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Mind the Junk—-This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Capitalism

Mind the Junk—-This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Capitalism

The financial system is loaded with anomalies, deformations and mispricings—-outcomes which would never occur on an honest free market. For example, the junk bond yield at just 2% in Europe is now below that of the “risk-free” US treasury bond owing solely to the depredations of the ECB.

Indeed, madman Draghi has purchased $2.6 trillion of securities since launching QE in March 2015, and during the interim has actually bought more government debt than was issued by all the socialist governments of the EU-19 combined!

Euro Area Central Bank Balance SheetOutrunning Europe’s deficit-addicted welfare states is quite a feat in itself, but that wasn’t the half of it. The ECB’s printing press became so parched for government debt to buy that it has ended up owning more than $120 billion of corporate bonds. In some recent cases, the ECB has actually taking down 20% or more of new corporate issues—an action that surely leaves the fastidious founders of its Bundesbank prodecessor turning in their graves.

In turn, the ECB’s Big Fat Thumb on the investment grade scale stampeded fund managers into the junk market in quest of yield, especially for BB rated paper which makes up 75% of the European high yield market. So doing, these return hungry managers have crushed the the yield on the Merrill Lynch junk bond index, driving it down from 6.4% in early 2106 to an incredible 2.002% last week.

That is to say, leveraged speculators in European junk have made 100% plus returns over the last 20 months on dodgy paper that should be yielding double or triple its current rate.

In fact, the current lunatic euro-trash yield is completely off the historical charts. Euro-junk rarely yielded under 5% in the past, and had spiked to upwards of 10% at the time of Draghi’s “whatever it takes” ukase, which, in turn, was modest compared to the 25% blow-0ff high during the depths of the financial crisis.

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Yawning Debt Trap Proves the Great Recession is Still On

Yawning Debt Trap Proves the Great Recession is Still On

Published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US. Used to represent people piling up America's national debt.While David Stockman stated early this year with resolute certainty that the debt ceiling debate would blow congress up and send the nation reeling over the financial precipice, I avoided jumping on the debt-ceiling bandwagon. While I was convinced major rifts in the economy would start to show up in the summer, I was not convinced they would have anything to do with the debt ceiling debate. If there is anything you can be certain of this in endless recovery-mode economy, it is that the US will just keep pushing its bags of bonds up a hill until it can finally push no more. So, I figured another punt down the road was more likely.

The Debt Ceiling Debate that Didn’t Happen

The reason I didn’t think that debate would blow apart is that Republicans have more than once experienced the political reality that comes from taking the nation to the brink of default or of shutting down government. Each time that kind of thing has happened, it has hurt Republicans far more than it has hurt Democrats. I doubted establishment Repubs (the majority) had the stomach to take us through another credit downgrade, though I’ve noted such an event was possible.

Unsurprisingly to me, then, Congress did the only thing it seems to be capable of any more and just kicked that can a little further down the road with hardly a kerfuffle about it. Hurricane Harvey made things a lot easier for congress to kick the can again by providing a good excuse to dodge that unwanted debate on the basis of massive human suffering that truly did need tending to. Much-talked-about government shutdown put off for a better time

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

The Deep State’s Bogus ‘Iranian Threat’

The Deep State’s Bogus ‘Iranian Threat’

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Yesterday we identified a permanent fiscal crisis as one of the quadruple witching forces arising in October 2017 which will shatter the global financial bubble. Today the Donald is on the cusp of making the crisis dramatically worse by decertifying the Iranian nuke deal, thereby reinforcing another false narrative that enables the $1 trillion Warfare State to continue bleeding the nation’s fiscal solvency.

In a word, the whole notion that Iran is a national security threat and state sponsor of terrorism is just as bogus as the Russian meddling story or the claim that the chain of events resulting from the coup d’ etat fostered by Washington on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 is evidence of Russian expansionism and aggression.

Likewise, it’s part of the same tissue of lies which led to Washington’s massive, destructive and counterproductive interventions in Syria and Libya — when neither regime posed an iota of threat to the safety and security of the American homeland.

To the contrary, all of these false narratives are the cover stories which justify the Warfare State’s massive draw on the nation’s broken finances. We will get to the Big Lie about Iran momentarily, but first it is useful to demonstrate just how enormously excessive the nation’s defense budget actually is, and why the denizens of the Imperial City—especially the neocon ideologues—-find it necessary to peddle such threadbare untruths.

