Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bernie Sanders calls for ‘war tax’ on millionaires

(Rebecca Shabad)  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to offer an amendment to the GOP budget next week that would impose a new tax on millionaires to finance U.S. military operations.
The “war tax” will be one of the first Sanders will introduce during the vote-a-rama next week. During the back-to-back votes, senators are allowed to submit an unlimited amount of amendments.
“The Republicans took us into protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and ran up our national debt by trillions because they chose not to pay for those wars. Instead, they put the cost of those wars on our national credit card,” Sanders said in a statement Friday.
Sanders, a potential 2016 presidential contender, is ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
He’s upset with a provision Senate Republicans added to their blueprint Thursday that would increase defense spending next year by pumping up the Pentagon’s war funding account to $96 billion.
The overseas contingency operations (OCO) account has funded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now pays for operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Republicans are depending on OCO, which falls outside the Defense Department’s base budget, to increase military spending. The budget would keep sequestration budget caps in place next year for the Pentagon’s base budget.
Sanders slammed the proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), which matches what House Republicans are seeking in their separate budget resolution. Sanders called their use of OCO a “gimmick.”
The extra OCO funding would only be offset in the out years, beyond the 10-year budget window.
“Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget. If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for,” he said.
“I strongly expect that there will be amendments demanding that Republicans tell us how they will pay for another war.”
Both chambers are planning to hold floor votes on their separate blueprints by the end of next week.

World faces 40% water shortfall in 15 years

(SAN FRANCISCO)  As the global economy grows, the world is going to get a lot more thirsty in 2030 if steps aren’t taken to cut back on fresh water use now, the United Nations says.
At current usage rates, the world will have 40% less fresh water than it needs in 15 years, according to the United Nations World Water Assessment Program in its 2015 report, which came out ahead of the U.N.’s World Water Day on Sunday.
“Strong income growth and rising living standards of a growing middle class have led to sharp increases in water use, which can be unsustainable, especially where supplies are vulnerable or scarce and where its use, distribution, price, consumption and management are poorly managed or regulated,” the report said.
Factors driving up demand for water include increased meat consumption, larger homes, more cars and trucks on the road, more appliances and energy-consuming devices, all staples of middle -class life, the report noted.
Population growth and increased urbanization also contribute to the problem. Water demand tends to grow at double the rate of population growth, the report said. The global population is expected to grow to 9.1 billion people by 2050, up from the current 7.2 billion.
More people living in cities also put strain on water supplies. The report estimates that 6.3 billion people, or about 69% of the world’s population, will be living in urban areas by 2050, up from the current 50%.
The biggest drain on water resources is agriculture, which uses about 70% of the world’s fresh water supplies. Tapping into groundwater supplies to make up for surface-water deficits strains resources. The report said that 50% of the world relies solely on groundwater to meet basic daily needs and that 20% of the world’s aquifers are already over-exploited.
The issue of water scarcity rose again to prominence recently when a NASA scientists warned that drought-stricken California only has about a year’s worth of water left. Recently, MarketWatch’s David Weidner looked into the California water crisis and Mark Hulbert pointed out seven ways of exploiting water shortage concerns.

Unemployment claims soar as U.S. industry collapses; MSM touts growth in lowest-paying jobs instead

(NaturalNews) According to published reports, the U.S. economy grew by nearly 300,000 jobs in February, making the unemployment rate fall to 5.5 percent - the lowest of President Obama's tenure - so the nation is well on its way to post-Great Recession recovery, right?

Not so fast.

As reported by USA Today March 6:

The BLS revised January's job gains to 239,000 from 257,000 and left December's 329,000 estimate unchanged, for a total downward revision of 18,000. Job gains have averaged 288,000 a month the past three months. Nevertheless, February was the fourth-best month for jobs since January 2014.

"The upside surprise should no longer be a surprise because, despite what many pessimists wish to believe, the economy is expanding at a healthy clip and creating high variety jobs again," Todd Schoenberger at LandColt Capital told CNBC.

While that sounds positive at first blush, the realities of those figures, along with some other details about employment and the U.S. economy, tell a much different story.

For instance, on the heels of such glowing employment reports comes another that appears to undercut it: Market Watch reported March 5 that new unemployment claims climbed to their highest level since May 2014.

Good-paying jobs getting more scarce

"Initial jobless claims climbed by 7,000 to 320,000 in the period stretching from Feb. 22 to Feb. 28, the Labor Department said Thursday. New applications for unemployment benefits are now running just 1.5% below year-ago levels, and they have risen sharply after falling near a 14-year low of 267,000 in late January," reported Market Watch.

What is also happening is that, while there has been some job creation, much of that has occurred in low-paying job sectors, even as jobs in higher-paying sectors, like energy, are vanishing.

As reported by Tyler Durden over at Zero Hedge, 38 percent of all job cuts in 2015 have come due to lower oil prices, with more on the way.

"Employers announced 103,620 planned layoffs through the first two months of 2015, which is up 19 percent from the 86,942 job cuts recorded during the same period in 2014," added the labor analysis firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Also, noted Durden, citing the Challenger data, cheaper oil prices did not appear to be helping the rest of the economic or labor sector:

Cheap oil does not yet appear to be helping stem the tide of job cuts in the retail sector, which saw the second highest number of job cuts in February with 9,163. Employers in the sector have announced 15,862 job cuts, so far this year. That is little changed from the 15,242 retail job cuts announced in the first two months of 2014.

In a separate post, Durden discussed the wage picture, noting that month after month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has promised there would be wage growth, though there has not been.

In a March 6 post Durden - citing February's BLS report, noted that the most job growth occurred in the least paying sectors of "Leisure and Hospitality" (66,000 jobs); "Education and Health" (54,000 jobs); and "Retail Trade" (32,000 jobs).

This, despite Labor Secretary Thomas Perez insisting at the release of the latest report that the "quality of jobs is going up."

"Together these three job categories accounted for 152K jobs, or more than half the total February job gains. They also represent the lowest paid jobs in the U.S.," writes Durden. "And that's why there is no wage increase."

'Part-time economy'

What's more, the nation's economy - thanks to a number of Obama administration policies and initiatives - is being transformed into a part-time endeavor.

As reported by CNN/Money in November, the "part-time economy" is "America's Hidden Job Problem:"

Overall U.S. unemployment has fallen steeply in the past year (from 7.2% in October 2013 to 5.8% in October 2014), but too many people can only find part-time positions.

The number of people working part-time involuntarily is more than 50% higher than when the recession began.

