Posts Tagged ‘wars’

The Ecstasy of Empire

The Ecstasy of Empire

Courtesy of PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS writing at CounterPunch

Clock Striking 12 O'clock

The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times column, “Welcome to the Recovery.”

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Warnings by Williams, Gerald Celente, and myself have gone unheeded, but our warnings recently had echoes from Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and from David Stockman, who excoriated the Republican Party for becoming big-spending Democrats.

It is encouraging to see some realization that, this time, Washington cannot spend the economy out of recession. The deficits are already too large for the dollar to survive as reserve currency, and deficit spending cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been moved offshore. 

However, the solutions offered by those who are beginning to recognize that there is a problem are discouraging. Kotlikoff thinks the solution is savage Social Security and Medicare cuts or equally savage tax increases or hyperinflation to destroy the vast debts. 

Perhaps economists lack imagination, or perhaps they don’t want to be cut off from Wall Street and corporate subsidies, but Social Security and Medicare are insufficient at their present levels, especially considering the erosion of private pensions by the dot com, derivative and real estate bubbles. Cuts in Social Security and Medicare, for which people have paid 15 per cent of their earnings all their lives, would result in starvation and deaths from curable diseases. 

Tax increases make even less sense. It is widely acknowledged that the majority of households cannot survive on one job. Both husband and wife work and often one of the partners has two jobs in order to make ends meet. Raising taxes makes it harder to make ends meet--thus more foreclosures, more food stamps, more homelessness. What kind of economist or humane person thinks this is a solution?

Tax forms with money

Ah, but we will tax the rich. The rich have enough money. They will simply stop earning.

Let’s get real.  Here is what the government is likely to do.  Once Washington realizes that the dollar is…
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Debt, Taxes and Politics

Debt, Taxes and Politics 

Courtesy of Doug Short 

I continue to receive many email requests for links to my charts on federal debt, taxes, and politics. Here is the latest update, and I’ve added a permanent link to it the Favorites menu above.


My previous commentary on US Federal debt and personal tax rates highlighted the significant difference between nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) gross federal debt. I showed that the tax cuts in the early 1980s coincided with the beginning of an acceleration in real federal debt from a relatively consistent level over the previous three decades, evident in the first chart.

The second chart replaces real debt with the debt-to-GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio. Against the backdrop of US history, the contours of the first two-thirds of the chart are easy to understand. Debt-to-GDP soared with the US entry into World War I, as did the personal tax rates. After the war the ratio gradually dropped, this time against the backdrop of the "Roaring Twenties." The Crash of 1929 and Great Depression triggered a rise in the ratio to levels exceeding the peak in World War I. Logically enough, World War II brought about another rapid rise in Debt-to-GDP. War costs drove the ratio to a peak above 120% in 1946.

The ratio rapidly declined after WW II and bottomed out 28 years later in 1974, where it remained within a 3% range until 1982. Then, over a 14-year period the ratio more than doubled from 31.9% in 1981 to 67.1% in 1995. For the next six years the ratio improved, dropping to 56.5% in 2001. The ratio reversed again, this time in sync with several factors — the Tech Crash, 911, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And then, of course, came a dramatic acceleration in the ratio triggered by the Financial Crisis and deepest market decline since the Great Depression.

Here’s another view of the federal debt-to-GDP ratio, this time with major wars and the Great Depression highlighted:

Debt and Taxes

Does the Gross Federal Debt-to-GDP ratio chart change my view of the disconnect between tax brackets and gross federal debt? Not at all. There is a logic to the ratio increases within the historical context of two World Wars and the Great Depression. Likewise,…
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Liar, liar: Why deception is our way of life

Liar, liar: Why deception is our way of life

By Dorothy Rowe, New Scientist 

Men shaking hands both hiding weapons behind back

How did we get ourselves into this mess? Continual wars and conflicts, climate change and economic crisis loom at the international level, while as individuals we continue, generation after generation, to inflict pain and suffering not only on other people but on ourselves. Why do we have such difficulty in learning what we most need to know to mitigate our most destructive behaviours?

Throughout history there have been a few individuals whose insight into what goes on inside us is as clear as their understanding of what goes on around them, yet with what looks like self-induced stupidity most of us have been wholly unable to learn what they have been telling us.

Take the Stoic Greek philosopher Epictetus. He commented on human behaviour this way: "It is not things in themselves that trouble us, but our opinions of things." In other words, it is not what happens to us that determines our behaviour but how we interpret what happens to us. Thus, when facing a disaster, one person might interpret it as a challenge to be mastered, another as a certain defeat, while a third might see it as the punishment he or she deserves. Crucially, the decisions about what to do follow from the interpretation each person has made.

