New York City
Mayor Bill de Blasio is the first New York City mayor to release his tax returns in 12 years, according to the WSJ. de Blasio earned $165,000 as public advocate last year and brought in an additional $52,000 in rent on a second home he owns in Park Slope, according to his 2013 tax returns. Mr. de Blasio’s effective tax rate was 8.3%.
There is no question about it, NYC feels more like “Disneyland for Wall Street” than ever before. The very rich are doing very well, everyone else, not so much. We are often told by charlatans and mainstream media propagandists that this mythical rising tide of wealth lifts all boats. If that’s the case, we find it quite perplexing that the homeless population in America’s financial center is exploding five years into the so-called recovery (homeless people are living in coffin-sized spaces inside the frame of the Manhattan Bridge). Meanwhile, let’s not forget that 22% of the city is on food stamps. How is this possible? Because we have witnessed five years of egregious corruption and crony capitalist theft, not a genuine recovery. That’s how.
We joked about it as I pulled out a wad of cash I had recently procured from a street broker:
- Cocktails: 175 pesos
- Appetizers: 210 pesos
- Capital controls: Priceless
It turns out there really are some things money can’t buy. Especially in worthless currency.
- Three dead in shootings at Kansas Jewish centers; man to face charges (WSJ)
- Sanctions Blowback in Russia Targets Burgers to Movies (BBG)
- Deadly Virus's Spread Raises Alarms in Mideast (WSJ)
- China group buys $6bn Glencore Peru copper mine (BBG)
- Iran lodges complaint against United States over U.N. envoy ban (Reuters)
- Russian assets down sharply on Ukraine conflict fears (Reuters)
- ECB comments knock euro, but not much (Reuters)
- World-Leading $25 Hourly Wage Roils Swiss Businesses (BBG)
There is much new info in the just released Bloomberg profile on the infamous ex-JPMorganite Blythe Masters, among which the disclosure that she had made it clear that she had wanted to go along with the disposable JPM physical commodities unit (which as was reported recently, was sold to Swiss commodities giant Mercuria) and "and continue as the group's chief", a plan which did not work out as she had planned since she has no plans to "join the unit’s purchaser" (although joining Glencore is another matter entirely, and one which looks increasingly plausible) but what we find most striking is the following revelation: "Masters is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. That probe was opened following a settlement with regulators that alleged JPMorgan manipulated power markets in the Midwest and California."
New York City, for example, is the most unequal in the nation, and so is Yankee Stadium. The most expensive seats this season cost almost 59 times more than the “bleacher seats,” while the spread for tickets to a Minnesota Twins game is just 5.4 times. Minneapolis/St. Paul, coincidentally, is among the least unequal metro areas in the U.S. But before you storm the baseball barricades, consider that the lowest priced tickets in highly unequal cities is $17, only $3 more than the more equal ones. The inequality actually comes in the form of higher prices for the good seats - $206 in the more egalitarian areas and $501 in the cities with more inequality. Score it as “Real Fans: 1, Oligarchs 0”.
Following the March Jobs Report, ConvergEx's Nick Colas got to thinking about the composition of employment growth rather than just the headline number. Is every new job created really the same when it comes to overall economic impact? Consider that the average household income in Maryland is $69,920, versus $39,592 in Mississippi. Or that Mining and Logging jobs pay, on average, $28.77/hour and Retail Trade positions average only $14.22/hour. To expand on this point, Colas came up with three 'Ideal' marginal hires, when considering which jobs bring the most "bang" for the wage/employment "buck". At this point in the cycle we should be focused on job quality as much as quantity.
Has the United States ever experienced a time when a foreign nation has attempted to buy up so much of our land all at once? As Michael Snyder details below, it appears the Chinese are on a real estate buying spree all over America as they are now the dominat 'buyers' of investment green cards. This is occurring as private equity buyers and hedge funds exit the buy-to-rent business en masse and are, as Mike Krieger explains, are desperate to pitch American property to anyone willing to keep Housing Bubble 2.0 inflated... it seems Zillow is more than happy to enable that, "Zillow agreed to make its U.S. property listings available to Chinese consumers through a partnership with a Beijing-based website."
A week ago we wrote: 'While it has been public for a long time that i) JPM is eager to sell its physical commodities business and ii) the most likely buyer was little known Swiss-based Mercuria, there was nothing definitive released by JPM. Until moments ago, when Jamie Dimon formally announced that JPM is officially parting ways with the physical commodities business. But while contrary to previous expectations, following the sale JPM will still provide commercial gold vaulting operations around the world, it almost certainly means farewell to Blythe Masters." Sure enough:
JP MORGAN COMMODITY CHIEF BLYTHE MASTERS LEAVING, WSJ SAYS
Farewell Blythe: we hope your replacement will be just as skilled in keeping the price of physical gold affordable for those of us who keep BTFD every single day.
As the following table also by RealtyTrace confirms, the US still has an abundance of "own-to-rent" cities, where one can generate a return as high as 30% in one year, if one is willing to drive through the downtown area at 65 mph. Places like bankrupt Detroit, where the median sales price is $45K, and somehow the average market rent is $1.1K, meaning one can recoup their investment in just over 3 years! (how Detroit's residents can afford $1K on rent is another of those great mysteries of life). In other words, the housing bubble will still be raging in these 20 cities, at least until such time as the yield drops sufficiently due to soaring prices that the Blackstones of the world are forced to dump other people's money in such undervalued places as Ulan Bator and Almaty.
The stock market really was rigged... “It’s 2009,” Katsuyama says. “This had been happening to me for almost two years. There’s no way I’m the first guy to have figured this out. So what happened to everyone else?” The question seemed to answer itself: Anyone who understood the problem was making money off it...
For the answer of which firm is responsible, and has the largest number of current and former tenants occupying the building located at 15 CPW which we profiled before, and which Bloomberg TV defines as the "world's most powerful address" - a location whose residents control nearly half a trillion in assets under management - fast forward to 3:20 in the clip below. Hint: listen for the "dog whistle."
Rather than deal forthrightly with the reality that unrealistic promises made to their employees cannot be honored, local government has pursued a strategy of legalizing looting. The gradual erosion of civil liberties, legal rights and government ethics are connected: our rights don't just vanish into thin air, they are expropriated by government: Federal, state and local. Though much is written about the loss of civil liberties at the Federal level, many of the most blatantly illegal power grabs are occurring in local government. When local government looting is legalized, the entire system is illegal. Here are three recent examples of blatantly illegal looting by local governments.
Putin Strikes Back: Russia's Sanctions List Said To Include US Senators, High Ranking Administration OfficialsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2014 17:12 -0400
Ever since the theatrical announcement of asset freezes and other related sanctions of various Putin aides, Russian military and pro-Russia Ukrainian leaders earlier today by both the US president and the EU, the nagging question was when and how would Vladimir Vladimirovich retaliate, with tomorrow's Putin address to the joint session of Parliament seeming as a probable time and place. It now appears that Putin's personal retaliation has been leaked in advance, and according to the Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, it will involve an in kind response where various US senators and highly placed officials will be banned from visiting Russia, and likely also see their particular assets - if any- in Russian custody promptly frozen.
— Dmitry Rogozin (@DRogozin) March 17, 2014