Category Archives: Amerca

Millennials Are More Than A Trillion Dollars In Debt, And Most Of Them Don’t Even Own A Home

When compared to a similar point in time, Millennials are deeper in debt than any other generation that has come before them.  And the biggest reason why they are in so much debt may surprise you.

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We’ll get to that in a minute, but first let’s talk about the giant mountain of debt that Millennials have accumulated.  According to the New York Fed, the total amount of debt that Millennials are carrying has risen by a whopping 22 percent in just the last five years

New findings from the New York Federal Reserve reveal that millennials have now racked up over US$1 trillion of debt.

This troubling amount of debt, an increase of over 22% in just five years, is more than any other generation in history. This situation may leave you wondering how millennials ended up in such a sorry state.

Many young adults are absolutely drowning in debt, but the composition of that debt is quite different when compared to previous generations at a similar point in time.

Mortgage debt and credit card debt levels are far lower for Millennials, but the level of student loan debt is far, far higher

While the debt levels accumulated by millennials eclipse those of the previous generation, Generation X, at a similar point in time, the complexion of the debt is very different.

According to a 2018 report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, mortgage debt is about 15% lower for millennials and credit card debt among millennials was about two-thirds that of Gen X.

However, student loan debt was over 300% greater.

Over the last 10 years, the total amount of student loan debt in the United States has more than doubled.

It is an absolutely enormous financial problem, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution.  Some politicians on the left are pledging to make college education “free” in the United States, but they never seem to explain who is going to pay for that.

But what everyone can agree on is that student loan debt levels are wildly out of control.  The following statistics come from Forbes

The latest student loan debt statistics for 2019 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become for borrowers across all demographics and age groups. There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans. Borrowers in the Class of 2017, on average, owe $28,650, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

What makes all of this even more depressing is the fact that the quality of “higher education” in the U.S. has gone down the toilet in recent years.  For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “50 Actual College Course Titles That Prove That America’s Universities Are Training Our College Students To Be Socialists”.

Our colleges and universities are not adequately preparing our young people for their future careers, but they are burdening them with gigantic financial obligations that will haunt many of them for decades to come.

We have a deeply broken system, and we desperately need a complete and total overhaul of our system of higher education.

Due to the fact that so many of them are swamped by student loan debt, the homeownership rate for Millennials is much, much lower than the homeownership rate for the generations that immediately preceded them.  The following comes from CNBC

The homeownership rate for those under 35 was just 36.5 percent in the last quarter of 2018, compared with 61 percent for those aged 35 to 44, and 70 percent for those aged 45 to 54, according to the U.S. Census. The millennial homeownership rate actually dropped in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter, but was unchanged year over year.

This is one of the big reasons why “Housing Bubble 2” is beginning to burst.  There are not enough Millennials buying homes, and it looks like things could be even worse for Generation Z.

If you are a young adult, I would encourage you to limit your exposure to student loan debt as much as possible, because the debt that you accumulate while in school can have very serious long-term implications that you may not even be considering right now.

Source: ZeroHedge

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Did Russia Just Trigger A Global Reserve Currency Reset Process?

Russia De-Dollarizes Deeper: Shifts $100 Billion To Yuan, Yen, And Euro

(Listen to the report here)

Russia is continuing to ramp up its efforts to move away from the American dollar (Federal Reserve Notes). The country just shifted $100 billion of its reserves to the yuan, the yen, and the euro in their ongoing effort to ditch the US Dollar.

The Central Bank of Russia has moved further away from its reliance on the United States dollar and has axed its share in the country’s foreign reserves to a historic low, transferring about $100 billion into euro, Japanese yen, and Chinese yuan according to a report by RT. The share of the U.S. dollar in Russia’s international reserves portfolio has dramatically decreased in just three months between March and June 2018. The holding decreased from 43.7 percent to a new low of 21.9 percent, according to the Central Bank’s latest quarterly report, which is issued with a six-month lag.

