Aug 27

From the article:

“Rather than trying to spur private-sector spending through asset purchases or interest-rate changes, central banks, such as the Fed, should hand consumers cash directly…. Central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have taken aggressive action, consistently lowering interest rates such that today they hover near zero. They have also pumped trillions of dollars’ worth of new money into the financial system. Yet such policies have only fed a damaging cycle of booms and busts, warping incentives and distorting asset prices, and now economic growth is stagnating while inequality gets worse. It’s well past time, then, for U.S. policymakers — as well as their counterparts in other developed countries — to consider a version of Friedman’s helicopter drops. In the short term, such cash transfers could jump-start the economy…  The transfers wouldn’t cause damaging inflation, and few doubt that they would work. The only real question is why no government has tried them”…


- It Begins: Council On Foreign Relations Proposes That “Central Banks Should Hand Consumers Cash Directly”  (ZeroHedge, Aug 26, 2014):

… A broad-based tax cut, for example, accommodated by a program of open-market purchases to alleviate any tendency for interest rates to increase, would almost certainly be an effective stimulant to consumption and hence to prices. Even if households decided not to increase consumption but instead re-balanced their portfolios by using their extra cash to acquire real and financial assets, the resulting increase in asset values would lower the cost of capital and improve the balance sheet positions of potential borrowers. A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous “helicopter drop” of money

- Ben Bernanke, Deflation: Making Sure “It” Doesn’t Happen Here, November 21, 2002

time-man-of-the-year-helicopter-ben-bernanke

A year ago, when it became abundantly clear that all of the Fed’s attempts to boost the economy have failed, leading instead to a record divergence between the “1%” who were benefiting from the Fed’s aritficial inflation of financial assets, and everyone else (a topic that would become one of the most discussed issues of 2014) and with no help coming from a hopelessly broken Congress (who can forget the infamous plea by a desperate Wall Street lobby-funding recipient “Get to work Mr. Chariman”), we wrote that “Bernanke’s Helicopter Is Warming Up.” Continue reading »

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Jan 18

Paul-Krugman-Keynesians-Fail

- Krugman Can’t Understand How Someone Could Be So Stupid As To Believe What He Used To Believe ( The Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada, Jan 17, 2014):

Over at CafeHayek, Russ Roberts is mystified at a recent Paul Krugman blog post. Concerning the debate over whether the US federal government should extend unemployment benefits, Krugman wrote on January 12:

There’s a sort of standard view on this issue, based on more or less Keynesian models. According to this view, enhanced UI actually creates jobs when the economy is depressed. Why? Because the economy suffers from an inadequate overall level of demand, and unemployment benefits put money in the hands of people likely to spend it, increasing demand.

Continue reading »

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Dec 01

- Ron “Austrian” Paul Vs. Paul “Keynesian” Krugman – You Decide (ZeroHedge, Dec 1, 2013):

The concept of the business cycle and its un-natural intervention-inspired boom-bust process is at the core of the following three minutes of dueling quotes from two of the most infamous public proponents of change (Ron Paul) and the status quo (Paul Krugman).

  • “Cut interest rates a couple of percentage points, provide plenty of liquidity, and call me in the morning.” – Krugman
  • “Printing money is not an answer… Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom… cannot last forever.” – Paul

You decide who “was” right, and who “will be” right again…

(h/t Jim Quinn’s Burning Platform)

Of course, we’ve seen them head-to-head before…

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Dec 01

- Krugman’s Adventures in Fairyland (The Ludwig von Mises Institute, Nov 23, 2013):

After studying and teaching Keynesian economics for 30 years, I conclude that the “sophisticated” Keynes­ians really do believe in magic and fairy dust. Lots of fairy dust. It may seem odd that this Aus­trian economist refers to fairies, but I got the term from Paul Krugman.

According to Krugman, too many people place false hopes in what he calls the “Confidence Fairy,” a creature created as a retort to economist Robert Higgs’s concept of “regime uncertainty.” Higgs coined that expression in a 1997 paper on the Great Depression in which he claimed that uncertainty caused by the policies of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was a major factor in the Great Depression being so very, very long.

Nonsense, writes Krugman. Investors are not waiting for governments to “get their financial houses in order” and protect private property. Instead, he claims, investors are waiting for governments to spend in order to create enough “aggregate demand” in the economy to bring about new investments and, one hopes, full employment.

