Can The Various Pension And Benefit Ponzis Survive The Coming Wave Of Baby Boomer Retirements?

The U. S. economy is a well-oiled machine fueled by voracious consumers with unprecedented access to cheap credit used to buy everything from McMansions to a $300 sofa. The Baby Boomer generation played a huge role in the credit-fueled economic expansion that has played out over the past several decades. The problem is that, like every generation preceeding them, Baby Boomers will also retire.
A few charts from a recent research report by Jan Hatzius of Goldman perfectly illustrate how Baby Boomers are on the cusp of transitioning from their peak earnings age into the largest population of retired citizens the U. S. has ever seen.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

On The Bizarre Media Blackout Of Hacked George Soros Documents

Scandal: Leaked documents released a few days ago provide juicy insider details of how a fabulously rich businessman has been using his money to influence elections in Europe, underwrite an extremist group, target U. S. citizens who disagreed with him, dictate foreign policy, and try to sway a Supreme Court ruling, among other things. Pretty compelling stuff, right?
Not if it involves leftist billionaire George Soros. In this case, the mainstream press couldn’t care less.
On Saturday, a group called DC Leaks posted more than 2,500 documents going back to 2008 that it pilfered from Soros’ Open Society Foundations’ servers. Since then, the mainstream media have shown zero interest in this gold mine of information.
We couldn’t find a single story on the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, CBS News or other major news sites that even noted the existence of these leaked documents, let alone reported on what’s in them.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

OPEC Is Now in the ‘Danger Zone’ – Just as Arab Spring II Is Coming…

For years my ‘day job’ was being a university professor in political science and international economics. I’d often speak on the subject of ‘failed states’ – countries in which the government had become so weak, while the economic and social problems grew so strong, that governance was no longer possible.
The danger then – and now – was from the power vacuum created by the absence of any real ability for central decision-making. Decades ago, the problem of failed states was a fixture in Cold War thinking.
But over the past several years, the topic has become relevant for a different reason: It’s now a chief concern in the fight against terrorist groups. The lack of any leadership is an enticing invitation for other groups to take over.
Today, for the first time, we’re seeing the two previously separate spheres of collapsing governments and states with (apparent) raw mineral wealth merge.
Specifically, failed states are now members of the OPEC oil cartel.
The impact of this is going be extremely serious and will be felt globally…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Dr. Kent Moors ‘ August 24, 2016.

Fantasy Football: The Beauty of Capitalism and the Dangers of Government

We are in the midst of the NFL preseason, which means its fantasy football draft-time for the tens of millions who play fantasy footballevery year. The growth of the game is truly extraordinary, not only has it become a major device for growing public interest in professional football, but its revenue is now higher than the NFL’s. Unfortunately, the success of fantasy football has made it a perfect target for politicians and government bureaucrats looking to either get a slice of the pie, or outright ban their constituents from enjoying fantasy products on Sunday. Proving once and again that nothing is sacred to government, not even football.
Just as the success of fantasy sports is a perfect illustration of how wealth is made by serving the demands of customers, the resulting meddling of politicians is a great example of how interventionism leads to wealth destruction.
Fantasy Football and Capitalism
Ludwig von Mises described capitalism as ‘a social system of consumers’ supremacy,’ and the incredible growth of the fantasy industry is a testament to the economic power of consumers.
With an estimated 57.4 million players this year in North America alone, a whole generation of fantasy sports-entrepreneurs have risen to offer a variety of products for fans of all sorts. While most of the fantasy industry headlines have revolved around daily fantasy leagues, such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings (which took in over $3 billion in entry fees last year), these only represent a portion of the various products and services that have emerged on the market.
For example, many fantasy players are still drawn to season-long leagues, usually formed by a group of friends competing against each other. Since many of these leagues involve some sort of entry fee and championship prize, the site LeagueSafe.com emerged as a way to specifically facilitate easy money collection and distribution.
And because everyone who puts money in fantasy football wants to win their league, an industry has emerged for fantasy football analysis, offering recommendations for how players should build their teams. In fact, an entire market has emerged for players to be able to buy full fantasy lineups for daily leagues.
The fact that individuals are able to make a living doing nothing but writing about fantasy football is a testament to the wonders of the division of labor that emerges from a free market.
As Mises wrote in Planning for Freedom:

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Aug 24, 2016.

