Posts Tagged ‘deficit spending’

Economic Nonsense from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post

Economic Nonsense from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post

jobsCourtesy of Mish

The only genuinely good news in Friday’s jobs report was the much needed shedding of 159,000 government workers of which only 77,000 were temporary census workers.

Shed another million government workers and you have a small start as to what needs to happen. Some don’t see it that way, including Erza Klein at the Washington Post.

Assuming you are able to stomach still more Keynesian claptrap please consider Welcome to the anti-stimulus

The good news: The private sector gained 64,000 jobs in September. The bad news? The public sector lost 159,000.

The government is now impeding an economic recovery. But it’s not for the reasons you often hear. It’s not because of debt or because of taxes. Nor has it scared the private sector into timidity. It’s because, at the state and local level, it’s firing people. There are more than 14 million Americans looking for work right now — to say nothing of the 9.5 million who have been forced into part-time jobs when they want, and need, full-time work — and the government just added 159,000 more to the pool. Consider this: If we only counted private-sector jobs, we’d have had positive jobs reports for the last nine months. As it is, public-sector losses have wiped out private-sector gains for the past four months.

Because the federal government has decided against backing up state and local governments, the bleeding continues, and that scares businesses away from investing in recovery. We create the stimulus that helped the economy survive 2008 and 2009, and we’ve created the anti-stimulus that’s keeping it from recovering in 2010.

Keynesian Claptrap At Its Finest

printing moneyGee, if only the government would hire everyone, there would be no unemployment.

Then again, countless cities, counties, municipalities and states are bankrupt because of absurd levels of spending.

Isn’t that what wrecked Greece?

Non-Solution #1- Raising taxes

Raising taxes burdens ordinary taxpayers for the sole benefit of government bureaucrats who like most of the rest of the population ought to be thankful they have a job at all.

Non-Solution #2 – Printing money and giving it away 

Ezra is clearly a fan of printing money and giving it away to government bureaucrats so the unemployment rate does not drop.

However, printing money and giving it away cheapens the US dollar, making goods and services…
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Paul Farrell Explains Why The Fed-Wall Street Complex Will Self Destruct By 2012

Paul Farrell Explains Why The Fed-Wall Street Complex Will Self Destruct By 2012

Courtesy of Zero Hedge 

Some rather scary predictions out of Paul Farrell today: "It’s inevitable: Wall Street banks control the Federal Reserve system, it’s their personal piggy bank. They’ve already done so much damage, yet have more control than ever.Warning: That’s a set-up. They will eventually destroy capitalism, democracy, and the dollar’s global reserve-currency status. They will self-destruct before 2035 … maybe as early as 2012 … most likely by 2020. Last week we cheered the Tea Party for starting the countdown to the Second American Revolution. Our timeline is crucial to understanding the historic implications of Taleb’s prediction that the Fed is dying, that it’s only a matter of time before a revolution triggers class warfare forcing America to dump capitalism, eliminate our corrupt system of lobbying, come up with a new workable form of government, and create a new economy without a banking system ruled by Wall Street." And just like in the Hangover, where the guy is funny because he’s fat, Farrell is scary cause he is spot on correct.

Handily, Farrell provides a projected timeline of events:

Stage 1: The Democrats just put the nail in their coffin confirming they’re wimps when they refused to force the GOP to filibuster Bush tax cuts for billionaires.

Stage 2: In the elections the GOP takes over the House, expanding its strategic war to destroy Obama with its policy of “complete gridlock” and “shutting down government.”

Stage 3: Post-election Obama goes lame-duck, buried in subpoenas and vetoes.

Stage 4: In 2012, the GOP wins back the White House and Senate. Health care returns to insurers. Free-market financial deregulation returns. Lobbyists intensify their anarchy.

Stage 5: Before the end of the second term of the new GOP president, Washington is totally corrupted by unlimited, anonymous donations from billionaires and lobbyists. Wall Street’s Happy Conspiracy triggers the third catastrophic meltdown of the 21st century that Robert Shiller of “Irrational Exuberance” fame predicts, resulting in defaults of dollar-denominated debt and the dollar’s demise as the world’s reserve currency.

Stage 6: The Second American Revolution explodes into a brutal full-scale class war with the middle class leading a widespread rebellion against the out-of-touch, out-of-control Happy Conspiracy sabotaging America from within.

Stage 7: The domestic class warfare is exaggerated as the Pentagon’s global warnings play out: That by 2020


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AUSTERITY VS DEFICIT SPENDING – A CATCH 22

AUSTERITY VS DEFICIT SPENDING – A CATCH 22

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Courtesy of Hannes Kunz, Ph.D., President of Institute for Integrated Economic Research

A vivid debate is currently going between two groups of economists, politicians and financial analysts. One camp argues that government deficits have to be kept within reasonable limits or avoided altogether, because fast-increasing public debt will become unmanageable in the foreseeable future. We wholeheartedly agree.

