measures.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Crazy Indeed... </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_comms1.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_comms1_0.png" width="600" height="295" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Open interest, or the amount of outstanding contracts at the end of the day, has remained relatively unchanged throughout,<strong> indicating that the trading was short-term speculation, with traders holding positions for a few hours and cashing out before the end of the day</strong>. At the peak of the trading boom, daily aggregate volume across the contracts was more than four times open interest. It was 1.4 times by May 4.</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="969" height="481" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_comms.png?1462493231" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/churn-baby-churn-china-commodity-bubble-exposed-1-simple-chart#comments Baltic Dry China Fri, 06 May 2016 01:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530621 at http://www.zerohedge.com Will Turkey Become An "Islamic State"? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/will-turkey-become-islamic-state <p><a href="https://governmentsandmarkets.com/erdo%C4%9Fan-gets-his-wish-6879af04cfcb#.v717hqyg4"><em>Submitted by Emad Mostaque via GovernmentsAndMarkets.com,</em></a></p> <blockquote class="graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--h3" id="3ba5"><p>&ldquo;Erdogan once said that democracy, for him, is a bus ride&nbsp;&hellip; &lsquo;once I get to my stop, I&rsquo;m getting off&rsquo; &rdquo;</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote" id="67fe"><p><em class="markup--em markup--blockquote-em">Jordan&rsquo;s King Abdullah recalling a conversation with the Turkish President</em></p></blockquote> <p class="graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="8ca7">Tonight is H?drellez in Turkey, celebrating spring and the day on which the Prophets al-Khidr and Elijah.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="4382"><strong>Traditionally wishes come true today and it would seem that President Erdo?an&rsquo;s wish for an executive Presidency has come one step closer to reality with the resignation of Prime Minister Davuto?lu.</strong></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="dc0d">When we downgraded Turkey in <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="https://governmentsandmarkets.com/em-a-rally-not-a-secular-turning-point-1d0697fc586a">last week&rsquo;s Governments and Markets </a>update, it was primarily due to negative shifts in governance as the pressure to move to a Presidential system and crack down on the Kurds increased. We weren&rsquo;t sure of the timing of these events, although key factors like the HDP being effectively banned and the President needing to assert control over more elements of the government seemed certain.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="e15c"><strong>Taking some cash off the table after a period of Turkish outperformance seemed sensible and we must now consider where we go from here with Turkish equities having fallen 10% this week alone.</strong></p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="f80f"><u><strong class="markup--strong markup--h4-strong">Fighting for the right not to be prosecuted</strong></u></h2> <div class="aspectRatioPlaceholder is-locked" style="max-width: 576px; max-height: 300px;"> <div class="progressiveMedia js-progressiveMedia graf-image is-canvasLoaded is-imageLoaded"><img class="progressiveMedia-image js-progressiveMedia-image" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*wdH4QyPWGxnIi4fSPmewhw.png" /></div> </div> <p><em>AKP and HDP members of parliament express their disagreements</em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--figure" id="b89f">While the resignation of the Prime Minister is the main headline news, the start of this week saw jitters following a brawl in the Turkish parliament as the process to strip MP&rsquo;s of immunity to prosecution began, something that would impact HDP members given accusations of PKK ties, but also some MHP members.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="773b"><strong>This move was in line with our expectations and unsurprising given the continued escalation of deadly suicide attacks by the Kurdish TAK, linked by the government to the PKK, who are in turn linked by them to the HDP.</strong> The March 13th suicide car bomb attack on Ankara was particularly alarming as it confirmed the return of Kurdish attacks on civilian targets, with 37 being killed.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="fadd">The Syrian civil war has dramatically increased the available ordinance for such attacks, designed to maximize casualties with the car in this case being packed with nails and pellets, injuring a further 127 individuals. The moves by the security forces to push Kurdish separatists out of their urban areas are likely to increase the frequency of such attacks, providing a grim echo of the 90s when they first started.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="ea12"><strong>This is a continuation of the process of reducing Kurdish political influence </strong>that we outlined in our notes &ldquo;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="http://www.ecstrat.com/research/a-kurdish-conundrum/">A Kurdish Conundrum</a>&rdquo; on July 31st last year and &ldquo;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="http://www.ecstrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Emad-Ankara-Cui-Bono.pdf">Ankara: Cui Bono?