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The Coming Banking Crisis & The End of Bailouts

Behind the curtain, there is a growing concern about a serious banking crisis beginning once again in Europe. Many governments are talking about the crisis behind-the-curtain and we are now beginning to see steps that are being taken to end the TO-BIG-TO-FAIL policies that dominated the 2007-2009 Crash.

The United States is looking at a new radical bank rescue policy where the government is proposing to revise a central pillar of the idea of bailing out banks creating new financial regulation with a new Chapter 14 bankruptcy procedure. They are looking at eliminating the risk of taxpayers’ costs to bail out banks. They are investigating the means for an orderly resolution so that the taxpayers do not have to bail out the banks. This development is causing some concern among the high-flying Wall Street banks, for if that is the case, then another crisis as 2007-2009 will result in even Goldman Sachs closing. The proposal looks to shift the burden to the shareholders and creditors of that bank. This means depositors who are thus creditors.

In Australia, we see similar legislation being proposed. This is the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Crisis Resolution Powers and Other Measures) Bill 2017. This also authorizes bail-ins bringing an end to the bailout.

India Enters the Sovereign Debt Crisis

I have warned continually that the Sovereign Debt Crisis will unfold not so much by people selling government debt, but by the lack of people buying new debt. The greatest peril is when there is NO BID for the new issues because all governments are operating a PONZI scheme. The sell new debt to pay off maturing debt. Currently, holders of Indian government debt have been dumping 4.7 billion rupees ($73 million) of government bonds on average every day this year, according to data from the Clearing Corp. of India. Last year, their net daily sales totaled 368 million rupees.

The Sovereign Debt Crisis emerges when the government is unable to raise enough cash to pay off the maturing debt. India has crossed that threshold so as we have warned, the Sovereign Debt Crisiswill begin from outside the USA and spread to the core. This is how all Empires, nations, and city-states collapse.

Laughable FOMC Statements on Phillips Curve, Inflation Expectations

The Jan 30-31 FOMC minutes were published today. In addition to the usual drivel came laughable Phillips Curve nonsense.

The Fed released its January 30-31 FOMC Meeting Minutes today.

The minutes were a combination of the usual drivel about the economy plus some downright laughable comments on the Phillips Curve and inflation expectations.Let’s start with the drivel.

Economic Drivel

In their discussion of the economic situation and the outlook, meeting participants agreed that information received since the FOMC met in December indicated that the labor market continued to strengthen and that economic activity expanded at a solid rate. Gains in employment, household spending, and business fixed investment were solid, and the unemployment rate stayed low. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy continued to run below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation increased in recent months but remained low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations were little changed, on balance.

Almost all participants continued to anticipate that inflation would move up to the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term as economic growth remained above trend and the labor market stayed strong; several commented that recent developments had increased their confidence in the outlook for further progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent inflation objective. A couple noted that a step-up in the pace of economic growth could tighten labor market conditions even more than they currently anticipated, posing risks to inflation and financial stability associated with substantially overshooting full employment.

However, some participants saw an appreciable risk that inflation would continue to fall short of the Committee’s objective. These participants saw little solid evidence that the strength of economic activity and the labor market was showing through to significant wage or inflation pressures.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Who Is It That Wants to Buy Trillions of US Treasury’s???

Who Is It That Wants to Buy Trillions of US Treasury’s???

As of the latest Treasury update showing federal debt as of Wednesday, February 15…federal debt (red line below) jumped by an additional $50 billion from the previous day to $20.76 trillion.  This is an increase of $266 billion essentially since the most recent debt ceiling passage.  Of course, this isn’t helping the debt to GDP ratio (blue line below) at 105%.

But here’s the problem.  In order for the American economy to register growth, as measured by GDP (the annual change in total value of all goods produced and services provided in the US), that growth is now based solely upon the growth in federal debt.  Without the federal deficit spending, the economy would be shrinking.

The chart below shows the annual change in GDP minus the annual federal deficit incurred.  Since 2008, the annual deficit spending has been far greater than the economic activity that deficit spending has produced.  The net difference is shown below from 1950 through 2017…plus estimated through 2025 based on 2.5% average annual GDP growth and $1.2 trillion annual deficits.  It is not a pretty picture and it isn’t getting better.

