• Category Archives Fiscal Policies
  • It’s Official: Government Report Says Market Risks are ‘High and Rising’

    During Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference on December 13, she had this to say about financial stability on Wall Street: ‘And I think when we look at other indicators of financial stability risks, there’s nothing flashing red there or possibly even orange. We have a much more resilient, stronger banking system, and we’re not seeing some worrisome buildup in leverage or credit growth at excessive levels.’
    Where does Fed Chair Janet Yellen get her information on financial stability risks to the U. S. financial system? A key source for that information is the Office of Financial Research (OFR), a Federal agency created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 to keep key government regulators like the Federal Reserve informed on mounting risks.
    On December 5, the OFR released its Annual Report for 2017. It was not nearly as sanguine as Yellen. In fact, it flatly contradicted some of her assertions. The report noted that numerous areas were, literally, flashing red and orange (OFR uses a color-coded warning system) – raising the question as to why Yellen would attempt to downplay those risks to the American people.

    This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on December 27, 2017.


  • From ‘Definitely Transitory’ to ‘Imperfect Understanding’ In One Press Conference

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    When Janet Yellen spoke at her regular press conference following the FOMC decision in September 2017 to begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet, the Chairman was forced to acknowledge that while the unemployment rate was well below what the central bank’s models view as inflationary it hadn’t yet shown up in the PCE Deflator. Of course, this was nothing new since policymakers had been expecting accelerating inflation since 2014. In the interim, they have tried very hard to stretch the meaning of the word ‘transitory’ into utter meaninglessness; as in supposedly non-economic factors are to blame for this consumer price disparity, but once they naturally dissipate all will be as predicted according to their mandate.
    That is, actually, exactly what Ms. Yellen said in September, unusually coloring her assessment some details as to those ‘transitory’ issues:
    For quite some time, inflation has been running below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective. However, we believe this year’s shortfall in inflation primarily reflects developments that are largely unrelated to broader economic conditions. For example, one-off reductions earlier this year in certain categories of prices, such as wireless telephone services, are currently holding down inflation, but these effects should be transitory. Such developments are not uncommon and, as long as inflation expectations remain reasonably well anchored, are not of great concern from a policy perspective because their effects fade away.
    Appealing to Verizon’s reluctant embrace of unlimited data plans for cellphone service was more than a little desperate on her part. Even if that was the primary reason for the PCE Deflator’s continued miss, it still didn’t and doesn’t necessarily mean what telecoms were up to was some non-economic trivia.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 26, 2017.


  • Hysertianomics: S&P 500 Index UP 25% Since Trump Election As Fed Keeps Raising Rates (Krugman Said Markets Would Never Recover)

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Krugman said on November 8, 2016 that markets will never recover from the stock market decline that occurred on November 7th, the day before the Presidential election.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders ‘ December 26, 2017.