There are many dynamics to an economy and labor market as large and diverse as America's, but that said there is much more to making it healthy than simply saying it is.


Meet The Worst Economic Forecasters Ever – The Fed

by Lance Roberts
I have been tracking the Federal Reserves forward looking projections ever since they begin releasing their forecasts. The purpose of tracking these projections was tocompare the Fed’s forecasts with what eventually became reality. The record is now clear…they are the worst economic forecasters…ever.
The most recent release of the Fed’s economic projections on the economy, inflation and unemployment continue to follow the same previous trends of weaker growth, lower inflation and a complete misunderstanding of the underpinnings of the real labor market.


When it comes to the economy, the Fed has consistently overstated economic strength. This is clearly shown in the chart and table below.
Near the end of 2013, the Fed predicted that GDP growth for 2014 would be 3.6%. This was down from 2013’s projection of 4% economic growth. Actual real GDP (inflation adjusted) was just 2.36% for the year or roughly a negative 34% difference. However, as you can see in the chart above, the Federal Reserve has been consistently over optimistic about future economic growth.
Unfortunately, 2015 is not shaping up well either. At the beginning of 2014, the estimates for the full year economic growth in 2015 averaged 2.9% down from the 3.35% when first projected in 2012. As of yesterday, the Fed has downgraded that outlook further now predicting growth of just 2.6% for the full year.
This is the lowest rate of economic growth predicted by the since 2012. With the first quarter of 2015 shaping up to be nearly flat (0% growth), it would now require average growth over the next 3 quarters of 3.3% real growth to meet that goal. However, given the current weakening of economic data domestically, the surging dollar impacting exports, and global deflationary/recessionary pressures abroad, it is quite likely that, just as in every year past, the Federal Reserve will be reducing their goals further into the year.
Importantly, while Janet Yellen suggested the Fed’s economic forecast was “not a weak one,” the reality is that it actually was. I have repeatedly stated over the last two years that we are in for a low growth economy due to debt deleveraging, deficits and continued fiscal and monetary policies that are retardants for economic prosperity. The simple fact is that when the economy requires roughly $5 of debt to provide $1 of economic growth – the engine of growth is broken.
Economic data continues to show signs of sluggishness, despite intermittent pops of activity, and with higher taxes, increased healthcare costs and regulation, the fiscal drag on the economy could be larger than expected.
What is very important is the long run outlook of 2.15% economic growth. As shown in the chart below, real economic growth used to run close to 4%. Today, the Fed’s prediction is down markedly from the 2.7% rate they were predicting in 2011.
It is worth noting that it is incredibly difficult to create real economic prosperity when locked into subpar growth rates.That rate of growth is not strong enough to achieve the “escape velocity” required to improve the level of incomes and employment to levels that were enjoyed in previous decades.  Has there been a recovery in the economy? Of course, but much of it has only been statistical.


The one area that the Federal Reserve has been fairly accurate has been the unemployment rate. For 2015, the Fed sees unemployment falling to 5.05% and ultimately returning to a 5.35% “full employment” rate in the long run.
Of course, the issue with the “full employment” prediction becomes the definition of what“reality” actually is.

Today, average Americans have begun to question the credibility of the BLS employment reports. Even Congress has made an inquiry into the data collection and analysis methods used to determine employment reports. Since the end of the last recession, employment has improved modestly but that improvement, as shown in full-time employment to population ratio chart below of 16-54 year olds belies the “full employment” levels reported suggested by the Fed.
Employment-16-54-031615 More importantly, where the Fed is concerned, the drop in the unemployment rate has been due to shrinkage of the labor pool rather than an increase in employment. The chart below shows the unemployment rate as compared to the percentage of the working age population that are no longer consider part of the workforce.
Unemployment-Rate-vs-NILF-031915 While the unemployment “rate” is declining, it is a very poor measure from which to benchmark the health of the economy. Furthermore, as discussed previously, there is a very high probability that due to the impact of the depth of the last economic recession that the BLS has been overstating employment gains.
“This is an extremely important point as it suggests that employment, as presented by the BLS, has been significantly overstated over the past six years. If we take the differential as stated by Gallup and compare that to the annual birth/death adjustment used by the BLS we find that jobs have been overstated by 3,678,000 or more than 613,000 annually.”
Lastly, it is hard to suggest that “employment” is rapidly returning to normal when there are still 30% of college graduates living at home with parents, the highest number ofindividuals in history over the age of 65 are still working and roughly 1-in-4 Americans on some form of government assistance.
But then again, maybe the Fed has it right? If you just look at the headline statistical data things look a whole lot better.


When it comes to inflation, the Fed’s projections are only marginally better than their economic forecasts.
The Fed significantly underestimated official rates of inflation in 2011. However, in 2012 and 2013 their projections were more closely aligned. However, since then the Fed has consistently hoped for higher rates of inflation than what has actually occurred. Near the end of 2014, the Fed was predicting inflation for 2015 at nearly 2%, currently inflation has fallen to just 0.68% and with the collpase of oil and commodity prices, shows little sign of rising anytime soon.
The Fed’s greatest economic fear is deflation and the stubbornly low levels of inflationary pressures will continue to keep the Fed sidelined longer than most expect.
While the Federal Reserve removed their “patient” status from their meeting notes yesterday, the reality is that they are unlikely going to be able to raise interest rates anytime soon. This was a view that was reiterated by Morgan Stanley yesterday:
“We maintain our expectation that the Fed will err on the side of caution and take to heart the asymmetric risks to tightening policy too early when at the zero lower bound. We see persistently low core inflation as the main stumbling block for those on the Committee that want to become more confident that this period of lowflation does indeed turn out to be transitory. With our expectation that core inflation falls further from goal,and the lingering threats to growth and inflation from the rapid appreciation of the US dollar, we look for the Fed to forego rate hikes this year.
However, there is another point to be considered as I stated previously:
“The real concern for investors and individuals is the actual economy. There isclearly something amiss within the economic landscape, and the ongoing decline of inflationary pressures longer term is likely telling us just that. The big question for the Fed is how to get out of the potential trap they have gotten themselves into without cratering the economy, and the financial markets, in the process.
It is my expectation, unless these deflationary trends reverse course in very short order, that if the Fed raises rates it will invoke a fairly negative response from both the markets and economy.  However, I also believe that the Fed understands that we are closer to the next economic recession than not.  For the Federal Reserve, the worst case scenario is being caught with rates at the “zero bound” when that occurs. For this reason, while raising rates will likely spark a potential recession and market correction, from the Fed’s perspective this might be the “lesser of two evils.”