Even if we assume an average of 3.5% GDP growth (that the US will not have a recession(s) over a 15 year period) and “only” $1 trillion annual deficits from 2018 through 2025, the US still continues to move backward indefinitely.

The cumulative impact of all those deficits is shown in the chart below.  Federal debt (red line) is at $20.8 trillion and the annual interest expense on that debt (blue line) is jumping, now over a half trillion.  Also shown in the chart is the likely debt creation through 2025 and interest expense assuming a very modest 4% blended rate on all that debt.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The End of (Artificial) Stability

The End of (Artificial) Stability

The central banks’/states’ power to maintain a permanent bull market in stocks and bonds is eroding.
There is nothing natural about the stability of the past 9 years. The bullish trends in risk assets are artificial constructs of central bank/state policies. As these policies are reduced or lose their effectiveness, the era of artificial stability is coming to a close.
The 9-year run of Bull-trend stability is ending as a result of a confluence of macro dynamics:
1. Central banks are under pressure to reduce, end or reverse their unprecedented monetary stimulus, and the consequences are unpredictable, given the market’s reliance on the certainty that “central banks have our back” is ending.
2. Interest rates / bond yields may well plummet in a global recession, but if we look at a 50-year chart of interest rates, we see a saucer-shaped bottoming in play. Technician Louise Yamada has been discussing the tendency of interest rates/bond yields to trace out a multi-year saucer bottom for over a decade, and we can now discern this.
Even if yields plummet in a recession, as many analysts predict, this doesn’t necessarily negate the longer term trend of higher yields and rates.
3. The global economy is overdue for a business-cycle recession, which is characterized by a retrenchment of credit and the default of marginal debt. The “recovery” is the weakest recovery in the past 60 years, and now it’s the longest expansion.
4. The mainstream financial media is telling us that everything is going great in the global economy, but this sort of complacent (or even euphoric) “it’s all good news” typically marks the top of stocks, just as universal negativity marks secular lows.
5. What happens to markets characterized by uncertainty? Once certainty is replaced by uncertainty, markets become fragile and thus exposed to sudden shifts of sentiment. This destabilization is expressed as volatility, but it’s far deeper than volatility as measured by VIX or sentiment indicators.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Money Manager: ‘The Chaos Coming To The Markets Is Here’

Money Manager: ‘The Chaos Coming To The Markets Is Here’

Money manager Michael Pento says that profound chaos surrounding the economy is coming. The insolvency is becoming clear, and soon, we will no longer be able to sweep the problem under the rug.

Sitting down with USA Watchdog’s Greg Hunter, Pento discussed the chaos people predicting in the markets and says that it’s already here. Pento is the author of the book titled The Coming Bond Market Collapse, as well as a financial expert and he says the media is lying when they say the economy is doing well.

“There are so many things that can go wrong with rising interest rates.  First of all, you have to understand that the permabulls that you hear on CNBC will tell you there is nothing wrong with rising interest rates.  It is a symbol of growth.  If you look at industrial production and retail sales for January, they were negative.  So, rising rates are occurring, not because of growth, they are caused by insolvency concerns.  That is the key metric here, and they are credit risks and insolvency concerns.”

“For the first time in 40 years, you are going to have bond prices and equity prices in free-fall. That happened in the 1970’s, but it’s going to be worse because in the 1970’s, you didn’t have an insolvency concern. . . The chaos coming to markets is here. It’s not going away, and it’s not going to be brushed under the rug. It’s not going to stay on the sidelines for another few years. The years from 2007 to 2017 were the years central banks were buying everything. There was no volatility, and stocks just went up. Those days have ended, and the volatility is only going to become much more profound.”

Hunter then asks Pento to explain who is insolvent.  The answer isn’t calming in the least.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Too Clever By Half


The smartest animals on my farm aren’t my bees (although they possess the genius of the algorithm). It’s not the horses or the goats or even the dogs. The barn cat is pretty smart, but only in fairly limited circumstances, and the house cats are useless. Obviously it’s not the sheep or the chickens. Nope, the smartest animals on my farm aren’t really on my farm at all. They’re the coyotes who live in the woods.