  • The Integrated Non-USD Platforms

    The many new integrated non-USD platforms devised and constructed by China finally have critical mass. They threaten the King Dollar as global currency reserve. Clearly, the USDollar cannot be displaced in trade and banking without a viable replacement for widespread daily usage. Two years ago, critics could not point to a viable integrated system outside the USD realm. Now they can. The integration of commercial, construction, financial, transaction, investment, and even security systems can finally be described as having critical mass in displacing the USDollar. The King Dollar faces competition of a very real nature. The Jackass has promoted a major theme in the last several months, that of the Dual Universe. At first the USGovt will admit that it cannot fight the non-USD movement globally. To do so with forceful means would involve sanctions against multiple nations, and a war with both Russia & China. Their value together is formidable in halting the financial battles from becoming a global war. The United States prefers to invade and destroy indefensible nations like Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, and by proxy Yemen. The USMilitary appears formidable against undeveloped nations, seeking to destroy their infra-structure and their entire economies, in pursuit of the common Langley theme of destabilization. In the process, the USMilitary since the Korean War has killed 25 million civilians, a figure receiving increased publicity. The Eastern nations and the opponents to US financial hegemony will not tolerate the abuse any longer. They have been organizing on a massive scale in the last several years. Ironically, the absent stability can be seen in the United States after coming full circle. The deep division of good versus evil, of honest versus corrupt, of renewed development versus endless war, has come to light front and center within numerous important USGovt offices and agencies.
    The shape of the US nation will change with the loss of the USDollar’s status as global currency reserve. The starting point for the global resistance against the King Dollar was 9/11 and the onset of the War on Terror. It has been more aptly described as a war of terror waged by the USGovt as a smokescreen for global narcotics monopoly and tighter control of USD movements. Then later, following the Lehman failure (killjob by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs) and the installation of the Zero Interest Rate Policy and Quantitative Easing as fixed monetary policies, the community of nations has been objecting fiercely. The zero bound on rates greatly distorted all asset valuations and financial markets. The hyper monetary inflation works to destroy capital in recognized steps. These (ZIRP & QE) are last ditch desperation policies designed to enable much larger liquidity for the insolvent banking structures. Without them, the big US banks would suffer failure. They also provide cover for the amplified relief efforts directed at the multi-$trillion derivative mountain. In no way, can the global tolerate unbridled monetary inflation which undermines the global banking reserves.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 26 December 2017.


  • Stockman: US Fiscal Path Will Rattle the Rafters of the Casino

    As we’ve reported, the US government is spending money like a drunken sailor. But nobody really seems to care.
    Since Nov. 8, the US national debt has risen $1 trillion. Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 (a small-cap stock market index) has risen by 30%. Former Reagan budget director David Stockman said this makes no sense in a rational world, and he thinks the FY 2019 is going to sink the casino.
    In a rational world operating with honest financial markets those two results would not be found in even remotely the same zip code; and especially not in month #102 of a tired economic expansion and at the inception of an epochal pivot by the Fed to QT (quantitative tightening) on a scale never before imagined.’
    Stockman is referring to economic tightening recently launched by the Federal Reserve. It’s not only the increasing interest rates. By next April the Fed will be shrinking its balance sheet at an annual rate of $360 billion and by $600 billion per year as of next October. By the end of 2020, the Fed will have dumped $2 trillion of bonds from its books. Stockman puts this into perspective.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 26, 2017.


  • Demand Slides For 2Y Treasuries As Yield Surges To Highest Since Sept 2008

    The last time the yield on a 2-Year TSY auction was as high as it was today – 1.922% to be specific, tailing the When Issued 1.899% by 0.3bps – was just a few days after Lehman Brothers failed, with one difference: back then it was sliding, while now the rate on 2Y paper is surging, up from just 1.21% at the start of the year, and up from 1.765% just last month thanks to the latest Fed rate hike.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.


  • Trump’s Tax Cuts: The Good, The Bad, and the Inflationary

    At last, tax reform is happening! Last week, President Donald Trump celebrated the passage of the most important legislation so far of his presidency.
    The final bill falls far short of the ‘file on a postcard’ promise of Trump’s campaign. It even falls short of the bill trotted out by Congressional Republicans just a few weeks ago. It is, nevertheless, the most significant tax overhaul in more than a decade.
    Corporations and most individual taxpayers will see lower overall rates. That’s the good news.
    Unfortunately, there is also some not so good news investors need to be aware of.
    Because no spending cuts will be attached to ‘pay’ for the tax rate reductions, the legislation will grow the budget deficit by an estimated $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The actual number could end up being smaller…or bigger, depending on how the economy performs. But more red ink will spill.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 26 December 2017.


