Yesterday we highlighted the plight of Tom Palome and his cohorts as they face a need to work well into once-thought-retirement age. However, there are hundreds of formerly prosperous communities all over America that are being steadily transformed into rotting, decaying hellholes. The good paying middle class jobs that once supported those communities are long gone, and they have been replaced with low paying service jobs if they have been replaced at all. When you visit those communities, it is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of the air. The following are 20 quotes from ordinary Americans about the economic despair that is rapidly growing around them.
Goldman, in line with consensus and PaddyPower, now expects the President to nominate Janet Yellen to be the next Federal Reserve Chair and despite comments yesterday from thw White House, they expect the announcement to come soon. However, this week's political calendar may be too crowded to make an announcement. Assuming a government shutdown is avoided, an announcement could come as soon as early next week; but they note the President's schedule may force an announcement to the following week. The risk of a failed confirmation vote appears very low to them but with the debt ceiling debate and concerns over delays due to fears over asset-purchases, Yellen may not be confirmed before the December FOMC meeting. The following Q&A answers most of the critical questions.
When it comes to the "fairness doctrine", there was always some confusion in the matter of work ethic: how was it fair that some should work under the socialism-endorsed confines of a 29.5 hour workweek, while being forced to suffer the indignity and moral denigration of watching others labor under the faux guise of capitalism, putting in 60, 80, even 100 or more hours per week in the pursuit of self-actualization, contentment and general happiness? Furthermore, as has been well documented, despite rumors the contrary, the biggest incubator of neosocialism the "fairness doctrine" is not the US, nor Leningrad (sic), but France.... Sephora's flagship Champs Élysées cosmetics store, one which attracts six million people a year or nearly as many as the Eiffel Tower, has been ordered by a French appeals court to close at 9 pm at the latest because it "breached work-time regulations by hosting customers until midnight on weekdays and 1 am on weekends."
A few years back Chairman Bernanke was asked by a financial reporter how confident he was that the Fed could easily start the process of withdrawing from the accommodation of “unorthodox” monetary policy. Some might argue (ourselves included) that the answer 'should' be something like “very confident” or “We feel we have the right tools and the right people to manage that process”. Instead the answer given was “100%”. At last week's press conference, Chairman Bernanke, in CitiFX Technicals' view, looked like the “cat that got the cheese", despite the more downbeat message he was giving? Why? Because he got his way. In their “conspiracy theory” interpretation it is likely that Janet Yellen’s nomination will indeed be announced in the near future and that tapering is now firmly back off the table despite the guidance given in recent months to the contrary. Bonds seem to agree (so far).
For those willing to share in the next few hours of defund-Obamacare discussion from Senator Ted Cruz (tag-teaming a little with Rand Paul) as he talks his way through the night (having started at 2:41pm ET) - ending only when he is "no longer able to stand," or the 15-hour Senate floor limit; the following link provides the blow-by-blow (water works and all).
Despite President Obama's heavy focus on Iran in his speech this morning, a potential encounter at the UN (like ships passing in the night?) between the US President and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani failed to take place. Iranian officials indicated that "it was too complicated," and "there will be no meeting." As Reuters reports, the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Obama had been open to a meeting with Rouhani while both were in New York for U.N. activities but the Iranians were not ready to have an encounter at the presidential level. The good news - following Rouhani's speech decrying external intervention and use of drones - John Kerry will meet with his Iranian counterpart - that should end well.
We listened to President Obama with bated breath... one wonders how many times President Rouhani will mention the US...
*IRAN POSES NO THREAT TO THE WORLD OR REGION, ROHANI SAYS
*MOVE TO REDRAW POLITICAL BORDERS DANGEROUS, PROVOCATIVE: ROHANI
*IRAN IS A HARBINGER OF JUST PEACE AND SECURITY, ROHANI SAYS
*ROHANI CRITICIZES VIOLATIONS OF PALESTINIANS' RIGHTS
*USE OF DRONES TO FIGHT TERRORISM SHOULD BE CONDEMNED: ROHANI
"I knew of the Fed decision and growth forecasts around 5-6 minutes before 2 pm last Wednesday, even though I was not there. I work at a news organization represented at the Fed statement “lockup” and the Bernanke press conference last week. This was in no way secure the way the Labor and Commerce Department lockups are. Those in the Fed statement lockup were able to communicate by text message and email after they received the statements and before 2 pm. Those in the room awaiting the press conference also were able to communicate electronically after the received the statement, several minutes before 2 pm. Everything was honor-based, but anyone in their respective newsrooms could have gotten the information early from them and passed it on. Given the large number of reporters involved, there are many ways the decision could have gotten into the market several minutes before the announcement. I am truly surprised it was only seen in gold trade. The fact is, though, the Fed made it possible for many people to leak it."
