Will Social Security Go Bankrupt?

Warren Gibson By Warren C. Gibson – Re-Blogged From AIER

Just when one thinks everybody has gotten the message about the big problems facing Social Security, along comes John Tamny with a piece entitled “Let’s End the Myth About Social Security’s Looming Bankruptcy.” Really? Let’s go over the basics once again.

To his credit, he starts with a denunciation of Social Security. It was, he says, “always a terrible idea for countless reasons.” Yes! It was a terrible idea because it treats us all as dummies, unable or unwilling to provide for our own retirement. Because it tells us we have an “account” with the System, thereby fostering the illusion that our savings have been husbanded in a safe place where they will be available to us upon retirement. Because it provides returns that lag behind what prudent private investments return. Because even miniscule reforms, like tweaking the index used to calculate annual inflation increases, raise howls of protest from the likes of AARP.

Continue reading

Biofuels

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From WUWT

According to Exxon-Mobil, 9% of the world’s energy came from biofuels in 2017. They do not expect this percentage to increase by 2040, and it may go down. For the most part it is a developing world fuel. Primary biofuels include dung, wood, wood chips and pellets. Secondary, or manufactured biofuels include ethanol and biodiesel, which derive from several agricultural products, mainly corn, sugar cane, palm oil, soybeans and canola. The main advantage of using locally sourced wood and dung are their low cost and wide availability.

Using imported wood or wood chips for generating electricity, as is done in Europe, is more problematic. Due to the economic and environmental costs of farming the trees, making the wood pellets or chips and shipping them to the powerplants; wood is not a competitive fuel for most powerplants. The energy density is too low. However, if the source of the wood is within fifty miles of the plant, it can be competitive with coal and it may produce fewer greenhouse gases than coal, estimates vary. Ethanol and biodiesel are also more expensive than fossil fuels and must be subsidized to be competitive.

Continue reading

Fleeing California

Re-Blogged From Prager University

Why are millions of people leaving California and moving to other states? What do those states have that California doesn’t? PragerU’s first mini documentary explores the root causes of this mass exodus from the Golden State. “Fleeing California,” featuring PragerU’s own Will Witt, sheds light on one of the most significant but underreported stories of our time.

Please view the VIDEO.

CONTINUE READING –>

Report: Green New Deal Will Impose A $75,000 Per Year Cost On Swing-State Households

Chris White The Daily Caller – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Americans in nearly a dozen swing states could expect to spend roughly $75,000 per year if the Green New Deal is ever implemented, according to a report Wednesday from a conservative nonprofit group.

The Green New Deal would cost households an average of between $74,287 and $76,683 in Colorado, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among others, a report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted. CEI worked with Power the Future and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on the report.

“Right now, our booming national economy and record low unemployment rate is driven by abundant, domestic, reliable, and inexpensive energy produced by millions of men and women across the country,” Daniel Turner, executive director of Power the Future, said in a statement.

Continue reading

Too Much Climate Research Money Being Spent on Science

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

I couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying…

Very little money is actually spent on climate research
Researchers have looked at where USD 1.3 trillion in research funding is spent across the globe. Less than 5 per cent of this money has gone to climate research. Studies that examine how society can cope with the climate of the future are given a very small share of this pot.

Ulla Gjeset Schjølberg
JOURNALIST

Nancy Bazilchuk
ENGLISH VERSION

PUBLISHED Friday 07. February 2020

In a recent study, researchers at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and the University of Sussex reviewed how much of US 1.3 trillion (NOK 11.4 trillion) in research funding is dedicated to climate research.

Continue reading

Vegan Dictatorship

By Duggan Flanakin, – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Do we really have to tolerate local, state, national or UN officials telling us what we may eat?

The average American ate some 220 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the US Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004. But some politicians have joined anti-meat and climate change activists in a massive effort to restructure the American diet – and to ensure … and mandate … that the rest of the world will be stuck with a mostly plant-based diet.

Last March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shocked America’s meat producers by announcing the expansion of “meatless Mondays” to all New York City public schools. The reason? “To keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.” So now they claim eating meat also threatens the planet.

Continue reading

Aussie Voters Put the Economy and Healthcare Ahead of Climate Change

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Bill Shorten
Former Australian Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who bet everything on his headline climate initiatives. By Ross CaldwellOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Continue reading

Furious French Protest Climate Policies, Cost of Living, Pension Reforms

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

President Emmanuel Macron. By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Link. Image modified.

Continue reading

Expensive Climate Policies Sparked Chile Riots

By: James Taylor – Re-Blogged From WUWT

From the unintended consequences department. The COP25 climate conference in Santiago Chile was cancelled, and now moved at the last minute to Madrid, Spain.

Climate activists and the United Nations are suffering a major black eye this week as protests and riots resulting from high energy prices have erupted in Santiago, Chile.

Chile, which will host a major U.N. climate conference in December, earned praise from climate activists for recently imposing a carbon dioxide tax on conventional energy sources and switching the Santiago Metro system to renewable power. Now, the people of Chile are rising up and firing a shot across the bow of other nations considering similar energy taxes and expensive renewable energy programs.

Continue reading

The Days the Music Died

The music died many times in the past. To name a few:

  • 1929 Market crash
  • 1933 President Roosevelt confiscates citizen gold and declares it illegal to own more than a few ounces.
  • 1971 President Nixon “closed the gold window” and severed the last link between the devaluing dollar and gold.
  • 1987 Stock market crash
  • 2000 Stock market and “dot-com” crash
  • 2008 Stock market and housing crash
  • 2019? Stock market and “everything bubble” correction/crash
  • 2020-2025? “Inflate or Die” QE, bond monetization, helicopter dollars etc.

Continue reading

UK Faces Huge Loss From Electric Vehicle Adoption

If Great Britain keeps its commitment to switch over its vehicles to electric by 2050, the government will see a whopping loss of 28 billion pounds ($35 billion) paid by motorists driving traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

That comes from a study released Friday by London-based Institute for Fiscal Studies examining the impact of the UK’s net-zero greenhouse gas emissions law adopted in June and signed by previous Prime Minister Theresa May. England became the first G7 country to set the goal of reaching zero net emissions by 2050.

Some Californians Are Paying $5 For A Gallon Of Gas, Which Could Mean Trouble For 2020 Democrats

By Audrey Conklin – Re-Blogged From The Daily Caller

Energy

Some Californians Are Paying $5 For A Gallon Of Gas, Which Could Mean Trouble For 2020 Democrats, Candidate Says

Daily Caller News Foundation logo

  • Gas prices in California have soared to $5 in some areas, according to the Oil Price Information Service.
  • Republican candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District Carl DeMaio told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the price increase is due to “taxes, mandates and regulations” imposed by Democrats.
  • DeMaio added the burden of expensive fuel will “absolutely” have an impact on the next elections.

Continue reading

A Wealth Tax Consumes Capital

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

It seems one cannot make a name for one’s self on the Left, unless one has a proposal to tax wealth. Academics like Tomas Piketty have proposed it. And now the Democratic candidates for president in the US propose it too, while Jeremy Corbyn proposes it in the UK. Venezuela finally added a wealth tax in July.

