New York City
By any measure, New York City’s homelessness crisis broke every record during the final year of the Bloomberg administration. The already record-high homeless shelter population soared even higher, to more than 50,000 people per night. There are, of course, numerous reasons for this disastrous situation but we suspect the following chart, from the coalition of the homeless, may just be enough to wake up the average American to the reality of this 'recovery'.
Welcome to the new normal reality of job-hunting in 2014... "Our venture-funded vertical-driven content prosumer phablet platisher is rapidlygrowing and we need to add some Ninja Rockstar Content Associates A.S.A.P. See below for a list of open positions!"
Has the next major economic downturn already started? The way that you would answer that question would probably depend on where you live. If you live in New York City, or the suburbs of Washington D.C., or you work for one of the big tech firms in the San Francisco area, you would probably respond to such a question by saying of course not. In those areas, the economy is doing great and prices for high end homes are still booming. But in most of the rest of the nation, evidence continues to mount that the next recession has already begun for the poor and the middle class.
Presenting today's rhetorical pop quiz: spot the odd labor market out, dominated by the financial industry, also known as the place which has benefited by far the most from QE, which may have failed most of America, but certainly has unfailed America's financial industry, where things have never been better.
We have often said that while 9/11 was a horrible event, our collective response to it has been the real tragedy ( How I Remember September 11, 2001 post). A terrible event is no excuse to become such scared children that we would relinquish the basic freedoms our ancestors fought so hard to secure for us. The only people who really benefit from an expansion of the surveillance state and a loss of liberties are the rich and powerful. With China’s economy in free fall and increased violence occurring, it appears the leadership there is taking a page out of our post 9/11 playbook. This is what the commute looks like at train stations in Beijing...
Hurricane season is nearly upon us, and every time a hurricane strikes, television and radio commentators and would-be economists are quick to proclaim the growth-boosting consequences of the vicissitudes of nature. Of course, if this were true, why wait for the next calamity? Let’s create one by bulldozing New York City and marvel at the growth-boosting activity engendered. Destroying homes, buildings, and capital equipment will undoubtedly help parts of the construction industry and possibly regional economies, but it is a mistake to conclude it will boost overall growth.
On the same day in which we released our letter writing campaign to “End Gold Price Manipulation Now!”, Barclays Plc was fined $43.8 million and Barclays trader Daniel James Plunkett was fined more than $160,000 for manipulating the gold price to avoid a $3.9 million payout to a client that had placed options on gold in the market. Of course, these types of shenanigans have been going on for more than a decade now, but since this event marks the first significant fine against a bullion bank and a banker for gold price manipulation, it is groundbreaking in that regard.
- McDonald’s Workers Arrested at Protest Near Headquarters (BBG)
- U.S. Sends Troops to Chad to Hunt for Abducted Nigeria Girls (BBG)
- BofA Scrapping Market-Making Unit Amid Trading Scrutiny (BBG)
- Biggest attack in years kills 31 in China's troubled Xinjiang (Reuters)
- Intense Fighting Flares in Eastern Ukraine (WSJ)
- Fed Officials Tussle Over Labor Market Slack (Hilsenrath)
- Ikea Economics Lure Central Bankers Seeking New Tools (BBG)
- When Putin ordered up new hospitals, his associates botched the operation (Reuters)
- Norway’s $33 Billion Man Steps Up Search in Asia Real Estate Bet (BBG)
Unions have been the real plague of society. There is not much they have not really destroyed... The problem is that the only way to pay these unions is to raise taxes. This is the poison pill that will destroy Western Society. This hunt for taxes will destroy the economy and will not save the day in the end game. Just do the math.
With Memorial Day rapidly approaching and the onset of summer - and the inevitable spike in the number of drivers on the road, Expedia decided to poll American drivers to understand what really pisses them off the most. The 2014 Road Rage Report ranks "The Texter" as the most aggravating driving behavior beating out "The Tailgater". Perhaps most interestingly, 7 in 10 Americans report having been "flipped off" by a fellow motorist (while only 17% admitted to the aggressive act) and the rudest drivers live in the largest cities (71% rank NYC as the rudest).
Having unsuccessfully lobbied its slave-driving masters with one-day strikes and angry tongue-lashings, Thursday sees the fast food workers’ movement wants to broaden its reach as it pushes for a $15-an-hour wage (that restaurant companies say is unrealistic). In addition to 150 strikes across the US, NY Times reports, support protests will take place in 80 cities in more than 30 countries, from Dublin to Venice to Casablanca to Seoul to Panama City. "Fast food workers in many other parts of the world face the same corporate policies — low pay, no guaranteed hours and no benefits," warned one union leader but judging by the response from the restaurants association, "These are made-for-TV media moments - that’s pretty much it." Workers generally have the same message - "I don’t make enough money to take care of my kids," but as we have noted before (and as Motoman Robot below indicates) raising the minimum wage will have unintended consequences few strikers consider, "it would have consequences on hiring patterns for Main Street businesses across the country."
"My country can cry all it likes about yesterday’s referendum vote in eastern Ukraine, but we set the process in motion by sponsoring the overthrow of an elected Kiev government that was tilting toward Russia and away from NATO overtures. The president elected in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, might have been a grifter and a scoundrel, but so was his opponent, the billionaire gas oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. The main lesson that US authorities have consistently failed to learn in more than a decade of central Asian misadventures: when you set events in motion in distant lands, events, not policy planners at the State Department, end up in the driver’s seat."
If the fame and status of a major global metropolis is determined by the number of billionaire inhabitants, then Moscow has officially overtaken New York City, with the Russian capital hosting 48 billionaires compared to NYC's 43. More importantly, the number continues to rise even as economists and other so-called experts debate the reasons for society's record inequality even though the answer stares all of them in the face (at least it would if their face were facing the chart below). But while we are confident Putin will take particular enjoyment in this specific fact (and don't worry about sanctions impacting Russia's billionaires - the banks will always find loopholes to make sure their best clients don't wire their funds elsewhere), the real story is what is going on in London, where as anyone who has tried buying an apartment flat in Mayfair will confirm, the situation is absolutely out of control, and as the Sunday Times reports as part of its annual Rich List, London now has a whopping 72 billionaires, nearly double the number residing in New York!
It was back on January 30 that the Goldman economist team made its first downward revision to what then was a 3.0% forecast to Q1 GDP. Exactly three months later we find that Goldman was off by only 97% when Q1 GDP printed at 0.1%. That's ok - they are economists, and thus are expected to be massively, epically wrong. So here is Goldman with its first "tracking forecast" for Q2 GDP. It is.... drumroll.... 3.0%. How long until this number too is lowered to 0.1% (to be sure, all that rain in New York City has to detract at least 1%-1.5% from Q2 GDP right?).
"Is it true that nearly 80% of Nevada is still owned by the Federal Government who then pays no tax to the State of Nevada? This seems very strange if true as a backdrop to this entire Bundy affair." The truth behind Nevada is of course just a quagmire of politics. Sorry, but to all the commentators who call Bundy a tax-cheat and an outlaw, be careful of what you speak for the Supreme Court has made it clear in 1845 that the Constitution forbids the federal rangers to be out there to begin with for the Feds could not retain ownership of the territory and simultaneously grant state sovereignty. At the very minimum, it became state land – not federal.