  • “You All Just Got A Lot Richer” – Trump Confirms The Biggest Problem With The GOP Tax Cut

    As we’ve pointed out time and time again, the biggest problem with the Trump tax cuts is that they overwhelmingly benefit the rich. In fact, shortly after the initial nine-page outline of the program was unveiled by Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center released an analysis that showed the wealthiest 1% of Americans would accumulate more than 80% of the benefit from the tax bill.
    One need only glance at this chart from JP Morgan to see how shabbily middle- and working-class voters are treated by the tax bill.
    This is a big problem – particularly if the administration hopes to come anywhere near the 2.9% rate of GDP growth sustained over the next 10 years, a feat that would amount to the longest period without a recession in US history. That’s because when the wealthy receive tax breaks, they tend to save the money instead of putting it to productive use – at least at first – as we discussed last week.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.


  • 2017: A Review Of The Fed, Treasuries, Mortgages and Housing (Volatility and Velocity)

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    2017 has been an interesting year. Donald Trump was elected President and seated in January 2017. The Federal Reserve kept rates near zero with a massive balance sheet for almost all of Obama’s 8 years as President, then started to raise rates and unwind their massive balance sheet AFTER Trump was elected. Note the decline in M2 Money growth after Trump’s election.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders ‘ December 23, 2017.


  • Doug Noland: Epic Stimulus Overload

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Credit Bubble Bulletin . To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    Ten-year Treasury yields jumped 13 bps this week to 2.48%, the high going back to March. German bund yields rose 12 bps to 0.42%. U. S. equities have been reveling in tax reform exuberance. Bonds not so much. With unemployment at an almost 17-year low 4.1%, bond investors have so far retained incredible faith in global central bankers and the disinflation thesis.
    Between tax legislation and cryptocurrencies, there’s been little interest in much else. As for tax cuts, it’s an inopportune juncture in the cycle for aggressive fiscal stimulus. And for major corporate tax reduction more specifically, with boom-time earnings and the loosest Credit conditions imaginable, it’s Epic Stimulus Overload. History will look back at this week – ebullient Republicans sharing the podium and cryptocurrency/blockchain trading madness – and ponder how things got so crazy.
    From my analytical vantage point, the nation’s housing markets have been about the only thing holding the U. S. economy back from full-fledged overheated status. Sales have been solid and price inflation steady. While construction has recovered significantly from the 2009/2010 trough, housing starts remain at about 60% of 2004-2005 period peak levels. It takes some time for residential construction to attain take-off momentum. Well, liftoff may have finally arrived. As long as mortgage rates remain so low, we should expect ongoing housing upside surprises. An already strong inflationary bias is starting to Bubble. Is the Fed paying attention?

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 23, 2017.


  • Why Monetary Policy Will Cancel Out Fiscal Policy

    Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com,
    Good cheer has arrived at precisely the perfect moment. You can really see it. Record stock prices, stout economic growth, and a GOP tax reform bill to boot. Has there ever been a more flawless week leading up to Christmas?
    We can’t think of one off hand. And if we could, we wouldn’t let it detract from the present merriment. Like bellowing out the verses of Joy to the World at a Christmas Eve candlelight service, it sure feels magnificent – don’t it?
    The cocktail of record stock prices, robust GDP growth, and reforms to the tax code has the sweet warmth of a glass of spiked eggnog. Not long ago, if you recall, a Dow Jones Industrial Average above 25,000 was impossible. Yet somehow, in the blink of an eye, it has moved to just a peppermint stick shy of this momentous milestone – and we’re all rich because of it.
    So, too, the United States economy is now growing with the spry energy of Santa’s elves. According to Commerce Department, U. S. GDP increased in the third quarter at a rate of 3.2 percent. What’s more, according to the New York Fed’s Nowcast report, and their Data Flow through December 15, U. S. GDP is expanding in the fourth quarter at an annualized rate of 3.98 percent.
    Indeed, annualized GDP growth above 3 percent is both remarkable and extraordinary. Remember, the last time U. S. GDP grew by 3 percent or more for an entire calendar year was 2005. Several years before the iPhone was invented.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.


  • Are Tax Cuts Really Just Undemocratic Exploitation?