A Wealth Tax

So how does a wealth tax work? The politicians quibble among themselves, as if the little implementation details that differ between them are important. But they share the key idea. The wealth taxman is to go to the people who have wealth, and take some. And next year, come back and take more. And so on.

It should be obvious that this is morally wrong. But we want to focus on the economics. To do that, we need to drill down into the nature of wealth. What is wealth?

Continue reading

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #370

The Week That Was: August 3, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.”— Michael Crichton [H/t William Readdy]

Number of the Week: 1998 and 2016

Confusing Planet: Our planet is a complex place, no doubt confusing global warming headline seekers. About 71%of the surface is water (ocean), 29% is land. Water warms and cools far more slowly than land. Complicating matters further, the dominant greenhouse gas is water vapor, slowing the nighttime cooling of water and land masses even further, where it is present.

Making matters even more complex is that about 81% of the Southern hemisphere is water and 19% is land. For the Northern Hemisphere, about 61% is water and 39% is land. Land area varies by latitude. About 68% of the land is in the Northern Hemisphere, only 32% in the Southern Hemisphere. By latitude, the highest percentage of land area is between 30 degrees North and 60 degrees North. [The distribution of land areas has changed significantly over the past 750 million years, making any paleo-earth studies of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide on temperatures difficult. One cannot assume the ocean currents were the same as today.]

Continue reading

Federal Debt Ceiling Reached As Federal Spending Rages

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

The federal government will soon run up against its self-imposed borrowing cap once again.

Current estimates are for the government to max out its credit limit at a little over $22 trillion in early September. Congress goes on recess in August, so there is some pressure to address the cap right now.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been fulfilling what seems to be the most sacred responsibility of his position: borrowing money. It’s one that each of his predecessors has also undertaken, without fail and without regard to party affiliation, in recent decades.

He is solemnly arguing why it would be wholly irresponsible for Congress not to approve another massive increase in what the Treasury can borrow.

Continue reading

It’s Been A Great Recession For A Few

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

This month the economic expansion brought to you by your Federal Reserve and by US government largess becomes the longest expansion in the history of the United States! That’s something, right? Something? Let’s take an honest look at what we now call great.

By “the longest expansion” we mean the longest period in which US GDP has been growing without a recession. Now, that’s something to crow about, right?

Not so fast for many reasons. It’s also been the most anemic expansion on the books, and it’s not too hard to see why it’s been the longest, having nothing at all to do with a great economy. It has cost us far more than any expansion (by an order of magnitude) because we’ve piled up ten times the national debt over any amount we accumulated during previous expansions. (I’ve said before, it’s easy to let the “good times” roll when you are buying it all on the company credit card.) We also quadrupled the size of the Fed’s balance sheet. That didn’t cost anything, but we sure didn’t get much bang for the buck! We actually got less bang than in any previous expansion!

Continue reading

Illinois Could Raise EV Registration Fee To $1,000, Hike Gas Tax

A bill at the Illinois legislature proposes to raise the annual registration fee for electric vehicles (EV) from US$17.50 to US$1,000 and to more than double the gas tax from 19 cents to 44 cents per gallon, under a plan to fund infrastructure advanced by Democrat State Senator Martin Sandoval.

According to the bill, introduced at the Illinois General Assembly, owners of fully electric vehicles “shall register the vehicle for a fee of $1,000 for a one-year registration period,” under the proposal that strikes out the current “In no event may the registration fee for electric vehicles exceed $18 per registration year.”

The bill also proposes to increase significantly the gas tax in the state, as well as the license fees.

EV charger

Magic Money Tree Economics

By GE Christenson – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Our Current Financial Circumstances

  1. The U.S. is $22 trillion in debt and burdened with $100 – $200 trillion more in unfunded liabilities. Just to pay the interest the U.S. must borrow. Debt is rapidly rising and cannot be paid unless “they” default or hyper-inflate the dollar.
  2. Chairman Jerome Powell stated, “The U.S. federal government is on an unsustainable path.” Even the Fed admits what everyone should realize.
  3. Global debt is $250 trillion. Some countries have descended farther down the debt-paved road to economic hell than the U.S.
  4. Pensions are under-funded, student debt is a disaster, the main street economy is weak, real estate prices and sales are falling, retail sales are down, real wages have been stagnant since the 1970s, and no credible plan exists to fix debt, deficits or devaluations.
  5. The political and financial elite profit from wars, inflation, devaluation, strip-mining assets, and income inequality.
  6. It’s an ugly picture with no easy answers. But debt, deficits and QE levitated stock markets to all-time highs.

Continue reading

How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security

By Peter Reagan -Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Fiscal year 2018 wasn’t a good one for U.S. government net-worth. While that may hardly be surprising, it’s possible we’re reaching a “tipping point.”

From an official report released by the U.S. Treasury, Sovereign Man pulled out a few key highlights:

  • In fiscal year 2018, the government’s total net loss was $1.16 TRILLION.
  • … they spent over $4.5 trillion.
  • … nearly HALF went to Social Security and Medicare.
  • … spent a record $523 billion just on interest payments on the national debt!

 

How US Government Debt May Impact Social Security
(Pixelrobot/Dreamstime)

Continue reading

Memories…And A Warning

By Gary Savage – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

This week my second son Joey turns 30 and my granddaughter Addie turns 3- just a day apart. The reason I bring this up is that we took a few days and visited Disney World in Florida.

As I walked into Disney’s Main Street I was reminded of a simpler and happier time here in America that many today cannot remember. America was a place where budding entrepreneurs could hang out a shingle without much government interference and chase their dreams. Mom and pop stores could make a living and provide services that made life easier for everyone. With few regulations and few barriers to entry many could earn a living and make their lives better. This Main Street is a reminder of this. Low taxes, low interference, high growth and stable money. Life was good for most.

Those with great ideas were rewarded with great fortunes.

Continue reading

‘Yellow Vest’ Protestors Crowd French Streets for 21st Straight Weekend

By ELAINE GANLEY / AP – Re-Blogged From Time.com

(PARIS) — Protesters from the yellow vest movement took to the streets of France on Saturday for a 21st straight weekend, with thousands marching across Paris and a group briefly invading the busy beltway around the capital.

Riot police rounded up the protesters on the beltway and fired a round of tear gas on the street above, apparently to stop others from entering a ramp onto the road.

At another of Saturday’s numerous protests around the country, police fired tear gas in Rouen, in Normandy, in a showdown with protesters after fires were set in garbage cans and elsewhere.

 

Protesters march along the Quai de Valmy in Paris on April 6, 2019, during a demonstration by the 'Yellow Vests' (gilets jaunes) movement on the 21st consecutive. France has been rocked by months of weekly Saturday protests by the yellow vests, which emerged over fuel taxes before snowballing into a broad revolt against the French President.

