The Age of Hopey Change™
Traders 'Short' Dollar as Currency Loses Attraction
Hedge funds and forex dealers are betting record amounts against the dollar, reflecting a growing belief that the U.S. currency has lost its haven appeal and that euro zone interest rates will soon rise.
As the crisis in the Middle East has worsened, the latest exchange data show that traders are selling “short” the currency. The big U.S. fiscal deficit and concerns about the effect of rising oil prices have been blamed by some for the dollar’s slide.
Figures from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which are often used as a proxy for hedge fund activity, showed that short dollar positions surged from 200,564 contracts in the week ending February 22 to 281,088 on March 1.
This meant that the value of bets against the dollar on the CME rose $11.5 billion in the week to March 1 to $39 billion, $3 billion more than the previous record of $36 billion in 2007.
In contrast, speculators have added to their euro holdings amid expectations that the European Central Bank will soon raise interest rates to head off rising inflation.
Hidden Debt Makes Governments Insolvent: Bear
As we prepare for the two-year anniversary of the March 9 lows for stock markets, investors are confronted with a number of worries that make it difficult to celebrate the near 100 percent jump in equities since then.
Oil prices are soaring off the back of unrest in the Middle East, there is talk of rate hikes from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and unemployment remains stubbornly high despite some better news from the US on Friday.
On top of these, a mountain of debt is growing but because it is off governments' balance sheets it has been so far ignored, one man who worries perhaps more than most, Albert Edwards from the global strategy team at Societe Generale, said.
One of the world's most famous bears, Edwards is adamant the global economy and financial markets are not in a good place.
"The global economy is critically ill. The fact that it has just risen from its sick-bed to perform a frenetic Irish jig is more a function of the financial morphine and steroids that have been pumped into its emaciated body than any miracle cure," he wrote in a recent piece of research.
"You don't have to be Dr Doom to expect the patient to collapse back into a deep coma after the stimulus has worn off," Edwards added.
His biggest worry is government debt and unfunded liabilities and he is convinced that default is on the cards across the developed world.
Today we have four hot time bombs, tick-ticking, soon to make history; any one can easily accelerate the revolution that’s already killing Wall Street from within.
1. Wealth gap: Super-Rich vs class wars, death of democracy
The gap: In one generation, America’s wealthiest 1% has exploded from 9% to 23% of America’s income, while middle-class income has stagnated. Even Buffett admits: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and winning.”
But my rich friend tells the real story, of their social disconnect. The rich just don’t care. They live in a different world, live by a self-centered code lacking a moral compass. The public welfare is honored only if supported by tax benefits.
The wealth gap is widening and soon something unpredictable will ignite a Wall Street revolution.
2. Wall Street’s doomsday capitalism vs rule by anarchy
A key Supreme Court decision accelerated and codified Wall Street’s ability to use billions stolen from taxpayers to lobby Washington and solidify its power, all for its own self-interest, through campaign payola, senators’ votes, presidential access, manipulation of regulators, grabbing tax benefits, etc. And it’s every man and woman for themselves.
Don’t believe it? Know this, democracy is dead and you’re in denial. Wall Street CEOs and Forbes 400 billionaires are either engaged in a secret conspiracy, or a classic anarchy picking apart America, oblivious of the fact they are setting up the next big revolution.
3. Pentagon’s perpetual war machine vs America’s budget time bomb
The mathematics of our $75 trillion Social Security and Medicare deficits often seem insurmountable, but can be recalibrated. However, the war-loving mindset of America’s neocons — fueled by China’s military actions, the insatiable expansion of our military spending and a Pentagon prediction that global population growth — is putting more and more pressure on the world’s scarce resources, and will, in turn, increase global wars and the demand for more war spending, increasing the risk of sudden revolutions everywhere.
4. Global population explosion vs resources, jobs, better lifestyles
As the world population explodes from 7 billion to 10 billion in the next generation, the demand for more jobs and the pressure on scarce resources will increase, while expectations will fall as the ratio of haves to have-nots increases, making the world all around Wall Street a burning powder keg setting up a revolution.
Bottom line: Forget jailing Wall Street’s dictators. It’s naïve and too late. We missed that opportunity. But a revolution will do the trick, give us a second chance to jail the crooks.
