China has been on a skyscraper-building boom for years, but, we suspect, 2016 may have seen the mal-investment boom jump the shark. As Goldman Sachs illustrates in the following chart, China was head, shoulders, knees, and toes above the aggregate of the rest of the world in terms of skyscraper completions in 2016… Could record-setting skyscrapers signal economic over-expansion and a misallocation of capital? EWN Interactive, a subscription service focused on technical analysis, thinks so. The following infographic follows the “Skyscraper Curse” through six different market tops and subsequent crashes over the past century. It is gigantic in size, so please click here or the below imageRead More →

The last 4 months have seen something ‘odd’ happen in Europe’s periphery. Sovereign ‘risk’ has conspicuously (and rationally) risen as macro-fundamentals have deteriorated – something that we have not seen since Draghi’s 2012 “whatever it takes” moment. For the first time since June 2015, Italian youth unemployment has risen above 40% and notably, Italian bond yields are rising…   And the result is growing concerns about Italy’s idiosyncratic risk as the risk premium of BTPs over Bunds soars to its highest sicne 2014 (worst now than the Referendum peak)…   Time for moar “whatever it takes” – just ignore the transitory inflation surge and currencyRead More →

In order to sidestep and avoid Democratic obstruction with a Trump Supreme Court nominee; It is time Trump ordered Republicans Senators to employ  the “Constitutional Option” or Nuclear Option. The nuclear or constitutional option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes. The presiding officer of the United States Senate rules that the validity of a Senate rule or precedent is a constitutional question. They immediately put the issue to the full Senate, which decides by majority vote. The procedure thus allows the SenateRead More →

The ECB’s nationalization of the European corporate bond sector continues. In the ECB’s latest update, the six central banks acting on behalf of the Euro system provided an update on the list of corporate bonds they bought. They bought into 810 issuances with a total of €573bn in amount outstanding. For the week ending 27th January, the bond purchases stood at €1.9bn across sectors. This increases the number of securities held by the ECB to 813, and lift the ECB’s total corporate bond holdings to €58.82b, which means that as of the latest weekly data, the ECB now owns 10.2% of the total €575.42BN inRead More →

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, How about moving the power to create money from the apex of the pyramid down to its lowest level? Let’s spend a moment deconstructing the word “capitalism.” Note it contains the word Capital. So far so good. Obviously the key concept here is capital. So what is “capital”? It turns out there are multiple kinds of capital. The most familiar kinds are tangible: cash, orchards, factories, water rights, tools, and so on. Then there’s credit. If you have unlimited credit at very low rates of interest, you can buy all the tangible capital you want, as long asRead More →

I can understand the cost of healthcare rising as we have many new procedures and remedies that we are able to purchase. Healthcare that was not purchased 20 years ago. Cancer remedies, bionic joints. All of these are added purchases…What is responsible for the added cost of a K-12 and 4 year college education???Read More →

Barack Obama Is Now The Only President In History To Never Have A Year Of 3% GDP Growth Following today’s extremely disappointing US GDP growth data, we have the final nail in the coffin of President Obama’s economic reign. Not only is the average annual growth rate of just 1.48% during Obama’s business cycle the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949, he has just become the only President to have not had even one year of 3% GDP growth. An average annual GDP growth of 1.48% during Obama’s two terms…   As a reminder to a few blinkered media types, this means PresidentRead More →

Well, Trump slept on it, and… nothing changed. Confirming that the tensions between the US and Mexico are only set to escalate after a diplomatically volatile day, in which president Pena Nieto unexpectedly pulled out of his Jan. 31 meeting with the US president, prompting the White House to first suggest it could impose a 20% border tax on Mexican imports, only to back off from the statement hours later, moments ago Trump tweeted that “Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!” Follow Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump MexicoRead More →

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Meanwhile, back in reality, household income for the bottom 95% has declined while the owners of capital and their privileged, protected servants in the Establishment have gorged themselves on private wealth. As noted yesterday in The Collapse of the Left, the working class has finally awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of labor in favor of the protected privileges of the elitist Establishment. I also described the Left’s Great Con: To mask the collapse of the Left’s economic defense of labor, the Left has substituted social justice movements for economic opportunities and security. This has succeeded brilliantly,Read More →

In Blow To Theresa May, UK Supreme Court Rules Parliament Must Vote Before Brexit Can Start In a blow to Theresa May’s ambitions to implement a “clean Brexit”, on Tuesday morning UK’s Supreme Court ruled the UK Prime Minister can’t start the Brexit process without approval from Parliament, a decision that could potentially complicate her path toward a clear break from the European Union. Eight justices voted against the government and three voted in favor of it, in a decision that was widely expected. The case had been brought by a group of British citizens opposed to Brexit with the help of some of theRead More →