Why Intellectual Performance Chasing Is Just As Dangerous To Your Wealth

I regularly read and share number of opinions from a wide variety of sources on twitter and in my weekend email newsletter. I also regularly receive replies to this effect: ‘Why would you even read so-and-so when he’s been wrong for so long?’ or ‘What do you think of so-and-so? He’s been so right for so long.’
I understand where this comes from but investors, more than anyone, should understand that ‘past performance is no guarantee.’ In fact, I believe that this sort of bias may be one of the most dangerous mistakes investors can make.
It’s called ‘genetic fallacy’ and it simply means accepting or rejecting an idea solely because of its source rather than on its own merits. And here’s why it’s so dangerous.
Everyone remembers the story of the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf.’ Using this sort of thinking, you ignore or dismiss the boy even when the wolf is standing right in front of you simply because he has been wrong for the past few days.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jesse Felder ‘ August 24, 2016.

The US National Debt Load is Second-Worst in the World

The US Office of Management and Budget last month released its latest numbers of US federal debt as a percentage of gross domestic product. According to the OMB, the federal debt is now at 100 percent, which makes it similar to debt levels reached during the aftermath of the second world war when the US was still dealing with its massive war debt.
Indeed, since 2008, federal debt levels have been at 50-year highs and at levels one would expect from a country in crisis or at war:

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Aug 24, 2016.

Investors Have Pulled $109 Billion From Active Equity Funds In 2016: Here’s Why

Update: Approprirately enough, moments ago Bloomberg blasted the following:
HEDGE FUND OUTFLOWS IN JULY LARGEST SINCE 2009: EVESTMENT At some point, all these cumulative redemptions will force hedge funds to start selling.
* **
2016 has been another bad year for the hedge funds community in particular, and active managers in general (despite the previously noted rebound in performance since the end of Q2 on the back of short covering and major releveraging). The best representation of this comes courtesy of JPM’s Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, who shows that investors have pulled more than $109 billion from active US equity funds YTD. While they are the clear losers in the capital allocation race, the winners are passive equity funds which have captured a whopping $35 billion of inflows, as more and more investors seek to take the simpler, cheaper-managed option (even if it is one which assures their investing career will on day end in tears).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts – Comex Option Expiration Tomorrow

It was hard to miss the bear raid on precious metals this morning. ZeroHedge notes it in detail here.
Bear raid is a softer way of saying blatant price manipulation using the ‘Dr. Evil’ trading strategy of dumping large amounts of contracts into the market off hours, sending a signal to the other wise guys that the game is afoot.
As a reminder there will be an option expiration on the Comex tomorrow.
The warehouses were quiet, and only gold is seeing ‘deliveries’ in size for now as noted below.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 24 AUGUST 2016.

Here’s Why Existing Home Sales Are In Unsustainable Path

The NAR reported a decline of 3.2% in existing home sales in July. This was the seasonally adjusted fudgepack number. It prompted the Dow Jones flagship Wall Street Journal to trumpet:
U. S. Existing Home Sales Fall for First Time Since February
I prefer to look at the actual data, using the annual rate of change as the basis for comparison. To see whether momentum is slowing or growing, we can compare the annual growth rate of the current month to recent past months. Actual sales in July fell by 6.7% year to year.
So far, so good.
However, there were calender factors involved. July 2015 had 22 business days available for closings versus only 20 in July of this year. While some of those closings would still have been squeezed into last month toward the end of the month, some adjustment to the number would be necessary. On that basis it’s likely that the number of closings on a rolling 4 week or 31 day basis would not have been materially different this year versus last year. Compared with a year to year change of 1.7% in June, it appears that the growth in sales volume has merely stalled, not plunged.
That is supported by the June year to year contract data, which the NAR calls ‘pending home sales.’ Contracts were flat in June. That would normally mean flat growth in closings in the ensuing month.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Lee Adler ‘ August 24, 2016.

AUGUST 24/HUGE RAID ON GOLD AND SILVER TODAY/GOLD/SILVER EQUITY SHARES ARE ALSO WALLOPED/HUGE EARTHQUAKE IN CENTRAL ITALY/TURKISH FORCES INVADE SYRIA WITH THE EXCUSE OF ISIS BUT IN REALITY THEY W…