Continue reading »

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Jun 27

- Paul Krugman the Marxist (Ludwig von Mises Insitute, June 24, 2013):

Someone once wrote that criticizing economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is the internet’s favorite pastime. I, too, have engaged in the sport – with no success of changing what Robert Higgs calls the “vulgar Keynesianism” that dirties the Grey Lady’s editorial page. To the betterment of my pride, nobody else has had much luck in the arena of ideas either. Krugman continues to carry the torch of excuses for the Democratic Party while lampooning the bigoted, racist, old, white, and rich GOP.All along, the Princeton prof has stayed true to the cause of aggressive government action to forestall the downtrodden economy. Large fiscal expenditures, aggressive monetary stimulus, increased legal privileges for organized labor, and boosting the degree of state pillaging – Krugman is the caricature of a tyrannical apologizer who will defend the cause of rampant statism at any cost. He has been accused of being a communist, socialist, a Democratic shill, and every other leftist insult that might exist. Much of this is done in a tongue-and-cheek style. Still, the underlying charge of Krugman being a vehement statist willing to justify any and all government action remains accurate. Basically, there is little activity Uncle Sam could do that he wouldn’t approve of.

But now, it appears Krugman has gone overboard with his progressive moaning. In a recent column, he laments, once again, over the fact that some people make more money than others. The wealth inequality canard – which is favored by every leftist under the sun – has become a tiresome ploy at this point. I think Krugman knows this, so he proceeds to justify his indignation by bringing some new evidence into the mix. Now things start getting interesting.

Continue reading »

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Jun 10


YouTube

- Ron Paul: It’s Going to Get Much, Much Worse (Peak Prosperity, June 10,2013):

Dr. Ron Paul has long been a leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, civil liberty, and non-interventionist foreign policies.

His last term in the U.S. House of Representatives ended earlier this year, so we caught up with the former Congressman to get his latest perspective on how successfully our national leadership is dealing with America’s economic challenges.

In Dr. Paul’s assessment, Washington is too committed to deficit spending and the debt-based economy – both operationally and philosophically – to expect it to embrace a more fiscally-responsible model without a forcing crisis (which he believes is coming): Continue reading »

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Jun 03

From the article:

“Since Mr. Krugman tells us all this spending and debt issuance/guarantees are not only good and necessary but in the long run, painless, why are we bothering with personal income taxes?

The US government will collect approximately $2.0bn this year in Personal Income and Payroll taxes.  But why?  Why are we even bothering with this when today’s leading economists and politicians are telling us that debts/deficits don’t matter and running up astronomical debts is a long-term painless process?  It’s practically patriotic.  So why shouldn’t we just add our tax burden to the list of items the Fed should be monetizing?  Seriously.  Why not relieve the burden on every tax paying citizen in the United States (about 53% of us according to Mitt Romney)?  You want an economic recovery?  Reduce my taxes to zero and see how fast I go out and start spending some of that extra income.”


- Thought Experiment: Why Do We Bother Paying Personal Taxes? (ZeroHedge, June 3, 2013):

Submitted by Lucas Jackson

Thought Experiment: Why Do We Bother Paying Personal Taxes?

“Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way.”
- Chris Lowe

I will admit right up front, I am not a fan of the views of Paul Krugman.  If Paul Krugman was to be given his way – and by and large he is being given his way – my children and grandchildren will be burdened in the future with paying back untold amounts of public debt just so his life and the lives of countless other Boomers can remain comfortable and embarrassment free today.

This is the essence of his grand plan for a US recovery – MOAR and MOAR debt.

Wow.  Genius.  Why I didn’t I think of that?  Just keep borrowing and printing, borrowing and printing.  Got it.  Now that I understand it, do I get a PhD?

Who’s going to pay the money back?  How will it effect future generations?  How will it effect the markets?  What will this do to civil society?

