This morning, Julian Assange offered a chilling and succinct assessment of the 2016 U.S. election, namely, that there is, in fact, no election but rather just an illusion of democracy that has been usurped by a corrupt political ruling class.
There is no US election. There is power consolidation. Rigged primary, rigged media and rigged 'pied piper' candidate drive consolidation.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 21, 2016
Certainly, new polling data from Reuters/Ipsos would seem to support that thesis. A new poll of 1,192 Americans, conducted by Reuters, found that if Hillary wins only 50% of republicans would accept her presidency as legitimate while 70% would attribute her victory to voter fraud and/or vote rigging of some type. Moreover, only 20% of republicans surveyed felt that the final vote tallies would be accurate.
Only half of Republicans would accept Clinton, the Democratic nominee, as their president. And if she wins, nearly 70 percent said it would be because of illegal voting or vote rigging, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.
Conversely, seven out of 10 Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory and less than 50 percent would attribute it to illegal voting or vote rigging, the poll showed.
For example, nearly eight out of 10 Republicans are concerned about the accuracy of the final vote count. And though generally they believe they will be able to cast their ballot, only six out of 10 are confident their vote will be counted accurately.
Obviously, this data is fairly alarming, to say the least, but not terribly surprising in light of the staggering, systemic corruption recently exposed through WikiLeaks and the ongoing Congressional review of the FBI's investigation into Hillary's private email server...not mention DNC operatives openly talking about committing massive election fraud on undercover Project Veritas videos and working behind the scenes to incite violence at Republican rallies. For those of you who still haven't seen the videos, they're worth a look.
The following video takes a look behind the scenes of the DNC's efforts to incite violence at Trump rallies:
And this one provides an excellent tutorial on how to commit voter fraud on a massive scale:
Given the exposure of mass corruption it should hardly be surprising that the "level of concern and mistrust in the system, especially among Republicans, is unprecedented," as a professor at the University of New Mexico told Reuters, but apparently it is.
"Republicans are just more worried about everything than Democrats," said Lonna Atkeson, a professor at the University of New Mexico and head of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy.
Atkeson said the level of concern and mistrust in the system, especially among Republicans, is unprecedented.
“I’ve never seen an election like this. Not in my lifetime. Certainly not in modern history.” The difference, she said, is Trump. “It has to be the candidate effect.”
She worries that the lack of trust is dangerous. It is one thing to not trust government, but quite another to doubt the election process. “Then the entire premise of democracy comes into question,” she said.
What we find far more shocking is that somehow the American electorate's acceptance of mass corruption is split along party lines rather than being universally unacceptable.
To help illustrate this situation, Bullard described a simple Taylor-type rule that could be used to provide a recommended value of the FOMC’s policy rate. He used the equation: i = r† + ?* + ?? ? GAP +?u u GAP
Of the terms on the right, Bullard said that r† is the most interesting in the current macroeconomic environment. He proceeded to show why by explaining that the final two terms could be dropped from the calculation based on current economic conditions.
The term u GAP represents the distance between the unemployment rate and what the FOMC views as a normal rate of unemployment, Bullard explained. “This gap is essentially zero today, so this term falls out of the calculation,” he added.
Next, the term ? GAP represents the distance between the current inflation rate and the FOMC’s inflation target of 2 percent, Bullard said. “Inflation has been below target in recent years, due in part to commodity-price effects. Net of those effects, this gap is relatively close to zero today as well,” he explained. “As a consequence, this term also falls out of the calculation.”
Moving on to the ?* term, Bullard said this represents the FOMC’s inflation target of 2 percent, or 200 basis points. That leaves the Taylor-type rule as follows: i = r† + 200.
Finally, the term r† is the real interest rate on safe, short-term assets like short-term government debt, Bullard explained. “While the Fed is thought to be able to influence real rates over short periods of time, perhaps a few quarters, over longer time periods real rates are determined by market forces.”
He noted that one simple way to measure the real return on short-term safe assets is to consider the one-year nominal Treasury security and to subtract a one-year smoothed inflation rate from it, which produces an ex-post one-year real return on a safe asset.
The real rate of return on safe assets measured this way has been more than 200 basis points lower in recent years than it was during the 2001-2007 expansion, he said. The average from July 2013 to August 2016 was -1.34 percent, or -134 basis points. “This goes a long way toward explaining why the policy rate is low today,” he added. He also noted that r† is unlikely to change over the forecast horizon and, thus, can be considered a “low-real-safe-rate regime.”
Accounting for all of the terms, the Taylor-type rule becomes i = -134 + 200 = 66. “The St. Louis Fed’s conclusion is that a single 25-basis-point increase in the policy rate—from 38 to 63 basis points—will get us very close to the Taylor rule value over the forecast horizon,” Bullard said.
Why Are Real Returns Low?
The reasons behind the extremely low real rate of return on safe assets have been widely debated, Bullard noted, adding, “Real rates of return on safe assets have been declining relative to the real return on capital in the U.S. for several decades.” In addition, he cited two factors that are putting downward pressure on real safe rates of return. One is that the U.S. is in a low-productivity-growth regime. The other is that the U.S. is also in a high-liquidity-premium regime, in which investors are willing to pay premium prices for safe assets like government debt.
“Real safe rates of return are exceptionally low at present and are not expected to rise soon,” Bullard said. “This means, in turn, that the policy rate should be expected to remain exceptionally low over the forecast horizon,” he concluded.