The money pulled from the dollar reserves was redistributed to increase the share of the euro to 32 percent and the share of Chinese yuan to 14.7 percent. Another 14.7 percent of the portfolio was invested in other currencies, including the British pound (6.3 percent), Japanese yen (4.5 percent), as well as Canadian (2.3 percent) and Australian (1 percent) dollars.

The Central Bank’s total assets in foreign currencies and gold increased by $40.4 billion from July 2017 to June 2018, reaching $458.1 billion. –RT

Russian and others have been consistently moving away from the dollar and toward other currencies. Economic sanctions, which are losing their power as more countries move from the dollar, and trade wars seem to be fueling the dollar’s uncertainty.

Peter Schiff warns that as the supply of dollars is going to grow and grow, the demand for the American currency can fall, while the US Fed will be unable to stop the dollar’s demise. Schiff says that what is coming for Americans, is massive inflation.

“Eventually, what’s going to happen is it’s going to be the demand for those dollars is going to collapse, not the supply. And when the demand for dollars collapses, then the price of the dollar collapses. You get massive inflation. That is what is coming.”

Russia began its unprecedented dumping of U.S. Treasury bonds in April and May of last year. Russia appears to be moving on from the rise in tensions with the United States. The massive $81 billion spring sell-off coincided with the U.S.’s sanctioning of Russian businessmen, companies, and government officials. But Russia has long had plans to “beat” the U.S. when it comes to sanctions by stockpiling gold.

The Russian central bank’s First Deputy Governor Dmitry Tulin said that Moscow sees the acquisition of gold as a “100-percent guarantee from legal and political risks.”

As reported by RT, the Kremlin has openly stated that American sanctions and pressure are forcing Russia to find alternative settlement currencies to the U.S. dollar to ensure the security of the country’s economy. Other countries, such as China, India, and Iran, are also pursuing steps to challenge the greenback’s dominance in global trade.

Source: ZeroHedge

***

India Begins Paying For Iranian Oil In Rupees Instead Of US Dollars

Three months ago, in Mid-October, Subhash Chandra Garg, economic affairs secretary at India’s finance ministry, said that India still hasn’t worked out yet a payment system for continued purchases of crude oil from Iran, just before receiving a waiver to continue importing oil from Iran in its capacity as Iran’s second largest oil client after China.

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That took place amid reports that India had discussed ditching the U.S. dollar in its trading of oil with Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, instead settling the trade either in Indian rupees or under a barter agreement. One thing was certain: India wanted to keep importing oil from Iran, because Tehran offers generous discounts and incentives for Indian buyers at a time when the Indian government is struggling with higher oil prices and a weakening local currency that additionally weighs on its oil import bill.

Fast forward to the new year when we learn that India has found a solution to the problem, and has begun paying Iran for oil in rupees, a senior bank official said on Tuesday, the first such payments since the United States imposed new sanctions against Tehran in November. An industry source told Reuters that India’s top refiner Indian Oil Corp and Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals have made payments for Iranian oil imports.

To be sure, India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, has wanted to continue buying oil from Iran as it offers free shipping and an extended credit period, while Iran will use the rupee funds to mostly pay for imports from India.

“Today we received a good amount from some oil companies,” Charan Singh, executive director at state-owned UCO Bank told Reuters. He did not disclose the names of refiners or how much had been deposited.

Hinting that it wants to extend oil trade with Tehran, New Delhi recently issued a notification exempting payments to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for crude oil imports from steep withholding taxes, enabling refiners to clear an estimated $1.5 billion in dues.

Meanwhile, in lieu of transacting in US Dollars, Iran is devising payment mechanisms including barter with trading partners like India, China and Russia following a delay in the setting up of a European Union-led special purpose vehicle to facilitate trade with Tehran, its foreign minister Javad Zarif said earlier on Tuesday.