Gold:1324.40 down $16.20
Silver 18.55 down 36 cents
In the access market 5:15 pm
Gold: 1338.40
Silver: 18.82
For the August gold contract month, we had a huge sized 499 notices served upon for 49,900 ounces. The total number of notices filed so far for delivery: 13,886 for 1,388,600 oz or tonnes or 43.191 tonnes. The total amount of gold standing for August is 43.788 tonnes.
In silver we had 10 notices served upon for 50000 oz. The total number of notices filed so far this month: 490 for 2,400,000 oz.
I wrote the following yesterday:
‘We now enter in earnest the options expiry for gold and silver. The comex options expiry is: Friday, August 26.
Options expiry for the OTC /London’s LBMA contracts expire at noon August 31.
Today we witnessed gold and silver rise yet gold/silver equity shares falter. Generally this is a good sign that the crooks are orchestrating another raid in the next 24 hours. The silver situation is no doubt bothering them immensely.’
Our friendly bankers did not disappoint us today as they raided gold and silver pretty bad and also caused a huge waterfall in gold/silver equity shares.
The crime scene was simple: It was down in basically a few minutes:
from Dave Kranzler…
‘You need look no further than today’s gold fiasco to see what Rick Santelli is referring to. Clearly today was preordained to be prime time Crimex time and the cartel didn’t disappoint. Right out of the Crimex gate a whopping 10,426 Dec. contracts were sold in a millisecond. Those 32 tons of fictitious gold dropped the price $10. Like clockwork another 4,758 contracts (14.87 tons) were sold at 9:04 AM, and a 3rd hit occurred at 10:11 AM, with an additional 4,192 contracts sold. In just those 3 minutes exactly 60 tons of paper gold were sold- another ‘curiosity’ no MSM reporter is interested in exploring.’
Let us have a look at the data for today.
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In silver, the total open interest ROSE BY 1219 contracts UP to 206,264. THE OPEN INTEREST IN THE FRONT MONTH OF SILVER ROSE CONSIDERABLY DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SILVER PRICE WAS UP A TINY 7 CENTS IN YESTERDAY’S TRADING . In ounces, the OI is still represented by just over 1 BILLION oz i.e. 1.031 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 147% of annual global silver production (ex Russia &ex China).
In silver we had 10 notices served upon for 50,000 oz
In gold, the total comex gold ROSE 128 contracts as the price of gold ADVANCED BY $2.90 yesterday . The total gold OI stands at 572,973 contracts.
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With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:
GLD
we had no changse today at the GLD/
Total gold inventory rest tonight at: 958.37 tonnes of gold
SLV
we had no changes in the SLV, / THE SLV Inventory rests at: 358.793 million oz
First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on August 24, 2016.

OPEC’s Output Freeze: What Has Changed Since Doha?

It’s possible that OPEC is crying wolf with hints of an output freeze next month in Algiers; but it’s also possible that they are ramping up production to take the sting out of a freeze. This is a delicate balancing act that the Saudis need to play very carefully.
The official chatter is that the OPEC meeting in Algeria from September 26 to 28 could conclude with an agreement to freeze production by the member nations, with even Russia joining forces in a freeze that may prevent further oil price erosion. But everyone’s a bit gun-shy after the false hopes of the last round in Doha – even if a freeze at levels that existed then wouldn’t have meant much either – and it’s hard to blame them. The question is, how many times can the Saudis cry wolf without forever losing the ability to leverage this chatter to affect a rise in oil prices?
But lets rewind a bit to the nature of the recent chatter. The Saudi Energy Minister has indicated that Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, is willing to proceed with a production freeze.
“We are, in Saudi Arabia, watching the market closely, and if there is a need to take any action to help the market rebalance, then we would, of course in cooperation with OPEC and major non-OPEC exporters,” said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, reports Reuters.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts – Stocks Wobble But Don’t Fall Down (Yet)

It was hard to miss the bear raid on precious metals this morning. ZeroHedge notes it in detail here.
Bear raid is a softer way of saying blatant price manipulation using the ‘Dr. Evil’ trading strategy of dumping large amounts of contracts into the market off hours, sending a signal to the other wise guys that the game is afoot.
As a reminder there will be an option expiration on the Comex tomorrow.
The warehouses were quiet, and only gold is seeing ‘deliveries’ in size for now as noted below.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 24 AUGUST 2016.

Demographic HomeMageddon Underway… Will Last Until At Least 2035

91% of all US home buying is done by those aged 20-69yrs/old, according to NAR data. In 2015, Millennials (20-35yrs/old) made up 35% of home purchases, Gen X (36-50yr/olds) bought 26%, Boomers (51-70yr/olds) 31%, and the Silent Generation (70 yrs/old) 9%. I’m no great fan of the NAR, but this makes basic sense as most homebuyers need an income to be homebuyers and most 70 yr/olds are retired and have the lowest average incomes of all the above groups.
Here’s the very big problem for residential real estate… the chart below shows that over 70% of all the population growth among potential home buyers (20 yrs/old) from 2017–>2030 will be among the 70 yr/olds (chart shows average annual growth for the two groups from 2000–>2016 (left) and 2017–>2030 (right)). This is simply unprecedented in US history.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