The other group advocates a continuation of stimulus spending and credit driven investment by governments. In a New York Times op-ed piece published on June 17, 2010, Paul Krugman explained why slamming the breaks on government spending would throw us back into recession. On June 28, he doubled up, now arguing that with reduced government stimulus, we’re headed straight towards a new depression. We fully agree with his assessment.

How come IIER is simultaneously able to agree with two camps which are ready to turn to fists when making their argument? It’s quite simple: both have a point. But equally, both have no real answer.

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

The Keynesian bridge to nowhere

Let’s begin with Mr. Krugman, whom one might locate in the deficit-spending, or Keynesian camp. Keynes, in the part that is mostly quoted by the people advocating stimulating consumption and investment by governments, suggests two things. By keeping demand for goods and services high during a recession, the government is able to keep people employed and stimulate further demand by implying a multiplier effect from its spending. At the same time, valuable industrial infrstructure utilization is guaranteed, which ensures that past capital investment is preserved during a downturn, making the conversion to a growing economy smoother, preventing a situation where future growth would be limited by capacity constraints.

We have to say that we fully agree with all the assumptions about those direct implications, in fact, the Post-Keynesian concept of the “multiplier effect” extra government dollars have is very much in line with our own view of the impact growing credit levels have on an economy.  But wait. When the concept was introduced in the 1930s, the world stood at the beginning of exploring a bounty of natural resources, first and foremost oil, and what was missing was infrastructure to make good use of those gifts from mother nature. Thus, building cars, roads, machinery and other things made a lot of sense, and…
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Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar

As usual, Steve presents a very balanced view of economic matters.  Always worth reading. – Ilene  

Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar

Courtesy of Steve Randy Waldman at Interfluidity

Globes Floating Against Red and Purple Sky

I’ve been on whatever planet I go to when I’m not writing. Don’t ask, your guess is as good as mine.

When I checked out out a few weeks ago, there was a debate raging on “fiscal austerity”. Checking back in, it continues to rage. In the course of about a half an hour, I’ve read about ten posts on the subject. See e.g. Martin Wolf and Yves SmithMike Konczal, and just about everything Paul Krugman has written lately. While I’ve been writing, Tyler Cowen has a new post, which is fantastic. Mark Thoma has delightfully named one side of the debate the “austerians”. Surely someone can come up with a cleverly risqué coinage for those in favor of stimulus?

Here are some obvious points:

Austerity is stupid. Austerity is first-order stupid whenever there are people to whom the opportunity cost of providing goods and services that others desire is negative. To some economists, that sentence is a non sequitur. After all, nothing prevents people from providing goods and services for free, if doing the work is more beneficial to them than alternative uses of their time right? Economists who make this argument need to get out more. Doing paid work has social meaning beyond the fact of the activity, and doing what is ordinarily paid work for free has a very different social meaning. It is perfectly possible, and perfectly common, that a person’s gains from doing work are greater than their total pay, so that in theory you could confiscate their wages or pay them nothing and they would still do the job. But in practice, you can’t do that, because if you don’t actually pay them, it is no longer paid work. The nonmonetary benefits of work are inconveniently bundled with a paycheck. Under this circumstance, having the government pay for the work is welfare improving unless the second-order costs of government spending exceed both the benefits to the worker in excess of pay and the benefit to consumers or users of the goods and services purchased.

Stimulus is dangerous. The second-order costs of government spending are real, and we are very far…
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EFA Euro Zone Notes

EFA Euro Zone Notes

Courtesy of Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker 

I’m listening real-time to the "conference" this evening… these are "first blush" comments…

They’re throwing the kitchen sink at this, but it’s not real money for the most part – it’s "guarantees."  Exactly how they get the rest of the €600 billion is open to question.  Only €60 billion is "real money."

The intent is to play "Bazooka" on the speculators, and the instant reaction in the futures here in the US was ridiculous – +2% immediately on the re-open in all three primary indices, (DOW/NAZ/S&P500) and a similar amount in the Russell.  While this sounds awfully good, it is in fact not even a 61.8% retrace of the plunge from Wednesday to the low on Thursday.  Yeah.

The move in the Euro, which is where this is aimed, is less amazing. 

Not even back to the middle of the channel.  Gee, that’s impressive – NOT.

They keep referring to "Article 122", which is intended to deal with WAR and similar things – that is, incidents beyond the control of a given nation-state.  But taking on too much debt (or lying about your debt) is not beyond one’s control – it’s a choice.  Doesn’t matter in this case, obviously.

What’s also interesting is the repeated references to "consolidation" of finances in member states.  This appears to be an oblique reference to a demandfor these nations to cut the crap with their budgets, which means an end of running huge deficits.  Again, as I said before in my earlier Ticker, if they truly force everyone to stop the "borrow-and-spend" the euphoria of the market will soon give way to some pretty simple math – subtraction, specifically, of whatever was being "supported" in GDP in each of these nations from their respective GDP forecasts. 

If is clear from the conference that this is EXACTLY what they are talking about being forced on all Euro members, beginning right now and to be completed – that is, back to no more than 3% fiscal deficits – within the next 2 years.

