The Tea Party, Ten Years Later

December 16, 2017 is the tenth anniversary of the modern Tea Party. That fact will surprise many laypersons who uncritically accept the mainstream narrative that the Tea Party began on February 19, 2009 when Rick Santelli, live on CNBC from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), declared a rebellion against “socialism” one month into the Obama administration.
But wait a minute: Rick Santelli on establishment NBC lighting the spark of an anti-establishment rebellion? An uprising over mere proposed Obama bailouts of mortgage holders coming four months after silence over (if not a defense of) George W. Bush’s $700 billion TARP bailout of Wall Street?
If the mainstream narrative seems fishy, that is because it is. What really happened ten years ago and how was the Tea Party transformed from a libertarian grass-roots movement to today’s controlled (and just-about dead) establishment version? What are some of the lessons that can be learned?

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/18/2017.

Can You Trust this Stock Market? Warning Signs Grow.

Some of the same warning signs that emerged before the 1929 to 1933 market crash, the tech mania crash of 2000, and the epic Wall Street meltdown of 2008 are flashing red.
If you have significant amounts of your 401(k) invested in equity mutual funds (that is, those invested in stocks), it’s time to take an objective appraisal of today’s market versus historic benchmarks.
This is also a good time to remember that markets have lost as much as 50 percent of their value from peak to trough in the last 20 years. If that’s more pain than you’re prepared to suffer, it may be time to trim back your exposure.
We’ll get to the specifics on today’s market shortly, but first some necessary background.
In the market crash of 1929 to 1933, the stock market lost 90 percent of its value. It did not return to the level of 1929 until 1954 – a quarter of a century later.
There is some basis to speculate that the bear market of October 2007 to March 2009, which included the epic Wall Street crash of 2008, would have produced far more serious pain than the 50 percent retracement in the S&P 500 that did occur – perhaps pain on the level of 1929 to 1933 – had it not been for the secret $16 trillion in almost zero-interest loans that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sluiced into the major brokerage firms on Wall Street – which was on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout funds that were authorized by Congress.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.

Got It Figured Out Yet?

Has the light come on yet?
Why do you think the US Congress passed the Sexual Assault Taxpayer Bailout Act by unanimous vote in 1995 — and Bill Clinton signed it? Why has it not been repealed — and in fact, even today there is no bill on the floor of either House or Senate to repeal it, nor has Trump called for it to be repealed and stated he will refuse to sign any other bill (which is within his power) until it is?
The Hollyweird cabal’s escapades are not just limited to harassment. We all know about the Michael Jackson allegations. Then there’s Epstein — and his connections to both the entertainment and political “industries.” Epstein, I remind you, was convicted and yet of all the people who I’ve ever read about being convicted of that sort of offense he’s the only one who was basically given a slap on the wrist instead of decades in prison.
Worse, all of the others connected to him were not pursued. At all. Herr Clinton was of course one of those persons but hardly the only one. Number of prosecutions of those others? Zero.
So let’s ask the inconvenient question: Is all of this in the political and media sphere nothing more or less than a monstrous blackmail scheme and that is why it never came out until it suddenly was forced into the public eye by some damning revelations that could not be silenced once they got circulating on Social Media?

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-07.

The Yellen Put – Friend Or Foe?

The term ‘Greenspan Put’ was coined after the stock market crash of 1987 and the subsequent bailout of Long Term Capital Management in 1998. The Fed under Chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates following the fabled event of default and life continued.
The idea of the Greenspan Put was that lower interest rates would cure the market’s woes. Unfortunately, the FOMC has since fallen into a pattern whereby longer periods of low or even zero interest rates are used to address yesterday’s errors, but this action also leads us into tomorrow’s financial excess. As one observer on Twitter noted in an exchange with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari:
‘Central Bankers are much like the US Forest Service of old. Always trying to manage ‘nature’ and put out the little brush fires of the capitalist system, while they seem incapable of recognizing they are the root cause of major conflagrations as a result.’
When the Federal Open Market Committee briefly allowed interest rates to rise above 6% in 2000, the US financial system nearly seized up. Long-time readers of The Institutional Risk Analyst recall that Citigroup (C) reported an anomalous spike in loan defaults that sent regulators scrambling for cover. The FOMC dropped interest rates at the start of 2001 – nine months before the 911 terrorist attacks – and kept the proverbial pedal to the metal until June of 2004.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 27, 2017.

A Private Citizen Would Be in Prison If He Had Citigroup’s Rap Sheet

Since its financial meltdown in 2008 and unprecedented bailout by the U. S. taxpayer, Citigroup (parent of Citibank) has been repeatedly charged by its Federal regulators with odious crimes against its pooled mortgage investors, credit card and banking customers, student loan borrowers, and for its foreclosure frauds. It has paid billions of dollars in fines for its past misdeeds while new charges pile up. In 2015, it became an admitted felon for participating in rigging foreign exchange markets. In short, Citigroup is a lawbreaking recidivist. If it were a mere human, it would be serving a long prison term. Instead, its fines for charges of egregious acts are getting smaller, not larger.
Last Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which typically has a good track record of holding the big Wall Street banks accountable for their misdeeds, imposed an unusually feeble fine against Citibank for a litany of abuses against student loan borrowers. The CFPB ordered Citi to pay $3.75 million in restitution and to pay a $2.75 million fine. When combined with the fact that the CFPB did not make Citibank admit to the charges, this amounts to a slap on the wrist to a serial lawbreaker. (See Citigroup/Citibank’s history of misconduct below.)
Adding further insult to the American public, the Board of Directors of Citigroup has kept the same CEO in place for more than five years as these serial abuses of the public trust piled up. Michael Corbat has been CEO of Citigroup since October 2012.