Continue reading »

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May 23

- Four Signs That We’re Back in Dangerous Bubble Territory (Peak Prosperity, May 21, 2013):

Stocks, bonds – everything – at risk

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Apr 16

- Paul Krugman Goes on the Attack: Calls Bitcoin “Antisocial (Liberty Blitzkrieg, April 15, 2013):

Anyone on the fence with regard to Bitcoin should consider coming to the side of supporting it after reading Paul Krugman’s ridiculous and riddled with errors hit-piece in the New York Times this weekend.  The key tipoff as to where he is coming from in this absurd editorial is in the title itself in which he calls Bitcoin an “antisocial network.”  Anti-social is one of the most favored collectivist/fascist terms and concepts of all time.  A term meant to demonize those in a particular society that think for themselves rather than conform to whatever the oligarchs or dictators in charge of the state deem appropriate or “social.”  Jews would have been seen as “antisocial” in Nazi Germany, just as anyone with glasses would have been deemed “antisocial” in Pol Pot’s Cambodia.  This is a very dangerous term and one that is intended to guilt people into the acceptance of a stale, authoritarian and conformist society.

Now let’s get to some of the more ridiculous passages from his editorial.  From the New York Times:

The economic significance of this roller coaster was basically nil. But the furor over bitcoin was a useful lesson in the ways people misunderstand money — and in particular how they are misled by the desire to divorce the value of money from the society it serves.

The similarity to goldbug rhetoric isn’t a coincidence, since goldbugs and bitcoin enthusiasts — bitbugs? — tend to share both libertarian politics and the belief that governments are vastly abusing their power to print money. At the same time, it’s very peculiar, since bitcoins are in a sense the ultimate fiat currency, with a value conjured out of thin air. Gold’s value comes in part because it has nonmonetary uses, such as filling teeth and making jewelry; paper currencies have value because they’re backed by the power of the state, which defines them as legal tender and accepts them as payment for taxes. Bitcoins, however, derive their value, if any, purely from self-fulfilling prophecy, the belief that other people will accept them as payment.

This paragraph is so riddled with blatant errors it is almost difficult to know where to start.   Continue reading »

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Mar 14

- Denial Is Not Just A River In Egypt: 10 Hilarious Examples Of How Clueless Our Leaders Are About The Economy (Economic Collapse, March 13, 2013):

They didn’t see it coming last time either.  Back in 2007, President Bush, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and just about every prominent voice in the financial world were all predicting that we would experience tremendous economic prosperity well into the future.  In fact, as late as January 2008 Bernanke boldly declared that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”  At the time, only the “doom and gloomers” were warning that everything was about to fall apart.  And of course we all know what happened.  But just a few short years later, history seems to be repeating itself.  Barack Obama, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and almost every prominent voice in the financial world are all promising that the U.S. “economic recovery” is going to continue even though Europe is coming apart like a 20 dollar suit.  But the economic fundamentals tell a different story.  Our national debt is more than $6,000,000,000,000 larger than it was back in 2008, the number of Americans on food stamps just hit another brand new all-time record, and the bankers up on Wall Street are selling gigantic mountains of the exact same kind of toxic derivatives that caused so much trouble the last time around.  But all of our “leaders” swear that everything is going to be okay.  You can believe them if you want, but denial is not just a river in Egypt, and another crash is inevitably coming.

Continue reading »

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Feb 17

- Currency Wars Are Trade Wars (Azizonomics, Feb 16, 2013):

Paul Krugman is all for currency wars, but not trade wars:

First of all, what people think they know about past currency wars isn’t actually true. Everyone uses some combination phrase like “protectionism and competitive devaluation” to describe the supposed vicious circle of the 1930s, but as Barry Eichengreen has pointed out many times, these really don’t go together. If country A and country B engage in a tit-for-tat of tariffs, the end result is restricted trade; if they each try to push their currency down, the end result is at worst to leave everyone back where they started.

And in reality the stuff that’s now being called “currency wars” is almost surely a net plus for the world economy. In the 1930s this was because countries threw off their golden fetters — they left the gold standard and this freed them to pursue expansionary monetary policies. Today that’s not the issue; but what Japan, the US, and the UK are doing is in fact trying to pursue expansionary monetary policy, with currency depreciation as a byproduct.

There is a serious intellectual error here, typical of much of the recent discussion of this issue. A currency war is by definition a low-level form of a trade war because currencies are internationally traded commodities. The intent (and there is much circumstantial evidence to suggest that Japan at least is acting with mercantilist intent, but that is another story for another day) is not relevant — currency depreciation is currency depreciation and still has the same effects on creditors and trade partners, whatever the claimed intent. Continue reading »

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Feb 11

You can’t make this stuff up!


