"Six years after the recession ended, many U.S. states are hard pressed to balance budgets because of a sluggish recovery and their own policy decisions and in fact, thirty-two states faced budget gaps in fiscal 2015 or 2016 or both." Bloomberg reports. Indeed, state and local governments are so broke that "even Republican governors loath to raise taxes have proposed higher levies."
Following an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform plan aimed at closing a $100 billion funding gap, Moody's downgrades Chicago to junk, giving the city the dubious distinction of being the only major city "in recent history" to carry such a low rating other than Detroit. Chicago now faces accelerated payments to creditors of more than $2 billion.
In the coming months, however many hours Clinton spends introducing herself to voters in small-town America, she will spend hundreds more raising money in four-star hotels and multimillion-dollar homes around the nation. The question is: "Can Clinton claim to stand for 'everyday Americans,' while hauling in huge sums of cash from the very wealthiest of us?" This much cannot be disputed: Clinton's connections to the financiers and bankers of this country - and this country's campaigns - run deep. As Nomi Prins questions, who counts more to such a candidate, the person you met over that chicken burrito bowl or the Citigroup partner you met over crudités and caviar?
It appears the re-election of Rahm Emanuel as Chicago Mayor has done nothing to assuage concerns about the city's insolvency. As Emanuel's victory became more assured, credit risk (measured by the spread between Chicago Muni yields and Treasury yields) has soared from 180bps to over 240bps. Furthermore, it has accelerated even more since the April 7th election. Recent statements by S&P that if the city fails to articulate & implement a plan by the end of 2015 to sustainably fund pension contributions, or if it substantially draws down reserves to fund contributions, they will likely lower the rating; has not helped (given that Moody's already have Chicago at Baa2 - just 2 notches above junk).
- Shell Will Buy BG Group for $70 Billion in Cash and Shares (BBG)
- IMF warns of long period of lower growth (FT)
- Wall Street sanguine as it heads into worst earnings season in six years (Reuters)
- Switzerland First With 10-Year Bond at Negative Yield (WSJ)
- U.S. Dot-Com Bubble Was Nothing Compared to Today’s China Prices (BBG)
- Rahm Emanuel Re-Elected as Mayor of Fiscally Ravaged Chicago (BBG)
- Oil falls on U.S. stock build, record Saudi output (Reuters)
- White South Carolina policeman charged with murdering black man (Reuters)
- German Factory Orders Drop for Second Month (BBG)
- A third of Republicans support Iran nuclear deal (Reuters)
Yesterday it was only the US that got the full benefit of the market-wide stop hunt that sent the US market soaring on its biggest opening ramp in 2015 following the worst payroll data since 2013, because Europe was closed for Easter Monday. Which means today it was Europe's turn to celebrate atrocious US data (yes, yes, snow - because somehow tremendous January and February jobs data was not impacted by snow), and in the first European trading session of the week, equities have started off on the front-foot.
- Israelis vote as 'King Bibi's' reign hangs in the balance (Reuters), Factbox: Main candidates in Israel's election (Reuters)
- Iran Can Add Million Barrels a Day of Oil If Sanctions Halt (BBG)
- Kremlin rules out handing back Crimea to Ukraine (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia Needs More Oil to Feed Local Refinery Expansion (BBG)
- How Lafarge’s CEO Went From Holcim Merger Architect to Obstacle (BBG)
- When Yellen Gets Less Predictable She’s Getting Back to Normal (BBG)
- Iran nuclear talks intensify as sides face tough issues (Reuters)
- Debunking $1.4 Trillion Europe Debt Myth in Post-Heta Age (BBG)
While the shockingly large scale of death and violence in Chicago has now become so mainstream as not to warrant daily attention by the media, the news that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's son Zach was robbed of his cellphone and assaulted around 10:05pm Friday night near the family's affluent neighborhood home is likely to raise public awareness of just how bad things are getting in 'Chiraq'. As The Chicago tribue reports, two males approached Zach from behind; one of them "placed his arm around the victim's neck in a rear chokehold," and the second one struck the teen with a fist, knocking him to the ground. The robbers took the teen’s cellphone and patted him down, the police report said. The mayor has an around-the-clock police detail - fully 5% of the 19th district's police manpower, but its whereabouts at the time of the robbery weren't disclosed.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
A little over a year ago, we presented a "Yellow" asset, which was "the best performer of the past year." It wasn't gold: it was yellow cab medallions. As we wrote then, "the best returning asset class traded in the NY Metro area is yellow but doesn't change hands on Wall Street.... over the last 12 months New York City taxi medallions have risen 49% in price, besting the relatively humdrum returns of the S&P 500 (up 21%), the NASDAQ (22%) and the Dow (18%). Medallions – essentially the right to operate a for-hail taxi in New York City – now trade for as much as $1.3 million, an all-time record." In retrospect it was also the perfect time to cash out on the "yellow" euphoria. According to the NYT, "the average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, according to an analysis of sales data. Previous figures published by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission — showing flat prices — appear to have been incorrect, and the commission removed them from its website after an inquiry from The New York Times."
This should fix it and calm the panic:
*OBAMA SAID TO APPOINT RON KLAIN AS EBOLA CZAR, CNN TWEETS
Forget medical experience, what the USA needs to combat the worst Ebola pandemic ever is "an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents - Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011)" Gotta wonder how Tom Frieden feels about this...
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, says that society would be far better off if people quit trying to live past age 75. His new article entitled “Why I Hope To Die At 75” has the following very creepy subtitle: “An argument that society and families—and you - will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly”. In the article, Emanuel forcefully argues that the quality of life for most people is significantly diminished past the age of 75 and that once we get to that age we should refuse any more medical care that will extend our lifespans. This is quite chilling to read, considering the fact that this is coming from one of the key architects of Obamacare. Of course he never uses the term “death panels” in his article, but that is obviously what Emanuel would want in a perfect world. To Emanuel, it is inefficient to waste medical resources on those that do not have a high “quality of life”. So he says that “75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop”.
If you don’t understand the concept of “order out of chaos,” then you’ll never understand a thing. Each supposed disintegration of global unity has eventually led to greater centralization, and this is something the skeptics seem to forget. The progression of crises suggests that the next war will lead to total globalization under the dominance of a minority of elitists posing as "wise men" who only wish to bring peace and harmony to the masses. In the meantime, the skeptics will continue to mindlessly debate in the face of all reason that the whole thing was a fluke, an act of random mathematical chance, leading coincidentally to the one thing the establishment rulers crave: total global totalitarian micromanagement.
“Commercial shale gas production in Europe can begin not earlier than in 2016-2018 even with positive geological surveys. But production volumes will not bring about major changes in the European gas market due to a decline in conventional gas production,” Gazprom. Which, sadly for Europe, means that Putin will be dictating his terms on the energy-strapped continent for a long, long time.