• Tag Archives Washington
  • Watch Live: Trump Makes “Major Statement”

    Two days ago, President Trump tweeted that he would make a “major statement” upon his return from Asia. That time has come. Today at 3:30pmET, President Trump will let us all know… Is it war with North Korea? Rejoining TPP? Denouncing Roy Moore? Declaring victory over tax reform and healthcare repeal? Celebrating his relationship with China? Banning NYT and CNN? Admitting he really did collude with Putin?
    Of course, there’s a lot happening in Washington right now, and Trump’s hinted-at announcement could be in reference to one of any number of issues. Will he deliver an update on the administration’s position regarding tax reform as two bills that differ in dramatic fashion wend through Congress? Perhaps some type of security announcement? Or the revelation that the US has finally entered into talks with North Korea after Trump adopted a notably softer tone toward his favorite Asian antagonist over the weekend?


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


  • Key Events In The Coming Week: Taxes, Inflation, Yellen, Draghi, Kuroda And Brexit

    This week’s economic calendar features several key data releases and Fedspeak. The main data release in US include: CPI inflation, retail sales, industrial production, housing data and monthly budget statement. We also get the latest GDP and CPI reading across the Euro Area; the employment report in the UK and AU, Japan GDP, China IP, retail sales and FAI. In Emerging markets, there are monetary policy meetings in Indonesia, Chile, Egypt and Hong Kong.
    Market participants will also want to pay close attention to tax reform progress in Washington. The House Ways and Means Committee had voted along party lines (24-16) to deliver its bill to the full House. The Senate Finance Committee’s proposal was also revealed last week and is slated for markup this week. Both versions are essentially opening gambits by the two chambers and the hard work begins when the two bills are ‘reconciled’. As a reminder, the Senate version is likely to be closer to the final version. In our view, there is a decent chance that some version of tax reform can be achieved, but this is likely to be a Q1 event and there are numerous potential stumbling blocks along the way.
    With respect to the data, October inflation and retail sales reports are the main focus. Tuesday, DB expects headline PPI (+0.1% forecast vs. +0.4% previously) to moderate following a spike in gasoline prices last month due to hurricane-related supply disruptions. However, core PPI inflation (+0.2% vs. +0.1%) should firm. Analyst will focus on the healthcare services component of the PPI, as this is an input into the corresponding series in the core PCE deflator – the Fed’s preferred inflation metric. Recall that healthcare has the largest weighting in the core PCE.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.


  • Hey GOP, Want to Cut the Burden of Government? Cut Spending.

    Washington, DC is currently in the middle of a the “tax reform” process, which as Jeff Deist, points out, is ” a con, and a shell game.” Tax reform proposals, Deist continues “always evade and obscure the real issue, which is the total cost – financial, compliance, and human – taxes impose on society.”
    Tax reform is really about which interest groups can modify the current tax code to better suit their own parochial interests. The end result is not a lessened tax burden overall, and thus does nothing to boost real savings, real wealth creation, or real economic growth. It’s just yet another government method of rewarding powerful groups while punishing the less powerful ones.
    Not surprisingly then, the news that’s coming out of Washington about tax reform demonstrates that the reforms we’re seeing are only shifting around the tax burden without actually lessening it. The central scam at the heart of the matter is that DC politicians are more or less devoted to “revenue neutral” tax reforms. That means if one group sees a tax cut, then another group will lose a deduction, or even see an actual increase in tax rates.
    This is why many middle class families may be looking at a higher tax bill. David Stockman explains:
    [O]n the eve of the House Ways and Means committee vote on the tax bill—-which will then be barricaded by a no amendments “closed rule” when it goes to the full house—–the smoking gun is already apparent. By 2027 (after the temporary $300 adult tax credit gimmick expires and all provisions of the Brady mark become fully effective), the middle quintile US family ( about 30 million filers between $55,000 and $93,000 of AGI) would find itself in a crap shoot.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 13, 2017.


  • NFL Boycott Intensifies On Veterans Day Weekend After Goodell Announces No Change To Anthem Policy

    The NFL announced Saturday that there isn’t going to be any change to its national anthem policy, despite an escalating boycott of games over Veterans Day weekend.
    The Facebook page ‘Boycott the NFL’ has asked all its followers to celebrate Veterans Day weekend by refusing to watch NFL games ‘in solidarity with veterans around the country,’ given that players are still engaging in national anthem protests and NFL policy remains the same, The Washington Times reports.

