EconoMonitor

Nouriel Roubini's Global EconoMonitor

RGE Monitor – Weekly Roundup

Check out all the great contributions that were published during the past week on RGE’s Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor, RGE Analyst’s EconoMonitor, Finance & Markets Monitor, Peterson Institute for International Economics Monitor, Global Macro EconoMonitor, U.S. EconoMonitor, Emerging Markets Monitor, Asia EconoMonitor, Latin America EconoMonitor and Europe EconoMonitor.

On Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor, Nouriel Roubini and Christian Menegatti provide 10 Reasons Why We Will See a U-Shape Recovery.

 

On the RGE Analyst’s EconoMonitor, Mary Stokes examines Turkey’s fiscal situation and notes the concern that in contrast to the virtuous circle earlier this decade, the opposite scenario may now be developing.  Please read Turkey Fiscal Deterioration: More than Just Cyclical?

Don’t miss RGE analysts look at retail sales at Roubini Global Economics – Holiday Season Kick-off: North America and Europe Retail Sales.

 

On the Finance & Markets Monitor, Joseph Mason argues that size restrictions for banks won’t help unless regulatory agencies are able to gather the information they need to be effective.  See TBTF is not about Size, it’s about Information.

In Taming the Stock Option Game, Lucian Bebchuk asserts that there is no reason to allow the payoffs of executives to be based on a single day’s stock price, and offers alternative arrangements.

In Morgan Stanley Speaks: Against Relying On Capital Requirements, Simon Johnson argues with those that believe the size of our biggest banks cannot be constrained because it would raise the cost of equity for the smaller units.

Also on the Finance & Markets Monitor:

Gross Isn’t Buying Corporates, High Yield or Equities Even with Zero Rates by Edward Harrison

The AIG-Maiden Lane III Controversy by James Kwak

The International Economic Crisis and the Failure of Internal Corporate Controls: Has the Time Arrived for New Corporate Concepts & Private Regulatory Bounty Hunters by Ethan S. Burger

 

On the Peterson Institute for International Economics Monitor, Arvind Subramanian considers the symbolic, political, and economic importance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the White House.  Read Dr. Singh of India Comes to Town.

 

On the Global Macro EconoMonitor, James Kwak takes issue with the assertion that high debt levels will lead to disaster.  Read Government Debt Hysteria.

In Important News, still breaking, about Climate Science propaganda, Fabius Maximus stirs debate about global warming propaganda as information is leaked from the UK Climate Research Unit.

In British Regulators Disclose Terms of Emergency Aid During Panic of 2008, Edward Harrison notes that as the details  come out regarding the emergency aid that was received by banks in the UK, the Federal Reserve is under attack for not being more transparent.

 

On the U.S. EconoMonitor, Yves Smith provides some perspective on deficit spending when considering a second stimulus.  See Does US Need a Second Stimulus to Create Jobs?

In Harry Reid, and What Happened to the Public Option , Robert Reich isn’t giving up on calling for a public option with teeth, though his frustration with the House’s shrunken and costly public option is clear.

In Should the Fed Be Doing More? Tim Duy looks at retail sales and considers the state of U.S. households.

Also on the U.S. EconoMonitor:

Hopeless Cause of the Week: Save Madagascar! by William Easterly and Laura Freschi

Factors in Local House Price Declines by James Hamilton

How Overrated is Sentiment in Economics? by Barry Ritholtz

GM’s Phony Taxpayer Repayment by Edward Harrison

“What if a Recovery Is All in Your Head?” by Mark Thoma

America’s Broken Politics by Mark Thoma

Ahead of Black Friday by Tim Duy

 

On the Asia EconoMonitor, Barry Ritholtz continues to question the numbers coming out of China.  See More on China’s Faux GDP Data.

 

On the Europe EconoMonitor, Claus Vistesen looks at rebalancing in the Baltics, and considers whether the extent of the rebalancing will allow the Baltic economies to enter a virtuous cycle somewhere down the road.  Read Rebalancing in the Baltics – A Preliminary Assessment.

168 Responses to “RGE Monitor – Weekly Roundup”

GloomyNovember 27th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — Dubai’s debt woes may worsen to become a “major sovereign default” that roils developing nations and cuts off capital flows to emerging markets, Bank of America Corp. said.“One cannot rule out — as a tail risk — a case where this would escalate into a major sovereign default problem, which would then resonate across global emerging markets in the same way that Argentina did in the early 2000s or Russia in the late 1990s,” Bank of America strategists Benoit Anne and Daniel Tenengauzer wrote in a report.A default would lead to a “sudden stop of capital flows into emerging markets” and be a “major step back” in the recovery from the global financial crisis, they wrote.

MedicNovember 27th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Gloomy -Here’s how the conversation might go:BOA: “Hello, Pot? It’s the Kettle.”BTW – I hope you have stayed in gold and silver. We have been right all along, though it is of little consolation now.Hope all remains well is your corner of the health care world…..

GloomyNovember 27th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Yeah, I have my gold hedge and still have leap puts cooking, waiting for cook fire to relight so the “meal” can finish cooking.

PeteCANovember 27th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Quotation …”There is a clear analogy between the methods adopted by the authoritarian state of the late (Roman) Empire, and those used by similar regimes in the modern world.In both we see the demands of the State set higher than the happiness and freedom of the individual. In both a fortunate minority, well placed in the mechanism of government, can enjoy luxuries beyond the scope of the rest, for whom scarcity and hardship are a natural portion.Both foster irrational modes of thought, with new myths, dogmas, and superstitions as a substitute for reason. Moreover, it is a significant and sobering reflection that most of the advanced countries of the world, and not merely those which we call authoritarian, are experiencing a movement away from an age of laissez-faire to one of control and state planning.”Source: F.W. Walbank, The Awful Revolution: the decline of the Roman Empire in the WestPeteCA

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 11:08 am

collateral damage from the “‘unholy alliance’ of big business and big government”…and Big FedSurvival Trumps JobsSMALL FIRMS ARE BAILING | Barron’s November 30, 2009SMALL BUSINESSES — THE LIFEBLOOD of the economy and employers of 70% of the nation’s workers — are asking one key question. It isn’t, “When will we be hiring again,” but rather, “Will we even exist a year from now?”Two-thirds of small-business owners surveyed last month by Toluna Research at the behest of Angrisani Turnarounds (which specializes in what its name implies) said that they are concerned or extremely concerned about their firms’ surviving for two years. Their fears aren’t unfounded, considering that small-business bankruptcies rose 44% in the third quarter of this year, from the same quarter in 2008, according to Equifax, a credit-reporting agency.”Our survey data over the last three months concludes that we’re going to be looking at an acceleration of the failure rate,” says Al Angrisani, head of the turnaround firm, who was chief employment advisor to President Ronald Reagan during the last Great Recession, in the early 1980s. Angrisani worries that small businesses not only haven’t seen much benefit from the $787 billion stimulus plan, but will be further squeezed by rising state and federal taxes, particularly if health-care reform passes.Another survey, by Employers Holdings, a workers’ compensation provider, found that 50% of small business decision makers won’t start hiring again for another six months.Instead of the top-down solution to the recession favored by what Angrisani calls the “unholy alliance” of big business and big government, he wants stimulus from the bottom up: tax cuts for small companies.

The AlarmistNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:29 am

Actually it is an orchestrated alignment of the poorest and the richest against the disenfranchised and virtually enslaved working middle class, with the conductor being the political class.

GuestNovember 27th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Something seems to be in the air..Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — Miami may delay a $120 million bond sale after an audit showed lax budget practices and the city learned of a possible U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry, Mayor Tomas Regalado said.

MorbidNovember 27th, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Is it possible that BOB (from the previous thread) is correct – we are seeing a “sliding” V-shaped recovery whose “Dead Cat Bounce” is ultimately DOOMED to slide back down the rising side of the V and into the TRAP DOOR of a Y-shaped recovery; which is after all no recovery at all but an entrance into a Black Hole that only “Quantum Tunnel” or Hawkins radiation will allow escape. I guess it all depends on the strength of the “gravity” of the looming financial meltdown. As MM CA points out on a regular basis – the Banks are insolvent, Insurance companies are insolvent, NO JOBS, consumer under a mountain of debt (14.7 Trillion) and the clock is ticking; “TICK – TOCK, TICK – TOCK; TICK – TOCK…”Well, the Black Hole Tick-Tock would look like,Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicccccccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkk – Tooooooooooooooooccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk because of relativistic effects of time dilation.Look Out Below

blindmanNovember 27th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

m,time is mmmmooooooooonnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy!$$but you can’t eat either one of ’em either/both.stock up on hhhoooooonnnneeeeeey. the healthy choice.do you suppose their is another universe on the other sideof the black worm hole thingy?

11b40November 27th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

//BOB put it in a very intriguing way, similar to the above. The more I think about it, the more it explains. Very ugly, long term…which really won’t be very long if that’s the true picture.Independent Contractor

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 2:07 am

How else would this all turn out given that the system is predicated on growth, and we cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet?People work up all kinds of stuff yet fail to establish this very (most) fundamental point.Economics is just a story that’s told in order to prop up the kleptocrats. It’s the language of the status quo.

ChrisLNovember 28th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

It’s clear that humanity can’t maintain the kind of American finance led growth for the rest of the 21st century (3.5% GDP growth per annum coupled with same growth in consumption of resources and 10% growth in debt).That would mean that by the end of the century, humanity would consume 32 times what it consumes today.But Western European countries have shown already that they are capable of decoupling wealth growth from resources consumption growth (they consume on average half of the resources from Americans for a similar wealth). And I’m sure humanity can do better.So if humanity can grow its GDP by only 1.5% per annum (ie multiply by 4 by the end of the century) and partly decouple wealth from resources consumption, we should be allright.Also, within 100 years we might be able to harvest resources from the solar system beyond our planet.So I don’ think a malthusian framework is necessarily appropriate. The key question is how do we distribute wealth if, thanks to automatisation we need less and less people to work to produce the goods and services required by humanity.One thing is sure, the invisible hand of free market ideology isn’t going to solve these problems for the rest of the century.If humanity can survive beyond the debt crisis that’s comming in the next ten years, we will come out more resilient and better adapted to our environement.I’m very pessimistic for the mid term (next ten to twenty years), but once we can get rid of the totally unreasonable elites that are in power, optimistic for the long term (rest of the century).

