Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Explains Why He Switched His Endorsement To Trump

As most of you know, I had been endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, for my personal safety, because I live in California. It isn’t safe to be a Trump supporter where I live. And it’s bad for business too. But recently I switched my endorsement to Trump, and I owe you an explanation. So here it goes…
1. Things I Don’t Know: There are many things I don’t know. For example, I don’t know the best way to defeat ISIS. Neither do you. I don’t know the best way to negotiate trade policies. Neither do you. I don’t know the best tax policy to lift all boats. Neither do you. My opinion on abortion is that men should follow the lead of women on that topic because doing so produces the most credible laws. So on most political topics, I don’t know enough to make a decision. Neither do you, but you probably think you do.
Given the uncertainty about each candidate – at least in my own mind – I have been saying I am not smart enough to know who would be the best president. That neutrality changed when Clinton proposed raising estate taxes. I understand that issue and I view it as robbery by government.
Read more here…
2. Confiscation of Property: Clinton proposed a new top Estate Tax of 65% on people with net worth over $500 million. Her website goes to great length to obscure the actual policy details, including the fact that taxes would increase on lower value estates as well. See the total lack of transparency here, where the text simply refers to going back to 2009 rates. It is clear that the intent of the page is to mislead, not inform.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

In Miami Condo Glut, Preconstruction Resale Market Freezes up

Over 7 years of supply.
The Miami housing market has split in two diverging segments: single-family homes and condos. For now, the single-family market is hot.
Sales of existing single-family homes in Miami-Dade County jumped 8.7% from a year ago to 1,232 units, the highest for any August ever, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. In terms of dollars, total sales soared 16% to $569 million and the median price 14.5% to $300,000. This marks the 57th month in a row of year-over-year price gains.
But total existing residential sales fell 3.3% year-over-year to 2,389 units. Why? Condos!
Existing condo sales – not including the new construction market – plunged 13.6% year-over-year to 1,150 units. Yet the median price, at $215,000, is still up 5.7% from last year.
Cash transactions for all sales plunged by nearly 9 points, from 49.6% a year ago to 40.7% in August (national average = 22%); 25.7% of single-family home sales were cash, and 56.8% of condo sales. The report:

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ September 25, 2016.

Bond Risk Crashes To 2-Year Lows As VIX Shorts Fold

After 10 straight weeks of increasingly bullish speculative positioning (‘longer’ stock futures and ‘shorter’ VIX futures), the last 2 weeks have seen short VIX bets plunge (down 35%) at the fastest rate since pre-Brexit and the Aug 2015 crash. At the same time as this surge to hedging, the day since The Fed’s utterly farcical fold have seen bond volatility crash to its lowest in two years.
The last two weeks have seen a major derisking of speculative VIX short positioning… (35% collapse in net VIX shorts)

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

Only 17 percent of California homes affordable to teachers: A typical California home costs $200,000 more than an average teacher can afford.

California’s housing affordability is once again in an unreachable level for most working professionals. You get Taco Tuesday baby boomers jawboning their children to purchase a modest home but that turns out to be a rundown crap shack costing $700,000. So many California adults live at home with mom and dad since rents are also high. Redfin put together some data showing that only 17 percent of homes in California are affordable to an average teacher with an annual salary of $73,536. When looking at the data you will see that the coast is becoming an even more expensive enclave and many homes are being bought by investors, foreigner buyers, and dual income households. The last group is the one that is in the position for a large shock since they are buying in many cases to pop out a brood and largely don’t factor in the cost of childcare once the little ones come into the world. But like most things in California, people live on the absolute financial edge and that edge just got much closer.
Lesson for today: Your teacher lives in a van by the river
Your typical California home now costs for $500,000. That is $200,000 more than your typical teacher can afford. Rents eat up a lot for many workers so coming out with that fantastical down payment that makes the numbers work so beautifully is largely done by the bank of mom and dad. Of course this is doable for a professional working couple. There is no doubt about that. You can also get six-pack abs but it takes wicked discipline on diet and working out and that is something most don’t have. I mean think about it for a second when the typical crap shack costs $700,000 in an area that has OK schools and looks like a toddler’s rendering of a home. So that 20 percent down payment is $140,000. House humping beer belly HGTV fanatics act as if this was super easy to come by, especially for broke Millennials.

This post was published at Doctor Housing Bubble on Sep 25, 2016.