Spoiler alert: Iran has actually never attacked a single foreign nation in modern history whereas Washington has chosen to unilaterally intervene in or arm virtually every surrounding country in the region.

Here’s some historical context that dramatizes our point about Washington’s hideously excessive spending on defense. Back in 1962 on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US defense budget was $52 billion, which would amount to $340 billion in today’s (2017$) purchasing power.

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

Can Kicking Time In The Imperial City

Can Kicking Time In The Imperial City

You have to hand it to the Donald. He speaks his mind. This week he dropped an unwelcome stink bomb on Capitol Hill during his Phoenix rant Tuesday night. If Mexico won’t pay for my wall, he seemed to say, than Congress will—-even if I have to shutdown the Imperial City to extract the first $1.6 billion of seed money:

“We’re going to get our wall,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Phoenix. “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

The Mexican Wall waste an estimated $20 billion needed to complete, and would place ICE agents at the border handing out guest worker papers to anyone who comes across looking for a job. That would mean more domestic production and tax revenue, and a tad less addition to the crushing national debt that Washington is handing generations to come.

It didn’t take long for Washington’s permanent political class to say “no dice” to the shutdown idea. It seems Speaker Paul Ryan has been domiciled in the Imperial City since he was 21 years old and makes no bones about his priorities.

“I don’t think anyone’s interested in having a shutdown,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a stop at an Intel Corp. facility in Oregon on Wednesday…….

Mr.. Ryan said he expected lawmakers would need to pass a short-term spending bill in September to give them more time to work out a broader budget agreement later this year.

What has the GOP Congress been doing the last nine months that it hasn’t enacted into law a single one of the 12 annual appropriations bills? The same bills that would provide upwards of $1.1 trillion to run the Pentagon and the domestic agencies.

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

The Goldman Sachs Regency

The Goldman Sachs Regency

There’s not many tears being shed over Steve Bannon’s departure. His ethno-nationalist and protectionist worldview are opposite to true notions of liberty, free markets and a minimalist state.

While Bannonism presented itself as a coherent alternative ideology to mainstream Big Government, it actually boiled down to an incoherent potpourri of cultural resentments and prejudices, economic shibboleths and amateur historical theorizing. His message appealed to the alt-Right because it proposed to replace oppressive statism with a more right wing version rooted in protectionism and nativism.

Notwithstanding the rotten essence of Bannonism, however, the firebrand self-promoter who was the Donald’s chief strategist got it right in his parting shots at his internal White House enemies. In so many words, he correctly asserted that the nation will now be ruled by a Goldman Sachs Regency and a team of generals.

The move embodies the essence of Albert Einstein’s famous definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon told the conservative Weekly Standard on the Friday after his White House departure. “We will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over.”

The Donald will now function, as Robert Wenzel aptly described it, as “something of a tweet master frontman” with the Vampire Squid riding higher than ever before. Expect him to be riding even higher than when the George W. Bush handed a blank check to Wall Street for a bailout at the Treasury led by former Goldman CEO, Hank Paulson.

Goldman’s crew in the current White House – Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, Dina Powell and Jared Kushner – are likely to bring about the final destruction of the Trump presidency. The cast of characters will eventually trigger a thundering collapse in the markets which will finally crush Goldman Sachs and its posse of gamblers and crony capitalist.

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

Don’t Forget About The Red Swan

Don’t Forget About The Red Swan

[Urgent Note: The nation’s future and a massive debt ceiling hangs in the balance as Trump pushes beyond the Comey hearings. That’s why I’m on a mission to send my new book TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… and How to Bring It Back to every American who responds, absolutely free. Click here for more details.]

Given the anti-Trump feeding frenzy, we continue to believe that a Swan is on its way bearing Orange. But if that’s not enough to dissuade the dip buyers, perhaps the impending arrival of the Red Swan will at least give them pause.

The chart below comprises a picture worth thousands of words. It puts the lie to the latest Wall Street belief that the global economy is accelerating and that surging corporate profits justify the market’s latest manic rip.

What is actually going on is a short-lived global credit/growth impulse emanating from China. Beijing panicked early last year and opened up the capital expenditure (CapEx) spigots at the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) out of fear that China’s great machine was heading for stall speed at exactly the wrong time.

The 19th national communist party Congress scheduled for late fall of 2017. This every five year event is the single most important happening in the Red Ponzi. This time the event is slated to be the coronation of Xi Jinping as the second coming of Mao.

