This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Wall Street/Fed/Treasury created financial disaster of 2008/2009. What should have happened was an orderly liquidation of the criminal Wall Street banks who committed the greatest control fraud in world history and the disposition of their good assets to non-criminal banks who did not recklessly leverage their assets by 30 to 1, while fraudulently issuing worthless loans to deadbeats and criminals. But we know that did not happen.You, the taxpayer, bailed the criminal bankers out and have been screwed for the last decade with negative real interest rates and stagnant real wages, while the Wall Street scum have raked in risk free billions in profits provided by their captured puppets at the Federal Reserve. The criminal CEOs and their executive teams of henchmen have rewarded themselves with billions in bonuses while risk averse grandmas “earn” .10% on their money market accounts while acquiring a taste for Fancy Feast savory salmon cat food.
Total household debt topped out at $14.5 trillion in 2008 and proceeded to fall by almost $1 trillion as a tsunami of foreclosures swept across the land. But a funny thing happened on the way towards Americans approaching debt with the appropriate caution – QE1, QE2, QE3 and propped up Wall Street banks doling out loans to anyone capable of fogging a mirror and scratching an X on a loan document. The Deep State oligarchs realized the only way to keep their ponzi scheme economy afloat was to lure in more suckers with debt that could be re-circulated to make the economy appear solvent.College students, after over a decade of government school indoctrination, were the perfect dupes. From 2009 until today the government has doubled student loan debt from $750 billion to over $1.5 trillion. Everyone likes a shiny new car, so the financial industry took auto lending from $700 billion to over $1.1 trillion over the same time frame. The re-ignition of the housing bubble, through Wall Street engineered supply suppression, has driven prices far above the 2005 peak in most major markets.
In what passes for the normal exercise of crony capitalism in this warped deviant shitshow we call America, the biggest corporations in the world took the free money created by the Federal Reserve and proceeded to “invest” it in their own stock rather than investing it in their operations and workers. Borrowing at near zero rates and using the proceeds to buy back hundreds of billions of your own stock had multiple benefits for greedy feckless Harvard MBA CEOs. Reducing shares outstanding juiced their earnings per share, resulting in a false profit picture to investors, who bid their stock prices higher.Corporate executives tied their compensation to stock performance and reaped extravagant salaries and bonuses. This same scenario played itself out in 2007 – 2009. These brilliant CEOs bought back a record amount of stock just before the financial collapse. Using their borrowings, along with Trump’s tax cut windfall, current day S&P 500 company CEOs are saying “Hold My Beer”. They are on pace to buy back $1.2 trillion of their stock at all-time highs. When stock prices are cut in half again, these greed monkeys will pay no price for their reckless stupidity. All of this idiocy has been aided and abetted by the Fed with their near zero interest rates a decade after the crisis supposedly ended.
Does every new president get brought into a room where they are told what to say about the economy, or else? Mr. Concerned about government spending and deficits signed one of the largest tax cuts in history (mostly to corporate America) while simultaneously ramping up military spending and cutting absolutely nothing. The result is trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. The fake government data he once scorned, he now boasts about on a daily basis. It seems he now loves low interest rates and bubbles.He threatens the Federal Reserve Chairman about raising rates. Even though the stock market is 45% higher than when he declared it a bubble, he takes credit for its ascension to record highs. Saber rattling and threatening war around the globe is now par for the course. It seems Trump thinks he can run our economy like a NYC real estate mogul. He does have experience with bankruptcies. That may come in handy.
Employers complain they can't fill jobs because unemployment is so low and there's a labor shortage. So why aren't wages and salaries going UP?
We discuss the future of the sharing economy, the role of the middle man, and the fundamental economic concept of transaction costs.
Investors can be forgiven for thinking they hit the trifecta last Friday.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment had dropped to 3.9%, the lowest in almost 20 years.The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta reported that its widely followed GDP forecasting tool was showing projected growth for the second quarter of 2018 at 4%, exactly where Trump boosters like Larry Kudlow said it would be.Finally, the Dow Jones industrial average rallied 332 points (1.39%), partly in response to the other good news. It was almost enough to make a trader sing, “Happy days are here again.”Or not.The fact is that this good news hides more than it reveals. A look behind the numbers discloses a sobering outlook for investors.
Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma believes that improper distribution of funds and hyper inflated US military spending, not globalization or other countries “stealing” US jobs, is behind the economic decline in America.
“Over the past thirty years, the Americans had thirteen wars spending 14.2 trillion dollars,” said Ma, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “What if they spent a part of that money on building up the infrastructure, helping the white-collar and the blue-collar workers? No matter how strategically good it is, you’re supposed to spend money on your own people.”
Are we destined to ruin the planet we live on? Or can we heal the earth, eliminate pollution AND make a profit? This groundbreaking documentary says YES!
Consumer sentiment may have reached the highest level since 2004, but millennials are now less optimistic than baby boomers.That’s the first time Americans younger than 35 say they actually have less consumer confidence than those aged 55 and over, according to data from the University of Michigan, Haver Analytics and Deutsche Bank Global Research. This hasn’t happened in the last six decades that the consumer sentiment of these two generations has been compared.
Crisis-wracked Venezuela has become fertile ground for what’s known as gold farming. People spend hours a day playing dated online games such as Tibia and RuneScape to acquire virtual gold, game points or special characters that they can sell to other players for real money or crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. The practice, which has previously cropped up in other basket-case economies such as North Korea’s, has become so popular with Venezuelans that they’re now spreading inflation inside the virtual worlds.
What’s frustrating about this is the repeating pattern of government creating conditions in which smart money (that is, the guys who donate big to political campaigns) is allowed to get in early, make huge profits, and then hand the bag to regular people who aren’t connected or sophisticated enough to see what’s happening. The rich, who are or will soon be shorting the hell out of this market, get richer and the rest see their hopes for a decent (or any) retirement dashed one more time.And the political class wonders why voters don’t like them anymore.
Author Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media and long-time observer and commenter on the internet and technology, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, WTF? What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us. O'Reilly surveys the evolution of the internet, the key companies that have prospered from it, and how the products of those companies have changed our lives. He then turns to the future and explains why he is an optimist and what can be done to make that optimism accurate.