Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

TLP: ‘What’s All This Dirt Doing in the Yard?’

TLP: ‘What’s All This Dirt Doing in the Yard?’

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

lobbyists

Lobbying is typically thought of as a game of influence. Can you get paid to get someone to do what you want them to do, even if you don’t give a shit if they do it or not. These days, as the political winds look to be shifting, lobbying includes a bit of gambling.

NYT:

With Democrats in danger of losing control of Congress, some prominent lobbying shops, trade groups and contractors are already moving to bring more Republicans on board to bolster their political fortunes.

Lobbyists, political consultants and recruiters all say that the going rate for Republicans — particularly current and former House staff members — has risen significantly in just the last few weeks, with salaries beginning at $300,000 and going as high as $1 million for private sector positions.

“We’re seeing a premium for Republicans,” said Ivan H. Adler, a headhunter for the McCormick Group in Washington who specializes in placing lobbyists. “They’re the new ‘It’ girl.” …

If Republicans succeed in regaining control of the House and perhaps even the Senate, firms seeking influence over federal policies are looking to gain an edge by tacking toward the right. That will become particularly important, they say, if Republicans try to roll back some of the major initiatives in health care, business regulation and other areas that Democrats have pushed through Congress in the last year.

You may have seen this movie before.


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KRUGMAN: LET THE LAWYERS IN CONGRESS SPEND ANOTHER $800B

KRUGMAN: LET THE LAWYERS IN CONGRESS SPEND ANOTHER $800B

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

lawyersPaul Krugman was on CNBC today calling for more stimulus.  He wants to give Congress the ability to spend another $800B in an effort to get the economy going again.  He says this is feasible because the bond market is allowing us to “fund” future spending via historically low rates.  There are a lot of things wrong here, but I’ll keep my comments brief.

First of all, it’s clear that Krugman is still suffering from neo-classical bewilderment.  Despite the operational evidence pointing to the contrary it’s clear that Krugman still believes we are living in a gold standard world where the USA’s deficits really are funded by taxes and bond markets.  Unfortunately for Mr. Krugman, we now live in a non-convertible fiat monetatry system where the USA is the monopoly supplier of currency.  Nonetheless, he still seems to make the connection that we can afford to spend even though it’s obviously not for the correct reasons.

Second, Mr. Krugman has no qualms about giving Congress the last call on where this money gets spent.  This is astonishingly naive in my opinion.  The efficiency of the original stimulus package was low to say the least and the latest CBO figures show that the impacts on the economy have been enough to keep us afloat, but far from enough to solve the actual problems.   What we have here is a balance sheet recession due to a debt bubble and implosion.  So, what we need is balance sheet repair.  We don’t need more solutions that merely kick the can down the road.  We don’t need to stimulate loan growth or to stimulate the banking sector. We don’t need to prop up the housing sector or to stimulate auto sales.  If we’re going to let Congress pass a stimulus bill we should put money in the pockets of the people who need it.  If we’re going to spend money on these plans we should actually target the problems as opposed to letting Congress chop up $800B so they can send 75% of it towards programs that will not even resolve the problem.

Mr. Krugman appears to be towing the political party line here by saying that tax cuts won’t help resolve the problem.  As usual, he’s letting his politics get in the way of his thinking.  I absolutely do not think…
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Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’

Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’

Commentary: How: Gold. Tax cuts. Debts. Wars. Fat Cats. Class gap. No fiscal discipline

Courtesy of Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD at Wall Street WARZONE

Originally published at MarketWatch  

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — "How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy." Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, "Four Deformations of the Apocalypse."

Get it? Not "destroying." The GOP has already "destroyed" the U.S. economy, setting up an "American Apocalypse."

Jobs recovery could take years

In the wake of Friday’s disappointing jobs report, Neal Lipschutz and Phil Izzo discuss new predictions that it could be many years before the nation’s unemployment rate reaches pre-recession levels.

Yes, Stockman is equally damning of the Democrats’ Keynesian policies. But what this indictment by a party insider — someone so close to the development of the Reaganomics ideology — says about America, helps all of us better understand how America’s toxic partisan-politics "holy war" is destroying not just the economy and capitalism, but the America dream. And unless this war stops soon, both parties will succeed in their collective death wish.