In order to sidestep and avoid Democratic obstruction with a Trump Supreme Court nominee; are you in favor of the Senate employing the “Constitutional Option” or Nuclear Option”?? The nuclear or constitutional option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes. The presiding officer of the United States Senate rules that the validity of a Senate rule or precedent is a constitutional question. They immediately put the issue to the full Senate, which decides by majority vote. The procedure thus allows the Senate toRead More →

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, The Left is not just in disarray- – it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power. The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party’s progressive camp is not President Trump–it’s the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx’s profound understanding of the state and capitalism. We turn not to the cultural Marxism that is passingly familiar to Americans, but to Marx’s core economic analysis, whichRead More →

The $7 billion school improvement grant program: Greatest failure in the history of the US Department of Education? Education Font SizeAA The final IES report on the School Improvement Grant program is devastating to Arne Duncan’s and the Obama administration’s education legacy. A major evaluation commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by two highly respected research institutions delivered a crushing verdict: The program failed and failed badly. (The Washington Post’s article by Emma Brown does an exceptional job recounting the administration’s $7 billion folly.) Arne Duncan. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes. Despite its gargantuan price tag, SIG generated no academic gains for the students itRead More →

Submitted by Johnny Kampis via The Foundation for Economic Education, Migration patterns for 2016 show that Americans tended to move away from high-tax states and into states where residents keep more of what they earn. United Van Lines, the nation’s largest moving company, recently released its annual movers study report showing that South Dakota overtook Oregon as the top inbound destination. Generally, more people moved toward the West, and states in the Northeast saw the largest exodus of residents. The top four outbound states in 2016, in order, were New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut. (Photo: Tax Foundation) The Tax Foundation pointed out inRead More →

Pay attention to the reaction Democrats have had to a peaceful transition of power,,these are some of you neighbors, never underestimate these animals, they count on your complacency..their culture is anti freedom…they are unable to handle freedom as you can see, that is why the continually vote freedom away!!!Read More →

Submitted by Tony Heller via RealClimateScience.com, Climate Central just ran this piece, which the Washington Post picked up on. They claimed the US was “overwhelmingly hot” in 2016, and temperatures have risen 1,5°F since the 19th century. The U.S. Has Been Overwhelmingly Hot This Year | Climate Central The first problem with their analysis is that the US had very little hot weather in 2016. The percentage of hot days was below average, and ranked 80th since 1895. Only 4.4% of days were over 95°F, compared with the long term average of 4.9%. Climate Central is conflating mild temperatures with hot ones. They also claim US temperatures rose 1.5°F since the 19th century,Read More →

1. Chart of the Day I (above). Detroit public charter schools out-performed traditional Detroit public schools in the last few years, and it’s not even close according to research conducted by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Ben DeGrow, summarized in a blog post here: Detroit Charters Far Outperform Traditional Schools (see full reports here and here). As the data displayed above show, more than half of traditional public schools received a failing letter grade of F based on multiple years of testing data that are adjusted for student poverty rates, compared to fewer than one-quarter of charter schools receiving a failing grade. On theRead More →

Submitted by Antony Davies and James Harrigan via InsideSources.com, Hugo Chavez’s successor, socialist President Nicolas Maduro has raised the nation’s minimum wage for the fifth time in a year. The whopping 50 percent wage hike raises the monthly wage to between $12 and $60, in U.S. terms, depending on whether one goes by the state-controlled or the more accurate black-market exchange rate. No matter what, though, the measure will provide no relief given Venezuela’s projected 1,600 percent inflation rate. Decades of Chavez-ism have finally demonstrated Margaret Thatcher’s dictum: Socialists “always run out of other people’s money.” Venezuela’s paper money has lost so much value thatRead More →

Submitted by Jonathan Rochford via Narrow Road Capital, The recent blow-up of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System was entirely predictable. Whilst it is tempting to blame unusual circumstances for the recent lock-up of redemptions and likely substantial reductions to pensions for those still in the fund, many other American pension funds are heading down the same road. The combination of overpriced financial markets, inadequate contributions and overly generous pension promises mean dozens of US local and state government pension plans will end up in the same situation. The simple maths and political factors at play mean what happened at GM, Chrysler, Detroit andRead More →

