With the mainstream media inundated with tales of low paid workers demanding higher minimum wages (thus theoretically expecting to be paid more than a market rate for their services), we thought a look at the other end of the scale was worthwhile (where, some might argue, the following 10 CEOs are also paid above market rates for their 'ability')...
Although Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Northeast Asia this week will likely focus on defusing tensions over China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), this is hardly the only issue plaguing the U.S. in Asia. In general, U.S. Asia policy during the second Obama administration has lacked focus as senior officials have been preoccupied with domestic and other international challenges. Moreover, a number of other issues suggest that the administration continues to give inadequate attention to the Asia-Pacific, and the results it is getting reflect this relative neglect.
A world, in which former permabears David Rosenberg, Jeremy Grantham and now Hugh Hendry have thrown in the towel and gone bull retard, and where none other than the Chief Investment Officer of General Re-New England Asset Management - a company wholly-owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, has issued one of the direst proclamations about the future to date and blasts the Fed's role in creating the biggest mess in financial history, is truly upside down...
Faith in the current system is as high as it has ever been, and folks don't want to hear otherwise. If you're one of those people who thinks it prudent to have intelligent discussion on some of these risks -- that maybe the future may turn out to be less than 100% awesome in every dimension -- you're probably finding yourself standing alone at cocktail parties these days. A helpful question to ask yourself is: if I could talk to my 2009 self, what would s/he advise me to do? Don't put yourself in a position to relearn that lesson so soon after the last bubble. Exercise the wisdom to look like an idiot today.
The past several weeks have seen the emergence of several innovative and user friendly websites related to Bitcoin specifically, and crypto-currencies generally. The site is CoinMap.org and it serves as a sort of Google Maps for Bitcoin. The site attempts to plot the various brick and mortar retail locations across the globe that accept BTC.
"Surely this can't go on forever", asks a pensive Lou Rukeyser on New Year's Ever 1999, to which a youthful Liz-Ann Sonders replies ever-exuberantly, "this is a magical environment for the stock market, for the year 2000, things look terrific." The other guests in this wonderfully brief moment of deja vu from the peak of the previous bubble are just as cock-a-hoop, "the danger signs are still a ways off," and none other than Laszlo Birinyi concludes, "the individual is flush with cash, and continues to be positive," confirming once again that the money-on-the-sidelines fallacy is just that.
"NSA's Mission Is Of Great Value To The Nation" - The Complete "Authorized" NSA Thanksgiving Dinner Talking PointsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/02/2013 19:00 -0500
It seems getting an 8 pm "escape" from friends and family this Thanksgiving to rush into the nearby World Wrestling Federation Walmart may have been a welcome reprieve for some. Those some in question being NSA agents, and just in case their friends and family got a little too pesky, boisterous or simply inquisitive, all the employees of the National Security Agency and the Central Security Services received a prepared memo with preauthorized talking points designed to "guide" conversations over the Thanksgiving dinner table. Plastered at the head of the 2-page propaganda is a Douglas Adams-like (or was that Isaac Asimov) in its simplicity bullet point: "(1) NSA's mission is of great value to the Nation." How was it that "defenders" of the fatherland during the Third Reich were being brainwashed again? But we digress.
Until early May of this year, trends in US macro fundamentals and US stock markets were 'relatively' well correlated. However, since the first stirrings of Taper concerns, the relationship has seemingly explicitly inverted. Day after day we see markets react to "good" or "bad" news but over time, as the following chart shows, the Fed's total farce has been exposed. Simply put, if the last 7 months of market-macro relationships hold (which makes sense in a world entirely driven by Fed liquidity), the Bulls should be praying for the economic fundamentals to collapse or things will get painful fast for stocks.
The Fed is absorbing over 0.3% of all Ten Year Equivalents, also known as "High Quality Collateral", from the private sector every week. The total number as per the most recent weekly update is now a whopping 33.18%, up from 32.85% the week before. Or, said otherwise, the Fed now owns a third of the entire US bond market.
Here's your Excuse Book, America. There's something for almost everyone. Luckily, there is still an infinite abundance of excuses, guilt-tripping, victimhood, rage against those with "more" (never mind what they sacrificed to build it) and denial of choice, consequence, risk and fact. Sadly, there are consequences to the pursuit of victimhood and the denial of will, choice, consequence, risk and fact, and they will be consequential indeed.
While nobody is impressed by breaking equity and options markets anymore, since this has become a virtually daily ocurrence and the habituation level is high, bond markets, and especially the US government's "guaranteed" bond issuance machinery, are a different matter altogether. Which is why any time something out of the ordinary happens, people pay attention. Such as what happened moments ago when the US Treasury announced that it would delay the closing of the 3 and 6 month Bill auctions, originally scheduled to close today, to tomorrow. The reason: "an error that occurred during a test of Treasury's auction system."
The implicit, and ever more explicit, institutional acceptance of the dominant cryptocurrency Bitcoin (we say dominant because as we pointed out last week, there has been an unprecedented spike of digital currencies one can pick and choose from) continues when following the surge in vendors willing to transact in BTC over Thanksgiving, the latest news comes from the birthplace of the modern central bank, the UK, where we learn that none other than the UK Royal Mint has been working on plans since this summer to issue physical Bitcoins in collaboration with the Channel Island of Alderney. But where the story gets downright surreal is that as the FT reports, the same symbolic Bitcoin token issued by the Royal Mint "would have a gold content – a figure of £500-worth has been proposed – so that holders could conceivably melt and sell the metal if the exchange value of the currency were to collapse." In brief: a perfect, and utterly incomprehensible, fusion of (opposing) hard, soft and digital currencies all rolled into one...
Overview of the week's economic and poltiical calendar in the context of the investment climate.
Shortly after 7 am Eastern time on Sunday, Metropolitan Transportation Authority police confirmed that a Metro-North train derailed near the Hudson river in the Bronx. The accident occurred near Palisade Avenue near the Spuyten Duyvil railroad station. Photos taken of the accident scene show eight cars derailed. Edwin Valero was in an apartment building above the accident scene when the train derailed, the WSJ reports. He says none of the cars went into a nearby body of water, but at least one ended up a few feet from the edge. Rebecca Schwartz was at a nearby park when the accident occurred. She says she didn't see or hear the derailment but looked across the water when she heard emergency vehicle sirens. She says numerous emergency vehicles have responded to the scene.
While what little remains of America's middle class is happy and eager to put in its 9-to-5 each-and-every day, an increasing number of Americans - those record 91.5 million who are no longer part of the labor force - are perfectly happy to benefit from the ever more generous hand outs of the welfare state. Prepare yourself before listening to this... calling on her self-admitted Obamaphone, Texas welfare recipient Lucy, 32, explains why "taxpayers are the fools"...
"...To all you workers out there preaching morality about those of us who live on welfare... can you really blame us? I get to sit around all day, visit my friends, smoke weed.. and we are still gonna get paid, on time every month..."
She intends to stay on welfare her entire life, if possible, just like her parents (and expects her kids to do the same). As we vociferously concluded previously, the tragedy of America's welfare state is that work is punished.