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 2:52 am

Also, within 100 years we might be able to harvest resources from the solar system beyond our planet.And frogs might fly… (sarcasm)So, it’s one minute before the top of the hour and we discover three more planets with resources equaling what earth had. Given our growth we’d exhaust those planets’ resources at two minutes past the hour. (refer to Dr. Albert Bartlett’s presentation Arithmetic, Population and Energy)Growth props up those in power: growth is the generation of excess for those that don’t produce, for those in power to direct others to work. They will do everything possible to keep such a system going, even brainwashing the masses to believe that technology will save “US” (when “US” really only means them): and that technology will be used against the masses to control them, to keep them from tossing off the yokes.

The AlarmistNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:33 am

Gee, it really is tiring hearing people whine about the limited resources of Mother Gaia. So what we stretch them out another millenia or so … if we don’t boost technology to find our way off this rock and into the farther reaches of the universe, we are still going to find ourselves running out of resources in a millenia or so. There is only one way out of the limitations we face, and it is not to be had by conserving resources.

GuestDecember 1st, 2009 at 2:51 am

And I get tired hearing such ignorance!TECHNOLOGY IS A PROCESS!Your view is pure escapism. Sounds like Obama’s Hopium. Anyway, once you/we run away to another planet (never mind the logistics, sans energy), then what?

GuestNovember 27th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

John Gault’s continuing fictional story of a currency collapse.In this segment the bank holiday remains in effect, FEMA takes over broadcast news,gangs attack small towns, police are assigned to protect banker homes, Yuan rises 2:1over the dollar. General Electric files for bankruptcy…The Day the Dollar Died Part IV – Arrogance of the Godshttp://johngaltfla.com/blog3/2009/11/25/arrogance-of-the-gods-the-day-the-dollar-died-part-iv/Earlier segments:The Day the Dollar Diedhttp://johngaltfla.com/blog3/2009/11/18/the-day-the-dollar-died/The Day the Dollar Died Part II – American Hangoverhttp://johngaltfla.com/blog3/2009/11/19/american-hangover-the-day-the-dollar-died-part-ii/The Day the Dollar Died Part III – I Have Been to the Fields of Gettysburghttp://johngaltfla.com/blog3/2009/11/22/i-have-been-to-the-fields-of-gettysburg-the-day-the-dollar-died-part-iii/

GuestNovember 27th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Macroeconomics for TeenagersFred tries to wake the sheephttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSAqr3GH8PA&feature=related

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 7:07 am

Read between the lines on Dubai default:A warning shot has been sent across the bow of the middle east and all oil export countries, don’t dare try to buck the U.S. dollar!

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 7:47 am

Dubai’s not an oil exporter.This isn’t some US-backed strategic move. It’s the system (which is US-driven) melting down. USD is meaningless; it’s about control, and, clearly, control is slipping away.Lastly, Dubai hasn’t (yet) defaulted. Not saying that it won’t. But, it’s just as likely that Abu Dhabi will eat any losses.

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Are the loans secured by Abu Dhabi can someone be sued etc. in connection with Abu Dhabi. I find it hard to believe western banks would loan money for some pie in the sky desert sky scrappers with out backing from oil money. I find it hard to believe that someones oil interest wasn’t somehow used as collateral, or did they loan the money because it was some great business idea…

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:02 am

As predicted (replying to my above post):U.A.E. Eases Credit After Dubai World Debt Delay

The United Arab Emirates’ central bank eased credit for lenders and said it “stands behind” the country’s local and foreign banks as they face losses from Dubai World’s possible default….Banks will be able to borrow money from the regulator for half a percentage point above the three- month local benchmark interest rate

PeteCANovember 28th, 2009 at 10:41 am

I do think it’s interesting that the new on the Dubai problem didn’t hit the US markets until the eve of Thanksgiving. That move gave them one day when the markets were closed, and a second day with low trading volume. Hard to believe that wasn’t a deliberate ploy. I could be wrong – but the timing looks suspicious.PeteCA

TobyNovember 28th, 2009 at 10:04 am

Storages are finite. A sustainable system is par definition indefinite. Therefore, storage-dependent systems are unsustainable.Ecosystems are our best models for sustainable systems (Costanza). They avoid the problem of unsustainability by using energy flows (derived from sun) and by recycling critical nutrients.One possible solution : Permaculturehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

MorbidNovember 28th, 2009 at 11:22 am

Yes, I like permaculture. A good way to be with Mother Earth.I believe the planet is way overused at our time in history for that approach to help at this point. Better to start doing family planning and severely restrict birth rates. Of course the Ponzi scheme economic model will rapidly become unsustainable and the entire criminal elite system of requiring ever increasing numbers of consumers will enter a supermassive Black Hole.Look Out Below

SoftwarengineerNovember 28th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Yes TobyWhen did incorporating the slamdunk population density adverse impacts in economic planning become politically incorrect?Now I understand why the “flatworlders” got away with controlling politics in the name of religion for so long….God forbid we speak truth….LOL

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 3:02 am

Politics has always been about serving the rich/elite. And “economics” creates the story line that makes such actions warranted.“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world, is either a madman or an economist.” – Kenneth BouldingRoubini has never addressed the issue of finite growth, which leaves him as either a madman or an economist…

Pecos BankerNovember 28th, 2009 at 3:30 pm

“This is all a massive Cargo Cult, where the masses and leadership and media all think that going through the old motions and visiting the malls will please the gods who make the goodies appear.”This quote from Jim Kunstler’s latest blog of Nov 23 by someone in the comments section called “Puzzler”. I think he hit the nail on the head. See Wikipedia on “Cargo Cults”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cults

JasaNovember 29th, 2009 at 12:20 am

This is one very bright description of the situation we are and the reaction to that. Being very skeptical of religion in general and cults in particular, it is funny that just a few days ago, I agreed with the people in my family to avoid Christmas presents and just enjoy the real meaning of it and our mutual love. Too bad for the witches and wizards of the economy that want us to spend our money or new debt in what ever shit, as long as we buy something.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 3:04 am

But, the witches and wizards of the economy are only serving their masters, and by doing so they are able to buy some cargo…

PeterJBNovember 28th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Quote of the Year Award goes to the Daily Reckoning:”What is perhaps the most galling of this entire financial debacle is that, with the abundance of insightful economists history has granted us, today’s leaders should appear proud to be seen standing on the shoulders of earthworms.”Ho hum

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

From John MaudlinMore Government Data Fun:Unemployment Claims Were Not DownThe headlines said that initial claims dropped to 466,000 here in the US, finally falling below 500,000. This was greeted with proclamations of recovery. First, let me say that 466,000 people filing for unemployment is still way too high. That is a lot of people losing their jobs, and when we first crossed over 450,000 a few years ago that level was seen as a sign of recession.Second, the headline number was a seasonally adjusted number. The actual number was 543,926. What is happening is that we are coming off of wickedly high numbers in 2008 and a seasonal number that was much lower in the preceding years. It is another part of the Statistical Recovery. And this trend is likely to keep on for the rest of the quarter. My friend John Vogel, who analyzes the unemployment numbers for me each week, shows pretty convincingly that the average for this current quarter will be over 500,000 per week on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. This is less than a 10% drop from last year for the same quarter. Job losses are continuing to mount, and we are on our way to an 11%-plus unemployment number by next summer. Statistical Recovery, indeed.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 3:07 am

Also, what is this number in the context of those still employed? Will we be celebrating when there’s just a single new filing out of a pool of what was only two people left employed?

MM CANovember 29th, 2009 at 9:48 am

NO JOBS will be climbing dramtically come end of January… Research published WARN notices coming for first 6 months of 2010 and combine it with all the Temp/Seasonal/Xmas hires being let go and small business still falling off a cliff.

PeterJBNovember 28th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Speaking of the “Power and the Glory” of the new “Vatican State” and the Catholic (universal centre)religion of Faith (based socio-economics) singing “onward Christian soldiers” and “Inshallah” , “God willing” and “there, but for the grace of God, go I” or, the history of little men (Nephillim) leaping from crisis to crisis:”Now more than ever, America needs a strong, nonpolitical and independent central bank with the tools to promote financial stability and to help steer our economy to recovery without inflation,” Bernanke wrote.http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/28/news/economy/bernanke_oped/index.htmKeywords: to promote | steer | BenankeComment: What the USA urgently needs is to use its substantial intellectual strengths and resources to firmly place the current “faith-based religion of economics” under the rigorous scrutiny of real science in an absolutely non-political environment and to desist in permitting these little men from aspiring to rolling eyed fanatics (er, “leadership”). IOW it is time to stop masturbating and to engage the issues du jour.Ho hum

PeterJBNovember 28th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Speaking of the culture of the “meek” floundering consensual faith-based undertakings that they call the “sciences” and where we are at so democratically epistemed today: IOW crap and indeed, fraud but when ‘warm and tinglies’ but and and, where it is all at…”At New Scientist we love a good hoax, especially one that both amuses and makes a serious point about the communication of science. So kudos to Philip Davis, a graduate student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who revealed yesterday on The Scholarly Kitchen blog that he got a nonsensical computer-generated paper accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.”http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17288-crap-paper-accepted-by-journal.htmlOr write your own peer reviewed “scientific papers at: http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/and like many, print your own PhD or whatever and become; Yes, a brass-pot incense smoke roly-eyed swinger, Yes… Yes… er, Yes, “leadership”: http://www.degree.net/html/diploma_mills.htmlIt's called “innovation”.Ho hum

theeconomicfractalistNovember 28th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Monetizing the DebtMonetizing the debt seems to be a sanctioned and favored 2.5 million dollar ex nihilo remedy by the linear thinking classical economists. There is unanimity in the academician economist applaud for Central Bank interventional activity. No one is thinking rationally. Who has hope for anything more than a transient 10:1 debt per GDP gain for the US economy?Bad debt must be eliminated. Real prices must fall in alignment with real wages. Wages must be in kelter with value produced.From a nonlinear saturation macroeconomic perspective: expect the expected after the recent expected 39 week dead cat bounce. Y:2.5Y/2.5y :: 6 of 8/20/20 days.Monday and Tuesday of next week: nonlinear gaps lower for the Western equity composites.For US debt instruments, 150 year highs (lower interest rates) over the next 19 weeks.http://www.economicfractalist.com/

MorbidNovember 28th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to “adjust” recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16321

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 9:20 pm

what i don’t understand is that if the whole warming theory is bogus than what are these people trying to get out of this by promoting it? what is the motive?