- Paul Krugman: “We Should Kick The Can Down The Road. It’s The Responsible Thing To Do” (ZeroHedge, Feb 9, 2013):

The below article, recreated in its grotesque entirety, is a real, serious Op-Ed written by a supposedly real, non page-view trolling, Nobel-prize winning economist, in a serious paper, the New York Times. It can be classified with one word: jaw-dropping.We can only hope that some time in the next five years, when the global economy is in ashes following the implosion of the final central bank bubble, that the US department of injustice will prosecute authors of such drivel (and all those sell-side analysts who have had Buy recommendations in the 2009-2013 period) with the same ferocity it has demonstrated toward those US-downgrading rating agencies, which are now supposed to be solely accountable for the Second Great Depression and the $30 trillion or so in misallocated capital in the past five years.

Kick That Can

By Paul Krugman

John Boehner, the speaker of the House, claims to be exasperated. “At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”

Continue reading »

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Feb 09

- Currency Wars Often Lead to Trade Wars … Which In Turn Can Devolve Into Hot Wars (ZeroHedge, Feb 8, 2013):

Currency War → Trade War → Hot War?

According to numerous high-level insiders, the global currency war is accelerating: Continue reading »

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Jan 26

- Taleb On “Skin In The Game” And His Disdain For Public Intellectuals (ZeroHedge, Jan 26, 2013):

Nassim Taleb sits down for a quite extensive interview based around his new book Anti-Fragile. Whether the Black Swan best-seller is philosopher or trader is up to you but the discussion is worth the time as Taleb wonders rigorously from the basic tenets of capitalism – “being more about disincentives that incentives” as failure (he believes) is critical to its success (and is clearly not allowed in our current environment) – to his intellectual influences (and total disdain for the likes of Krugman, Stiglitz, and Friedman – who all espouse grandiose and verbose work with no accountability whatsoever). His fears of large centralized states (such as the US is becoming and Europe is become) being prone to fail along with his libertarianism make for good viewing. However, his fundamental premise that TBTF banks should be nationalized and the critical importance of ‘skin in the game’ for a functioning financial system are all so crucial for the current ‘do no harm’ regime in which we live. Grab a beer (or glass of wine, it is Taleb) and watch…

Via Redmond Weissenberger of the Ludwig von Mises Institute Of Canada,

A must see interview with Nassim Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a former trader and hedge fund manager, a best-selling author, and a ground-breaking theorist on risk and resilience.

Taleb drew wide attention after the 2007 publication of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, which warned that our institutions and risk models aren’t designed to account for rare and catastrophic events. Among other things, the book cautioned that oversized and unaccountable banks using flawed investment models could bring on a financial crisis. He also warned that the government-sanctioned housing finance agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were sitting on a “barrel of dynamite.”

One year after The Black Swan was published, a global banking crisis was brought on by the very factors he identified. Continue reading »

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Jan 21

- The Coming Debt Limit Drama: Government Wins, We Lose (Ron Paul, January 21, 2013):

Last week President Obama bluntly warned Congress that he will not negotiate when it comes to raising the statutory debt limit.  If Republicans attempt to use a debt ceiling vote to win concessions on spending from the White House, Mr. Obama threatens simply to raise the limit by executive order or other unilateral action.

This is business as usual in Washington.  Democrats literally do not believe we have a deficit and debt problem, and reliably propose greater borrowing and spending.  Republicans talk a good game when it comes to government debt, but have no credibility to argue against deficits or abuses of executive power.  Brinksmanship ensues, and ugly compromises are reached at the 11th hour.  We all lose as the endless borrowing and money printing further erode our dollar and our economy.

Continue reading »

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Dec 30

FYI.

From the article:

“The US annual budget deficit has almost tripled under Obama, from $450bn in 2008 to $1,200bn this year.”

“America’s national debt is now around $16,000bn, two-thirds higher than when Obama was first elected. In 2008, US government debt was 70pc of GDP. Now it is 102pc.”

“Debt growth at that pace simply cannot go on.”


“If fiscal and monetary stimulus worked, Japan wouldn’t have spent the past 20 years in and out of recession and now be shouldering a debt to GDP ratio of 250pc.”

“If printing money worked, Zimbabwe would be in the G7.”


- The US ‘cliff’ – one small part of a huge debt crisis (Telegraph, Dec 29, 2012):

So here we are, at the turn of the year, with the global economy tottering on the edge of America’s fiscal cliff.

What’s kept springing to my mind over the holiday season is the final scene of The Italian Job – the iconic 1969 original, not the tacky 2003 remake.