</a>&rdquo; on 20th October 2015, where we predicted the AKP majority and continued political polarization that has occurred.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="d3b2">We <strong>also saw continued developments in the chaos that has surrounded the MHP and efforts to oust Bahçeli as leader after 19 years</strong>, with the judiciary blocking the proposed extraordinary congress that could make the rule change necessary for a vote to kick him out and accusations by Bahçeli that Gülenist forces are behind this move.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="20df">This puts the opposition to the AKP in a bad spot even as the leadership of the AKP becomes ever more streamlined, a process that we saw with Cabinet III and likely required after the public splits that we started to see last March with the running of Fidan and the Gökçek-Ar?nç feud.</p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="60e4"><u><strong class="markup--strong markup--h4-strong">There can be only one</strong></u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--h4" id="8155"><strong>Given the current constitutional powers of the President versus the Prime Minister, Davuto?lu was the only potential political force that could stop the President from exercising almost unlimited executive powers, although this would have amounted to a semi-coup within the AKP that Erdo?an officially left upon taking up the Presidency, but clearly still controls.</strong></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="2efd">The expectation of Davuto?lu that he would be able to exercise his constitutionally mandated powers versus being effectively a Vice President appears to have been the real catalyst that led to the current situation, something hinted at with the arrival of the <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="https://pelikandosyasi.wordpress.com/">&ldquo;Pelican Brief&rdquo; blog</a> on May 1st, a pro-Erdo?an blog accusing Davuto?lu of helping the cause of Erdo?an&rsquo;s enemies (conspiracy theories are popular in Turkey) and not doing enough to advocate the Presidential system. He was also accused of not protecting Erdo?an against attacks, notable when 1,800 have been charged with insulting the President as the space for public dissension continues to narrow, supporting Kurdish peace, something that Erdo?an no longer cared for and other such calumnies.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="169e">While the blog is anonymous, it fit with news that broke shortly after that, <strong>after agreeing a politically important military base in Qatar for Turkey, Davuto?lu had been <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-politics-idUSKCN0XT10Q">stripped of many of his powers</a> as party leader by almost all of the members of the AKP&rsquo;s Central Decision and Administration Board, backed by Erdo?an.</strong></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="3e1d">This was referred to by Davuto?lu as a key reason for his resignation, although he still voiced his full support for Erdo?an.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="df52">Any new Prime Minister is now certain to be a Erdo?an loyalist when the party congress meets at the end of May, raising the question as to why any constitutional amendment is now needed given the President controls almost all elements of governmental power and has consolidated influence over key institutions such as the central bank.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="9063">We may see elections in October if they decided to try and kill off the HDP and MHP, for now it appears that, absent a possible reshuffling of some of the AKP ranks,<strong> this is merely the latest step in the formalisation of the President&rsquo;s rule. </strong>Polls show support for a Presidential system isn&rsquo;t tremendously high, which would argue against putting it to a public vote when the powers are all in place already.</p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="2a41"><u><strong class="markup--strong markup--h4-strong">What foreign investors dislike</strong></u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--h4" id="34ea"><em><strong>Where does that leave Turkey in terms of governance and likely asset performance?</strong></em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="d4c4">Markets were troubled last year by the prospect of a shake up in the AKP as they lost their parliamentary majority, before jumping after elections and subsiding once more.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="4b93"><strong>By and large, the bourse, dominated by foreign investors, tends to favour a firm hand at the tiller and predictability, which should augur well for the Presidential system.</strong></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="d8d0">Turkish assets have outperformed broader Emerging Markets since last summer&rsquo;s elections as fears of decision-making chaos proved unfounded and double digit carry proved attractive, particularly on a Euro investor basis. <strong>This can be seen in the below chart of dollar returns for equities, although the performance has started to reverse dramatically with this week&rsquo;s events</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="aspectRatioPlaceholder is-locked" style="max-width: 593px; max-height: 356px;"> <div class="progressiveMedia js-progressiveMedia graf-image is-canvasLoaded is-imageLoaded"><img class="progressiveMedia-image js-progressiveMedia-image" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*mGdxtEkWvNlVTtUfDY7QPA.png" /></div> </div> <p><em>Source: Ecstrat, Bloomberg. Indexed to 1st June 2015, just before summer general elections</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--figure" id="1a74"><strong>Economic policy is unconventional, but now quite predictable and Turkey has benefited from the tailwind of lower oil prices, although we are now starting to see pressures resume upon the economy and current account.