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 10:59 pm

The motive is taxes to promote a one world government. That’s the bottom line. Don’t believe that? Just consider that if the one world government isn’t immediately attainable, the globalists will just wait, consolidating their power as statists in the meantime, cap and taxing the sheeple still buying the “carbon footprint” nonsense until the time comes to convert everyone to the new world currency. In the meantime……………….just keep devaluing all fiat currencies, especially the world’s reserve currency, the US dollar, toward that end.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 5:26 am

Because of course it’s much easier to imagine a vast world conspiracy to impose a new world order of social reengineering and wealth redistribution than that there are millions of libertarians and other free market ideologues who refuse to deal with environemental issues and resource depletion…

GuestNovember 28th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

There is another motive I believe: Demand DestructionThe amount of relatively inexpensive oil remaining in the ground is quickly being depleted at 85 million barrels per day.There may as little as a few years to as much as a decade. A carbon tax under the guise of global warming is a great wayto reduce demand for the benefit of the 1% wealthy.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 5:30 am

reducing demand benefits the wealthy ?I thought it was exactly the opposite : the wealthy and powerful elites need us to consume always more.

ChrisLNovember 29th, 2009 at 7:46 am

I don’ care about the motives. Or better, I can see clear motives on either camp.The debate shouldn’t be about the form, or motives, but about whether the science is settled, or not, and whether it’s in our best interest, as a species, to curb carbon emissions or not.The rest is just the usual politics between right wing ideologues and left wing ideologues and blah blah blah.I can’t stand it anymore, our species is doomed.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 4:58 am

As I’ve rebutted, the FACTS are that climate change IS real and IS happening- anyone want to dispute this?Another FACT is that no matter whether something is true or not, if it sells and people can make money off of it they will.As “Guest on 2009-11-28 23:08:39” notes, and I’d tend to side with this angle, is that this is all demand destruction. But, really, is this bad, is it sinister given that we can no longer build up our infrastructure/way of life that we’ve been “promised?” All hell would break loose if people really understood that they’d been lied to, that we cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet; and the propaganda would be incredible, it would be like the anti-climate change folks x 1000.The 1% might not want to be one of the 1% when people really wake up (and they will). In the future, just as it was in the past, those consuming excessively will catch the wrath of their peers.All reminds me of people who go to great lengths to point out all the sinister stuff that our government has done (CIA responsible for JFK’s death; 9/11 etc.). I agree with them, and then say: “It’s the system.”I don’t believe that this is a mechanism to create a one world government. Long before climate change was even a thought such an action was desired. A one world government will never exist, or will never have any real teeth (would be like Karzai’s government).Best to evolve- no gods no masters.

The AlarmistNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:44 am

Duh! If I move one shovel full of dirt I have changed the climate. For that matter, if a starfish moves a few grains of sand it is also climate change. OK, I will stipulate that climate change is a fact. So what is your point?There are two ways out of here for humanity … either our eventual extinction on a dying planet (does it really matter whether it is in 300 years or 3000 years) because we didn’t bother(in the name of solving our more pressing earthly problems) to try to leave the planet, or to push technology and development and move out and populate the cosmos.Climate Change freaks really annoy me, and not just because they contort the facts to suit their arguments and thereby create perhaps the only industry in which they can find gainful employment.

GuestDecember 1st, 2009 at 2:55 am

And ignoramuses really annoy me!But for scientific FACT, we will be mostly wiped out come the next glacial period, just as happened previously.Now, how about returning you attention to your science fiction comics and leave this subject for the realists?

PeterJBNovember 28th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Global Warming:1. There is no doubt that glaciers and ice caps are melting whereby in 2000 or 2001 when I was in Washington DC for a visit, a cruise ship’s captain reported that he was lost; his position showed him to be at the North Pole, but there was no ice on the visible horizon; anywhere. Later, his position was found to be correct.2. Academics always jealously guard ‘their” data and more oft’ than not always steal others data when possible and more generally speaking are chosen for their work due to the bet they have towards to context that is paying the money and offering support toward fame and fortune of office. It’s a given. Most academics just never grasp the plot and go on to becomes file shufflers for large institutions and those that do get the plot, are unwelcomed in the hallowed halls of the consensually blessed.3.The CO2 arguments don’t make sense nor do any of the other mainstream arguments and few want to admit that they just don’t know what is going on; then again a few do but it is best for them to remain quiet as it is a most unforgiving mainstream public out there.4. Weather Theory, which has always had the largest “faq” on the Internet and the most links to almost dmaned near everywhere, is a failed and flawed theory. That is to say, nothing can be predicted within acceptable terms of probability and there is more anomalous data and than consistent data. Needless to say, the big job’ for weather theory ‘true believers’ and its sword wielding warriors is hiding the anamlous data – always has been. Fact. Weather cannot be predicted 24 hours in advance within a 50% probability margin!5. Martin Armstrong appears to be being moved to a high risk prison before Monday allegedly illegally and he appears to be in doubt that his life will continue much longer. It is also alleged by on-line documentation by himself that a recent attempt already has been made on his life with rather painful and permanent results.. I must suggest that such wonderful innovations by the “Christians” of the World never fails to amaze me5. Faith-based religions like economics are always in need to be propped up in their failed ideologies as they crumble to dust ad nauseum yet we continue to donate the lives of our children and grandchildren to the grand cause of applied stupidity. What glory is there is killing someone you don’t know or being killed by others that you have never met?Comment: There are answers but the ‘lowest common denominator’ of the pyramid of population lies at sewer level where it is from here that “leadership” is chosen. Here is the problem, the limbo stick is set far too low and the system only allows for the chosen ones to rise to the surface. Here we are at fault.Answer: Power and Glory is the goal of those of Hanlon’s Razor. Simple!Ho hum

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 5:00 am

Peter, THE problem is power, and power is derived via oppressive hierarchies (rather, hierarchies ARE oppressive).

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 7:30 am

Supposedly methane gas is the real problem caused primarily by live stock. 70% of the world population are vegetarian but more and more people are demanding a meat based diet like in China and India.

The AlarmistNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:47 am

And the largest greenhouse gas is water vapor. Think of that when you advocate hydrogen-burning vehicles.

GuestDecember 1st, 2009 at 2:57 am

And you’re sucking all the oxygen is going to help things either. Perhaps it’s time for you to jump on your rocket ship and leave this planet? I’d be willing to put up some funds.

Octavio RichettaNovember 28th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

You read it here first! Remember a couple of weeks ago I started posting warning signs about the second derivative* of ECRI WLI turning negative? It has arrived:http://www.businesscycle.com/news/press/1634/Sharp Recession, Sharp Recovery?The Wall Street JournalNovember 27, 2009(WSJ) – One argument for a strong economic recovery rests on the historical observation that deep declines are followed by sharp rebounds.Yet, despite the Great Recession being the deepest downturn since the Great Depression, the initial surge of recovery so far has been as anemic as those that followed short, shallow recessions.What’s more, it may be losing momentum.The latest recession likely ended with the second quarter of 2009, many economists believe. With a shove from government stimulus, U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.8% annualized rate in the third quarter, and many economists think that growth rate will be roughly matched in the current quarter.That’s not bad, but it would amount to a rather paltry 1.4% increase in inflation-adjusted GDP in the first two quarters after recession.In comparison, by this point following the eight recessions between World War II and 1982, GDP had already increased 4%, on average.This recovery so far has echoed the shallow recoveries of 1990-91 and 2001, when GDP grew 1.1% and 1.4%, respectively, in the first two quarters out of recession.It may be too early to properly judge this recovery. Growth could accelerate next year. But there is little to suggest it will.The Economic Cycle Research Institute’s weekly leading index of economic indicators, which spotted the economy’s turn early this year, is still “consistent with a steady economic recovery,” says ECRI Managing Director Lakshman Achuthan.But the leading index’s year-over-year growth rate has flattened and turned lower after hitting a record high in October. Its absolute level is still below that of July 2008, when the economy was still in recession.The recovery may live, in other words, but is hardly hearty. And a key segment of the economy, housing, is still on shaky ground, as seen in recent setbacks in mortgage applications, construction and prices.Surprisingly, many on Wall Street are giving thanks this weekend for the frail recovery—it means the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policy will continue to provide a cozy environment for risk-taking. But without fundamental improvement, healthy asset rallies will be harder to achieve in 2010.

Octavio RichettaNovember 28th, 2009 at 10:50 pm

IMO, this is what the recovery so far has been all about:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_(mythology)The world Atlas holds is the US economy, and the God Atlas is the US government with tremendous monetary and fiscal stimulus. The hope is that these actions will prime the pump for business and individuals to start generation REAL growth. The patient is in intensive care in a respirator and the hope is that (s)he will start breathing on his own once the respirator is taken away. The evidence this will happen is still not here.From Barron’s featured interview this week:http://online.barrons.com/article/SB125935148488466771.html?mod=BOL_hps_mag#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1…What is your outlook for 2010?There are several leading indicators that would normally have you be very optimistic. They include purchasing managers’ surveys on employment, purchasing managers’ surveys on manufacturing, positive earnings revisions, and a tremendous amount of pent-up cash on corporate balance sheets. And inventory reduction has been just so severe that even a slowing of inventory reduction would contribute a lot to growth. Very large sovereign-wealth funds, in China and throughout the rest of Asia, have announced intentions to radically ramp up the pace of acquisitions they are making offshore. Normally, with this gaggle of positive leading indicators, we would be very aggressive about risk-taking, because we have seen what has happened when these indicators start to turn positive.What’s holding you back?The fiscal and monetary experiment taking place right now is the largest one since the Reformation — and I don’t think that’s hyperbole. So it’s very hard to strip out from all of these signs of economic improvement how much is truly organic and how much is a function of what has been a globally coordinated effort. Woodrow Wilson would be so happy right now, because this is his vision of the League of Nations, writ large. Just about every country in the world has agreed to provide tremendous amounts of monetary stimulus, fiscal stimulus, and bank-deposit guarantees. It’s the most coordinated international financial effort ever. But it is very difficult to extract how much of some of the incipient good news is happening organically and how much is happening from stimulus….Barron’s: What keeps you up at night, Michael?Cembalest: I go back and forth as to which is the scarier nightmare — the withdrawal of the monetary stimulus or the withdrawal of the fiscal stimulus. As I sit here right now, I am more worried about the fiscal situation than the monetary…

Octavio RichettaNovember 28th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

*The second derivative of ECRI’s WLI is the rate of change on the annualized growth rate they report. This quantitive has turned negative in the last three-four weeks. If this situation perisits, you will see Mr. Achuthan tune down his bullishness in his TV appearances.

Octavio RichettaNovember 28th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Some clarification on the * above:*The second derivative of ECRI’s WLI is the rate of change on the annualized growth rate [for the WLI] they report [, which is the rate of change on the WLI].Remember your calculus: The second derivative is the rate of change of the rate of change of the quantity you are looking at.