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Black Swans And The Collapse Of Empires Swimming In Debt

Elaine Supkis passionately takes on Dr. Niall Ferguson. Her words in Niall’s LA Times excerpt are red. – Ilene 

Black Swans And The Collapse Of Empires Swimming In Debt

Courtesy of Elaine Supkis at Culture of Life News 

It is rather curious how people refuse to see obvious things. This is why so many things are ‘unexpected’ or a ’surprise’. People who do see obvious things are called ‘cynics’.  Cynics are the exact opposite of banking gnomes and their ilk.  Cynics disparage wealth and power in order to see reality and truth.  Often, cynics go around telling people, ‘You are doomed’ which makes them party poopers.  But then, often, they are right.  

black swan

Cynic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Cynics (Greek: Κυνικο?, Latin: Cynici) were an influential group of philosophers from the ancient school of Cynicism. Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealthpowerhealth, and fame, and by living a life free from all possessions. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for humans. They believed that the world belonged equally to everyone, and that suffering was caused by false judgments of what was valuable and by the worthless customs and conventions which surrounded society. Many of these thoughts were later absorbed into Stoicism.

The first philosopher to outline these themes was Antisthenes, who had been a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BCE. He was followed by Diogenes of Sinope, who lived in a tub on the streets of Athens. He took Cynicism to its logical extremes, and came to be seen as the archetypal Cynic philosopher. He was followed by Crates of Thebes who gave away a large fortune so he could live a life of Cynic poverty in Athens. Cynicism spread with the rise of Imperial Rome in the 1st century, and Cynics could be found begging and preaching throughout the cities of the Empire. It finally disappeared in the late 5th century, although many


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Phil's Favorites

CIVVL SERVANT

 

CIVVL SERVANT

Courtesy of Almost Daily Grant's

The thrills of modern technology.  A new tech start-up will soon offer job-seekers entry into the exciting field of evicting delinquent homeowners and renters laid low by 2020, Vice’s Motherboard reported yesterday.  Upstart app Civvl recently launched a national advertising campaign soliciting job seekers to “be hired as an eviction crew.”  

The Civvl website explains further: “Literally thousands of process servers are needed in the coming months due courts being backed up in judgements that needs to be served to defendants." That’s despite the Center for Disease Control ordering a moratorium on evictions through year-end thanks to the coronavirus.&...



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Zero Hedge

House Passes Funding Bill, Averting Government Shutdown

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

After several days of terse negotiations, on Tuesday evening House Democrats readers a deal with Republicans on a stopgap funding bill to keep the government operating after restarting talks over disputed farm assistance. Shortly after, just after 8pm ET, lawmakers passed the bill in a bipartisan vote of 359-57.

With government funding set to run out on Sept. 30, leaders of both parties had been working on legislation to continue funding most programs at current levels and thus avoid a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic, and with the Nov. 3 elections fa...



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Politics

'Colossal Backdoor Bailout': Outrage as Pentagon Funnels Hundreds of Millions Meant for Covid Supplies to Private Defense Contractors

 

'Colossal Backdoor Bailout': Outrage as Pentagon Funnels Hundreds of Millions Meant for Covid Supplies to Private Defense Contractors

"If you can't get a Covid test or find an N95, it’s because these contractors stole from the American people to make faster jets and fancy uniforms."

By Jake Johnson

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley hold an end of year press conference at the Pentagon on December 20, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Instead of adhering to congressional inten...



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ValueWalk

Environmental NGOs Announce Forest Positive Coalition Against Major Consumer Firms

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Environmental NGOs Call Out Consumer Goods Forum and So-Called ‘Forest Positive’ Companies for Failing to Meet Commitments by 2020

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

NGOs And CGF Companies Announce A Forest Positive Coalition

New York, NY - Environmental NGOs Rainforest Action Network, SumofUs, Friends of the Earth U.S., and Amazon Watch call out the 400-plus companies in the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and their just-announced 'Forest Positive Coalition' for failing to cut deforestation from their supply chains in 2020 and...



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Biotech/COVID-19

How and when will we know that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective?

 

How and when will we know that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective?

How much longer must society wait for a vaccine? ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/Getty Images

By William Petri, University of Virginia

With COVID-19 vaccines currently in the final phase of study, you’ve probably been wondering how the FDA will decide if a vaccine is safe and effective.

Based on the status of the Phase 3 trials currently underway, it i...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Could It Be "Schitts Creek" For Technology Stocks If Selling Starts Here?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The Nasdaq has been the unparalleled leader of the stock market in 2020, having rallied furiously off the COVID-19 crash market bottom in March.

But all of the excitement around tech stocks and the comeback in the stock market may be coming to an end… that is, if a key Fibonacci price target has anything to do with it!

In today’s chart, we look at the long-term “monthly” chart of the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) and focus in on the 18-year rally.

As you can see, the Nasdaq peaked in 2000 and bottomed in 2002. Applying Fibona...



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Chart School

Stocks are not done yet - Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

There are a few times in history when a third party said this US paper (stocks, funds or bonds) is worthless.

Here is two.

1) 1965 Nixon Shock - The French said to US we do not want your paper dollars please pay us in gold. This of course led to the US going off the gold standard.

2) 2007 Bear Stern Fund Collapse - Investors said their funds collateral was worth much less than stated. This of course was the beginning of the great america housing bust of 2008.


In both cases it was stated .."look the Emperor is naked!"... (The Empe...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies Rarely Used To Launder Money, Fiat Preferred

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Shaurya Malwa via Decrypt.io,

Traditional channels continue to dominate the estimated $2 trillion global money laundering racket instead of cryptocurrencies, a report says.

In brief
  • Money laundering via cryptocurrencies is not a preferred tool for criminals, a report said...



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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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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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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