3 years ago
Moments of clarity in a sea of noise
Ok fine, central banks are "running out of road", however at the same time they are terrified to rip (or even peel) the band-aid off. This has put the system in an unstable equilibrium: on one hand, central bankers - as even they admit - need to hand over the growth impulse over to governments, yet on the other hand, they terrified of even the smallest change to the status quo as they know they may undo some 7 years of "wealth effect" creation overnight.
How much longer can this charade continue?
While many would be quick to answer "indefinitely" that is not true, because with every bond, ETF or stock, purchased by central bankers they come to the point where they either monetize the entire lot, or they increasingly impair the functioning of the capital markets (just ask the dozens of marquee hedge funds that have shuttered in recent years).
Luckily, in a recent analysis, Ray Dalio's Bridgewater asked precisely this question, and even better, provided the answer to how much time is left until both the ECB and BOJ hit the limits on their existing programs.
As the chart below shows, assuming no changes to existing programs, the ECB and the BOJ, the two central banks most actively monetizing debt currently, have 8 and 26 months respectively, if they do no changes to their programs.
However, if incremental easing is layered on, like expanding the scope of their bond buying programs or purchasing equities even more aggressively, the total rises substantially. The final answer: 68 months, or just above 5 and a half years, in the case of the ECB, were it to steamroll all political opposition and monetize virtually every possible bond (and 20% of the equity market), and 48 months, or 4 years, in the case of the BOJ.
We’re going to war — either hybrid in nature to break the Russian state back to its 1990s subordination, or a hot war (which will destroy our country). Our citizens should know this, but they don’t because our media is dumbed down in its “Pravda”-like support for our “respectable,” highly aggressive government. We are being led, as C. Wright Mills said in the 1950s, by a government full of “crackpot realists: in the name of realism they’ve constructed a paranoid reality all their own.” Our media has credited Hillary Clinton with wonderful foreign policy experience, unlike Trump, without really noting the results of her power-mongering. She’s comparable to Bill Clinton’s choice of Cold War crackpot Madeleine Albright as one of the worst Secretary of States we’ve had since … Condi Rice? Albright boasted, “If we have to use force it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.”Oliver Stone endorsing Bernie Sanders is not surprising, given his left leanings. What is more surprising to convention wisdom is Stone's denunciation of Hillary Clinton. He actually compares Trump as the more favorable candidate, despite Trump's flaws. In hindsight, Stone's opinion of Hillary should be surprise anyone. Her track record of missteps leaves some pretty heavy clues.
Hillary’s record includes supporting the barbaric “contras” against the Nicaraguan people in the 1980s, supporting the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, supporting the ongoing Bush-Iraq War, the ongoing Afghan mess, and as Secretary of State the destruction of the secular state of Libya, the military coup in Honduras, and the present attempt at “regime change” in Syria. Every one of these situations has resulted in more extremism, more chaos in the world, and more danger to our country. Next will be the borders of Russia, China, and Iran. Look at the viciousness of her recent AIPAC speech (don’t say you haven’t been warned). Can we really bear to watch as Clinton “takes our alliance [with Israel] to the next level”? Where is our sense of proportion? Cannot the media, at the least, call her out on this extremism? The problem, I think, is this political miasma of “correctness” that dominates American thinking (i.e. Trump is extreme, therefore Hillary is not).
This is why I’m praying still for Bernie Sanders, because he’s the only one willing, at least in the name of fiscal sanity, to cut back on our foreign interventions, bring the troops home, and with these trillions of dollars no longer wasted on malice, try to protect the “homeland” by actually rebuilding it and putting money into its people, schools, and infrastructure. - Oliver Stone
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I've been reading a lot about a "recovering" economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.
I don't think it's true.
The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.
Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.
What the media is missing is that these 25 million people are invisible in the widely reported 4.9% official U.S. unemployment rate.