Pecos BankerNovember 29th, 2009 at 2:58 am

Just a little comment about calculus. A positive second derivative means the curve is concave up. A negative second derivative means concave down.-/ concave down / concave up-A curve can be decreasing dramatically and still be concave up. It is just that it decreases less quickly with time. Thus, it doesn’t make sense to hang your hat on the second derivative and you would be a jerk to use the third derivative!For some curves, such as the celebrated S-curve, a change in the second derivative from positive to negative gives very useful information. But for economic curves and stock price curves a positive second derivative basically says nothing or very little.Octavio, it seems like it was only a few weeks ago (possibly months ago) that you were very enthusiastic about the positive direction of the WLI of ECRI. Is this recent negative second derivative in the time frame of what you were saying some weeks back? I ask because you seemed to be making your investment decisions based on that.

Pecos BankerNovember 29th, 2009 at 3:00 am

Well the curves I drew got messed up but perhaps you can see what they were trying to portray. The little dash above concave down goes at the top between the forard slash and the back slash, for example.

Octavio RichettaNovember 29th, 2009 at 9:01 am

A response to the kind comments above.1) Pecos Banker (PB) note is correct. You must not only look at the sign of the second derivative but also the shape of the curve and where you are in the curve. Even though I make a reference to calculus, we are actually in discrete space; but there is no question the WLI annual growth rate shows early signs of declining at an accelerated rate2) On Macroeconomics, capital markets and investing:I have repeatedly said that the economy and capital markets are correlated but not perfectly so. Moreover, any correlation comes often with a lag which, to further complicate matters, can be either positive or negative; e.g., it is frequently said that stock market moves anticipate the economy; but it can also be the case, particularly when markets are in bubble land, that markets lag the economy (i.e., bubble markets usually nosedive quite a while after a fairly large fraction of market participants intelligently sense that conditions are unsustainable).Thus, investing is both an art and a science. Forecasting markets consistently right is impossible, as forecasting markets is even more difficult than forecasting the economy because of the additional layer of complexity investor behavior trows in. You have probably read tons of material on market timing and how many “smart” money managers do not attempt it.Given these complexities; for the average guy, who does something else than managing their investment portfolio for a living [and/or does not have the proper training to do so], the best strategy is often to follow a passive investment strategy with no market timing at a level of diversification and risk that is appropriate for the investors risk aversion profile.However, in investment advice, there are no hard rules, every rule can be broken, every rule has its exceptions. You may, for example, have heard that the older a person gets, the most conservative (s)he must be with her/his investing. That is certainly true for me, but not so for WB whose level of wealth allows him to take risks that are independent of his age as even if the market drops by 99% and he does not live long enough to see the bounce, he certainly will not go hungry.3) On how I use economic forecasts such as ECRIs and apply them to my investing. (What follows is kinda an answer to PB’s question is his last paragraph.)First of all, from all the reading and studying I have done on the historical performance of ECRI’s system* [black-box is a better word], I’ve formed an opinion that they are not infallible but, when it comes to short/medium term economic they are right a higher percent of the time than most other public voices out there.As I have written here, I smelled increased odds of an economic recovery even earlier than ECRI [too early and too “smartly” for my own detriment – or better said, too dumbly:-) Look at my posts from January, Febreary, and March of this year. Or even look at my Early December posts when I started saying that at 0% rates, the FED was cornering/pushing investors into risk taking.]So how did I use ECRI input in this latest perhaps temporary upturn in the business cycle? I started out by giving their numbers on economic recovery the benefit of the doubt; i.e., I took their input optimistically, which was also my sense of how the investing crowd was seeing things. I intentionally lower my reasoning skills to the level of optimistic naivety [which often turns out to be right] I sense in the market, this is kinda what Keynes used to do (remember that the objective here is to enhance return with a reduced level of risk and not to forecast the economy right 3 years out. Diz is why I frequently clash with Da’ bears here. It is not that I am right and they are wrong or vice-versa. it is simply that we have different objectives/time frames in our views and actions.)However, I am neither stubborn nor dumb enough not to sense when to switch. The moment I started seeing the first signs the evidence may start supporting the view of Da’ smart bears (such Shilling, the Professor, Hussman, the guys at PIMCO, etc.), I took the ship out of “automatic pilot” and let you know virtually as soon as I did. Note that I first raised a red flag when I mentioned the growth rate in the WLI seemed to be slamming the brakes, however, I held myself from taking too early an action (just trying to learn from my “being too early” past mistakes).Then, [more an art that I science – and also some luck*] the day before T day, following a fantastic run in my performance after the latest market soft patch, I decided it was time to drastically lower equity exposure (to 48% the day before T day, and to 42% the Friday day after T day) which I had drastically increased up to 80%+ also in a short time frame.*I don’t believe in consistent luck but my decision appears to have been validated by the Dubai news that followed after market close.It is foolish to believe that one can be right all of the time but one needs to right more than 50% of the time, as well as limit extreme risk taking to survive in this game.I close with a note on the investment performance of an individual vis-a-vis the performance of a specific investment, e.g., a hedge fund, mutual fund, bond fund, commodity such as gold, etc.The natural tendency is to compare the return of the individual to the return of the individual investment vehicle that has yielded the most return during the time period under consideration.This is not the proper way of benchmarking yourself as this approach will push you towards excessive risk taking. During the lost decade I greatly exceeded the return of US equity markets. However, during up markets most individual investors who are doing things right will lag the market. Diz is because a sensible investment strategy usually does not coincide with being 100% into equities. I am roughly up 12.8% YTD and had about 42% in US equities as of Friday close. I will post more details once I perform the proper house keeping.

JasaNovember 28th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Octavio,thanks for the timely updates on the different sources of economic forecast (let’s say tentative of forecast). Even more thanks for sharing your investment portfolio and strategies, unique to do this among the blogers and always interesting to get.As for ECRI’s WLI, I’m wondering if their prediction power is losing effectiveness due to one or both these reasons. First, if they rely on official economic data, they are exposed to the ineffectiveness of these as more and more look like massaged for political reasons. Just a couple of examples: most of the blogers don’t look like to trust unemployment anymore as it’s not clear how the underemployed and the discouraged are accounted for, also, retail data look like to emphasize big retailers and lose track of the bankruptcies of family businesses. Also this time it could be different: never in the world history a similar coordinated effort was undertaken to recover from the deflation of derivatives valued at several times the real economy…..Any idea on how to try to account for these potential weaknesses?

Octavio RichettaNovember 29th, 2009 at 9:09 am

IMO, the greatest potential weakness in ECRI’s forecast is that this time around things may indeed turn out to be different. Achuthan always reminds us that one of the most frequent mistakes scared people make in recession turning points is that they believe there will be no recovery as things are “much worse” than in previous recessions.if my Atlas view of the world above turns out to be right, things will indeed turn out to be different: either a DD recession or very slow growth. As the smart guys such as the Professor and PIMCO who invariably see things way too early have told us.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 5:04 am

Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible. The outcome WAS ALWAYS CLEAR. I don’t need to sign up to anyone’s publication, or listen to a bunch of overly-complicated mumbo-jumbo describing other complicated mumbo-jumbo to know how this is going to go.It’s simple: we over-extended the ability of future generations to pay for us and themselves (and their offspring). The party’s over.

PeterJBNovember 29th, 2009 at 1:23 am

Clearly fresh editorial comment:”The following information may be the most important we have ever published. One of our Intel sources, highly placed in banking circles, tells us that on 1/1/10 all banks that have received TARP funds have been informed by the Federal Reserve that they must further restrict any commercial lending. Loans have to be 75% collateralized, 50% of which has to be in cash, which is a compensating balance.The Fed has to do one of two things: They either have to pull $1.5 trillion out of the system by June, which would collapse the economy, or face hyperinflation. This is why the Fed has instructed banks to inform them when and how much of the TARP funds they can return. At best they can expect $300 to $400 billion plus the $200 billion the Fed already has in hand.”http://theinternationalforecaster.com/International_Forecaster_Weekly/Potential_For_Fed_To_HyperinflateOh dear, indeed!Ho hum

scared sillyNovember 29th, 2009 at 5:29 am

As long as we are contemplating Armageddon and our collective paranoia is ramped up to a fever pitch, consider the death of Mark Pittman at the age of 52. Could it be the revenge of the Fed? Have the fascists struck again? Watch yourself Bloomberg. You could be next.

Pecos BankerNovember 29th, 2009 at 7:24 am

His daughter over on Zerohedge just wrote that Mark Pittman died of natural causes–heart disease. Best not to jump to conclusions unless you have an ax to grind.

Scared sillyNovember 29th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

My axe is sharp and my instincts are on high alert. When an all powerful entity that is not accountable to the people of a democratic republic is threatened with a loss of power and autonomy, beware. I never thought I’d have to worry about extreme rendition, torture or imprisonment without habeas corpus. I never thought our congress would be so blatantly for sale. I haven’t made up my mind yet about people who are contentious conveniently dying in plane crashes, or 9/11 for that matter. I have no definite proof after reviewing all the arguments. I just have a great deal of skepticism about the powers that be. I do believe they are capable of anything.With regard to Mark Pittman, the obituary I read merely said the cause of death was uncertain. The information you provided must have beeen released later. There is a substantial difference between contemplating plausable possibilities and circumstances and “jumping to conclusions.” If I were one with a propensity to jump to conclusions, I would conclude that a person who feels bound to admonish someone for being suspicious of an authoritative entity with a track record of constant abuse of power, is a person who is in fact, too frightened to dare to conceive of strong central authority in a negative way.I may be scared silly, but I won’t worship at the altar of fascism or relax my eternal vigilance.

Pecos BankerNovember 29th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Pardon me if I caused offense. I don’t find it the least bit unreasonable, given the times, to assume that foul play was at work here. However, there is always that instance when our assumptions do not apply. Who really knows anything about what is going on? We’re just reading tea leaves, sheep intestines, or perhaps were doing kremlinology. It’s frustrating, especially when you see all the job losses, etc. I can understand speaking from frustration. What we need, I believe, as I have said before on this blog, is to really put together a detailed analysis of each and every congressman/senator. Voting record on important issues such as the consumer credit law, audit the Fed, etc, campaign contributions received from whom, relations with lobbyists, etc. etc. We can then assemble all of this into a document that can be read by all. Color coded if you like for various constituencies, such as rednecks, flaming liberals, moderate progressives, gun toting fascists, communist sympathisers, etc. Everything depends on EXPOSING our representatives. Forget Goldman Sachs, 9/11 conspiracy theories, etc. Think “It’s the Congress stupid!”JMHO

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 7:23 am

Am I missing something pull out 1.5 trillion out of the system by June which would collapse the economy because there is a huge shortage of cash on the streets, or face hyperinflation if they don’t. That’s one giant paradox that makes no sense. You gold bugs are toast.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Pulling out 1.5 trillion when there’s no currency being circulated in the economy because of the threat of inflation? What inflation? No one has any money the banks are hoarding it all so how could there be inflation? This is why gold bugs are doomed, they’re being set up by the banks to take a huge fall.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:10 am

Demand destruction, which includes fiat currency. ALL fiat currencies eventually die, but gold is still around.Remember this: this isn’t any old cycle; conventional monetary policy no longer applies…

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Demand destruction for a fiat currency? I’ll bet anything a gun to your head by military personal will cause you to give up any gold fantasy you may have and trade in the sanctioned currency that is allowed by ruling governments. Gold as a trade-able currency is a fantasy, it’s worse than those Trekies-beam me up.