You Can’t Handle The Truth

However, it is important to understand that the Federal Reserve CAN NOT tell the truth. In a liquidity driven world where the financial markets parse and hang on every word uttered by the heads of Central Banks worldwide, can you imagine what would happen to the financial markets if Janet Yellen stated:
“Despite many years of supporting the financial markets in hopes of a resurgence of economic growth, it is committee’s assessment that Keynesian economic theory is flawed. While our monetary interventions have inflated asset prices as desired, it has only served to widen the “wealth gap” while having little effect on the real economy.  It is the conclusion of the committee that our policies have failed to achieve realistic economic objectives and has potentially imperiled the financial markets with a third ‘asset bubble’ in the last 15 years.”
The ensuing collapse in the financial markets would immediately create a recessionary environment.  Financial markets would crumble as credit markets froze as economic activity plunged.  This is why there is such a great emphasis focused on the Federal Reserve statement and the guidance they provide. This is why the FOMC continues to focus on the use of “forward guidance” as a policy tool.
The problem for the Federal Reserve is that they are still looking for that elusive economic recovery to take hold after more than five years. Unfortunately for the Fed, economic recovery cycles do not last forever, and the clock is ticking.

Why Aren’t These Investors Worried About The Gold Price?

Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst
Casey Research

Have you noticed that some gold investors don’t seem very concerned about the current behavior of gold?

While the price remains weak and range-bound, some gold investors don’t seem worried about it at all.

The natural reaction to an asset you own losing a third of its value, with seemingly little motivation to move higher, is cheerless and maybe even depressing. So why aren’t they?

Are they out of touch? Perhaps have nothing at stake? Are they the kind of investors that would go down with the ship?

Or do they know something we don’t?

Gold’s Cycles

The resource markets are well known for moving in cycles, probably more than most other markets. Raging bull market, crippling bear market, repeat. This includes gold and silver.

Yes, catalysts can impact the price along the way—a big discovery, government interventions, and good ol’ supply and demand. But the context that determines how the price ultimately performs in a given period is where we are in the cycle.

Cycles never repeat with the same length or breadth, but they distinctly boom and bust, over and over again. The data doesn’t tell us exactly when gold’s next upcycle will get underway, nor how big it will be, but it does tell us this: another bull cycle is coming.

We charted the major cycles for gold and silver from 1975—when gold again became legal to own in the US—to present.

Here are gold’s cycles.

Since 1975, gold has logged eight major price cycles. While no two are identical, our recent downcycle has been one of the longest on record. It’s also been slightly bigger than the average percentage decline.

Regardless of the nominal price, gold has repeatedly cycled between bull markets and bear markets.
Given the prolonged nature of the current bear market, history suggests that the current down cycle is about over. It doesn’t mean the next bull market will start tomorrow, but it does indicate that the next major cycle will be up, regardless of short-term fluctuations.

Silver also has prominent cycles.

In terms of percentage decline, silver’s recent downcycle is the second biggest on record. This is a strong indication that silver’s bottom is in.

And like gold, the picture shows that the next big cycle is up.

So what does all this mean to us? Setting the timing aside, history says…
  • The current downcycle in the precious metals market has exceeded historical averages.
  • Given the extent of the selloff, particularly with silver, the bottom for these markets is likely in.
  • The pattern of market cycles means the next major trend for our industry is UP. We don’t know when, but history says it is coming.
In other words, the gains ahead could be tremendous.

Preparing now for the next upcycle is key to your future wealth.

Those unworried gold investors are very cognizant of these historical patterns. Not only do they know another bull cycle is coming, but given the extent of the selloff and the monetary malfeasance of governments the world over, they fully expect to become wealthy from it. They’re positioning their portfolios right now in anticipation of a major shift in wealth.

You can hear what they’re doing in our online event Going Vertical. Eight stars of the mining industry and seasoned resource investors discuss the historic opportunity the current market offers and the best ways to prepare your portfolio for a shot at true wealth when the gold market inevitably rallies again. Watch Franco-Nevada’s Pierre Lassonde… Casey Research Chairman Doug Casey… Pretium’s Bob Quartermain… Sprott US Holdings Chairman Rick Rule… Aben Resources’ Ron Netolitzky… US Global Investors CEO Frank Holmes… and Casey Research metals experts Jeff Clark and Louis James. Don’t miss this free special event—watch Going Vertical now!

Global Trade Grinds To A Crawl

At the start of this month, those who contend that depression-level readings on the Baltic Dry are no longer very meaningful because at this juncture, the index simply shows the extent to which the industry is oversupplied got a rude awakening when the CEO of the company (Maersk) that handles nearly a fifth of global seaborne freight decided to ruin everyone’s day by daring to suggest that in fact, global growth is rather abysmal and will likely continue to depress demand the world over. Worse, Skou went as far as saying that the days of 10% container growth for his industry are probably gone forever and yet despite it all, he’s buying more ships in what FT says is an effort to “help the company maintain its market leadership position,” which is of course just a nice way of saying that now many be a good time to eliminate the competition. As an aside, Skou also didn’t seem to share Richard Fisher’s assessment of the US as an “epicenter” of growth, saying America was “good but not great,” suggesting that as Rick Santelli told Fisher, it’s easy to score at the upper end of the range on a scale of 1-10 when a “1” basically equates to a deflationary death spiral and “10” just means something akin to not-collapsing.
Here’s how we summed up the situation at the time:
And yet the biggest paradox, or perhaps most logical outcome, of all this is that just as margins are about to be squeezed across the entire global supply chain, the healthier companies are now rushing to do what the oil driller are doing, and overproduce, in the process pushing prices even lower in hopes of putting marginal companies, and those which don't have access to cheap and easy funds, out of business. Call it the Amazon effect, only here one is dealing with net debt leverage of 3x, 4x or higher.

So with global demand lower as a result of slowing trade, and with Maersk about to boost ship supply even more, the result will be an even more aggressive drop in cargo and haulage prices as the deflationary wave hits yet another industry, in the process forcing seaborne transportation to be the latest to succumb to deflation, which for the highly levered sector means even more defaults are imminent now that China no longer is pumping nearly $4 trilion in total new credit every year. 
Today, we got still more evidence from the world of seaborne freight that in fact, global trade may be grinding to a halt. As Reuters notes, freight rates declined for a seventh straight week plunging double-digits to the lowest levels in nearly 2 years:
Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell 12.4 percent to $620 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday, a source with access to data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index told Reuters.