“Hang on a minute, lads,” says heistmaster-in-chief, Charlie Croker, as he and his merry band of crooks balance precariously in a bus on the edge of an Alpine cliff. “I’ve got a great idea.”

The Italian Job’s cliff-hanger finale is all make-believe. A brilliant film ends, we marvel at Michael Caine’s acting genius, the credits roll and then we get up and make some tea.

Real-world predicaments aren’t so easy.

Continue reading »

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Dec 28

- Top Ten Reasons Why Fiat Currency Is Superior To Gold (Or Silver) Money (The Daily Capitalist, Dec 27, 2012):

By John Butler, on December 27th, 2012

In the spirit of the holidays and hope for a more prosperous 2013, I thought my readers might appreciate a little humour to partially offset the relentless doom and gloom associated with the Amphora Report. So please, don’t take this edition too seriously. But if you happen to stumble across a ‘paperbug’ or two over the holidays, perhaps you could share some of the points made here. Humour sometimes helps people realise just how hopelessly misguided they are. Cheers!


Number 10: There Is Not Enough Gold (Or Silver) In The World To Serve As Money

Let’s begin with the obvious. We know that central banks the world over have printed money at exponentially growing rates for years. There is now so much paper and electronic money floating around the world that gold (or silver) can not possibly be expected to keep up. You can’t print gold, after all, you need to find it, dig it out of the ground, refine it, etc, a hugely expensive and time-consuming process which practically ensures a stable rather than exponentially growing supply of the stuff. Continue reading »

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Dec 14

- Marc Faber: “Paul Krugman Should Go And Live In North Korea” (ZeroHedge, Dec 13, 2012):

If there is one thing better than Marc Faber providing a free, must-watch (and listen) 50 minute lecture on virtually everything that has transpired in the end days of modern capitalism, starting with who caused it, adjustable rate mortgages, leverage, why did the Fed let Lehman fail, why was AIG bailed out, quantitative easing, Operation Twist, where the interest on the debt is going, which bubbles he is most concerned about, a discussion of gold and silver, and culminating with his views on a world reserve currency, is him saying the following: “The views of the Keynesians like Mr. Krugman is that the fiscal deficits are far too small. One of the problems of the crisis is that it was caused by government intervention with fiscal and monetary measures. Now they tells us we didn’t intervene enough. If they really believe that they should go and live in North Korea where you have a communist system. There the government intervenes into every aspect of the economy. And look at the economic performance of North Korea.” Priceless.

50 minutes of Faberian bliss:


YouTube

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Nov 05


YouTube Added: 02.11.2012

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Oct 31

By Mike Stathis

Mike Stathis holds a Master’s of Science in biological chemistry and biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania and was formerly a National Science Foundation research fellow at U.C. Berkeley. Mike serves as the Chief Investment Strategist of AVA Investment Analytics. As the only expert who predicted the financial apocalypse in detail, Mike has been a valuable source of guidance for investors, helping them to navigate the real estate and banking crisis, as well as the resulting global economic collapse. The accuracy of his predictions has positioned him as one of America’s most insightful and creative financial experts. He is the author of America’s Healthcare Solution, The Wall Street Investment Bible, America’s Financial Apocalypse, Cashing in on the Real Estate Bubble, America’s Financial Apocalypse, and The Startup Company Bible for Entrepreneurs.

From the article:

“Washington does not want Americans to understand the real economic problems facing their nation because it’s all about maximizing corporate profits at any expense, as one would expect from a fascist government. This is specifically why profits have remained near record-highs throughout the current recession, now entering its 59th month.”

- The truth about America’s jobless rate (PressTV, Oct 30, 2012):

In many respects, much if not all of the economic gains made in the United States from the past decade have been wiped out due to Wall Street malfeasance. Looking forward, I expect America to lose at least another decade.

While some of the economic turmoil is certainly due to the biggest real estate collapse in US history, a much larger portion is the result of the weak job market which is likely to persist for a number of years.
Although the real estate market appears to have bottomed, you should not expect anything other than a very gradual rise from here. In the absence of bubble conditions, the rate of real estate appreciation generally tracks that of inflation.

The biggest lift to the real estate market would come from lasting improvements in the job market. Thus, it is important to identify the real reasons for the persistently high unemployment rate so that adequate solutions can be designed. If the factors accounting for the continued weakness in the labor market are not addressed, America stands a good chance to lose much more than a decade. Continue reading »

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Oct 27

‘The Bernank’ is just a meaningless puppet.


