Former Reagan Administration Official Is Warning Of A Financial Collapse Some Time ‘Between August And November’

If a former Reagan administration official is correct, we are likely to see the next major financial collapse by the end of 2017. According to Wikipedia, David Stockman ‘is an author, former businessman and U. S. politician who served as a Republican U. S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977 – 1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981 – 1985) under President Ronald Reagan.’ He has been frequently interviewed by mainstream news outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg and PBS, and he is a highly respected voice in the financial community. Like other analysts, Stockman believes that the U. S. economy is in dire shape, and he told Greg Hunter during a recent interview that he is convinced that the S&P 500 could soon crash ‘by 40% or even more’…
The market is pricing itself for perfection for all of eternity. This is crazy. . . . I think the market could easily drop to 1,600 or 1,300. It could drop by 40% or even more once the fantasy ends. When the government shows its true colors, that it’s headed for a fiscal blood bath when this crazy notion that there is going to be some Trump fiscal stimulus is put to rest once and for all. I mean it’s not going to happen. They can’t pass a tax cut that big without a budget resolution that incorporated $10 trillion or $15 trillion in debt over the next decade. It’s just not going to pass Congress. . . . I think this is the greatest sucker’s rally we have ever seen.’
But even more alarming is what Stockman had to say about the potential timing of such a financial crash. According to Stockman, if he were to pick a time for the next major stock market plunge he would ‘target sometime between August and November’…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on May 7th, 2017.

“Sell The News”

After initial kneejerks higher in the euro and equity futures, it appears Macron’s victory is now a “sell the news” event as EURUSD has dropped 60 pips from post-election highs…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

Plunger’s Big Trade Update and GDXJ Update

GDXJ-
One can see from Rambus’ below charts that it appears the PM stocks are still early on in the decline process. I would agree, but of course stocks don’t move in a straight uninterrupted line. Therefore I would suggest we are due for a bit of an upward retracement soon. I claim this on the following basis: RSI is now significantly oversold and is now putting in a positive divergence (note red line). Also stochastics are extended to full range and appear to be in the first stage of turning up. We have reached its measured move as depicted. Also its reached the boundary of its Bollinger Band, (altough not outside of it). As a result I covered my short today and actually went long JNUG and some selective shares. I am looking for no more than a bounce up. It may look like a BT to the red bear flags Rambus has drawn in the below charts. I am not advocating others do the same just discussing trading opportunities.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 7 May 2017.

Is this Really the Scariest Chart in the World?

True Economics called it ‘the scariest chart in the world.’
That may be a little bit of hyperbole, but a chart showing declining average rates of growth during each economic expansionary period since the 1950s is certainly cause for concern.
Almost non-existent economic growth in the US during the first quarter of 2017 didn’t seem to generate much hoopla in the mainstream media. Most analysts seem to think the tepid 7% growth rate was an outlier. In fact, the Atlanta Fed’s early forecast for Q2 growth is over 4%. As Peter Schiff pointed out in a recent podcast, this seems pretty crazy in light of the economic data. Nevertheless, it was enough to put a pause on Federal Reserve rate hikes – at least for the month of May.
But the weak growth number wasn’t really an outlier. Since the Great Recession of 2008, GDP growth has only averaged about 2%. The pre-recession rate was closer to 3%. In fact, the ‘recovery’ has been weak to say the least.

This post was published at Schiffgold on MAY 5, 2017.

Lowest Turnout Since 1974 As France Decides The “Future Of The EU”

#Presidentielle2017 : participation 65,3% 17:00. (71,96 % en 2012 et 75,11 % en 2007)./Ministre pic.twitter.com/YYAHgjEBrz
— LesNews (@LesNews) May 7, 2017

Update: as of 5pm, the French voter participation was 65.3%, which is the lowest in presidential elections going back at least all the way to 1988:
2017 : 65.30% 2012 : 71.96% 2007 : 75.11% 2002 : 67.62% 1995 : 66.07% 1988 : 70.63% And according to a separate accounts, the voter turnout was the lowest going back all the way to 1974.
An estimate by elabe/BFMTV estimates the final voter turnout at just 74%, which would make it the lowest since 1969.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

“The Crisis Has Become Pandemic” – System To Collect Defaulted Student Loans Is No Longer Functioning

The system used by the Dept. of Education to collect on defaulted student loans came to a standstill in the last month, leaving an estimated 91,000 accounts in limbo, when the agency ordered debt collectors under contract to stop making collections on accounts.
As Consumerist’s Ashlee Kieler reports, consumers who expected their student loan payments to be deducted from their bank accounts this month have reportedly found the funds untouched, and their calls to the companies unanswered thanks to a Department of Education’s order prohibiting the debt collection companies from working on default accounts in response to two lawsuits against the agency.
The strange turn of events began with a lawsuit filed by two debt collection companies, who claim they were unfairly were fired by the Obama-era Education Department for poor performance. On March 29, the judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevented any new defaulted borrowers from being assigned to debt collectors and put into rehabilitation programs. Instead, the borrowers have piled up inside the department’s system, waiting.
On April 21, the government ordered the debt collectors involved in the suit to stop work altogether on defaulted accounts: no phone calls, no withdrawals from student accounts, nothing.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

Sympathy For The Devil?

