Posts Tagged ‘kleptocracy’

Friday Follies – Will Today be the 13th Day Below S&P 2,000?

SPY 5 MINUTE12 failures so far.

12 trading days since the S&P first hit 2,000 (Aug 25th) in which we have failed to hold 2,000 for a full day.  Not one and, unless the Futures pop 10 points before we open, not today either.  On 10 of those days, we've had a late-day run-up on low volume that popped us over 2,000 and on 7 of those days, 2,000 held at the close but EVERY SINGLE DAY – it also failed to hold.  

Let's not forget that, during this time, we've had TRILLIONS of Dollars of additional stimulus pledged by Carney, Draghi, Kuroda and other minor Central Banksters and Yellen has certainly been as doveish as she could by (while still tapering our existing Trillion Dollar stimulus).  This is how our market behaves WITH Trillions of Dollars of cash being pumped into the Global economy – I wonder what will happen when it stops?  

Of course, maybe it won't stop but, if it doesn't, this chart will look even uglier.  This is a chart of our projected net annual interest payments on our debt in 10 years.  That's $880 BILLION Dollars each year, just in interest payments, up $650Bn from the $233Bn we are spending now.  

That's WITHOUT additional stimulus so I guess we can go for a bit more and make it an even Trillion, right?  These are what we used to call CONSEQENCES – back when we used to care about such things.  The US is not the leader in debt issuance, not by a long shot.  Japan is 150% more in debt than we are and China has now doubled our debt to GDP ratio, after having been a creditor back in 2007 but now the undisputed king of stimulus spending.    

EWG WEEKLYEurope is also a mess.  As I said to our Members in an early-morning Alert:  Another thing the US Media is purposely ignoring is the 12.5% correction in Europe (example on Germany chart) since July that, so far, has bounced weakly (4-point drop on EWG has weak bounce at 28.8 and strong at 29.6) – failing exactly
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The Coming Collapse of the Real Estate Market

Here’s another great article on the frauds at the heart of the mortgage and banking sectors. – Ilene 

The Coming Collapse of the Real Estate Market 

foreclosure Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

The system for financing mortgages and regulating that financing has failed, completely and utterly. The mortgage and real estate markets are now in collapse.

Yesterday I wrote about how positive feedback loops lead to collapse. Welcome to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. As I have documented here numerous times, the entire U.S. mortgage market has already been socialized: 99% of all mortgages are backed by the three FFFs--Fannie, Freddie and FHA--and the Federal Reserve has purchased a staggering $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed assets in the past year or so to maintain the illusion that there is a market for mortgage-backed securities.

There is, but only because the mortgages are backed by the Federal Government and propped up by the Federal Reserve.

The mortgage market is completely dependent on government guarantees and quasi-Government purchases of securitized mortgages. If the mortgage market were truly socialized, then the Central State would own the banks which originate, service and own the mortgages.

But then the private owners and managers of the "too big to fail" banks would not be reaping hundreds of billions in profits and bonuses. And since the banking industry has effectively captured the processes of governance (that is, Congress and the various regulatory agencies), then what we have is a system of private ownership of the revenue and profits generated by the mortgage industry and public absorption of the risks and losses.

Could anything be sweeter for the big banks? No.

The incestuous nature of the system is breathtaking. The Fed creates the credit which enables the mortgages, the Treasury guarantees the mortgages via Fannie, Freddie and FHA, the Fed buys the mortgages ($1.3 trillion in mortgages are on their balance sheet) and the private banks collect the fees and profits.

One of the core tenets of the Survival+ critique is the State/Financial Plutocracy partnership. There are many examples of this partnership (crony capitalism in which the State is the "enforcer" which collects the national income and distributes it to its private-sector cronies), but perhaps none so blatant and pure as the mortgage/banking sector.

But now the entire legal basis for that privatized-profits, socialized losses system has dissolved. The foreclosure scandal…
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Lair of the Pigmen: FHA to Extend Government Loan Subsidy Benefits to NYC Luxury Condo Market

Lair of the Pigmen: FHA to Extend Government Loan Subsidy Benefits to NYC Luxury Condo Market

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Weren’t FHA loans supposed to be a form a welfare for ‘poor people?’ Not since the Expanding America Home Ownership Act of 2007

And it appears this is one ‘reform’ that can’t be blamed on ‘the liberals’ and Obama. Crony Capitalism is not a political party, it’s a way of life in which power and greed are the measure of all things.

Well, some of the New York real estate developers are poor, relatively speaking, compared to an investment banker or a trader pulling down a fifty million dollar annual bonus for packaging fraudulent financial instruments. But they are all rich in their well connected friends in the government.

The kleptocracy never sleeps; crony capitalism knows no bounds…

NBC New York
Luxury Condos Asking the Feds For Help
By JUAN DEJESUS 
Fri, Aug 13, 2010

Seek FHA insurance to drive condo sales

The federal government may soon come to the rescue of stalled luxury condominiums in Manhattan.