Protesters march along the Quai de Valmy in Paris on April 6, 2019, during a demonstration by the ‘Yellow Vests’ (gilets jaunes) movement on the 21st consecutive. France has been rocked by months of weekly Saturday protests by the yellow vests, which emerged over fuel taxes before snowballing into a broad revolt against the French President.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat—AFP/Getty Images

Yellow Vest Protesters Clash With Police in Paris

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From CBS

French yellow vest protesters set life-threatening fires, smashed up luxury stores and clashed with police Saturday in the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron. Large plumes of smoke rose above the rioting on Paris’ landmark Champs-Elysees Avenue, and a mother and her child were just barely saved from a building blaze.

French police tried to contain the demonstrators with limited success.

One perilous fire targeted a bank on the ground floor of a seven-story residential building. As firetrucks rushed over, a mother and her child were rescued as the fire threatened to engulf their floor, the city’s fire service told The Associated Press. Eleven people in the building, including two firefighters, sustained light injuries, as other residents were evacuated to safety.

US Budget Deficit And Interest

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

French President Deploying Police Armed with High Capacity Live Ammunition Weapons to Intimidate Carbon Tax Protestors

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Green globalist President Macron has deployed non specialist police armed with semi-automatic weapons with large magazines to try to intimidate yellow vest carbon tax protestors.

French riot police are now using semi-automatic weapons with live ammunition against Yellow Vest protestors as Macron’s law and order crisis spirals

  • Officers were filmed brandishing weapons by Arc de Triomphe in Paris today
  • Riot police were on crowd control duty today facing off a mob of Gilet Jaunes
  • Rifles at demonstration by unarmed citizens show how Macron crisis intensifies

Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren Mulling Tax on Wealthy Americans

By Jason Devaney – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., appears to be borrowing an idea from a new member of the opposite chamber by considering a wealth tax on the richest Americans.

According to The Washington Post, economists working with Warren — who recently formed an exploratory committee to look into running for president in next year’s election — are working on the plan with her.

Continue reading

Debt, Division, Dysfunction, and the March to National Bankruptcy

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

Never in our lifetimes has American politics been so marked by division and dysfunction.

The longest partial government shutdown in history occurred after the Democrat-controlled Congress wouldn’t compromise with President Trump on a border wall. The impasse is but one symptom of a deeper malady – one that threatens to wreak wider social and financial instability in the years ahead.

Put plainly, the pillars of the American system as we have known it are eroding.

Continue reading

Of Discount Rates and Candy-Canes

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley -Re-Blogged From WUWT

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,

“To talk of many things:

Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax,

Of cabbages and kings,

And why the sea is boiling hot,

And whether pigs have wings.”

Lewis Carroll, Aliciae per speculum transitus

clip_image002[4]

Continue reading

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #343

The Week That Was: 2019-01-12, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, itds isn’t consensus. Period.” — Michael Crichton. [H/t William Readdy]

Number of the Week: ZERO

Two Types of Energy Flow: Last week’s TWTW produced several responses with questions that need to be explained further. Forty years of comprehensive atmospheric temperature trends, the last twenty years with no statistically significant warming, and 60 years of balloon observations show that the global atmosphere is not the warming envisioned in the 1970s and early 1980s, for example, in the influential Charney Report of 1979. Yet, the assumptions in these speculated findings are embodied in the “theory” of climate science and the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). These government entities have failed to test their findings against atmospheric data, the data set that most clearly reflects the impact of greenhouse gases.

Continue reading

Companies to Buy Back Fewer Shares

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

U.S. companies’ shopping spree for their own shares helped put a floor on market declines in 2018. Don’t look for the same level of support in 2019.

Wall Street’s recent volatility has optimists betting that buybacks could provide the market with an even better buffer in 2019. But many strategists see the lift from buybacks – a major factor behind the bull market – losing some force as earnings growth slows while tax policy bonanzas fizzle out.

“Companies bought back around 2.8 percent of shares outstanding in 2018. That was a substantial support to the market and bigger than dividends,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors in Chicago.

case of dollar bills to buy back stock shares

Continue reading

2018 Saw A Global Revolt Against Climate Change Policies

By Michael Bastasch From The Daily Caller  Re-Blogged From WUWT

  • 2018 saw a global revolt against policies aimed at fighting global warming
  • Australia, Canada, France and the U.S. have all seen push back against global warming policies
  • That included weeks of riots in France against planned carbon tax increases

Despite increasingly apocalyptic warnings from U.N. officials, 2018 has seen a number of high-profile defeats for policies aimed at fighting global warming. Politicians and voters pushed back at attempts to raise energy prices as part of the climate crusade.

It started in June with election of Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Ontario residents overwhelmingly voted Ford’s conservative coalition into power on a platform that included axing the Canadian province’s cap-and-trade program.

Continue reading

CNN Notices Climate Change Policies Hurt Poor People

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Their prescription of course is more socialism.

Why President Macron’s U-turn is a warning for climate leaders

By Mark Lynas, Updated 0921 GMT (1721 HKT) December 31, 2018

(CNN) The humiliation of President Emanuel Macron should be a cautionary tale for any world statesman or woman considering taking on the mantle of climate leadership.

In October the French president was “auditioning to be leader of the free world” at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, with tackling global warming a centerpiece of his pitch.

Two months later an abashed and humbled Macron backtracked on French national television in the face of sustained violent protests by the “gilet jaunes” (yellow jackets) movement.

Continue reading

California Is In Great Financial Shape – And Headed For An Epic Crisis

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

California Governor Jerry Brown inherited a $27 billion deficit from Arnold Schwarzenegger eight years ago. This month he’s leaving his successor a $13.8 billion surplus and a $14.5 billion rainy day fund balance. Pretty good right? Approximately 48 other governors would kill for those numbers.

Unfortunately it’s all a mirage. California, as home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, lives and dies with capital gains taxes. In bull markets, when lots of stocks are rising and tech startups are going public, the state is flush. But in bear markets capital gains turn into capital losses and Sacramento’s revenues plunge. Put another way, the state’s top 1% highest-income taxpayers generate about half of personal income taxes. When their incomes fall, tax revenues crater.

That’s happening right now, as tech stocks plunge, IPOs are pulled and billion-dollar unicorns endure “down rounds” that shave major bucks from their valuations. So if this is a replay of the 2008-2009 bear market, expect California’s deficits to return to the double-digit billions.

Continue reading

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #338

Brought to you by http://www.SEPP.org, Science and Environmental Policy Project

By Ken Haapala, President

Quote of the Week: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” — Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

Number of the Week: Minus 211,000 bb/d


image

The Persistent Sun: In his first blog post in ScienceBits for some time, Nir Shaviv, Chairman, Racah Institute of Physics, describes his brief presentation to Environment committee of the German Bundestag. The invitation was quite a surprise, because Shaviv is a climate “skeptic” meaning he does not believe carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary driver of climate change – the sun is. Shaviv makes another important distinction between his work and the work of global warming promoters of CO2-caused warming such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its US followers, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). As Shaviv states:

Continue reading

Brown-to-Green Report: “G20 Nations Still Led by Fossil Fuel Industry”… Because Fossil Fuels Are Good for People

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

G20 nations still led by fossil fuel industry, climate report finds

Coal, oil and gas subsidies risking rise in global temperatures to 3.2C, well beyond agreed Paris goal

Jonathan Watts, Wed 14 Nov 2018

Climate action is way off course in all but one of the world’s 20 biggest economies, according to a report that shows politicians are paying more heed to the fossil fuel industry than to advice from scientists.

