Posts Tagged ‘shell game’

NY State Shell Game – Municipalities Borrow from Pension Fund to make Required Pension Fund Contributions

NY State Shell Game – Municipalities Borrow from Pension Fund to make Required Pension Fund Contributions

Seashell Game

Courtesy of Mish

When it comes to pension funding schemes, NY governor David Paterson and the NY legislature have taken can-kicking to ever increasing levels of absurdity. Please consider State Plan Makes Fund Both Borrower and Lender.

Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund.

And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.

As word of the plan spread, some denounced it as a shell game and a blatant effort by state leaders to avoid making difficult decisions, like cutting government spending or reducing pension benefits.

“It’s a classic Albany example of kicking the can down the road,” said Harry Wilson, the Republican candidate for comptroller, who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Under the plan, the state and municipalities would borrow the money to reduce their pension contributions for the next three years, in exchange for higher payments over the following decade. They would begin repaying what they borrowed, with interest, in 2013.

But Mr. Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will have rebounded to such a degree by that time that the state’s overall pension contribution burden will have been reduced.

Another oddity of the plan is that the pension fund, which assumes its assets will earn 8 percent a year, would accept interest payments from the state that would probably be 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

This week, Mr. Paterson called borrowing “a last resort,” but added, “I have never said I wouldn’t borrow.”

Oddities Galore

The idea is so absurd that I struggle to believe anyone would propose it, let alone actually vote for it. Yet it passed, and the governor signed it.

Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will bail them out. I have the odds of that at something like 15%.

Plan assumptions of 8% annualized are highly unlikely to happen. Amazingly, even IF 8% returns came home, Seven State Pension Plans will be Out of Money by 2020.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

******

Lower picture courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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The Shell Game Continues…

The Shell Game Continues… 

Scallop shells lined up on desk, one shell lifted to reveal bean

Courtesy of Chris Martenson

Executive Summary

  • Record-breaking Treasury auctions continue to go off without a hitch, thanks to massive foreign participation.
  • However, the amounts reported to be bought in the auction results do not match the Custody Account or TIC report amounts.
  • The Fed is allegedly all done buying MBS and Treasury paper.  This cuts off an important source of liquidity for the Treasury, commodity, and stock markets.  
  • How will these markets respond to a liquidity drought?

The end of March is upon us.  I need to take a moment to re-analyze the data to see what might happen now that the stimulus money has worn off, and, more importantly, now that the Federal Reserve’s massive Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) purchase program is over.

This is important for a variety of reasons.  The first is that the enormous flood of liquidity that the Federal Reserve injected into the financial system has found its way into the Treasury market, supporting government borrowing and also lowering interest rates for the housing market.  How will the Treasury market respond once the liquidity spigot is turned off? 

The second is that this flood of liquidity has supported all sorts of other asset markets along the way, including the stock and commodity markets.  What will happen to these when the flood stops?  Will the base economy have recovered enough that the financial markets can operate on their own?  Will stocks falter after an amazing run?  Or will the whole thing shudder to a halt for a double-dip recession?

Back in August of 2009, I wrote that the Federal Reserve was basically just directly monetizing US government debt by buying recent Treasury issuances as well as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS).

Here’s the conclusion from that report: 

The Federal Reserve has effectively been monetizing far more US government debt than has openly been revealed, by cleverly enabling foreign central banks to swap their agency debt for Treasury debt.  This is not a sign of strength and reveals a pattern of trading temporary relief for future difficulties.

This is very nearly the same path that Zimbabwe took, resulting in the complete abandonment of the Zimbabwe dollar as a unit of currency.  The difference is in the complexity of the game being played, not the substance of the actions themselves.

When the full scope of this program is more widely recognized,


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Obama’s Housing Shell Game; Short Sales and Relocation Assistance

Obama’s Housing Shell Game; Short Sales and Relocation Assistance

Courtesy of Mish 

Toy house and car on pile of invoices

We’ve now come full circle. Instead of trying to get people to stay in their homes, Obama is willing to pay them to leave. Please consider Program Will Pay Homeowners to Sell at a Loss.

In an effort to end the foreclosure crisis, the Obama administration has been trying to keep defaulting owners in their homes. Now it will take a new approach: paying some of them to leave.

This latest program, which will allow owners to sell for less than they owe and will give them a little cash to speed them on their way, is one of the administration’s most aggressive attempts to grapple with a problem that has defied solutions.

Under the new program, the servicing bank, as with all modifications, will get $1,000. Another $1,000 can go toward a second loan, if there is one. And for the first time the government would give money to the distressed homeowners themselves. They will get $1,500 in “relocation assistance.”

Short sales are “tailor-made for fraud,” said Mr. Lawler, a former executive at the mortgage finance company Fannie Mae.

Under the new federal program, a lender will use real estate agents to determine the value of a home and thus the minimum to accept. This figure will not be shared with the owner, but if an offer comes in that is equal to or higher than this amount, the lender must take it.

Big Shell Game

Hand lifting up small pot to reveal red ball

Diana Olick describes the situation perfectly in Mortgage Principal Writedown Won’t Save Housing.