But why focus on Stockman’s message? It’s already lost in the 24/7 news cycle. Why? We need some introspection. Ask yourself: How did the great nation of America lose its moral compass and drift so far off course, to where our very survival is threatened?

We’ve arrived at a historic turning point as a nation that no longer needs outside enemies to destroy us, we are committing suicide. Democracy. Capitalism. The American dream. All dying. Why? Because of the economic decisions of the GOP the past


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EXTEND & PRETEND: Stage I Comes to an End!

EXTEND & PRETEND: Stage I Comes to an End!

The Dog Ate my Report Card

Courtesy of Gordon T. Long 

Both came to an end at the same time: the administration’s policy to Extend & Pretend has run out of time as has the patience of the US electorate with the government’s Keynesian economic policy responses. Desperate last gasp attempts are to be fully expected, but any chance of success is rapidly diminishing.

Whether an unimpressed and insufficiently loyal army general, a fleeing cabinet budget chief or G20 peers going the austerity route, all are non-confidence votes for the Obama administration’s present policies. A day after the courts slapped down President Obama’s six month gulf drilling moratorium, the markets were unpatriotically signaling a classic head and shoulders topping pattern. With an employment rebound still a non-starter, President Obama as expected was found to be asking for yet another $50B in unemployment extensions and state budget assistance to avoid teacher layoffs. However, the gig is up: the policy of Extend and Pretend has no time left on the shot clock nor for another round of unemployment benefit extensions. A congress that is now clearly frightened of what it sees looming in the fall midterm elections is running for cover on any further spending initiatives. The US electorate has been sending an unmistakable message in all elections nationwide.

The housing market is rolling over as fully expected and predicted by almost everyone except the White House and its lap-dog press corp. Noted analyst Meredith Whitney says a double dip in housing is a ‘no brainer’ with the government’s HAMP program clearly a bust as one third of participants are now dropping out. The leading economic indicator (ECRI) has abruptly turned lower, signaling the economy is slowing rapidly without the $1T per month stimulus addiction, which has kept the extend and pretend economy on life support.

The gulf oil spill that was initially stated as 1000 barrels per day has been revised upwards faster than the oil can reach the surface. It now appears to be north of 100,000 barrels per day. A 100 percent miss is about in line with the miss on how many jobs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was going to create.  Also, it appears the administration can’t even get its hands around the basics of administration management during any crisis event.  Teleprompter politics…
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Mainstream Economists: “Mission Accomplished”

Mainstream Economists: "Mission Accomplished"

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog 

Numerous current stories show how disconnected mainstream policy-makers are from reality.

For example, Ryan Grim points out that there is an "unbelievable disconnect" between the American people (who are people are against the Afghanistan war) and Congress and the political elite (gung-ho to escalate this never-ending war): 

Even after the Wikileaks revelations, even though there is no logical reason to be in Afghanistan, even though the war won’t help the economy, and even though most Americans want us to get out, Congress keeps increasing funding for the endless war.

And Alan Blinder (economist, banking consultant and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) and chief Moody’s economist Mark Zandi wrote a paper yesterday called How We Ended the Great Recession:

How We Ended the Great Recession

A source on Capitol Hill sent this to me, telling me that the paper is making the rounds on the Hill.

In the paper, Blinder and Zandi congratulate the Bush and Obama administrations for saving us from the Great Depression 2.0:

Eighteen months ago, the global financial system was on the brink of collapse and the U.S. was suffering its worst economic downturn since the 1930s. The Great Recession gave way to recovery as quickly as it did largely because of the unprecedented responses by monetary and fiscal policymakers.

In other words: "Mission Accomplished".

In the real world, however, the economy is on the second leg down of the crash, and the government’s policies have not addressed the real problems. See this and this (no wonder consumer confidence is plunging but Wall Street is partying like it’s 1999).

Indeed, while Blinder and Zandi and Congress are patting themselves on the back for a job well done, the facts simply do not bear out their claims. As just one example, they claim that the TARP bank bailouts helped the economy. But as I pointed out in March 2009, the bailout money didn’t actually…
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Oh, They DO Intend To Steal From You

This is pretty rotten, and there’s no excuse.  I doubt anyone will admit to writing the provision exempting the SEC from FOIA requests. – Ilene 

Oh, They DO Intend To Steal From You

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

And what’s better, now the lapdogs of Wall Street are immune from FOIA requests!

