Detroit

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Frontrunning: August 27





  • Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base (Reuters)
  • Buffett Burger King Funds Flip Obama’s Inversion Calculus (BBG)
  • Equities Reach Record $66 Trillion as S&P 500 Hits 2,000 (BBG)
  • Central Banks Playing Own Version of Plaza-opoly With FX (BBG)
  • Russia court closes McDonald's branch for 90 days (Reuters)
  • Finland Says NATO an Option After Russia ‘Violates’ Border Laws (BBG)
  • Netanyahu Hit With Domestic Criticism Over Gaza Truce (BBG)
  • Biggest Danish Fund Readies for Rate Shock as Exit Narrows (BBG)
  • Nonprofit Hospitals' Profits Fall (WSJ)
 
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Ron Paul: "Americans Must Choose Non-Interventionist Free Markets For Peace & Prosperity"





Mark Spitznagel: "Mises will ultimately be right yet again about the inevitable final collapse of the current asset boom brought about by credit expansion. The term “black swan” (the surprising, unforeseen event) used for bursting financial bubbles has been and will remain a misnomer - we can and, indeed, should expect such tumults to occur at some point as a consequence of massive central bank intervention and economic distortion."

Ron Paul: "As to the unwinding of this mess, I’m convinced that when the current expansion ends it will be abrupt, gigantic, and worldwide. The 43-year expansion of Fed credit and debt, delivered to us by a fiat dollar standard, and held together artificially by an undeserved trust will end badly."

 
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With Half Of City Residents Delinquent, Detroit Restarts Water Shut-Offs





"Utility disconnection is always considered a last resort, obviously because of consequences for households," but as Detroit News reports, but water-providers can expect more controversy, as a month-long moratorium against shutting off water for those behind on their bills expired last night. Halting service to people that don't pay generate outrage among not just Detroit residents but a wider audience who proclaim 'water should be a right'. However, as one utility director noted, "We've seen a lot more payments...They need that little kick in the pants to get in here and do it." Water industry experts say cities with high delinquency rates sometimes have few other effective options for getting customers to catch up on their bills. Roughly half of Detroit’s 170,000 customers were delinquent as of last spring.

 
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"Widespread Slowdown In Home Price Gains": Case-Shiller Misses, Rises By Slowest Since 2012





The fourth (or is it fifth?) dead cat bounce in the US housing market is rapidly fading, as we just confirmed by the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index data for the month of June, which saw a Y/Y increase in home prices of just 8.07%, below the 8.3% expected, and the slowest increase since December 2012. As the report noted, "for the first time since February 2008, all cities showed lower annual rates than the previous month." On a monthly basis, the NSA index, Case-Shiller's preferred, rose by 1.0% for the 10 and 20-City composite, with the Seasonally Adjusted composite declining for the second consecutive month: the last time there were two consecutive monthly declines during a price declining phase was in late 2010.

 
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Spotting The Next Detroit - America's Fasting-Shrinking Cities





Whether Detroit's slumping population was cause or effect (or both) in its demise remains up for discussion; either way, in the ever-more-entitled and ever-less-working world in which we live, a declining population in the face of increasingly promised benefits has only two ends - death (bankruptcy) or taxes. In spite of almost record-low Muni market yields (and spreads), risks remain - just ask the HY market... and these 25 cities have the highest rate of population decline in America.

 
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Frontrunning: August 13





  • Obama says Missouri shooting death tragic, reflection needed (Reuters)
  • U.S. Weighs Iraq Rescue Mission to Save Yazidis (WSJ)
  • Maliki says Abadi's appointment as Iraqi PM 'has no value' (Reuters)
  • Iran Joins U.S. in Backing Replacement for Iraq’s Maliki (BBG)
  • Kurds Push Attack in North Iraq as Maliki Clings to Power (BBG)
  • Obama Donors Embrace Corporate Inversions He Criticizes (BBG)
  • Syrian Forces Advance on Aleppo, Rebels Fear Another Siege (WSJ)
  • Israel, Palestinians pursue Gaza deal with ceasefire clock ticking (Reuters)
  • Ebola Drug’s Success Bolsters Approach for Other Diseases (BBG)
  • With Natural Gas Byproduct, Iran Sidesteps Sanctions (NYT)
  • Kazakhs to Hoard Food as Putin Sanctions Rattle Alliance (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: August 5





  • Second Ebola patient to arrive in U.S. on Tuesday (Reuters)
  • Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers (BBG)
  • Egypt plans to dig new Suez Canal costing $4 billion (Reuters)
  • Apple Buybacks Pay Most Ever as CEOs Spend $211 Billion (BBG)
  • DeMark Says Sell China Stocks Now After World’s Best Gain (BBG)
  • Investors Stung by Losses After Exiting Struggling Property Fund in China (WSJ)
  • B.A. in BTFD: MIT May Consider Granting Degrees in Less Than Four Years (BBG)
  • Too late, money's already been spent: GPIF Needs Overhaul Before Asset Changes, Shiozaki Says (BBG)
  • Oh look, another "truce": Israel withdraws troops, 72-hour Gaza truce begins (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: August 1





