“Did Mike Pence Buy A Diet Dr.Pepper For A Woman That Was Not His Wife?”

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
If only abortion were retroactive, we could suitably deal with monsters like Senator Al Franken (D – MN), who apparently ventured to apply a breast adjustment to a female colleague asleep on the military airplane winging them home from USO duty in Afghanistan. This was back in the day when Senator Franken was a professional entertainer, a clown to be precise, but his career shift to politics has rendered all his prior clowning anathema.
Will he slink out of the senate in disgrace with (ahem) his tail between his legs? Or will he bunker in and wait until the mega-storm of sexual accusation roars on to strand some bigger, flashier fish on the shoals of ignominy?
Perhaps we’ll soon learn that Warren Buffet repeatedly shagged his notoriously over-taxed secretary in the Berkshire Hathaway janitor’s closet.
Or that Mike Pence once bought a diet Dr. Pepper for a woman who was not his wife!
Seems to me this storm could roar and roil on until ninety-plus percent of the men in America are exposed as sex monsters and expelled from every workplace in the land. And then America can feel good about itself again. At least until the bond market blows up, or Kim Jung Fatboy sends a rocket over Rancho Cuckamonga.
But in the meantime, this scourging of male wickedness raises some interesting questions about human dynamics vis-a-vis workplace dynamics.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.

George Soros To Congress: “Please Don’t Cut My Taxes”

After transferring over the bulk of his personal wealth to his ‘Open Society’ Foundation – the umbrella organization for a network of dozens of political groups that push Soros’s far-left agenda across the US and Europe, Soros is still comfortable enough to justify giving away even more of his money – this time to the US federal government.
Taking a page out of Warren Buffett’s book, Soros and a group of some 400 other rich Americans – including doctors, lawyers and CEOs – are sending a formal letter to Congress chiding lawmakers for trying to reduce taxes on the richest American families at a time when wealth inequality is rapidly expanding. Instead, the letter asks Congress not to pass any tax bill that ‘further exacerbates inequality’ and adds to the debt (both of the current Republican plans would add $1.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years).
The letter was penned by Responsible Wealth, a group of ‘enlightened’ rich people that includes Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, fashion designer Eileen Fisher and philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, in addition to Soros. Along with the big names are many individuals and couples who rank among the top 5% of Americans (those who have $1.5 million in assets or earn $250,000 or more a year).
In a rebuttal to Congress’s argument that corporate tax cuts will help stimulate growth, the letter argues that corporations are already reaping record profits. Instead of handing more money to the wealthy, the letter’s signers argue the government should use the funds to invest in education, research and roads that benefit everyone, while protecting entitlement programs like Medicaid.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos And Warren Buffett Have More Money Than The Poorest 50% Of The U.S. Population Combined

The problem is not that we have a few people that are rich – the problem is that we have so many that are poor. As you will see below, three extremely wealthy individuals have as much money as the poorest half of the nation combined. In a free market capitalist society, there are always going to be some that do better than others, and there is nothing wrong with that. But in our society today, there are so few that are doing well. At this point a majority of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and ‘one in five households have zero or negative net worth’…
In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth.
Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U. S. is becoming ‘a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.’
That means that if you have no debt and a single dime in your pockets, you have more wealth than one-fifth of the entire country.
Okay, so let’s talk about the three men that have more wealth than the poorest 50 percent of the U. S. population combined. Those three men are Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, and Warren Buffett. I don’t want to take anything away from what those three have accomplished, because we need more risk takers and entrepreneurs.
Sadly, the level of small business creation has fallen in every presidential administration going all the way back to George H. W. Bush, and the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is hovering near all-time record lows.
As a nation, we desperately need to return to a culture that encourages free market capitalist thinking. We want young men and women to create, invent, innovate and start new ventures. But instead, today our culture encourages young people to become dependent on the government and on the big corporations, and as a result the middle class is evaporating.
As I discussed above, at this point 20 percent of all U. S. households have ‘either zero or negative wealth’…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 9th, 2017.