</strong></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="e98e">What investors hate, however, are governance regimes in which the state interferes with private enterprise, something that we have seen in the crackdown on and seizure purported Gülenist companies and continued consolidation of the press, with the takeover of Feza Media and Zaman the latest in this series on terror support charges.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="2272">It should now be the case that Erdo?an has sufficient support and has shown enough strength not to go after additional targets like Isbank, where the CHP has a 28% stake.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="694d">If so, our neutral rating is optimistic.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="71dd">If not and we now get a period of relative stability as all challengers have been dealt with, then the market looks good here on a relative basis, with banks in particular the second cheapest in EM after Chinese banks and in a supportive rate policy environment, but still offers little upside on an absolute basis with most of the action likely continuing to be on FX and bonds.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="d306"><em><strong>If this rally in EM is just that and not a secular turning point as we expect as Chinese vulnerabilities continue to expand, then the real test for the government and its relationship to the corporate sector will be when the market turns south once more.</strong></em></p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="cd1a"><u>Will Turkey become an &ldquo;Islamic&rdquo; state?</u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--h4" id="cbfe">On a final note, we have had a couple of queries as to whether <strong>Turkey is headed toward Shariah law implementation as the Presidency is consolidated, particularly given Parliament Speaker <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/turkeys-parliament-speaker-seeks-religious-constitution/">Ismail Kahraman&rsquo;s comments </a>that secularism should be taken out of Turkey&rsquo;s new constitution last week, moving it instead to a &ldquo;religious constitution&rdquo;.</strong></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="7ca3">While we are dubious on the impact of any constitution (look at North Korea&rsquo;s, its fabulous), we think that an overall shift to an Islamic state is unlikely in Turkey as the impact the AKP is looking to achieve, namely normalisation of Islamic practice in public as a foundational support for party control and roll back of the restrictions of prior governments.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="218a">This doesn&rsquo;t require a change in the constitution, nor does it require a formalisation of Islamic law within the country as a guide to government policy, something which is better served by the use of &ldquo;public interest&rdquo; (<em class="markup--em markup--p-em">maslaha</em>) doctrine by the government in any case, which provides significant flexibility in promulgating policy.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="c608">This is similar to the interaction between religion and government we are seeing today in Russia and a sensible step to take as Turkey goes down a more conservative route for a leader who wants to consolidate control.</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p graf--last" id="2beb"><strong>The decisions made on state capitalism on this path will likely be the ones that determine the success of Turkey in the coming years and something the President will be judged on as he gets his wish.</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="257" height="159" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_erdo.png?1462483060" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/will-turkey-become-islamic-state#comments North Korea Reality Turkey Fri, 06 May 2016 00:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530613 at http://www.zerohedge.com How Jeff Gundlach Is Preparing For A Trump Presidency http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/how-jeff-gundlach-preparing-trump-presidency <p>Two weeks ago, long before the outcome of the Indiana primary was known, we first reported <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-22/gundlach-predicts-trump-will-win-adds-federal-reserve-has-basically-given">that it was Jeff Gundlach</a>'s opinion that Donald Trump would be the winner of the 2016 presidential race. For those who missed it, here are the key excerpts from his <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-22/gundlach-predicts-trump-will-win-adds-federal-reserve-has-basically-given">interview posted on April 22</a>. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Q. <em>Who do you think will win the race for the white house? </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Gundlach: </strong>Trump is going to win. I think Clinton and Sanders are both very poor candidates. I know the polls are signaling the opposite. But the polls said the opposite four years ago, too. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Q. How would the financial markets react should Trump win? </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Gundlach:</strong> In the short term, Trump winning would be probably very positive for the economy. He says a lot of contradictory things and things that are not very specific. <strong>But he does say that he will build up the military and that he will build a wall at the border to Mexico. If he wins he’s got at least to try those things</strong>. Also, he might initiate a big infrastructure program. What’s his campaign slogan? Make America great again. <strong>What that means is let’s go back to the past, let’s go back to the 1960s economy</strong>. So he might spend a lot of money on airports, roads and weapons.<strong> I think Trump would run up a huge deficit. Trump is very comfortable with debt. He’s a debt guy. His whole business has had a lot of debt over time and he has gone bankrupt with several enterprises. So I think you could have a debt-fuelled boom. But the overall debt level is already so high that you start to wonder what would happen after that.</strong><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Q. How do you explain that a guy like Trump might actually win the election? </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Gundlach:</strong> His popularity is very similar to the popularity of unconstrained bond funds. About two or three years ago, unconstrained bond funds became the most popular thing in the United States retail market and in the institutional market probably, too. Because when investors analyzed all the bond segments they were familiar with, they didn’t like what they saw. They didn’t like treasuries, they were scared of the Fed, they didn’t like traditional strategies. So, if everything you think you know looks unattractive, you go for something that you have no idea about. And that’s an unconstrained bond fund. The thinking was: «Don’t even tell me what you are doing, I do not want to know. Because if I know, I won’t like it. » The same is true with respect to the elections: «<strong>Don’t give me a traditional candidate. Give me someone who I have no idea what he is going to do» – and that’s basically Donald Trump</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <p>Two weeks later, <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/04/jeff-gundlach-donald-trump-will-win.html">CNBC caught up with Gundlach </a>to report essentially the same: following the Sohn Conference, Gundlach once again stated that he believes that Trump would become president.</p> <p><iframe src="http://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&amp;byGuid=3000515066&amp;size=530_298" width="530" height="298"></iframe></p> <p>The CEO of DoubleLine, which manages $84 billion for clients, told CNBC he's apolitical but said, "I think it's important for investors to deal with reality." Repeating his previous comment, Gundlach said that Trump will have a very large deficit while in the Oval Office. "He's very comfortable with debt. We know that about Donald Trump."&nbsp; </p> <p>Gundlach added that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is just like another man many in the GOP idolize: former President Ronald Reagan. "Reagan was a debt-based economic guy and I think Trump will be," Gundlach noted. </p> <p>"It will probably look like it's working at first. The question is, will the boost to the economy from infrastructure projects and the like off-set the potential drag from shrinking global trade."</p> <p>So how is Gundlach preparing and trading in advance "Trump presidency"? "<strong>Look at arms manufacturers, said Gundlach. He would avoid companies that are susceptible to global trade slowdowns, particularly those related to Mexico and China.</strong>"</p> <p>A Trump presidency would also be perceived as negative by the market. Recall that on April 26, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-26/following-sell-gundlach-starting-buy-treasuries">Gundlach told Reuters </a>that Trump's protectionist policies could mean negative global growth: "<strong>As he gets the nomination, the markets and investors are going to worry about it more. You will see a downgrading of global growth based on geopolitical risks. You must factor this into your risk-management</strong>."</p> <p>In summary: buy guns, stay away from FedEx, start legging into market shorts, oh and also Gundlach seemed to fully agree with Druckenmiller's speech, which to us simply means Gundlach is yet another advocate for the Fed "dead end" trade which ultimately ends in gold.</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="489" height="388" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/gundlach%20on%20trump.jpg?1462467897" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/how-jeff-gundlach-preparing-trump-presidency#comments Bond China Donald Trump Gundlach Indiana Jeff Gundlach Mexico Nomination Reality Reuters White House Fri, 06 May 2016 00:20:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 530583 at http://www.zerohedge.com Jim Grant Asks When The World Will Realize "That Central Bankers Have Lost Their Marbles" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/jim-grant-asks-when-world-will-realize-central-bankers-have-lost-their-marbles <p><a href="http://www.grantspub.com/"><em>Authored by James Grant via Grant&#39;s Interest Rate Observer,</em></a></p> <p><strong>April 15 comes and goes but the federal debt stays and grows. </strong>The secrets of its life force are the topics at hand&mdash; that and some guesswork about how the upsurge in financial leverage, private and public alike, may bear on the value of the dollar and on the course of monetary affairs. <u><strong>Skipping down to the bottom line, we judge that the government&rsquo;s money is a short sale.