The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings."

Mr. President, you’re a lying sack of crap.

Nor is this theoretical either.  Fox News has already had an FOIA denied:

The SEC cited the new law Tuesday in a FOIA action brought by FOX Business Network.

Nice.

Oh, by the way, this would mean that a Madoff or Stanford "thing" would leave the SEC immune from FOIA requests by the Press (including the "mainstream" along with media folks like myself) to discover whether they had effective and early notice that they intentionally ignored.

Isn’t that convenient, given that they did exactly that with Madoff and, it can be argued, Stanford as well?

Indeed, the SEC, The Fed, and Treasury have all tried to refuse compliance with FOIA requests into the backstories of the financial meltdown.

FOIA requests that could (and in some cases have, when they were forced to be complied with via lawsuits) reveal double-dealing, "sweetheart" treatment, and even willful blindness that, in many people’s opinion (including mine) reaches the level of intentional collusion that, in a private context, would lead to civil and/or criminal racketeering charges.

To President Obama and CONgress for sticking this in FinReg (and yeah, I missed it, even though I read the entire damn thing):

Top picture credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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17 REASONS TO BE BULLISH

David Rosenberg (the bear) takes a walk on the bullish side and here’s what he finds to be optimistic about. – Ilene 

17 REASONS TO BE BULLISH

Bull in bear costume

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Regular readers know I tend to focus on the negative aspects of the markets as opposed to the positives – anyone could put on a smile and skip through oncoming traffic, but the truth is, the investment world can be a very dangerous place so skipping along as if there are no risks involved is beyond foolish.  But ignoring the positives is equally foolish.  In this world of heightened market risks and particularly clear uncertainty here are 17  reasons to consider the bullish case (via David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff):

  • Congress extending jobless benefits (yet again).
  • Polls showing the GoP can take the House and the Senate in November.
  • Some Democrats now want the tax hikes for 2011 to be delayed.
  • Cap and trade is dead.
  • Cameron’s popularity in the U.K. and market reaction there is setting an example for others regarding budgetary reform.
  • China’s success in curbing its property bubble without bursting it.
  • Growing confidence that the emerging markets, especially in Asia and Latin America, will be able to ‘decouple’ this time around. We heard this from more than just one CEO on our recent trip to NYC and Asian thumbprints were all over the positive news these past few weeks out of the likes of FedEx and UPS.
  • Renewed stability in Eurozone debt and money markets – including successful bond auctions amongst the Club Med members.
  • Clarity with respect to European bank vulnerability.
  • Signs that consumer credit delinquency rates in the U.S. are rolling over.
  • Mortgage delinquencies down five quarters in a row in California to a three-year low.
  • The BP oil spill moving off the front pages.
  • The financial regulation bill behind us and Goldman deciding to settle –more uncertainty out of the way.
  • Widespread refutation of the ECRI as a leading indicator … even among the architects of the index! There is tremendous conviction now that a double-dip will be averted, even though 85% of the data releases in the past month have come in below expectations.
  • Earnings season living up to expectations, especially among some key large-caps in the tech/industrial space – Microsoft, AT&T, CAT, and 3M are being viewed as game changers (especially 3M’s upped guidance).


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TLP: Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Convenient Way to Do Some Political Schmoozing

TLP: Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Convenient Way to Do Some Political Schmoozing

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

cigar lobbyists politics

HuffPo is blowing smoke in the eyes of a congressional networking group that the blog contends is backed by lobbyists, possibly in violation of congressional rules. Tough to get your maduro lit when you poke around like that.

HuffPo:

Lobbyists for major banks, insurers, pharmaceutical firms, energy companies and at least one foreign government have been helping organize lavish gatherings of staffers and members of Congress since early 2009, funneling K Street money through an officially chartered staff organization called the Congressional Cigar Association.

The CCA, founded by Republican staffers and sponsored by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), is chartered by the House Administration Committee to encourage networking among congressional staff. Its most recent gathering was held Tuesday at a townhouse just steps from the Capitol, where staffers were feted by Miami Cigar & Company.