Octavio RichettaNovember 29th, 2009 at 9:01 am

As posted above:A response to the kind comments above.1) Pecos Banker (PB) note is correct. You must not only look at the sign of the second derivative but also the shape of the curve and where you are in the curve. Even though I make a reference to calculus, we are actually in discrete space; but there is no question the WLI annual growth rate shows early signs of declining at an accelerated rate2) On Macroeconomics, capital markets and investing:I have repeatedly said that the economy and capital markets are correlated but not perfectly so. Moreover, any correlation comes often with a lag which, to further complicate matters, can be either positive or negative; e.g., it is frequently said that stock market moves anticipate the economy; but it can also be the case, particularly when markets are in bubble land, that markets lag the economy (i.e., bubble markets usually nosedive quite a while after a fairly large fraction of market participants intelligently sense that conditions are unsustainable).Thus, investing is both an art and a science. Forecasting markets consistently right is impossible, as forecasting markets is even more difficult than forecasting the economy because of the additional layer of complexity investor behavior trows in. You have probably read tons of material on market timing and how many “smart” money managers do not attempt it.Given these complexities; for the average guy, who does something else than managing their investment portfolio for a living [and/or does not have the proper training to do so], the best strategy is often to follow a passive investment strategy with no market timing at a level of diversification and risk that is appropriate for the investors risk aversion profile.However, in investment advice, there are no hard rules, every rule can be broken, every rule has its exceptions. You may, for example, have heard that the older a person gets, the most conservative (s)he must be with her/his investing. That is certainly true for me, but not so for WB whose level of wealth allows him to take risks that are independent of his age as even if the market drops by 99% and he does not live long enough to see the bounce, he certainly will not go hungry.3) On how I use economic forecasts such as ECRIs and apply them to my investing. (What follows is kinda an answer to PB’s question is his last paragraph.)First of all, from all the reading and studying I have done on the historical performance of ECRI’s system* [black-box is a better word], I’ve formed an opinion that they are not infallible but, when it comes to short/medium term economic they are right a higher percent of the time than most other public voices out there.As I have written here, I smelled increased odds of an economic recovery even earlier than ECRI [too early and too “smartly” for my own detriment – or better said, too dumbly:-) Look at my posts from January, Febreary, and March of this year. Or even look at my Early December posts when I started saying that at 0% rates, the FED was cornering/pushing investors into risk taking.]So how did I use ECRI input in this latest perhaps temporary upturn in the business cycle? I started out by giving their numbers on economic recovery the benefit of the doubt; i.e., I took their input optimistically, which was also my sense of how the investing crowd was seeing things. I intentionally lower my reasoning skills to the level of optimistic naivety [which often turns out to be right] I sense in the market, this is kinda what Keynes used to do (remember that the objective here is to enhance return with a reduced level of risk and not to forecast the economy right 3 years out. Diz is why I frequently clash with Da’ bears here. It is not that I am right and they are wrong or vice-versa. it is simply that we have different objectives/time frames in our views and actions.)However, I am neither stubborn nor dumb enough not to sense when to switch. The moment I started seeing the first signs the evidence may start supporting the view of Da’ smart bears (such Shilling, the Professor, Hussman, the guys at PIMCO, etc.), I took the ship out of “automatic pilot” and let you know virtually as soon as I did. Note that I first raised a red flag when I mentioned the growth rate in the WLI seemed to be slamming the brakes, however, I held myself from taking too early an action (just trying to learn from my “being too early” past mistakes).Then, [more an art that I science – and also some luck*] the day before T day, following a fantastic run in my performance after the latest market soft patch, I decided it was time to drastically lower equity exposure (to 48% the day before T day, and to 42% the Friday day after T day) which I had drastically increased up to 80%+ also in a short time frame.*I don’t believe in consistent luck but my decision appears to have been validated by the Dubai news that followed after market close.It is foolish to believe that one can be right all of the time but one needs to right more than 50% of the time, as well as limit extreme risk taking to survive in this game.I close with a note on the investment performance of an individual vis-a-vis the performance of a specific investment, e.g., a hedge fund, mutual fund, bond fund, commodity such as gold, etc.The natural tendency is to compare the return of the individual to the return of the individual investment vehicle that has yielded the most return during the time period under consideration.This is not the proper way of benchmarking yourself as this approach will push you towards excessive risk taking. During the lost decade I greatly exceeded the return of US equity markets. However, during up markets most individual investors who are doing things right will lag the market. Diz is because a sensible investment strategy usually does not coincide with being 100% into equities. I am roughly up 12.8% YTD and had about 42% in US equities as of Friday close. I will post more details once I perform the proper house keeping.

ORNovember 29th, 2009 at 9:11 am

Reply to Jasa above:IMO, the greatest potential weakness in ECRI’s forecast is that this time around things may indeed turn out to be different. Achuthan always reminds us that one of the most frequent mistakes scared people make in recession turning points is that they believe there will be no recovery as things are “much worse” than in previous recessions.if my Atlas view of the world above turns out to be right, things will indeed turn out to be different: either a DD recession or very slow growth. As the smart guys such as the Professor and PIMCO who invariably see things way too early have told us.

Octavio RichettaNovember 29th, 2009 at 9:32 am

BTW, in explaining my Wednesday afternoon equity reduction actions, I must say that the downwardly revised GDP number (the day before?) was also an important consideration. This, together with my earlier observation about the WLI growth rate were the catalysts that triggered my move.BTW, have you read the Bloomberg headline on the coming Dubai patch-up job? it may be that in a few days the markets will make me look like a fool:-)U.A.E. Central Bank Stands Behind Lenders, Adds Funds (Update1)http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aM2MVwCsQXRY&pos=1The bull/bear battle goes on:-)Another frequent mistake I consistently make is underestimatingthe power of liquidity (e.g., Fall of 1998). I consistently underestimate the power of the FED/Treasury. Take for instance moves haphazardly taken by the FED and treasury took during the crisis. I honestly thought they didn’t stand a chance! However, one thing that I try to do is to switch gears when I see evidence my views are wrong. I quickly accepted the fact that what Benny and company did saved as from depression when the evidence was there for all to see. Kasriel and his team at NT and CR were of great help in opening my eyes.

kilgoresNovember 29th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

The Iranians do this all the time. They make big provoking announcements and then never follow through.SWK

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:23 am

Who gives a flying rat’s ass? It’s not OUR business.If you don’t like the rhetoric coming out of Iran, then have the West stop meddling in its affairs (stop lying about compliance- which, Iran has been in full compliance; UN bitching is all about the US forcing the UN to, once again, lie about the realities on the ground [the facts as presented by the IAEA]).It’s all in Israel’s interest to keep these lies swirling. Iran looks around and sees that Israel can amass many nuclear weapons and not be under any sanctions from the West/UN; and, never mind that according to the IAEA members (of which Israel is NOT one) are sanctioned to use nuclear power for peaceful activities.This headline pretty much says it all:Israel ‘Deplores’ IAEA Call to Join NPTThe US was jamming nuclear energy down Iran’s throats as far back as the 50s. Because it wasn’t able to get the contracts to build the installations (would you want the biggest spy agency in the world building stuff for YOU?) the US has been lashing out (that, plus the fear of not being able to control the world’s flow of oil). If one really wanted to see the collapse of Iran’s government they’d allow nuclear energy to develop there, it requires such huge subsidies that eventually it’ll bankrupt them…

so ?November 29th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_5318.shtmlBefore Obama escalates the Afghan war, he must tell us who we are fightingBy Peter ChamberlinOnline Journal Contributing Writer.Nov 27, 2009, 00:25.Who is “al Qaida,” that we must continue killing and destroying entire nations to eliminate them?The world has too much riding on this war to abide Obama blindly continuing it without a valid mission. Defining an “exit plan” is not the same thing as defining the mission. He cannot be allowed to simply launch yet another escalation without a clear mission, while shrugging-off questions about “al Qaida.” The world must know who the enemy is, before the cycle of destruction is amplified in another blind rage without a reason.“Al Qaida,” the base, in Arabic, is not the great threatening beast that has been used to frighten the little children. “Al Q” is a group of a few hundred Arab terrorists, gathered together by America and Saudi Arabia in a network that was overseen by Osama bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan. The CIA network recruited anti-Soviet fighters from all over the world, to serve agency interests. They were never under bin Laden’s command. American propagandists have created the illusion of a terrorist army of thousands of fighters, by lumping together bin Laden’s small group with the massive intelligence network that brought them all to Afghanistan, under the single rubric of “al Qaida.”The original Arab-Afghan fighters loyal to bin Laden have all but been eliminated from the region, with the last remaining holdouts scattered throughout the region. If there is no “al Qaida” in Afghanistan, then who or what are we after, other than the Taliban? The network itself? Are we completing the destruction of Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to eliminate our own network? If we fight against our own network, then why is an escalation needed? Wouldn’t it be far easier and cheaper to simply defund it, turn off the switch in Langley, Virginia, to the terrorist production line?Or is the switch to the terrorist production line really in the Pentagon? Since the military is the only beneficiary of another escalation in Afghanistan, it is logical to assume that they are behind the whole endeavor. The war is not about Afghanistan or Pakistan, but about maintaining another huge military presence there. Pakistan is the jumping-off point to all the planned missions for Central Asia and securing the pipeline routes anticipated for the region.See the following admission from a military operative in the know, as obtained by author Jeremy Scahill: “The military intelligence source said that the Blackwater/JSOC Karachi operation is referred to as ‘Qatar cubed,’ in reference to the US forward operating base in Qatar that served as the hub for the planning and implementation of the US invasion of Iraq. ‘This is supposed to be the brave new world,’ he says. ‘This is the Jamestown of the new millennium and it’s meant to be a lily pad. You can jump off to Uzbekistan, you can jump back over the border, you can jump sideways, you can jump northwest. It’s strategically located so that they can get their people wherever they have to without having to wrangle with the military chain of command in Afghanistan, which is convoluted. They don’t have to deal with that because they’re operating under a classified mandate.’”The world is in flames because Bush and Cheney chose to light it all up. Nineteen men with razor blades attacked us and they decided that waging war upon the entire world was the best way to pay them back and imitate justice. Obama is carrying the whole sick operation forward, because he is a coward — he is deathly afraid of the prospects of challenging the powerful Zionist war lobby that made him what he is today.Who are we fighting, Obama? Do you even know who the enemy is?

