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

Four journalists, one newspaper: Time Magazine's Person of the Year recognises the global assault on journalism

 

Four journalists, one newspaper: Time Magazine's Person of the Year recognises the global assault on journalism

Courtesy of Peter Greste, The University of Queensland

Time Magazine has just announced its “Person of the Year” for 2018, and for once, it isn’t one person. This time it is four people and a newspaper.

Collectively calling them “The Guardians”, Time has awarded the accolade to the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Filipino journalist Maria Ress...



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Zero Hedge

US Households Now Own More Treasuries Than The Fed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One of the key concerns voiced by finance professionals, politicians and rates traders over the past year, has been the gradual drop in foreigners as a percentage of the total universe of US Treasury buyers, which peaked earlier this decade and has since declined to just below 40% of the total public US debt outstanding as shown in the chart below.

And with the Fed's treasury purchases out of the picture for the past three years, there was growing concern whether domestic buyers, and specifically US house...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Silver miners testing key breakout level!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Silver miners (SIL) have had a rough 7-years, as the ETF finds itself nearly 75% below its 2011 highs. No doubt the long-term trend remains down.

SIL is has declined 27% since the first of this year (See chart below), where it is testing a falling support line at (1), with momentum currently at the lowest levels in 5-years.

While declining this year, SIL could be creating a bullish falling wedge, where it currently is in a tight jam between support and resistance.

This chart looks at the Year-to-Date performance of miners ETF’s-

...



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Biotech

Those designer babies everyone is freaking out about - it's not likely to happen

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

 

Those designer babies everyone is freaking out about – it's not likely to happen

Babies to order. Andrew crotty/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy A Cecile JW Janssens, Emory University

When Adam Nash was still an embryo, living in a dish in the lab, scientists tested his DNA to make sure it was free of ...



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Insider Scoop

Nvidia Bounces Back After News Of Potential SoftBank Sale

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related NVDA 10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Wednesday Boeing, Lennar, Nvidia, Gold ETF: 'Fast Money' Picks For December 3...

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Members' Corner

Blue Wave with Cheri Jacobus (Q&A II, Updated)

By Ilene at Phil's Stock World

Cheri Jacobus is a widely known political consultant, pundit, writer and outspoken former Republican and frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, CBS.com, CNBC and C-Span. Cheri shares her thoughts on the political landscape with us in a follow up to our August interview.

Updated 12-10-18

Ilene: What do you think about Michael Cohen's claim that the Trump Organization's discussions with high-level Russian officials about a deal for Trump Tower Moscow continued into June 2016?

...

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Digital Currencies

How low will Bitcoin now go? The history of price bubbles provides some clues

 

How low will Bitcoin now go? The history of price bubbles provides some clues

The Bitcoin bubble is perhaps the most extreme speculative bubble since the late 19th century. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Lee Smales, University of Western Australia

Nearly 170 years before the invention of Bitcoin, the journalist Charles Mackay noted the way whole communities could “fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit”. Millions of people, he wrote, “become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first”.

His book ...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Dec 09, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

Bears are certainly showing the type of strength we haven’t seen in a long time.   A week ago at this time futures were surging on news of a “truce” for 90 days between China and the U.S. in their trade spat.  But the charts were still not saying lovely things despite a major rally the week prior.   And by Tuesday, darkness had descended back on the indexes, with another gut punch Friday.    A lot of emphasis was put on a long term Treasury yield dropping below a shorter term Treasury.

On Monday, the yield on five year government debt slid below the yield on three year debt, a phenomenon which has p...



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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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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"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

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.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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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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