Federal Reserve Bankers Mocked Unemployed Americans Behind Closed Doors

Submitted by Matt Stoller via The Intercept,
In 2011, unemployment was at a near crisis level. The jobless rate was stuck around 9 percent nationally, an unusually high number due to the continuing effects of the financial crash.
House Democrats were aghast. ‘With almost five unemployed Americans for every job opening, too many people remain jobless because of a lack of work, not a lack of wanting to work,’ said Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Tex. So in early November 2011, they introduced a bill to reauthorize Federal unemployment benefits, an insurance program designed to aide those looking for work.
Behind closed doors at the Federal Reserve however, the conversation struck a different tone.
The Federal Reserve’s mandate is to promote ‘maximum employment,’ which essentially means: print enough money so that everyone who wants one has a job. Yet according to transcripts released this month after the traditional five-year waiting period, Federal Reserve officials in November 2011 were debating whether unemployment was caused by bad work ethics and drug use – rather than by the greatest financial crisis in 80 years. This debate then factored into the argument over setting monetary policy.

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

California Threatens To Cut Off Funds To Washington

With secession threats looming, the state of California is reportedly studying ways to suspend financial transfers to Washington after the Trump administration threatened to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities.
With California counties among the Top 10 who stand to lose tax-payer funding for providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants…
KPIX5 reports that officials are looking for money that flows through Sacramento to the federal government that could be used to offset the potential loss of billions of dollars’ worth of federal funds if President Trump makes good on his threat to punish cities and states that don’t cooperate with federal agents’ requests to turn over undocumented immigrants, a senior government source in Sacramento said.

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

‘Elites’ Conjure Hitler, Mussolini, & Ku Klux Klan To Explain “Trump’s Plot Against America”

It seems quite ironic that the tagline of Project Syndicate is “fake news or real views?” as it appears the latest scribblings from France’s New Philosophers’ Movement founder Bernard-Henri Levy have blurred the lines between propaganda, fake news, alternative facts, pure lies, and defamation.
Having slammed the so-called anti-intellectualism movement…
The anti-intellectualism movement has swept the United States and Europe in the last 12 months, but it has been a long time coming. Trump is not the author of it, but rather the product, notes Lvy. While intellectuals relish debate, the hashing-out and exchange of ideas is what the anti-intellectual movement fears most. ‘Debate now, truth tomorrow,’ says Lvy. It’s funny then that social media is the hotbed of modern debate, but it’s also a cradle of life for anti-intellectualist sentiment.

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

Week in Review: January 28 2017

As expected, the first week of the Trump administration has brought a mix of good and bad. The good: Trump has already begun to reverse course on government managed trade agreements, started cutting away at special interests, and seems to be generally offending the Washington bureaucracy. The bad: his protectionist instincts were in full display as he threatened Mexico with a tariff, he’s preparing to crank up Pentagon spending, and his Treasury secretary seems less interested in ‘draining the swamp’ than maintaining its alleged ‘independence.’ Meanwhile, as the Fed prepares for its first meeting next week, Janet Yellen’s doesn’t look likely to change much.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on January 28 2017.

Doug Noland: A Dubious Monetary Backdrop

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Credit Bubble Bulletin. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Now that was one eventful week. President Trump wasted not even a minute in making good on a series of campaign promises. A bevy of executive orders moved to rein in Obamacare, withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, tighten immigration, cut regulation and advance the Keystone Pipeline. No earth-shattering surprises there. Perhaps more startling, Team Trump had yet to even unpack before broaching radical notions such as abandoning the strong dollar policy, imposing 20% border tax on imports from Mexico and opening direct confrontation with the media. Friday evening from the WSJ: ‘Trump’s First Week: Governing Without a Script.’
At least for this week, I’ll leave it to others to pontificate on the economic merits of Trump policymaking. Dow 20,000 is testament to the market’s ongoing fixation with tax reduction and reform, de-regulation and imminent fiscal stimulus. There were enough disquieting developments this week to dent confidence, though break-out bullish exuberance proved resilient. Unwavering faith in the course of central banking surely underpins the markets, confidence that I expect to be challenged in 2017.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Doug Noland ‘ January 28, 2017.