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


  • The Stock Market Has Gone Up More Than 5 Trillion Dollars Since Donald Trump Was Elected

    One year ago we witnessed the greatest miracle in political history, and since that time we have also witnessed one of the greatest miracles in financial history. On November 8th, 2016 the Dow closed at 18,332.74. On Wednesday, it closed at 23,563.36. U. S. stocks have increased in value by about 5.4 trillion dollars since Donald Trump was elected, and I don’t think that we have seen anything quite like this ever before. So does Donald Trump deserve the credit for this unprecedented stock market run? Many experts are at least giving him part of the credit…
    Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, says outgoing Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen deserves ‘much of the credit’ because the Fed’s policy of low interest rates has helped maintain a good economy and ‘favors stocks over other investments.’
    But Trump, he adds, ‘gets some credit for establishing a pro-business climate in Washington.’ Trump also gets kudos for rolling back business regulations and pushing for a big tax cut for U. S. corporations, which investors say will boost corporate profitability.
    Without a doubt, a Trump victory was a good thing for the financial markets, but politicians need to be careful not to take too much credit for soaring stock prices.
    Because if they take credit when stocks go up, then they also have to be willing to take the blame when they go down.

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 8th, 2017.


  • The Thrill Is Gone! Treasury Curve (10Y-2Y) Remains Under 70 BPS As 10Y Term Premium Remains Negative

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    BB King sang it best with ‘The Thrill Is Gone.’
    Now that hopes for tax reform are gone (probably for a year), the US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve slope remains below 80 basis points. Far below where it was when Trump was elected President when optimism of something new (like tax reform) in Washington DC breathed life into the bond market.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 8, 2017.


  • Bank Stocks, Dollar Slide Hit By Fresh Tax Reform Doubts

    U. S. equity futures are little changed as European and Asian shares retreated, led by sliding bank stocks and a drop in the dollar as doubts over republican tax cuts and ongoing bond curve flattening hurt sentiment and prompted fresh questions over the viability of the US expansion.
    Investor concerns also returned to geopolitics as Trump continued his tour of Asia with a mission of rallying the world to stand up to the North Korean threat. Calling out by name Russia and China, he said Wednesday that all responsible nations must join forces to deny Kim Jong Un’s regime any form of support. As Bloomberg reports, Trump is also expected to discuss trade with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. But the biggest overnight catalyst was a renewed fear about the fate of GOP tax cuts, as fresh doubts emerged about tax reform progress after the Washington Post reported Senate Republican leaders were considering holding cuts back by a year, while they are also said to be considering repealing deductions for state and local taxes.
    Derek Halpenny, head of research at Mitsubishi UFJ in London told Reuters he was dubious over the progress of the tax cuts program being urged by U. S. President Donald Trump’s campaign. ‘The initial phases of discussions within the House (of Representatives) have brought up a lot of divisions and problems … If the story is true that they’re considering a delay of one year to the corporate tax cut, those big differences will need to be sorted,’ he said. Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Prime Partners, said the doubts over the tax issue reinforce the case for some consolidation in the market, which has been fully priced for good news. ‘It’s something that would impact the domestic stocks in the U. S. and would be a setback for the market in general (and) it’s more than stock specific as people would reassess earnings growth expectations to the downside,’ he said.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.


  • “Homeless Explosion”: Tech Boom, Surging Rents Creating Homeless Crisis On America’s West Coast

    America’s liberal left coast states count themselves among the most adamant supporters of controversial pieces of legislation intended to support low-income families. From their stunningly high income tax rates to their $15 minimum wage mandates, states like California and Washington are leading the charge on implementing Bernie’s socialist agenda.
    Of course, some of the biggest advocates of that socialist agenda are the billionaire leaders of Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies…which is precisely why it’s so ironic that it’s the “tech boom” being enjoyed by those billionaires that has resulted in surging housing prices and what SFGate described earlier today as a “homeless explosion pushing West Coast cities to the brink.”
    Housing prices are soaring here thanks to the tech industry, but the boom comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. The liberal city is trying to figure out what to do.
    “I’ve got economically zero unemployment in my city, and I’ve got thousands of homeless people that actually are working and just can’t afford housing,” said Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien. “There’s nowhere for these folks to move to.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 6, 2017.