My favorite example? We have a really big invisible fence for the dogs … covers about five acres. Yes, my farm is a great place to be a dog. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the technology of the invisible fence, it’s a buried wire that transmits a signal to a receiver placed on your dog’s collar. When the dog gets close to the wire, the receiver starts to beep, and when the dog gets all the way to the “fence” boundary, the receiver generates a small electric zap. I know, I know … it’s negative reinforcement and it’s a shock collar and all that. Don’t care. It’s fantastic for us and our dogs. But whether it’s a smart dog like Maggie the German Shepherd or a … shall we say … “special” dog like Sam the Sheltie, after a few weeks (Maggie) or a few hours (Sam) they will forget where the fence exists if they stop wearing the collar.

Not so the coyotes.

The coyotes know *exactly* where the invisible fence begins and ends, without the benefit of *ever* wearing a shock collar. How do I know? Because they intentionally leave their scat on their side of the invisible fence, creating a demilitarized zone as precise and as well-observed as anything on the Korean peninsula.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Strong Dollar,” “Weak Dollar,” What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

“Strong Dollar,” “Weak Dollar,” What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

gold backed dollar

The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronoucements and reversals which will take place in the coming months/years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

The brief firestorm was set off by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said in response to the dollar’s recent slide, “Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us, it’s good because it has to do with trade and opportunities.”*  Mnuchin backtracked a bit as international financial leaders criticized the apparent shift in policy while Administration officials sought to clarify the Secretary’s remarks.  President Trump weighted in on the matter saying, “Ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar” and added that Mnuchin’s comments were “taken out of context.”

While President Trump sought to allay jittery currency markets that monetary policy had not changed, candidate Trump supported the Federal Reserve’s suppression of interest rates and did not want to see a rising dollar:

I must be honest, I’m a low interest rate

person.  If we raise rates and if the

dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going

to have some very major problems.**

Of course, the entire uproar about a strong dollar versus weak dollar is a sham. When the dollar (and for that matter all other national currencies) cannot be redeemed for either gold or silver, it is inherently “weak” and ultimately worthless.  That this obvious fact is not recognized by the Trump Administration, international monetary authorities, and the financial press demonstrates just how unstable the dollar and world currencies actually are.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Calm Before The Inflationary Storm

Calm Before The Inflationary Storm

The economy has been showing great gains, and that positive trend is fueling fears of a surge in inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the key predictor of inflationary trends, rose .05 percent in January, which greatly exceeded the anticipated rise of 0.2 percent. The market reacted as expected as stocks fell, and government bond yield rose.

The Fed is keeping a close eye on these developments, and that could fuel the inflation fears. The fear of rising prices includes most economic sectors, from gasoline, housing, food, healthcare, to clothing.

Predictably, the market reacted immediately to the CPI rise with a 100-point loss after opening, even though the decline was quickly reversed. Investors are anticipating that the Federal Reserve could raise their interest rates three or more times by year-end.

As the economy continues to grow, unemployment has fallen to a record low and the sale of tangible goods is up. Economists are anticipating the economic upswing to continue as the GDP is expected to grow by 3 percent, faster than anticipated. Since 2009, the GDP has only risen by an annual average of 2.2 percent. As a result, prices for consumer goods have risen predictably and steadily. The Federal Reserve is setting policy with a 2 percent inflation in mind. A higher-than-anticipated inflation rate could raise interest rates, making it more difficult for companies to borrow needed funds. Following the passage of a $300 billion spending package, market-watchers are now convinced of a 62 percent chance that the Feds will raise interest rates three times by December. Rate hikes in March and June are almost a certainty, with the third hike a high possibility. A fourth hike is not out of the question and becoming more likely. This is seen by many as the real problem.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fed President Sounds Panic Over Level Of US Debt

Nearly a decade after the US unleashed its biggest debt-issuance binge in history, made possible only thanks to the Fed’s monetization of nearly $4 trillion in deficits (and debt issuance), the Fed is starting to get nervous about the (un)sustainability of the US debt.

The Federal Reserve should continue to raise U.S. interest rates this year in response to faster economic growth fueled by recent tax cuts as well as a stronger global economy, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said on Wednesday.

“I believe the Federal Reserve should be gradually and patiently raising the federal funds rate during 2018,” Kaplan said in an essay updating his views on the economic and policy outlook.