Beijing was not about to risk an economy fizzling toward a flat line before the Congress. Yet that threat was clearly on the horizon as evident from the dark green line in the chart below which represents total fixed asset investment.

The latter is the spring-wheel of China’s booming economy, but it had dropped from 22% per annum growth rate when Mr. Xi took the helm in 2012 to 10% by early 2016.

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

Peak Bull: Fake Economy, and Fake News

Peak Bull: Fake Economy, and Fake News

[Urgent Note: David Stockman warns that the nation’s economy and a massive debt ceiling hangs in the balance as Wall Street’s peak bull stocks carry on. The economist is on a mission to send his new book TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… and How to Bring It Back out to every American who responds, absolutely free. Click here for more details.]

The American economy has been mangled by decades of assault on capitalist prosperity.

Growth is now dying because the Federal Reserve’s hit on corporate America that has strip-mined its balance sheets to feed the halls of Wall Street. Trillions of dollars have been thrown into financial engineering (stock buybacks, M&A deals and leveraged recaps) while neglecting real investment and productivity in Flyover America.

Financialization of the US economy since Greenspan

The single most important thing that speculators and bulls on Wall Street should be looking at now is where we came from. If Wall Street understood this, they wouldn’t continue to expect the “born again” Reagan stimulus that has been imagined since Trump’s inauguration.

The extent of what actually happened during the Reagan era is also important to examine. In the eight years after Reagan’s tax bill got handed out, the national debt and defense budget exploded. We had more red ink during in that eight year period than during the first 190 years of the Republic – in fact it doubled.

Federal Debt as GDP

The national debt, which you can see starting in 1980 went from around $800-900 billion to well over $3 trillion. The share of GDP soared during that period.

This is how the Reagan defense and tax cuts were funded. The move left the nation’s fiscal accounts in a dramatically different condition than when it started. Even Ronald Reagan, with his best of intentions, went in believing he was going to end up with less national debt and balanced budgets – though he ended up adding $1.8 trillion.

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

Derangement And Danger On The Potomac

Derangement And Danger On The Potomac

undefinedThe horrific shooting spree on the practice field of the GOP’s congressional baseball team happened early yesterday morning, but it was hardly the end of Wednesday’s madness on the Potomac.

As it happened, the former was apparently another random eruption by of one of America’s sicko lone wolves — a wretch in the same league as South Carolina church killer, Dylann Roof. Notwithstanding that the latter had littered the nether regions of the internet with racist rantings while the former was apparently a prolific Never Trumper left-winger, neither represented a real threat to the nation’s equanimity — even if they did bring a savage rain of violence to bear on those unfortunate dozens caught in their immediate line of fire.

Not so for the 325 million American citizens who were pounded upon during the balance of the day by the allegedly “sane” Imperial City officialdom which rules the roost in America.

Specifically, we have in mind Janet Yellen’s hideous presser in which she declared “mission accomplished” and that the US economy is blessed with “solid fundamentals” that are getting ever stronger. And in the same vein of unreality, there soon came the Senate’s 97-2 vote to smack the Donald in his ample jaws and impose even more sanctions on Russia, thereby bringing the nation another step closer to the brink of war and bankruptcy.

Let us unpack this. The American people are being brought to ruin by three institutions that are mortal threats to liberty and prosperity. To wit, the Federal Reserve, the military/industrial/surveillance complex and a sinecured Congress that is burying unborn generations in debt — even as it sanctimoniously presumes that it is doing god’s work by servicing the beltway racketeers who keep it perpetually in office.

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

Why The Markets Are Overdue For A Gigantic Bust

r.classen/Shutterstock

Why The Markets Are Overdue For A Gigantic Bust

It’s just not possible to print our way to prosperity
Let me begin with a caveat: confirmation bias is an ever-present risk for an analyst such as myself.

If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘confirmation bias’ suggests that once we’ve invested time and emotional energy into developing a worldview, we’ll then seek information to confirm that view.

After writing about the economy for so many years, I’m now so convinced that we can’t print our way to prosperity that I find myself seeing signs confirming this view everywhere, every single day. So that’s the danger to be aware of when listening to me.  I’m going to keep repeating this mantra and Im going to keep finding data that supports this view.