Among the G20 nations 15 reported a rise in emissions last year, according to the most comprehensive stock-take to date of progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Continue reading

French Government Backs Down on “Climate Change” Fuel Taxes

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

h/t Dr. Willie Soon – President Macron’s government has retreated from imposing climate change fuel taxes, caved in to pressure from the yellow jacket movement. But the protestors are already suggesting that the government backdown might not be enough.

French PM announces suspension of fuel tax hikes after ‘Yellow Vest’ protests

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Tuesday announced a suspension of the controversial fuel tax increases planned for January 1 in a move aimed at bringing an end to weeks of violent “Yellow Vest” protests against the tax.

Continue reading

“Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #338

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

By Ken Haapala, President

Quote of the Week: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”— Herbert Spencer [H/t William Readdy]

Number of the Week: 42 Billion barrels

Old Science v. New “Evidence Free Science”: SEPP Chairman emeritus Fred Singer is “old school.” He does not make predictions until the facts are gathered, the evidence. Perhaps it was because he began his long professional career by using high altitude rockets to gather evidence about the atmosphere including measuring the energy spectrum of primary cosmic rays; the distribution of stratospheric ozone; the equatorial electrojet current flowing in the ionosphere and publishing the first studies on subatomic particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field: radiation belts, later discovered by James Van Allen.

Continue reading

Trump Weighs in on France Chaos

By Jack Montgomery – Re-Blogged From BlabberBuzz

U.S. President Donald Trump has weighed in on the growing chaos in Emmanuel Macron’s France, calling it “very sad” and suggesting it is time the scrap the Paris climate agreement and “return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes”.

Continue reading

Revolt Over High Fuel Prices Threatens to Paralyse France

Anti-riot policemen evacuate gilets jaunes protesters during a protest against the raising of fuel and oil prices. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Anti-riot policemen evacuate gilets jaunes protesters during a protest against the raising of fuel and oil prices. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Yet Another Trillion-Dollar Unfunded Liability, California Wildfires Edition

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Yesterday an entire California town burned down. Paridise, CA has (had) 27,000 residents and over 1,000 buildings, and now it’s pretty .

That fire and several others are still expanding across the state, threatening tens of thousands of homes. The sets of the TV show WestWorld are gone. Malibu has been evacuated. And dry, windy conditions persist, so the story is nowhere near over.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because massive, sometimes uncontrollable California wildfires are now an annual occurrence, due in part to gradual warming and persistent drought which combine to suck the moisture out of vegetation and turn the landscape into a tinderbox. Here’s a chart showing the recent take-off in the number of fires reported in the state (2013 was most recent year I could find, but the trend is clear – and since then the number of fires has apparently soared).

Continue reading

Does Gold Speak Italian?

By Arkadiusz Sieron – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Is Italy the new Greece? Read today’s article and find out what does the newest Italian turmoil imply for the gold market.

The recent days have been quite tumultuous in Italy. The turmoil started last week when the new government submitted its spending plans to the EU. The ruling coalition set Italy’s budget deficit at 2.4 percent of its GDP. The number is much higher than the current deficit which is set to be 1.5 percent of the GDP. The proposed difference between spending and revenue is also higher than 1.6 percent proposed by the country’s finance minister Giovanni Tria. So the number was above the expectations. Actually, it came as a shock, especially that the International Monetary Fund has projected it to fall to 0.9 per cent in 2019. Well, nobody expected the Italian inquisition.

Continue reading

Universal Basic Income For Everyone!

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Several countries and cities studied and tested a universal basic income (UBI). At first glance it looks like giveaway nonsense:

  1. Who pays for the giveaways?
  2. Does the UBI discourage work and self-improvement?
  3. How much price inflation does it create?
  4. How much additional unpayable debt will be created by the UBI?
  5. The UBI should be how large? If $1,000 per month per person is good, is $10,000 per month better? Which bureaucrat defines the size of the benefit?
  6. Does it apply to everyone? Adults only? Means tested? Only those who voted and paid taxes? Only those in good standing with the “thought police?”

Continue reading

Federal Deficits Are Worse Than You Think

By Mark Brandly – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Pensions – A Stealth Mortgage On Your House

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Money manager Rob Arnott and finance professor Lisa Meulbroek have run the numbers on underfunded pension plans and come up with an interesting – and highly concerning – new angle: That they impose a “stealth mortgage” on homeowners. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal reported it today:

The Stealth Pension Mortgage on Your House

Most cities, counties and states have committed taxpayers to significant future unfunded spending. This mostly takes the form of pension and postretirement health-care obligations for public employees, a burden that averages $75,000 per household but exceeds $100,000 per household in some states. Many states protect public pensions in their constitutions, meaning they cannot be renegotiated. Future pension obligations simply must be paid, either through higher taxes or cuts to public services.

Continue reading

Ocasio-Cortez Supporters Give Jaw-Dropping Answers When Asked How We’ll Pay For ‘All That Free Stuff’

By Julio Rosas – Re-Blogged From IJR

With congressional candidate and self-proclaimed democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez making big promises to voters, Campus Reform visited the district she’s running in to ask how taxpayers will pay for them.

According to her campaign website, Ocasio-Cortez wants a medicare for all plan, a federal jobs guarantee with a $15 minimum wage and tuition-free public colleges.

Continue reading

The Economy is Cracking Up. Are You?

By David Haggith – Re-Blopgged From Great Recession Blog
Economic cracks big enough to drive a car industry into are opening up all over the globe. Trade gaps are opening up between major allies. Widening spreads between the dollar and other currencies are shredding emerging markets. As we start into summer, these cracks and several others described below have become big enough to get everyone’s attention, just as I said last year would become the situation.

 

I had, as readers here know, predicted the same for last summer but revised my timing to this summer after Trump was elected and the hope for tax cuts lit on fire one of the world’s greatest stock rallies. Those tax cuts are also creating another rapidly rising gap between government revenue and government spending.

That rally died, pretty much as I said it would, almost as soon as those tax cuts became law. In fact, it died sooner than I said it would because I thought the tax cuts would provide more economic levity than they have. The Dow and S&P 500, as of last Monday’s close, hit their longest correction period since 1984! That’s more than half of my lifetime since we saw a correction period last this long.

However, now that the trade war is officially engaged, FANGMAN stocks (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and NVIDIA) are taking the market up again. Whether they will undo my prediction that the second leg down in the stock market will occur in early summer … remains to be seen.