As Reuters notes, in the previous round of U.S. sanctions, India settled 45% of oil payments in rupees and the remainder in euros but this time it has signed deal with Iran to make all payments in rupees as New Delhi wanted to fix its trade balance with Tehran.  Case in point: Indian imports from Iran totaled about $11 billion between April and November, with oil accounting for about 90 percent.

Singh said Indian refiners had previously made payments to 15 banks, but they will now be making deposits into the accounts of only 9 Iranian lenders as one had since closed and the U.S has imposed secondary sanctions on five others.

It’s all about control… Robert Fripp

Source: ZeroHedge

What Gen Z Learned From Millennials: Skip College

Generation Z is already learning from the millennial generation’s mistakes…

(LibertyNation) For years, millennials have scoffed at the notion of fixing someone else’s toilet, installing elevators, or cleaning a patient’s teeth. Instead, they wanted to get educated in lesbian dance theory, gender studies, and how white people and western civilization destroyed the world. As a result, student loan debt has surpassed the $1 trillion mark, the youth unemployment rate hovers around 9%, and the most tech-savvy and educated generation is delaying adulthood.

But their generational successors are not making the same mistakes, choosing to put in a good day’s work rather than whining on Twitter about how “problematic” the TV series Seinfeld was. It appears that young folks are paying attention to the wisdom of Mike Rowe, the American television host who has highlighted the benefits and importance of trade schools and blue-collar work – he has also made headlines for poking fun at man-babies and so-called Starbucks shelters.

Will Generation Z become the laughing stock of the world, too? Unlikely.

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Z Is Abandoning University

A new report from VICE Magazine suggests that Generation Z – those born around the late-1990s and early-2000s – are turning to trade schools, not university and college, for careers. Ostensibly, a growing number of younger students are seeing stable paychecks in in-demand fields without having to collapse under the weight of crushing debt.

Because Gen Zers want to learn now and work now, they are abandoning the traditional four-year route, a somewhat precocious response to the ever-evolving global economy.

Cosmetologist, petroleum technician, and respiratory therapist are just some of the positions that this generation of selfies, Snapchat, and emoticons are taking. And this is an encouraging development, considering that participation in career and technical education (CTE) has steadily declined since 1990.

David Abreu, a teacher at Queens Technical High School, told a class of young whippersnappers at the start of the semester:

“When you go out there, there’s no reason why anyone should be sitting on mommy’s couch, eating cereal, and watching cartoons or a telenovela. There’s tons of construction, and there’s not enough people. So they’re hiring from outside of New York City. They’re getting people from the Midwest. I love the accents, but they don’t have enough of you.”

While students feel the pressure of attaining a four-year degree in a subject that offers fewer employment opportunities, the blue-collar jobs are out there to be filled. It iestimated that more than one-third of businesses in construction, manufacturing, and financial services are unable to fill open jobs, mainly because of a skills shortage and a paucity of qualifications.

This could change in the coming years.

The Future Of College

Over the last decade or so, the college experience has turned into a circus. At Evergreen College, the inmates ran the asylum. The University of Missouri staff requested “some muscle over here” to suppress journalists. Harvard University has turned into a politically correct institution. What do all these places of higher learning have in common? They’re losing money, whether it’s from fewer donations or tumbling enrollment.

Not only are these places of higher learning metastasizing into leftist indoctrination centers, their rates for graduates obtaining employment are putrid. And parents and students are realizing this.

With the trend of Gen Zers embracing the trades, the future of post-secondary education might be different. Since colleges need to remain competitive in the sector, they will have to offer alternative programs and eliminate eclectic courses, and the administration will be required to justify their utility.

A pupil seeking out a STEM education will not be subjected to the inane ramblings of an ecofeminism teacher or the asinine curriculum of a queer theory course.

Moreover, colleges could no longer afford to spend chunks of their budgets on opulent settings. A student interested in the trades is unlikely to be attracted to in-house day spas, luxury dorms, and exorbitant gyms. They want the skills, the tools, and the training to garner a high-paying career without sacrificing 15 years’ worth of earnings just so they could enjoy lobster for lunch twice a week.