Based on lots of historical inputs, I have concluded that Printing money out of thin air can engineer lots of things, including asset price bubbles and the redistribution of wealth from the masses to the elites.  But it cannot print up real prosperity.

As much as I try, I simply cannot jump on the bandwagon that says that printing up money out of thin air has any long-term utility for an economy. It’s just too clear to me that doing so presents plenty of dangers, due to what we might call ‘economic gravity’: What goes up, must also come down.

Which brings us to this chart:

The 200 bubble blown by Greenspan was bad, the next one by Bernanke was horrible, but this one by Yellen may well prove fatal.  At least to entire financial markets, large institutions, and a few sovereigns.

It’s essential to note that more than two-thirds of the net worth tracked in the above chart is now comprised of ‘financial assets.’  That is, paper claims on real things.

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

David Stockman Sounds The Alarm – Fiscal Bloodbath and Market Crash to Occur “Between August and November”

David Stockman Sounds The Alarm – Fiscal Bloodbath and Market Crash to Occur “Between August and November”

As time goes on, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Trump isn’t going to be able to prevent a major financial crisis in this country. Depending on your beliefs, that’s either because he’s inept in some way, or because he’s being hamstrung by a political system that’s determined to keep our nation on the same unsustainable path. Whatever the case may be, it seems that there is no way that we can change course at this point. We’re headed for a financial crisis, and it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

That’s also the opinion of David Stockman, a former Congressman and director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan. In this interview with USA Watchdog, he reveals why the market rally that broke out after the last election, “was the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen.” He also explains why the economy could go off the rails this year, after our government endures a major budgetary crisis.

Earlier this month our government avoided a shutdown, because Trump decided to sign Congress’s $1.2 trillion spending bill. In effect, he postponed a serious fight with Congress for later this year.

On May 2nd he tweeted “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” So clearly, next time he’s going to be a lot less compromising in his efforts to change the budget. That’s going to spawn a fight over the budget between Trump and both political parities, and according to Stockman, that’s when the next wave of our financial collapse is going to arrive.

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

“Look Ma, No Hands!”

“Look Ma, No Hands!”

The Deep State is escalating its war on President Trump but the Wall Street partiers apparently couldn’t care less. When the machines tagged 2402 on the S&P 500 yesterday, it was surely a historic case of “look ma, no hands!”

It’s hard to imagine what more will be needed to ignite an eruption of fear and panic in the casino amidst Wall Street’s record and wholly irrational state of somnolence.

After all, the Fed is sidelined and out of dry powder. The Red Ponzi is tottering. The U.S. retail sector is descending into an apocalypse. The giant auto bubble is fracturing. The Trump Stimulus is dead in the water, and Washington is heading for an extended stretch of complete dysfunction and acrimonious combat.

And if that isn’t that enough to upset the applecart — there are a lot more headwinds coming down the pike.

But the point is the insane governance process in Washington, which is completely unhinged, is combined with a level of insane complacency on Wall Street. Which is literally off the charts.

It would be one thing if our current fantastically inflated financial markets were reflective of a gusher of private sector growth, investment and productivity. That is, something like a new gilded age of invention and raw capitalist energy like occurred in the 1880s or 1920s.

The opposite is more likely the case, however. We have a mutant outbreak of financialization, debt, falsified financial prices and biblical levels of speculation and money shuffling — artificial economic conditions which are absolutely dependent upon agencies of the state.

Without treasury bailouts and endless central bank credit infusions, today’s massive financial bubbles would have splattered long ago.

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

Hurricane Bearing Down on the Casino

[Urgent Note: The nation’s future and a massive retail apocalypse hang in the balance as Trump pushes beyond his first 100 days. That’s why I’m on a mission to send my new book TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… and How to Bring It Back to every American who responds, absolutely free. Click here for more details.]

Yesterday I said the Donald was absolutely right in canning the insufferable James Comey, but that he has also has stepped on a terminal political land-mine. And he did.

That’s because the entire Russian meddling and collusion narrative is a ridiculous, evidence-free attempt to re-litigate the last election. And now that the powers that be have all the justification they need. And what is already an irrational witch-hunt will be quickly turned into a scorched-earth assault on a sitting president.

I have no idea how this will play out, but as a youthful witness to history back in 1973-1974 I observed Tricky Dick’s demise in daily slow motion. But the most memorable part of the saga was how incredibly invincible Nixon seemed in early 1973.

Nixon started his second term, in fact, with a massive electoral landslide, strong public opinion polls and a completely functioning government and cabinet.

