Category Archives: Amerca

U.S. Producer Prices Fell in December

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U.S. producer prices fell in December, adding to fears over the sluggish inflation outlook, according to official data released on Thursday.

The Labor Department said that the producer price index fell 0.1% last month.

In the 12 months through December, the PPI rose 2.6%.

Economist had expected the PPI to increase by 0.2% last month and by 3.0% from a year earlier.

Core PP, a gauge of underlying producer price pressures that excludes food and energy costs also fell by 0.1% last month and rose by 2.3% on a year-over-year basis.

Economists had forecast the core PPI increasing by 0.2% last month and by 2.5% from a year earlier.

Core prices are viewed by the Federal Reserve as a better gauge of longer-term inflationary pressure because they exclude the volatile food and energy categories.

Furthermore, when producers pay more for goods, they are more likely to pass price increases on to the consumer, so PPI could be considered a leading indicator of inflation.

The dollar remained lower against a basket of currencies on the data, with the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, down 0.4% at 91.74.

* * *

Wait, what?

You mean currency debasement doesn’t cause inflation in a flat economy?

So, why are we paying income taxes when they can just print money?

Source: Investing.com

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Why A Scathing Wall Street Is Furious At The Trump Tax Plan

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Back in October 2016, the “millionaire, billionaire, private jet owners” of America’s elitist, liberal mega-cities (A.K.A. New York and San Francisco) celebrated the tax hikes that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have undoubtedly jammed down their throats proclaiming them to be a ‘patriotic duty’.  Unfortunately, now that Trump has given them exactly what they apparently wanted…an amazing opportunity to ‘spread their wealth around”…they’re suddenly feeling a lot less patriotic. 

Of course, as we’ve noted numerous times, while most people across the country and across the income spectrum will benefit from the Republican tax reform package, the folks who stand to lose are those living in high-tax states with expensive real estate as their SALT, mortgage interest and property tax deductions will suddenly be capped.  And, as Bloomberg points out today, that has a lot of Wall Street Traders in New York drowning their sorrows in expensive vodka and considering a move to Florida.

One trader, sipping a Bloody Mary on a morning flight to somewhere more tropical, said he’s going to stop registering as a Republican. En route, he sent more than a dozen text messages ripping the tax bill.

A pair of hedge fund managers said the tax bill is too tilted toward corporations, rather than individuals who should get more relief.

“My clients are hard-working young professionals on Wall Street. I don’t have a lot of good news for them,” said Douglas Boneparth, a financial adviser in lower Manhattan who counsels people throughout the industry. Most are coming to terms with it. “I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised by the economic reality.”

“This provides a clear incentive for financial advisers to go independent,” said Louis Diamond of Diamond Consultants. “We’re hearing from a lot of clients on this; it’s just another reason why it makes a ton of sense, economically, to become self-employed.”

Of course, as we pointed out recently (see: Here’s An Interactive Map Of Which Housing Markets Get Hit The Most By The GOP Tax Bill), tax reform will likely be a double-whammy for wealthy bankers in New York and tech titans in San Francisco as their fancy McMansions may also take a pricing hit.

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But, not everyone is furious. After all, there are still some tax goodies for New Yorkers such as a higher threshold for the alternative minimum tax, and a drop in the top marginal rate to 37% from 39.6%. 

As an example, Mike Dean, a broker in New York for TP ICAP Plc, is keeping a positive attitude saying “It’s going to hurt, obviously” but he sees the higher taxes as tantamount to “making an investment in the future of the economy.”

Still others are considering a move to lower-taxed states like Florida and Texas which, as Todd Morgan, chairman of Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles notes, sounds like a great idea right to the point that you realize that actually entails uprooting your entire family and starting a whole new life in a different part of the country… something that generally doesn’t go over well with teenage kids…“If you’re already rich why would you move to another state and live a different life just to save some money on taxes?  What are you going to do with the money? Buy more clothes? Eat more food?”

Source: ZeroHedge

How GDP Became A Joke, In One Chart


For all the rhetoric about above-trend US growth,
one month ago UBS shattered the narrative of surging GDP by showing just one chart, which revealed that excluding contributions from energy investment, which are about to hit a brick wall now that the price of oil has peaked and is reverting lower once again, US growth for the past 2 years has been slowing.

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On the other hand, things get even more complicated thanks to a chart released yesterday by UBS’ global chief economist Paul Donovan who makes a point we have repeatedly underscored over the past decade, namely that economic data is largely worthless, and any instant snapshot reveals more about the political and “goal seeking” climate of the agency releasing the “data” than about the underlying economy itself.