Manhattan luxury condominiums known for posh amenities and high price tags are beginning to apply for Federal Housing Administration backing.

Condominium developers hope to open financing opportunities for their purchasers as well as guarantee a little protection for themselves. Not only will lending institutions be more willing to lend to purchasers with FHA backing, but the FHA will pay the mortgage should a home buyer default.

The FHA loosened the condo rules because of “market conditions,” Lemar Wooley, an agency spokesman told Bloomberg.com

The administration recently agreed to insure mortgages for apartments at the 98-unit Gramercy Park development, known as Tempo in Match, according to Bloomberg. That deal allowed buyers to make a down payment of as low as 3.5 percent in a complex where apartments run up to $3 million


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December 2009 Non-Farm Payrolls Report Preview and Forecast

December 2009 Non-Farm Payrolls Report Preview and Forecast

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

As you may know, and as we suggested the other day, the ADP report, based on payroll data from American business, showed a loss of 84,000 jobs in December, versus expectations of a loss of only 75,000 jobs.

We also suggested that this Friday’s US Non-Farm Payroll Report will be a positive surprise, at least 10,000 or so jobs to the good. Here are the details.

The Imaginary Jobs component, also known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics Birth-Death Model, will contribute approximately 72,000 jobs allegedly created by small businesses with less credible evidence than a Bigfoot or an Elvis sighting.

Not that they are always positive. Each January there is an enormous job loss shown here, in the neighborhood of about 350,000 jobs. The reason they do this is because the seasonal adjustment factor is so huge in January that this imaginary jobs number does not matter, since it is subtracted (and added) from the numbers prior to the seasonal adjustment.

We can expect this model to continue to show positive annual jobs growth until the End of Days, and perhaps longer than that if there is fireproof paper in the afterlife. [click on tables and charts to enlarge]

The ‘headline jobs number’ which is the Seasonally Adjusted Number will be a positive 58,000 jobs, and provide much joy and exultation in Washington and on Wall Street. Pundits like Paul Krugman will caution that the economy is still fragile and a second stimulus bill will be required to insure these positive gains.

What is the basis for these projected numbers? The same basis used by the BLS – nothing. At least nothing connected with the real world. These are the numbers that bureaucrats might mindlessly crank out in response to the desire of their bosses for certain targets, a phenomenon well understood by most corporate financial staffs.

We drew the trendline on that chart earlier this year, assuming that the government would wish to show a steady job increase with a positive number by December, or at least January. So far we have not been disappointed, although there have been quite a few revisions along the way.

There will also be revisions this time again, with some jobs added and borrowed from prior months to help


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Big Banks: “You Will Cancel FASB 166 So We Can Continue Pretending All Is Good… Or We Will Kill Lending Even More”

Big Banks: "You Will Cancel FASB 166 So We Can Continue Pretending All Is Good… Or We Will Kill Lending Even More"

threatsCourtesy of Zero Hedge

At first it was just the smaller banks, but now the big boys have joined the collective cry against FASB 166 and 167, according to which beginning January 1, banks will likely see up to $900 billion in off-balance sheet assets being onboarded to bank balance sheets. This would likely mean banks need to dramatically increase their Tangible and Tier 1 Capital to offset the capital needed to account for possible asset deterioration. And that, of course, is unacceptable to banks who know too well the deep shit they still find themselves in.

The irony is that banks, which have already virtually halted lending to those in need of credit, are threatening they will cut any available credit even futher. How anyone could admit to being stupid enough to believe this latest episode of Mutual Assured Destruction courtesy of the US banking system is a mystery. And yet this is precisely the type of "gun against the head" negotiating that Max Keiser was fulminating against, and that the banks are once again perpetrating:

“With any increase in required capital, a banking institution is likely to reduce the amount of lending using such securitization vehicles, as well as other lending,” the American Bankers Association wrote in a letter to regulators. The association, the nation’s biggest banking lobby, suggested that any transition period should be three years at least, with no change in regulatory capital impact in the first year.

Taking a cue from the ABA, the big 3 record earners have decided to join in: last thing one would want is JPMorgan not earning yet another record amount in Q4. First Citi chimes in:

Banks should be given three years to raise capital for offsetting assets and liabilities that must be brought onto their balance sheets, Citigroup Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said yesterday in a letter to regulators. Requiring banks to “assume the risk-based capital effects immediately, or even over one year, is an undeniably severe penalty,” he wrote.

Then you have record earner JPMorgan:

The capital requirements “will have a significant and negative impact on the amount of consumer-conduit funding that will be made available by U.S. banks,” said


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Deregulation as crony capitalism

Edward at Credit Writedowns had some interesting comments on the earlier post by Jesse at the Le Cafe.

Deregulation as crony capitalism

kleptocracyCourtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns 

Jesse of Jesse’s Café Américain posted on the important subject of deregulation in his last post, “Why the Austrian, Keynesian, Marxist, Monetarist, and Neo-Liberal Economists Are All Wrong.” In it, he opined that it is entirely wrong-headed to assume everything will be alright if we just let free markets work their magic. I want to take his thoughts one step further because I think there is a misperception about what the free market entails and why the deregulation movement went astray.