Even more importantly, he was still basking in the afterglow of his smashing 1972 foreign policy successes in negotiating detente and the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty with Brezhnev and then the historic opening to China on his Beijing trip.

So I’ll take the unders from anyone who gives the Donald even the 19 months that Nixon survived.

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The Anything President And The Everything Bubble

[Ed. Note: To see exactly what this former Reagan insider has to say about Trump and the fiscal threats from politics and the debt ceiling, David Stockman is sending out a copy of his book Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back to any American willing to listen – before it is too late. To learn how to get your free copy CLICK HERE.]

The lemmings were running hard towards the cliffs yesterday. Despite a renewed burst of bombs and drones careening into the already rubble-strewn wastelands of Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

Or the outbreak of cold war style nuclear brinksmanship on the Korean peninsula — what one commentator properly called a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.

Likewise, forget that the vacationing Congress is set to return on April 25 to an endless sequence of shoutdowns, showdowns and shutdowns on continuing resolutions and debt ceiling increases.

That is, it will be struggling to keep the fiscal lights on in the Imperial City, not enacting the Donald’s DBA (dead before arrival) fantasy about making the American economy great again.

Indeed, while the Donald has been out huffing and puffing in his new role as global Spanker-in-Chief, the domestic front has turned from bad to worse. His economic policy machinery has now been seized entirely by the Vampire Squid’s latest chieftains in the White House — Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin and Jared Kushner.

I am quite confident that none of these three has ever voted Republican in their life or have even the foggiest idea of how to craft a fiscal plan and tax program that could coalesce the warring GOP factions from the hardline Freedom Caucus to the moderate Tuesday Group.

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

Stockman: We’re Borrowing Our Way to Economic Disaster

Stockman: We’re Borrowing Our Way to Economic Disaster

David Stockman joined the Fox Business and the show Mornings with Maria to discuss the tax reform highlights for the current White House and GOP platform and what he views as a real threat of economic disaster in the U.S. During the discussion Stockman highlights what to expect from a border adjustment tax possibility, the creation of jobs and the impact on Wall Street in the age of Donald Trump.

Stockman takes to point the cause of tax reform in the current White House. He begins the segment noting, “I think the border adjustment tax will come out of the retailers margin – and it should. We do need revenue. We need to have a consumption tax, or a value added tax or a border adjustment tax – so that we may reduce taxation on wages and income. We desperately need more jobs in this country. If you keep taxing the payroll at 15.5%, which we’re doing today, you’re not going to encourage the creation of jobs. You’re going to take what jobs there are and impact the take-home pay of those jobs.”

David Stockman was then asked about his read on Donald Trump’s border tax proposals and the possibility of what the President described as a ‘reciprocal tax.’  “He has no idea what he’s talking about. He’s making it up as he goes along. Donald Trump is a tourist in the Imperial City of Washington D.C. He’s flipping, flopping and making it up as he goes.”

“The border adjustment tax, or a value added tax is the way to get at the problem he’s talking about. Every other country in the world has a value added tax. You take it off the exports and put it on the imports.

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

Reagan Adviser: Why Trump Won’t Cut Taxes

The mules of Wall Street were back at it again, buying the dips after the overnight whoosh downward in the futures market. Apparently, it will take an actual two-by-four between the eyes to break a habit that has been working for 96 months now since the March 2009 post-crisis bottom.

We think it is plain as day, however, that we are in a new ball game that the “stimulus-blinded” mules don’t see coming at all. To wit, they have been juiced for eight years running by the Keynesian apparatchiks at the Fed who needed permission from exactly no one to run the printing presses full tilt or to rescue the market with a new round of QE or an extension of ZIRP whenever the indices began to wobble.

But now, even the money printers have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they are done for this cycle, anyway, and that they will be belatedly but consistently raising interest rates for what ought to be a truly scary reason.

That is, the denizens of the Eccles Building have finally realized that they have not outlawed the business cycle after all and need to raise rates toward 2-3% so that they have headroom to “cut” the next time the economy slides into the ditch.

In effect, the Fed is saying to Wall Street: “Price in” a recession because we are!

After all, our monetary central planners are not reluctantly allowing interest rates to lift off the zero bound because they have become converts to the cause of honest price discovery—-nor are they fixing to liberate money rates, debt yields, and the prices of stocks and other financial assets to clear on the free market.

…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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