</strong></u></p> <p><strong>Diminishing returns is the essential problem of the debt: Past a certain level of encumbrance, a marginal dollar of borrowing loses its punch</strong>. There&rsquo;s a moral dimension to the problem as well. There would be less debt if people were more angelic. Non-angels, the taxpayers underpay, the bureaucrats over-remit and everyone averts his gaze from the looming titanic cost of future medical entitlements. Topping it all is 21st-century monetary policy, which fosters the credit formation that leads to the debt dead end.<strong> The debt dead end may, in fact, be upon us now. A monetary dead end could follow.</strong></p> <p>As to sin, Americans surrender, in full and on time, 83% of what they owe, according to the IRS&mdash;or they did between the years 2001 and 2006, the latest period for which America&rsquo;s most popular federal agency has sifted data. In 2006, the IRS reckons, American filers, both individuals and corporations, paid $450 billion less than they owed. They underreported $376 billion, underpaid $46 billion and kept mum about (&ldquo;nonfiled&rdquo;) $28 billion. Recoveries, through late payments or enforcement actions, reduced that gross deficiency to a net &ldquo;tax gap&rdquo; of $385 billion.</p> <p><strong>This was in 2006, when federal tax receipts footed to $2.31 trillion. Ten&nbsp; years later, the U.S. tax take is expected to reach $3.12 trillion.</strong> Proportionally, the 2006 gross tax gap would translate to $607.7 billion, and the net tax gap to $520 billion. To be on the conservative side, let us fix the 2016 net tax gap at $500 billion.</p> <p><u><strong>Then there&rsquo;s squandermania. </strong></u>According to the Government Accountability Office, the federal monolith &ldquo;misdirected&rdquo; $124.7 billion in fiscal 2014, up from $105.8 billion in fiscal 2013. Medicare, Medicaid and earnedincome tax credits accounted for 75% of the misspent funds&mdash;i.e., of those wasted payments to which government bureaus confessed. &ldquo;[F]or fiscal year 2014,&rdquo; the GAO relates, &ldquo;two federal agencies did not report improper payment estimates for four risk-susceptible programs and five programs with improper payment estimates greater than $1 billion were noncompliant with federal requirements for three consecutive years.&rdquo; It seems fair to conclude that more than $125 will go missing in fiscal 2016.</p> <p>Add the misdirected $125 billion to the unpaid $500 billion, and you arrive at a sum of money that far exceeds the projected fiscal 2016 deficit of $534 billion.</p> <p><u><strong>Which brings us to intergenerational self-deception. </strong></u>The fiscal outlook would remain troubled even if the taxpayers paid in full and the bureaucrats stopped wiring income-tax refunds to phishers from Nigeria. Not even a step-up in the current trudging pace of economic growth would put right the long-term fiscal imbalance. <em><strong>So-called non-discretionary spending, chiefly on Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, is the beating heart of the public debt. It puts even the welladvertised problems of Social Security in the shade.</strong></em></p> <p>Fiscal balance is the 3D approach to public-finance accounting. It compares the net present value of what the government expects to spend versus the net present value of what the government expects to take in. It&rsquo;s a measure of today&rsquo;s debt plus the present value of the debt that will pile up if federal policies remain the same. To come up with an estimate of balance or&mdash;as is relevant today, imbalance&mdash;you make lots of assumptions about life in America over the next 75 years. <strong>Critical, especially, is the interest rate at which you discount future streams of outlay and intake. Jeffrey Miron has performed these fascinating calculations over the span from 1965 to 2014.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/02/grants%201%20.jpg"><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/02/grants%201%20_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 418px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>The director of economic studies at the Cato Institute and the director of undergraduate studies in the Harvard University economics department, Miron has projected that, over the next 75 years, the government will take in $152.5 trillion and pay out $252.7 trillion &mdash;each discounted by an assumed 3.22% average real rate of interest. <u><strong>Add the gross federal debt outstanding in 2014, and&mdash;voila!&mdash;he has his figure: a fiscal imbalance on the order of $120 trillion. </strong></u>Compare and contrast today&rsquo;s net debt of $13.9 trillion, GDP of $18.2 trillion, gross debt of $19.2 trillion and household net worth of $86.8 trillion. Compare and contrast, too, the estimated present value of 75 years&rsquo; worth of American GDP. Miron ventures that $120 trillion&nbsp; represents something more than 5% of that gargantuan concept.</p> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s nothing so exotic about the idea of fiscal balance.