It was the seventh consecutive week with falling freight rates on the world's busiest trade route and the current level is the lowest seen since June 2013.

In the week to Friday, container freight rates dropped 15.5 percent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, and fell 4.7 percent to ports on the U.S. West Coast and were down 4.7 percent to ports on the U.S. East Coast.
And while there are still plenty of commentators who will suggest that oversupply is the controlling factor here, the evidence just seems to be mounting that it could be the other way around or as we put it: “...yes supply isn't helping, but it is the lack of global demand that is pushing equilibrium levels lower, aka global deflation.”
Meanwhile, shippers seem to suffer from the same disposition which Chinese regulators warned today may end up generating huge losses for investors, for, as The Economist puts it, “owners are habitually more worried about missing out on an upturn than they are about getting caught by a downturn.”
On that note, we’ll leave you with the following bit of advice from the China Securities Regulatory Commission which seems applicable here:
“We shouldn’t be thinking if we don’t buy now, we will miss it.”

Michigan Selling 8,801 Acres Of Precious Underground Mineral Rights To Canadian Company

The largest single public land deal in Michigan history will be approved, state Department of Natural Resources Director KeithCreagh said Thursday.
The state is selling 8,810 acres of surface land or underground mineral rights to Canadian company Graymont for it to create a vast, 13,000-acre limestone mining operation in the Upper Peninsula counties of Mackinac and Luce. The deal calls for Graymont to pay the state $4.53 million.
The divisive proposal has been a subject of debate for 18 months in a naturally beautiful, rural portion of the U.P. Creagh said the DNR faced a “very difficult balance” with its mandates to protect natural resources and allow their beneficial use — as well as balance the opposing viewpoints from area residents.
In addition to the $4.53 million, Michigan retains surface and public use rights on more than 7,000 acres of the sale property. The state additionally will receive a 30-cent royalty on each ton of limestone or dolomite mined by Graymont in the area. The state has also agreed to grant 830 acres of mineral rights to Graymont for the project in exchange for company-held mineral rights in other locations of the U.P.
Supporters of Graymont’s Rexton limestone mining project cite the desperate need for jobs and economic activity in an area where young people often move away to find work after completing school. Others fear the mining and traffic will irreparably damage the bucolic setting that called them to live or retire there.
DNR department heads earlier this year sent a memo to Creagh recommending rejection of the Graymont proposal, citing numerous concerns. Company officials continued negotiations with the state and resolved areas of disagreement to the point that the department heads earlier this month reversed their stance and recommended approval.
Changes in the agreement included increasing the mineral royalty from 18.75 cents to 30 cents per ton, Graymont agreeing to a minimum annual royalty payment to the state beginning in 2020 and the company establishing a regional economic development fund of $100,000 per year for five years.
“The chiefs had identified what their concerns were, and the staff rolled up their sleeves and went to work,” Creagh said.
P.J. Stoll, plant manager for Graymont’s Gulliver facility, said the public process “very much improved the original proposal.”
The divided local opinion was apparent from those speaking before the Natural Resources Commission in Roscommon on Thursday. Rexton-area resident Tonya Emerson’s nearly 100-year-old family farm will have Graymont mining operations on three sides of the property. She cited concerns about a reduced water table and water contamination.
“Selling the state’s greatest asset, allowing a foreign company to destroy our land — while making a huge profit doing so — would be a huge injustice to the residents of upper Michigan,” she said.
Rexton resident Dorothy Mills was similarly opposed.
“We purchased our property, we built our houses, in an area that didn’t have a limestone mine. So did many others,” she said.
But several speakers who made the trip from the U.P. expressed support for the project, saying the economic benefit it will bring to a depressed area is much needed.
“The young people deserve it,” area resident Jeff Dishaw said. “Myself, I have a job. But the young people in this community deserve the opportunity to stay and earn a middle-class living.”
Hendricks Township Supervisor Russell Nelson told the Free Press before Thursday’s commission meeting that it was time to move ahead with the project.
“This has pitted neighbor against neighbor,” he said.
Graymont officials say the initial phase of their operation will create 50 mining and transportation-related jobs, along with 100 indirect jobs. The company, the second-largest supplier of lime and lime-based products in North America, also is considering building a $100-million limestone processing plant in Nelson’s township years from now.
“We need the jobs,” Nelson said. “Our township has about 160 residents over 80 square miles. We have one little convenience store and a couple of restaurants.”
The revised deal still does not address Trout Lake Township resident Kathy English’s concerns, she said.
“It doesn’t change the noise, the traffic, the pollution, the potential impacts to the water table, the changes to our way of life,” she said.
The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club also opposed the land deal, saying the DNR is failing to follow state law in determining surplus state lands. The land deal involves 10 times more acreage than any previous sale, club officials said.
“As proposed, the Graymont sale would establish a dangerous precedent and undermine our longstanding Michigan tradition of ensuring publicly owned lands that we value today are also there for future generations of Michiganders,” Sierra Club forest ecologist Marvin Roberson said.

Big Bank’s Analyst Worries That Iran Deal Could Depress Weapons Sales

Featured photo - Big Bank’s Analyst Worries That Iran Deal Could Depress Weapons Sales
Could a deal to normalize Western relations with Iran and set limits on Iran’s development of nuclear technology lead to a more peaceful and less-weaponized Middle East?
That’s what supporters of the Iran negotiations certainly hope to achieve. But the prospect of stability has at least one financial analyst concerned about its impact on one of the world’s biggest defense contractors.
The possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27th. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might harm profitability.
Hewson replied that “that really isn’t coming up,” but stressed that “volatility all around the region” should continue to bring in new business. According to Hewson, “A lot of volatility, a lot of instability, a lot of things that are happening” in both the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region means both are “growth areas” for Lockheed Martin.
The Deutsche Bank-Lockheed exchange “underscores a longstanding truism of the weapons trade: war — or the threat of war — is good for the arms business,” says William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung observed that Hewson described the normalization of relations with Iran not as a positive development for the future, but as an “impediment.” “And Hewson’s response,” Hartung adds, “which in essence is ‘don’t worry, there’s plenty of instability to go around,’ shows the perverse incentive structure that is at the heart of the international arms market.”
Listen to the exchange here:
Rising tensions in the Middle East have prompted governments to go on a shopping spree for American lobbyists and weaponsDefenseOne reports that over the next five years, “Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan are expected to spend more $165 billion on arms.” And in the U.S., concerns over ISIS and Iran have prompted calls for an increase in the defense budget.
During the call, Hewson proudly noted that 20% of Lockheed’s sales in 2014 were “international” — meaning, to non-American customers. “So we’re pleased with that,” she said, adding that Lockheed has set a goal “to get to 25% over the next few years.”
Lockheed Martin’s trademarked slogan is “We never forget who we’re working for,” which Lockheed likes to suggest means Americans in general and military veterans in particular. The January earnings call indicates that Lockheed in fact answers to very different constituencies.
Photo: Colin Anderson/Getty Images