  • More Rigorous Populism Might Have Produced a Better Fed Chair

    As I noted in my reaction to reports of Jerome Powell’s nomination, Trump’s endorsement was a significant defeat for the growing movement among Hill Republicans to force the Fed to adopt ‘rules-based monetary policy.’ Since I’ve already written on why I think such reform plans would largely fail to achieve their desired ends, I’m not particularly bothered by the defeat – but I do think there is a lesson to be gained here on libertarian strategy.
    As Jeff Deist noted at the Mises Institute’s 35th Anniversary, along with some genuine disagreements regarding economics and political theory, Murray Rothbard and F. A. Hayek held very different opinions on the best strategy going forward to promote liberty. While both agreed, following Mises’s insights, that winning ‘hearts and minds’ was absolutely essential to a free society – government would not be limited by pursuing and tricking the populist into something it wasn’t prepare to adopt – they disagreed on the best way of accomplishing this task.
    While Rothbard favored a libertarian-populist strategy aimed at educating and energizing laypeople, Hayek thought it was best to influence academics and intellectuals, what he termed ‘second handlers of ideas.’ A more classically liberal intelligentsia would influence policymakers and from that good – or at least better – public policy would follow.
    While it may be a step too far to suggest that this approach can never lead to any form of substantial policy victory in Washington – and certainly no intellectual movement should be limited to a single strategy – Trump’s nomination of Powell I think does highlight one of the major flaws with Hayek’s strategy.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 6, 2017.


  • Rewriting History Continues

    A historic Episcopal church in Alexandria, Va., has made the decision to move a pair of plaques that paid tribute to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and President George Washington. Both were former parishioners and the plaques were displayed on either side of the altar at Christ Church in Alexandria.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 5, 2017.


  • BofA Has Two Questions For Ex-Carlyle Partner And Multi-Millionaire Fed Chair, Jay Powell

    On Thursday afternoon, around 3pm, Donald Trump will officially nominate Jerome Powell to be the next Chair of the Federal Reserve, replacing Janet Yellen when her term is up on February 1st. According to virtually every financial analyst, the former Carlyle Partner, Jay Powell, represents “continuity” on the Federal Reserve and would conduct monetary policy in a similar fashion as Yellen. As a result, Powell will proceed with the current balance sheet normalization schedule and continue to guide markets toward the “dots”. He is also expected to put a greater priority on scaling back financial market regulation, working with Randy Quarles who is the newly appointed Vice Chair for Supervision.
    While we presented key recent soundbites from Powell speeches yesterday, here is some more background:
    Jerome Powell is a trained lawyer and not an economist. Powell has been a Fed Governor since 2012 and was involved in the decision-making behind QE3 and then policy normalization in recent years. Prior to joining the Board, he was a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a partner at the Carlyle Group, and worked at the Treasury under the GWH Bush administration.
    Powell is a Republican who built a vast wealth as a partner at Carlyle. Powell’s latest financial disclosure from June lists his net worth between $19.7 million and $55 million. If he gets the job, Powell would be the richest Fed chair since banker Marriner Eccles, who held the position from 1934 to 1948, according to the Washington Post.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 2, 2017.


  • Home Price Growth Gains Momentum, Over 2X Wage Growth (Seattle Fastest, Washington DC Slowest)

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U. S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U. S. census divisions, reported a 6.1% annual gain in August, up from 5.9% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 5.3%, up from 5.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.9% year-over-year gain, up from 5.8% the previous month.
    ***
    Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Diego reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In August, Seattle led the way with a 13.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with an 8.6% increase, and San Diego with a 7.8% increase. Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending August 2017 versus the year ending July 2017.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on October 31, 2017.


  • The Swamp Wins: Trump Expected to Nominate Powell to Replace Yellen

    In the end Donald Trump will get what he wanted, a ‘low interest rate person’ who also happened to be a ‘Republican.’ Jerome Powell is expected to replace Janet Yellen in an announcement later this week. If so, this means Trump will ensure that, while the stationary at the Eccles Building will change, the monetary policy guiding it likely will not.
    The fact that, in naming Powell, Trump is picking an Obama-appointed Fed Governor for his most important nominations is itself quite fitting. While we have long known that bad monetary policy is bipartisan, Powell’s nomination serves as a particularly useful illustration of how little has changed in Washington since the Bush Administration.
    Of course, just as Trump received his loudest applause from Washington for doing his best impersonation of his two predecessors, the President is already being praised for making a ‘grown up’ decision when it comes to the Fed. While his awareness optics likely prevented him from ever truly considering reappointing Janet Yellen – – the preferred choice of the DC and NY – Powell’s nomination ensures that Trump’s scathing criticism of the monetary orthodox has been predictably discarded alongside a number of his most exciting campaign promises.
    Now we will see how else Trump squanders his historic opportunity to rearrange the Fed. The administration has signaled that its plans to form a policy consensus with its remaining Fed choices – as opposed to opening FOMC meetings into some truly spirited debate.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 31, 2017.