</strong> In calculating the familiar-looking projection of debt relative to GDP, the Congressional Budget Office uses assumed rates of growth in spending and revenue, which it also discounts by an assumed rate of interest. It&rsquo;s fiscal-balance calculus by another name, as Miron notes.</p> <p>Nor is the fiscal-balance idea very new. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, now a chaired professor of economics at Boston University, has been writing about it at least since 1986, when he shocked the then deficit-obsessed American intelligentsia with the contention that the federal deficit is a semantic construct, not an economic one. This is so, said he, because the size of the deficit is a function of the labels which the government arbitrarily attaches to such everyday concepts as receipts and outlays. Thus, the receipts called &ldquo;taxes&rdquo; lower the deficit, whereas receipts called &ldquo;borrowing&rdquo; raise it. The dollars are the same; only the classification is different.</p> <p>Be that as it may, Miron observes that the deficit and the debt tell nothing about the fiscal future. Each is backward-looking. <em><strong>&ldquo;The debt,&rdquo; he points out, &ldquo;. . . takes no account of what current policy implies for future expenditures or revenue. Any surplus reduces the debt, and any deficit increases the debt, regardless of whether that deficit or surplus consists of high expenditure and high revenues or low expenditure and low revenues. Similarly, whether a given ratio of debt to output is problematic depends on an economy&rsquo;s growth prospects.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>Step back in time to 2007, Miron beckons. In that year before the flood, European ratios of debt to GDP varied widely, even among the soon-to-be crisis-ridden PIIGS. Greece&rsquo;s ratio stood at 112.8% and Italy&rsquo;s at 110.6%, though Ireland&rsquo;s weighed in at just 27.5%, Spain&rsquo;s at 41.7% and Portugal&rsquo;s at 78.1% (not very different from America&rsquo;s 75.7%). <strong><em>&ldquo;These examples do not mean that debt plays no role in fiscal imbalance,&rdquo; Miron says, &ldquo;but they illustrate that debt is only one component of the complete picture and therefore a noisy predictor of fiscal difficulties.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>So promises to pay, rather than previously incurred indebtedness, tell the tale. Social Security, a creation of the New Deal, did no irretrievable damage to the intergenerational balance sheet. It was the Great Society that turned the black ink red. Prior to 1965, the United States, while it&nbsp; had run up plenty of debts related to war or&mdash;in the 1930s&mdash;depression, never veered far from fiscal balance. Then came the Johnson administration with its guns and butter and Medicare and Medicaid. From a fiscal balance of $6.9 trillion in 1965, this country has arrived at the previously cited $120 trillion imbalance recorded in 2014. And there are &ldquo;few signs of improvement,&rdquo; Miron adds, <u><em><strong>&ldquo;even if GDP growth accelerates or tax revenues increase relative to historic norms. Thus, the only viable way to restore fiscal balance is to scale back mandatory spending policies, particularly on large health-care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <p>We asked Miron about the predictive value of these data. Could you tell that Greece was on the verge by examining its fiscal imbalance? And might not Japan be the tripwire to any future developed-country debt crisis, since Japan&mdash;surely&mdash;has the most adverse debt, demographic and entitlement spending profile? Miron replied that comparative statistics on fiscal imbalance among the various OECD countries don&rsquo;t exist. And even if they did, it&rsquo;s not clear that they would tell when a certain country would lose the confidence of its possibly inattentive creditors.<u><strong> The important thing to bear in mind, he winds up, is that the imbalances&mdash; not just in America or Japan or Greece but throughout the developed world&mdash;are &ldquo;very big and very bad.&rdquo;</strong></u></p> <p>Of course, government debt is only one flavor of nonfinancial encumbrance. The debt of households, businesses and state and local governments complete the medley of America&rsquo;s nonfinancial liabilities. The total grew in 2015 by $1.9 trillion, which the nominal GDP grew by $549 billion. In other words, we Americans borrowed $3.46 to generate a dollar of GDP growth.</p> <p><strong>We have not always had to work the national balance sheet so hard. The marginal efficiency of debt has fallen as the growth in borrowing has accelerated. Thus, at year end, the ratio of nonfinancial debt to GDP reached a record high 248.6%, up from 245.4% in 2014 and from the previous record of 245.5% set in 2009. In the long sweep of things, these are highly elevated numbers.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/02/grants%202.jpg"><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/02/grants%202_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 414px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><strong>In the not-quite half century between 1952 and 2000, $1.70 of nonfinancial borrowing sufficed to generate a dollar of GDP growth. Since 2000, $3.30 of such borrowing was the horsepower behind the same amount of growth.