Pecos BankerNovember 29th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

A good final question. However, I’m already late for the two-minutes hate. By the way, who do we hate today? Aw shucks, I guess I’ll just find out when I’m there!

blindmanNovember 29th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

p,the thing appears to me like this.there are billions of peoples and hundreds of countriesand thousands of cultures. all of them have language andcan communicate and have had things done to them by each otherand “outsiders”. most will express themselves with speech,some angry and animated, and some with good cause.some have a tendency to resort to violence as a means ofdiplomacy and some resort to economic murder / genocide.we need to hear all the voices out there just to knowfor ourselves who and what we are, if we want to be honest.it may be worthwhile.? i don’t see any other approach.perhaps i pee into the wind?i don’t mean to hate anything or anyone but ….we do have serious problems concerning governance, finance,random and focused violence, education, health / diseasecare, environmental degradation, resource depletion etc..and the government needs to actually cooperate and work tomake it possible for the problems to be addressed by the population,rather than facilitate pillaging by special interests with nocivic or holistic consciousness. there are forces out therefeeding on the system like vampire leaches so perhaps “dislike” is a termi could resonate with? as in dislike the “sin” but love that sinner!i dream of the day when elites will no longer have the poweror influence to tell which poor bastards to kill which poor bastards.that is my dream. let them do their own killing if they have to.let them kill each other and leave the rest of us to discuss andnegotiate our differences, like human beings being human. ?

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:33 am

The enemy is anything that threatens the “American Way of Life,” which, unless someone has been asleep these last several years, appears to be Americans themselves! You see, we cannot admit that we’re our own worst enemy, therefore we have to lash out at someone else- wars are as much about stifling internal dissent as they are about defeating some foreign enemy/entity.The reality is this… All this cost should still be racked up to the Cold War books. It’s residual from the US backing insurgencies in the old Soviet satellite countries (the big push coming from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).Bush and Cheney were no more than new hires in the long-running war against communism. There was/is still a lot of clean-up to do… NOTE: I find it odd that the paranoid right-wingers could think that such a flawed system could take over the world; they are either complete idiots, or they are committing treason by lying to the American people so that they can help their rich defense contractors make money- take your pick. (now days included in the mix is oil companies and banks)

PeterJBNovember 29th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

The skulduggery of “leadership” – context Global Warming:The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6679082/Climate-change-this-is-the-worst-scientific-scandal-of-our-generation.htmlAt least, we should find comfort in the fact that they haven’t declared a War on Farterists er, yetHo hum

GuestDecember 1st, 2009 at 3:02 am

Like ANYTHING is settled? Duh!I can find thousands of creationists too, but that doesn’t make their position TRUE.Now, isn’t it time for your departure?

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

If countries like Dubai begin to fail, who will save them?Dubai’s plea this week for debt deferment could just be the thin end of the wedge, fears Jeremy Warner.By Jeremy WarnerAs one financial crisis recedes, another may be beginning. In Dubai this week, we’ve had a foretaste of what may be to come as governments around the globe seek to grapple with the explosive growth of fiscal deficits and public debt.Like everyone else, my regard for the miracle of Dubai’s fast-evolving skyline has always been tempered with a high degree of scepticism. As a monument to the vanity and hubris of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai has long looked like an accident waiting to happen. Such has been the pace of development that nobody could have been surprised by the debt default now threatened. Only the assumed support of Dubai’s richer neighbour Abu Dhabi, which is now far from certain, has prevented it happening sooner.Yet the important question for markets today is not whether Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed can survive the sandstorm; in fact, that is almost irrelevant. Dubai’s debts of $80 billion (£48 billion) are a tiresome and unwelcome irritant which will cause further write-downs among western banks, but in the scale of things not of great significance: Britain is planning to raise more than three times that amount in the debt markets in this financial year alone.Rather, the issue is whether this folie de grandeur of a desert kingdom is just an isolated, and therefore containable, incident, or a more worrying outrider for a wider sovereign debt crisis which might eventually engulf major, advanced economies. Everyone thought the financial implosion of the last two years was largely behind us – yet Dubai has reminded us that if nations start defaulting, then it may be about to enter a new and even more frightening phase.Think of Dubai not so much as the hors d’oeuvre as the pre-dinner canapé, with the starter reserved for larger economies with distressed fiscal positions, such as Greece and Ireland, moving for the main course on to Japan and possibly even Britain and the US.Already, there are rumblings. The cost of insuring sovereign debt against default has risen across the board, and for countries thought particularly at risk, bond yields are on a firm upward march.Across the developed world, public debt is set on an explosive course. According to new estimates by Moody’s, the credit ratings agency, the total stock of sovereign debt worldwide will have risen by more than 50 per cent between the start of the financial crisis in 2007 and the end of next year, to $15.3 trillion.But this is just the beginning. On current projections, that total is set to rise by at least a further 50 per cent, before finally peaking in four to five years’ time, and then only if governments have by then taken remedial action.These are uncharted waters, quite without precedent in peacetime. In seeking to address the financial and economic crisis of the past few years, countries have come close to bankrupting themselves. It is as if, in treating the patient, a physician has infected himself with the same deadly disease.Perhaps oddly, financing these fast-growing deficits has not so far been a problem, at least for the major advanced economies. Risk-averse investors have spurred high demand for sovereign debt, in the possibly misguided belief that there can be no haven safer than assets guaranteed by taxpayers and the ability of their governments to print money.More perversely still, the crisis in Dubai has caused a renewed flight to the perceived security of G7 government debt. Money is being withdrawn from the periphery and reinvested in US Treasuries, German bunds, and even British gilts.But if the banking crisis is anything to go by, that’s not where the story ends. There, too, the implosion began with smaller, obviously flawed bit-players, who had self-evidently grown too rapidly and overstretched themselves.Markets dashed to withdraw funding from Northern Rock, but in transferring the money to the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland found that they had invested only in something even more unstable. The Rock, it turned out, was just an outlier in a systemically unsafe sector.If Dubai is the sovereign debt equivalent of Northern Rock, then Greece might be its Bear Stearns and Japan its Lehman Brothers. But why stop there? For Citigroup, think the US, and for RBS and HBOS, think Britain. Only there would be no one to bail out their creditors if America or Britain showed signs of defaulting.Of course, I am exaggerating to make a point. Nobody thinks this a likely outcome, even if it ought to be added that nobody thought the semi-nationalisation of RBS and HBOS remotely likely either. The judgment of the markets is that on present trajectories, the sovereign debt burden is just about manageable. But it’s touch and go.The credit ratings agencies are just itching to downgrade some of the big hitters, alongside the obviously more vulnerable, with Britain and America the first in line. If the markets start to demand a premium for their money, that’s going to make the task of economic recovery and fiscal consolidation that much tougher. At the risk of sounding like a scratched record, this crisis is not over yet – not by a long chalk.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/6672699/If-countries-like-Dubai-begin-to-fail-who-will-save-them.html

AnonymousNovember 30th, 2009 at 12:34 am

ROTHSCHILD?????errrrrmmmhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/6673264/Rothschild-appointed-to-help-sell-Dubai-World-assets.html

MorbidNovember 29th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Is it just me in noticing this – or is Roubini strangely silent on commenting on these underground blog rumblings we have been smelling/posting for sometime now. Why doesn’t he trust the grass roots instead of Wall Weed Roots.Look Out Below

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:37 am

Because he’s an economist. Economists are paid by the system to lie about it. NOTE: they may not believe that they are lying, but fundamentally they ALL are, given that they propagate the the BIG LIE, that there can be sustainable growth.

blindmanNovember 29th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

more levels of doom for further fartist evaluation/consideration..http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/Par%20Value%20during%20the%20Black%20Plague.pdf.Par Value During the Black Plague: Treasuries are Financial Teflon. Silver MakesPretty Spoons.By JMNovember 28, 2009…”Extreme Deflation’s Nasty Surprise: U.S. Treasuries the Best Asset Class, butThey’re Not Vintage Valpolicella EitherThen, as now, derivative contracts existed to control swings in prices of theunderlying. However, most contracts were settled by physical delivery, not cash..They existed because of high costs in transporting goods, e.g. from Constantinopleto Venice via Florentine letter of credit to transact in Antwerp to London. Today thisis not so. Cash settlement in derivatives exceeds the underlying physical market,and the divergence is of such a magnitude that derivatives are increasingly moreimportant to prices than actual supply and demand. This is the profoundlydeflationary driver of modern finance, because it diverts money from hoarding oil,gold, and real stuff into paper.Then, as now, having a reserve currency (and Venice had a good one too) meansthat your sovereign debt is capital structure king—the safest place to park cash.U.S. Treasury auctions are different from any other government bond market ever inexistence: they are the most rigged in history. They have to be… treasuries are theliquidity sump-pump for the whole galaxy. Pricing is artificial in that treasuries areinstruments to target export-oriented exchange rates relative to the dollar. Par valueis completely unconnected to yield or risk considerations. And this is just the nonparticleside of the trade.Further, modern particle finance has one-upped anything that has come before it. Itis not just commodities that are manipulated by speculative flows. Because minimalrisk trades are positions of minute advantage, incredible leverage is used tomaximize return. This is one reason why OTC interest rate derivatives are around$420 trillion notional. The sheer size of the collapse makes the whole thing too bigtoo fail, and at the same time, a scary failure if it happened.Rigged markets can last more than a human lifespan. Since the whole world hasskin in the game, it is an extremely low probability event with high damagepotential.”…

blindmanNovember 29th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

ps.i don’t agree with his probability conclusion. the skin in the gamemetaphor does not amount to anything supporting his elp (extremelylow probability) conclusion? i thought the comments concerning contractssettled by physical delivery vs. settled in cash were pertinent to theongoing deflation / inflation discussion. re: 420 trillion, whatever?vs. 2 trillion qe / cash.the real bummer is what that 420 trillion has done to prices over the last10 years. there be our debt and we without the means to payas the future forked for farterist and family, finally and foully.”rigged markets can last..” he says. sure, they can collapse overnighttoo. “skin in the game..” he says. sure, so because many participate ina fraud the fraud is sustainable? not really and not necessarily and notlikely. more likely that market will destroy its participants at a ratecorrelated to the rate of recognition of the fraudulent nature of theenterprise/s. imo.