Even so, this past Monday, when nearly every expert fully expected Netflix would blaze the trail upward as markets refocused on “earnings”, Netflix shares got slammed (down 13% in one mammoth stomp) because it had almost 20% fewer new subscribers than it had projected in April. Other Netflix news, such as revenue, was pretty much as expected or even a little better, meaning the reaction was … well … a bit panicky perhaps? It is what happens when everyone is leaning on the same seven stocks to save them and the world and the first one to report has wobbly legs.

Netflix blamed the shortfall on its emerging markets where a strengthening dollar crippled its projected growth. Ah, well, that’s still one of those cracks, and that means all is not even well in the FANGMAN stocks. Turns out emerging markets do have contagion that can hammer the United States leading stocks.

(And, as for stocks growing because of “earnings growth,” keep in mind that 50% of that earnings growth was due entirely to fewer tax dollars being taken out of the top-line number, not to corporate revenue growth.)

Trump’s election interrupted the establishment’s failing economic journey; but, as I said back then, the reprieve would be temporary. The collapse would resume. The Trump Rally was due, as David Stockman said, to people getting high on ‘hopium’. In reality, the Fed’s fake recovery was already on a path to failure, which it would take back up as soon as delirious hope gave way to the reality that failure was already baked into the “recovery” and that tax cuts of the kind Trump was providing would do little more than stimulate the world’s greatest wave of stock buybacks so that the insider money could get out of stocks, which it has been doing.

(As an interesting side note, Team Trump “forgot” to wipe out a provision in the tax code that allows individuals to pay the corporate tax rate, instead of the personal rate if they want to. That provision was made when corporate rates were higher during the Kennedy administration so that people rarely had reason to opt for the corporate rate. Because congress forgot to remove that provision, the wealthiest individuals in America can now pay less than the middle class at 21%. Ah, but what can you expect?)

Fed Pops Copper’s Topper

I’ve written a lot this year about the Fed’s quantitative tightening as being the ultimate guarantee that the economic is going to sink, so I won’t write more on that here. I will, however, note the coincidence now with Dr. Copper verifying my diagnosis.

As the global economy goes, so goes the price of copper. Thus, copper is called “Doctor Copper” because it is often watched as a life sign for how the global economy is doing. Copper has finally started falling, after a period of healthy growth during the Trump Rally. Here is a graph of what copper prices have done in direct correlation with the Fed’s quantitative tightening: (It is not that the Fed’s actions directly change copper prices, but that, if they hurt the global economy, any downturn there will be reflected in a short time in what happens with the price of copper as demand for copper falls.)

The price of copper flattened when the Fed began QT and then churned sideways at that level all year. Not long after the Fed’s last increase in its rate of QT, copper finally began to fall. If copper is still accurate as an economic gauge, it means global growth, which was rising “harmoniously” last year, stalled with the Fed’s start of QT and, since the start of summer, it has been falling precipitously.

Imminent Inversion Of The Prophetic Yield Curve

The moves of greatest interest are all happening in interest. Another sign of how well the Fed’s program is working — one that nearly every analyst is concerned about — is the spread between interest rates on short-term bonds and long-term bonds. It has been getting precariously close to its inversion point, an event that has preceded almost every recession known to modern man. Inversion happens when investors become willing to receive a smaller yield from long-term bonds than from short-term bonds, meaning they think something will go seriously wrong in the short-term.

Normally investors in long-term bonds demand higher interest because they anticipate more erosive inflation during a strong economy. When they perceive recession is imminent, on the other hand, they park their money long-term and anticipate less inflation due to recessionary (typically deflationary) forces.

If nothing else, inversion of the yield curve, since it is closely monitored as a key indicator by most investors, can be a self-fulfilling prophecy wherein markets fall because investors suddenly expect them to fall and act accordingly.

At less than one quarter of one percent difference between the long end of bond interest (10-year Treasury note) and the short end (2-year note), the yield curve is now the lowest it has been since the start of the Great Recession (2007).

Rising bond yields and the end of repatriation of foreign profits at lowered tax levels at the end of this year will curtail the stock buybacks that hit record levels this year, which have been the primary thrust behind the stock market throughout the Fed’s so-called “recovery.” Rising bond yields also compete for interest in stocks.

One other sign of impending recession — the spread between the interest rates of risky corporate bonds versus safe treasury bonds — has increased to the critical level (as a gauge) that it hit just before or during six of the last seven recessions.

The China Syndrome…Again

Many financial experts are still arguing blindly that we are not yet in a trade war, and the stock market seems to be flitting back and forth on the idea. Yet, China has already promised retaliation against the tariffs Trump has already imposed, and Trump has already promised counter-retaliation to China’s retaliation (if it happens) in the form of another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that will receive tariffs of 10%. And this week Trump upped his bet more and threatened the possibility of tariffs on all Chinese goods — about $500 billion worth.

You can say, “All the market evidence is turning out bad for China, so Trump will win,” but we already know that what is bad for trade in China is bad for the world. We’ve seen that play out before in 2015.

Confirmation that China’s economy is slowing amid an escalating trade war is a worrying omen for global growth. Data released since Friday has affirmed what’s been expected for some time: That an ongoing campaign to curtail credit is putting the brakes on the world’s second-largest economy. Given that China generates as much as a third of global growth, which means headwinds not just for China’s economy, but for the world’s too. (Newsmax)

The broader US stock market seems to be just counting down the days of advance into this trade war in sidewinding fashion until all of this actually happens. Investors appear to be hoping it is mostly negotiating rhetoric, but David Stockman (President Reagan’s Director of Office of Management and Budget) says Trump doesn’t have a clue about what he’s doing because Chinese tariffs in recent years are nothing (about 3.5% on average agains 1.7% average by the US):

[Stockman] was famously “taken to the woodshed” by President Reagan for his statements in a 1981 Atlantic Monthly article, that “supply-side economics — the backbone of the Reagan economic revolution – was a ‘Trojan horse’ that would ultimately benefit the rich….” [Now he says,] “The fact is, we are heading into a massive trade war in the world…. Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing at all. He is making it up. He is a hopeless protectionist with a 17th-century view of the world…. We have an absurd policy — dangerous, stupid. The worst that I’ve seen since my whole career started in 1970 under [President Richard] Nixon, and he did some crazy things.” (Global Macro Monitor)

China’s stock market has already fallen badly, and Chinese credit markets are tightening up rapidly. Chinese GDP growth is the weakest since 2009. If you have any doubt as to how the crashing Chinese economy can break destructively against US shores, remember the Chinese-induced summer flash crash of 2015 when S&P futures plunged 12% in one week.

It’s the spillover effect that most worries economists, given China’s central role in a regional and global supply chain that feeds America’s economy with goods and services. “We have not seen the worst yet,” said Iris Pang, Greater China economist at ING Bank NV in Hong Kong. “For the rest of the world it begins with a bilateral trade war between the U.S. and China but it would not end with a bilateral impact. Global supply chains, shipping companies, foreign investment hurdles from the U.S. government … will change global business flows.” (Newsmax)

If nothing else, because tariffs get built into the cost of goods sold, tariffs will assure inflation for US consumers, and inflation will pressure the Fed to maintain its quantitative-tightening schedule, even if the economy starts to go down so fast that the Fed’s infamously blind eyes can see it is failing. If inflation rises, the Fed will be caught in a corner, forced to continue tightening into a receding economy. (For the Fed, that is their nightmare stagflation scenario in which we will all be facing rapid inflation and tightening liquidity at the same time.)