</strong> Which suggests, conclude Van Hoisington and Lacy Hunt in their first-quarter report to the clients of Hoisington Investment Management Co., <u><em><strong>&ldquo;that the type and efficiency of the new debt is increasingly nonproductive.&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/02/grants%203.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2016/05/02/grants%203_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 425px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>What constitutes a &ldquo;nonproductive&rdquo; debt? Borrowing to maintain a fig leaf of actuarial solvency would seem to fill the bill</strong>. Steven Malanga, who writes for the Manhattan Institute, reports that state and municipal pension funds boosted their indebtedness to at least $1 trillion from $233 billion between 2003 and 2013. Yet, Malanga observes, &ldquo;All but a handful of state systems have higher unfunded liabilities today than in 2003.&rdquo;</p> <p>Neither does recent business borrowing obviously answer the definition of productive. To quote the Hoisington letter:<strong><em> &ldquo;Last year business debt, excluding off-balance-sheet liabilities, rose $793 billion, while total gross private domestic investment (which includes fixed and inventory investment) rose only $93 billion. Thus, by inference, this debt increase went into share buybacks, dividend increases and other financial endeavors, [although] corporate cash flow declined by $224 billion. When business debt is allocated to financial operations, it does not generate an income stream to meet interest and repayment requirements. Such a usage of debt does not support economic growth, employment, higherpaying jobs or productivity growth.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>The readers of Grant&rsquo;s would think less of a company that generated its growth by bloating its balance sheet. The composite American&nbsp; enterprise would seem to answer that unwanted description.</strong></u> Debt of all kinds&mdash;financial and foreign as well as nonfinancial&mdash; leapt by $1.97 trillion last year, or by $1.4 trillion more than the growth in nominal GDP; the ratio of total debt (excluding off-balance-sheet liabilities) to GDP squirted to 370%.</p> <p><u><strong>The United States is far from the most overextended nation on earth.</strong></u> Last year, Japan showed a ratio of total debt (again, excluding off-balancesheet items) to GDP of 615%; China and the eurozone, ratios of 350% and 457%. Hoisington and Hunt, who dug up the data, posit that overleverage spells subpar growth. In support of this proposition (a familiar one in the academic literature), they observe thataggregate&nbsp; nominal GDP growth for the four debtors rose by just 3.6% in 2015. It was the weakest showing since 1999 except for the red-letter year of 2009.</p> <p><em><strong>The now orthodox reaction to substandard growth is hyperactive monetary policy. Yet the more the central bankers attempt, the less they seem to accomplish. ZIRP and QE may raise asset prices and P/E ratios, but growth remains anemic.</strong></em> What&rsquo;s wrong?</p> <p><u><strong>Debt is wrong, </strong></u>we and Hoisington and Hunt agree. With the greatest of ease do the central bankers whistle new digital money into existence. What they have not so far achieved is&nbsp; the knack of making this scrip move briskly from hand to hand. Among the big four debtors, the rate of monetary turnover, or velocity&mdash;&ldquo;V&rdquo; to the adepts&mdash; has been falling since 1998.</p> <p>&ldquo;Functionally, many factors influence V, but the productivity of debt is the key,&rdquo; Hoisington and Hunt propose. &ldquo;Money and debt are created simultaneously. If the debt produces a sustaining income stream to repay principal and interest, then velocity will rise because GDP will eventually increase by more than the initial borrowing. If the debt is a mixture of unproductive or counterproductive debt, then V will fall.<br />Financing consumption does not generate new funds to meet servicing obligations. Thus, <strong>falling money growth and velocity are both symptomsof extreme over-indebtedness and nonproductive debt</strong>.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Which is why, perhaps, radical monetary policy seems to beget still more radical monetary policy.</strong> Insofar as QE and ultra-low interest rates foster credit formation, they likewise chill growth and depress the velocity of turnover in money. <strong>What then? Why, policies still newer, zippier, zanier.</strong></p> <p>Ben S. Bernanke, the former Fed chairman turned capital-introduction professional for Pimco, keeps his hand in the policy-making game with periodic blog posts. He&rsquo;s out with a new one about &ldquo;helicopter money,&rdquo; the phrase connoting the idea that, in a deflationary crisis, the government could drop currency from the skies to promote rising prices and brisker spending. Attempting to put the American mind at ease, Bernanke assures his readers that, while there will be no need for such a gambit in &ldquo;the foreseeable future,&rdquo; the Fed could easily implement a &ldquo;money-financed fiscal program&rdquo; in the hour of need.</p> <p>No helicopters would be necessary, of course, Bernanke continues. Let the Fed simply top off the Treasury&rsquo;s checking account&mdash;filling it with new digital scrip. The funds would not constitute debt; they would be more like agift. Or the Fed might accept the Treasury&rsquo;s IOU, which it would hold &ldquo;indefinitely,&rdquo; as Bernanke puts it, rebating any interest received&mdash;a kind of zero coupon perpetual security. The Treasury would then spread the wealth by making vital public investments, filling potholes and whatnot. The key, notes Bernanke, is that such outlays would be &ldquo;money-financed, not debt-financed.