The Wedge That’s Driving Facebook’s Stock

The stock of Facebook has been in a rising wedge pattern for most of its lifetime – and the pattern is nearing a resolution.
Today’s Chart Of The Day takes a rare detour into single stock territory. As we do not trade individual equities for our clients, it is typically not a focus of ours. But with Facebook (FB) in the news today (along with a dearth of exciting charts) we take a look at a chart pattern relevant to FB throughout most of its history – and in particular, right now.
A ‘rising wedge’ pattern involves a series of higher highs and higher lows on a price chart – with the lows demonstrating a steeper ascent. Given the sharper rise in the lows, the trendline connecting the highs and the trendline connecting the lows will necessarily intersect at some point, which we call the ‘apex’. That is where one can expect resolution to the pattern, if the wedge has not already been broken. Despite the higher highs and lows, the pattern is generally considered to be a bearish one. That is, prices more often than not resolve, or break out of, the wedge to the downside.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

IRD On Kennedy Financial: Janet Yellen Is A Complete Embarrassment

Predictably, the FOMC once again fell flat on its face with regard to its continuous threats over the last month to hike rates. Despite the politically motivated rhetoric about the strengthening economy and tight labor market flowing from Yellen’s pie-hole, the fact that the Fed is afraid to raise rates just one-quarter of one percent tells us all we need to know about the true condition of the economy.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on Sept 25, 2016.

Chinese Contagion Risks Surge: Banks’ Reliance On Each Other For Funding Hits All Time High

It’s getting increasingly more difficult for China to deny its massively overindebted reality.
The latest striking confirmation that things in the world’s former growth dynamo are deteriorating rapidly, come yesterday from none other than PBOC advisor Huang Yiping, who during a speech in Beijing said that China’s “deleveraging isn’t making progress” and that the “high leverage ratio is becoming a big financial problem for the country” noting that the household leverage ratio has “surged sharply in China.” Adding something ZH readers haveknown for the past year, Yiping said that “mining and property sectors have the highest leverage ratio” in the country and while the M2/GDP ratio is “not the best gauge to measure leverage for China” he notes that the “leverage ratios in state-owned companies have kept growing since 2008.”
None of this is a secret: one look at the chart below from the IIF according to which China’s gross leverage is now roughly 300% of GDP, confirms just that.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

Swiss September 25th Referendum Results

In the Swiss Referendum today on September 25th, 2016, the only vote to pass was the Intelligence Service Act referendum, where the ‘yes’ vote passed with 65.5%. The flat tax in the Schwyz canton was rejected maintaining the Marxist philosophy of class warfare. Additionally, both the vote to increase state pensions by 10% (40.6% ‘yes’), and the Green initiative (36.4% ‘yes’), failed.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 25, 2016.

Something Odd Emerges When Fact Checking The “Fact Checkers”

The American electorate has never been more divided with people having wide ranging opinions on which party/candidate would be best for the future of the country. Certainly economic and other facts help guide those opinions but, in the end, the decision is also based on the subjective views of each voter.
But, for Politifact, apparently even the facts are subjective and based on party affiliation. Take the following example:
On July 6, 2015, Bernie Sanders made the following comment about Black youth unemployment in the United States:
“For young people who have graduated high school or dropped out of high school, who are between the ages of 17 and 20, if they happen to be white, the unemployment rate is 33 percent. If they are Hispanic, the unemployment rate is 36 percent. If they are African-American, the real unemployment rate for young people is 51 percent.“
Shortly after that comment was made, Politifact decided to “fact check” Bernie’s assertion that black youth unemployment was sky high and found that it was “Mostly True.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

David Cay Johnston: The Making of Donald Trump

‘The narcissist devours people, consumes their output, and casts the empty, writhing shells aside.’
Sam Vaknin
I make it no secret that I find Hillary Clinton to be both morally repugnant and appallingly dishonest.
The manner is which she secured the Democratic nomination is a signature of the Clinton style. The Clinton ‘charitable foundation’ is a beacon for everything that is wrong with the American economic and political system today.
But that does not mean that I am blind to what is being offered by The Donald.
I consider this upcoming national election to be the signal failure of the two party political system as it is today, choked by a self-referential elite, corrupted by a lust for power and big money.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 25 SEPTEMBER 2016.

Why Hedge Funds Remain The Worst Performing Asset Class Of 2016

It’s been a bad year for hedge funds as a result of significantly underperforming the market, coupled with the biggest wave of redemptions since the financial crisis. Unfortunately, according to the latest Goldman data, there is no reprieve in sight. As the following chart from David Kostin shows, both global macro hedge funds and equity long short funds are the worst performing assets YTD on both a total return and risk-adjusted basis.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

The Latest Stock Market Correction Signal Just Came from Japan

Wall Street was too excited about the Fed keeping interest rates unchanged this week and missed the latest major stock market correction signal out of Japan.
Most investors focused on the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 1.1% this week.
But what they should have focused on is a dangerous policy from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) that is leading the global economy straight to a stock market correction.
We’re going to explain this policy today, and once we do, you’ll see why a stock market correction is due…
How the BoJ Is Creating a Stock Market Correction
On Jan. 9, the BoJ instituted a negative-interest-rate policy (NIRP) to create economic growth.
Here’s how it works. Banks in Japan are charged a fee for depositing money by the BoJ. Because the banks don’t want to incur the fee, they will theoretically lend more money. The more money that is lent, the more people in Japan will spend on homes, cars, and starting up businesses.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 23, 2016.