In a “mass layoff” event reported late last week by the Department of Labor, the Clinton Foundation announced it would lay off some 22 employees at the Clinton Global Initiative, which attained notoriety during the John Podesta leaks, when the various details of the fallout between between CGI head Doug Band and Chelsea Clinton were revealed; it also emerged that long-time Bill Clinton friend Band was soliciting donations for Clinton through his PR firm, Teneo in an sordid example of “pay for play” which most of the mainstream media refused to cover, especially after Band emailed Podesta “If this story gets out, we are screwed.”Read More →

Early on Thursday morning, in a 51-48 vote, the Senate took the first concrete step toward dismantling Obamacare, when it voted to instruct key committees to draft legislation repealing Barack Obama’s signature health insurance program. Republicans needed a simple majority to clear the repeal rules, instructing committees to begin drafting repeal legislation, through the upper chamber, with the vote falling largely along party lines. Rand Paul was the lone Republican to vote against the budget resolution because it didn’t balance. Paul said in a statement after the vote that while he supports nixing ObamaCare “putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people’sRead More →

Submitted by Nick Bernabe via TheAntiMedia.org, Long-simmering social tensions in Mexico are threatening to boil over as failing neoliberal reforms to the country’s formerly nationalized gas sector are compounded by open corruption, stagnant standards of living, and rampant inflation. The U.S. media has remained mostly mute on the situation in Mexico, even as the unfolding civil unrest has closed the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California, several times in the past week. Ongoing “gasolinazo” protests in Mexico over a 20 percent rise is gas prices have led to over 400 arrests, 250 looted stores, and six deaths. Roads are being blockaded, borders closed, and government buildings areRead More →

As it began so it will finish. Putting the exclamation point on a trend that has marked Obama’s entire presidency, in the final Obama jobs report, the BLS announced that the total number of people not in the labor force grew once more, rising by 18,000 in December, and a whopping 841,000 in the past three months, to a new all time high of 95.102 million Americans no longer in the workforce. This meant that the perennial bogeyman of the Trump administration, the collapsing labor force participation rate, remained flat near 35 year lows, risint fractionally from last month to 62.7% as a result ofRead More →

Back in September, we noted that, in a surprisingly logical decision particularly for a state like California which is typically devoid of all reason, a court upheld the rights of Marin County (and it’s taxpayers) to reduce final year salary levels utilized to calculate pension payments.  The ruling was meant to protect taxpayers against “salary spiking,” a practice whereby union employees artificially drive up their final year salary, by taking cash vacation payouts or 1x bonus payments for example, in an effort to game the annual pension payment they’ll then receive in perpetuity.  Now, according to Pension & Investments, a second California court in SanRead More →

California’s liberal lawmakers in Sacramento are certainly well left of center and maybe a bit kooky and have done something quite ridiculous by passing Senate Bill No. 1322, Senate Bill No. 1322. Below is the first page of SB1322 which notes that while “existing law makes it a crime to solicit or engage in any act of prostitution” SB1322 “would make the above provisions inapplicable to a child under 18 years of age.” Of course, as the LA Times pointed out, the bill, which was authored by Los Angeles Democrat Holly Mitchell, is founded on the premise that keeping young children out of the juvenile justice systemRead More →

As noted yesterday, for the first time in three years, and only the second time in history, bitcoin rose above $1,000 in Yuan-denominated Chinese trading, however it was limited to the lower side of this “round number” psychological barrier in US trading, as BTC flirted with $999.99 for most of the day on the popular Coinbase exchange, without crossing it. Overnight, however, Chinese demand proved too great and US markets had no choice but to arb the difference. So with Bitcoin trading in China at an implied price of over $1,050 at this moment, bitcoin finally soared above $1,000 in the US as well, tradingRead More →

The U.S. Department of Education has just released it’s latest ranking of international education systems (Program for International Student Assessment – “PISA”) and performance of U.S. students just continues to deteriorate on both absolute and relative terms. Perhaps it’s time to have a real conversation about the complete failure of “Common Core” and the idiocy of allowing teachers’ unions to hold our children hostage while hiding behind ridiculous contracts that grant tenure after 6 months and make it impossible to fire underperformers.  Just a thought for the incoming Trump administration. The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss summed up the problems nicely: There are many reasons childrenRead More →

Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man.com, Surface Temperatures Plunge – the Great Pause Continues Last year’s El Nino phenomenon temporarily provided succor to climate alarmists, who were increasingly bothered by the “Great Pause” – the fact that the tiny amount of warming experienced since the last cooling cycle ended in the late 1970s had apparently stopped. Despite trace amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere continuing to climb, mother nature decided to disobey alarmist models and temperatures went sideways for about 20 years (or even longer, depending on the data set).     A raft of excuses was offered for this decidedly non-hockey stick behavior –Read More →