Kleptocracy defined

First, a framework.

Last March, I posted an article called “A populist interpretation of the latest Boom-Bust cycle” in which I used Jared’ Diamond’s viewpoint of stratified societies as Kleptocracies as a lens through which to understand the secular trends which have characterized the last generation of western economic history.

To review, Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for his book Guns, Germ and Steel, which is a narrative of how Eurasian societies as a whole have dominated others throughout the last 10,000-odd years.  One of his basic premises is that Eurasian societies are stratified, and hence less egalitarian, allowing individuals to specialize. The hierarchy and specialization have combined to give these societies advantages that less stratified (and less resource-rich) societies do not have.

The corollary of this – and where I want to concentrate – is that advanced societies are not egalitarian. Some will de facto have more, and others will have less.  Moreover, as Diamond asserts, this lack of equality becomes, in essence, a kleptocracy i.e. a reverse Robin Hood organization where the elites enrich themselves at the expense of the others.

This has been the reality in all advanced societies based on agriculture, manufacturing and services for the last 10,000-odd years. This social structure has been net beneficial to the societies employing it in comparison to more simple societies – a case of a rising tide lifting all boats. So, on some level, kleptocracy is nothing about which to get irate.

kleptocracyThe problem is that not all kleptocracies are created equal. At some point, the ruling class overreaches in a way that subtracts from rather than adds to the overall…
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Zero Hedge

For Bonds, This Is Now The Second Worst Bear Market In 40 Years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last December, we predicted that the US was heading for a "titanic taper tantrum" in 2021, to an extent as a result of a sharp drop in bond demand as a result of reduced bond purchases by the Fed but also due to a spike in inflation which would lead to a sharp drop in demand for duration.

So fast forward to this week when the crash in US Treasurys, and especially the belly of the curve led by a plunge in 5Y prices...

...

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ValueWalk

GameStop's Dead Cat Bounce; Munger's Annual Meeting

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing GameStop’s dead cat bounce; stop the speculative and manipulative madness; and Munger’s Daily Journal annual meeting.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

GameStop's Dead Cat Bounce

1) The behavior of speculators these days boggles my mind...

Only a few weeks after losing more than 90% of their money as shares of GameStop (GME) – or "GameStink," as I've been calling it – col...



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Phil's Favorites

Wall Street Sends a Message to the Fed: We Have Run Out of Places to Stuff Your Treasuries

Courtesy of Pam Martens

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 26, 2021 ~

The action in the U.S. Treasury market yesterday reminded us of the classic “I Love Lucy” episode at the chocolate factory. As the conveyor belt churns out chocolate balls faster than Lucy and Ethel can handle them, they resort to stuffing them in their mouths, their hats, and their shirts. Lucy remarks: “I think we’re fighting a losing game.” (See video clip below.)

That was the scene in the Treasury market yesterday – ...



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Politics

What is fascism?

 

What is fascism?

A Donald Trump supporter wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of John Broich, Case Western Reserve University

Since before Donald Trump took office, historians have debated whether he is a fascist.

As a teacher of World War II history...



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Biotech/COVID-19

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine compare to other coronavirus vaccines? 4 questions answered

 

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine compare to other coronavirus vaccines? 4 questions answered

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. Phill Magoke/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Maureen Ferran, Rochester Institute of Technology

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Feb. 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the results of its trial of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The FDA found the vaccine to be safe...



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Chart School

The Fastest Money

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The fast money happens near the end of the long trend.

Securities which attract a popular following by both the public and professionals investors tend to repeat the same sentiment over their bull phase. The chart below is the map of said sentiment.







Video on the subject.







Charts in the video


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Digital Currencies

Bridgewater Explains When It Will Invest In Bitcoin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Two weeks ago, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio called Bitcoin "one hell of an invention" adding that:

"I expect Bridgewater to soon offer an alt-cash fund and a storehold of wealth fund in order to better deal with the devaluation of money and credit that we consider to be a major risk and opportunity, and Bitcoin won’t escape our scrutiny.”

And now, after significant attention that his comments received, Senior Portfolio Strategist Jim Haskel sits dow...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Rising Inflation About To Hit U.S. Economy In Big Way?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Inflation seems to be a thing of the past… but current trading in bond and commodity markets tell us that it could become a thing of the future!

Inflation hasn’t been an issue, or even on our radar, since the 1980s. Sure, the 2007 surge in oil prices offered some concern but the financial crisis killed any thoughts of inflation.

So what’s got us concerned about inflation in 2021?

Today we take a look at long-term charts of two potential inflation indicators: Crude Oil ...



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Mapping The Market

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

 

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

By Martin Armstrong, Statista, Jan 12, 2021

This regularly updated infographic keeps track of the countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases. The United States is still at the top of the list, with a total now exceeding the 22 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. The total global figure is now over 85 million, while there have been more than 1.9 million deaths.

You will find more infographics at ...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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