    Will Wilkinson, the vice president for policy at the Niskanen Center, does not like the tax bill just passed by Congress. Writing in The New York Times, he finds the legislation ‘notably generous to corporations, high earners, inheritors of large estates and the owners of private jets.’
    Wilkinson has discovered a surprising source for the legislation he dislikes so much. It is none other than the libertarian idea, promoted by Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, that taxation is theft. Under their theory of ‘absolute’ property rights, taxation was ‘morally criminalized.’ Democratic majorities, in this view, cannot override property rights.
    Wilkinson rejects this account. ‘The idea that there is an inherent tension between democracy and the integrity of property rights is wildly misguided.’ Democracy is a means for the poor and middle class to protect themselves from exploitative elites. Democracy is a relatively recent innovation; in pre-democratic states, ruling elites exploited the ‘lower orders.’ Those not in the ruling elite need the redistributive democratic state for protection.
    The fault is no doubt mine, but I find Wilkinson’s line of thought difficult to follow. How does the thought that taxation is morally wrong underlie a tax bill? If you reject taxation, would you not oppose taxes rather than enact new taxes? Perhaps what Wilkinson has in mind is this: in present circumstances, Republicans under nefarious libertarian influence could not proceed all the way to abolition of taxation. The best they could manage is not to tax the well-off as much as Wilkinson thinks appropriate.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/21/2017.


  • Credit Card Debt Suddenly Surges 18% As U.S. Consumers “Pre-Spend” Tax Relief Savings

    With Republicans in Washington D. C. on the verge of passing their first major piece of legislation in the form of comprehensive tax cuts that will allow Americans across the income spectrum to keep a little more of their hard earned cash in 2018, it appears as though eager U. S. consumers may have already “pre-spent” their savings on their credit cards.
    As the folks at Gluskin Sheff point out, 13-week annualized credit card balances in the U. S. have gone completely vertical in the last few months of 2017 which should make for some great Christmas gifts for little Johnny and Susie…gifts that will undoubtedly find themselves tucked away in a dark closet, never to be seen again, by mid January.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.


  • 3 (Mis)Statements About Tax Reform

    With the passage of the Tax Cut And Jobs Act on Wednesday, I wanted to address a few of the questions and misinformation currently circulating about the impact of tax cuts on the U. S. economy.
    Over the last couple of months, I have been repeatedly asked why I am not ‘enthusiastic’ about the ‘greatest tax reform’ since the Reagan era.
    First, let me be clear, I like getting a ‘tax cut.’ Under the new plan, and because I own several small businesses structured as limited liability corporations (LLC’s), I will potentially see a reduction in the amount of taxes I will pay next year.
    What I am opposed to, as a ‘fiscal conservative,’ is the ongoing expansion of our debts and deficits which are an inherent drag on the future prosperity of the country.
    For the last 8-years, Republicans have repeatedly blamed the previous Administration for doubling the national debt and further expanding dependency on the welfare and entitlement system. When the Republican-controlled Senate and House had the opportunity to live up to their promise of reducing spending and being more fiscally responsible, their first piece of major legislative action will add another $10 Trillion in debt over the next 10-years, increase the deficit to more than $1 Trillion, and double the size of an existing welfare program through increasing child tax credits.
    As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget just wrote:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.


  • Treasury Curve Inverts As Trump Slams Dems For Forcing Shutdown

    House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don’t let this happen. Pass the C. R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2017

    Early in the week, anxiety over a government shutdown appeared to ebb as the short-term Treasury Bill market began to ‘normalize’, but following the tax-reform ‘win’, President Trump is accusing Democrats of trying to force a government shutdown…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.


  • BOOM: AMERICAN COMPANIES RAIN DOWN CASH ON EMPLOYEES IN RESPONSE TO TRUMP TAX CUTS

    After Republicans passed sweeping tax reform Wednesday, some of the largest employers in America began dropping cash bombs on their employees. The businesses also pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the American economy.
    The GOP tax bill cuts the corporate tax rate nearly in half.
    Here is a round up, so far, of companies that are celebrating the tax cuts by enriching their employees.
    1. AT&T

    This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 21, 2017.