- David Einhorn Explains How Ben Bernanke Is Destroying America (ZeroHedge, Oct 26, 2012):

David Einhorn knocks it out of the park with his very first statement during today’s Buttonwood Gathering, in a segment dedicated to one thing only: explaining how the Fed’s policies are not only not helping the economy, they are now actively destroying this country.

“Sometimes you have to look at what is the base assumption. because sometimes you have a groupthink around the base assumption and everybody agrees to the same thing and acts reflexively and doesn’t really challenge what is going on. I think we have reached that point with the monetary policy. The assumption is that if you want the economy to improve, if you want more jobs, if you want more consumption, what we need is ever-easing monetary policy. My point is that if one jelly donut is a fine thing to have, 35 jelly donuts is not a fine thing to have, and it gets to a point where it’s not a question of diminishing returns but it actually turns out to be a drag. I think we have passed the point where incremental easing of Federal policy actually acts as a headwind to the economy and is actually slowing down our recovery, and I am alarmed by the reflexive groupthink of the leaders which is if we want a stronger economy, we need lower rates, we need more QE and other such measures.”

And that, in a nutshell is it: everything else follows. Continue reading »

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Sep 14

- Quote Of The Day: QE3 Should Have Been “More Stronger” (ZeroHedge, Sep 14, 2012):

A $4 trillion Fed balance sheet in 15 months (40% increase) and guess who is not happy. Yup, you got it.

From Bloomberg:

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman said that the third round of Federal Reserve asset purchases announced yesterday may be too small of a stimulus for the struggling U.S. economy.

The Princeton University economist, speaking at an event in Sao Paulo today, said that the Ben S. Bernanke’s pledge to buy $40 billion of mortgage debt a month could’ve included a commitment to maintain the asset purchase program for an extended period of time or until the unemployment rate falls to a targeted level.

“The change in tone is important but I would have liked a more stronger [sic] statement,” Krugman said. “It leaves things a bit unclear.”

When one hears such brilliance, what can one say but… Krugman.

And as a reminder

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Jul 19

- This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied – The Sequel (ZeroHedge, July 19, 2012):

Two years ago, in January 2010, Zero Hedge wrote “This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied” which became one of our most read stories of the year. The reason? Perhaps something to do with an implicit attempt at capital controls by the government on one of the primary forms of cash aggregation available: $2.7 trillion in US money market funds. The proximal catalyst back then were new proposed regulations seeking to pull one of these three core pillars (these being no volatility, instantaneous liquidity, and redeemability) from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7. A key proposal would give money market fund managers the option to “suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets.” In other words: an attempt to prevent money market runs (the same thing that crushed Lehman when the Reserve Fund broke the buck). This idea, which previously had been implicitly backed by the all important Group of 30 which is basically the shadow central planners of the world (don’t believe us? check out the roster of current members), did not get too far, and was quickly forgotten. Until today, when the New York Fed decided to bring it back from the dead by publishing “The Minimum Balance At Risk: A Proposal to Mitigate the Systemic Risks Posed by Money Market FUnds“. Now it is well known that any attempt to prevent a bank runs achieves nothing but merely accelerating just that (as Europe recently learned). But this coming from central planners – who never can accurately predict a rational response – is not surprising. What is surprising is that this proposal is reincarnated now. The question becomes: why now? What does the Fed know about market liquidity conditions that it does not want to share, and more importantly, is the Fed seeing a rapid deterioration in liquidity conditions in the future, that may and/or will prompt retail investors to pull their money in another Lehman-like bank run repeat?

Here is how the Fed frames the problem in the abstract: Continue reading »

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Jul 10

- The Ultimate Krugman Take-Down (ZeroHedge, July 9, 2012):

