Make no mistake, the government wants your savings. They want as much as they can get politically. The president recently floated the idea of taxing 529 plans, used to save for college, to pay for community college for people other than your kids. Why should the money you earned, and saved, go to your family? Better for the government to take your money from you so that it can give a gift to political allies.
Some people might call this theft. But not us. Oh, not us.
Jeb just held a meeting with lobbyists which raised a little money. The meeting however was a request for the K Street guys to go out and raise a lot more for a future Bush presidential run.
I think that it’s funny that David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s former budget chief, starts his column with this sentence:
“This morning’s market is more erratic than Claire Danes off her lithium.”
Seems a little gratuitously mean. Accurate (?) perhaps but mean. But that is one of the things we like about the guy. His acid.
I hate the term “perfect storm” but the attached article makes some great points about bank exposure to energy prices.
It should be noted that Charles Hugh Smith nailed it a month and a half ago; he said, “The 35% drop in the price of oil is the first domino.”
Cheap gas feels good. It made for a more pleasant Christmas. But it should be remembered that many of the very best, highest paying jobs created since the onset of the great economic slowdown (in 2013 oilfield workers in North Dakota made on average over $112,000/year – many without a college degree) in the USA have been in the energy sector, and primarily in hydraulic fracking. Say what you want about the practice but it has been a (the?) key source of economic growth (such as it has been) for the United States over the last 4 years. Additionally, and this is not well known, fracking has (and the cheap natural gas which has come with the practice) pushed down USA carbon emissions markedly. As of October 2013 carbon emissions were at 1992 levels and dropping. Think about that. If one is concerned about global warming, and we know some of our readers are, that should be cause for celebration.
And before people start freaking I out, I have absolutely no horse in the fracking race. In fact there is a pipeline scheduled to go in just south of me transporting fracking product from West Virginia to the coast which I am not terribly keen on.
Saying this however the fracking revolution has been a huge benefit to the US economically and at least as important from a geopolitical perspective. We are now a net exporter of oil. We are the biggest producer in the world! 5 years ago people would have laughed at the idea that our reliance on foreign oil could be reduced so quickly, if at all.
The IRS has gone after Boris Johnson, current London mayor and potentially the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, because Mr. Johnson sold his house for a profit and because Mr. Johnson holds a US passport. He was born in the US (he left when he was 5) so naturally the Internal Revenue Service feels that by virtue of this it is owed some of Johnson’s money. Under the law as it stands the IRS has a case, if an immoral one. Johnson has however told the IRS to take a hike. As he should.
I stopped watching the NFL a long time ago. I grew up with football. I like football. I still watch college football. But the NFL long ago lost its shine for me.
On this however I have been an outlier. Over the past 15 years the NFL has only grown more popular even while the “non profit organization” has become ever more slick and more crony. (Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for stadiums.)
Even still I’ve always assumed, and still do, that the league’s integrity was solid. It seems that aside from boxing (which has paid dearly for its corruption in terms of declining public interest) the lesson of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal was for the most part learned and has been remembered in the US. If the public thinks games are crooked fans won’t watch (and perhaps more importantly won’t bet.)
But there is now a bit of a kerfuffle over the Lions/Cowboys game of last week. Some fans, many fans, are asking if the league is rigged.
We’ve featured Charles Hugh Smith a number of times at ACC. He’s one of my favorite economic commentators. If you don’t have his site Of Two Minds bookmarked you should consider it.
It’s going to pop. It’s not just going to inflate forever. When it pops and how it pops are open questions, and I will grant you that saying a Keynesian bubble will pop is kind of like saying sooner or later the sun will set. But it’s pretty amazing how we humans are able to forget or ignore something which we KNOW is going to happen. The sun will set. The easy money bubble(s) will pop, and this time it will be bigger than anything humanity has ever seen.
Another excellent article from Tim Carney. If you really want to understand the politics of the Export-Import Bank you need to read it.
Not renewing Ex-Im is a good start. But just a start. (And we’re not even there yet.) The bank is just the first of the crony programs which need to be unwound in the months and years ahead.