GATES, BUFFETT, AND BEZOS ARE AS RICH AS THE BOTTOM HALF OF AMERICA

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and business magnate Warren Buffett – the three richest people in the world – are as wealthy as the bottom half of the U. S. population combined, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies.
The poorest 50 percent of America amounts to roughly 160 million people or 63 million households.
America’s top 25 billionaires has as much wealth as 56 percent of the population, equivalent to 178 million people or 70 million households, according to the Institute for Policy Studies’ report.
The 400 richest people in the U. S. have a combined wealth of $2.68 trillion and collectively have more than the gross domestic product of Britain, the study found. Furthermore, that group owns more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the U. S. population (240 million people or 80 million households). This is more people than Canada and Mexico have combined.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 9, 2017.

All Of The World’s Money And Markets In One Visualization

Millions, billions, and trillions…
When we talk about the giant size of Apple, the fortune of Warren Buffett, or the massive amount of global debt accumulated – all of these things sound large, but they are actually extremely different in magnitude.
That’s why, as Visual Capitalists’ Jeff Desjardins explains, visualizing things spatially can give us a better perspective on money and markets.
How Much Money Exists? This infographic was initially created to show how much money exists in its different forms. For example, to highlight how much physical cash there is in comparison to broader measures of money which include saving and checking account deposits.
Interestingly, what is considered ‘money’ depends on who you are asking.
Are the abstractions created by Central Banks really money? What about gold, bitcoins, or other hard assets?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.

A Falling Rate of Discount and the Consumption of Capital

Net Present Value
Warren Buffet famously proposed the analogy of a machine that produces one dollar per year in perpetuity. He asks how much would you pay for this machine? Clearly it is worth something more than $1.00. And it’s equally clear that it’s not worth $1,000. The value is somewhere in between. But where?
This leads to the concept of discount (which we mentioned in Falling Productivity of Debt two weeks ago). A dollar to be paid next year is worth less than a dollar in the hand today. One reason is that we are mortal beings.
In order to be alive next year, we must remain alive every single day between now and then. There are natural reasons for time preference – the desire to have a good today, and not postpone it. We are also not omniscient. Something may come up, such as an illness, which forces us to consume what we did not plan to consume.
Another reason is, of course, risk. Unlike the magic machine in our example, a business enterprise may cease to make money for any number reasons including a new competitor or changing customer preferences.
For many reasons, a dollar to be paid next year is not worth a dollar today. A dollar to be paid in ten years is worth even less. Future payments must be discounted. The discount is related to the interest rate, and it shares many of the same causes.

This post was published at Acting-Man on November 2, 2017.

Falling Discount, Gold and Silver Get Powelled

Warren Buffet famously proposed the analogy of a machine that produces one dollar per year in perpetuity. He asks how much would you pay for this machine? Clearly it is worth something more than $1.00. And it’s equally clear that it’s not worth $1,000. The value is somewhere in between. But where?
This leads to the concept of discount (which we mentioned in Falling Productivity of Debt two weeks ago). A dollar to be paid next year is worth less than a dollar in the hand today. One reason is that we are mortal beings. In order to be alive next year, we must remain alive every single day between now and then. There are natural reasons for time preference – the desire to have a good today, and not postpone it. We are also not omniscient. Something may come up, such as an illness, which forces us to consume what we did not plan to consume.
Another reason is, of course, risk. Unlike the magic machine in our example, a business enterprise may cease to make money for any number reasons including a new competitor or changing customer preferences.
For many reasons, a dollar to be paid next year is not worth a dollar today. A dollar to be paid in ten years is worth even less. Future payments must be discounted. The discount is related to the interest rate, and it shares many of the same causes.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Monday, 30 October 2017.