Generation Smart?

Millennials are typically the butt of jokes, known for texting in the middle of job interviews, demanding complicated Starbucks beverages, and ignoring their friends at the restaurant. Perhaps Generation Z doesn’t want to experience the same humiliation and stereotypes. This could explain why they are dismissing the millennial trends and instead adopting common sense, conservatism, tradition, and anything else that is contrary to those who need to be coddled.

The next 20 years should be fascinating.

In 2039, Ryder, who prefers the pronoun “xe,” is employed as a barista, a position he claims is temporary to pay off his student debt. He lives on his friend’s sofa, still protests former President Donald Trump, and spends his disposable income on tattoos. In the same year, Frank operates an HVAC business, owns his home without a mortgage, and has a wife and three children who enjoy their summer weekends at the ballpark with the grandparents.

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One went to college for feminist philosophy, the other went to trade school. You decide who.

Source: ZeroHedge

U.S. National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro Warns Wall Street Globalists: “Stand Down” Or Else…

(TheLastRefuge) The words from Peter Navarro will come as no surprise to any CTH reader who is fully engaged and reviewing the multi-trillion stakes, within the Globalist (Wall St-vs- Nationalist (Main Street) confrontation.

For several decades Wall Street, through lobbying arms such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Tom Donohue), has structurally opposed Main Street economic policy in order to inflate profits and hold power – “The Big Club”. This manipulative intent is really the epicenter of the corruption within the DC swamp.

U.S. National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro discusses how Wall Street bankers and hedge-fund managers are attempting to influence U.S.-China trade talks. He speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

This article was built around the following short news clip…

Originally outlined a year ago. At the heart of the professional/political opposition the issue is money; there are trillions at stake.

President Trump’s MAGAnomic trade and foreign policy agenda is jaw-dropping in scale, scope and consequence. There are multiple simultaneous aspects to each policy objective; however, many have been visible for a long time – some even before the election victory in November ’16.

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If we get too far in the weeds the larger picture is lost. CTH objective is to continue pointing focus toward the larger horizon, and then at specific inflection points to dive into the topic and explain how each moment is connected to the larger strategy.

If you understand the basic elements behind the new dimension in American economics, you already understand how three decades of DC legislative and regulatory policy was structured to benefit Wall Street and not Main Street. The intentional shift in fiscal policy is what created the distance between two entirely divergent economic engines.

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REMEMBER […] there had to be a point where the value of the second economy (Wall Street) surpassed the value of the first economy (Main Street).

Investments, and the bets therein, needed to expand outside of the USA. hence, globalist investing.

However, a second more consequential aspect happened simultaneously. The politicians became more valuable to the Wall Street team than the Main Street team; and Wall Street had deeper pockets because their economy was now larger.

As a consequence Wall Street started funding political candidates and asking for legislation that benefited their interests.

When Main Street was purchasing the legislative influence the outcomes were -generally speaking- beneficial to Main Street, and by direct attachment those outcomes also benefited the average American inside the real economy.

When Wall Street began purchasing the legislative influence, the outcomes therein became beneficial to Wall Street. Those benefits are detached from improving the livelihoods of main street Americans because the benefits are “global”. Global financial interests, multinational investment interests -and corporations therein- became the primary filter through which the DC legislative outcomes were considered.

There is a natural disconnect. (more)

As an outcome of national financial policy blending commercial banking with institutional investment banking something happened on Wall Street that few understand. If we take the time to understand what happened we can understand why the Stock Market grew and what risks exist today as the monetary policy is reversed to benefit Main Street.

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President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have already begun assembling and delivering a new banking system.

Instead of attempting to put Glass-Stegal regulations back into massive banking systems, the Trump administration is creating a parallel financial system of less-regulated small commercial banks, credit unions and traditional lenders who can operate to the benefit of Main Street without the burdensome regulation of the mega-banks and multinationals. This really is one of the more brilliant solutions to work around a uniquely American economic problem.

