- Ukraine forces move against separatists (FT)
- China GDP Gauge Seen Showing Deeper Slowdown (BBG)
- China Is Losing Its Taste for Gold (WSJ)
- Regulators Weigh Curbs on Trading Fees (WSJ)
- Obama, Putin Talk as Unrest Roils Eastern Ukraine (WSJ)
- Japan PM talks with BOJ chief, does not push for easing (Reuters)
- BRICS countries to set up their own IMF (RBTH)
- IMF Members Weigh Options to Sidestep U.S. Congress on Overhaul (WSJ)
- Zebra to Buy Motorola Solutions Unit for $3.45 Billion (BBG)
- Chinese Thunder God Herb Works as Well as Pain Therapy (BBG)
Yesterday, a retiring 38-year veteran trial lawyer's remarks shone a brighter light on the farce that the SEC has become in recent years. The SEC has become “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors,” Kidney said, adding that his superiors were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases. The agency’s penalties, Kidney said, have become “at most a tollbooth on the bankster turnpike.” As the full letter below shows, he had a lot more to add on just how the toothless agency should be run...
Market bears take the position that stocks are expensive, citing a variety of indicators and arguing that profit margins should “mean revert” from record highs. On the other side, market bulls dispute the indicators and propose that fat margins are no big deal – they might just remain at record highs indefinitely.
“High margins reflect a long-term structural change, not a short-term cyclical one,” according to one account of a popular position. Or “It’s a mistake to think that margins will revert to a long-term mean just for the sake of reverting to a mean.”
The message seems to be that mean reversion is for losers. This is a new era, or it’s a new economy, or whatever. We're paraphrasing, but the story sounds a lot like the capital letter New Economy of the late 1990s. There’s even a technology angle once again, along with huge confidence in monetary policy and recession-free growth. Above all, there’s a notion that the world might be different. Needless to say, the new, new economy story comes with plenty of red flags.
Cronyism for the super wealthy starts at the very top with the Federal Reserve System, which consists of topdown economic central planners who manipulate the money supply and hence interest rates for the benefit of the financial oligarch class. It then trickles down through lobbyist money into the halls of Washington D.C., and ultimately filters down to local governments and then the average person on the street gaming welfare or disability. As such, we now live in a culture of corruption and theft that is pervasive throughout society. As a new report finds, "You can’t reform welfare programs for the poor until you’ve gotten Daddy Warbucks off the dole. Voters will insist on that - as well they should."
Having discussed the links between economic growth and energy resource constraints, and with the current geo-political fireworks as much about energy (costs, supply, and demand) as they are human rights, it would appear the following chart may well become the most-important indicator of future tensions...
If I feed at the trough, because that is what all cattle do, then I will be slaughtered in the killing house, because that is what all cattle do.
The global crisis that began in 2007/8 has unmasked many unsustainable economic dispositions. Unfortunately, the proper conclusions have still not been arrived at, as evidenced by the fact that the same old Keynesian recipes that have failed over and over again are being implemented on an even grander scale. One must not be misled by the claims of 'austerity' being imposed, as this has evidently little bearing on government spending as such, but is rather an attempt to squeeze more blood out of an already shriveled turnip, namely what remains of the private sector. Puerto Rico seems – at least so far – not any different in that respect.
"Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again."
Detroit U.S.A.: Once the most prosperous city in America. With a booming manufacturing sector and cultural magnetism, the city had bright horizons after World War II. But as the 1960?s rolled in, the marriage of Big Business and Big Government overtook Detroit. The central planners in government needed the powerful corporations, and the powerful corporations came to depend on the bureaucracy, too. The marriage worked well for the politicians and for their corporate cronies, but Detroit itself entered a decades-long decline. How did so much money change hands between the world's most powerful corporate leaders and government officials while delivering on so little of the promise sold to America by central planners? Bankrupt: How Cronyism & Corruption Took Down Detroit answers this question, and many others.
Philadelpia may have booed Santa Claus, but last night it was New York's turn to boo a not so jolly, calorie-challenged man, embattled NJ governor Chris Christie, during the ceremonial Super Bowl “handoff” at Times square. However, in the aftermath of Friday's NYT revelations that evidence exists that Christie was aware about the real reason behind the bridge closures as they happened, onlookers only had a brief 30 seconds during which to boo Christie before he promptly departed the stage on his own.
After five years of aggressive Federal Reserve and government intervention in our monetary and financial systems, it's time to ask: Where are we? The "plan," such as it has been, is to let future growth sweep everything under the rug. To print some money, close their eyes, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. On that, we give them an "A" for wishful thinking – and an "F" for actual results. If we take a closer look at the projections, the idea that we're going to grow – even remotely – into a gigantic future that will consume all entitlement shortfalls within its cornucopian maw becomes all but laughable. Of course, the purpose of this exercise is not to make fun of anyone, nor to mock any particular beliefs, but to create an actionable understanding of the true nature of where we really are and what you should be doing about it.
An example of Microsoft legislating profits that is so simple to understand even most Americans should be able to get it.
Francis Scott Key was certainly not a visionary when he penned the famous words “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. But, we can certainly forgive him since it was back in 1814 and things were different maybe then.
Autarky is more than a ten-dollar word for self-sufficiency, as it implies a number of questions that “self-sufficiency” alone might not. The ability to survive without trade or aid from other nations, for example, is not the same as the ability to reap enormous profits or grow one’s economy without trade with other nations. In other words, 'self-sufficiency' in terms of survival does not necessarily imply prosperity, but it does imply freedom of action without dependency on foreign approval, capital, resources, and expertise.
The Status Quo system is failing. Its collapse will be messy. Starting to call things what they really are is a necessary first step to working with this reality.