Blood Brothers: The Bank of England and the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)

The London Bullion Management Association (LBMA) is a London-based, globally active, trade association for ‘the promotion and regulation of commerce relating to the London Bullion Market’. The ‘London Bullion Market’ here collectively refers to the London Gold Market and the London Silver Market. The remit of the LBMA has very recently also been extended to cover the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM).
While it is generally known to many, vaguely or otherwise, that the Bank of England has a vested ‘interest’ in the London gold market, the consistently close relationship between the Bank of England and the LBMA tends not to be fully appreciated. This close and familial relationship even extends to the very recent appointment of a very recently departed Bank of England senior staff member, and former head of the Bank of England Foreign exchange Division, Paul Fisher, as the new ‘independent’ chairman of the LBMA Management Committee (a committee which has recently been rechristened as a ‘Board’). Note that at the Bank of England, the Bank’s gold trading activities fall under the remit of the ‘Foreign Exchange’ area, so should be more correctly called Bank of England Foreign Exchange and Gold Division. For example, a former holder of this position in the 1980s, Terry Smeeton, had a title of Head of Foreign Exchange and Gold at the Bank of England.
What is also unappreciated is that the same Paul Fisher has in the past, been the Bank of England’s representative, with observer status, on this very same LBMA Management Committee that he is now becoming independent chairman of. This is an ‘elephant in the room’ if ever there was one, which the mainstream financial media in London conveniently chooses to ignore.
As you will see below, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also has a close, and again, very low-key but embedded relationship with this LBMA Management Committee.

This post was published at Bullion Star on 25 Sep 2016.

Saudis Offer To Cut Production By 500,000 Barrels: “The Oil Market Situation Is Much More Critical”

Saudi Arabia’s oil policy, unveiled just under two years ago, at the November 2014 OPEC meeting where it effectively splintered the OPEC cartel by announcing it would produce excess quantities of oil in hope of putting shale and other high-cost producers out of business has backfired spectacularly: not only has OPEC failed to crush the US shale industry, which as a result of increasing efficiencies, and debt-for-equity exchanges has seen its all in production costs tumble, making even far cheaper oil prices profitable (especially with the addition of hedges), not to mention Wall Street’s ravenous desire to buy any debt paper that offers even a modest yield allowing US oil producers to delay or outright avoid bankruptcy.
But while shale has avoided annihilation, it is Saudi Arabia that has been suffering. In “Kingdom Comedown: Falling Oil Prices Shock Saudi Middle Class“, the WSJ reports that “a sharp drop in the price of oil, Saudi Arabia’s main revenue source, has forced the government to withdraw some benefits this year – raising the cost of living in the kingdom and hurting its middle class, a part of society long insulated from such problems.”
The kingdom is grappling with major job losses among its construction workers – many from poorer countries – as some previously state-backed construction companies suffer from drying up government funding. Those spending cuts are now hitting the Saudi working middle class.
Saudi consumers in major cities, the majority of them employed by the government, have become more conscious about their spending in recent months, said Areej al-Aqel from Sown Advisory, which provides financial-planning services for middle-class individuals and families. That means cutting back on a popular activity for most middle-class Saudis: dining out.
‘Most people are ordering less food or they change their orders to more affordable options,’ she said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

“Home Prices Are Out Of Hand Again”

Home Prices Are Out Of Hand Again

U. S. home prices appear to be getting out of hand again as the gap between home price growth and household real income growth is close to where it was just before the housing collapse.
It’s also notable, and worrying, that the housing market is back in a ‘flipping frenzy’ with non-bank actors climbing aboard to fund the speculation.
Since 1999 year-end through 2015 home prices have risen 76% while household mean real income has grown less than 2%; the millennium-to-date gap between the two growth rates peaked at 84% during 2005-2006 and has risen back to 74% as of 2015 year-end. Gap at year-end 2007 was 75%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.

If You’re A Kid Living In New Orleans, Move To Salt Lake City!

In the long-standing psychology debate on nature versus nurture, the question is whether it is our genes or our experiences that hold the keys to our future.
As Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, the short answer to this question, according to many of today’s scientists and psychologists, is that nature and nurture are always working together. In other words, genes do what they do depending on their context, and nature and nurture work to influence each other constantly.
In other words, our family experiences, households, and neighborhoods can set the stage for how our genes react. And on a macro level, looking at cities can tell us a lot about how our environments can help to influence future outcomes.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2016.