♦ When U.S. banks were allowed to merge their investment divisions with their commercial banking operations (the removal of Glass Stegal) something changed on Wall Street.

Companies who are evaluated based on their financial results, profits and losses, remained in their traditional role as traded stocks on the U.S. Stock Market and were evaluated accordingly. However, over time investment instruments -which are secondary to actual company results- created a sub-set within Wall Street that detached from actual bottom line company results.

The resulting secondary financial market system was essentially ‘investment markets’. Both ordinary company stocks and the investment market stocks operate on the same stock exchanges. But the underlying valuation is tied to entirely different metrics.

Financial products were developed (as investment instruments) that are essentially wagers or bets on the outcomes of actual companies traded on Wall Street. Those bets/wagers form the hedge markets and are [essentially] people trading on expectations of performance. The “derivatives market” is the ‘betting system’.

♦Ford Motor Company (only chosen as a commonly known entity) has a stock valuation based on their actual company performance in the market of manufacturing and consumer purchasing of their product. However, there can be thousands of financial instruments wagering on the actual outcome of their performance.

There are two initial bets on these outcomes that form the basis for Hedge-fund activity. Bet ‘A’ that Ford hits a profit number, or bet ‘B’ that they don’t. There are financial instruments created to place each wager. [The wagers form the derivatives] But it doesn’t stop there.

Additionally, more financial products are created that bet on the outcomes of the A/B bets. A secondary financial product might find two sides betting on both A outcome and B outcome.

Party C bets the “A” bet is accurate, and party D bets against the A bet. Party E bets the “B” bet is accurate, and party F bets against the B. If it stopped there we would only have six total participants. But it doesn’t stop there, it goes on and on and on…

The outcome of the bets forms the basis for the tenuous investment markets. The important part to understand is that the investment funds are not necessarily attached to the original company stock, they are now attached to the outcome of bet(s). Hence an inherent disconnect is created.

Subsequently, if the actual stock doesn’t meet it’s expected P-n-L outcome (if the company actually doesn’t do well), and if the financial investment was betting against the outcome, the value of the investment actually goes up. The company performance and the investment bets on the outcome of that performance are two entirely different aspects of the stock market. [Hence two metrics.]

♦Understanding the disconnect between an actual company on the stock market, and the bets for and against that company stock, helps to understand what can happen when fiscal policy is geared toward the underlying company (Main Street MAGAnomics), and not toward the bets therein (Investment Class).

The U.S. stock markets’ overall value can increase with Main Street policy, and yet the investment class can simultaneously decrease in value even though the company(ies) in the stock market is/are doing better. This detachment is critical to understand because the ‘real economy’ is based on the company, the ‘paper economy’ is based on the financial investment instruments betting on the company.

Trillions can be lost in investment instruments, and yet the overall stock market -as valued by company operations/profits- can increase.

Conversely, there are now classes of companies on the U.S. stock exchange that never make a dime in profit, yet the value of the company increases. This dynamic is possible because the financial investment bets are not connected to the bottom line profit. (Examples include Tesla Motors, Amazon and a host of internet stocks like Facebook and Twitter.) It is this investment group of companies that stands to lose the most if/when the underlying system of betting on them stops or slows.

Specifically due to most recent U.S. fiscal policy, modern multinational banks, including all of the investment products therein, are more closely attached to this investment system on Wall Street. It stands to reason they are at greater risk of financial losses overall with a shift in fiscal policy.

That financial and economic risk is the basic reason behind Trump and Mnuchin putting a protective, secondary and parallel, banking system in place for Main Street.

Big multinational banks can suffer big losses from their investments, and yet the Main Street economy can continue growing, and have access to capital, uninterrupted.

Bottom Line: U.S. companies who have actual connection to a growing U.S. economy can succeed; based on the advantages of the new economic environment and MAGA policy, specifically in the areas of manufacturing, trade and the ancillary benefactors.