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Sorry, U.S. Census Bureau, I.R.S. and St. Louis Federal Reserve – you’re issuing “Russian propaganda” according to The Washington Post’s shoddy “fake news” methodology. In case you missed it, The Washington Post’s criminally careless publishing of “fake news” about purported “Russian propaganda” created a backlash–and the Post’s attorney-approved bleating to sidestep responsibility for publishing “fake news” failed to calm the waters. Here’s The Washington Post’s “fake news” article in case you missed it: Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say. The “experts” claims of expertise were not validated or investigated by the Post, andRead More →

Back in April, when we first reported that Deutsche Bank had agreed to settle allegations it had rigged the silver market in exchange for $38 million, we revealed something stunning: “in a curious twist, the settlement letter revealed that the former members of the manipulation cartel have turned on each other“, and that Deutsche Bank would provide docments implicating other precious metals riggers. To wit: “In addition to valuable monetary consideration, Deutsche Bank has also agreed to provide cooperation to plaintiffs, including the production of instant messages, and other electronic communications, as part of the settlement. In Plaintiff’s estimation, the cooperation to be provided byRead More →

The cleansing of the Temple. To begin I will state that I am an atheist. Religion on the other hand exist and most of it is good.  Religion is a construct of man, a derivative of culture, an attempt to provide rules and mores to enable man to inhabit a society civilly.  Societal existence requires, to some extent, that mans nature and freedoms are restrained. Religion was a natural evolution of mans wonder at the things currently unexplainable and the necessity of law. The squabbles and wars that have plagued man are not an outcome of religion but a happening despite religion. There has, andRead More →

Tax cash withdraws will of course give “capital controls” a new dimension. Greek banks have proposed a series of measures to combat tax evasion, strengthen the electronic transactions and limit the use of cash in the economy, and as KeepTalkingGreece.com reports, one of the measures proposed is a special tax on cash withdrawals.  Bankers reportedly stress that cash money can easily and largely be channeled in the black economy. Therefore, a tax on cash withdrawals will drastically reduce cash transactions and by extension the black economy. The bankers suggest that also credit and debit cards as wells as new technologies enabling cash-less transactions even forRead More →

Submitted by Richard J.Maybury via The Mises Institute, Each year at this time, schoolchildren all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating. It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths which divert attention away from Thanksgiving’s real meaning. The official story has the Pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America, and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620–21. This first winter isRead More →

Russia gold buying accelerated in October with the Russian central bank buying a very large 48 metric tonnes or 1.3 million ounces of gold bullion. This is the largest addition of gold to the Russian monetary reserves since 1998 and could be seen as a parting ‘gift’ by Prime Minister Putin to his rival ex-President Obama. The Russian central bank gold purchase is the biggest monthly gold purchase of this millennium. Concerns about systemic risk, currency wars and the devaluation of the dollar, euro and other major currencies has led to ongoing diversification into gold bullion purchases by large creditor nation central banks such as Russia andRead More →

Derek Scissors China edges toward a big mistake Asia, Economics, Foreign and Defense Policy Font SizeAA The People’s Bank of China may be in the process of losing its collective mind. Again. In August 2015 and January 2016, China’s central bank changed currency policy in opaque fashion. The result was intense capital outflow and ultimately a policy reversal. It may be happening again; if so, the results this time would be worse. The yuan has been slipping against the dollar since the beginning of May. From that time until election day, it fell from 6.47 to 6.8. The decline has accelerated since Donald Trump’s electionRead More →

Deutsche Bank’s long-held analogy of “plate-spinning” central bankers acting like the old popular circus act where the performers would spin plates on numerous poles and run between them in order to re-spin before they came crashing down to the ground, has held perfectly for several years. Over the years more plates have been added and central bankers have had to run faster and faster between them to stop gravity taking over.  But now Deutsche Bank is concerned: Up to this year we’ve felt confident that they could continue this art for the foreseeable future and thus keep asset prices elevated as a result. We acceptedRead More →

Facebook Apologizes for Overstating Video Metrics   Facebook apologized on Friday for an error in the way it measured video viewership, a miscalculation that greatly overstated how much time, on average, its users were spending watching videos. The incorrect numbers were displayed to partners, including advertisers and publishers, for more than two years, as Facebook aggressively challenged YouTube for online video dominance and urged partners to embrace video publishing and advertising on the platform. While Facebook called the problem a “discrepancy,’’ it is a troublesome admission for major advertising agencies and publishers that rely on Facebook’s metrics to assess their investments on the platform —Read More →