Forget Ali – Frazier; ignore Santelli – Liesman; dismiss Yankees – Red Sox; never mind Silva – Sonnen; the new undisputed standard by which all showdowns will be judged happened in Spain over the weekend. During a debate on Europe’s crisis, Pedro Schwartz (a mild-mannered Spanish ‘Austrian’ economics professor) took on the heavyweight Paul ‘I coulda been a Fed Chair contender’ Krugman, and – in our humble opinion – wiped the floor with his Keynesian philosophy. From the medicinal use of more debt to fix too much debt, to the Japanization of world economies and the demand-side bias of every- and any-thing – interested only in the short-term economic growth; the gentlemanly Spaniard notes, with regard to the European crisis, the fact that “Keynesians got us into this mess and now we have to sacrifice our principals so that they can get us out of this mess”. Humble and generous in his praise – though definitively serious with his criticism – Schwartz opines: “Often Nobel prize winners are tempted to pontificate on matters that are outside the specialty in which they have excelled,” noting “the mantle of authority whereby what ever they say – whether sensible or not – is accepted with resignation from some and enthusiasm by others.” Krugman’s red-faced anger is evident at the conclusion as he even refused to shake Schwartz’s hand after the debate.

For 15 minutes of both education and entertainment – this is as good as it gets…

  • Starting from around 35:00 the Spanish professor praises and criticizes in a thoughtful and gentle tone
  • At around 39:00, he addresses the demand-side description of the world
  • Krugman’s less-than-happy response (which sparks quite a rowdy argument) begins around 48:20


YouTube

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May 15

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Feb 24

- ‘Gold Bullion or Cash’ Shows Buffett, Roubini, Krugman Mistaken; Faber, Rogers, Bass, Einhorn, Gross Correct (ZeroHedge, Feb. 25, 2012)

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Aug 16

Flashback:

- The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente’s Dire Warning For The World

- Gerald Celente Special Trend Alert: The 1st Great War of 21st Century Has Begun!


- Letter to George Washington, Regarding Paul Krugman (Gonzalo Lira, August 16, 2011):

I wrote a letter to George Washington, the pseudonym for a well-known finance and economics blogger, with regards to a blog post he wrote on August 15.

The letter might sound a bit like score-settling—but there is a serious point to it, a point that applies to both the Left and the Right. So be patient.

Here is my letter to him in full, with a few light editorial touch-ups:

Hi GW,

It’s been so long!

I’ve been skiing like a madman down here in Chile—but I did catch something you wrote, which I’d like to comment on, now that a blizzard has hit the slopes and I’m stuck inside with not much to do.

You wrote a post yesterday, picked up by Zero Hedge and others, pointing out that Paul Krugman is advocating war as a fiscal stimulus solution.

Continue reading »

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Jan 05

Must-read! Don’t miss to take a close look at the members of the the Group of Thirty!


When Henry Paulson publishes his long-awaited memoirs, the one section that will be of most interest to readers, will be the former Goldmanite and Secretary of the Treasury’s recollection of what, in his opinion, was the most unpredictable and dire consequence of letting Lehman fail (letting his former employer become the number one undisputed Fixed Income trading entity in the world was quite predictable… plus we doubt it will be a major topic of discussion in Hank’s book). We would venture to guess that the Reserve money market fund breaking the buck will be at the very top of the list, as the ensuing “run on the electronic bank” was precisely the 21st century equivalent of what happened to banks in physical form, during the early days of the Geat Depression. Had the lack of confidence in the system persisted for a few more hours, the entire financial world would have likely collapsed, as was so vividly recalled by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, once a barrage of electronic cash withdrawal requests depleted this primary spoke of the entire shadow economy. Ironically, money market funds are supposed to be the stalwart of safety and security among the plethora of global investment alternatives: one need only to look at their returns to see what the presumed composition of their investments is. A case in point, Fidelity’s $137 billion Cash Reserves fund has a return of 0.61% YTD, truly nothing to write home about, and a return that would have been easily beaten putting one’s money in Treasury Bonds. This is not surprising, as the primary purpose of money markets is to provide virtually instantaneous access to a portfolio of practically risk-free investment alternatives: a typical investor in a money market seeks minute investment risk, no volatility, and instantaneous liquidity, or redeemability. These are the three pillars upon which the entire $3.3 trillion money market industry is based.