As Donovan shows, here are the no less than 6 answers one gets to the question of “how fast was the US growing at the start of 2015?.”

By way of context, recall that this was the quarter when the US was blanketed by deep snow, and when every “expert” was rushing to convince those who bothered to listen that the economy would suffer a sharp slowdown as a result of the weather and nothing but the weather (and yes, that included UBS). And when the number was first reported, that was indeed the case: with Q1 2015 GDP reportedly growing only 0.2%. The problem is that within just over a year, that 0.2% initial GDP print turned to -0.7%, before subsequently surging to 2% and ultimately 3.2%!

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Here is the sarcastic take of UBS’ own chief economist on this GDP travesty, which is even more sarcastic  – and ironic – considering his entire job is to predict the exact number associated with said travesty:

Economic data is not very precise. Economists are trying to hit a target that is moving rapidly. Economic data is being revised more often, and the revisions are larger than in the past. The following chart shows annualized US GDP growth in the first quarter of 2015.

Growth was initially reported very weak, below consensus and barely moving. Then the data was revised to show the US economy was shrinking – and shrinking a lot (the number was –0.7% annualized). Then it was revised to show the economy was shrinking a bit. Then it was revised to show the economy was growing, but a long way below trend growth.

The growth number was then revised to be basically in line with trend growth. Now, US growth at the start of 2015 is thought to be 3.2%.

So which number in the range of –0.7% to 3.2% is the economist supposed to be forecasting? An economist predicting 3.2% growth when the data was first released would have been ridiculed. According to the latest information we have, that economist would have been right.

In other words, that terrible weather which at the time was used to justify why the economy ground to a halt – when in reality it was all a function of China’s credit impulse crashing – would eventually serve as a the catalyst to grow the economy at a pace that has been recorded on just a handful of occasions in the past decade.

No wonder then economists – especially those who work at the Fed but all of them really – their predictions and their analyses have become the butt of all jokes; and by implication, no wonder traders and algos no longer respond to economic “data.”

Source: ZeroHedge

Russia, China, India Unveil New Gold Trading Network

One of the most notable events in Russia’s precious metals market calendar is the annual “Russian Bullion Market” conference. Formerly known as the Russian Bullion Awards, this conference, now in its 10th year, took place this year on Friday 24 November in Moscow. Among the speakers lined up, the most notable inclusion was probably Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s central bank, the Bank of Russia.

In his speech, Shvetsov provided an update on an important development involving the Russian central bank in the worldwide gold market, and gave further insight into the continued importance of physical gold to the long term economic and strategic interests of the Russian Federation.

Firstly, in his speech Shvetsov confirmed that the BRICS group of countries are now in discussions to establish their own gold trading system. As a reminder, the 5 BRICS countries comprise the Russian Federation, China, India, South Africa and Brazil.

Four of these nations are among the world’s major gold producers, namely, China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil. Furthermore, two of these nations are the world’s two largest importers and consumers of physical gold, namely, China and Russia. So what these economies have in common is that they all major players in the global physical gold market.

Shvetsov envisages the new gold trading system evolving via bilateral connections between the BRICS member countries, and as a first step Shvetsov reaffirmed that the Bank of Russia has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China (see below) on developing a joint trading system for gold, and that the first implementation steps in this project will begin in 2018.

Interestingly, the Bank of Russia first deputy chairman also discounted the traditional dominance of London and Switzerland in the gold market, saying that London and the Swiss trading operations are becoming less relevant in today’s world. He also alluded to new gold pricing benchmarks arising out of this BRICS gold trading cooperation.

BRICS cooperation in the gold market, especially between Russia and China, is not exactly a surprise, because it was first announced in April 2016 by Shvetsov himself when he was on a visit to China.

At the time Shvetsov, as reported by TASS in Russian, and translated here, said:

“We (the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the People’s Bank of China) discussed gold trading. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are major economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of the precious metal. In China, gold is traded in Shanghai, and in Russia in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between these cities so as to intensify gold trading between our markets.”

Also as a reminder, earlier this year in March, the Bank of Russia opened its first foreign representative office, choosing the location as Beijing in China. At the time, the Bank of Russia portrayed the move as a step towards greater cooperation between Russia and China on all manner of financial issues, as well as being a strategic partnership between the Bank of Russia and the People’s bank of China.

