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Living Beyond Our Means: 3 Charts That Prove That We Are In The Biggest Debt Bubble In The History Of The World

Living Beyond Our Means: 3 Charts That Prove That We Are In The Biggest Debt Bubble In The History Of The World

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Do you want to see something truly frightening?  Just check out the 3 charts posted further down in this article.  These charts prove that we are now in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  As Americans have enjoyed an incredibly wonderful standard of living over the past three decades, most of them have believed that it was because we are the wealthiest, most prosperous nation on the planet with economic and financial systems that are second to none. 

But that is not even close to accurate.  The reason why we have had an almost unbelievably high standard of living over the past three decades is because we have piled up the biggest mountains of debt in the history of the world.  Once upon a time the United States was the wealthiest country on the planet, but all of that prosperity was not good enough for us.  So we started borrowing and borrowing and borrowing and we have now been living beyond our means for so long that we consider it to be completely normal. 

We have been robbing future generations blind for so long that it doesn’t even seem to bother most people anymore.  We have become accustomed to living in debt.  We go into massive amounts of debt to get an education, we go into massive amounts of debt to buy a home, we go into massive amounts of debt to buy our cars, and we even pile up debt to buy holiday gifts and to purchase groceries.

Just check out the chart posted below.  It shows the total credit market debt owed in the United States.  In other words, it is a measure of what everyone owes (government, businesses and consumers). 

30 years ago, total credit market debt owed was less than 5 trillion dollars.  Today, it is over 50 trillion dollars.  Total credit market debt is now at a level equivalent to about 360 percent of GDP.  This is what has been fueling the great era of "economic prosperity" that we have been experiencing….        

So what is the answer to this problem? 

The truth is that there is not an easy answer under our current system.  The only way that the U.S. economy continues to "grow" is if the debt bubble continues to "expand". …
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Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times that has been making the internet rounds.  David Stockman writes about how the Republican party destroyed the American economy. – Ilene 

Barry Ritholtz made this comment in summarizing the article: 

In short, the party became more focused on Politics than Policy.

I bring this up as an intro to David Stockman’s brutal critique of Republican fiscal policy. Stockman was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. His NYT OpEd — subhed: How the GOP Destroyed the US economy — perfectly summarizes the most legitimate critiques of decades of GOP economic policy.

I can sum it up thusly: Whereas the Democrats have no economic policy, the Republicans have a very bad one.

Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

money printing By DAVID STOCKMAN, NY Times 

Excerpts: 

This approach has not simply made a mockery of traditional party ideals. It has also led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy. More specifically, the new policy doctrines have caused four great deformations of the national economy, and modern Republicans have turned a blind eye to each one.

The first of these started when the Nixon administration defaulted on American obligations under the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement to balance our accounts with the world. Now, since we have lived beyond our means as a nation for nearly 40 years, our cumulative current-account deficit — the combined shortfall on our trade in goods, services and income — has reached nearly $8 trillion. That’s borrowed prosperity on an epic scale.

[...]

The second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. 

[...]

The third ominous change in the American economy has been the vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector. Here, Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation. As a result, the combined assets of conventional banks and the so-called shadow banking system (including investment banks and finance companies) grew from a mere $500 billion in 1970 to $30 trillion by September 2008.

But the trillion-dollar conglomerates that inhabit this new financial world are not free enterprises. They are rather wards of the state, extracting billions from the economy with a lot of pointless speculation in stocks, bonds, commodities and derivatives. They could
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The Con of the Decade Part I

The Con of the Decade Part I 

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith Of Two Minds 

The con of the decade (Part I) involves the transfer of private debt to the public (the marks), who then pays interest forever to the con artists.

I’ve laid out the Con of the Decade (Part I) in outline form:

1. Enable trillions of dollars in mortgages guaranteed to default by packaging unlimited quantities of them into mortgage-backed securities (MBS), creating umlimited demand for fraudulently originated loans.

2. Sell these MBS as "safe" to credulous investors, institutions, town councils in Norway, etc., i.e. "the bezzle" on a global scale.

3. Make huge "side bets" against these doomed mortgages so when they default then the short-side bets generate billions in profits.

4. Leverage each $1 of actual capital into $100 of high-risk bets.

5. Hide the utterly fraudulent bets offshore and/or off-balance sheet (not that the regulators you had muzzled would have noticed anyway).

6. When the longside bets go bad, transfer hundreds of billions of dollars in Federal guarantees, bailouts and backstops into the private hands which made the risky bets, either via direct payments or via proxies like AIG. Enable these private Power Elites to borrow hundreds of billions more from the Treasury/Fed at zero interest.