A Technical History Of Market Melt-Ups

Melt-Up, FOMO, and Other Climaxes – A Technical History of Good Times
Bottom Line:
Many strategists are calling for a year-end melt-up: I believe it already happened There have been 76 melt-ups since 1900: the current one is already the second longest on record Stocks have achieved a Sharpe ratio of 4.5 this past year – better than 99.7% of the times since 1900 There is little sidelines cash and leverage levels are high – A re-allocation from bonds into equities could push the market higher I’d rather bet on higher rates than on a continuation of this over-extended bull run Warren Buffett famously joked that ‘bull markets are like sex. It feels best just before it ends’. Based on my sometimes-unlucky experience of sex and bull markets, I would add another commonality: the climax is sometimes reached before every participant realized that the party had even started.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 29, 2017.

Federal Prosecutors Are Investigating Wells Fargo’s FX Business

Last week, WSJ stoked fears that the Feds might be ramping up another probe into abuse and manipulation in the foreign exchange market when it reported that Wells Fargo had abruptly terminated four bankers from its FX business and transferred another. Now, Wall Street’s paper of record is reporting that Federal prosecutors are investigating Wells for abuses in its FX shop – but the scope of the investigated is limited to one disputed trade.
According to WSJ, prosecutors have subpoenaed information from Wells and from the recently fired bankers as they investigate a trade and ensuing dispute between Wells and one of its clients, Restaurant Brands International Inc.
RBI owns several fast-food franchises, including Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. In an amusing twist, both companies count Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as one of their largest shareholders.

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

American Express CEO Ken Chenault Is Retiring

Despite credit card giant American Express reporting another round of solid quarterly earnings, with revenue of $8.40bn beating expectations of $8.19bn, and generating EPS of $1.50, also above the $1.48 expected, and boosting its profit guidance for good measure, now projecting full year EPS of $5.80 to $5.90, up from $5.60 to $5.80 (above the consensus estimate of $5.75), AXP stock initially spiked, then immediately slumped back to unchanged, following news that the company’s CEO since 2001, Ken Chenault, is retiring effective February 1, 2018.
The unexpected departure prompted Warren Buffett, the company’s largest shareholder, to share the following parting words ‘Ken’s been the gold standard for corporate leadership and the benchmark that I measure others against. He led the company through 9/11, the financial crisis and the challenges of the last couple of years. American Express always came out stronger. Ken never went for easy, short-term answers, never let day-to-day challenges distract him from what was right for the moderate to long term. No one does a better job when it really counts and he’s always done it with the highest degree of integrity.’
Chenault will be replaced by Stephen Squeri, who has been Vice Chairman since 2015 and prior to that was Group President of the Company’s Global Corporate Services Group.
Full press release below:
American Express Announces Stephen J. Squeri to Succeed Kenneth I. Chenault as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
American Express Company (AXP) said today that its Board of Directors has appointed Stephen J. Squeri Chief Executive Officer and elected him Chairman of the Board, each effective February 1, 2018. Mr. Squeri, 58, will succeed Kenneth I. Chenault, 66, who will retire after a distinguished 37-year career with the Company.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.

Predicting Dow One Million – Was Warren Buffett Being Bold or Overly Cautious?

In a recent speech, Warren Buffett came down boldly on the side of optimism when it comes to both the economy and financial markets. What he said was “being short America has been a loser’s game… And it will continue to be a loser’s game.”
And to throw down the gauntlet against some the current negative talk in the markets, Mr. Buffett boldly predicted something quite extraordinary – which was that in 100 years “the Dow will be over a million.”
Is that even remotely believable, or is Mr. Buffett getting carried away by his own optimism?
The Challenge by Buffett: Check the Math
Warren Buffett knew as he predicted Dow One Million that this would seem unbelievable to many people or even ridiculous. Which is why he also said this “is not a ridiculous forecast at all if you do the math”.
In this analysis, we will do that math using two key assumptions.
First, we will use an absolutely average historical rate of inflation.
We will also take a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the same terms that Mr. Buffett was talking about – which is price changes in an index (but not including dividends). In the process we’re going to learn some valuable lessons with a great deal of real-world applicability not just going out 100 years, but also for the next 10, 20 and 30 years when it comes to retirement financial planning and other forms of long-term investment.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/16/2017.