“History suggests that if the Fed waits too long to remove accommodation at this stage in the economic cycle, excesses and imbalances begin to build, and the Fed ultimately has to play catch-up.” The Fed is widely expected to raise rates three times this year, starting next month.

Kaplan, who does not vote on Fed policy this year but does participate in its regular rate-setting meetings, did not specify his preferred number of rate hikes for this year. But he warned Wednesday that falling behind the curve on rate hikes could make a recession more likely.

Echoing the recent Goldman analysis, warning that the recently implemented budget could lead to an “unsustainable” debt load, Kaplan – who previously worked for Goldman – also had some cautionary words about the Trump administration’s recent tax overhaul, which he said would help lift U.S. economic growth to 2.5% to 2.75% this year, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate, now at 4.1% down to 3.6% by the end of 2018.

On the all important issue of inflation, he projected it would firm this year on route to the Fed’s 2-percent goal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Socialism Always Moves to Tyranny

 

The economic message taught in most universities is very distorted. It universally teaches children to judge economic systems from the perspective of their victims. They will endlessly point out the impoverished people and the devastation of the climate as proof that capitalism is evil and that we need government to intervene. We have economist after economist talking always about income disparity as an evil implying that everyone should earn close to the same – one income fits all.

Socialism is a Sin

As they always point a finger at the rich and covet whatever they have in direct violation of the Ten Commandments, politicians are elevated to a pedestal and championed as our savior ignoring how they too leave office clothed in riches and the fool is always the person who buys into the whole political-economic-socialist agenda.

Hillary Clinton saw nothing wrong with renting a house for $50,000 a week in the Hamptons hamlet of Amagansett. I know a lot of wealthy people who would not spend that much to rent a house for a vacation for just one week. It was Hillary during the campaign who pointed to the fact that Trump was a billionaire and said: “Think of what we could do with that!”

Then we have Obama – another champion of the poor. He bought a house in DC and paid $8.1 million. Of course, there was the scheming Obama who turned to real corruption to buy a house for $1.6 million BEFORE he was a Senator. He cut a deal with an indicted felon who bought a property for $625,000 and then sold it to Obama for $104,500 as Obama said it was fair value – right!. Obama has magically earned millions from public service.

Then there is Obama’s famous Rolex watch.  His watch is a Rolex Cellini, the cheap version which tells time-only. It is a white gold case and a classic alligator strap which goes for $15,200.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Raising Interest Rates Is Like Starting a Fission Chain Reaction

Raising Interest Rates Is Like Starting a Fission Chain Reaction

Central bankers seem to think that adjusting interest rates is a nice little tool that they can easily handle. The problem is that higher interest rates affect the economy in many ways simultaneously. The lessons that seem to have been learned from past rate hikes may not be applicable today.

Furthermore, there can be quite a long time lag involved. Thus, by the time a central banker starts seeing an effect, it may be clear that the amount of the interest rate change is far too large.

A recent Zerohedge article seems to suggest that problems can arise with 10-year Treasury interest rates of less of than 3%. We may be facing a period of declining acceptable interest rates.

Figure 1. Chart from The Scariest Chart in the Market.

Let’s look at a few of the issues involved:

[1] The standard reason for raising interest rates seems to be concern about inflationary impacts occurring as a result of rising food and energy prices. In practice, the impact of such an interest rate change can be quite severe and quite delayed. 

Figure 2 is an illustration from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website showing one of today’s concerns: rising energy costs. Food prices are not yet rising. Normally, however, if oil prices rise, the cost of producing food will also rise. This happens because modern agricultural methods and transportation to markets both require the use of petroleum products.

Figure 2. Figure created by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showing percentage change in the Consumer Price Index between January 2017 and January 2018, for selected categories.

In fact, raising short-term interest rates seems to have been associated with trying to bring down rising food and energy costs, as early as the 1970s and early 1980s.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meet the Italian government’s Orwellian new automated tax snitch

Meet the Italian government’s Orwellian new automated tax snitch

By the end of the 3rd century AD, the finances of ancient Rome were in terminal crisis.

Years and years of debasing the currency had resulted in severe hyperinflation– a period of Roman history known as the Crisis of the Third Century (from AD 235 through AD 284).