blindmanNovember 29th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091214/scheerStill Doing God’s Work on Wall StreetBy Robert ScheerNovember 25, 2009..Nonsense, argues Eliot Spitzer, who as New York attorney general was way ahead of the curve in challenging Wall Street arrogance. Writing in Slate on Monday, Spitzer points out: “Pressuring Goldman and the other counterparties to offer concessions would have forced them to absorb the consequences of making suspect deals with an insurance company that was essentially a Ponzi scheme.”The Ponzi scheme was based on the collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in which the bankers traded and which AIG had insured with the credit default swaps (CDSs) that they sold but failed to back with adequate funding. Now Geithner’s Treasury concedes that AIG “should never have been allowed to escape tough, consolidated supervision.” But none of AIG’s scams were regulated, nor were any of the others at the center of the larger financial debacle, because of laws pushed through Congress by Geithner’s boss, Lawrence Summers, when they both were in the Clinton administration. Specifically, they prevented regulation of those opaque CDOs and CDSs that would come to derail the world’s economy.As the inspector general’s report stated: “In 2000, the [Clinton administration-backed] Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) … barred the regulation of credit default swaps and other derivatives.” Why did the financial geniuses of the Clinton administration seek to prevent that obviously needed regulation? Because the Clintonistas believed the Wall Street guys knew what they were doing and that what was good for them was good for us lesser folk. As Summers, who is the top economic adviser in the Obama White House, put it in congressional testimony back then: “The parties to these kinds of contracts are largely sophisticated financial institutions that would appear to be eminently capable of protecting themselves from fraud and counterparty insolvencies.”Sounds nonsensical today: The inspector general’s report notes that AIG, because of the deregulatory law that Summers and Geithner pushed through, was “able to sell swaps on $72 billion worth of CDOs to counterparties without holding reserves that a regulated insurance company would be required to maintain.” But why, then, is Summers once again running the show with Geithner when both have made careers of exhibiting total contempt for the public interest? Because there is no accountability for the high rollers of finance, no matter who happens to be president..comment: more food for thought, so to speak.

GuestNovember 29th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

It gets really tedious to read constant revisionist history. Yes, Bill Clinton was president, but here are the salient facts if you care to take the time to read them. Michael Greenberger, the former Dir. of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (1997-99), explained that it was the financial industry lobbyists who donated millions to Phil Gramm over his 24-year congressional career and drafted the 285-page bill called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. They used Phil Gramm as a vehicle since he was then the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.On December 13, 2000 the Supreme Court had issued its decision on Bush v. Gore. Two days later, December 15th, President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress were locked in a budget showdown over a massive 11,000-page, $384-billion, omnibus spending bill. It was the perfect moment for Gramm to slip in his 285-page measure sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who was the chairman of the agriculture committee. They had tried to get the measure passed earlier and it had been considered dead. But remember, committee chairmen have the right to submit bills directly to Congress without committee approval so the bill was never debated in committees or even by the House or Senate. Phil Gramm stood up on the Senate floor to hail the act’s inclusion into the must-pass budget package. But only an expert (or a lobbyist;-) could have followed what Gramm was saying. The act, he declared, would ensure that neither the SEC nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) got into the business of regulating newfangled financial products called swaps – and would thus “protect financial institutions from overregulation” and “position our financial services industries to be world leaders into the new century.”It worked! Just prior to the Christmas holiday, the act found its way into the The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2001 (Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill) (H.R. 4577). 157 Democrats and 133 Republicans voted for the appropriations bill. 51 Republicans and 9 Democrats opposed the appropriations bill vote results in the house. The Senate version passed by “Unanimous Consent.” President Clinton signed it into Public Law (106-554) on December 21, 2000. and the rest is history.Earlier in his career Phil Gramm sponsored the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act which, in turn, repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and allowed traditional depository institutions (banks) to speculate in financial markets just as they used to do before the Great Depression.So, if you feel the need to point-the-finger, I suggest Phil Gramm deserves more attention than Bill Clinton.http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89338743http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Grammhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_Futures_Modernization_Act_of_2000http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/07/foreclosure-phil.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Blileyhttp://thomas.loc.gov/home/omni2000/

blindmanNovember 29th, 2009 at 9:19 pm

g,thanks for elucidating. i agree, gramm was always working forspecial interests, and his own, but that doesn’t make geithner and summerscivic minded public servants, doesn’t make clinton any less instrumentalin financial deregulation. it is really not about individuals anyway.it is about a system that is collapsing due to an impossible structurethat does not support itself in the environment it is attempting toexist in. it is about unbridled elite private access to public funds for to be determined, unspecified and personal, and none of your business purposes / “trust us”!.the structure and function of finance is inflated and unhinged and it hasreached into the political sphere and castrated that too.asset prices were inflated due to unethical, “unregulated” yet illegal transference of leverage and risk.me thinks this is revealing, who would want to castrate the the ballsof representative government and those forces in the world? blah blah…i think i waste our time….it is obvious.ps.great reference list. “they” / “we” are definitely guilty. we should allplead guilty by reason of / due to / insanity and throw ourselves atthe mercy of the courts. ( half a joke ).they are guilty of raiding the treasury and we are guilty of watchingthem do it and doing nothing to stop them. they are guilty of many thingsthat we dare not notice but our lack of awareness does not render us blameless.in short i blame myself for my own birth, or lack thereof, makes sense in a certain light.so, to where or what does that finger point?.http://www.zerohedge.com/article/end-empire-%E2%80%93-propaganda-and-american-myth…End of Empire – Propaganda and the American MythCognitive Dissonance’s pictureSubmitted by Cognitive Dissonance on 11/29/2009 17:15 -0500.”America as a social and financial entity ceased to function at peak efficiency decades ago. This rapid decline is the main reason behind the massive increase in financial engineering, which is now coming apart at the seams, deliberately in my view. To argue over this or that detail is to be in denial of the obvious. In fact, I consider the official bickering over these details as a deliberate attempt to distort and distract while the final looting and rape occurs. Using propaganda and other psychological operations, our leaders lie about the economic condition of America. They do so not because they expect the lie to withstand close scrutiny, but rather to enable those who wish to believe the lie a plausible excuse to do so. Remember our conditioning. When in doubt, defer to authority and suspend disbelief.A classic sales technique is the assumed consent close. Rather than directly asking you to purchase this new car, I simply assume you are purchasing and begin asking you closing questions. “Do you prefer the red one we looked at first or the blue convertible with the beige interior? Could you please get your insurance card out of the glove box before you clean out your car? Just sign here and here. Thanks.” You’d be surprised how many new automobiles, rooms of household furniture, whole life insurance, variable annuities and pieces of expensive jewelry are sold in this manner. Something similar to this technique is being used by the mass media to sell us something we already wish to buy. Only they aren’t selling the death of America, but rather its remarkable resilience and miraculous comeback. We’re being sold false hope, disguised as assumed consent questions such as, should we audit the Fed, can we expand healthcare with a public option, will Son of Stimulus be rolled out by the first or second quarter of 2010, should we……..well, you get the picture.False hope binds us to impossible conditions and situations. Please read that statement again and then let it sink in for a minute.As long as we believe there’s residual value in keeping America on life support, we’ll continue to pour borrowed money into this mess, rather than roll up the derivatives, fire the managers and start over. We don’t wish to face the reality that we’re in way over our heads. As long as we’re not forced to look too closely at the horrible condition our country’s in, we’re all too willing to do our part and avoid applying critical thinking to the subject. Like an old bull unknowingly led to slaughter because he thinks he’s off to mount another cow, we’re desperately trying to keep alive the magical American myth of life, liberty and apple pie while shielding our eyes from the rotting corpse it’s rapidly becoming.That’s probably too harsh for the average American’s sensibilities, but let’s ask ourselves a few questions in an effort to find the truth, or at least something approaching the truth as we know it. Let me be clear on something before I get flamed for my harsh tongue. I’m not America bashing in the least. I’m America myth bashing. The American myth of exceptionalism is enabling her destruction as we stand idly by, applauding the mythical facade our leaders and media display 24/7. As long as we cling to the hope that all she needs is a tune up and some minor repairs, we’re condemned to a long and painful death spiral. We’re being sold exactly what we want to hear when we need to hear it. To claim otherwise is to lie to ourselves and to each other.America is crumbling from the foundation up, and yet we gather around the TV, talking about a fresh paint job and a new screen door, both bought on credit, while handing our grandchildren a bill they’ll never be able to pay. The only way we can live with this lie while perpetrating these despicable acts upon our own family members is to deny it’s even happening. The big lie, which we must continue to tell ourselves, has taken on a life of its own and is consuming everyone and everything in its path. We are addicted to our own public myth and to sustain the lie, we simply ignore the truth. The only way to break through this lie is to go back through decades of propaganda and myth and find out what went wrong. Since this would be too painful, both individually and as a society, we distort reality as quickly as we change cable channels. It’s not just our leaders who are corrupt but we as well.We have become cowardly, unwilling to commit to the tough decision of setting aside instant gratification in order to assure our grandchildren a home to live in. This is the ultimate act of selfishness, compounded by the fact that we claim we’ve been hijacked by our leaders. Sadly, our leaders are doing exactly what we want them to do, which is to continue the lie. Did we really think we could put our toys and war machines on the charge card and not worry about the bill, just because some politicians said we could? What are we, 5 year olds, pointing our fingers elsewhere when asked who broke the vase? Even if we personally followed the path of fiscal prudence, why didn’t we scream bloody murder, demanding we stop this insanity before the country began its suicidal plunge? Why do we still remain silent? Our hands are bloody and the only question is, how much is yours and how much is mine. Citizenship is all about individual responsibility, something we’ve been avoiding for a while now, at least since we started calling ourselves consumers.Look at the endless propaganda on TV that’s used to lull us back into a drugged stupor, so we don’t dwell on what we’re doing to our children’s children. American flags wave in the background as chiseled men and full breasted women expound on how wonderful we are for building and loving this great nation of ours. The great American love story, brought to you nightly on prime time TV. This is where the bad guys always loose, men are men and women are sexual objects to lust after. Watch closely children, this is the American dream. Why wouldn’t we love America the myth? It’s everything we want without the pain. Nationalism is our unifying religion, a potentially fatal addiction to our public myth that enables us to fiddle while America burns. More drugs over here doctor, the patient’s waking up.”

