Reflections On Trumplandia: America “Embodies Elements Of A Societal Disintegration”

Via Edelweiss Journal,
Reflections on Trump’s America
That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Perhaps it was inevitable that a man like Mr Trump would some day end up in the White House. Immodesty notwithstanding, he is intelligent, patriotic, and richly endowed with that American can do disposition. His election, at least within the context of financial markets both in America and elsewhere, has been greeted thus far with the exuberance and fervour reserved for the second coming of an industrial revolution. Yet, even as one ought to welcome Mr Trump’s businesslike ideas for a country that has veered further and further into an economic unknown, there is scant reason for the boundless euphoria of anticipated greatness – the subject of this brief essay.
To some folks, Mr Trump’s words and promise to ‘make America great again’ resonated with those of the late President Reagan. On one hand, it seems that he understands what’s what. In a September interview with Reuters, he accused the Fed of having created a ‘false economy’ (true) and ‘keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn’t go down’ (also true). Responding to claims of alleged economic robustness, he said: ‘The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.’ On the other hand, the grandiose economic policies and promises he has outlined demand a cheap dollar and even greater deficits and debt creation. His administration faces a federal debt of $20 trillion, unfunded liabilities of more than $100 trillion and 50% of a population dependent on (most, in fact, feel entitled to) some kind of government spending, which translates to the fact that much more credit/debt is a necessity and not an option. When Mr Reagan took office, circumstances were a lot different. Thus, the euphoria among financial and political pundits is unlikely to last long. The exuberance of the moment, no matter the soundness of expectations, may, for a while, give rise to higher share and dollar prices, but its consequences are trivial.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Princeton Cancels Men’s Swim Season After “Vulgar, Offensive, Misogynistic And Racist” Emails Discovered

Princeton University has officially become the 3rd Ivy League School, joining Harvard and Columbia, to cancel a team’s sports season after the discovery of what university officials called “vulgar, offensive, misogynistic and racist’ emails on a team listserv. The Daily Princetonian reported that the men’s swimming and diving team had be suspended for the remainder of the season after the alleged “offensive” messages prompted an official complaint to be filed by an anonymous source.
Princeton has refused to share the contents of the controversial emails citing “privacy concerns for those involved,” but posted a statement saying that certain members of the team had “failed to respect the values of this University and the dignity of other students.”
“We make clear to all of our student-athletes that they represent Princeton University at all times, on and off the playing surface and in and out of season, and we expect appropriate, respectful conduct from them at all times,” Samaan said. “The behavior that we have learned about is simply unacceptable. It is antithetical to the values of our athletic program and of the University, and will not be tolerated. “After reviewing the situation with Coach Orr, we have decided to suspend the season, and all associated team activities, effective immediately,” Samaan added. “In the coming days we will make a determination about the status of the team’s remaining schedule and we also will work collaboratively to determine additional actions aimed at education and positive culture building for the team.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

How Professors are Engaging in Undermining the Country in Colleges

A student in California video taped what his professor was saying in class and how they are trying to create a revolution. He actually said that the people who voted for Trump were engaging in an act of TERRORISM because the socialist lost. He went on to say that the nation is divided as it was during the Civil War. Formal education is becoming indoctrination, not education. Children are being subjected to brainwashing and this video is just the tip of the iceberg.
Armstrong Economics

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 17, 2016.

The 401k has been a disaster for most Americans: Only 44 percent of private sector workers participate in a defined contribution plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. If this is true, most Americans are planning to live in retirement with very little money and are going to rely heavily on Social Security to get by. That is the case today where most retirees get the bulk of their income from Social Security. Back when the 401k plan was introduced, the thought was many people would squirrel away money each month and after 30 or 40 years of working, there would be a large nest egg thanks to a raging stock market. Stock market growth has tempered and most people just didn’t participate. So now as many Americans enter retirement age most are realizing they are going to work until they die. The 401k plan was introduced in 1978 and the end result for most Americans is that it has failed.
The 401k plan
The 401k program is really the tax code for where individuals could set aside money tax deferred to plan for retirement. In theory this is good, however with the shrinking of the middle class, many Americans have less money to save. The program as it turned out really just benefitted a small segment of our population that had excess income to stash away.

This post was published at MyBudget360 on Dec 17, 2016.

Trump Talked, the Fed Listened: Let’s Shrink the Balance Sheet, Bullard Says

Even a Fed dove! This could get interesting.
The Dow is titillating the entire world by verging for days within a hair of 20,000 without actually getting there. Hitting the Big One would be another reflection of what Trump had called during the campaign an ‘artificial stock market’ in a ‘very false economy,’ created by the Fed that had kept rates low ‘for political reasons.’ The crowds ate it up.
He pointed out that ‘the only thing that’s strong is the artificial stock market,’ which was ‘only strong because it’s free money because the rates are so low.’ But there’d be a hitch: ‘At some point the rates are going to have to change,’ he said.
‘They’re keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn’t go down,’ he told reporters when they asked him about a rate hike in September.
And the Fed listened. Now the Fed has raised the fed funds rate, after flip-flopping vociferously an entire year, and is playing with the idea of three more rate hikes next year. Even Fed doves are suddenly getting antsy, after luxuriating in eight years of ZIRP and six years of QE.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Dec 17, 2016.