Russia Stockpiles Gold To Prevent A Currency Attack By The U.S.

‘Countries stockpile gold for strategic and defensive reasons – for instance, in case relations between nations are damaged and their currencies lose their value,’ Gabriel Rubinstein, a financial consultant and former representative of the Argentine Central Bank (source link is below)
Russia has been accumulating a significant gold reserve for over a decade, along with China and most if not all of the BRIC/SCO/Silk Road countries. This is a fact that has been either unnoticed or intentionally ignored by the western mainstream media. Of course, gold is a barbarous relic that just ‘sits there and does nothing’ (Warren Buffet).

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on October 17, 2017.

Buffett’s Wrong – Why Market Valuations Are Not Justified By Low Interest Rates

As is his way, Billionaire investor Warren Buffett calmed an anxious nation earlier this month with his comments that:
“Valuations make sense with interest rates where they are.” And it seemed to work as stocks hit new record highs and Americans have never, ever been more sure that stocks will continue rising for the next 12 months…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

Whitney Tilson Shuts His Hedge Fund… Again

Back in the summer of 2012, we had some fun when we reported that Whitney Tilson – the consummate, if always late immitator of other prominent investors especially Warren Buffett and Bill Ackman – following several years of abysmal returns, closed his then-hedge fund T2 (with Glenn Tongue), splitting off into his own, oddly-named venture, Kase Capital. Well, Whitney – who in recent years was better known for his bizarre family photos from Africa than managing money- has done it again and according to the WSJ, Tilson closed his hedge fund… again, “the latest high-profile investor to close shop amid an extended period of disappointing returns for the industry.”
As the WSJ adds, Tilson, 50, shared his decision with clients (apparently he still had some) on Sunday. His latest hedge fund, Kase Capital, which was managing a whopping 50 million at the time of closure, and down from a peak of $180 million, lost about 8% so far this year, a more than 20% underperformance relative to the S&P YTD gain of more than 13%.
As the WSJ adds sarcastically, “while he ran a relatively small fund, Mr. Tilson was a well-known hedge-fund manager thanks to television and conference appearances, as well as books and regular writing about investing and other topics.” In other words, Tilson was not so much a “hedge fund manager” as its straight-to-CNBC marketer, and the results have confirmed it.
In an amusing twist, in 2016 Tilson – a staunch never-Trumpter – inexplicably found himself the subject of scathing criticism by Elizabeth Warren, after Tilson expressed modest public support of some of President Donald Trump’s cabinet and other appointments from the banking world, “even though Mr. Tilson is a lifelong Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Warren Buffett Predicts Dow 1,000,000; But There’s A Catch…

The Wall Street Journal won the award for the greatest “Shock And Awe” financial headline of the day when it published a story earlier entitled “Warren Buffett Says the Dow Is Going Over One Million.” The ‘Oracle of Omaha’ apparently made the ‘bold’ prediction at the 100-year anniversary celebration of Forbes magazine in which he also said that “being short America will continue to be a loser’s game.” Here are the highlights from WSJ:
You heard it from Warren Buffett first: the Dow Jones Industrial Average is headed above one million.
The blue-chip stock benchmark is likely to be above that milestone in a hundred years’ time, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chief executive and chairman said Tuesday night.
‘The Dow will be over a million and that is not a ridiculous forecast at all if you do the math,’ he said.

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

Julian Robertson: “There’s A Bubble” And “It’s The Federal Reserve’s Fault”

Call it the “bearish billionaire” curse. One month ago, MarketWatch penned “7 billionaires who are worried about a stock-market correction” which listed Carl Icahn, David Tepper, Howard Marks, George Soros, Jeff Gundlach, Warren Buffett and Eliot Singer as some of the world’s wealthiest people who are losing sleep over the S&P trading at all time highs.