The Only Chart Needed To Understand The Global Oil Market

Sure, there’s tanker-carry-trades, positioning extremes, jawboning, marginal supply interruptions (and increases), and slowing (or rising) growth expectations… But taking a step back for a moment, what do you think this means for ‘price’…
US oil inventories (crude plus refined product) soars above 1.4 Billion barrels for the first time ever… 40% above the 25-year ‘norm’ average

We are sure “it’s probably nothing”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

World Trade Falls for Second Quarter in a Row

Decade of Stagnation of Industrial Production in the US, Japan, EU
Adding to the picture of crummy demand for goods around the world, the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, a division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, just released its preliminary data of its Merchandise World Trade Monitor for June.
Trade volumes rose 0.7% in June from May, after falling 0.5% in May, but were about flat year-over-year, and below the volumes of December 2014!
On a quarterly basis – it averages out the monthly ups and downs – world trade fell 0.8%, contracting for the second quarter in a row.
The CPB recently adjusted its world trade data down, going back many years. The new data now depicts a post-Financial Crisis recovery of global trade that was a lot weaker than the original data had indicated. These downward adjustments of 2% to 3% came in a world where economic growth, according to the IMF, is stuck at 3.1% in 2016.

This post was published at Wolf Street on August 24, 2016.

Hungry Venezuelans break into Caracas zoo and butcher a horse for food

August 2016 – VENEZUELA – Venezuelans suffering from hunger and shortages in their struggling country broke into Caracas zoo and pulled a black stallion from its pen, butchering it for the meat. The crime occurred late last month, in the small hours of the morning at Caracas’ Caricuao Zoo. A gang of people sneaked into the state-run park under the cover of darkness and seized the horse – the only one of its kind in the zoo. The animal was then led to a secluded area and butchered on the spot.
Zookeepers arriving for duty the next morning, on July 25, found only its head and ribs left behind in a pile. Dalila Puglia, an environmental prosecutor, has been commissioned by the government to investigate. But the horse was not the first zoo animal to suffer the effects of Venezuela’s crippling food shortages. Vietnamese pigs and sheep were reportedly stolen from the same zoo earlier in July. Earlier this month Marlene Sifontes, a union leader for employees of state parks agency Inparques, which oversees zoos, said that 50 animals in the zoo had starved to death over the last six months.

This post was published at UtopiatheCollapse on August 24, 2016.

A Gold Standard “Comes After War, Not Before” Macquarie Warns “The Private Sector Will Never Recover”

Do you feel something is wrong with the United States and the global economy? Despite a respectable recovery and low unemployment, many people aren’t happy with their current economic situation or their outlook for the future. From rising prices for basic necessities or schooling, to harsh competition and low pay for lower income jobs to negative interest rates – the poor and the middle class all have their problems to deal with.
Experts in the government or central banks are trying to manage a suboptimal situation but cannot isolate the problem, let alone offer solutions. Or maybe they know what’s wrong but don’t want to talk about it because the truth is too shocking.
Enter Viktor Shvets, the global strategist of the investment bank Macquarie Group. He not only dares to think outside the box but also isn’t afraid to openly voice his opinions, which are fascinating and shocking at the same time.
‘The private sector will never recover, it will never multiply money again,’ he told Epoch Times in an interview. His main theme is the ‘declining return on humans,’ which means that in today’s digital world, normal humans don’t grow productivity fast enough to justify more jobs and higher wages as the machines are taking over.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 24, 2016.

Guest Post: The Human Stain

I shuddered when it was announced that Stanley Fisher was elevated to co-Chairman of the Fed. He is a wholly-corrupt representative of the neo-conservative movement that has enveloped this country. People who consider themselves ‘liberals’ and Democrats are unwittingly supporting a viper’s nest of necon totalitarianists. Hillary Clinton was the mad-bomber who helped orchestrate the Obama Government’s steamrolling over Libya and the Ukraine and the attempted steamrolling over Syria. When HRC is in the Oval Office, Stanley Fisher will be elevated to King of the Fed and it’s lights out for the middle class.
One of subscribers has written an excellent of summary of the one aspect of the political and economic drive toward totalitarianism in this country. Notice how he omits Bernanke and Yellen. They were mere dishrags for the people behind the scenes who are actively attempting to orchestrate the future of this country (Soros, Gates, Buffet, Rothschilds, Kissinger, etc):
I agree with you, the world’s move away from the fraudulent dollar is bigger than interest rates. My belief is that they are trying to buy two months. All they care about is winning the election, because they can loot like never before … literally trillions of dollars … as the sick, withdrawn witch is under constant medical care within the Imperial Bedroom at the WH.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on August 24, 2016.