The Memorandum of Understanding on gold trading between the Bank of Russia and the People’s Bank of China that Shvetsov referred to was actually signed in September of this year when deputy governors of the two central banks jointly chaired an inter-country meeting on financial cooperation in the Russian city of Sochi, location of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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Deputy Governors of the People’s Bank of China and Bank of Russia sign Memorandum on Gold Trading, Sochi, September 2017. Photo: Bank of Russia

National Security and Financial Terrorism

At the Moscow bullion market conference last week, Shvetsov also explained that the Russian State’s continued accumulation of official gold reserves fulfills the goal of boosting the Russian Federation’s national security. Given this statement, there should really be no doubt that the Russian State views gold as both as an important monetary asset and as a strategic geopolitical asset which provides a source of wealth and monetary power to the Russian Federation independent of external financial markets and systems.

And in what could either be a complete coincidence, or a coordinated update from another branch of the Russian monetary authorities, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov also appeared in public last weekend, this time on Sunday night on a discussion program on Russian TV channel “Russia 1”.

Siluanov’s discussion covered the Russian government budget and sanctions against the Russian Federation, but he also pronounced on what would happen in a situation where a foreign power attempted to seize Russian gold and foreign exchange reserves. According to Interfax, and translated here into English, Siluanov said that:

“If our gold and foreign currency reserves were ever seized, even if it was just an intention to do so, that would amount to financial terrorism. It would amount to a declaration of financial war between Russia and the party attempting to seize the assets.”

As to whether the Bank of Russia holds any of its gold abroad is debatable, because officially two-thirds of Russia’s gold is stored in a vault in Moscow, with the remaining one third stored in St Petersburg. But Silanov’s comment underlines the importance of the official gold reserves to the Russian State, and underscores why the Russian central bank is in the midst of one of the world’s largest gold accumulation exercises.

1800 Tonnes and Counting

From 2000 until the middle of 2007, the Bank of Russia held around 400 tonnes of gold in its official reserves and these holdings were relatively constant. But beginning in the third quarter 2007, the bank’s gold policy shifted to one of aggressive accumulation. By early 2011, Russian gold reserves had reached over 800 tonnes, by the end of 2014 the central bank held over 1200 tonnes, and by the end of 2016 the Russians claimed to have more than 1600 tonnes of gold.

Although the Russian Federation’s gold reserves are managed by the Bank of Russia, the central bank is under federal ownership, so the gold reserves can be viewed as belonging to the Russian Federation. It can therefore be viewed as strategic policy of the Russian Federation to have  embarked on this gold accumulation strategy from late 2007, a period that coincides with the advent of the global financial market crisis.

According to latest figures, during October 2017 the Bank of Russia added 21.8 tonnes to its official gold reserves, bringing its current total gold holdings to 1801 tonnes. For the year to date, the Russian Federation, through the Bank of Russia, has now announced additions of 186 tonnes of gold to its official reserves, which is close to its target of adding 200 tonnes of gold to the reserves this year.

With the Chinese central bank still officially claiming to hold 1842 tonnes of gold in its national gold reserves, its looks like the Bank of Russia, as soon as the first quarter 2018, will have the distinction of holdings more gold than the Chinese. That is of course if the Chinese sit back and don’t announce any additions to their gold reserves themselves.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user227218/imageroot/2017/11/29/RussiaReservesTst.pngThe Bank of Russia now has 1801 tonnes of gold in its official reserves

A threat to the London Gold Market

The new gold pricing benchmarks that the Bank of Russia’s Shvetsov signalled may evolve as part of a BRICS gold trading system are particularly interesting. Given that the BRICS members are all either large producers or consumers of gold, or both, it would seem likely that the gold trading system itself will be one of trading physical gold. Therefore the gold pricing benchmarks from such a system would be based on physical gold transactions, which is a departure from how the international gold price is currently discovered.

Currently the international gold price is established (discovered) by a combination of the London Over-the-Counter (OTC) gold market trading and US-centric COMEX gold futures exchange.

However, ‘gold’ trading in London and on COMEX is really trading of  very large quantities of synthetic derivatives on gold, which are completely detached from the physical gold market. In London, the derivative is fractionally-backed unallocated gold positions which are predominantly cash-settled, in New York the derivative is exchange-traded gold future contracts which are predominantly cash-settles and again are backed by very little real gold.