Trump Tax Cuts And Ultra-High Government Spending Fail To Deliver

While the insanely rich are directly pocketing all corporate tax savings via stock buybacks (as they were designed to), consider how poorly the stock market is doing anyway. All the negative economic facts listed in this article are happening during the largest tax cuts in history. Ineffective!

Wages haven’t even changed enough this year to keep up with rapidly rising inflation. That means wealth creation, even after the Trump Tax Cuts, is still failing to trickle down in order to improve consumer spending capabilities:

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warns that positive employment trends are at risk of being derailed by “unprecedented wage stagnation” affecting low-paid workers. This is as much true in the US as other parts of the world: (Compare wage growth in 2007 to ten years later.)

In spite of tax cuts, wage growth in the US falls short of the growth rate in 2007 by more than half. And consider…

Explosion Of Personal Debt Will Lead To Personal Explosions

One thing that has gone up, even though the stock market is mostly churning sideways and wages are losing to inflation is personal debt. People here in the 99% where I live make up for the lack of wage growth by taking out more debt to try to maintain a standard of living that our constantly lagging wages will cover. (The operative word being maintain, not improve.)

Financial inequality (meaning here inequality of wealth-creating opportunities between the 1% and all the rest) eventually leads to a peasant revolt. (I’m not saying we should all have equal wealth, but we are suffering from lack of equal opportunity to create wealth, and the new opportunities are all being hand-delivered to the already wealth.) The peasantry doesn’t want to revolt by nature, so it takes a lot of oppression to overcome their inertia; but unrestrained greed at the top is getting us there as the stakeholders maintain the tightest stranglehold on wages that they can while many of the 99% indenture themselves with debt owed to the banksters just to maintain their lifestyle position. Personal indebtedness has climbed from a reasonable move downward during the Great Recession back to an all-time high.

The Greed Gap Between The 1% And All The Rest Grew Exponentially Wider Under

Greed has reached its highest level in modern history. Consider that dividends for corporate owners have rarely if ever been higher or more abounding, stock buybacks have certainly never been higher, which have also filled the pockets of corporate owners, and dividends have never been higher, while taxes on corporate earnings are at or near historic lows as are personal taxes on the wealthy.

All of that means corporate owners have never been richer! Yet, none of those benefits have trickled down to those who make their money by working in those companies. I warned about all of this before the Trump Tax Cuts became law, and now the data are in:

Not surprisingly, our guess that corporations would utilize the benefits of ‘tax cuts’ to boost bottom line earnings rather than increase wages has turned out to be true. As noted by Axios, in just the first two months of this year companies have already announced over $173 BILLION in stock buybacks. [Article was written back in February.]  This is ‘financial engineering gone mad’ and something RIA analyst, Jesse Colombo, noted recently:

‘…corporations have largely focused on juicing their stock prices via share buybacks, dividends, and mergers & acquisitions. While this pleases shareholders and boosts executive compensation, this short-term approach is detrimental to the long-term success of American corporations…. Even more alarming is the fact that share buybacks are expected to exceed $1 trillion this year, which would blow all prior records out of the water. The passing of President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan was the primary catalyst that encouraged corporations to dramatically ramp up their share buyback plans. (“The Data Is In: Tax Cuts And The Failure To Trickle Down“)

While I suspect the $1 trillion estimate for 2018 buybacks is exaggerated, there is no question at all that buybacks have lifted to unprecedented heights. (If it is not an exaggerated estimate, then there is zero chance of the stock market crashing this year because buybacks all by themselves will drive it higher no matter what the economy does. My prediction will lose solely due to the fact that corporate greed went even beyond the upper ravages of greed that I anticipated.) We’ve never seen anything remotely like this.

Now consider that, even as corporate owners and overseers are personally pocketing all of this Titanic tax benefit, corporations are complaining that they cannot get well qualified help … even as they refuse to lift wages in order to get that help! Corporate owners have become so intensely greedy that they will not loosen the grip of their tiny, green-stained hands the least bit to let the thinnest thread of a dollar bill escape their grasp in order to get the qualified help they CLAIM their companies need in order to grow.

They are now milking every cent out of their companies with almost no investment for longterm growth or improved labor situations, even in a labor market that they claim is one of the tightest ever. The tiny trickle of wealth that once slipped through their hands has been firmly squeezed off. Now THAT is greed! This generation of principle shareholders will go down as the greediest in American history.

Corporate Tax Cuts Not Paying For Themselves, Resulting In Massive US Deficit

According to the latest monthly Treasury statement, the amount collected for individual income taxes throughout the first nine months of the fiscal year hit a record of $1.3 trillion, but the amount for corporate income taxes — even with record repatriation of accumulated foreign profits — was way down ($68 billion lower than the first eight months of the last fiscal year). Combining those tow facts, the government has in the past nine months collected less than it has during the same period for any of the previous five fiscal years! That tax deficiency along with Trump’s profligate increase in government spending along with the balance of other tax differentials, has left the federal government with a gaping $607 billion break in the budget for the first nine months of the year.

As the trend stands now, June ran an overall $75 billion budgetary gap compared to May’s $147 billion deficit. That was, nevertheless, still the second-largest June deficit since the pit of the Great Recession. (June tax collection under the new Trump Tax Cuts was down 6.6% year on year.) Total government debt passed $21 trillion in June. At the start of the Trump administration, it had just passed the eye-popping $20 trillion milestone. (Tax amounts are in constant June 2018 dollars.)

Big gaps are opening up everywhere.

US Debt Problem Compounded By Rising Interest Rates

That problem is compounded with interest. With interest rates rising (the 2-Year Treasury Note is now the highest it has been since the start of the Great Recession), total interest paid on the US debt has never been higher:

At over $550,000,000,000 a year, half of our massive annual deficit is due to interest on all the previous deficits. I’ve been warning on my blog that we can expect a blow-out in the federal debt to become evident this year under the Trump Tax Cuts and all of the increased military and stimulus spending because the ballooning of debt is now finally concurrent with a rapid rise in interest rates. High deficits under Obama were partially papered over with practically non-existent interest. You can see the blowout that has just happened on total interest payments in the graph above.

The US government is starting, at last (as I’ve said it would), to find it more difficult to sell debt. Last month, it saw one of its worst treasury auctions in years. The debt financing struggle right now surges and then relaxes, but the surges of energy required to sell the debt are increasing.

US Debt Problem Compounded By Fleeing Financiers

Another gulf is growing between the US and its fleeing financiers. For about three years I’ve been saying that Russia would divest completely from US treasuries in order to end the hegemony of the US dollar. This is the year in which they have done that. They started back in April and have already divested four-fifths of all their US treasury holdings. Who can blame them, given all the sanctions the US has placed on them? Why would they want to have their sovereign treasure tied up in wealth the US can freeze or seize? And with trade down, what do they need those dollars for?