Things Just Got Serious in Europe’s War on Cash

To protect citizens from threats as defined by apparatchiks in Brussels.
The central authorities in Europe just launched their most important offensive to date in their multiyear War on Cash. The new move comes directly from the European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, which just announced its intention to ‘explore the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments,’ with a view to implementing cross-regional measures in 2018.
Maximum limits on cash transactions already exist in most European countries, and the general trend is downward. Last year, Spain joined France in placing a 1,000 maximum on cash payments. Greece went one better, dropping its cap for cash transactions from 1,500 to 500. In simple terms, any legal purchase of a good or service over 500 will need to be done with plastic or mobile money.
In some countries, the maximum cash limit is significantly higher. For example, in Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, recent attempts by the government to set a threshold of 5,000 triggered a fierce public backlash. The German tabloid Bild published a scathing open letter titled ‘Hands Off Our Cash,’ while a broad spectrum of political parties condemned the proposed measures as an attack on data protection and privacy.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Jan 28, 2017.

Consumer Confidence Highest in 12 Years

The University of Michigan Final Consumer Sentiment for January came in at 98.5, up from the December Final reading. Investing.com had forecast 98.1.
Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments:
Consumers expressed a higher level of confidence January than any other time in the last dozen years. The post-election surge in confidence was driven by a more optimistic outlook for the economy and job growth during the year ahead as well as more favorable economic prospects over the next five years. Consumers also reported much more positive assessments of their current financial situation due to gains in both incomes and household wealth, and anticipated the most positive outlook for their personal finances in more than a decade. Consumers have become more convinced that the stronger economy would finally prompt the Fed to increase interest rates at a quicker pace, which caused one-in-five consumers to favor borrowing-in-advance of anticipated increases in mortgage rates, the highest level in more than twenty years. Overall, the post-election surge in consumer confidence was based on political promises, and not, as yet, on economic outcomes. Moreover, over the past half century the surveys have never recorded as dominant an impact of partisanship on economic expectations. When the same consumers were re-interviewed from six months ago, the survey recorded extreme swings based on political party affiliation, with Democrats becoming much more pessimistic and Republicans much more optimistic. Such divergences will ultimately converge since consumers hold economic expectations to be useful decision guides, which will require both sides to temper their extreme views. [More…] See the chart below for a long-term perspective on this widely watched indicator. Recessions and real GDP are included to help us evaluate the correlation between the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the broader economy.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 01/27/2017.

The “IF” Rally May Be Unraveling

While advance/decline lines have firmed, participation in the U. S. equity rally has been uneven and may be fraying around the edges.
The number of groups trading above their 40-week moving average has been diverging negatively from the broad market in the last few months, suggesting diminishing breadth. The industrials (I) and financials (F) sectors (i.e. ‘IF’) have carried the market since November. Other deep cyclical sectors, such as energy, materials and tech, have mostly matched market performance. The ‘IF’ rally is based on an expected upgrade to the economic growth plane that matches the surge in various sentiment gauges. If validation does not occur, then the ‘IF’ rally will become iffy indeed, unless sector breadth improves.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 01/27/2017.

Why Everyone Is Wrong About U.S. Oil Production

U. S. oil production is up 3% since OPEC struck a deal to cut its oil output on Nov. 30. But some observers doubt U. S. production growth can continue.
They are wrong. In fact, the EIA sees U. S. crude oil and liquid fuels production increasing 123% by 2018…
At the World Economic Forum in Davos last week (Jan. 17), Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said he doesn’t think U. S. oil producers can keep up recent production gains.
‘What has been tapped recently is the most prolific areas,’ said Al-Filah. ‘As demand rises, [U. S. oil producers] will go to the more expensive, more difficult, less prolific areas in the shale and they will find that they need higher prices.’