  • Three Cheers for the GOP Tax Plan

    Last night the Senate passed the Republican proposed tax plan, a major political victory for Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.
    At the Mises Wire, we have featured numerous articles pointing out many of the fallacies involved with the general debate on the issue of “tax reform.” For example, the absurdity of “revenue neutral” reform, the danger of raising rates through eliminating loop hopes, the fallacy of trying to address the deficit through eliminating deductions on state and local taxes, and the general notion that tax breaks can be equated to tax subsidies. While the Republican bill does fall for some of these traps, the result of the bill as a whole is a genuine reduction in the tax burden for the majority of Americans. That is always something worth celebrating.
    There are additional benefits to be found within the bill as well.
    For example, the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate is a small, but significant, step to improving the American healthcare system. As I noted in March, when Paul Ryan’s attempt at Obamacare reform failed, the rise of direct primary care and other market solutions meant that the best thing the GOP could do is simply provide as much freedom as possible for Americans to opt out of government-managed insurance markets:
    Given that this is happening naturally on the market already, the legislative focus for those in Washington concerned about American healthcare should be preventing any future laws and regulations that would destroy this model going forward. Further, rather than trying to completely overhaul Obamacare, simply eliminating the individual mandate tax and allowing Health Savings Accounts to be used for healthcare membership would be subtle ways of empowering the market to revolutionize American medicine. This should be coupled with real tax cuts, not ‘revenue neutral reform’ to help Americans keep their own hard-earned money to help pay for it.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/20/2017.


  • “In The End, There Was Absurdity” – The Great Crash Of 2018?

    Crises always take longer to arrive than you think, and then happen much quicker than they ought to.
    – Rudiger Dornbusch
    An eerie calm has taken over the world markets. Volatility is crashing, and economic and political shocks come and go without any noticeable effect on the asset markets. Inflation and interest rates are also low. So ‘Goldilocks’ is here, right?
    Well, no. I have written a collection of dark pieces about the world economy this year. They have followed the tone set in our business cycle forecasts. In March, we took a deep dive behind the faade of the economic expansion to discover the sources of growth. We found them to be unstable, depending on political decisions and thus prone to crash.
    In our latest forecast, we envisaged how the world economy would respond if the foundations of global growth would break. It was not pretty. Here I present the main takeaways.
    I consider the Figure 1 (below) to give the most compelling picture on the absurdity we have arrived to. It presents the yield of the US 10 year treasury bond, the yield of Italian 10 year bond and yields of junk bonds of European and US companies as well as the QE:s of the ECB and the Fed. It implies that the default probability of an average European junk-rated company is smaller than that of the US government. This, naturally, is just absurd and it only tells the tale of a massive central bank induced market distortion. The pricing of risk in the normal sense does not exist in the capital markets anymore.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.


  • House Passes Trump Tax Plan For Second Time

    Update: In a vote that almost exactly mirrored yesterday’s results, the House once again passed the final Trump tax bill – formerly known as the conference agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – by a vote of 224-201.
    As the Financial Times pointed out, “the vote gives the president a longed-for legislative victory to carry into his second year, one whose scope matches the radical reforms of healthcare and Wall Street regulation achieved by his predecessor Barack Obama.”
    But the tax bill is already as divisive as Mr Obama’s achievements, ensuring 2018 will be dominated by electoral sparring over whether it will help middle-class families, as Republicans claim, or will deliver further riches to the wealthy and powerful, as Democrats say.
    Mr Trump said at a ‘celebration’ cabinet meeting that people would begin seeing the results of the tax bill in February when adjustments to their after-tax income started appearing in pay checks. ‘We got it done,’ he said, thanking congressional leaders.


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.