 

And so it begins. Big gun lawmakers are making the move toward principal writedowns as the last resort to save the housing market.

The problem is prices. Home prices have fallen so far in the hardest hit areas, the areas where the bulk of the troubled loans are, that banks would have to write down principal 30 to 50 percent to put borrowers back in the green. Accounting rules require that banks write down the value of those loans on their books, and experts tell me that if banks really accounted for all the losses in the home loan market, they’d all be insolvent.

That’s why the Obama Administration has created this kind of shell game in the first place.

I stole that shell game idea from


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How Much Longer Can This Bear Market Rally Last?

How Much Longer Can This Bear Market Rally Last?

bear marketCourtesy of Kevin Depew at Minyanville

How long, O Lord, how long? It’s always good to remember that the stock market is not the economy. Every day I come into the office to find literally dozens of emails complaining that the market is ignoring the relentlessly bearish news flow. But that doesn’t bother me. What will bother me is when we start getting good news. Markets tend to reach exhaustion on good news, not bad. And these days it’s hard to discern between what’s merely bad and what’s actually disastrous. So, let’s take a look at what the difference between the two really is, and what it means going forward.

A recently released Societe Generale report outlined a "Worst-Case Debt Scenario," one which they believe is a very low probability. Their central scenario assumes a slow global recovery, with private debt being transferred to governments. Fair enough. We’re well on our way there.

Comparing US and Japan, albeit from SocGen’s more sanguine standpoint, there’s some reason to believe the US could feasibly accommodate a Japan-esque 200% of GDP debt burden, which would essentially double 2010′s projected 100% of GDP debt burden. The reason this might not collapse the dollar is because there are no attractive alternatives. Government debt is a global problem, and when you look at the US government debt on a comparative basis, the figures, while high, aren’t extraordinary — at least within that context. More on this momentarily.

As a brief digression, I don’t believe that all government debt is bad by definition. Some are dogmatic on that point. While I do find a framework for understanding economics through the Austrian school, the reality is that no one is going to be able to squeeze pure, free-market toothpaste back into the tube. In fact, Ron Paul’s quixotic quest to end the Federal Reserve could actually succeed… only I can promise you it would soon be replaced by a similar central bank mechanism with a different name, slightly altered agenda, and new cast members. In other words, more of the same; let’s be realistic.

Also, remember that governments worldwide have a long history of supporting failed industries only to turn around and re-privatize them at a later date. It’s the government version of the private-equity game (buy ‘em, repackage ‘em, sell…
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Zero Hedge

Ex-Spy Chief Admits Role In 'Deep State' Intelligence War On Trump

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

An ex-spy chief who spoke out publicly against Trump while inspiring other career intelligence figures to follow suit has admitted his leading role in the intelligence community waging political war against the president, describing his actions as something he didn't "fully think through". In a surprisingly frank interview, the CIA's Michael Morell - who was longtime Deputy Director and former Acting Director of the nation's most powerful intelligence agency - said that it wasn't a great idea to leak against and bash a new president...



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Insider Scoop

7 Stocks To Watch For December 12, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

  • Casey's General Stores Inc (NASDAQ: CASY) reported weaker-than-expected earnings for its second quarter. Casey's shares dropped 3.62 percent to $116.86 in the after-hours trading session.
  • KMG Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: KMG) reported upbeat results for its first quarter on Monday. KMG Che...


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Phil's Favorites

Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058 - why?

 

Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058 – why?

Courtesy of Danny DorlingUniversity of Oxford and Stuart Gietel-BastenHong Kong University of Science and Technology

via shutterstock.com

Buried deep in a note towards the end of a recent bulletin published by the British government’s statistical agency was a startling revelation. On average, people in the UK are now projected to live ...



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Digital Currencies

No, Bitcoin Won't Boil The Oceans

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Elaine Ou via Bloomberg.com,

Concerns about the cryptocurrency's energy use are overblown...

While much of the world marvels at bitcoin’s meteoric rise, another part is focused on an environmental byproduct:

The sheer amount of electricity that crypto-currencies use.

By some estimates, bitcoin’s consumption ...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Dec 10, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Before we talk about the stodgy ole stock market, anyone see that Bitcoin?  $11K last week – $16K this week…. and as I write this bitcoin futures are up over $18K. Just another week in the life…. (here is what you need to know about bitcoin futures)

Back to your regularly scheduled program… the S&P 500 rested a bit while a small correction rolled through the massive winners of 2017 in mega cap tech land, but in the end all was well again by Friday.

“The Nasdaq Composite Index was getting a little frothy, so it&...



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Biotech

DNA has gone digital - what could possibly go wrong?

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

DNA has gone digital – what could possibly go wrong?

Courtesy of Jenna E. GallegosColorado State University and Jean PeccoudColorado State University

Modern advances come with new liabilities. Sergey ...



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ValueWalk

Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

Courtesy of FinancialSense.com via ValueWalk.com

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.

It’s looking increasingl...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan 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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