Until then, remember, these four factors are building to a head, merging into a critical mass that will accelerate into a revolution and destroy Wall Street from within: The widening wealth gap, capitalism’s new rule-by-anarchy, the high cost of feeding the Pentagon’s costly war machine, and the huge global population explosion.
Barack Hussein Obama!
Mmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
Did anybody watch 60 minutes last night?
(CBS News) Unemployment improved a bit last month but it is still nearly nine percent and the trouble is job creation is so slow, it will be years before we get back the seven and a half million jobs lost in the Great Recession. American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers. The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.
One of the consequences of the recession that you don't hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty.
The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.
"Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."
Trade Deficit Destroys 3 Million Jobs a Year: Opinion
EmailPrint..ByPeter Morici, Senior Contributor to TheStreet , On Thursday March 10, 2011, 9:27 am EST
The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Commerce Department reported the deficit on international trade in goods and services was $46.3 billion in January, up from $40.2 billion in December and $27 billion in mid 2009, when the recovery began. Deficits on oil and with China jumped $1.2 and $2.6 billion, respectively, and the overall trade deficit is blocking the creation of 3 million jobs each year.
This rising deficit subtracts from demand for U.S. goods and services, just as stimulus spending and additional temporary tax cuts add to it. Consequently, a rising deficit slows economic recovery and jobs creation, and the Obama Administration and Republican leadership in Congress have offered little to address it.
Rising oil prices and imports from China are driving the trade deficit, and these are major barriers to creating enough jobs to pull unemployment down to 6% over the next several years.
The economy added 192,000 jobs in February, and that was encouraging, after it gained only 63,000 in January; however, that is hardly enough. The economy must add 360,000 jobs per month over the next 36 months to bring unemployment down to 6%.
Americans have returned to the malls and new car showrooms but too many dollars go abroad to purchase imports and do not return to buy U.S. exports. This leaves too many Americans jobless and wages stagnant, and state and municipal governments with chronic budget woes.
Simply, current policies are not creating conditions for 5% GDP growth that could be achieved to bring unemployment down to acceptable levels. An additional 2 to 2.5 percentage points in growth would create about 3 million jobs a year.
Over the last three months, the private sector has added 152,000 jobs per month, but many of those have been in government-subsidized health care and social services, and temporary business services. Netting those out, core private sector jobs have increased only 110,000 per month -- that comes to 25 permanent, non-government subsidized jobs per county for more than 5,000 job seekers per county.
Early in a recovery, temporary jobs appear first, but 20 months into the expansion, permanent, non-government subsidized jobs creation should be much stronger.
Commerce Department preliminary estimates indicate GDP growth was only 2.8%, significantly disappointing Wall Street economists.
Consumer spending, business technology and auto sales all added strongly to demand and growth, and exports actually outpaced imports for the first time in a year. Pessimism, inspired by rising gasoline prices, health care reforms that drive up insurance costs, and import competition, caused businesses to run down inventories rather than add new capacity and employees.
Fourth quarter exports got a boost from a weaker dollar against the euro earlier in 2010 -- the export effect of a weaker dollar occurs with a lag of several months. In 2011, this situation is likely to reverse, owing in particular to Europe's continuing sovereign debt woes and instability in North Africa and the Middle East. The trade deficit will grow, as oil import costs and consumer goods from China overwhelm further progress in U.S. export growth.
Policies limiting development of conventional oil and gas are premised on false assumptions about the immediate potential of electric cars and alternative energy sources, such as solar panels and windmills. In combination, limits on conventional energy development and excessive optimism about alternative energy technologies are making the United States even more dependent on imported oil and more indebted to China and other overseas creditors to pay for it.
To keep Chinese products artificially inexpensive on U.S. store shelves, Beijing undervalues the yuan by 40%. It accomplishes this by printing yuan and selling those for dollars and other currencies in foreign exchange markets.
Presidents Bush and Obama have sought to alter Chinese policies through negotiations, but Beijing offers only token gestures and cultivates political support among U.S. multinationals producing in China and large banks seeking additional business in China.
The United States should impose a tax on dollar-yuan conversions in an amount equal to China's currency market intervention divided by its exports -- about 35%. That would neutralize China's currency subsidies that steal U.S. factories and jobs. It is not protectionism; rather, in the face of virulent Chinese currency manipulation and mercantilism, it's self defense.
