Many stories of significance have come my way on housing issues, state debt issues, federal debt issues, pension issues, and other economic items of note. I feel as if I am buried a mile deep news. Here are a few stories that caught my eye.
In his first major legislative proposal, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has proposed cutting government spending by $500 billion in a year, including eliminating the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development and most of the Department of Education.
That is the single best piece of fiscal legislation proposed in years.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval Addresses Underfunded Public Pension Plans
Tax increases are the last thing Nevada businesses need now, Gov. Brian Sandoval told a receptive audience Wednesday during a speech to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. "My understanding is that PERS is an $8 (billion) or $9 billion unfunded liability that Nevada can’t afford," he said. Sandoval said benefits reforms must starts with the new employees hired by the state.
I commend Governor Brian Sandoval’s ideas and his starting point. States need to scrap defined benefit pension plans for new hires immediately.
100,000 People in Oakland Expected to Apply for 650 Subsidized Housing Openings
Oakland’s housing authority opened up its waiting list Tuesday for Section 8 housing vouchers, drawing thousands for a coveted spot in line.
The only way to sign up was over a computer, so across the city, hundreds jammed into city libraries to fill out the forms in the hope that they might eventually get a chance to live in subsidized housing.
In the first three hours, 6,000 people filled out applications. Over the five-day application period, the housing authority expects 100,000 people to apply for only 10,000 spots on the waiting list.
The housing authority uses a lottery to determine who gets on the list. And even then it’s no more than a foot in the door. It has taken nearly five years to clear the waiting list that was
“I will approach that committee like no one has ever approached it because we’re living in times like no one has ever seen,” Paul said in an interview with NetNet Thursday.
Paul said his first priority will be to open up the books of the Federal Reserve to the American people. “We need to create transparency there. To see what it is they are buying and lending, and who it is they are dealing with,” Paul said.
Paul mentioned that he hoped to use subcommittee hearings to educate the public about the causes of business cycles—which he believes are mainly attributable to monetary manipulation by central bankers.
Monetary reform is also on the agenda. Paul is a noted advocate of the gold standard.
“We will have to have monetary reform,” Paul said. “I think those on the other side of this issue are already planning. They are going to try to replace a bad system with an equally bad system.”
Rubio Supports Balanced Budget Amendment
Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, Tea Party backed candidates, both won and both back a balanced budget amendment.
RUBIO: “Growing our economy is essential. We need new jobs in America. New jobs means new prosperity. New prosperity, by the way, leads to more revenue for government. But what would they use this new revenue for?
“Well, I think that unless there are specific provisions in law preventing it from doing it, government, no matter who’s in charge – Republicans or Democrats, will use it to grow government. That’s why it’s so important that spending constraints be put into law and, specifically in today’s topic, in the Constitution.
“Here’s the deal: history teaches us that no matter who’s in charge of government – Republicans, Democrats, conservatives or liberals – eventually, they will use it to grow government. And
Here is an advance preview of the monthly moving averages I track after the close of the last business day of the month. At this point, before the open on the last day of the month, three S&P 500 strategies are now signaling "invested" -- unchanged from last month. Two of the five of the Ivy Portfolio ETFs, Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) and PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC), are signal "cash" -- also unchanged from last month.
If a position is less than 2% from a signal, it is highlighted in yellow.
Note: My inclusion of the S&P 500 index updates is intended to illustrate a popular moving moving-average timing strategy. The index signals also give...
Submitted by Nick Nanda And Kai Wu of Kaleidoscope Capital (pdf)
The Fed Is The New Value Investor
THE DEMISE OF HEDGE FUNDS
Something strange seems to be developing beneath the surface in markets since the financial crisis. Stocks, especially U.S. stocks, have delivered abnormally high returns. The S&P 500 has produced an astounding 15% per year for the last five years. But when you strip away market exposure, active managers have had a surprisingly hard time beating the market. Outperforming the market is always difficult, but even well-known professionals with stellar track record...
Daniel Banas at Equities.Com interviewed me last week via phone for their profile series on "the most distinct and noteworthy voices in the world of financial blogging."
The interview transcript follows. First a few words ...
I am honored to be on that list.
The interview kicked off with a question on how I got started. I have commented on this before, but the short story is I was out of work, hanging around stock message boards, and Bill McBride (Calculated Risk) created the first template to my blog. Bill had just started his own blog and within a few years we became two of the top three economic blogs in the US.
(ETFTrends.com by Todd Shriber): "Betting on insider buying is again proving to be an efficacious strategy as the Direxion All Cap Insider Sentiment Shares (NYSEArca: KNOW) has been noticeably less bad than the S&P 500 to start 2015. Add to that, investors are warming to the merits of KNOW's insider sentiment strategy." [Editor's note: KNOW tracks the Sabrient Multi-cap Insider/Analyst Quant-Weighted Index (SBRQAM)]. Read article
Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.
Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?
It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.
You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...
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So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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