They’re also making repeated reference to setting this up as an SPV, which means there will be zero transparency or accountability.  Bullish?  I think not.  How long before the speculators figure that one out? 

Betcha it’s not long, and they start to probe this thing.

Second, the ECB is apparently going to intervene in the government security market.  This means…
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NBER: We’re Not Sure If Recession Is Over

NBER: We’re Not Sure If Recession Is Over

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Well at least someone’s awake….

The committee of academic economists that dates the beginning and end of recessions said it isn’t ready to put an end date on the recession that started in December 2007.

I’ll go ahead and say it – there has been no end to anything.

"Recession" is defined as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy."

Ok.  Is this a "significant decline"?

Just curious, of course….

Note that the so-called "recession" in 2001 coincided exactly with the fall from the peak in the real (government-adjusted) GDP in 2001; NBER says that recession began in March of 2001.  They also claim it technically ended in November of that year.  I’d dispute that, but the additional decline was very small, being only a fraction of 1%, bottoming around the end of 2002.  So while I’d say they called it over before it was, we’re quibbling over a small fraction of a percent, which is more of a technical disagreement than one of merit in the economy.

This much is certain however – the economy was absolutely on the mend in 2003.  It was a very weak recovery, but a recovery nonetheless.

Note, however, that REAL GDP growth never exceeded 2% all the way up until we crashed.  Also note that NBER says the current recession began in December 2007.  Close enough, by my figures (and due to the nutty monthly variation in Treasury activity, it is pretty much worthless to try to get granularity better than annual in my figures.  Such is reality when dealing with a jumpy and heavily-seasonal data set.)

But has there been an actual improvement in real GDP thus far in this alleged "recovery"?  Note that "turning up" of that line (which hasn’t happened either) isn’t an increase – it is merely an improvement in the rate of deterioration.  For GDP to actually be growing real GDP must cross over the 0% line, and it’s a hell a long way from there.

I have no idea if the NBER uses government-adjusted GDP numbers, but they damn well ought to, since their intent is to measure actual private business activity – not government "pumpfest" games. 


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Phil's Favorites

A Missing Caveat to Last Week's Sell-Off

 

A Missing Caveat to Last Week’s Sell-Off

Courtesy of 

First of all, congratulations to my friend Ari Wald on the fifth anniversary of his weekly technical note, Inflection Points, for Oppenheimer & Co. I’ve been reading him since the beginning and posting his insights often here at TRB.

Ari makes sense of the price action and market cross-currents in a helpful, non-pedantic way, with enough detail for serious technicians but not so much so that you can’t understand what he’s saying. And his charts are always illuminating, no matter what’s going on.

Okay, here’s what Ari wants you...



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Zero Hedge

Enron 2.0? Jeff Skilling And Lou Pai Are Back With A "New Energy Venture"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling is out of prison after 12 years. And he’s getting the old gang back together again.

Just when you thought the world of business couldn’t get more ethically sound, and just when you thought you weren't going to get any more surefire signs of a market top, Jeff Skilling is recruiting his old friends and colleagues and "looking to get back in the energy business", according to a WSJ report.

But that isn’t even the best part - according to the report, Skilling has already landed an investment from former Enron executive and...



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ValueWalk

Tax Receipts Decline As Budget Deficit Reaches Record

By Gary St. Fleur. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The U.S budget deficit has widened as the corporate and individual tax receipts and other revenue declines in the face of federal spending reaching new heights.

geralt / Pixabay

Last year’s fiscal gap for February was $215.2 billion. It has now grown to $234 billion. This is larger than the last budget deficit record set in 2012. This increase is due to declines in tax receipts for October-February. The period saw a decline of 1 percent (1.3 trillion ) from the prior year while growth in federal spending rose upwards of 9 percent to 1.8 t...



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Chart School

Palladium Action Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Palladium is near its peak, or at least a consolidation. Russia and South Africa are the producers of palladium, and it looks like Putin has been able to play US Futures market for a lot of Russia gain! Which metal is next?


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Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at readtheticker.com we believe a combination of ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

NYSE Index Suggesting The Top Is In, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is a very broad stock index suggesting that a top is in play? What this index does to close this week should go a long way to answering that question!

This chart looks at the NYSE Index on a weekly basis over the past 4-years. Over the past 15-months, it has created a series of lower highs and lower lows inside of the shaded falling channel. It hit strong support around Christmas at (1) and a counter-trend rally started. The rally now has it testing the top of the falling channel at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- The NYSE index could be cre...



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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Buckingham cut the price target for Trinity Industries Inc (NYSE: TRN) from $32 to $26. Trinity Industries shares closed at $22.96 on Thursday.
  • Canaccord Genuity lowered the price target for Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) from $396 to $275. Biogen shares closed at $226.88 on Thursday.
  • H.C. Wainwright cut the price target on Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CNAT) from $8 to $1.50. Conatus Pharmaceuticals shares closed at $2.91 on Thursday.
  • Wedb...


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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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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

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

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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.

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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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