7. Deposit these funds at the Federal Reserve, where they earn 3-4%. Reap billions in guaranteed income by borrowing Federal money for free and getting paid interest by the Fed.

8. As profits pile up, start buying boatloads of short-term U.S. Treasuries. Now the taxpayers who absorbed the trillions in private losses and who transferred trillions in subsidies, backstops, guarantees, bailouts and loans to private banks and corporations, are now paying interest on the Treasuries their own money purchased for the banks/corporations.

9. Slowly acquire trillions of dollars in Treasuries--not difficult to do as the Federal government is borrowing $1.5 trillion a year.

10. Stop buying Treasuries and dump a boatload onto the market, forcing interest rates to rise as supply of new T-Bills exceeds demand (at least temporarily). Repeat as necessary to double and then triple interest rates paid on Treasuries.

11. Buy hundreds of billions in long-term Treasuries at high rates of interest. As interest rates rise, interest payments dwarf all other Federal spending, forcing extreme cuts in all other government spending.

12. Enjoy the hundreds of billions of…
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The Future of Public Debt

The Future of Public Debt

Courtesy of John Mauldin at Thoughts From The Frontline

Greeks Protest Austerity Cuts In May Day Rallies

There Had to Be a Short
How Should Our Institutions Invest? 
The Future Of Public Debt 
The Future Public Debt Trajectory 
Debt Projections 
Montreal, New York, Connecticut, and Italy

Everyone and their brother intuitively knows that the current government fiscal deficits in the developed world are unsustainable. They have to be brought under control, but that requires some short-term pain. Today we look at a rather remarkable piece of research from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) on what the fiscal crisis may morph into in the future, how much pain will be needed, and what will happen if various countries stay on their present courses. Some countries could end up paying north of 20% of GDP just on the interest to serve their debt, within just 30 years.

Of course, the markets will not allow that to happen, long before it ever gets to that level. And what makes this important is that this is not some wild-eyed blogger, it’s the BIS, a fairly sober crowd of capable economists. We will pay some attention. Then I’ll throw in another few paragraphs about Goldman.

But first, I want to bring a very worthy cause to your attention. For my Strategic Investment Conference last weekend, Jon Sundt and I bought some mighty fine wine for our guests. That of course, is to be expected. But each of those bottles also bought a wheelchair for someone in a most needy part of the world. Here’s the story.

Gordon Homes at Lookout Ridge Winery in Napa Valley has gotten five cult winemakers to create special wines for him. These are winemakers whose production is sold out well in advance  – they’re the all-stars of wine (like Screaming Eagle). And while they can’t sell them from their own wineries, they blend these special signature wines for Lookout Ridge.

Each bottle sells for $100, well below what it would take to get one of these cult artists’ bottles – even if you could get them. And then Lookout Ridge donates the entire amount to buying a wheelchair for someone who can’t afford one in a less-developed country. Attendees at our conference bought enough to send 200 chairs to people desperate for mobility all over the world. Part of it was, I am sure,…
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A Warning To America From The East

A Warning To America From The East

JapanCourtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes the following:

Democrat leader Yukio Hatoyama, who won a landslide victory over the weekend, has pledged that there would be no increase in debt to fund his $180bn boost for child allowances and social policy by 2013, but his advisors are already back-tracking as they examine the dire tax figures.

While Japan pulled out of recession in the second quarter, it has barely begun to make up for the 11.7pc contraction of its economy over the preceding year. Industrial production was still down 23pc in July. Exports were down 39pc to the US.

Uh huh.  These are great promises, but Japan’s tax receipts are down 27% over the last year.   This sounds oddly familiar…. our government’s tax receipts are down huge as well, as are the tax receipts of the states.

Michael Taylor from Lombard Street Research said Japan made a strategic error during its Lost Decade by waiting too long to pull the monetary levers. "They failed to boost money supply the way the Fed and the Bank of England are trying to do through quantitative easing. Their fiscal packages led to a massive deterioration in public finances."

Oh nonsense.

Japan tried to avoid the truth.  They tried to sweep the bad debt under the rug instead of forcing it out of the system.  They attempted to apply the Keynesian "fix" that seems to be the tonic to all that ails the economy – spend spend spend and loosen loosen loosen monetary policy.

Did it work?  No. 

Nor will it work here, because just like in Japan the lies have not been flushed from the system and those who have hidden boluses of garbage have not been forced to admit to and clear them.

"IMF studies show that as public debt rises above 60pc of GDP fiscal stimulus loses it effect. People anticipate the consequences: higher taxes, and eventually higher interest rates. The bond vigilantes will always get you in the end," he said.

Hmmm…. Public debt in the US is about $11 trillion, GDP 14ish, so where does that leave us?…
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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

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 jennifersurovy@yahoo.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.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!

