Same political disfunction. Same blue team indifference to soaring government debt. Same hypocrisy from those on the red team who helped set debt on its upward trajectory. Same lack of any serious effort to tackle the most important issue – the unsustainable paths of our major entitlement programs. But there is one difference.
The US government's foreign policy appears to be most effective when it is shut down. First, we learned that the CIA has accelerated its training and weapons supply of Syria's Al-Qaeda insurgents only after the funding for the non-critical government functions was halted. Then, overnight, John Kerry showed that while he gives to Al-Qaeda with one hand he takes from it with two following two U.S. raids in Libya and Somalia that captured an Islamist wanted for bombing its Nairobi embassy 15 years ago. These actions "show Washington's determination to hunt down al Qaeda leaders around the globe" Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday. So in 15 years the then secretary of state will be proud to announce that Al-Qaeda leaders operating in and around Syria, armed with US weapons, have also been captured. And so the wheel will keep on turning.
The current market environment of increasing event risk (suppressed by the all too visible un-tapering hand of the Fed) and slumping earnings expectations has had little to no effect on either the US equity market nominal level or the commission-taking asset-gatherers pitching the "long-term" buy that the market always is. Through the magic of multiple expansion, stocks remain at all-time highs and are pitched as "cheap" because multiples can still get bigger - remember March 2000 25.6x P/E... There is only one thing wrong with that dream. No matter how hard the Fed tries (mistakenly as we noted here) to pump the "economy" full of money to make consumers feel good, Consumer Sentiment has hit a wall...
A Depressed Bank Of America Predicts "Agreement Is Almost Impossible As Long As Obamacare Is On The Table"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/05/2013 19:56 -0400
Bank of America's latest forecast on the resolution, or lack thereof, of the government shutdown, which now seems virtually certain to last at least one week into Monday night, when the House and Senate return to work, is hardly encouraging. The bank's base case now calls for "either a two-week shutdown or for multiple shutdowns." Additional, BofA has now cut its Q3 GDP forecast from 2.0% to 1.7% and from 2.5% to 2.0% for 4Q. It gets worse: "Much worse outcomes are possible. In our view, agreement is almost impossible as long as the Affordable Care Act is on the table." Finally, and what ties it all together, is that as a result of the lack of "government data", BAC now expects the Fed to delay tapering to their January meeting, or later. Which may well have been the much needed alibi all along to delayed tapering until 2014.
David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation, summarizes the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government - that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank...
What is flailing is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority have experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate material savings, rapidly approach old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut...
He calls this condition "Sundown in America".
It took just four days before the Federal government caved to Congress and admitted that it can't even operate in a partial, "non-essential" shutdown. A few short hours ago Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered 400,000 furloughed Pentagon civilian employees - or about half the total defense employees - back to work. it is also roughly half of the total employees furloughed since the start of the government shutdown, which is now in its fifth day, and since both the House and the Senate are now gone until Monday afternoon, it appears the shutdown, even if now at half mast will continue for at least a week.
In a tragic development, the unidentified man who set himself on fire on the National Mall at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday in between the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery, and who sustained burns to 80% of his body, has died. AP reports: "A District of Columbia police spokesman says a man who set himself on fire on the National Mall has died his injuries. Officer Araz Alali says the man died Friday night at a hospital where he had been airlifted. He says the man was so badly burned that he will need to be through DNA and dental records. The man poured a can of gasoline on himself in the center portion of the mall Friday afternoon. He then set himself on fire, with passing joggers taking off their shirts to help douse the flames." As AP adds, Police are investigating the man's possible motives for doing so. They will hardly find any, as the last thing the Obama administration needs right now is to start explaining why D.C. has become ground zero for America's own Arab Spring. Especially, if in a country in which fomenting class and social hatred once again boils down to racial characteristics.
Yesterday we described the various scenarios available to Treasury in the next few weeks should the shutdown and debt ceiling debacle carry on longer than the equity markets believe possible. As BofAML notes, however, the most plausible option for the Treasury could be implementing a delayed payment regime. In such a scenario, the Treasury would wait until it has enough cash to pay off an entire day’s obligations and then make those payments on a day-to-day basis. Given the lack of a precedent, it is hard to quantify the impact on the financial markets in the event that the Treasury was to miss payment on a UST; but the following looks at the impact on a market by market basis.
The last few days have been punctuated with fearmongery from Alexander and Clapper over the shutdown's impact on the NSA and the increased threat of terror this generates. However, as the Washington Times reports, things are a little different in reality. Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.
The irony of Jesse Ventura calling for a new "American Revolution" in a conversation with Brit Piers Morgan is not lost on us but the former Governor of Minnesota asks some awkwardly open questions in this 'colorful' interview. Ventura asked if the government's shut down, "That should mean we shouldn't have to pay any taxes, right?" He called for another American revolution to push back against the "corrupt system" created by Democrats and Republicans in Washington. He told Morgan the two-party system has legalized "bribery" for access, suggesting he's fed up enough to actually run for president in 2016. Ventura called both parties "gangs," and Morgan admitted he had to agree, adding that they're "overpaid, underworked children!" The discussion then veers from Obamacare, Ventura's run for President, and the JFK conspiracy.
Here's a new and very bizarre entry for the annals of "the dog ate it" excuses. According to Reuters, Montana man Wayne Klinkel, who last year pieced together the remnants of five $100 bills eaten by his one-eyed golden retriever, Sundance, is sporting a $500 check he says he received this week from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to replace the digested funds. Sundance sniffed the wad of bills out of a car cubby space while waiting for Klinkel and his wife to return from lunch, and the canine made the currency his lunch.
Why are young people in America so frustrated these days?
You are about to find out...
The system is failing, and young people are going to become even angrier and even more frustrated.
From algos to trading pschology and from market-maker's tricks to the quant models that dominate, Batur Asmazoglu provides an insider's view of a large sell-side bank FX trading desk. While the likes of Goldman's Thomas Stolper have proved it, Asmazoglu's first 'secret' is that "while many believe the big investment banks are very sophisticated, that is not the case at all."