Meanwhile U.S. investment assets (multinational investment portfolios) that are disconnected from the actual results of those benefiting U.S. companies, and as a consequence also disconnected from the U.S. economic expansion, can simultaneously drop in value even though the U.S. economy is thriving.

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Source: by Sundance | The Conservative Tree House

Americans Are Migrating to Low-Tax States

Cato released author Chris Edwards’ study onTax Reform and Interstate Migration.”

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The 2017 federal tax law increased the tax pain of living in a high-tax state for millions of people. Will the law induce those folks to flee to lower-tax states?

To find clues, the study looks at recent IRS data and reviews academic studies on interstate migration.

For each state, the study calculated the ratio of domestic in-migration to out-migration for 2016. States losing population have ratios of less than 1.0. States gaining population have ratios of more than 1.0. New York’s ratio is 0.65, meaning for every 100 residents that left, only 65 moved in. Florida’s ratio is 1.45, meaning that 145 households moved in for every 100 that left.

Figure 1 maps the ratios. People are generally moving out of the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West, but they are also leaving California, on net.

People move between states for many reasons, including climate, housing costs, and job opportunities. But when you look at the detailed patterns of movement, it is clear that taxes also play a role.

I divided the country into the 25 highest-tax and 25 lowest-tax states by a measure of household taxes. In 2016, almost 600,000 people moved, on net, from the former to the latter.

People are moving into low-tax New Hampshire and out of Massachusetts. Into low-tax South Dakota and out of its neighbors. Into low-tax Tennessee and out of Kentucky. And into low-tax Florida from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and just about every other high-tax state.

On the West Coast, California is a high-tax state, while Oregon and Washington fall just on the side of the lower-tax states.

Of the 25 highest-tax states, 24 of them had net out-migration in 2016.

Of the 25 lowest-tax states, 17 had net in-migration.

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Source: by Chris Edwards | Cato Institute

Labor Day 2018

The Uncomfortable Hiatus

And so the sun seems to stand still this last day before the resumption of business-as-usual, and whatever remains of labor in this sclerotic republic takes its ease in the ominous late summer heat, and the people across this land marinate in anxious uncertainty. What can be done?

Some kind of epic national restructuring is in the works. It will either happen consciously and deliberately or it will be forced on us by circumstance. One side wants to magically reenact the 1950s; the other wants a Gnostic transhuman utopia. Neither of these is a plausible outcome. Most of the arguments ranging around them are what Jordan Peterson calls “pseudo issues.” Let’s try to take stock of what the real issues might be.

Energy: The shale oil “miracle” was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday (The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground). For all that, the shale oil producers still couldn’t make money at it. If interest rates go up, the industry will choke on the debt it has already accumulated and lose access to new loans. If the Fed reverses its current course — say, to rescue the stock and bond markets — then the shale oil industry has perhaps three more years before it collapses on a geological basis, maybe less. After that, we’re out of tricks. It will affect everything.

The perceived solution is to run all our stuff on electricity, with the electricity produced by other means than fossil fuels, so-called alt energy. This will only happen on the most limited basis and perhaps not at all. (And it is apart from the question of the decrepit electric grid itself.) What’s required is a political conversation about how we inhabit the landscape, how we do business, and what kind of business we do. The prospect of dismantling suburbia — or at least moving out of it — is evidently unthinkable. But it’s going to happen whether we make plans and policies, or we’re dragged kicking and screaming away from it.

Corporate tyranny: The nation is groaning under despotic corporate rule. The fragility of these operations is moving toward criticality. As with shale oil, they depend largely on dishonest financial legerdemain. They are also threatened by the crack-up of globalism, and its 12,000-mile supply lines, now well underway. Get ready for business at a much smaller scale.

Hard as this sounds, it presents great opportunities for making Americans useful again, that is, giving them something to do, a meaningful place in society, and livelihoods. The implosion of national chain retail is already underway. Amazon is not the answer, because each Amazon sales item requires a separate truck trip to its destination, and that just doesn’t square with our energy predicament. We’ve got to rebuild main street economies and the layers of local and regional distribution that support them. That’s where many jobs and careers are.