In our recent report, Banks Are Evil, we pulled no punches in making the accusation that the financial system is the root cause of injustice in today’s society.
It’s a good blood-boiler. You should read it if you haven’t already.
Its main premise is this:
In my opinion, it’s long past time we be brutally honest about the banks. Their influence and reach has metastasized to the point where we now live under a captive system. From our retirement accounts, to our homes, to the laws we live under — the banks control it all. And they run the system for their benefit, not ours.
While the banks spent much of the past century consolidating their power, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 emboldened them to accelerate their efforts. Since then, the key trends in the financial industry have been to dismantle regulation and defang those responsible for enforcing it, to manipulate market prices (an ambition tremendously helped by the rise of high-frequency trading algorithms), and to push downside risk onto “muppets” and taxpayers.
Oh, and of course, this hasn’t hurt either: having the ability to print up trillions in thin-air money and then get first-at-the-trough access to it. Don’t forget, the Federal Reserve is made up of and run by — drum roll, please — the banks.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 7 May 2017.

April Was Cruel… To The US Treasury

April Was Cruel… To the US Tre

Our monthly review of tax data from the US Treasury’s Daily Statement shows three important points. First, overall employment and wage trends in the US are still on a solid footing. Individual tax/withholding payments from salaried/hourly workers rose 4.5% year over year in April and are up 3.7% on a three month rolling average basis. Second, April tax season was a bit of a bust for Treasury, with receipts down 5.7% from last year and at the lowest levels in 5 years. We attribute that to the delayed realization of capital gains in 2016, with asset owners deferring sales ahead of anticipated tax changes this year. That also explains a bit of the slow US equity trading volume and low volatility of 2017 – those asset owners still don’t know what the new tax code may bring and may be continuing to defer sales. Lastly, ‘Gig economy’ tax receipts (not withheld, but paid directly by the worker) show this post-Financial Crisis labor market phenomenon is on the wane, down 5.5% in Q1 2017 after a 4.8% decline in Q4 2016.
April is to the US Treasury what Christmas is to retailers: the busiest and most profitable time of the year. In 2016, for example, the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service took in $193 billion in payments from individuals as a result of the usual April deadline for filing personal taxes. By comparison the IRS took in only $15 billion in the month before and $12 billion the month after from taxpayers sending their remittances to the US government.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

Introduction

Christian Economics: Student’s Edition
Christianity brought a new view of time to the world: linear time. Christianity teaches that there are three periods in history: creation, fall, and redemption. History will end with the final judgment. This view was inherent in Hebrew religion, but the Old Testament only hints at final judgment, mainly in the last three verses of the Book of Daniel. In the New Testament, the doctrine of the final judgment is taught clearly in Matthew 25:31–46 and Revelation 20:14–15.
The rival view of time is cyclical time. It was taught by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is still taught in Eastern religions. Cyclical time affects the cosmos. There is no doctrine of permanent progress or permanent loss. Individuals are subject to karma: the transmigration of souls. After seemingly endless reincarnations, a truly righteous soul disappears into the cosmic one and loses all individuality. This is the end of its history. But there is no final judgment.
In the Bible, the doctrine of creation occupies just two chapters: Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis 3 tells the story of the Fall. The last part of the chapter tells of the beginning of redemption: God separates Adam and Eve from the tree of life. He provides them with animal skins. One or more animals had to die: shed blood. Final judgment occurs after the resurrection of bodies described in Revelation 20:14–15. The final two chapters of Revelation do not refer to history but rather to the post-resurrection, post-final judgment new heavens and new earth. This is not heaven, which is a holding area for souls (Revelation 6:10–11), and it is not hell, which is also a holding area for souls (Luke 16).
The meaning of redemption is tied to the word for redeem: to buy back. Christianity teaches that the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ in history constituted a comprehensive act of redemption. This has paid God for the sins of God’s people, who are covenant keepers by the grace of God. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (I Timothy 2:5–6). Conclusion: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men” (I Corinthians 7:23). This has to do with individual salvation.

This post was published at Gary North on May 06, 2017.