The three things that prevented a “total meltdown” in 2008… And why they won’t work next time

by Bill Bonner, Chairman, Bonner & Partners:
Today… more about what will happen when a real crash comes…
In a real financial crisis, people reach for something real to hold on to.
Following the Crash of 1929, for instance, Americans ran to their banks and took out so much cash that 10,000 banks closed. They were out of money.
In the crisis of 2008, people were confused. In an era of credit money, what is real?
In the event, they too rushed to take out cash.
According to former congressman Paul Kanjorski, a member of the House Banking Committee, depositors took out $550 billion in less than two hours…
Had the authorities not stepped in with a massive cash injection… this would have bankrupted every bank in the nation in less than 24 hours.
When Trust Disappears
To remind readers, we have set off on a long, winding road. We are skipping along it, cheerfully anticipating the end of the world.
What we are trying to figure out now is how our modern credit-based money system will survive the next crisis.
When the next crisis comes, people are sure to want “money” in hand; they always have.
But how can you hoard money you cannot see? How can you stockpile credit? What can you trust when trust disappears?
All financial systems suffer shocks from time to time. When they do, promises tend to be marked down sharply.
No one knows for sure who can pay and who can’t. No one can borrow because no one can lend. Credit vanishes. All that’s left is cold, hard cash.
The Fed can step in, as it did in 2008, and backstop all the credit in the world.
But what good is it in a real financial crisis?
Imagine the local auto dealer. He goes into his bank to refinance his business loan.
“Are you selling any cars?” asks the loan manager.
“Are you kidding? Nobody’s buying.”
“Then I can’t lend you any money. You won’t be able to repay.”
It doesn’t matter that the Fed is pushing down the cost of credit through ZIRP and QE. Banks still need willing and able borrowers before they can make loans.
Now, imagine that across the whole economy. Credit may be available. But not to the people who are desperate for cash.
Besides, it is credit that has caused the crisis: Too many people owe too much money they can’t pay.
Fear and Uncertainty
Yes, the Fed will promise that “no bank will fail” and act as lender of last resort.
But that won’t make insolvent businesses suddenly profitable. It won’t cause people to buy cars… or build houses… or spend money.
Stock prices will be slashed in half. GDP growth will turn negative. Housing sales will come to a halt. We’ve already seen that show once in this young century.
And you can imagine – because we lived through it so recently – how banks and businesses will take the news that their collateral is giving way beneath their feet. They will cut off lines of credit. They will cancel investments. They will lay off employees by the hundreds of thousands.
They will default on their debt and refuse to lend to anyone else.
Fear and uncertainty will spread. The economy and everyone in it will rush for cash. Lines will form at ATMs. And within hours, the cash will run out.
Why didn’t that happen in September 2008?
It almost did. But three things prevented a total meltdown:
1.) There was less debt than today: about $8 trillion less in America, and about $57 trillion less worldwide.
2.) The world economy was still in growth mode. China was still growing (at least according to the official figures) at 8% a year. Commodities were becoming more expensive. There were still many areas in which investment was paying off.
3.) The Fed still had some ammunition to fight the downturn. Short-term interest rates were at 2%. Now, it has been at the “zero bound” for six years.
The Forgotten Depression
It would have been better to let the crisis of 2008 take care of itself. Free markets are remarkably robust and self-healing. (Just look at the “forgotten depression” of 1921 – what Jim Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer refers to as “The Crash That Cured Itself.”)
Instead, the PhDs who work for the Department of the Treasury and the Fed believe they can do better. They fought an excess debt problem by giving the world more debt.
And now they have a system that is more vulnerable to a crisis than ever before.
Although this has greatly enriched the banks, the cronies, and the speculators, it has made the situation of the middle classes worse.
There are fewer real “breadwinner” jobs today than there were in 2007 and real median household income is lower.
In 2009, the Fed chairman was ranked, in the popular imagination, somewhere between Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ. But after six years of failure… with policies that obviously rob the many to pay off the few… the public will be less ready to believe a new messiah is on hand when the next crisis comes.
Suspicious and fearful, they will rush the ATMs sooner rather than later…

Jim Rickards: Greece exit of EU would be catastrophic w global contagion… Any deposit made with a bank is an unsecured loan to that bank

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Latest podcast w @JamesGRickards :  Greece exit of EU would be catastrophic w global contagion
Jim Rickards, Gold Chronicles March 12, 2015
*There will be no Grexit
*Greece exiting the Euro would be catastrophic
*Global contagion is a real possibility
*Greek negotiations will continue to be difficult but they will come to a deal versus a Grexit
*Austria Bail-In significance
*Depositors and Bond-holders have always been unsecured creditors of banks
*Depositors have taken it for granted that there is some kind of sacred agreement that deposits would be returned
*Any deposit made with a bank is an unsecured loan to that bank
*G20 Brisbane Summit communicated bail-in intentions
*Physical gold outside the banking system is not subject to bail-ins
*No Fed interest rate rise in 2015
*23 Central Bank rate cuts in the last three months
*This is currency wars on steroids
*Investors are looking at Fed rate hike as potential yield, dump global currencies and buy dollars
*Current deflation is crushing entities dealing with corporate debt denominated in USD
*$9Trillion of USD denominated corporate debt globally held in countries where they cannot print dollars, they have to buy dollars to meet obligations
*If the Fed raises rates it will be the ripple around the world that might cause a $20 trillion (with leverage) bubble to unwind
*At this point Jim likes gold, cash, and 10 yr treasuries
*Jims view on safety of money market funds
*Negative interest rates, how low can they really go
*Financial academics can do the math, but they cannot predict the psychology
*How to know if your physical gold is outside of the banking system
*Ratio of paper short positions versus real physical gold availability
*Why Physical Gold Fund is Jim’s favorite
*How low can the Euro go
*A stronger dollar is the same thing as a rate increase

US Taxpayers To Fund Ukraine Bailout With Bond Guarantee

Last week we reported that as part of the latest "check kiting" bailout scheme, Greek pensioners (and now utility companies) are being raided by the Greek government so that it can repay its debts to the IMF, which in turn would go ahead and fund a part of the recently approved $17.5 billion bailout of Ukraine, which then would have the money to pay its debts to Russia... and the IMF. And, as we also noted, "The only question is how long will it take the current puppet government to syphon off enough funds into various illegal ventures and offshore accounts before the IMF has to step back in a la Greece with bailout #2."
Turns out the answer is about a week, because as Reuters reported earlier today, CCC-rated Ukraine is preparing to issue more debt, debt with a Aa+/AAA rating because it will come with the explicit guarantee of the United States of America.
From Reuters:
The Republic of Ukraine has sent out a request for proposals (RFP) to banks for a new US government-guaranteed bond, according to three sources.