Global Debt, Equity Markets Lose $1 Trillion In Value As Hawkish Fed Spooks Traders

Thanks to Janet Yellen’s rate-hike-hawkishness (but, but, but, we’re still ultra-easy), global equity and debt markets lost over $1 trillion in value – the biggest weekly loss since early May (weak China data and huge surge in dollar).
Global bonds lost over $430 billion in market value this week (Yellen hawkishness and China bond carnage) but stocks lost even more ($525 billion) as China financial turmoil added to the world’s woes (and “three rate hikes next year” and fiscal stimulus efficacy questions did not help).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Trump Picks Fiscal Conservative Hawk Mulvaney As Budget Director

Hinting at a substantial clampdown on government spending over the next four years, this morning President-elect Trump announced the selection of South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be his first budget director, a nomination which would put a “fiscal conservative hawk” in charge of managing the federal budget and the logistics of government affairs.
As director of the Office of the Management and Budget, replacing Obama appointee Shaun Donovan, Mulvaney would have broad responsibility for government operations, and for avoiding the government shutdowns that the Freedom Caucus countenanced several times.
The move, which will raise eyebrows among those who expect an unprecedented fiscal expansion under Trump, pits Mulvaney, a true fiscal conservative, in charge of government spending, following repeated alarms about the long-term trajectory of the debt, even as annual deficits have fallen in recent years despite a recent sharp spike during the final months of the Obama administration. He has criticized the use of special war funds to get around caps on defense spending and in past years has suggested that tax increases might be necessary to stabilize the debt, a stance anathema to many conservatives.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

A Lowly New High – What Happens Next?

Via Dana Lyons’ Tumblr,
The Dow traded at a new high yesterday yet a lot of issues actually hit new lows; similar signals in the past have boded poorly for stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) didn’t quite tag the 20,000 level yesterday, however, it did touch a new all-time high, intra-day. And while it wasn’t able to close at a new high, the temporary touch is not irrelevant. It is especially so when considering the circumstances surrounding the high. We’ve discussed on several occasions the strange dynamic of simultaneously large numbers of New Highs and New Lows. This includes our series on the ‘Junkie Market’, i.e., too many highs and lows as well as our simplified version of the Hindenburg Omen which we named the ‘Akron Omen’. We won’t get into the theory behind such circumstance (you can read those prior posts for more color), but for whatever reason, an abundance of New Highs and Lows have generally led to poor stock market performance – especially when occurring near 52-week highs.
In this instance, there were actually A) more than 100 New 52-Week Lows on the NYSE yesterday and, in fact, B) more New Lows than New Highs. This is exceedingly uncommon on a day that the DJIA touches a 52-week high. It is only the 12th such day in history (yes, we should measure the % of Highs and Lows rather than the absolute ‘100’ number, but that is what we are using for this study).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Bringing Home the Bucks Won’t Solve Many Problems

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Economy and Markets. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Apple has a lot of cash.
At last count, the company’s horde had grown to a record $237 billion. But, as we all know, almost half of that supply is stuck overseas. If Apple, or any other company that paid lower taxes (or no taxes at all) in a foreign jurisdiction brings the money home, they’ll have to pay Uncle Sam up to 40%.
President Obama recommended charging companies a lower tax rate of 19% on repatriated profits, but President-Elect Trump has floated lower numbers – zero to 5%. He wants to tie taxes on corporate profits from overseas to infrastructure projects at home, providing some budget cover for his campaign promises.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Rodney Johnson ‘ December 16, 2016.

“When Everyone Is Sure They Know What’s Going To Happen, They’re Wrong”

Via Miller’s Market Musings,
What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been
Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me,
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been -The Grateful Dead, 1970, by Jerome Garcia, Philip Lesh, Robert Hunter and Robert Weir
In my last note, May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor, I wrote ‘The bond market is, probabilistically speaking, an underdog to perform well over the next 2-3 years.’ Since then, the 10 year US Treasury bond has fallen over 3.5%, and the yield has risen over 58 basis points from 1.75% to 2.33% as of the close yesterday. For investors who bought the 10-year thinking they were going to earn 1.75% for the next ten years, losing over two years’ worth of income in a month must sting a bit. And if they don’t change, they’re going to get stung again.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Has the Fed Turned ‘Hawkish?’