As evening fell, guests lounged in the garden out back, sipping cold drinks and puffing away on what smelled like high-end cigars. Gary Pesh, owner of Old Virginia Tobacco and a member of the Congressional Cigar Association, said the event is just an excuse to "get together and have fun." When asked about the conflict of interest inherent in allowing lobbyists to fund a congressional staff organization, dozens of attendees just continued wordlessly on up the red brick steps. "This is approved by the House, so we’re good," one staffer said. (Another staffer told HuffPost that filming wasn’t allowed, though she was standing under a sign warning passersby that the area was under video surveillance.)

At least half a dozen lobbyists have been closely involved in the operation of the ostensibly staff-driven organization, a review of emails, documents and lobbyist disclosure reports finds. By helping to fund and organize the group’s activities, K Street lobby shops are given privileged access to senior-level staffers and members of Congress in intimate settings where they lobby on behalf of their clients. The association is overwhelmingly Republican, as is the cigar-smoking habit it is organized around.

The cigar group is run by a six-member board. In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, congressional ethics rules were implemented to require that "all officers must be employees of the House or Senate" and that the ethics committee approve all gifts of monetary value offered to the association.


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The Trouble with Tim’s Treasury

The Trouble with Tim’s Treasury

Courtesy of New Deal 2.0, by Marshall Auerback

thumbs-down-150

FinReg may fall short if power is channeled into Geithner’s hands.

More depressing news from the “change” President.  The Washington Post has reported that one of the major impacts of the FinReg bill passed last week by Congress is the accretion of new power to Obama’s Treasury Secretary.  According to the Post, Tim Geithner stands to inherit vast power to shape bank regulations, oversee financial markets and create a consumer protection agency.

Make no mistake:  this is Timmy’s bill, plain and simple, as the Post makes clear: “The bill not only hews closely to the initial draft he released last summer but also anoints him — as long as he remains Treasury secretary — as the chief of a new council of senior regulators.”

The Geithner Treasury repeatedly pushed back against many sensible legislative proposals that would have made significant structural changes to practices that brought about the current economic crisis. And the article itself represents latest in a series of attempts to embellish the Treasury Secretary’s hagiography.

Reading it, one wonders whether the Washington Post inhabits a strange parallel universe.  Have the writers actually paid attention to what is truly happening in the economy? The WaPo persists in towing the party line that Geithner’s tenure has been marked with conspicuous success, supposedly by advocating a response to the financial crisis that allegedly later proved correct: “Geithner vigorously resisted calls by some lawmakers and financial experts to nationalize the nation’s largest and most troubled banks during the most perilous days. Instead, he helped get the financial system back on its feet, in particular by pressing for stress tests of big banks.” (my emphasis)

Oh, really?  I would argue that Washington continues to allow the big banks to operate “business as usual” and to cook the books to show profits so that they can pay out big bonuses to the geniuses who created the toxic waste that brought on the crisis. Most continue to show profits based not on fundamentally health lending activity, but one-off gains, and accounting gimmickry.  Commenting on the latest JP Morgan results, my friend and colleague Randy Wray has noted:

JP Morgan’s results were horrendous: it lost…
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The Dirty Fed’s Big Financial Reform Win

The Dirty Fed’s Big Financial Reform Win

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

It is not necessary for me to express an opinion at this time.

WSJ:

After fending off most challenges to its independence and winning new powers to oversee big financial firms, the Federal Reserve has emerged from a bruising debate on the overhaul of U.S. financial rules as perhaps the pre-eminent regulator in the sector. But that could only bring it added blame if things go wrong again.

Just a few months ago, amid populist anger at the Fed for failing to prevent the financial crisis of 2008 and bailing out Wall Street, Congress was talking of stripping the central bank of its supervisory oversight of banks or forcing it to submit to congressional audit of its interest-rate decisions.

Instead, the new law gives the Fed more power and a better tool box to help prevent financial crises. It will become the primary regulator for large, complex financial firms of all kinds, such as American International Group, the insurer which built a massive derivatives portfolio that regulators didn’t see until it was too late.

Where is the populist anger? It’s hiding. In wait. Until November. Congress is truly blind if they believe that we didn’t just see what they did there. 