The SEC Employees Watching Porn At Work Were Making Over $200,000/Year
Last year, an investigation revealed that there were 24 SEC employees and 7 employees who had been contracted by the SEC who were caught watching porn on work computers (one of whom admitted doing it for 8 hours per day).
Now Denver lawyer Kevin Evans's letter requesting that the SEC release their names (the SEC refuses) via the FOIA has more details on the employees:
1.The locations the employees worked at were: Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C.
2.The porn-surfing contractors worked for Labat-Anderson, CACI International, Garda Security, Keane Federal and ISN Corp
3.Repercussions: Some received counseling or discipline.
4.Some of these SEC employees were making well over $200,000 a year, according to the Daily Mail.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/some-...#ixzz1GcAAu6E2
As Treasury Cash Drops To Just $14.2 Billion, And No Bond Auctions Until Next Week, Is America About To Run Out Of Cash?
And so the US Treasury has hit the proverbial paycheck to paycheck sustenance level. After burning $12.8 billion (without a change in gross debt) in cash today alone, and $75 billion in the month of March so far, primarily driven by a back end-loaded tax refund calendar, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, today's cash balance dropped to the scary level of just $14.2 billion. Without the benefit of incremental funding, this is the same amount that the Treasury burns on a good day! In other words, we take back what we said about the US Treasury existing paycheck to paycheck - Geithner now has to scramble to find funding on a day to day basis. If tomorrow operating outflows surpass $14.2 billion (and, again, the amount was $12.8 billion today) the world's "greatest" country (i.e. banana republic) runs out of cash, period. And as the following schedule indicates, there are no Long-Term bond issuances until next week (and the Bill issues are merely funding of rolling issues), we have some trouble seeing how the US Treasury will fund itself for the balance of the week...
March 22, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Running for the Exits
Hedge funds are dumping Treasury bonds. Do they know something?
The wisest and most successful bond investor of all time, Bill Gross, has dumped his bond fund’s $150 billion investment in U.S. bonds. One should not ignore the importance of this event. The largest bond fund in America no longer believes that Treasury bonds are a good investment. Moreover, Gross is not alone. Blackrock, the world’s largest money manager, is now underweighting Treasuries overall and reducing the duration of the bonds it still holds. That means they are dumping their long-term bonds, which are the most sensitive to interest-rate changes, in favor of Treasury instruments that mature in a year or less. Other bond funds, such as the $20 billion Loomis Sayles funds, are also forgoing Treasuries in favor of high-yield corporate bonds. Virtually everywhere you look, from great investors such as Warren Buffett to insurance companies such as Allstate, everyone is dumping their long-term U.S. debt and either buying debt that matures in less than a year or moving their money elsewhere.
So who is still buying U.S. debt? According to Bill Gross, the “old reliables” — China, Japan, and OPEC — are still in the market for 30 percent of all new debt. The rest, however, is being purchased by the Federal Reserve. There is no one in else in the market. For the first time ever, Americans are refusing to purchase their own country’s debt.
March 21, 2011 5:00 P.M.
Q1 Slowdown: Caveat Emptor
We can do a whole lot better.
Caveat emptor: The first-quarter economy is slowing and inflation is rising. A month ago, economists were optimistic about the potential for 4 percent growth. Now they are marking down their estimates toward 2.5 percent. Behind this, consumer expectations are falling while inflation fears are going up.
A recent CNBC All American Economic Survey revealed that 37 percent of respondents expect the economy to get worse in the next year. That’s up about 15 percentage points from the December poll. The key reasons? Worries over rising food and fuel costs. Respondents anticipate prices to climb 6.6 percent over the next year. That’s double the 3 percent inflation registered in the December survey.
Supporting the CNBC poll, the early March consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan dropped sharply, with the reading for consumer expectations falling 14 points. Additionally, one-year inflation expectations have risen to 4.6 percent in March from 3.4 percent in February.
Of course, everyone has been badly shaken by the terrible disaster in Japan. For the U.S. economy, supply-chain disruptions will damage growth. Also, the civil war in Libya and the broad unrest across North Africa and the Middle East have fueled a mild oil-price shock, also subtracting from U.S. growth.