In the aftermath of the ECB halting production of the €500 banknote, and more recently, India phasing out its highest denomination bills instantly eliminating some 86% of the cash in circulation as increasingly more countries make a move toward a cash-free society, another central bank – the world’s oldest – has started planning its own transition away from paper cash. Sweden’s Riksbank, which was the first central bank in the world to issue paper currency in the 1660s, is preparing to become a monetary pioneer yet again, and has launched a project to examine what a central bank-backed digital currency would look like and whatRead More →

Donald Trump exclaimed that “we’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” in January, and now as Nikkei reports, Key Apple assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, has been studying the possibility of moving iPhone production to America. iPhones might one day soon carry “Made in America” labels. “Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron, the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.,” a source said. “Foxconn complied, while Pegatron declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns.” Foxconn, based inRead More →

As we’ve noted before, Defined Benefit Pension Plans are, almost by definition, a ponzi scheme. Current assets are used to pay current claims in full in spite of insufficient funding to pay future liabilities: classic Ponzi.  But unlike wall street and corporate ponzi schemes no one goes to jail here because the establishment is complicit.  Everyone from government officials to union bosses are incentivized to maintain the status quo – public employees get to sleep better at night thinking they have a “retirement plan,” public legislators get to be re-elected by union membership while pretending their states are solvent and union bosses get to keepRead More →

Submitted by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com, Less than a week after India’s surprise move to scrap its highest denomination cash notes, another front in the War on Cash has intensified down under in Australia. Yesterday, banking giant UBS proposed that eliminating Australia’s $100 and $50 bills would be “good for the economy and good for the banks.” (How convenient that a bank would propose something that’s good for banks!) This isn’t the first time that the financial establishment has pushed for a cashless society in Australia (or anywhere else). In September 2015, Australian bank Westpac published its “Cash Free Report”, suggesting that the country wouldRead More →

Submitted by Jayant Bhandari via Acting-Man.com, Chaos in the Wake of the Ban Here is a link to Part 1, about what happened in the first two days after India’s government made Rs 500 (~$7.50) and Rs 1,000 (~$15) banknotes illegal. They can now only be converted to Rs 100 (~$1.50) or lower denomination notes, at bank branches or post offices. Banks were closed the first day after the decision. What follows is the crux of what has happened over the subsequent four days. Today India is on the verge of a major social-political crisis, unless either the government backs off from the decision ofRead More →

Ron Emanuel, As The Mayor Of Chicago, The Mulder Capital Of The Free World, Shows The World Just How Ignorant He Is. Putting His Own Erroneous Political View Ahead Of The Rule Of Law As He Reaches Out To Illegal Criminal Immigrants To Seek Sanctuary In His Killing Fields. Hard To Imagine A Bigger Failure Than Ron. Hard To Imagine Someone More Wrong. Unless You Imagine Obama… Most Of Those illegal Criminals Probably Will Stay Where They Are As It Is Safer And Less Likely That They Are Caught And Deported Than Murdered In Ron’s Sanctuary City Chicago….Read More →

The Democratic party is the party of ever increasing government and wealth redistribution. Fueled by the extortion of taxes, they purchase votes with mana from the state.  Approximately 122.500.000 individuals are the recipient of means tested funds provided by the government. Another approximate 22,500,000 individuals are employed by Federal, State and Local government.  That makes 145,000,000 million Americans dependent on Government for all or part of their existence. According to BLS there are approximately 125,000,000 million Americans designated full time employees. As it stands currently, there is a greater number of people receiving money from a smaller number of people.  Regardless of any morality or emotionRead More →

Submitted by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog, GDP Without the Debt Incurred Is Just A Gross Distortion GDP or gross domestic product is the big lie used by politicians because it neatly avoids the debt undertaken to achieve it’s purported growth.  The chart below shows annual US GDP growth back to 1980. However, the chart below shows both sides of the equation…the annual GDP growth and the annual federal debt incurred, spent, and (thus counted as part of the growth) to achieve the purported growth. Below, annual GDP minus the annual growth in federal debt to achieve that “GDP growth”.  The last eight years were abysmal and 2016 theRead More →

The shock and disbelief of Democrats and Liberals across the country is astonishing. Apparently they had bought into the lies that the Major Media (ABC, CBS, NBC , CNN, NYT, WP) were emitting as the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, in an effort to persuade the citizens and influence the election, too progressives, the propaganda became truth.  When your sole source of information is derived from cheating liars in the bag for a political party you are misinformed. When you want those lies to be true you become blinded to the facts. I listened to pundits question how the population could ignore aRead More →