This is the second time the US government has thrown its financial backing behind a Ukrainian international bond issue.

In May 2014, the US guaranteed a US$1bn Ukrainian bond maturing in 2019 through the US Agency for International development.

That bond was given a credit rating in line with the US sovereign at Aaa by Moody's, AA+ by Standard & Poor's and AAA by Fitch. This is a far cry from Ukraine's credit rating, which stands at Caa3, CCC and CC with the same three agencies.

The RFP comes just over a week after Ukraine agreed a new four-year US$17.5bn bailout facility with the International Monetary Fund.

As part of the IMF agreement several institutions - including the European Union, World Bank and US - have agreed to provide around US$7.5bn between them, according to analyst estimates, to the war torn country.

It is not clear whether the US-backed bond forms part of the US contribution.
One other place that also issued bonds with a US guarantee was Egypt. And everyone knows just how the US-inspired coup to put the Muslim Brotherhood in power turned out.
In other words, after raiding Greek pensions with the IMF's blessing, the Kiev puppet government is now going after the "full faith and credit" of the US... backed by its taxpayers.
In yet other words, the latest Ukraine "bailout" is courtesy of you, dear US taxpaying reader.

Shocking Austerity: Greece’s Poor Lost 86% Of Income, But Rich Only 17-20%

Submitted by Keep Talking Greece
Greece’s unbalanced austerity and drastic increase of poverty. The poorest households in the debt-ridden country lost nearly 86% of their income, while the richest lost only 17-20%.  The tax burden on the poor increased by 337% while the burden on upper-income classes increased by only 9% !!! This is the result of a study that has analyzed 260.000 tax and income data from the years 2008 – 2012.
According to the study commissioned by the German Institute for Macroeconomic Research (IMK) affiliated with the Hans Böckler Foundation:
- The nominal gross income of Greek households decreased by almost a quarter in only four years.
- The wages cuts caused nearly half of the decline.
- The net income fell further by almost 9 percent, because the tax burden was significantly increased
-  While all social classes suffered income losses due to cuts, tax increases and the economic crisis, particularly strongly affected were households of low- and middle-income. This was due to sharp increase in unemployment and tax increases, that were partially regressive.
- The total number of employees in the private sector suffered significantly greater loss of income, and they were more likely to be unemployed than those employed in the public sector.
-From 2009 to 2013 wages and salaries in the private sector declined in several stages at around 19 percent. Among other things, because the minimum wage was lowered and collective bargaining structures were weakened. Employees in the public sector lost around a quarter of their income.
-The extent of the wages cuts were grossly overstated - at least ten percentage points, the study researchers estimate.
Unemployment & Early Retirement
Unemployment surged from 7.3% in the Q2 2008 to 26.6% in the Q2 2014. among youth aged 15-24, unemployment had an average of 44%.
Early retirement in the Private Sector increased by 14%.
Early retirement in the Public Sector* increased by 48%
The researchers see here a clear link to the austerity policy, that’s is the Greek government managed to fulfill the Troika requirements for smaller public sector. However, this trend caused a burden to the social security funds.
* Much to KTG’s knowledge public servants with 25 years in the public administration rushed to early retirement in 2010 out of fear of further cuts in their wages and consequently to their pension rights.
Taxes were greatly increased, but they had a regressive effect.
Since beginning of the austerity, direct taxes increased by nearly 53%,  while indirect taxes increased by 22 percent.
The taxation policy has indeed contributed  significantly to the consolidation of the public budget, but by doing so the social imbalance was magnified.
Little has been done against tax avoidance and tax evasion, however, the tax base was actually extended “downwards” with the effect that households with low-income and assets were strongly burdened.
Particularly poorer households paid disproportionately more in taxes and the tax burden to lower-income rose by 337%. In comparison, the tax burden to upper-income households rose by only 9%.
In absolute euro amounts, the annual tax burden of many poorer households increased “only” by a few hundred euros. However, with regards to the rapidly declining of incomes and rampant unemployment, this social class was over-burdened with taxes.
The Poor suffered more
On average, the annual income of Greek households before taxes fell from €23,100 euros in 2008 to just below €17,900 euros in 2012. This represents a loss of nearly 23 percent.
The losses were significantly different to each income class with the poorest households to have suffered the biggest losses.
Almost one in three Greek household had to make it through 2012 with an annual income below €7,000.
Income losses 2008-2012
1. Class: i.e. 10% of Greek total: households that have lowest income: loss 86%
2. and 3. class: loss between 51% and 31%
4. – 7. class: households with higher income: loss between 25% and 18%
8. Class: 30% of Greek total: households with the highest income: loss between 20% and 17%.
Study Summary in German here
Full Study in English (143 pages) in pdf here
KTG has been saying this since 2011, has been saying this and criticizing every new taxation law: that the burden to the poor, the low-incomers, the low-pensioners and even the jobless was over-proportional when compared to the economically better society classes.
I wonder what a study will bring in results for the years 2013 and 2014 that were the worst years of austerity.

In Italy, They're Now Taxing Shadows

As Greece struggles to convince the world it’s serious about adopting a series of reforms designed to bolster its economy including cracking down on rampant tax evasion, the Syriza government may want to look to Italy for creative ideas on how to boost government revenue. As Italian newspaper Leggo reports, store owners in Conegliano are now faced with the unfortunate (albeit comically absurd) proposition of paying taxes on shadows. 
The rationale appears to go something like this: an awning casts a shadow on public property and therefore you must pay to use that property. Here’s more:
Via Google Translate:
CONEGLIANO - is another incoming wave of taxes for merchants Conegliano that this time they have to pay the tax "on the shadow."

