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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Phil's Favorites

Chart o' the Day: US Stocks > Everything

 

Chart o’ the Day: US Stocks > Everything

Courtesy of 

Last year was a great year for US stocks but an even better year for markets around the world.

So far, at almost the halfway point of 2018, this has mostly reversed itself. The world is being led by the Nasdaq 100, followed by the Russell 2000 index of US small caps, followed by the S&P 500’s US large cap index.

Just about everything else has reversed into the negative.

Here’s what it looks like:

Only the US has seen...



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Zero Hedge

"Italy Is Collapsing...And 5 Star Is Our Last Hope": How Young Italians Fueled A Populist Uprising

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Unlike in the US, where President Trump relies on older Americans for his base of support, more than half (53%) of Italians under 35 voted for one of the two anti-establishment parties that triumphed in Italy's March election. Their enthusiastic support explains the outpouring of anger directed at technocratic Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who called for new elections as he seemingly reached for every conceivable excu...



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Insider Scoop

More Trade Threats Spook Investors

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related SPY The Market In 5 Minutes: Trade Tensions Intensify, ZTE Rebuked, Housing Starts And More Mark Cuban, Others...

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Chart School

Bitcoin Update - Testing support on cycle low

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Due to popular demand, bitcoin review.

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Sure fundamentals do matter, and so does market timing (entry, stops and exit), here at readtheticker.com we believe a combination of Gann Angles, Cycles and ...

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Digital Currencies

BIS Blasts Cryptos In Special Report: "Beyond The Hype"

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock, MishTalk

The BIS blasts cryptos over scaling issues, energy, and trust. The BIS is correct. Cryptos are fatally flawed as money.

A Bank of International Settlements (BIS) report examines cryptocurrencies in depth. The study, called "Looking Beyond the Hype" investigates whether cryptocurrencies could play any role as money.

Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Bitcoin Exchange guide all have articles on the report but not one of the bothered to link to it.

After a bit of digging, I found the crypto report is part of an upcoming BIS annual report. The BIS pre-released the crypto report today (as chapter 5).

Here's a l...



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Biotech

Mind molding psychedelic drugs could treat depression, and other mental illnesses

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

 

Mind molding psychedelic drugs could treat depression, and other mental illnesses

By agsandrew/shutterstock.com

Courtesy of David E. Olson, University of California, Davis

It seems that psychedelics do more than simply alter perception. According to the latest research from my colleagues and me, they change the structures of neurons th...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...



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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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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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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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