While the London and New York gold markets together trade virtually 24 hours, they interplay with the current status quo gold reference rate in the form of the LBMA Gold Price benchmark. This benchmark is derived twice daily during auctions held in London at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm between a handful of London-based bullion banks. These auctions are also for unallocated gold positions which are only fractionally-backed by real physical gold. Therefore, the de facto world-wide gold price benchmark generated by the LBMA Gold Price auctions has very little to do with physical gold trading.

Conclusion

It seems that slowly and surely, the major gold producing nations of Russia, China and other BRICS nations are becoming tired of the dominance of an international gold price which is determined in a synthetic trading environment which has very little to do with the physical gold market.

The Shanghai Gold Exchange’s Shanghai Gold Price Benchmark which was launched in April 2016 is already a move towards physical gold price discovery, and while it does not yet influence prices in the international market, it has the infrastructure in place to do so.

When the First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia points to London and Switzerland as having less relevance, while spearheading a new BRICS cross-border gold trading system involving China and Russia and other “major economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of the precious metal”, it becomes clear that moves are afoot by Russia, China and others to bring gold price discovery back to the realm of the physical gold markets. The icing on the cake in all this may be gold price benchmarks based on international physical gold trading.

Source: ZeroHedge

Jail, Drugs And Video Games: Why Millennial Men Are Disappearing From The Labor Force

Last week, Goldman Sachs pointed out a very disturbing trend in the US labor market: where the participation rate for women in the prime age group of 25-54 have seen a dramatic rebound in the past 2 years, such a move has been completely missing when it comes to their peer male workers. As Goldman’s jan Hatzius put in in “A Divided Labor Market”, “some of the workers who gave up and dropped out of the labor force during the recession and its aftermath still have not found their way back in.” In fact, the labor force participation rate of prime-age (25-54 year-old) women has rebounded quite a bit and is now only moderately below pre-crisis levels, but the rate for prime-age men remains well below pre-crisis levels.

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While Goldman did not delve too deeply into the reasons behind this dramatic gender gap, BofA’s chief economist Michelle Meyer did just that in a note released on Friday titled “The tale of the lost male.” As we have discussed previously, and as Goldman showed recently, Meyer finds that indeed prime-working age men – particularly young men – have failed to return to the labor force in contrast to women who have reentered. According to Meyer, while this reflects some cyclical dynamics, including skill mismatch and stagnant wages, what is more troubling is that there are several new secular stories at play such as greater drug abuse, incarceration rates and the happiness derived from staying home playing games.

The macro implications, while self-explanatory, are dire: with the labor force participation rate among young men unlikely to rebound, the unemployment rate should fall further and cries of labor shortages will remain loud, even as millions of male Americans enter middle age without a job, with one or more drug addition habits, and with phenomenal Call of Duty reflexes. Here’s why.

First, The Facts

The overall LFPR is at 62.7%, up from the lows of 62.4% in 2015 but still considerably below the peak in 2000 of 67.3%. BofA estimates that more than half of the decline in the LFPR is due to demographics – as the population ages, the aggregate participation rate naturally falls. However, even after controlling for demographics, the participation rate of prime-working age individuals has failed to recover. As shown by Goldman above, and in BofA’s Chart 1 below, “this reflects the fact that men have not returned to the labor force. This is not a new phenomenon as the participation rate for prime working aged men has been on a secular downshift for the past several decades. However, it stands in contrast with the participation rate of women of the same age cohort which has rebounded nicely.”

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Looking at age cohorts, the weakness among men is particularly acute among 25-34 years old where the rate has continued to slip lower. This is offset by a modest uptrend in participation among men aged 45-54 years old (Chart 2). In other words, the millennial men have remained on the sidelines of the labor market.

Now, The Theories

Why haven’t men – particularly millennial men – returned to the labor market? According to Meyer, on the one hand, there are the typical business cycle explanations which center on the mismatch in skills. There is also the theory of stagnant wages which may discourage new entrants into the labor market. On the other hand, there are secular changes for men, including the rise in pain medication usage (opioid drug abuse), incarcerations, and prioritization of leisure (think video games).

BofA reviews each in order, starting with the story of mismatch

The recession resulted in more severe job cuts for men than for women, in part due to the nature of the downturn; indeed, male employment fell by a cumulative 6.9% vs a 3.2% drop for women. The goods-side of the economy shed workers, particularly in construction and manufacturing, which tend to be more male-dominated. Both sectors were slow to recover, leaving workers to become detached from the labor market with depreciating skills. Moreover, the destruction of jobs in these sectors discouraged the younger generation from attaining the skills necessary to enter these fields. A prime example is the construction sector: the average age of a construction worker increased to 42.7 in 2016 from 40.4 pre-crisis, reflecting the fact that there were fewer young workers becoming trained in the discipline. By mid-2013, builders started to complain about the difficulty in finding labor, particularly skilled workers. This illustrates how the Great Recession displaced workers and led to a mismatch of skills.