  • Russian Content May Have Reached 126 Million Facebook Users, There Is Just One Catch

    One month ago, the media world and political punditry was in a furore after Facebook revealed that some 470 alleged Russian troll accounts had paid Facebook a whopping $100,000 to purchase 3,000 advertisements potentially influencing the outcome of the election (even though many of the ads “showed support for Clinton” and only half ran before the actual election). The furore did not last long: gradually the story fizzled, before becoming a watercooler joke that Russia had managed to buy the outcome of the US presidential election for a whopping 100 grand – which would make Vladimir Putin not only a propaganda genius of the highest order, but the best damn advertising mastermind to ever live, generating the highest ad IRR in history. One can only imagine what insidious, civilzation-ending thoughts he could implant in America’s fragile, feeble minds for $1 million, or gasp… 10 million dollars (about 1% of what Hillary spent).
    So, eager to keep the “Russia interfered in US elections” meme going (not to be confused with what the Washington Post one year ago titled “The long history of the U. S. interfering with elections elsewhere“), tomorrow Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch , together with his peers from Google and Twitter, will will sit before the Senate judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism and try to fascinate the public with some far bigger numbers, while hopefully also pitching the vast reach Facebook and other social media have. To do that, Facebook will say that it estimates that a grand total of 126 million people may have seen content posted by Russian-backed accounts over more than two years that, as the WSJ puts it, “sought to disrupt American society”, according to a prepared copy of the remarks obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
    How is this number different from the far smaller number quoted previously when referring only to the Russian trolls’ alleged ad outreach? Because this time, Facebook will count virtually every post created by these alleged Russian troll farms as direct form of propaganda: as the WSJ explains, tomorrow’s definition of “reach” will include such content as “free posts and events listings.”

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


  • Billionaire Seth Klarman Warns Trump Is “A Threat To Democracy” As Donor Class Frets About Tax Reform

    The revelation last week that the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news website largely funded by Republican megadonor and hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, hired Trump dossier firm Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research into Trump has inspired Steven Bannon to declare war on the mega doner. But while Singer has reportedly warmed to the president in the months since he took office, many of his peers are growing increasingly cynical. To wit, New York Magazine reports that other pro-establishment donors are growing increasingly skeptical of the administration’s ability to pass comprehensive tax reform – the one issue that convinced many in the donor class to abandon their reservations and support Trumpism.
    Now, in a story published in New York Magazine on Monday, Michelle Celarier reports that many of Singer’s fellow donors have soured on the commander-in-chief just nine months into his term.
    But these men (and they were almost exclusively men) were hoping that a Republican agenda would give them a big tax cut, if nothing else. Now, after almost a year of congressional inaction and new fears that even the tax cut is slipping away, many are privately shunning the president. Like powerful Republicans in Washington, behind closed doors they are expressing disgust, disappointment, trepidation – and deploying no small amount of black humor.

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


  • Stocks, Bond Yields Tumble On Disappointing ‘Gradual’ Tax Cut Headlines

    Having continued Friday’s melt-up as soon as US equity markets opened this morning, headlines from Washington that the corporate tax cuts may be enacted “gradually” reaching 20% in 2022.
    As Bloomberg reports, House tax writers are discussing a gradual phase-in for the corporate tax-rate cut that President Donald Trump and Republican leaders want — a schedule that would have the rate reach 20 percent in 2022, according to a member of the chamber’s tax-writing committee and a person familiar with the discussions.
    The phase-in plan has been considered, but may not yet be final, said a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
    Under that plan, the rate may be reduced from its current 35 percent rate by three percentage points a year starting in 2018.
    This is clearly not what the ‘Veruca Salt’ market demands… “I want it all.. and I want it now.”