Climate change is most immediately affecting farming. 2018 will be a year of bad harvests in many parts of the world. Agri-biz style farming, based on oil-and-gas plus bank loans is a ruinous practice, and will not continue in any case. Can we make choices and policies to promote a return to smaller scale farming with intelligent methods rather than just brute industrial force plus debt? If we don’t, a lot of people will starve to death. By the way, here is the useful work for a large number of citizens currently regarded as unemployable for one reason or another.

Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes. Both are destined to be severely downscaled. A lot of colleges will go out of business. Most college loans will never be paid back (and the derivatives based on them will blow up). We need millions of small farmers more than we need millions of communications majors with a public relations minor. It may be too late for a single-payer medical system. A collapsing oil-based industrial economy means a lack of capital, and fiscal hocus-pocus is just another form of racketeering. Medicine will have to get smaller and less complex and that means local clinic-based health care. Lots of careers there, and that is where things are going, so get ready.

Government over-reach: the leviathan state is too large, too reckless, and too corrupt. Insolvency will eventually reduce its scope and scale. Most immediately, the giant matrix of domestic spying agencies has turned on American citizens. It will resist at all costs being dismantled or even reined in. One task at hand is to prosecute the people in the Department of Justice and the FBI who ran illegal political operations in and around the 2016 election. These are agencies which use their considerable power to destroy the lives of individual citizens. Their officers must answer to grand juries.

As with everything else on the table for debate, the reach and scope of US imperial arrangements has to be reduced. It’s happening already, whether we like it or not, as geopolitical relations shift drastically and the other nations on the planet scramble for survival in a post-industrial world that will be a good deal harsher than the robotic paradise of digitally “creative” economies that the credulous expect. This country has enough to do within its own boundaries to prepare for survival without making extra trouble for itself and other people around the world. As a practical matter, this means close as many overseas bases as possible, as soon as possible.

As we get back to business tomorrow, ask yourself where you stand in the blather-storm of false issues and foolish ideas, in contrast to the things that actually matter.

Source: James Howard Kunstler

America: From Largest Creditor Nation To Largest Debtor Nation In History – What’s Next?

“The Global Bond Curve Just Inverted”: Why JPM thinks a market Crash may be imminent

At the beginning of April, JPMorgan’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou pointed out something unexpected: in a time when everyone was stressing out over the upcoming inversion in the Treasury yield curve, the JPM analyst showed that the forward curve for the 1-month US OIS rate, a proxy for the Fed policy rate, had already inverted after the two-year forward point. In other words, while cash instruments had yet to officially invert, the market had already priced this move in.

One way of visualizing this inversion was by charting the front end between the 2-year and 3-year forward points of the 1-month OIS. Here, as JPM showed two months ago, a curve inversion had arisen for the first time during the first week of January, but it only lasted for two days at the time and the curve re-steepened significantly in the beginning of April.

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Fast forward to today when in a follow up note, Panigirtzoglou highlights that this inversion has gotten worse over the past week following Wednesday’s hawkish FOMC meeting. As shown in the chart below which updates the 1-month OIS rate, the difference between the 3-year and the 2-year forward points has worsened, falling to a new low for the year of -5bp.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/3y2y%20OIS%20rate.jpg?itok=JXNSJoY7

But in an unexpected development – because as a reminder we already knew that the market had priced in an inversion in the short-end of the curve – something remarkable happened last week: the entire global bond curve just inverted for the first time since just before the financial crisis erupted.

As JPM notes, while the Fed’s hawkish move was sufficient to invert the short end further, it was not the only central bank inducing flattening this past week: the ECB also pressed lower on the curve via its “dovish QE end” policy meeting this week. And as a result of this week’s broad-based flattening, the yield curve inversion has spilled over to the long end of the global government bond yield curve also.