So if the economy ending in the March quarter slows to less than 3 percent, it would mark the fourth-straight sub-3 percent GDP reading. Despite the strength in the manufacturing sector and rising corporate profits, that reading would underscore the softness of this recovery cycle.
The main cause of today’s consumer angst is undoubtedly the jump in gasoline prices. Nationwide, the pump price has climbed to $3.55 a gallon, up from $3.16 a month ago and $2.82 a year ago (for a 26 percent one-year jump). The last leg of this gas-price jump can be attributed to the $10 or $12 oil-price spike, resulting from supply worries in the Arab world. But it’s worth noting that gasoline moved from $2.70 to $3.15 just as soon as Ben Bernanke announced his money-pumping QE2 strategy in late August last year.
All things the same, the gasoline price could knock a half percent off growth and add a half percent to inflation. In fact, the consumer price index has registered three consecutive outsized monthly gains, and is running 5.6 percent at an annual rate through the three months to February. This increase is led by a 79 percent increase in gasoline prices and a 5 percent gain in food prices.
The cost of living in the United States is as high as ever, even worse than before the financial meltdown during the past few years. A Labor Department index measuring the actual cost of living, known as the chained consumer price index, hit 127.4 in February, beating a previous record high 126.9 in July 2008, just as the housing crisis began to tighten its grip, CNBC reports.
That's bad news for most Americans, especially considering the record comes at a time of weak economic activity and high unemployment rates.
"The Federal Reserve continues to focus on the rate of change in inflation," says Peter Bookvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, according to CNBC.
Food prices continue to rise. The regular inflation rate, known as the consumer price index, increased 0.5 percent last month, the fastest pace in 18 months, although the Federal Reserve tends to set interest rates at inflation rates stripped of food and energy, which rose by just 0.2 percent.
Some say a new methodology is needed and needed now.
"This speaks to the need for the Fed to include food and energy when they look at inflation rather than regard them as transient costs," says Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital.
"Perhaps the best way to look at this is to calculate a moving average over a certain period of time in order to smooth out the peaks and valleys."
Even though headline inflation rates may have been nominally much higher in the past, most notably in the early eighties, rising consumer prices hurt just as bad today with incomes remaining flat, if not worse.
Thirty years ago, people earned raises to cope with higher prices and investments returned more: banks would pay nearly 16 percent on a six-month CD. Today, however, money market rates are a fraction of what they were, wages are essentially frozen if not dipping and Social Security recipients have gone two straight years with no increase in benefits.
Last Friday, the Congressional Budget Office scored President Obama’s ten-year budget plan. Their findings underscore a painful truth: The president is failing to engage in the kind of honest dialogue necessary to rally the country behind needed action. His budget — widely criticized for growing our gross debt by $13 trillion, swelling our bloated bureaucracy, and ignoring our surging entitlements — is so filled with gimmicks and manipulations that the CBO found an additional $2.3 trillion in deficits beyond what the White House projected. It is the most irresponsible spending plan put forward by a president in our time.
May 17, 2011
Economists: Obama Stimulus Destroyed 500,000 Jobs
Assuming that the purpose of Obama's economic policy is to drive up unemployment as quickly as possible without setting off armed rebellion, he really got his money's worth out of the "stimulus" looting spree known to bureauweenies as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." A study (PDF) by economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor found the following:
We estimate the Act created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs.
Even with our stratospheric rates of taxation, it takes several wealth-producing private sector jobs to support a single parasitic government-sector job. Obviously, Obamunism cannot sustain itself economically. Soon bureaucrats will be paying themselves with Monopoly money backed by nothing whatsoever, because by sucking all the money out of the economy, they have allowed nothing to be produced. A graph from the study:
Notice the nosedive the manufacture of goods went into right after the Manchurian Moonbat took office. With Obama's union cronies and the demented EPA riding high in the seat of power, it won't be reversing that dive any time soon.
It isn't expected to. After the crash, when Americans are starving by the millions, the Left will be perfectly positioned to finish what FDR started by imposing totalitarian collectivism, per Cloward-Piven.
That's what people voted for when they voted for Obama. Some of them are even conscious of it.
I take it you don't care for O'Jesus. LOL
are you having fun posting and talking to yourself?
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