 
 

Phil's Favorites

The Fed Vs. Praxeology

The Fed Vs. Praxeology

By Doug French of Casey Research

Janet Yellen must feel like she’s herding cats. The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates at zero, thinking the common man and woman will spend money or buy stocks. Dr. Yellen wants us all to get our risk on, continuing Dr. Bernanke’s instructions.

The central bank has quadrupled its balance sheet and can’t generate enough price inflation to make the monetary mandarins happy. (Some of us would say they haven’t looked hard enough.) The PhDs can’t figure it out. They’re getting no bang, for $4.5 trillion. All of those smart people armed with complicated models and the power of the printing press, and nothing’s happening except another Wall Street bubble. Yawn.

A couple of Fe...



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Chart School

Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Decelerated in August

Courtesy of Doug Short.

"Index shows economic growth decelerated in August": This is the headline for today's release of the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index, and here are the opening paragraphs from the report:

Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) decreased to –0.21 in August from +0.26 in July. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from July, and two of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in August.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to +0.07 in August from +0.20 in July, marking its sixth consecutive reading above zero. August’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was somewhat above its historical trend. The eco- nomic growth reflected in this level of the CF...



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Zero Hedge

This Is What Happens When Goldman Writes The Central Banker Script

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Curious what happens when Goldman writes the script for its central banker alums? This.

  • DRAGHI SAYS EXCHANGE RATE IS IMPORTANT, NOT A POLICY OBJECTIVE
  • DUDLEY SAYS VALUE OF DOLLAR CAN IMPACT APPROPRIATENESS OF MONETARY POLICY, NOT A POLICY GOAL

At this point one should just laugh.

By now it should be obvious that we have reached the Central bank, i.e., Goldman Sachs, singularity, where a few Princeton economists, MIT central-planners and Goldman partners, are desperate to micromanage everything, every single market and asset, or else watch as the house of cards is swept away by years of pent up market "efficiency."

We...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bulls leverage hopeful news to launch a tepid breakout attempt

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks were able to leverage some optimistic news and dovish words from the Fed to take another stab at an upside breakout attempt last week. Although readers have sometimes accused me of being a permabull, I am really a realist, and the reality is that the slogans like “The trend is your friend” and “Don’t fight the Fed” are truisms. And they have worked. Nevertheless, I am still not convinced that we have seen the ultimate lows for this pullback, especially given the weak technical condition of 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, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 22nd, 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's the latest issue of Stock World Weekly. Enjoy! Please sign in using your PSW user name and password. (Or take a free trial.)

...

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Option Review

IV Implodes On 4-hour YHOO Options As BABA Commences Trading

Investors are dumping shares in Yahoo, sending the stock down 5.0% to $40.08 after shares in Alibaba made their debut on the floor of the NYSE just before midday. Shares in BABA for their part initially traded up to a high of $99.70, a near 47% increase over the IPO price of $68.00. Typically, one would expect put options that are 5% out of the money with roughly 4-hours left to trade to see waning implied volatility. But, at the start of the trading session and ahead of the first trade for BABA, the Sep 19 ’14 40.0 strike put options were trading with 271% volatility or $0.30 per contract amid uncertainty as to how the start of trading for Alibaba would take shape.

...

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Market Shadows

Selling PVD

Selling PVD

Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones Provida S.A. (PVD) shares will not be trading on the NY Stock Exchange after today. Tomorrow, shares will be harder to sell. Strangely, I wasn't able to find information on the internet, but Paul just sent me a copy of the email he received from Interactive Brokers.

We're selling PVD out of the Virtual Portfolio today at $87.18. 

More details:

From: Interactive Brokers   dated July 18, 2014

Holders of AFP Provida S.A. American Depository Receipts (ADR) are advised that the Company has elected to terminate the Deposit Agreement effective 2014-09-18.

As of the te...



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Promotions

Last Chance! See The 'Google-Like' Trading Algorithm 'Live' TODAY

Traders and Investors,

RSVP NOW to attend a special presentation TODAY at Noon or 9:00 pm ET, where you’ll see a powerful trading algorithm that’s been tested and proven to return phenomenal results on a consistent basis. 

In fact, it has an 82% win rate…

And had you only traded the conservative alerts recommended by the algorithm since inception, you would have experienced portfolio gains of more than 200%!

Register NOW and secure your virtual seat for one of Today’s LIVE presentations.

When you register for the webinar, you’ll also get instant access to following trading videos:

  • Instant access to FOUR Quick-Start Expectancy...


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Digital Currencies

Making Sense of Bitcoin

Making Sense of Bitcoin

By James Black at International Man

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...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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