In particular, the yield spread between the 7-10 year minus the 1-3 year maturity buckets of our global government bond index (JPM GBI Broad bond index) shifted to negative territory this week for the first time since 2007. This can be seen in Figure 2.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/JPM%20LT%20yield%20curve.jpg?itok=1sQEeAxj

But how is it possible that the global government bond yield curve can be inverted when most developed 2s10s cash curves are still at least a little steep? After all, as seen below, After all, the flattest 2s10s government yield curve is in Japan at +17bp and although the 2s10s US government curve – shown below – has been collapsing, it is still 35bp away from inversion.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/curves.jpg?itok=d9_y1whZ

The answer is in the unequal weighing of US duration in the JPM global bond index: specifically, as Panigirtzoglou explains, the US has a much higher weight in the 1-3 year bucket, around 50%, than in the 7-10 year bucket, where it has a weight of only 25%.

This is because in terms of the relative stocks of government bonds globally, there are a lot more short-dated US government bonds relative to longer-dated ones as the US has lagged other countries in terms of the duration expansion trend that took place over the past ten years.

This is shown in Figure 3 which shows the average duration of various countries’ government bond indices over time. It is very clear that the US has failed to follow other countries in the past decade’s duration expansion race and as a result there are currently a lot more non-US government bonds in longer-dated buckets which are typically lower yielding than the US. And a lot more US government bonds in short-dated buckets which are typically higher yielding.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/duration%20JPM%202.jpg?itok=FTgQsK-7

What are the practical implications? Well, in a word, global investors – those for whom Treasury flows are fungible and have exposure to the entire world’s “safe securities” – now find themselves in inversion.

In other words, with the Fed having pushed the yield on short dated 1-3 year US government bonds to above 2.5%, global bond investors who, by construction, hold more US government bonds in the 1-3 year bucket and more non-US government bonds in the longer-dated buckets, finds themselves with a situation where extending maturities at a global level provides no extra yield compensation.

And the punchline:

This means that while at the local level bond investors are still demanding a premium for longer-dated bonds, at an aggregate level – abstracting from segmentation and currency hedging issues – bond investors globally are no longer demanding such a premium.

Needless to say, although JPM says it anyway, “this is rather unusual as can be seen in Figure 2.”

As for the timing, well it’s troubling to say the least: it did so just before the last two bubbles burst. In fact, the last time the 7-10y minus 1-3y yield spread of JPM’s GBI Broad bond index turned negative was in 2007 ahead of an equity correction and recession at the time. Before then it had turned very negative in late 1990s also, after the 1997/1998 EM crisis but also in 1999 ahead of a burst in the equity bubble and a reversal of Fed policy.

And if that wasn’t enough, here are some especially ominous parting thoughts from the JPM strategist:

In other words, in normal times, bond investors demand a premium to hold longer-dated bonds and to tie their  money for a long period of time vs. investing in lower risk short-dated bonds. But when investors have little confidence in the trajectory of the economy or they think monetary policy tightening is overdone or they see a high risk of a correction in risky markets such as equities, they may prefer to buy longer-dated government bonds as a hedge even though they receive a lower yield than short-dated bonds. This is perhaps why empirical literature found that the slope of the yield curve is such a good predictor of economic slowdowns and/or equity market corrections.

In other words, contrary to all those awed but naive interpretations of the short-term market reaction invoked by Powell or Draghi, according to the market, not only the Fed but the ECB engaged in consecutive policy mistakes. And, as JPM confirms, “this week’s central bank meetings exacerbated this flattening trend.”

As a result the yield curve inversion is no longer confined to the front-end of the US curve, but has also emerged at the longer end of the global government bond yield curve.

What this means is that a decade after the last such inversion, bond investors globally no longer require extra premium for holding longer-dated bonds vs short-dated bonds, something that happens rarely, e.g. when investors have little confidence in the trajectory of the economy, or they think monetary policy tightening is overdone or they see a high risk of a correction in risky markets such as equities.

Source: ZeroHedge