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Dustin Parrett ‘ January 26, 2017.

Trump Battles History in 2017

Fact #1: The Fed expects to raise rates three times this year.
Fact #2: History says Trump will experience a recession during his first year in office.
Either the Fed is wrong or history is wrong. If No. 1 happens it means No. 2 didn’t. If it’s No. 2, No. 1 is out.
Which is more likely? First No. 1…
The latest ‘dot plot’ shows the Fed expects to hike rates three times this year. And in a recent speech in San Francisco Janet Yellen said the Fed expects to raise rates ‘a few times a year’ until rates near 3% by the end of 2019.
‘Labor utilization is close to its estimated longer-run normal level,’ she babbled. Babbling further: ‘We are closing in on our 2% inflation objective.’
Just so. But consider…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Brian Maher ‘ January 26, 2017.

Trump Attacks “Failing, Dishonest” NY Times, Washington Post In Series Of Angry Tweets

While it is unclear what sparked Donald Trump’s latest anger-filled tweetstorm, it is likely that the president read something in either the NYT or the WaPo which he violently disagreed with, and as a result on Saturday morning, Trump took to Twitter to attack two of the nation’s most prominent liberal newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, calling them “Fake News” and “Dishonest.” Furthermore, considering the abnormally high ratio of (so far uncorrected) spelling mistakes to words, Trump must have been particularly agitated.
‘The failing @nytimes has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!’ Trump tweeted just after 8 a.m. Eastern on Saturday.
‘Thr coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost gas been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its … dwindling subscribers and readers. They got me wrong right from the beginning and still have not changed course, and never will. DISHONEST,’
The failing @nytimes has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2017

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

Ted Butler Quote of the Day 01-28-17

Price action this week — and since the cutoff last Tuesday — has been more two-sided than in recent previous reporting weeks, so I’m not sure what to expect in Friday’s

COT report. I’m also mindful of how far off the mark I’ve been in gold these past couple of weeks in terms of COT predictions — and I’m not eager to preserve that record (although the surprises have been bullish). Regardless, it doesn’t look possible for the market structures in both gold and silver to have turned very bearish from the very bullish structures indicated in the most recent reports.

A small excerpt from Ted Butler’s subscription letter on 25 January 2017.

  More precious metals news & information available at
Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Digest.

RON PAUL: ECONOMIC COLLAPSE IMMINENT – TRUMP WILL GET THE BLAME INSTEAD OF THE FED

If former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is correct, an Economic Doomsday is here. The second financial bubble is going to soon burst, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. That’s because, as Paul stated, the Federal Reserve has set up the American economy for financial collapse for printing trillions of dollars back in 2008 and 2009.
‘The Federal Reserve’s policies of printing trillions of dollars back in ’08-09 have locked into place a serious financial crisis at some point in our future,’ Paul stated. Going so far as to intimate the financial collapse will occur at least some time in the next two years Paul wrote, ‘It’s unavoidable, and even Donald Trump can’t stop it.’
Paul said Trump will be the patsy for the supposed impending financial ruin. Just like everyone blamed Obama for the financial collapse in 2009, this time, ‘Trump will unfairly get the blame,’ the former Texas representative wrote. Paul bases his comments on reports he says he’s read which concludes that within the next 18-24 months, the collapse will happen.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JANUARY 27, 2017.

India mulls reviving colonial-era gold mines with $2 billion reserves

India is planning to revive a cluster of colonial-era gold mines – shut for 15 years but with an estimated $2.1-billion worth of deposits left – as the world’s second-largest importer of the metal looks for ways to cut its trade deficit, officials said.
State-run Mineral Exploration has started exploring the reserves at Kolar Gold Fields, in the southern state of Karnataka, to get a better estimate of the deposits, according to three government officials and a briefing document prepared by the federal mines ministry that was seen by Reuters.
The Ministry has also appointed investment bank SBI Capital to assess the finances of the defunct state-run Bharat Gold Mines, which controls the mines, and the dues the company owes to workers and the authorities, said the officials, who are involved in the process.
India, the world’s biggest gold importer behind China, spends more than $30-billion a year buying gold from abroad, making the metal its second-biggest import item after crude oil.