  • As we predicted yesterday, the "big" Gaza ceasefire lasted all of a few hours (Reuters)
  • To Lift Sales, G.M. Turns to Discounts (NYT)
  • Espirito Santo Family’s Swift Fall From Grace Jolts Portugal (BBG)
  • Argentine Debt Feud Finds Much Fault, Few Fixes (WSJ)
  • Fiat Says Ciao to Italy as Merger With Chrysler Ends Era (BBG)
  • Euro zone factory growth eases in July as inflation fades away (Reuters)
  • CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Reports Losses After Pro-Russian Ambush Near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Crash Area (WSJ)
  • U.S. says India refusal on WTO deal a wrong signal (Reuters)
  • Why Putin Has 2006 Flash Before His Eyes After Sanctions (BBG)
 
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Case-Shiller Home Prices Tumble Most Since Dec 2011, Miss 2nd Month In A Row





But it was supposed to be the weather? S&P/Case-Shiller home prices dropped in May and missed expectations for the 2nd month in a row. Against a forecast rise on 0.3%, prices dropped in May by 0.3% - the biggest drop since December 2011. It appears we are going to need more Chinese hot money flow buyers. Of note, while in April Case-Shiller reported only 5 cities out of the tracked 20 posting sequential price declines, in May this number has soared to 14. And so the fourth dead cat bounce in housing appears to be over.

 
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"He Who Makes The Rules Never Goes To Jail For Breaking Them"





Working for the government was always pitched as somehow being better guaranteed than risky private corporations. However, the problem with government pensions has been they promised whatever sounded nice, with zero accountability. The presumption that tax revenue was an endless pit is one of those fallacies that nobody ever investigates. The ramifications of what happens in Detroit will ripple through the entire debt structure nationally for if this will be the new game plan to follow, why should people buy any government debt whatsoever if not even bankruptcy laws apply? As we said – he who makes the laws never goes to jail for breaking them.

 
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Frontrunning: July 24





  • EU to weigh extensive sanctions on Russia (FT)
  • U.S. lifts flight ban to Israel (Reuters)
  • Russia says will cooperate with MH17 probe led by Netherlands (Reuters)
  • Norway faces ‘concrete and credible’ terrorist threat (FT)
  • Don’t Tell Anybody About This Story on HFT Power Jump Trading (BBG)
  • But... but... PMI: Unilever Sales Growth Misses Estimates on Asian Slowdown (BBG)
  • World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Reviews $8 Billion Russian Stake (BBG)
  • Qualcomm latest US tech company to reverse in China (FT)
  • Hamptons Home Sales Rise as Buyers Find More Inventory (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: July 22





  • EU Works to Punish Russia as MH17 Bodies Leave Rebel Area (BBG)
  • Bodies From Malaysia Airlines Flight Begin Long Trip to Netherlands (WSJ)
  • Israel pounds Gaza as Kerry arrives (Reuters)
  • U.S. judge dismisses Republican lawsuit over Obamacare subsidy for Congress (Reuters)
  • Israel Soldier Missing Amid Assault on Hamas in Gaza (WSJ)
  • Detroit Retirees Vote in Favor of Pension Cuts (WSJ)
  • Russia Axes 1st Bond Sale in 3 Months as Ukraine Drives Up Yield  (BBG)
  • Wall Street Cut From Guest List for Jackson Hole Fed Meeting (BBG)
  • Credit Suisse to Exit Commodities, Posts Big Quarter Loss (BBG)
  • Draghi Cedes Euro Control to Yellen on Fed Rate Wagers (BBG)
 
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First Detroit, Now Flint Warns Bankruptcy "Train Is Headed For The Cliff"





Flint may be Michigan’s second city to plunge into bankruptcy unless retirees accept cuts in health benefits that threaten to unravel a balanced budget. As Crain's Detroit reports, Emergency Manager Darnell Earley (Flint’s third emergency leader since it was placed under state control in 2011) warned "If we have no ability to mitigate the cost of retiree health care, that’s going to make it very difficult for the city to remain financially stable over the next few years." As Eric Scorsone notes, "Flint's at the forefront, but a lot of cities are on the same train, and that train is headed for the cliff."

 
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Forget Puerto Rico, German Munis Are In Trouble





Martin Armstrong warns that 50% of the municipal governments in Germany are on the verge of bankruptcy. This is part of the reason they are looking for bail-ins and even Merkel has determined they cannot allow any referendums fearing the people will vote against the EU. The Bremen state government has now imposed a spending freeze today. The reason has been the unexpected expenditure and revenue shortfalls in the total amount of 60 million euros. Politicians cannot see that this system is doomed. They keep looking for everything possible to raise more and more taxes. It is just amazing who disconnected government are from the reality of the economy. Everything is geared to move toward the confiscation of wealth not reforming the system.

 
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