I am in the midst of preparing a forecast for the next five to ten years for the United States economy, and by extension the world because of the intertwining effects of the dollar reserve currency and US consumption in the global economy. And of course the US position as the world’s sole superpower.
Before I do that, I thought it might be useful to see a recap of my last five year forecast, to set the playing field as it were, as a sort of an introduction. The next forecast will be similar in format and style, but may be a little more complex, because the US, and the world, are at a critical crossroads in history.
The greatest struggle in writing this sort of thing is to keep it brief, to prevent it expanding into a lengthy treatise that examines too many particulars, too many possibilities. Forecasters often succumb to the temptation to throw out many specific predictions and possibilities, in the hopes of ‘hits’ that will be remembered, with misses forgotten, without giving sufficient weight to the probabilities. In addition, clarity and consciences are always the challenge in writing non-fiction regarding complex subjects.
Please keep in mind that this forecast was published on my old website at the beginning of 2005, when optimism was running high, the maestro was still on his throne, black swans still an uncommon topic, and the US was in a fresh bull market in stocks with a growing housing bubble that very few would admit, and many would vehemently deny. This forecast is being written in darker hours, when some of the horsemen have already been unleashed.
I have edited out extraneous contemporary detail, and most of the charts which are dated, except for one. I edited out some grammatical errors and awkward phrasing. The timeframe has been ‘compartmentalized’ to five years, from a more open-ended original, because at the time I wrote in 2005 I did not imagine I would still be at this blogging effort five years later. I have also renumbered the footnotes and eliminated several for the sake of simplicity and relevance.
In case you missed it, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was on Capitol Hill this morning making his case in regards to the Bank of America – Merrill Lynch deal. The Chairman stated in unequivocal terms that he did not pressure anyone. Rather, he stated that he cautioned Ken Lewis about the prudence of invoking a MAC clause and doubted whether Lewis could be successful in extracting himself from the deal (I agree that the MAC clause was not going to help BofA).
Whether Bernanke is justified in his defense is irrelevant at this juncture. What is relevant, however, is that the Bank of America – Merrill Lynch deal has become a central episode for political recriminations and posturing. As I said two weeks ago:
My take here is that the Bank of America case has become very political – and that means the blame game is going to be played. Someone — Bernanke, Lewis, Thain or Paulson — is going to take the fall. The knives are out.
Indeed, the knives are out and it is looking increasingly likely that Bernanke will be the scapegoat. Below is a Bloomberg News video with Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. If you listen to what Towns is saying, it does not look very good for Ben Bernanke.
Here’s a conspiracy theory for you. As I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, I ill keep this one pretty simple. Here’s the chain of events.
Back in late September when the world was falling apart, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and Hank Paulson were all desperate to keep things from unravelling. As a result, they were pleased that Ken Lewis and Bank of America were willing to pony up massive $44 billion to take over Merrill Lynch. They might even have encouraged the deal (i.e. we will smooth the way. There will be no FTC hurdles. We will soft peddle investigation into Countrywide mortgage fraud, etc)
The problem, of course, was that Merrill Lynch was a bottomless pit of…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
A massive amount of individual stocks have dropped more than 20 percent from their 52-week highs this fall and this is beginning to dawn on folks. The bullshittiness of the S&P 500’s year-to-date gain – driven by an ever-dwindling handful of gigantic darling stocks – is starting to lose relevance. The lack of participation by a growing number of stocks and sectors is all people want to talk about this week, despite the fact that the long-term trend for large caps is still intact.
Remember when instead of pontificating on and explaining the consequences of three decades of devastating, ruinous, irresponsible Fed policies, and eagerly sharing ideas on how to "fix" these unfixable problems, Alan Greenspan was the primary culprit behind everything that is now wrong and broken with the world's financial system? Oh, and also was not an "Austrian" economist?
Today we bring you the "other" Greenspan: the one who is blissfully unaware that, almost singlehandedly, he destroyed western capitalism, which is now living day to day, on borrowed time from one central bank printer to another. Ironically, the topic of his most recent Op-Ed for the Council of...
The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.
Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...
Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the small caps.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, re...
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Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.
The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...
Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.
Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."
The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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