Category Archive: The United States

Globally Synchronized, After All

For there to be a second half rebound, there has to be some established baseline growth. Whatever might have happened, if it was due to “transitory” factors temporarily interrupting the economic track then once those dissipate the economy easily gets back on track because the track itself was never bothered.

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US FX intervention still someway off

The likelihood of active FX intervention by the US authorities remains low but is increasing and the Trump administration can be expected to continue to pressure the Fed to cut rates.The Trump administration has been focusing on the US’s trade deficit with some of its main trading partners such as China and Germany. A strong dollar is exacerbating this deficit and has visibly exasperated President Trump.

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As Chinese Factory Deflation Sets In, A ‘Dovish’ Powell Leans on ‘Uncertainty’

It’s a clever bit of misdirection. In one of the last interviews he gave before passing away, Milton Friedman talked about the true strength of central banks. It wasn’t money and monetary policy, instead he admitted that what they’re really good at is PR. Maybe that’s why you really can’t tell the difference Greenspan to Bernanke to Yellen to Powell no matter what happens.

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“Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech’s Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?”

Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power. When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car--or something like that--and it will be amazingly wunnerful. 

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Predatory “Green Capitalism” Is Monetizing the Air, and It’s Going to Cost You

You want to reduce CO2? Then trigger a global depression that reduces global consumption of everything by 50% and destroys 95% of the phantom wealth owned by the global elites trying to monetize the air. I recently asked What's Left to Monetize?, and longtime correspondent Mark G. provided the answer: the air we breathe, via carbon taxes and markets for trading carbon credits, i.e. financializing / monetizing Nature to benefit the few at the...

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When Everything from Bat Guano to Quatloos Is Soaring, Speculative Euphoria Has Reached an Extreme

The more extreme the speculative euphoria, the greater the risks of a reversal. One sentence sums up the speculative euphoria gripping markets: January and June of this year are the only months in the last 150 which have seen all assets post a positive total return. (Zero Hedge)

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Vested Interests in Charge = Guaranteed Failure

It boils down to two very simple principles: accredit the student, not the institution and teach every student how to rigorously learn on their own. Vested interests have every incentive to maintain the status quo: specifically, those who currently own the assets, income streams and power will continue to own the assets, income streams and power.

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What’s Left to Monetize?

What's left to monetize? It appears the answer is "very little." Advertising has always monetized consumers' time and attention, what we call engagement today. Newspapers and periodicals publish advertisements, radio/TV networks and stations air adverts, movie theaters run trailers/ads, billboards occupy our mental space while driving and websites and apps post adverts.

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America’s Concealed Crisis: Fifty Years of Economic Decline, 1969 to 2019

If we consider the long term, it's clear America's economy and society have been declining for the average household for 50 years. What if the "prosperity" of the past 50 years is mostly a statistical mirage for the bottom 80% of households? 

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Following in Rome’s Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality

Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word. There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too.

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Could a Cryptocurrency Become a Global Reserve Currency?

Could a non-state cryptocurrency like bitcoin become a global reserve currency? I first proposed the idea back in November 2013, long before bitcoin's rise to $19,000, decline to $3,200, recent ascent to $13,000 and current retrace.

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No, Autos Are Not “Cheaper Now”

According to the BLS, inflation in the category of "New Vehicles" has been practically non-existent the past 21 years. Longtime readers know I've long turned a skeptical gaze at official calculations of inflation, offering real-world analyses such as The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001 (August 1, 2016) and Burrito Index Update: Burrito Cost Triples, Official Inflation Up 43% from 2001 (May 31, 2018).

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Local Government Is an Engine of Inflation

Insolvency isn't restricted to private enterprise; governments go broke, too. One reason the economy is so much more precarious than advertised is inflation has pushed households and small businesses to the edge--and one engine of that inflation is local government. This is not to dump on local government, which is facing essentially unlimited demands from the public for more services while mandated cost increases in government union employee wages...

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Japan’s Bellwether On Nasty #4

One reason why Japanese bond yields are approaching records like their German counterparts is the global economy indicated in Japan’s economic accounts. As in Germany, Japan is an outward facing system. It relies on the concept of global growth for marginal changes. Therefore, if the global economy is coming up short, we’d see it in Japan first and maybe best.

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The Human Cost of “Recovery”: We’re Burning Out

The asymmetries are piling up and we're cracking under the weight. Judging by the record-high stock market and the record-low unemployment rate, the "recovery" has reached new heights of prosperity. Academics and think-tankers viewing the global economy from 40,000 feet are brimming with policies to bring the remaining laggards into the booming economy.

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The Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy

Our society has a legal structure of self-rule and ownership of capital, but in reality it is a Neofeudal Oligarchy. The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000 is not an easy, breezy read; its length and detail are daunting. The effort is well worth it, as the book helps us understand how the power structures of societies change over time in ways that may be largely invisible to those living through the changes.

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The Fed’s Casino Is Giving Away Free Gambling Chips (But Only to the Super-Rich)

The rest of us eat our losses, either all at once or in bitter bites as we trudge through the financial wasteland left after bubbles burst. The news that the Federal Reserve Casino is giving away free gambling chips triggered a frenzied rush that trampled the bears, including poor Yogi:

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Dear Central Bankers: Prepare to be Swept Away in the Next Wave of Populism

The political moment when the "losers" connect their discontent and decline with central bankers is approaching. The Ruling Elites' Chattering Classes still haven't absorbed the key lesson of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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How Much of Your “Wealth” Is Hostage to Bubbles and Impossible Promises?

All asset "wealth" in credit-asset bubble dependent economies is contingent and ephemeral. A funny thing happens to "wealth" in a bubble economy: it only remains "wealth" if the owner sells at the top of the bubble and invests the proceeds in an asset which isn't losing purchasing power.

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Misplaced Pride: Most of the “Middle Class” Is Actually Working Class

If we look at these charts, it looks like only the top 10%, or perhaps the top 20% at best, might qualify as "middle class" by the metrics described below. The conventional definition of working class is based on income and education:the working class household earns between $30,000 and $69,000 annually, and the highest education credential in the household is a two-year community college degree or trade certification.

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