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

So You Wanna Be a Stock Picker

 

So You Wanna Be a Stock Picker

Courtesy of 

The stock market has been a treacherous place for the last few months. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the indexes.

I wrote this opening salvo earlier in the week when the S&P 500 was hovering near all-time highs. This morning, due to a new variant in South Africa, stocks are selling off sharply. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the people’s index, is down over 1,000 points, sitting 5% below the all-time highs from earlier this month.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen these names on the leader and laggard board and I was hoping to never...



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Zero Hedge

"The Omicron Variant" - Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org,

Yesterday the WHO labelled the sars-cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and officially named it “Omicron”.

This was as entirely predictable as it is completely meaningless. The “variants” are just tools to stretch the story out and keep people on their toes.

...



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Biotech/COVID-19

The hunt for coronavirus variants: how the new one was found and what we know so far

 

The hunt for coronavirus variants: how the new one was found and what we know so far Scientists find variants by sequencing samples from people that have tested positive for the virus. Lightspring/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, Stellenbosch University; Cathrine Scheepers, University of the Witwatersrand; Jinal Bhiman, National Institute for Communicable Diseases; ...



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Politics

The first Thanksgiving is a key chapter in America's origin story - but what happened in Virginia four months later mattered much more

 

The first Thanksgiving is a key chapter in America’s origin story – but what happened in Virginia four months later mattered much more

In the 19th century, there was a campaign to link the Thanksgiving holiday to the Pilgrims. Bettman/Getty Images

Courtesy of Peter C. Mancall, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving in New England. Remembered and retold as an allegory for perseverance and cooper...



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Chart School

Gold and Silver still working higher

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Using Gann Angles from zero we can time the next run up, and it is near.

The last two days gold and silver are down on the back of central bankers talking the US Dollar higher in a attempt to off set inflation. A rising dollar is a form of tightening. Also the talk of a faster 'taper' has sent interest rates higher. But Luke Gromen knows this cant not last.

@LukeGromen Externally-financed twin deficit nations with insufficient external financing (ie the US, not Japan) cannot abide rising real rates for long.


RTT Comments: What this means a higher US Dollar makes it harder for those outside the US to buy the vast quantity of US Treasuries. 


U...

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Digital Currencies

Stablecoins: these cryptocurrencies threaten the financial system, but no one is getting to grips with them

 

Stablecoins: these cryptocurrencies threaten the financial system, but no one is getting to grips with them

Safe as houses? iQoncept

Courtesy of Jean-Philippe Serbera, Sheffield Hallam University

Cryptocurrencies have had an exceptional year, reaching a combined value of more than US$3 trillion (£2.2 trillion) for the first time in November. The market seems to have benefited from the public having tim...



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Promotions

Phil's Interview on Options Trading with TD Bank

TD Bank's host Bryan Rogers interviewed Phil on June 10 as part of TD's Options Education Month. If you missed the program, be sure to watch the video below. It should be required viewing for anyone trading or thinking about trading using options. 

Watch here:

TD's webinar with Phil (link) or right here at PSW

Screenshots of TD's slides illustrating Phil's examples:

 

 

&n...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Cleared For Blast Off On This Dual Breakout?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is Crude Oil about to blast off and hit much higher prices? It might be worth being aware of what could be taking place this month in this important commodity!

Crude Oil has created lower highs over the past 13-years, since peaking back in 2008, along line (1).

It created a “Double Top at (2), then it proceeded to decline more than 60% in four months.

The countertrend rally in Crude Oil has it attempting to break above its 13-year falling resistance as well as its double top at (3).

A successful breakout at (3) would suggest Crude Oil is about to mo...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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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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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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