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

Doug Noland: Not Clear What That Means”

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Credit Bubble Bulletin . To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
November 15 – Bloomberg (Nishant Kumar and Suzy Waite): ‘Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn said the problems that caused the global financial crisis a decade ago still haven’t been resolved. ‘Have we learned our lesson? It depends what the lesson was…’ Einhorn said he identified several issues at the time of the crisis, including the fact that institutions that could have gone under were deemed too big to fail. The scarcity of major credit-rating agencies was and remains a factor, Einhorn said, while problems in the derivatives market ‘could have been dealt with differently.’ And in the ‘so-called structured-credit market, risk was transferred, but not really being transferred, and not properly valued.’ ‘If you took all of the obvious problems from the financial crisis, we kind of solved none of them,’ Einhorn said… Instead, the world ‘went the bailout route.’ ‘We sweep as much under the rug as we can and move on as quickly as we can,’ he said.’
October 12 – ANSA: ‘European Central Bank President Mario Draghi defended quantitative easing at a conference with former Fed chief Ben Bernanke, saying the policy had helped create seven million jobs in four years. Bernanke chided the idea that QE distorted the markets, saying ‘It’s not clear what that means’.’
Once you provide a benefit it’s just very difficult to take it way. This sure seems to have become a bigger and more complex issue than it had been in the past. Taking away benefits is certainly front and center in contentious Washington with tax and healthcare reform. It is fundamental to the dilemma confronting central bankers these days.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 18, 2017.

Nobody Is Going to Bail Out Venezuela

Henkel Garcia U, Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB)
Venezuela, the South American country convulsed by economic and humanitarian catastrophe, has defaulted on some of its debt after missing an interest payment due in October.
Even as investors meet in Caracas to discuss restructuring US$60 billion in foreign debt, the country is in urgent need of international financial assistance.
Yet few nations are rushing in to offer financial assistance to the ailing country. Under the authoritarian regime of Nicols Maduro, Venezuela is isolated in Latin America, and the United States, Canada, and the European Union have all imposed sanctions against Venezuelan officials. Maduro has at times suggested he would not even accept humanitarian aid.
Still, no indebted nation is totally alone in this world. As a financial analyst, I know there are always international players who see opportunity in the problems of others. And for Venezuela, my home country, all hope of a bailout rests with China, Russia, and the International Monetary Fund.
Will they do anything to help?

This post was published at FinancialSense on THE CONVERSATION /1/15/2017.

“How To Forecast Markets”: A Departing Top JPMorgan Strategist Reveals What He Learned After 30 Years

One of the most popular JPMorgan analysts, traders and commentators, Jan Loeys, head of global asset strategy and author of the weekly “The JPMorgan View” piece is moving on (to a different, non-client facing part of the company), and is using his last weekly address to JPM clients to recap the main lessons he has learned over his 30 year career.
For those carbon-based traders who still trade on the basis of fundamental analysis, inductive reasoning, and discounting, and forecasting the future – instead of merely relying on the fastest laser-based algos to react to the news or hoping for central bank bailouts – we have excerpted the entire piece, and are excited to note that while Loeys may be leaving, he will be replaced by two of our favorite JPM analysts and commentators, Nikos Panigirtzoglou and Marko Kolanovic, who under John Normand will take over as JPM’s new Cross-Asset Strategy team.
So, without further ado, here is the latest, and last, from JPM’s Jan Loeys, explaining “What have I learned?” after 30 years of doing this…
What have I learned?
How to forecast markets?
The theory and empirical literature of Finance are the best starting point as they deal directly with asset prices. Next are macro economics and statistics. Markets are not Math or Engineering, but a forever learning and adapting system with all of us observing and participating from the inside. Quantitative techniques are indispensable, though, to deal with the complexity of financial instruments and the overload of information we face. Empirical evidence counts for more than theory, but you need theory to constrain empirical searchers and avoid spurious correlations.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 12, 2017.

Dijsselbloem Admits “We Used Taxpayers’ Money To Bailout The Banks”

‘We had a banking crisis, a fiscal crisis and we spent lot of the tax-payers’ money – in the wrong way, in my opinion – to save the banks’ outgoing Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said adding ‘so that the people criticizing us and saying that everything was being done for the benefit of the banks were to some extent right.’
As KeepTalkingGreece.com reports, Dijsselbloem was responding to a question posed by leftist MEP Nikos Chountis during a session at the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Thursday.
‘This is valid for the banks of all our countries. Everywhere in Europe banks were saved at taxpayers’ cost,’ he underlined. ‘This was the reason for banking union and the introduction of higher standards, better supervision and a reform and rescue framework when banks have losses,’ he said stressing ‘precisely so that we don’t find ourselves in that situation again.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.