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Logically, there is also the influence of rising wages – or the lack thereof – on the incentive to work. Wage growth has been slow to recover on aggregate with only 2.4% yoy nominal wage growth as of October. However, there are differences by education with relative weakness for less educated men (Chart 3). This shows the demand shift away from this population, leaving them on the fringe of the labor force. Accordingly, the labor force participation rate for men with only a high school diploma has declined by 6.2% since 2007 vs. the 5.3% drop in the college educated cohort.

The Pain From Opioids

Moving to the more depressing narratives, BofA next explores the possibility that the rise in drug abuse – particularly opioids – is leaving men unemployed and displaced from the labor force. Recent work from Alan Krueger found that the rise in opioid prescriptions from 1999 to 2015 could account for about 20% of the decline in the male labor force participation rate during that same period. Referencing the 2013 American Time Use Survey – Well-being Supplement (ATUS-WB), 43% of NLF prime age men indicated having fair or poor health, a stark contrast with just 12% for employed men. The same cohort also reported significantly higher levels of pain rating, with 44% having taken pain medication, opioids particularly, on the reference day. It is hard to prove causality – is the increase in pain causing more dependence on opioids, leading to a drop in the labor force participation, or did the lack of job opportunities lead this population to drug abuse? Either way, it seems to be a factor keeping prime aged individuals from working – both men and women, according to Kreuger’s analysis.

Incarceration On The Rise

The rising number of incarcerations imposes another issue. Although prisoners are not counted toward the total civilian non-institutional population when calculating the LFPR, the problem associated with the labor market goes beyond prisons. The growing number of incarcerations has left more people with criminal records, making it difficult for them to reenter the workplace. Indeed, the share of male adult population of former prisoners has increased from 1.8% in 1980 to 5.8% in 2010 (Chart 4). The Center for Economic and Policy Research has also found that people who have been imprisoned are 30% less likely to find a job than their non-incarcerated counterparts. Not surprisingly, a look into the details by demographic cohort finds that men make up nearly 93% of all prisoners, of which one third are between the ages of 25 and 34.

Why Work When You Can Play Video Games

Finally there is the question of preference – is it possible that we are seeing more young men choosing leisure over labor? According to the ATUS (time use survey), between 2004-07 and 2012-15, the average amount of time men aged 21-30 worked declined by 3.13 hours while the number of hours playing games increased by 1.67 and the hours using computers rose by 0.6 (Chart 5). Once again there is a question of causality – are young men playing video games because it is hard to find work or because they prefer it over working? Using the 2013 Supplement ATUS, Krueger finds that game playing is associated with greater happiness, less sadness and less fatigue than TV watching and it is considered to be a social activity. This can create a loose argument that the improvement in video games has increased the enjoyment young men get from leisure, putting a priority on leisure over labor. It also begs the question over whether welfare benefits for the unemployed aren’t just a touch too generous, but that is a discussion best left for another day…

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Whatever the reasons behind the collapse in male – and especially Millennial – labor force participation, the undeniable result has led a number of industries to report persistent labor shortages. To get a sense of this, BofA compares the ratio of the rate of job openings to hires across major industry using the JOLTS data. All major sectors have witnessed an increase in the ratio (Chart 6). (Note that due to trend differences across industries, it is more important to look at the relative changes in ratios instead of their absolute values). The biggest relative increase was in construction followed by transportation and utilities. This is the goods side of the economy where men tend to be a larger share of the working population, therefore highlighting the challenges in the economy from the shortage of men participating in the labor force. This is consistent with Beige Book commentary which highlighted in the latest edition that

“Many Districts noted that employers were having difficulty finding qualified workers, particularly in construction, transportation, skilled manufacturing, and some health care and service positions.”