This post was published at Mining Weekly

Gold exports to China soar in run-up to year of the rooster

Gold exports to China soared in the run-up to the start of the lunar new year, with volumes increasing in December from major suppliers Switzerland and Hong Kong.
More gold was sent from Swiss refiners to the world’s top consumer than in any month since at least January 2014, according to data on the website of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration, while imports from the Asian city-state also increased compared with November.
China is the world’s top gold consumer, according to data from researcher Metals Focus Ltd., and the start of the Year of the Rooster this week is associated with gifting the precious metal. Lower prices at the end of last year, brought on by a stronger dollar as the U.S. increased interest rates, supported demand.

This post was published at bloomberg

China Said to Order Banks to Curb New Loans in First Quarter

China’s central bank has ordered the nation’s lenders to strictly control new loans in the first quarter of the year, people familiar with the matter said, in another move to curb excess leverage in the financial system.
The new guidance from the People’s Bank of China puts a particular emphasis on mortgage lending, the people said, as authorities grapple to contain runaway property prices. And while the PBOC regularly seeks to guide banks’ credit decisions, this time it may also make errant lenders pay more for deposit insurance, one of the people said.
The central bank declined to comment. Policy makers are trying to strike a balance between avoiding excess credit that fuels asset bubbles and keeping enough funding in the financial system to meet the seasonal surge in demand for credit ahead of the start of the Lunar New Year holiday this week. President Xi Jinping and his top economic deputies reaffirmed last month that they plan to prioritize the control of financial risks in the economy to prevent asset bubbles.
‘This is a continuation of the tightening trend we’ve seen since the second half of last year and extends from shadow banking to on-balance sheet loans,’ said Wei Hou, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

This post was published at bloomberg

U.K. Brexit Boom Still Sees Economy Plagued by Old Problems

The U.K. economy is maintaining its stellar performance since the Brexit vote, but the reasons may be cause for concern.
Growth beat expectations again in the fourth quarter, coming in at 0.6 percent, but the make-up of the performance hints at ongoing weak links. The expansion is still being almost entirely driven by services and consumer spending, continuing a trend of lopsided growth in seen in recent years.
While the support is welcome, it may prove unsustainable. Households are borrowing with abandon and saving less, and an expected pickup in inflation through this year raises the risk of a squeeze on incomes. Economists forecast a sharp slowdown this year, and Bank of England of England Governor Mark Carney has warned of pressure from inflation and weaker business spending.
‘Today’s data was good, but there are pockets of potential unsustainability in household spending that could drive a slowdown,’ said Chris Hare, an economist at Investec Securities in London and a former Bank of England official. The economy’s ‘rebalancing’ toward exports has so far failed to materialize, he said.

This post was published at bloomberg

Ohio State Offers Class On How To Detect Microaggressions And Be “Self-Aware Of White Privilege”

This spring, Ohio State University will launch a new course entitled “Crossing Identity Boundaries” which will empower America’s precious snowflakes with all of the tools they need to detect microaggressions and become “self-aware” of their inherent “white privilege.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.
According to the class homepage, at the end of the course, students should be able to “identify micro-aggressions within their daily lives and within society as a whole” and “identify ways in which they can challenge or address systems of power and privilege.”
Moreover, although it seems a little off topic for this particular course, students will also apparently be taught whether or not it’s appropriate for guys to always pay on a date. And even though it’s not explicitly addressed on the course syllabus, we presume it’s a given that such a question would only be asked after determining one’s preferred pronoun because otherwise we’re just not sure how young people would go about confirming they’re actually on a date with a “guy.” It’s also very unclear whether the mere discussion of stereotypical gender roles, like who should pay for a date, might be a “micro-aggression” in and of itself…dicey territory for sure.

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