At first glance it might seem a joke, but it's one of those imposts hidden (but then not so) in the folds of the Italian rules. If a store or a bar has an awning outside the shadowing on public property, must pay a fee that is part of the public land use, tax on employment of public land. While employment is obviously only virtual. "It's absurd - says Mathias Doimo, owner of the grocery store" La Dispensa "via Vital -. We will pay for this too, but not really talk about it. It's a shame.

Mathias, 31, has taken over the shop in 2008. Outside, to protect the window from the sun so that the foodstuffs are not directly exposed to light, has installed a curtain of four square meters. A few days ago he received from Abaco, the company that manages the tax on behalf of the City, the payment request. The tax is charged at EUR 8.40 per square meter and the fee is calculated based on the area of ??the tent. In his case the tent is 4 square meters, and has to pay 33.6 euro that comes with various rounding to 34 euro.
The best thing about this policy (if you’re the government) is that taken to its logical extreme, you could charge everyone a fee on sunny days as unless you’re a vampire, you probably are using public land by casting a shadow. We would also note that this gives new meaning to the term "shadow banking."

Federal Reserve Insider Alan Greenspan Warns: There Will Be a “Significant Market Event… Something Big Is Going To Happen”

With the Federal Reserve printing trillions upon trillions of dollars to keep the economic system afloat, many investors and financial pundits have surmised that the fundamental economic problems facing the United States during the crash of 2008 have been resolved. Stocks are, after all, at historic highs.
But the insiders know different. And if there’s any single person out there who understands U.S. monetary policy and its long-term effects on domestic and global affairs it’s former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. As the head of the world’s most powerful central bank for nearly two decades he’s privy to the insider conversations and government machinations that have brought us to where we are today.
Greenspan recently joined veteran resource analyst Brien Lundin at the New Orleans Investment Conference to share some of his thoughts. According to Lundin, the former Fed chairman made it clear that the central bank is facing a serious problem and one that will have significant ramifications in the future.
We asked him where he thought the gold price will be in five years and he said “measurably higher.”
In private conversation I asked him about the outstanding debts… and that the debt load in the U.S. had gotten so great that there has to be some monetary depreciation. Specially he said that the era of quantitative easing and zero-interest rate policies by the Fed… we really cannot exit this without some significant market event… By that I interpret it being either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession, which would then engender another round of monetary reflation by the Fed.
He thinks something big is going to happen that we can’t get out of this era of money printing without some repercussions – and pretty severe ones – that gold will benefit from.
Watch the full interview:

If we are in fact staring a major market event in the face as Alan Greenspan proposes then wealth preservation should be a key tenet of any preparedness strategy going forward. Greenspan himself, somewhat ironically, was a gold bug and proponent of sound money prior to his appointment as the chairman of the Fed. And though he didn’t discuss it much during his tenure, he is now actively saying that we can expect to see gold markedly higher within the next five years.
His assessment is likely based on concerns over the U.S. dollar which will, as Lundin notes, more than likely suffer a currency devaluation at some point in the future.
The end has to come at some point… If you look at a chart of the U.S. dollar index it has gone nearly parabolic in the last few months… In any market that is so one sided, that is accelerating so rapidly, that trend will end… it will most likely end in a fairly violent fashion.
And if gold rises as a result, so too will other resource assets in the energy and mining sectors. What it boils down to is that the assets that are necessary to keep our system operating will always have value, and that is especially true in a situation where the U.S. dollar happens to be crashing. Uranium , for example, powers one in five American homes, which means that it will always be a necessary resource, regardless of what the dollar does or doesn’t do. Lundin’s assessment is echoed by Uranium Energy Corp CEO Amir Adnani, who recently said we may well see a “resurgence” in the price of this and natural resources like gold.
The same can be said for oil and agriculture resources.
They will always have value, regardless of whether the dollar is strong or violently collapses under its own weight.
Thus, when we consider ways to preserve wealth and insulate ourselves from the coming destruction of our currency one must consider holding physical assets. For some that means stockpiling food and other supplies in anticipation of Greenspan’s market event that could adversely affect credit flows and delivery of essential goods. For others who may currently hold stocks, U.S. Treasurys, or cash, diversifying your portfolio with well managed resource-based companies will not only preserve wealth during currency volatility, but build it as the value of real, physical assets rises.
The man who is essentially the architect responsible for domestic monetary policy under four U.S. Presidents has now said that a significant market event will take place when the Fed is eventually forced to exit their monetary easing and zero-interest rate policies.
Are you prepared for that day?

BOOM: Nasdaq Nears Record, Race to the $100 Million Spec House, Companies Hoard Record Amount of Cash

BOOM: Nasdaq Nears Record… 
U.S. stocks rallied on Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index closing at its highest level in 15 years.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 34.04 points, or 0.7%, to end at 5026.42, placing the index within striking distance of its record close of 5048.62, reached in March 2000.
On Friday, the index hit 5042.14, its highest point since the index reached its intraday record of 5132.52 on March 10, 2000. It has been nearly three weeks since the Nasdaq broke through and closed above 5000 for the first time since 2000
“Clearly this year growth is getting rewarded,” said Bob Turner, chief investment officer for Turner Investments, which manages roughly $1 billion. He added that the rise in many technology stocks in the past year has been driven by rapid revenue and profit growth.

Race to the $100 Million Spec House…

When Shelly and Avi Osadon set out to build their dream house on a hillside lot in Beverly Hills, Calif., they commissioned a custom chandelier with 25 handblown glass balls for the entryway. They installed $5,000 “hands-free” toilets with heated seats in most of the home’s 10 bathrooms. They even bought $350 electric toothbrushes custom designed by “dentist to the stars” Jon Marashi.
Now all the Osadons need to do is find someone who wants to buy their dream—ideally for their $35 million asking price.
More developers and investors are racing to build increasingly lavish homes on spec. Built on prime lots with master suites larger than most homes and spas and entertainment spaces comparable with those in hotels, many of these homes are also attempting to break new price records.
Companies hoard record amount of cash…
Corporate America has so much cash sitting in the bank that it could purchase the Dallas Cowboys 437 times without borrowing a dime.
Or if these titans of business really love House of Cards they could splurge by acquiring Netflix(NFLX, Tech30) 53 times. They could even buy Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hatahway (BRKA) and still have cash to play with.