A U.S. Treasury report this week appears to show Russia liquidating dollar assets at a record pace, selling four-fifths of its cache of U.S. government debt, $81 billion worth, over a two-month period. It started in April, when the U.S. imposed the most onerous sanctions yet on allies of Putin. The release caused a stir in the markets because neither the Treasury nor the Bank of Russia will comment on the transactions…. For Sergey Dubinin, Russia’s central bank chief from 1995 to 1998, there’s no mystery at all — the sales were simply a prudent “hedge” against confiscation, a possibility that looks more likely every day. Russia, he said, has learned from Iran’s experience and is converting its dollar assets into other currencies to safeguard its reserves against any attempts at seizure…. Putin has long railed against “the dollar monopoly,” even referring to the U.S. as a “parasite” for “living beyond its means.” In May, after he was sworn in for a fourth term, Putin went further and called for a “break” from the dollar to bolster the country’s “economic sovereignty.” (Newsmax)

Russia was once the United States’ second-largest financier. With Russia divesting from US dollars almost entirely now and China setting up the yuan to compete as a global trade currency and with Iran now selling all of its oil outside the petrodollar market due to US sanctions, the move against the US dollar as a global trade currency is strengthening rapidly. These nations once bought a lot of US treasuries because they did a lot of trade in US dollars. Because it is often easier to exchange US bonds as a way of exchanging dollars between countries than to exchange actual currency, nations have less and less reason to buy US bonds as tariffs slow trade and the yuan starts to compete for trade status even in the petroleum market.

As the dollar becomes increasingly unpopular, the US will have a harder time finding financiers so it won’t benefit as easily from the low-interest comfort zone in which it has thrived. This could ramp up fairly quickly with the trade war leading to currency wars. With trade diminishing due to tariffs and more nations upset with the US, it is quite possible the US dollar will find fewer buyers. Dollar days are numbered.

Rising Interest On All Debt Already Creating Crises For Emerging Markets

With total global debt (households, businesses and governments) now at $247 trillion, rising interest rates are a serious problem for everyone (maybe even their bankers if defaults continue to accelerate). The time bomb we have created has even more risk of blowing up soon if Trump’s trade wars decrease global GDP, making it harder for businesses and governments to service their debts. While the US will continue to service its debts for the time being, marginal nations may default, and that can cascade through the banking system throughout the global economy.

We are seeing this already in emerging markets (EMs) where the rising value of the dollar compared to local currencies is creating serious financial stress fractures for nations and businesses whose debt obligations are denominated in US dollars. Even the US in not immune to the spread of those cracks coming all the way back to many US investors and some US banks (just as we saw this past week with Netflix).

In a new report, the Institute of International Finance, an industry research and advocacy group, says that the debts of some “emerging market” countries (Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina) seem vulnerable to roll-over risk: the inability to replace expiring loans. In 2018 and 2019, about $1 trillion of dollar-denominated emerging-market debt is maturing, says the IIF…. “″(We had) a goldilocks economy, with decent economic growth. Inflation was nowhere to be seen, allowing central banks (the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank) to be more accommodative (i.e., keeping interest rates low). You could always roll over your debt. However, the probability of this continuing is much less now.” (The Columbus Dispatch)

These experiences give other nations reason to hate the dollar and to avoid it in the future IF they can so as not to become trapped by moves the US makes in its own self-interest.

Inflation Lift Off At Last

Just in the nick of time, then, to augment the growing EM problem, US inflation (CPI) is rising per the Fed’s long effort to make it do so. Inflation hit 2.9% last week (year on year), its highest in six years. When you consider that the CPI measure of inflation intentionally factors out some of the worst inflation (the volatile stuff that consumers actually have to pay), that official inflation number is scorchingly hot! If measured as it was back in the high-inflation Nixon and Carter years, it would be something near 10%! That is a major crack opening up in the future buying power of the money you have saved now.

It also means the Fed won’t be able to back out of its quantitative tightening even if it wants to because it has inflation that it already created finally pushing it to tighten faster. It is becoming caught in an inflation trap. Wholesale inflation (PPI) also jumped to a six-year high this week. The Producer Price Index is on more of a tear than CPI, hitting 3.4%. (Core wholesale inflation, which strips out energy and food, was 2.9%.)

That means that consumer inflation is going to continue to increase as inflation happening among producers gets passed along. Some of that PPI increase is bound to press forward into retail pricing for more CPI inflation down the road. How much PPI inflation affects consumer price inflation depends on how much producers can absorb in order to hold inelastic retail prices down.

Remember, if inflation rises, bond interest rises. If bond interest rises, bond prices fall. If bond prices fall, the bond bubble breaks, and down falls baby, bonds and all. That means the Fed, backed into a corner, will be pressed to fight inflation with more quantitative tightening over propping up stocks with a return to Quantitative Easing or even just by backing off of QT because bond bombs hit closer to banks.

As things stand now, the Fed has no intention of backing away from QT for a long time. Fed Chairman Powell said on Tuesday,

“With appropriate monetary policy, the job market will remain strong and inflation will stay near 2 percent over the next several years,” Powell said in one of the strongest affirmations yet that the Fed is within reach of its dual policy targets more than a decade after the United States endured a deep financial crisis and recession. The Fed “believes that – for now – the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate….” Overall the risks to the economy were “roughly balanced,” with the “most likely path for the economy” one of continued job gains, moderate inflation, and steady growth. (Newsmax)

The stock market, oblivious as always, seemed to love all the QT-assuring news about rising CPI, as was demonstrated when the Nasdaq hit an all-time record on the same day the inflation reports came out.

The problems above are real now, but we also have the following ongoing problems in development:

  • National shutting down of retail stores and their domino effect.
  • Bank failures looking imminent in Germany and Italy.
  • A renewed Grexit/Italeave problem.

Contrary Forces To My Own Predictions

On the other hand, the Retail Apocalypse and Carmageddon, which had been going exactly as I had laid out, took a slight curve against me in the past week’s reports. Retail sales surged 0.5% in June (pretty good bump for one month), and the biggest factor in the surge was car sales! May sales were also revised upward to a 1.3% leap, which was the best performance since last September. Year-on-year, retail was up 6.6%. Reports did not clarify how much of that was online sales, versus brick and mortar, which is where the Retail Apocalypse is becoming a sea of troubles.

However, the other biggest parts of these two bumps were building materials (which I said would surge right now as rebuilding out of the rubble and ashes of extreme demolition wrought by three massive hurricanes and numerous wildfires last year takes time) and gasoline prices (an economic negative when prices get this high). So, the retail bump was not as positive as it seemed to many.

Consumer spending in the first quarter was its lowest in five years. The second quarter was up some; so, we may have gotten a bit of a Trump bump. However, sales in this case are measured in dollars (not units sold). With inflation rapidly making things more expensive in the second quarter, much of Q2’s boost was nothing more than the long-anticipated start-up of inflation, now well above the Fed’s target rate, which came about abruptly.