Bonds were sending very different messages from stocks from shortly after the open (when POMO began) and never looked back. As Homebuilders surged in their HIMO way squeezing everyone yet again, stocks surged back above the crucial 1,700 level in the S&P and VIX was pressured lower... but bonds kept falling in yield. Some said - stocks were rallying on Obama's friendly tones (umm no - oil up and safety bid for TSYs?). EUR weakness drove the USD higher on the day and despite the ubiquitous opening smackdown in precious metals, Gold and Silver ended the day almost unchanged. The belly of the Treasury curve plunged below the FOMC-kneejerk low yields to 7-week lows - with yields down 20-25bps from the FOMC statement (gold still higher and stocks lower). The 4th down day in a row for the first time in 5 weeks with heavy volume into the close as the S&P ended near cash-lows (though the market went apoplectic in the last minute).
Update: Reuters confirms that the new island was in fact not a hoax: "The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea."
As reported earlier, Pakistan and India were both shaken by a strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake with numerous aftershocks. While the damage and the casualties from the quake are not fully known yet although according to Raza news agency the latest death toll is at 45, one quite stunning development has emerged, quite literally, out of the sea. As Pakistani's The News reports, an entire island emerged off the country's Gwadar coast in the aftermath of the quake. "According to DIG Gwadar Moazzam Jah, the island's altitude is 20 to 40 feet and width around 100 feet. Talking to Geo news, the DIG said that the island emerged at a distance of 350 feet in the sea from the Gwadar coast."
Despite the 'support' of the G-20 and the self-deceiving belief that Japan is 'not' manipulating its currency; 60 US Senators appear confused. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Trans-Pacific-Partnership Trade Rep Michael Froman, the Senators demand they "address one of the 21st century's most serious trade problems: foreign currency manipulation." In order to ensure any agreements meet the "high standards" that America's workers deserve, Lew and Froman are directed to include "strong and enforceable disciplines," for any currency manipulations. Cue Abe protestations at US policy...
The point here is that we can only sustainably distribute the nation's surplus that is left after capital investment. Borrowing or creating vast sums of money to paper over the fact that we're spending more than we generate in surplus fosters an entirely illusory sense of wealth and prosperity. Eventually the interest owed on debt crowds out all other spending, and the debt-based system implodes. Borrowing money to fill the gap between what we want to spend and what we generate in surplus incentivizes fraud and speculation and creates a pernicious sense of entitlement: we can have it all, everyone can have everything they want, and there is no need for sacrifice, thrift or hard choices.
"When you start seeing a slowdown, that's a reason to believe it's going to accelerate," is how Bob Shiller responds to a question of the slowing rise in home prices. While Cramer demands we focus attention of the 'earnings' of the homebuilders and what they are saying, Shiller prefers to look at the data. The always pragmatic professor notes he is "not worried about a slowdown" because he is "more worried about bubbles" that appear to be back in the US housing market. "In some cities it's looking bubbly now," Shiller adds, remarking on the fundamental speculative shift in homeownership to the hedge funds on the own-to-rent bandwagon (that we noted last night appears to be coming to an abrupt end for the smarter money). The biggest drivers of future gains, Shiller adds, are 'recent gains' (which are fading), and employment (which is awfully slow) suggesting "there might be a slowdown ahead."
While a mortgage-related lawsuit and/or a settlement was long in the making, and was well-known to most in the industry, it is the monetary aspect of the resolution that is slowing down the outcome. Because if the NYT is correct, not even taking credit for all its fake "earnings" in the form of a complete reserve release would save JPM: "Underscoring the breadth of the scrutiny, the people said, JPMorgan and the Department of Housing and Urban Development briefly discussed the possibility of striking a wide-ranging settlement to conclude many of the looming mortgage investigations from federal authorities and state attorneys general. But the housing agency floated a price tag of about $20 billion for the settlement, the people said, effectively derailing settlement talks with JPMorgan lawyers, who were stunned by the size of the proposed penalty and expected to pay a fraction of that sum."
One week after we released the following damning evidence (below) of fraud in the "markets", CNBC has now claimed their scoop. Crucially, it seems, after reading Nanex's concise explanation of the proof of fraud, the Fed has now launched a probe into the release of its own FOMC statements. ... Our question then is, unless Nanex and ZeroHedge had pointed out this obvious cheat, would the fraudsters still be considered too big to care about special relativity, and if a fallen HFT tree collapses its wave function in the forest, and nobody reports, did an HFT tree just fall?
One of Einstein's great contributions to mankind was the theory of relativity, which is based on the fact that there is a real limit on the speed of light. Too bad that the bad guys on Wall Street who pulled off The Great Fed Robbery didn't pay attention in science class. Because, as Nanex shows below, hard evidence, along with the speed of light, proves that someone got the Fed announcement news before everyone else. There is simply no way for Wall Street to squirm its way out of this one...