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Phil's Favorites

What scientists are doing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus

 

What scientists are doing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus

It is critical to learn more about SARS-CoV-2, including its source and why transmission appears to be more efficient than with previous coronaviruses. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Marc-Antoine De La Vega, Université Laval

With an increasing number of confirmed cases in China and 24 other countries, the COVID-19 epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus (now known as SARS-CoV-2) looks concerning to many. As of Feb. 19, the latest numbers listed 74,280 confirmed cases including 2,006 deaths. Four of these de...



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Biotech & Health

What scientists are doing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus

 

What scientists are doing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus

It is critical to learn more about SARS-CoV-2, including its source and why transmission appears to be more efficient than with previous coronaviruses. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Marc-Antoine De La Vega, Université Laval

With an increasing number of confirmed cases in China and 24 other countries, the COVID-19 epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus (now known as SARS-CoV-2) looks concerning to many. As of Feb. 19, the latest numbers listed 74,280 confirmed cases including 2,006 deaths. Four of these de...



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Members' Corner

Why do people believe con artists?

 

Why do people believe con artists?

Would you buy medicine from this man? Carol M. Highsmith/Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Barry M. Mitnick, University of Pittsburgh

What is real can seem pretty arbitrary. It’s easy to be fooled by misinformation disguised as news and deepfake videos showing people doing things they never did or said. Inaccurate information – even deliberately wrong informatio...



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Zero Hedge

Easily Overlooked Issues Regarding COVID-19

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World,

We read a lot in the news about the new Wuhan coronavirus and the illness it causes (COVID-19), but some important points often get left out.

[1] COVID-19 is incredibly contagious.

COVID-19 transmits extremely easily from person to person. Interpersonal contact doesn’t need to be...



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The Technical Traders

Gold Rallies As Fear Take Center Stage

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Gold has rallied extensively from the lows near $1560 over the past 2 weeks.  At first, this rally didn’t catch too much attention with traders, but now the rally has reached new highs above $1613 and may attempt a move above $1750 as metals continue to reflect the fear in the global markets.

We’ve been warning our friends and followers of the real potential in precious metals for many months – actually since early 2018.  Our predictive modeling system suggests Gold will rally above $1650 very quickly, then possibly stall a bit before continuing higher to target the $1750 range.

The one thing all skilled traders must consider is the longer-term fear that is build...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Precious Metals Eyeing Breakout Despite US Dollar Strength

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Gold and silver prices have been on the rise in early 2020 as investors turn to precious metals as geopolitical concerns and news of coronavirus hit the airwaves.

The rally in gold has been impressive, with prices surging past $1600 this week (note silver is nearing $18.50).

What’s been particularly impressive about the Gold rally is that it has unfolded despite strength in the US Dollar.

In today’s chart, we look at the ratio of Gold to the US Dollar Index. As you can see, this ratio has traded in a rising channel over the past 4 years.

The Gold/US Dollar ratio is currently attempting a breakout of this rising channel at (1).

This would come on further ...



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Insider Scoop

68 Stocks Moving In Friday's Mid-Day Session

Courtesy of Benzinga

Gainers
  • Trans World Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: TWMC) shares climbed 120.5% to $7.72 after the company disclosed that its subsidiary etailz entered into a deal with Encina for $25 million 3-year secured revolving credit facility.
  • Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLDX) fell 39.8% to $3.1744. Cantor Fitzgerald initiated coverage on Celldex Therapeutics with an Overweight rating and a $8 price target.
  • TSR, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRI) gained 36.2% to $8.17.
  • ...


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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

 

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...



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ValueWalk

What US companies are saying about coronavirus impact

By Aman Jain. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the coronavirus outbreak coinciding with the U.S. earnings seasons, it is only normal to expect companies to talk about this deadly virus in their earnings conference calls. In fact, many major U.S. companies not only talked about coronavirus, but also warned about its potential impact on their financial numbers.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus impact: many US companies unclear

According to ...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Tuesday, 01 October 2019, 02:18:22 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.


Comment: Wall of worry, or cliff of despair!



Date Found: Tuesday, 01 October 2019, 06:54:30 AM

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Comment: Interesting.. Hitler good for the German DAX when he was winning! They believed .. until th...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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About Phil:

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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