Yet new regulations proposed by the administration, and specifically by the ever-incompetent Securities and Exchange Commission, seek to pull one of these three core pillars from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7. A key proposal in the overhaul of money market regulation suggests that money market fund managers will have the option tosuspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets. You read that right: this does not refer to the charter of procyclical, leveraged, risk-ridden, transsexual (allegedly) portfolio manager-infested hedge funds like SAC, Citadel, Glenview or even Bridgewater (which in light of ADIA’s latest batch of problems, may well be wishing this was in fact the case), but the heart of heretofore assumed safest and most liquid of investment options: Money Market funds, which account for nearly 40% of all investment company assets. The next time there is a market crash, and you try to withdraw what you thought was “absolutely” safe money, a back office person will get back to you saying, Sorry – your money is now frozen. Bank runs have become illegal. This is precisely the regulation now proposed by the administration. In essence, the entire US capital market is now a hedge fund, where even presumably the safest investment tranche can be locked out from within your control when the ubiquitous “extraordinary circumstances” arise. The second the game of constant offer-lifting ends, and money markets are exposed for the ponzi investment proxies they are, courtesy of their massive holdings of Treasury Bills, Reverse Repos, Commercial Paper, Agency Paper, CD, finance company MTNs and, of course, other money markets, and you decide to take your money out, well – sorry, you are out of luck. It’s the law.

A brief primer on money markets

A very succinct explanation of what money markets are was provided by none other than SEC’s Luis Aguilar on June 24, 2009, when he was presenting the case for making even the possibility of money market runs a thing of the past. To wit:

Money market funds were founded nearly 40 years ago. And, as is well known, one of the hallmarks of money market funds is their ability to maintain a stable net asset value – typically at a dollar per share.

In the time they have been around, money market funds have grown enormously – from $180 billion in 1983 (when Rule 2a-7 was first adopted), to $1.4 trillion at the end of 1998, to approximately $3.8 trillion at the end of 2008, just ten years later. The Release in front of us sets forth a number of informative statistics but a few that are of particular interest are the following: today, money market funds account for approximately 39% of all investment company assets; about 80% of all U.S. companies use money market funds in managing their cash balances; and about 20% of the cash balances of all U.S. households are held in money market funds. Clearly, money market funds have become part of the fabric by which families, and companies manage their financial affairs. Continue reading »

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Nov 28

Update:

- Dubai World Unit Faces Default Test Monday With Bond Payment (Wall Street Journal):

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–Debt-laden Dubai World’s unit Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, or Jafza, faces on Monday a coupon payment on a 7.5 billion U.A.E dirham ($2.04 billion) Islamic bond in the first key test of whether it will default.

- Abu Dhabi to aid Dubai “case by case”: official (Reuters):

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and one of the world’s top oil exporters, will “pick and choose” how to assist its debt-laden neighbor Dubai, a senior Abu Dhabi official said on Saturday.

“We will look at Dubai’s commitments and approach them on a case-by-case basis. It does not mean that Abu Dhabi will underwrite all of their debts,” the official told Reuters by telephone.

- Japanese banks’ exposure to Dubai at JPY100 bln -Nikkei (Reuters):

Nov 28 (Reuters) – Japanese financial institutions, including three major banks, face loan exposures of about 100 billion yen ($1.16 billion) in Dubai, the Nikkei business daily said.

- Dubai debt woes may hit U.S. property market (Reuters):

“This downturn has had more of a global impact,” said Tony Ciochetti, chairman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Real Estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Dubai may have to unload some very prestigious properties at distressed prices and this will drive the price of all commercial real estate lower,” wrote Richard Bove, a banking analyst at Rochdale Securities in Lutz, Florida.


the-atlantis-hotel-in-dubai
The Atlantis hotel in Dubai.

Dubai or not Dubai — that is the question. Dubai’s sorta-kinda default (a state-owned enterprise seeking a rescheduling of its debts) is, by itself, not that big of a deal. But who else looks like Dubai? What kind of omen is this for the next stage in the financial crisis?

As far as I can tell, there are three ways to look at it — three stories, if you like, about what Dubai means.

First, there’s the view that this is the beginning of many sovereign defaults, and that we’re now seeing the end of the ability of governments to use deficit spending to fight the slump. That’s the view being suggested, if I understand correctly, by the Roubini people and in a softer version by Gillian Tett.

Alternatively, you can see this as basically just another commercial real estate bust. Either you view Dubai World as nothing special, despite sovereign ownership, as Willem Buiter does; or you think of the emirate as a whole as, in effect, a highly leveraged CRE investor facing the same problems as many others in the same situation.

Finally, you can see Dubai as sui generis. And really, there has been nothing else quite like it.

At the moment, I’m leaning to a combination of two and three. For what it’s worth (not much), US bond prices are up right now, suggesting that the Dubai thing hasn’t raised expectations of default.

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