According to IRS estimates, there’s close to $5 trillion in individual retirement accounts in the Land of the Free. This is money that taxpayers prudently set aside for retirement, hopefully cognizant that Social Security isn’t going to be there for them. Devoid of any other easy lender, $5 trillion is far too irresistible for such a heavily indebted government to ignore. We've long warned that the government could easily nationalize a portion of all IRAs. It started happening last year with MyRA followed by the President and Treasury Secretary embarked on a blitzkrieg-style marketing campaign to pump the program... and now comes Step three..
Say you are a socialist, and you have intervened heavily in the economy. Suddenly, things don’t work as you thought they would. Somehow, economic laws seem to refuse to bend to your will. However, you cannot really believe that since according to your convictions, wealth is a byproduct of government plans and decrees. So the solution to the unintended consequences of the initial intervention is to intervene further, in an attempt to refine the plan, so to speak. So you try again. And again. And again. Chances are, your name is Nicolas Maduro. In summary, the thread by which Venezuelan socialism hangs may soon snap.
The daily bulletin of Italy’s Communist Refoundation Party published today the apparently official program of the Greek coalition of the left, Syriza. Here the 40 points of the Syriza program...
- It wasn't Obama this time: Pakistani teen, Indian activist win Nobel Peace Prize (Reuters)
- Surging VIX Shakes Bulls as S&P 500 Charts Go Haywire (BBG)
- Global shares hit six-month low as growth worries mount (Reuters)
- Police, protesters clash in St. Louis ahead of weekend of rallies (Reuters)
- We're Sitting on 10 Billion Barrels of Oil! OK, Two (BBG)
- Spain seeks answers as seven more enter Ebola isolation (Reuters)
- Iran will sell its oil to Asia in November at the biggest discount (BBG)
- Redefining honeypot: U.S. DEA 'most interested' in U.S. investors in Canadian marijuana firms (Reuters)
- UKIP Wins First Commons District With Conservative Defector (BBG)
- Fake Ebola Patients Help Hospitals Prepare for Next Case (BBG)
You may be familiar with the story of how the US government confiscated gold bullion and then made owning it illegal back in 1933. Actually this event is more accurately termed a nationalization. Americans were forced under harsh penalties to sell their gold at an artificially low “official price.” Many have speculated that the US government could once again turn to gold confiscation/nationalization if it became desperate enough. But would the US government really turn to a 1933-style grab again? We would argue that they wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean the threat to your gold has diminished. Quite the opposite.
A look at German politics and upcoming state elections.
Passing a European Banking stress test these days is a little like farting - easy to do, mostly hot air, and yet it typically warns of something else coming down that isn't going to be pretty
Even as the western media finally remembered over the weekend there was a Ukraine civil war going on following an advance by the Kiev army to retake some rebel strongholds in the Donbas region, with some curious what if anything Putin would do in retaliation, what Putin, or rather his envoy Sergei Lavrov were actually doing, was completely ignoring the Ukraine situation (where the West has long since conceded the loss of Crimea to the Kremlin) and instead focusing on securing the successful launch of the South Stream (remember: the second South Stream goes online, Ukraine becomes irrelevant). And since Russia already signed another historic agreement with Austria in June, which positioned the AAA-country (with some surprising emerging bank troubles subsequently) squarely against its fellow European peers, it was the turn of the other South Stream countries, namely Bulgaria.
The most dangerous organization is the now French led IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm, which has presented a concept report in which 'debt cuts for over-indebted states are uncompromising' and are to be performed more effectively in the future by defaulting on retirement accounts held in life insurance, mutual funds and other types of pension schemes, or arbitrarily extending debt perpetually so you cannot redeem. Yes you read correctly, The new IMF paper describes in great detail exactly how to now allow the private sector, which has invested in government bonds, will be expropriated to pay for the national debts of the socialist governments. This far-reaching plan for the expropriation of savers, investors and retirees clearly shows the reality of socialism.
Deja Vu All Over Again: Fannie, Freddie Would Need Another $190 Billion Bailout When Things Go SouthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/30/2014 10:43 -0500
While it will come as a surprise to exactly nobody, certainly nobody who understand that the US financial system is no better financial shape than just before the Lehman crash as nothing has been fixed and everything that is broken has been merely swept under the rug (for details see Paul Singer's explanation posted last night) of epic-er leverage, the news that when (not if) the US economy succumbs to a severe economic downturn Fannie and Freddie would require another taxpayer funded bailout, one of $190 billion or even more than the first $187.5 billion-funded nationalization of the GSEs, can only bring a smile to one's face.
Sadly, as suspected - and in line with his CFO in 2009 - the reported death of Jan Peter Schmittmann was indeed suicide. The ex-CEO of ABN Amro hanged himself, but only after murdering his wife, Nally, and 22 year-ol daughter Babette. As Bloomberg reports, a farewell letter was found in the house, but authorities declined further comment on its contents. Schmittmann’s family was cited as saying in the statement that “we knew Jan Peter struggled with severe depression," and added that their "first concern now is supporting the remaining daughter in coping with this indescribable grief." Aweful...
Dispassionate big picture overview.
Crimea Names Ruble Currency; Applies To Join Russia, Expects To Become Russian Federation Region By ThursdaySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2014 06:24 -0500
Here is the latest via Reuters: just hours ago, Crimea's parliament officially applied to become part of Russia. The parliament "made a proposal to the Russian Federation to admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a republic," according to a statement on its website. A Crimean parliamentary delegation was expected to arrive in Moscow on Monday to discuss the procedures required for the Black Sea peninsula to become part of the Russian Federation. "If everything’s signed we’ll become a fully fledged region of the Russian Federation Wednesday or Thursday,” First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Termigaliyev says in interview at govt headquarters in Simferopol. Termigaliyev added that Crimea will promptly get $1b aid from Russia in near-term, and that Hryvnia reserves enough for 10 days, then Crimea will switch to ruble. April pensions “most likely” to be paid in rubles. Crimea can be self-sufficient in natural gas after today’s nationalization of Chernomoreneftegaz. Crimea risks 150,000 hectares being left without water if Ukraine shuts off supply, though that’s “not critical,” says Termigaliyev.
As the daily street protests grow bloodier and bloodier, Venezuelan President Maduro has escalated his comments today, exclaiming that he "won't be bullied," and warning "prepare yourself, we are coming for you," if protesters don't "go home within hours."
*VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS HAVE 'HOURS' TO CLEAR BARRICADES: MADURO SAYS HE'LL SEND ARMED FORCES TO 'LIBERATE' PROTEST AREAS
With 28 dead in the last month of protests, things are very serious but as we warned previously, Maduro still enjoying the support of the poor - as EuroNews reports, it appears he is not going anywhere soon. John Kerry also came under fire as the foreign minister called him "a "murderer of the Venezuelan people," accusing him of encouraging the protests.
The Fed’s serial bubble machine has not only bestowed massive speculative windfalls on the 1%, but it has also fostered a noxious culture of plunder and entitlement in the gambling casinos of Wall Street. After each thundering sell-off during the bust phase, crony capitalist gamblers have been gifted with ill-gotten windfalls during the Fed’s subsequent maniacal money printing spree. In this context comes Bruce Berkowitz “scolding” and firing “salvos” at Washington from the front page of the Wall Street Journal.