Stimulus, in a general sense, is something that causes an action or response. A ringing alarm clock may prompt someone to exit their slumber. Or a fist to the gut may force someone to gasp for breath.
Stimulus can come in many forms and varieties. It can come in the form of a stick; do this and you won’t get whacked over the head. So, too, it can come in the form of a carrot; do that and you’ll get a reward.
Other forms of stimulus can produce a short, burst like, reaction. The caffeine in a cup of coffee, for instance, will temporarily reduce drowsiness. Yet once the caffeine wears off, more coffee is needed to sustain the effect.
Former professional baseball player, and all around dirt bag, Jose Canseco knows a thing or two about stimulus. Not from what someone has taught him. But from what he learned through real world experience. He literally wrote the book on it.

This post was published at Acting-Man on December 17, 2016.

US Treasure Hunter To Remain In Jail Until He Tells FBI Where He Hid 3 Tons Of Gold

Famous U. S. treasure hunter, Tommy Thompson found a trove of gold coins and bars on the floor of the Atlantic ocean back in 1988. The treasure came from the SS Central America, which sank to the bottom of the sea during a hurricane in 1857, along with at least three tons of California gold and its 425 crewmembers.
The gold lay on the ocean floor for 180 years until Thompson, an engineer from Columbus, Ohio, built a robot capable of diving to 8,000 feet to retrieve the massive booty. The only problem is that Thompson needed investors to fund his expeditions, investors who say they were never paid their share of the discovery. Per the Chicago Tribune:
Many tried to find it, but none succeeded until a young, shipwreck-obsessed engineer from Columbus, Ohio, built an underwater robot called “Nemo” to pinpoint the Central America, then dive 8,000 feet under the sea and surface with the loot. “A man as personable as he was brilliant, Thompson recruited more than 160 investors to fund his expedition,” Columbus Monthly noted in a profile. He “spent years studying the ship’s fateful voyage . . . and developing the technology to plunge deeper in the ocean than anyone had before to retrieve its treasure.”
Two of the expedition’s biggest investors took him to court in the 2000s, accusing him of selling nearly all the gold and keeping the profits to himself.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

China Orders Shut Down Of 1,200 Factories After Smog “Red Alert” Declared In Beijing

In addition to its now traditional credit-funded boom-bubble-bust cycle which rotates from asset to asset, and is then promptly recycled courtesy of the nearly $35 trillion in various financial system “assets”, another staple of the “new” Chinese economy are smog alerts following every burst in economic strength driven by “old economy” manufacturing.
That’s what happened overnight, when following months of manufacturing expansion, China’s pollution problem has again caught up, and as a result Beijing’s city government ordered 1,200 factories near the Chinese capital, including a major oil refinery run by state oil giant Sinopec, to shut or cut output on Saturday after authorities issued the highest possible air pollution alert.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Economic Science Has Been Hijacked

In Principles of Economics, Carl Menger corrected the theoretical mistakes made by the old classical school. At the time, the founder of the Austrian school of economics seemed to want to make economics accessible to everyday people, which may explain why he exemplified the nature of economic value in his book, making sure readers understood that economics revolves around the actions of individuals.
Described by many as ‘the best introduction to economic logic ever written,’ Menger’s Principles inspired young economists like Ludwig von Mises to explore the populist nature of economics in an attempt to make the case that economics was for everyone, and that practical knowledge of economics can help even the most uneducated among us to prosper.
Despite the honorable efforts and the exponential growth of influence the Austrian school of economics has exerted over the years, the reality is that, for most individuals around the globe, economics is hard.
Murray Rothbard, the late Austrian economist and scholar, famously wrote in 1970 that it is no ‘crime to be ignorant of economics,’ after all, he added, most people see economics as a ‘dismal science.’ Nevertheless, he concluded, ‘it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.’

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec 17, 2016.

Christmas Tree Sales: Trump vs Clinton States, And The Biggest Winner Is…

According to recent economic reports, US consumer confidence is soaring, but it depends who you ask. Based on the latest Evercore ISI survey, while there has indeed been a post-election spike in US consumer sentiment, it is mostly confined to states that supported Trump in the Presidential election, leading to the observation that “Post-Election Confidence Lifting Christmas Tree Sales In Trump States.“
What is the basis for this assessment: “looking at our data and grouping our tree sellers by whether they operate in a state won by Trump or Clinton, we see Trump states clearly stronger this year while Clinton states are seeing slower Christmas tree sales than in 2015. Overall Christmas Tree sales results in our survey suggest a strong year in 2016.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2016.

Gold and Silver Market Morning: Dec 16 2016 – Gold and Silver stabilizing?

Gold Today -New York closed at $1,127.40 yesterday after closing at $1,142.60 on the 14th December. London opened again at $1,133.85 today.
Overall the dollar is stronger against global currencies today.
– The $: was stronger at $1.0441: 1 from $1.0478: 1 yesterday.
– The Dollar index was stronger at 102.95 from 102.54 yesterday.
– The Yen was weaker at 118.17: $1 from yesterday’s 117.81 against the dollar.
– The Yuan was much weaker at 6.9463: $1 from 6.9352: $1 yesterday.
– The Pound Sterling was weaker at $1.2430: 1 from yesterday’s $1.2520: 1.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 16 December 2016.