Moreover, while Carmageddon looked like it got a month of reprieve in the US, it turned much worse in China. It was the worst first half of a year ever for Ford where vehicle sales in China tumbled 38% in June. (Ford sales were down 25% year on year.) Ford’s situation, with some of its vehicles coming out of the US, could become worse with China now slapping tariffs on US vehicles. Ford has said it will absorb those tariffs, rather than raise prices. For almost twenty years, Ford has seen China as a prospect for major expansion. (GM sales in China, on the other hand, were up 4%.)

Is An Economic Collapse Becoming Obvious In The Early Summer As I Promised?

Well, for the first time in four years Barclay’s Bank published its quarterly Global Macro Survey, which polls over 400+ institutional investors, and the majority of institutional investors around the world said they expect the global economy to surprise to the down side. Respondents said the most likely downside surprises would emanate from China, followed by the Eurozone, followed by Emerging Markets (all areas where the global economy is breaking up as noted above).

The trends above are pretty serious cracks, and I reported earlier this week about the first signs of the return of decline in housing, which I also I said would happen by the end of this summer. Whether all of that builds in time to prove the timing of my own predictions is right and to save my blog from my bet that global economic collapse (including for the US) and a US stock market crash will become clear by early summer (first half of the summer), it is certainly a strong and growing body of evidence that the Epocalypse is coming!

My detractors will be cracking up if I miss my mark, but that is a risk I’m willing to take in order to put out the strongest warning I can. Even more than wanting to warn people, I want to continually point out how wrong the path of recovery has been in hopes that some people in the right places will see that truth when the breakup happens. Otherwise, we will wind up repeating it all over again is some even more grotesque manner, including bailing out banksters all over again.

Most of all, I hope to end the insidious religiously held belief in trickle-down economics by pointing out how they never have trickled down and pointing out repeatedly in advance that the current trickle-down attempts will not trickle down either and why they will not trickle down. By saying it in advance, maybe people can realize this knowledge was not just a convenient claim after the fact. It was foreseeable.

I hope to do my part to end any excuse for continuing to blunder endlessly back down the path that says “the best way to make sure of justice for the poor and the middle class is to take care of the rich, for they are the wealth creators and the job creators.” That is obscene nonsense. Shame on any who continue to believe it after so many proofs that it does not work.

I am not for wealth redistribution, but neither do I believe for a second that the 1% have ever paid a greater share of their income in taxes than the middle class (due to their loopholes and the fact that they make most of their money speculating in stocks at lower capital-gains rates). Nor do I believe in giving the lion’s share of tax breaks in a manner that applies 99% of the benefits toward helping the wealthy 1% get richer. Anyone should have been able to see the breaks were DESIGNED to go to stock buybacks. That path will never create a wealth effect for any of the rest of us. It will help your retirement fund (if you don’t hold the money in stocks long enough to lose it again), but it does nothing to help you and your family until then.

When the social fabric is torn with the masses revolting against the next bankster bailouts, I want the greedy bastards to know they could have and should have seen that their own greed was leading us inexorably down this path! Greed contains the seeds of its own destruction, but it takes a fire to make those seeds germinate. And, unfortunately, we are on a path that could easily lead to a great conflagration all over the world because greed has been repeatedly honored with bailouts and tax breaks and the most rewarding positions in government to where I believe greed has grown worse than it has ever been in modern history.

So, I’d rather go down in flames by betting all my last five year’s writing on what I am saying now than just slip silently and chronically into an everlasting hell of whining about the economy … mostly unheard. If I do go down in flames, maybe what I’ve said will be a little more memorable when the collapse comes.

That said, the growing number of major economic cracks all over this planet indicate that the next leg down in the stock market could still happen in time to save me from my bet. These gaps in the global economy are finally no longer going unnoticed. People are starting to look around and wonder if things are going to fall apart. Even the largest financial institutions in the world have finally started revising their economic outlooks for the economy (US and global) downward.

The Epocalypse is coming! I haven’t climbed up on my housetop to shout it, but I am shouting it from here. (No one listens to people on my housetop anyway.) You may wind up cracking up at me as a heckler if I fail, but I’m OK with that because you also may just wind up cracked up, because you didn’t listen. I’d rather risk the former, as I can happily live my life without this blog. It is the least sacrifice to make. I can think of many other fun ways to spend my time; and, if I’m wrong, I will.

CONTINUE READING –>

Continue reading

War On Americans

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From The Deviant Investor

Wars benefit the political and financial elite. Most wars are on-going, whether they include formal Congressional declaration or military actions. The following wars will continue.

  • War on drugs.
  • War on poverty.
  • War on cash.
  • War on reality based statistics.

Continue reading

Opposition Grows Against Trump’s Auto Tariff Plan

By Mark Swanson – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

All but one of the 45 scheduled witnesses expected to testify Thursday at a daylong Commerce Department hearing will oppose President Donald Trump’s auto tariffs plan, Politico reports.

And the one witness who agrees with the tariffs is advocating a targeted approach vs. the sweeping plan outlined by the administration, Politico reports.

Continue reading

Voters Rebelling Against Trudeau Carbon Taxes

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

The Economist worries that Canadians are electing powerful state politicians opposed to Trudeau climate policies.

Can Ontario’s new leader wreck Canada’s climate-change plan?

If Alberta supports him, he might do

The Economist explains
Jun 27th 2018 by M.D. | OTTAWA

DOUG FORD says his first official act as leader of Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, will be to kill the cap-and-trade programme put in place by the Liberal government that his Progressive Conservatives defeated earlier this month. As of June 29th, the date of the handover, Mr Ford promises that what he describes as “the cap-and-trade carbon tax” will be gone. The climate-change programme is provincial policy, but it also forms part of Canada’s national plan, which crucially depends on each of the 10 provinces and three territories reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. In withdrawing Ontario, the second-largest emitter after energy-rich Alberta, will Mr Ford wreck the national climate-change plan?

Continue reading

The Land That Global Warming Forgot

By David Archibald – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

For the first time a major political party has gone into an election with an anti-green platform and won big time. Specifically the Conservative Party platform for the Ontario election on 7th June promised:

  1. This means no carbon tax or cap-and-trade schemes.
  2. Stop sweetheart deals by scrapping the Green Energy Act.

Continue reading

Why Argentina’s Leader Is in for a Tough 2019

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Argentina’s request for a standby loan from the International Monetary Fund will force the country to carry out tighter fiscal measures, such as reducing the transfer of funds to the provinces.
  • As a result of his decision to negotiate a deal with the IMF, President Mauricio Macri will have a more difficult time gaining congressional support for economic and labor reforms.
  • Although divisions persist in Argentina’s political opposition, worsening economic conditions will encourage Macri’s rivals in the next quarter, hurting the president’s chances of winning re-election in 2019.

State workers demonstrate outside Argentina's Congress in Buenos Aires in September 2016 during a national strike to demand the reopening of wage negotiations to compensate for high inflation.

(EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Continue reading