&rdquo; The &ldquo;appealing aspect of an MFFP,&rdquo; says he, &ldquo;is that it should influence the economy through a number of channels, making it extremely likely to be effective&mdash;even if existing government debt is already high and/or interest rates are zero or negative [the italics are his].&rdquo;</p> <p>Thus, the thought processes of Janet Yellen&rsquo;s predecessor. Reading him, we are struck, as ever, by his clinical detachment.<strong><em> Does the deployment of helicopter money not entail some meaningful risk of the loss of confidence in a currency that is, after all, undefined, uncollateralized and infinitely replicable at exactly zero cost? Might trust be shattered by the visible act of infusing the government with invisible monetary pixels and by the subsequent exchange of those images for real goods and services?</em></strong> The former Fed chairman seems not to consider the question&mdash; certainly, he doesn&rsquo;t address it.</p> <p>To us, it is the great question. <strong>Pondering it, as we say, we are bearish on the money of overextended governments. We are bullish on the alternatives enumerated in the Periodic table. It would be nice to know when the rest of the world will come around to the gold-friendly view that central bankers have lost their marbles. We have no such timetable. The road to confetti is long and winding.</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="238" height="163" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_grants.png?1462482454" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/jim-grant-asks-when-world-will-realize-central-bankers-have-lost-their-marbles#comments Cato Institute China Congressional Budget Office Creditors Eurozone Federal Deficit Federal Tax fixed Greece Ireland Italy Janet Yellen Japan Jim Grant Medicare Monetary Policy Nominal GDP PIMCO Portugal Private Domestic Investment Van Hoisington Thu, 05 May 2016 23:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530610 at http://www.zerohedge.com FBI Interviews Clinton's Top Personal Aide As Email Investigation Heats Up http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/fbi-interviews-clintons-top-personal-aide-email-investigation-heats <p>As we reported <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-04/notorious-hacker-makes-bombshell-claim-i-got-inside-hillarys-completely-unsecured-se">yesterday</a>, just when Hillary thought the email scandal was behind her, and she could shift her focus to the newly minted GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, an order by Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court decided to lay out ground rules for interviewing multiple State Department officials, and ordered at least six current and former State Department employees to answer questions, all <strong>in an effort to finish the depositions in the weeks before the party nominating conventions</strong>. </p> <p>One key name in the order was <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>longtime Clinton personal aide Huma Abedin,</strong></span> who as <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/278916-fbi-interviewed-clinton-aide-huma-abedin-in-email-probe-report">The Hill</a> reports, <strong>was indeed interviewed today by the FBI</strong>, along with other top aides, <strong><em>some multiple times</em></strong>. </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user51698/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_clintonhuma.PNG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user51698/imageroot/2016/05/05/20160505_clintonhuma_0.PNG" width="600" height="452" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/05/politics/fbi-interviews-huma-abedin-clinton-aide/index.html">Former</a> Clinton employee Bryan Pagliano, who helped set up the server, has provided documents and other materials as well as interviews to the FBI under an immunity agreement, <strong>and it is widely expected that the investigation will methodically work its way to the top of the chain of command very shortly, as one of the final and most anticipated steps in the investigation would be to interview Clinton herself. <br /></strong></p> <p>What we're keeping a close eye on is whether or not the FBI actually does interview notorious hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-04/notorious-hacker-makes-bombshell-claim-i-got-inside-hillarys-completely-unsecured-se">who as we reported yesterday</a>, claims he gained access to Clinton's "completely unsecured" server and observed "hundreds of folders." <em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If this interview occurs and Lazar's claims are validated, it could very well be the final piece to the puzzle in the saga that Hillary so desperately wants to go away.</strong></em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UPw-3e_pzqU" width="420" height="315" 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="628" height="473" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20160505_clintonhuma.PNG?1462490821" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-05/fbi-interviews-clintons-top-personal-aide-email-investigation-heats#comments Donald Trump FBI Thu, 05 May 2016 23:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530617 at http://www.zerohedge.com