There are two implications: number one, the unemployment rate is set to fall further. In October we already touched 4.1% and are just a few thousand workers away from a 3-handle on the unemployment rate. The second is that wages should be rising. As Meyer writes, while it has yet to translate to a decisive higher trend in wage inflation, “we continue to argue that further tightening in the labor market will gradually succeed in generating faster wage growth.” To be sure, modest upward pressure on wages – especially if it is felt across industries and education levels – could encourage some return of labor, but it will likely be slow given the structural challenges addressed above. The consequence: cries of labor shortages will remain loud, even as wages finally rebound from chronically, and troublingly, low levels. In fact, some speculate that the wage rebound – once it emerges – could be sharp and destabilizing, and ultimately, as Albert Edwards predicted, could result in a “nightmare scenario” for the Fed (and capital markets) which will suddenly find itself far behind the tightening curve.

Source: ZeroHedge

CBO: Repealing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Would Save $338 Billion

With Republicans scrambling to find every possible dollar to pay for Trump’s “massive” tax reform package, on Wednesday morning a new analysis by the CBO (congressional budget office) calculated that repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate – an idea that had been floated previously by Trump – would save $338 billion over 10 years. CBO previously estimated repeal would save $416b over 10 years due to reduced use of Obamacare subsidies, demonstrating once again how “fluid” government forecasts are.

The report was released as the Senate prepares to unveil its own version of the Tax reform bill amid growing GOP dissent, and comes as some Republicans are pushing for repealing the mandate within tax reform, as a way to help pay for tax cuts. Still, as The Hill reports, that idea has met resistance from some Republican leaders who do not want to mix up health care and taxes. Previously the CBO had come under fire on Tuesday from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who slammed the agency after Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told The Hill that he had been informed that the CBO was changing its analysis of the mandate to find significantly less savings.

Just as notable was the CBO’s announcement that it was changing the way it analyzes the mandate, which Republicans suspect would show less government savings and fewer people becoming uninsured as a results.

“The agencies are in the process of revising their methods to estimate the repeal of the individual mandate,” he said. “However, because that work is not complete and significant changes to the individual mandate are now being considered as part of the budget reconciliation process, the agencies are publishing this update without incorporating major changes to their analytical methods.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who has been one of the most vocal advocates of including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill, has touted the savings that would come as a result. His team said it is confident that the scoring will include similar numbers to previous reports. “We’re confident the CBO estimate will still show a substantial — north of $300 billion — savings for tax reform,” Caroline Tabler, spokeswoman for Cotton, told the Washington Examiner in an email.

CBO has been criticized for years for its analyses on the effects of the individual mandate. Republicans have charged that the mandate isn’t as effective as CBO concludes and have said they want to see it repealed. Some Obamacare supporters also have said it should be stronger by becoming more expensive or should be more heavily enforced.

While the CBO calculation is a boost to Republicans who want to repeal the mandate in tax reform, because it means there are still significant savings to be had from repealing the mandate, mandate repeal still faces long odds. Repealing the mandate – a broadly unpopular decision in many states – could also destabilize health insurance markets by removing an incentive for healthy people to enroll.

Earlier in the day, the CBO said that according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” would increase deficits over the next decade by $1.4 trillion, which is good enough to slip under the $1.5 trillion limit required for reconciliation. The CBO did however add that the additional debt service would boost the 10-year increase in deficits to $1.7 trillion.

Source: ZeroHedge

Rare Video Footage from 1906 Shows Amazing Bustle of San Francisco’s Market Street

A Trip Down Market Street‘ was shot on April 14, 1906, just four days before the San Francisco earthquake and fire, to which the negative was nearly lost. It was produced by moving picture photographers the Miles brothers (Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe). Harry J. Miles hand-cranked the Bell & Howell camera which was placed on the front of a streetcar during filming on Market Street from 8th, in front of the Miles Studios, to the Ferry building.

A few days later the Miles brothers were en route to New York when they heard news of the earthquake. They sent the negative to NY, and returned to San Francisco to discover that their studios were destroyed.

Filmed during the era of silent film, Sound Designer and Engineer Mike Upchurch added sound to enhance the incredible video and immerse viewers into the hustle and bustle of San Francisco’s Market Street at the turn of the 20th century. Upchurch adds:

Automobile sounds are all either Ford Model T, or Model A, which came out later, but which have similarly designed engines, and sound quite close to the various cars shown in the film. The horns are slightly inaccurate as mostly bulb horns were used at the time, but were substituted by the far more recognizable electric “oogaa” horns, which came out a couple years later. The streetcar sounds are actual San Francisco streetcars. Doppler effect was used to align the sounds.

Market Street – San Francisco 1906 – After the Earthquake – DashCam View – Silent

Source: Twisted Sifter