During the time of Julius Caesar, for example, the Roman silver denarius coin was nearly 98% pure silver.

Two centuries later in the mid-100s AD, the silver content had fallen to 83.5%.

And by the late 200s AD, the silver content in the denarius was just 5%.

As the money continued to be devalued, prices across the Empire skyrocketed.

Wheat, for example, rose in price by over 4,000% during the first three decades of the third century.

Rome was on the brink of collapse. And when Emperor Diocletian came to power at the end of the third century, he tried to stabilize the economy with his ill-fated Edict on Wages and Prices.

Diocletian’s infamous decree fixed the price of everything in the Empire. Food. Lumber. Salaries. Everything.

And anyone caught violating the prices set forth in his edict would be put to death.

Another one of Diocletian’s major policies was reforming the Roman tax system.

He mandated widespread census reports to determine precisely how much wealth and property each citizen had.

They counted every parcel of land, every piece of livestock, every bushel of wheat, and demanded from the population increasing amounts of tribute.

And anyone found violating this debilitating tax policy was punished with– you guessed it– the death penalty.

Needless to say, Diocletian’s reforms didn’t work.

Every high school economics student knows that wage and price controls don’t work… and that excessive taxation bankrupts the population.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff: We’re Ripe for a 1987-Style Crash (Video)

Peter Schiff: We’re Ripe for a 1987-Style Crash (Video)

Stock markets have settled down after an awful couple of weeks earlier this month.  On Feb. 5, the Dow Jones suffered its largest-ever drop in terms of points. It was down 1,600 at one point and ultimately lost 1,175.21 points, a 4.6% drop that day. At one point during that week, the Dow was off 10% in correction territory. But everything is calm now and most of the mainstream is once again feeling bullish and optimistic.

Peter Schiff spoke at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference 2018 last month before the market tanked. But his message remains relevant in the aftermath of the plunge and the subsequent recovery because the dynamics in the market remain pretty much the same. Conditions are still ripe for a 1987-style market crash.

Investors have not been this optimistic…since 1987. They are even more optimistic than they were at the height of the technology bubble, the dot-com bubble, the new era. Of course, 1987 didn’t end well, right? We had a stock market crash, and there’s a lot about what’s happening today that reminds me about what was happening in ’87.”

Highlights from the Speech

“The economy has not improved under Trump. We don’t have a booming economy. I mean, Trump keeps telling us we have a booming economy, but nothing is booming.”

“When Donald Trump was a candidate for president, he said that the unemployment numbers were phony. They were fake. They were a fraud. They were a con. He said the real unemployment rate is 30%, 40%. Now, every time there is an unemployment number that comes out, he’s tweeting about how great it is we have this record low unemployment and we should all give him credit for it.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What is Optimal Monetary Policy, Anyway?

Ever since the important contributions of new classical economists Finn E. Kydland and Edward C. Prescott during the 1970s and 80s, modern macroeconomics seeks optimal rules for monetary policy. Indeed, Milton Friedman had previously emphasized the importance of a binding rule for monetary policy. He recommended a constant but moderate expansion of the money stock over time as well as the abolition of fractional reserve banking in order to improve the central bank’s control over the money stock. Neither of these two measures has ever been implemented over an extended period of time.

Creating Rules for Monetary Policy

Many modern macroeconomists have come to reject the idea of a constant growth rule in favor of a more complex rule that incorporates feedback effects from other macroeconomic aggregates. According to their rationale, political discretion in the form of unexpected accelerations of the money growth rate may lead to short-term benefits. Yet, the latter would come at long-term costs of either permanently too high price inflation or a consecutive readjustment to lower money growth rates that goes hand in hand with real economic losses in output and employment. This is what economists would refer to as the sacrifice ratio. Optimal monetary policy thus requires abstention from reaping some of the potential short-term benefits for the sake of long-term financial and economic stability.

The most famous monetary policy rules that have been deemed optimal are named after John B. Taylor. According to such Taylor rules the central rate of interest should be set in response to changes of actual price inflation, the natural rate of interest, as well as the output gap. There is one obvious practical problem, namely, that the output gap and the natural rate of interest are non-observable theoretical concepts that have to be estimated or replaced by more or less arbitrary empirical proxies.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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