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


  • Paul Manafort Told To Surrender To FBI On Charges Including Tax Fraud

    Update: The Washington Post reports that Manafort was seen entering the FBI’s Washington field office Monday.
    * * *
    Update: Manafort has been hit with several charges, including tax fraud, WSJ reported. He’s expected in federal court in Washington later Monday, a person familiar with the matter said. Meanwhile, Rick Gates is also reportedly turning himself in.
    * * *
    Update: CBS News confirms a photojournalist has captured images of Manafort leaving his home this morning with his lawyer.

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


  • OxyContin Nation: Meet The Billionaire Family Who Helped Spark America’s Opiod Crisis

    Unbeknownst to many, the Sackler Family, with assets of $13 billion, the nation’s 19th wealthiest family is one the top players in philanthropy. You can find the Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D. C. or visit the Sackler wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Sackler’s even have a museum at Harvard, Guggenheim, and dozen of universities around the country. If it’s art – the Sackler family has it.
    Participating in the art game takes money and a lot of it. So, where does the Sackler money come from?
    According to Forbes, the ‘Sacklers continue to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from the businesses in 2016 – some $700 million last year, by Forbes’ calculations – from an estimated $3 billion in Purdue Pharma revenues plus at least $1.5 billion in sales from their foreign companies’.
    Forbes outlines a brief history lesson of how the Sackler family got started in the world of medicine-
    The family fortune began in 1952 when three doctors – Arthur (d. 1987), Mortimer (d. 2010) and Raymond Sackler – purchased Purdue, then a small and struggling New York drug manufacturer. The company spent decades selling products like earwax remover and laxatives before moving into pain medications by the late 1980s. To create OxyContin, Purdue married oxycodone, a generic painkiller, with a time-release mechanism to combat abuse by spreading the drug’s effects over a half-day.

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


  • Hyperinflation Chronicles, Part 1: Einstein’s Scribble, Newman’s Watch, And Dot-Blockchain

    When governments create insane amounts of money, the recipients of that money tend to behave accordingly. Consider:
    Einstein scribbled his theory of happiness in place of a tip. It just sold for more than $1 million.
    (Washington Post) – He is known as one of the great minds in 20th-century science. But this week, Albert Einstein is making headlines for his advice on how to live a happy life – and a tip that paid off.
    In November 1922, Einstein was traveling from Europe to Japan for a lecture series for which he was paid 2,000 pounds by his Japanese publisher and hosts, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography, ‘Einstein: His Life and Universe.’ During the journey, the 43-year-old learned he’d been awarded his field’s highest prize: the Nobel Prize in physics. The award recognized his contributions to theoretical physics.
    News of Einstein’s arrival spread quickly through Japan, and thousands of people flocked to catch a glimpse of the Nobel laureate. Impressed but also embarrassed by the publicity, Einstein tried to write down his thoughts and feelings from his secluded room at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on OCTOBER 27, 2017.


  • How The Elite Dominate The World – Part 4: They Buy Politicians, And Incumbents Almost Always Win

    Once we wake up to how the game is being played, then we will have a real shot at changing things. For decades, the elite have been pulling the strings behind the scenes in both major political parties. That is why nothing has ever seemed to change very much no matter which party has been in power. The agenda of the elite has always seemed to march forward, and ordinary people like us have always been frustrated that we can’t seem to make a difference. But now a shift seems to be taking place. Donald Trump took on the establishment in both major parties, and he miraculously won the presidency. Down in Alabama, the elite spent more than 30 million dollars to defeat Roy Moore, and he still defeated Luther Strange. A political awakening is taking place, and I can’t wait to see what happens during the mid-term elections in 2018.
    In Part I and Part II of this series, I talked about how the elite use debt as a tool of enslavement. In Part III, I went over how the elite use the colossal media corporations they own to control what we think. Today, I want to talk about their influence in the realm of politics.
    In Washington D. C., it is well understood that the game of politics is all about the money. If I win my election, and online polling suggests that there is a ton of enthusiasm for my campaign, I will be expected to spend most of my time on the phone raising money. As a freshman member of Congress, at orientation it will be explained to me that I am supposed to spend approximately four hours a day doing fundraising, and that is why the House and Senate floors are so empty most of the time.
    By law, members of Congress cannot make fundraising calls from their offices, and so both parties have huge call centers just across from the Capitol. Especially around lunch and dinner times (because those are some of the best times to reach people), those call centers are packed as members of the House and Senate run through lists of potential donors.

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on October 26th, 2017.