5 Things To Ponder: What Hath The Fed Wrought

by Lance Roberts
I was having lunch with a very dear friend of mine yesterday, who is also a very successful financial planner and advisor, who stunned me with an obvious question: “Has the dumb money become the smart money?”
What we were discussing is that, collectively, the majority of the conversations that we were having with our clients was “when will all of this Fed manipulation end in the next crash?” 
What is more interesting is that, despite the media rhetoric about the surging bull market, the vast majority of our interactions with individuals has been focused on the preservation of their invested capital rather than chasing returns.
Of course, after two major bear markets, and now just barely getting back to even after 15 years, you can certainly understand their concerns.
As discussed yesterday, the Federal Reserve’s monetary interventions have certainly boosted asset prices, but has done little for the real economy. With asset prices excessively extended and valuations at the second highest level in history, it seems to be a “fire in search of a match.”
This is the crux of this weekend’s reading list which is a variety of views on the Fed’s latest actions and the potential of a major correction. But this reminds me of something I heard once about the “fear of flying:”
“The good news is that you will be the first to the scene of the crash.” 

1) Bond Market Got It Right by Josh Brown via The Reformed Broker
“This week’s FOMC statement and presser provides just one more example demonstrating the power of markets. The nation’s top economists had arrived at a consensus for the first Fed Funds rate hike of the cycle to take place at the June 2015 meeting. The bond market, stubbornly, had indicated a traders’ consensus that pegged the first rate hike for the September meeting or even later.”
Read Also: Dot-Dot-Dot-Dash-Dash-Dash-Dot-Dot-Dot by Macro Man via Macro Man Blog
2) No Rate Hikes In 2015 by Peter Schiff via Yahoo
“The Fed has been bluffing the entire time,” says Schiff. “It has no intention of raising rates. But it can’t come clean and admit that, so it has to pretend that it is going to do something it’s not going to do,” he believes, “so it doesn’t reveal the fragility of the U.S. economy.“

Read Also: It’s Already Too Late To Raise Interest Rates by Akin Oyedele via BI
And Read: Slow Growth For US Interest Rates by Alex Friedman via Project Syndicate
3) Ray Dalio Warns Fed Of 1937-Style Rate Risk by Henny Sender and Stephen Foley via FT
“Ray Dalio, founder of the $165bn hedge fund group Bridgewater Associates, said in a note to clients and followers that he was avoiding large bets on the financial markets for fear that the Fed’s expected change of policy could have unintended consequences.
‘We don’t know — nor does the Fed know — exactly how much tightening will knock over the apple cart,’ Mr Dalio and Mark Dinner, his colleague, wrote. ‘What we do hope the Fed knows, which we don’t know, is how exactly it will fix things if it knocks it over. We hope that they know that before they make a move that could knock over the apple cart.’
‘We are cautious about our exposures,’ they added: ‘For the reasons explained, we do not want to have any concentrated bets, especially at this time.'”
But Also Read: IMF Fears Emerging Market Instability by James Crabtree via FT
4) The Black Swan In Plain Sight by Charlie Bilello via Pension Partners
“Based on Taleb’s criteria, it would seem that the Dollar’s advance over the past nine months would qualify as a Black Swan event. If King Dollar is indeed a Black Swan, though, why haven’t we seen reverberations in the U.S. equity market? Probably because it has not yet been elevated to that status among the consensus. Similar to how stocks ignored the initial decline in housing in 2006-07, the stock market is dismissing the abnormal strength in the Dollar.
The bullish narrative that has supported shares has been that a strong dollar is a positive because it means U.S. growth is booming. A quick examination of the facts, though, dispels this notion as U.S. real GDP growth in this expansion continues at its slowest pace in history.
The truth is that the Dollar is strong this time around not because the U.S. economy is booming but because Europe and Japan (the largest components of the Dollar Index) are intent on crashing their currencies.”
Dollar-vs-equitydefaults Read Also: Extremes In Every Pendulum by John Hussman via Hussman Funds
5) A Correction Is Still Coming by Rana Foroohar via Time
“Up until yesterday’s Fed meeting, America’s central bankers said they were going to be “patient” about the timing of an interest rate hike, which most experts believe will ultimately result in a significant stock market correction (see my recent column about why). So why did that make markets go up so dramatically yesterday?
Because everything else about the Fed’s communication said “we’re going to be more patient than ever” about when and how to raise rates. The central bank downgraded its forecast on the US economic recovery, saying that the pace of the recovery had “moderated somewhat,” in large part because of the strong dollar.”
Read Also: The Stock Market Top Is In by David Stockman via Stockman’s Contra Corner
And Read: The Next Bear Market Could Be A Whopper by Cam Hui via Humble Student Blog

Bonus Read/View:

Paul Tudor Jones Warns Of “Disastrous Market Mania” TED Blog via ZeroHedge
“It’s a good time for companies: in the US, corporate revenues are at their highest point in 40 years. The problem, Tudor points out, is that as profit margins grow, so does income inequality. And income inequality is closely linked to lower life expectancy, literacy and math proficiency, infant mortality, homicides, imprisonment, teenage births, trust among ourselves, obesity, and, finally, social mobility. In these measures, the US is off the charts.”
“If there’s one thing I learned in prison it’s that money is not the prime commodity in our lives… time is.” – Gordon Gekko (Wall Street 2)
Have A Weekend.

If Money Is On Sale, Why Is Almost No One Buying?…
The Fed keeps looking at interest rates, which are at historic lows. But if money is so “cheap,” why is almost no one “buying”? Take a look at these two eye-opening charts as you listen to this engaging podcast.

The pitfalls of not having information (or choices) when the unexpected happens.

A discussion of the importance of liquidity and market price discovery. The pitfalls of not having information (or choices) when the unexpected happens.

The Worst Economic Depression In History Is Coming

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Europe Tilts East Towards China – An Expression Of Discontent Over World Bank Polices That Force Developing Countries To Depend On The US

Published on Mar 19, 2015
Michael Hudson Report: Britain, German, France and Italy among those who joined Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, it is an expression of discontent over World Bank polices that force developing countries to depend on the US

Fed Fisher Say’s Market is “hyper overpriced,”People have gotten lazy, depended totally on the Fed, see’s a Major Correction

Former Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher sees the potential for a market correction of “substantial magnitude” as traders have grown “lazy,” he said on Friday.
“Are we vulnerable in my personal opinion to a significant equity market correction? I do believe we are, and the reason for that is people have gotten lazy. They’ve depended totally on the Fed,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
Fisher retired on Thursday, having occupied the Dallas Fed’s highest office for the last decade. Regarded as a policy hawk, he frequently said the central bank should raise interest rates sooner rather than later.