Puerto Rico Bankruptcy a Flashing Warning Sign for the US

Puerto Rico officially plunged into bankruptcy this week. Years of accumulating debt and misguided government policies finally reached their inevitable end.
The bankruptcy means more pain for the people of Puerto Rico, as well as bondholders who have virtually no hope of ever getting their money back. But beyond that, it serves as a giant, flashing warning sign, because the truth is, the financial condition of the the US isn’t fundamentally different than that of her island territory.
Puerto Rico has racked up some $123 billion in debt, including about $74 billion in bond debt and $49 billion in unfunded pension obligations. According to the court filing, the US territory is ‘unable to provide its citizens effective services.’
Puerto Rico has been creeping toward this climax for nearly a year. Last summer, Congress sent a bill to President Obama’s desk crafted to help the commonwealth work its way out of its debt crisis. The bill didn’t allocate any federal funds to bail out Puerto Rico, but it did set the stage to allow the island’s government to pay back debtors at less than 100%. For all practical purposes, it created a bankruptcy process for Puerto Rico, even though the word ‘bankruptcy’ wasn’t in the bill’s language.
And here we are.

This post was published at Schiffgold on MAY 5, 2017.

Obamacare Repeal Next Steps: Why Goldman Is Suddenly Far Less Optimistic

On Friday morning, in the aftermath of Trump’s surprising victory forcing the GOP Healthcare bill repealing Obamacare through the House, we noted that Goldman’s DC analyst Alec Phillips responded that, somewhat paradoxically, the impact on Trump’s broader economic agenda would actually be more adverse than most economist and pundits expected, stating that “the main effect of House passage is to delay the consideration of tax legislation, which looks even more likely than before to be delayed until 2018.“
In a subsequent, and far more detailed note titled “Health Reform Gains Momentum as the Rest of the Agenda Slows“, over the weekend Phillips has provided an extensive explanation why he believes that the passage of Trumpcare will likely adverse implications on Trump’s tax policy timeline.
Here is the summary from the Goldman analyst:
House Republicans have passed their American Health Care Act (AHCA), moving repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) one step closer to reality. However, while the House vote was necessary for ACA repeal, it is far from sufficient, and the process is likely to become harder after this first step. House passage increases the likelihood that health legislation will be enacted this year, though it still faces several obstacles. In the meantime, uncertainty regarding insurance regulation and subsidization could lead to lower enrollment and plan participation in the existing system, which has already struggled with weaker than expected enrollment and declining plan options. In isolation this legislative victory is likely to be interpreted as bullish for other aspects of the agenda, including tax reform, as it demonstrates that congressional Republicans may be able to form a working majority on controversial issues after all. However, the revival of health legislation, which could at least take a few more months to conclude, could substantially delay consideration of the remainder of the legislative agenda. This further reduces the likelihood that Congress will enact a tax cut before year-end, in light of the additional steps that would be necessary once the health bill has been enacted. While we continue to believe that tax legislation is likely to be enacted in early 2018, further delays could push consideration of tax legislation too close to the upcoming midterm election, reducing the likelihood that tax legislation is enacted in the next two years.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

Buffett Talks Markets, Healthcare, IBM, And Self-Driving Cars: The Key Quotes From Berkshire’s “Pilgrimage”

With the 52nd Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting – dubbed the “Woodstock for Capitalists” which is “unique in corporate America, a celebration of the billionaire’s image and success” – now in the history books, all that’s left are the quotes and avuncular aphorisms.
While Buffett and Munger covered a wide variety of topics, some headlines made a particular splash, such as Buffett’s statement that markets have a “casino characteristic” and that people “still succumb to speculative impulses”, while ignoring that a far more narrow subset of people will also get bailed out by the government when the speculative impulses lead to massive losses. Speaking of hypocrisy, Buffett also slammed Wells Fargo, of which he is the biggest shareholder, for failing to stop its employees from engaging in the bank’s scandalous cross-selling practices, saying you cannot “incentivize bad behavior”, even as it was Buffett’s support of current management and board that was key to ensuring the re-election of the entire board last month.
None of this had an impact on the thousands of shareholders and “value investors” who conducted their latest annual “pilgirmage” to see and hear the 86-year-old Oracle of Omaha.
Hundreds of shareholders lined up early outside downtown Omaha’s CenturyLink Center for the meeting. Several said they got there nearly five hours before doors opened around 6:45 a.m.
“Every year it seems I have to come earlier,” said Chris Tesari, a retired businessman from Pacific Palisades, California who said he arrived at 3:20 a.m. for his 21st meeting. “It’s a pilgrimage.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

Art Berman: Don’t Get Used To Today’s Low Oil Prices

The following video was published by ChrisMartensondotcom on May 7, 2017
Oil expert and geological consultant Art Berman returns to the podcast this week to address head-on the question: Was the Peak Oil theory wrong? With the world “awash” in sub-$50 per barrel oil, were all the warnings about persistently higher future oil prices just a bunch of alarmist hand-wringing?
In a word: No.
Art explains how the current glut of oil created by the US shale boom — along with high crude output by both OPEC and non-OPEC producers — is a temporary anomaly. Fundamentally, we are not finding nearly as much oil as we need to continue the trajectory of our demand curve. And at the same time, we’re extracting our reserves at a faster rate than ever. That’s a mathematical recipe for a coming supply crunch. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Debt Apocalypse: US Student and Auto Loans Hit New Record of $2.6 Trillion.

