by ilene - September 28th, 2010 2:19 am
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
Editor’s Note: The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers,…
by ilene - August 31st, 2010 10:33 am
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Paul Farrell’s take on Jeremy Grantham’s recent essay Seven Lean Years (previously posted on Zero Hedge) is amusing in that his conclusion is that should Obama get reelected, his entire tenure will have been occupied by fixing the problems of a 30 year credit bubble, and if anything end up with the worst rating of all time, as the citizens’ anger is focused on him as the one source of all evil. "Add seven years to the handoff from Bush to Obama in early 2009 and you get no recovery till 2016. Get it? No recovery till the end of Obama’s second term, assuming he’s reelected — a big if." Also, Farrell pisses all over the recent catastrophic Geithner NYT oped essay, which praised the imminent recovery which merely turned out to be the grand entrance into the double dip: "In his recent newsletter, "Seven Lean Years Revisited," Grantham tells us why expecting a summer of recovery was unrealistic, why America must prepare for a long recovery. Grantham details 10 reasons: "The negatives that are likely to hamper the global developed economy." Sorry, but this recovery will take till 2016."
For those who have not had a chance to read the original Grantham writings, here is Farrell’s attempt to convince you that Grantham is spot on:
But should you believe Grantham? Yes. First: Like Joseph, Grantham’s earlier forecasts were dead on. About two years before Wall Street’s 2008 meltdown Grantham saw: "The First Truly Global Bubble: From Indian antiquities to modern Chinese art; from land in Panama to Mayfair; from forestry, infrastructure, and the junkiest bonds to mundane blue chips; it’s bubble time. … The bursting of the bubble will be across all countries and all assets … no similar global event has occurred before."
Second: The Motley Fools’ Matt Argersinger went back to the dot-com crash of 2000: Grantham "looked out 10 years and predicted the S&P 500 would underperform cash." Bull’s-eye: The S&P 500 peaked at 11,722; it’s now around 10,000. Factor in inflation: Wall Street’s lost 20% of your retirement since 2000. Yes, Wall Street’s a big loser.
Third: What’s ahead for the seven lean years? Wall Street will keep losing. Argersinger: "Grantham predicts below-average economic growth, anemic corporate-profit margins, and other
by ilene - July 25th, 2010 3:20 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
Snippets this time, since I’m on vacation….
The economic expansion that began in the middle of last year is proceeding at a moderate pace, supported by stimulative monetary and fiscal policies. Although fiscal policy and inventory restocking will likely be providing less impetus to the recovery than they have in recent quarters, rising demand from households and businesses should help sustain growth. In particular, real consumer spending appears to have expanded at about a 2-1/2 percent annual rate in the first half of this year, with purchases of durable goods increasing especially rapidly. However, the housing market remains weak, with the overhang of vacant or foreclosed houses weighing on home prices and construction.
Uh huh. Note the word appears. In political circles this is known as a "weasel word", and gives the speaker an out if the claim turns out to be pure nonsense down the road (and it will.)
The most-important part of this paragraph, however, is the fact that it recognizes that the government has stepped in and replaced 11% of final demand with borrowed money.
Inflation has remained low. The price index for personal consumption expenditures appears to have risen at an annual rate of less than 1 percent in the first half of the year. Although overall inflation has fluctuated, partly reflecting changes in energy prices, by a number of measures underlying inflation has trended down over the past two years. The slack in labor and product markets has damped wage and price pressures, and rapid increases in productivity have further reduced producers’ unit labor costs.
Note the direct contradiction with the above paragraph (does Ben really think we’re dumb enough not to notice?)
by ilene - May 19th, 2010 5:07 pm
Courtesy of Mish
Doctors losing money doing "God’s Work" in Medicare, are tired of the losses. Many refuse to take new patients. Others have thrown in the towel altogether.
The Houston Chronicle has the details in Texas doctors opting out of Medicare at alarming rate.
Texas doctors are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates, frustrated by reimbursement cuts they say make participation in government-funded care of seniors unaffordable.
Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren’t taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.
“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn’t fix Medicare soon, there’ll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress’ promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.”
More than 300 doctors have dropped the program in the last two years, including 50 in the first three months of 2010, according to data compiled by the Houston Chronicle. Texas Medical Association officials, who conducted the 2008 survey, said the numbers far exceeded their assumptions.
The largest number of doctors opting out comes from primary care, a field already short of practitioners nationally and especially in Texas. Psychiatrists also make up a large share of the pie, causing one Texas leader to say, “God forbid that a senior has dementia.”
The opt-outs follow years of declining Medicare reimbursement that culminated in a looming 21 percent cut in 2010. Congress has voted three times to postpone the cut, which was originally to take effect Jan. 1. It is now set to take effect June 1.
In 2008, 42 percent of Texas doctors participating in the survey said they were no longer accepting all new Medicare patients. Among primary-care doctors, the percentage was 62 percent.
“You do Medicare for God and country because you lose money on it,” said [Dr. Guy Culpepper, a Dallas-area family practice doctor], a graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. “The only way to provide cost-effective care is outside the Medicare system, a system without constant paperwork and
by ilene - May 12th, 2010 4:59 pm
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
Surely this does not come as a shock to anyone.
The United States posted an $82.69 billion deficit in April, nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009 and the largest on record for that month, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.
It was more than twice the $40-billion deficit that Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast and was striking since April marks the filing deadline for individual income taxes that are the main source of government revenue.
Department officials said that in prior years, there was a surplus during April in 43 out of the past 56 years.
Remember, Social Security should have its own fund of around $2 trillion but instead has a stack of IOUs in the form of US Treasurys and no money.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, in a report issued May 10, projected an April deficit of $85 billion. “The decline in non-withheld individual income tax receipts and the increase in individual refunds were partly offset by higher revenues from other sources,” the CBO said in the report.
Revenue and other income fell 7.9 percent to $245.3 billion in April from $266.2 billion the same month last year, the Treasury said.
Corporate tax receipts totaled $77.1 billion for the year to date, an increase of 8.9 percent. Individual income tax collections were down 11.6 percent so far this fiscal year to $500.8 billion.
Spending for the entire government for April jumped 14.2 percent from the same month a year earlier to $328 billion.
Outlays by the Social Security Administration rose to $437.7 billion for the fiscal year to date. Spending by the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs, rose to $504 billion.
The question now is how the hell we can dig our way out of this hole. The easy answer (without wasting years pursuing a Masters in econ) is we can’t. If you’ve ever been buried in debt, you understand how difficult it is to ever right your financial situation once you’re in over your head. The government seems to believe that normal rules don’t apply because of that whole world reserve currency thing but I imagine there will come a point when the world will…
by ilene - October 21st, 2009 10:14 pm
Jim Quinn presents a most dire prediction of our national journey into a hellish nightmare, the worst yet to come.
Was it all foretold in this incredible song? – Ilene
Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this’ll be the day that I die