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

Wells Admits It Created 1.4 Million More Fake Accounts Than Previously Thought

Remember the outrage one year ago when it was revealed that in its push to pad its top, and bottom line, Warren Buffett’s favorite bank had engaged in outright criminal account churning and “cross selling”, opening some 2.1 million unauthorized client accounts without permission (subsequently this extended to unsolicited car insurance policies extended on Wells auto loans). Well it turns out there was not nearly outrage, because as the bank revealed this morning, the “real” number was higher. 67% higher.
According to the outside review whose findings were released today, Wells Fargo said employees created two-thirds more bogus accounts than initially thought. According to the review, an additional 1.4 million “potentially unauthorized” deposit and credit-card accounts opened when the bank was encouraging employees to sell multiple products to retail customers, bringing the total to about 3.5 million, according to a statement Thursday from the San Francisco-based firm. The revised estimate covers January 2009 to September 2016, almost twice as long as the period examined in the initial review.

Wells new CEO was, predictably, all apologies:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 31, 2017.

Warren Buffett Reveals His Biggest Fear

Bloomberg’s David Westin spoke with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett on his 87th birthday before his charity auction lunch at Smith & Wollensky’s in New York.
Among the topics discussed was the Fed’s upcoming balance sheet normalization: Buffett told Westin that the Federal Reserve will be ‘very careful’ with how they handle quantitative easing as the Fed may have to find buyers for “trillions” in assets. Predictably, Buffett argued in support of QE which added tens of billions to his net worth: ‘[QE] did wonders for us coming out of 2008. Without it we would have gone back to the economics of 100 years ago. If the Fed had not been there to ease, we would have had a far different recovery. I think the Fed has overwhelmingly done the right thing. Now, we’ve never gone through a period like this and how it will all work out, we will find out. I think they will be intelligent about it but they’ve never played this game yet either.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 30, 2017.

Why Suddenly Two Mega Utility Takeovers?

Do the buyers know something that we don’t?
Two major electricity industry takeovers were announced within a few days of each other. Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm, announced its planned acquisition of Calpine, the nation’s largest generator of electricity using natural gas as a fuel. The acquisition valued Calpine at $17.3 billion ($5.6 billion for the common stock plus assumption of $11.7 billion of debt).
Days later, Sempra, a California-based utility, outbid Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway to buy Oncor, a Texas utility spin off from a disastrous private equity acquisition of TXU (the old Dallas-based Texas Utilities). Sempra’s bid values Oncor at $18.8 billion ($9.8 billion for equity and $9 billion to take responsibility for ex-isting debt).
In the case of Oncor, both final bidders had clear motives. Berkshire Hathaway has cash to invest and Mr. Buffett and Co. have targeted U. S. electric utilities for investment As a relatively large financial player, his investments have to be of a size to make a positive impact. In this case that means making relatively large acquisitions. Small ones barely register at Berkshire Hathaway.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Bill Tilles and Len Hyman ‘ Aug 26, 2017.

Buffett Sees Market Crash Coming? His Cash Speaks Louder Than Words

The Sage of Omaha’s adage is ‘it’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’
Editor: Mark O’Byrne
But for Warren Buffett the current environment doesn’t appear to be offering up any wonderful companies at fair valuations. The situation is so bad that the cash stockpile of Berkshire Hathaway has more than doubled in the last four years, from under $40 billion to $100bn.
The infamous investor is famed for his investment approach of pouncing on companies when they run in to problems and are seemingly undervalued. At the moment though, there aren’t many out there.
The large stockpile is a likely indicator of not only how Buffett negatively views the current market environment but also how he sees the near future and what opportunities it will bring.
Buffett hates cash, he wants to spend it
Buffett has previously stated how much he hates cash, telling investors at the Berkshire AGM that it was a poor way to keep their money.
During the Omaha-based meeting Buffett expressed his frustration with a cash pile that is approaching $100 billion, ‘We shouldn’t use your money that way for long periods… The question is, ‘Are we going to be able to deploy it?”
It may well be the case that Buffett is prepared to pay a dividend, stating that dividends could be paid ‘reasonably soon, even while I am around.’ But this is unlikely.

This post was published at Gold Core on August 21, 2017.