American consumers are once again spending beyond their means. Just a few months ago there was a startling headline reporting that US consumers now had over $1 trillion in credit card debt outstanding. That seemed astonishing in itself but now looking at debt levels in other sectors we find thatauto loans outstanding are also over $1 trillion. Keep in mind this is for an item that will lose value once it is taken off the lot. You also have student debt over $1.4 trillion which is amazing given many young Americans are working in jobs that really don’t require a college degree. The debt apocalypse is once again upon us and we better hope the economy keeps on running on fumes or we will be confronted with another solvency crisis shortly.
The debt numbers broken down
The figures are stunning to see:
Student debt outstanding: $1.44 trillion
Auto loans outstanding: $1.12 trillion
It is no surprise that we have so many Americans struggling under the weight of debt and then we wonder why many families are too broke to even afford an entry level home. Many young Americans are entering the workforce with what amounts to a mini-mortgage.
Here is the incredible growth in student debt and auto loans:
READ MORE

This post was published at MyBudget360 on 05/07/2017.

Belgian Press: Macron Has Between 63% And 64% Of The Vote

Entre 63% et 64% pour #Macron et 10% de blancs et nuls #sondage sortie des urnes #Presidentielle2017 pic.twitter.com/8y3MA9pXOS
— L'Echo (@lecho) May 7, 2017

While French pollsters and poli-pundits are prohibited from providing “hot-takes” or preliminary exit-polls ahead of the closing of polls at 8pm local time, the Belgian press is not similarly constrained, and according to L’Echo, citing early exit polls, Macron would win the vote with between 63% and 64% of the vote, while empty ballots would represents about 10%.
The Belgian newspaper adds that, as noted earlier, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, the participation rate in metropolitan France at 5pm amounted to 65.30%, the lowest participation rate in decades. It also adds that the abstention rate in today’s vote is expected to reach 25% to 27% on the day.
Still, as the Telegraph cautions, while it was thought that Mr Macron could build a larger voting base than Ms Le Pen – as he was expected to mop up votes in the second round from those who support mainstream Right and Left candidates in the first – it appeared last night that a large number of supporters for the conservative, Francois Fillon, and the far-Left Jean-Luc Melenchon stayed home on election day. And a vast number chose to spoil their ballots or abstain at the polls – as many as 29% of voters, according to one estimate.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

Central Banks Injected Trillions Into The Market To Prop It Up & It’s Not Enough – Episode 1273a

The following video was published by X22Report on May 7, 2017
The retail problem is not going away, more stores are closing and sales are dropping. Online sales are only 8% of retail sales. San Fran fed says the economy is at full employment and there is not reason that the Fed cannot raise rates in June. The central bank has used trillions to prop up the stock market and it is not enough, the central banks are out of tools and the they know it, this is why they are ready to bring down the economy.

Emmanuel Macron Elected President Of France With 65% Of The Vote: Live Feed

Highest level of 2nd round abstention since 1969 #Presidentielle2017 pic.twitter.com/XQw3aqhPMA
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 7, 2017

Live Feed from France 24:
After an extraordinary election campaign full of twists and turns, Emmanuel Macron won a dramatic victory over Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, taking 65% of the vote, with Le Pen collecting just over a third according to estimates from four separate French pollsters. Macron, 39, will become the youngest president of France’s Fifth Republic.
As BBG notes, the firms sampled real votes as they were being counted and weighted their results to reflect the composition of the French electorate. Their projections were all within 1 percentage point. Indeed, all early polls all show Macron with at least 65% of the vote:
Elabe: 65.9% Ifop: 65.5% Ipsos: 65.1% Kantar: 65.0%

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 7, 2017.

SILVER INTERIM UPDATE AFTER SILVER LONGS “TAKEN TO THE WOODSHED”…

The writing was on the wall weeks ago, when silver’s COTs reached insane extremes, and so we called for silver to get slammed in the last Silver Market update. For a few days after that was posted silver, and especially gold, continued higher, thanks to Trump’s military adventures in the Mid-East and threat to N Korea, and the hate mail started to trickle in, which was another sign that silver longs were about to take a broadside, and that is exactly what has happened, as you will see on the latest 6-month chart for silver below.

This post was published at Clive Maund on MAY 7, 2017.