The AlarmistNovember 30th, 2009 at 7:36 am

American Exceptionalism is hardly a myth, however, I sadly agree that its best days are likely to be in the past. The exceptionalism of recent days.Massive bailouts to politically connected industries and unions, a doubling of an already enormous national debt in 6 years, localized vote fraud on a nationwide basis, porous borders, … these are the product of a political class that has mastered the art of building their own power by enabling the richest and the poorest to profit from the system at the expense of an enslaved working-middle-class.What remains to be seen is whether or not the decline will be as breathtakingly exceptional as the climb. Live in fame and go down in flames.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 7:44 am

these are the product of a political class that has mastered the art of building their own power by enabling the richest and the poorest to profit from the system at the expense of an enslaved working-middle-class.Yeah, those swarms of lobbyists for the poor, damn them anyway!It turned out this way because it’s the ONLY way that it could have turned out, it’s the culmination of ALL of us lying to ourselves that we really aren’t engaged the Ponzi Scheme of endless growth. I’m not thinking that this was something propagated by the poor…

ChrisLNovember 30th, 2009 at 11:15 am

enabling the poorest to profit from the system at the expense of an enslaved working-middle-class.

you gotta be joking !And what evidence do you have to support such a statement ?FYI, here are some statisitcs from the censusmean household income of poorest quintile (in constant 2008 $)1989 $ 11,7262008 $ 11,656 (-$70)mean household income of middle quintile1989 $ 48,4952008 $ 50,132 (+$637)mean household income of richest quintile1989 $143,3942008 $171,057 (+27,663)

blindmanNovember 29th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

“you cannot move tomorrows prices into today’s marketswithout revisiting yesterday’s revolt.”fortune cookie from wing wang’s fancy kitchenlocated somewhere in the greater new york area.comment: it is a shame because it seemed like sucha lucrative possibility.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:46 am

“you cannot move tomorrows prices into today’s marketswithout revisiting yesterday’s revolt.”Brilliant summation! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:55 am

Delivered like a true capitalist!All would be fine if we’d all just toss everything back into the pool, divvy it up equally and start the race from scratch, this way the libertarians can really see what a fair playing field is like. NOTE: today’s libertarians stole the term from anarchists; the capitalist opportunists that they are…But, back to the article (and actually expounding on my leveling theme), one can hardly say that America was clean and great and then this was all somehow stolen away (by government, or by those worthless ‘others’). America (well, the USA) was created off the backs of Africans, Asians (railroad workers) and dead Indians. Those hard-working people didn’t come out ahead; no, only the favored “free enterprise” slaughterers did, the very same people whose greed had placed their very system of privilege in peril.

The AlarmistNovember 30th, 2009 at 7:56 am

Cute. Kind of reminds me of the old folks at my demographically darkening middle school who told the inner city kids that spending all their time playing basketball was a waste of time since there was little to no future in the NBA for most of them. There will always be seats on the Street for a lucky few, but the vast majority will be spinning their wheels.Problem is that nobody in America wants to be the one to tell their kids that they should aspire to being a hair dresser or a garbage-man (sanitation engineer?), which is probably why the workers in these jobs have to be imported.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 6:52 am

What was more impressive for me from that article is that the roomfull of 17 year olds gave the man a standing ovation.Maybe there is hope…

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 7:00 am

Bah, bah go the sheep… More false libertarian crap! Will lead to the very same outcome. Sometimes shallow thinkers sound deep.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 9:57 am

This used to be a nice blog, until it got infested with brain-dead AynRandish libertarians and other Glenn Beck clones…

FEDupNovember 30th, 2009 at 8:19 am

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bernanke-says-reforms-for-fed-would-hurt-us-2009-11-29Proposed reforms for Fed could hurt U.S. Bernanke says. Does he mean more than the worst financial and economic crisis since the GD? Does he mean it would harm his career and all the wall street cronies and lobbyists? Does he mean it would harm the elite by requiring greater transparency and oversight and accountability? Who exactly does Mr. Bernanke expect it to harm?

MM CANovember 30th, 2009 at 8:38 am

NO JOBS!The “Real” unemployment rate in the US is now 22%If you would like to follow my Examiner.com posts, they are located at Rochester Unemployment Examiner’s Articles.The media and government officials often tout the unemployment rate using the official, or U3 rate, which stands at 10.2% for October. While 10.2% unemployment is certainly bad enough – it’s the highest rate nationally excluding 1983s 10.8% – it pales when compared to the U6 unemployment rate. First let’s discuss the differences between U3 and U6 measures.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the U3 measure is described as “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate).” Now let’s take a look at the BLS U6 measure: Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.When including marginally attached workers and those forced to work part-time instead of full-time we have a national unemployment rate of 17.5%, which is nearly 70% higher than the U3 rate of 10.2%. That’s a dramatic increase from the normally quoted U3 unemployment rate, but even U6 fails to provide the actual percentage of people who are, or may be considered unemployed.John Williams discusses alternative unemployment data sets at his Shadow Government Statistics site. Their service, in part, “exposes and analyzes flaws in current U.S. government economic data and reporting.” Once those flaws are included in the unemployment calculation – called the SGS Alternate – the unemployment rate reaches 22%. Shadow Government Statistics gives the following reason for SGS Alternate measure: “The SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated “discouraged workers” defined away during the Clinton Administration added to the existing BLS estimates of level U-6 unemployment.”To clarify why the discrepancy between U6 and the SGS Alternate rate of 22%, I contacted the BLS and received the following answer to my question about the change in discouraged worker designation during the Clinton Administration:“(P)rior to 1994 persons were not asked whether they had searched for work recently. If they gave one of the five “discouraged worker” reasons for not looking for work in the past 4 weeks, they were assumed to have “given up” the search for work, although they weren’t asked when they had last looked. As a result of the greater specificity introduced in 1994, the number of discouraged workers was cut approximately in half, from about 1.1 million in 1993 to 500,000 in 1994.”About 600,000 people were removed from the unemployment calculations in 1994, so if you merely add those 600,000 to the current U6 number, the rate of unemployment would be much higher than 17.5% and would more accurately be reflected in the SGS Alternate unemployment rate of 22%.To view the SGS Alternate graph, visit: Inflation, Money Supply, GDP, Unemployment and the Dollar – Alternate Data SeriesThe BLS now offers the U6 measure of unemployment for states. An example is New York’s U6 rate averages 13.4% for the period fourth quarter of 2008 through third quarter of 2009 at: Alternative measures of labor underutilization by state. So making the simple assumption that the SGS Alternate data is, on a national level, about 4.5% higher than U6, the unemployment rate in New York is closer to 17.9%, and that’s being conservative since the current unemployment rate is higher than the average presented at the BLS. Below is the latest unemployment measurements by state from the BLS:When nearly 1 in 5 eligible New York workers are either unemployed or underemployed, we are made aware of the brutal state of employment. Maybe it’s time to spend more money on job creation, instead of pumping billions of dollars into the coffers of banking bonus babies and corrupt banks and institutions that were made too big to fail by two presidential administrations more concerned about campaign money than taxpayer needs.A sliver of good news, according to John Williams, is that during the Great Depression the SGS Alternate measure of unemployment would likely be near 34%. Let’s hope our elected “representatives” don’t aim for those lofty unemployment levels.If you would like to follow my Examiner.com posts, they are located at Rochester Unemployment Examiner’s Articles.

FEDupNovember 30th, 2009 at 9:48 am

“The real unemployment rate in the U.S. is 22%”. No dispute there, however, retail sales are not reflecting a proportional decline; in fact, many are reporting they were down 1% from last year and were moderate to strong in technology products. I actually met UNEMPLOYED people who were waiting to get in early at Best Buy because “the deals were too good to pass up”!!! This addiction to consume is significantly stronger than I thought and bodes poorly for the future; no savings, more debt, no recovery.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 10:38 am

It doesn’t mean more debt because credit is unavailable or at a premium, these people are using cash from unemployment/savings/or handyman jobs. People are turning the heat down, cutting off the cable, driving less, eating out less, moving in with their relatives but still buying ipods – only on black Friday though.In my own personal life I’ve cut out cable, use the neighbors internet/Pannera’s, stopped eating out, found very affordable living, sold half my belongings on ebay, looking for cash jobs, started a bankruptcy, even lost 30 pounds etc. but still bought my son a nice guitar for Christmas – made in China. Actually this all feels pretty good to me much more simple. I look forward to the future in a much more lean mannered way.

MM CANovember 30th, 2009 at 11:05 am

overall sales revenues are down 8-10%. traffic to stores was way up but average spend was down. couple all thta with the only reason people were shopping were for some huge disocunts on some items. no way the manufaturers of those items will be making a profit. so sales traffic up, dollar spend down and profits will be down, if any.

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 8:45 am

Case-Shiller Still Predicts Massive 45% Fall From Today’s ValuesNovember 24th, 2009The 10 major cities in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index have risen 5% from their April low, but the index is still predicting a massive 45% fall from today’s values.The index is still showing a current loss of 30% from the high in June 2006. Based upon a trend generated from the actual prices of 1987 to 1997, and generated forward in a linear projection, the index will fall a total of 62% before it reaches the trend norm.A more comprehensive analysis of the 10-city index based upon a full 120 years of data shows current values off 36% and a comparatively modest 20% fall ahead.Review four charts and key data based upon major real estate price indexes at “Property Price Index”.http://blog.ml-implode.com/2009/11/case-shiller-still-predicts-massive-45-fall-from-todays-values/?ref=patrick.net

GuestNovember 30th, 2009 at 11:03 am

Rosenberg: This Isn’t A Recession, It’s A DepressionDavid Rosenberg — who has been getting into fights with other pundits left and right — digs in and argues that what we’re really looking at is a depression.MORE ON THE DEPRESSIONLast week, we received some classic guffaws when we responded to whether or not the recession has ended with this: “We’re not convinced, but even if it is statistically over, the depression is ongoing”. We were reprimanded by former Fed Governor Mishkinforbreeding “fear”.The eyes were rolling among the Squawk Box crew and we were told to tell that to Mr. Market, who has rallied more than 60% from the March lows(“artificial” lows, we were told off camera). After all, Mr. Market is so adept at calling the economy – like the peak in late 2007, literally weeks ahead of what the polite economics crowd dubs “The Great Recession”; or how adept Mr. Market was in calling the 2001 tech wreck; or the three failed attempts at predicting recovery over the past two years. Mr. Market’s ability at calling the economy, is shall we say, a tad spotty. In fact, even with the massive amount of stimulus in modern history, all the economy could do was muster up a 2.8% annualized growth rate in Q3. If that number stands, it will go down as just about the poorest bounce off arecessionary environment on record. History, by the way, shows that 80% of the time, the opening quarter of the recovery ends up being a pretty good predictor over the extent of the economic pickup we see in the year that follows. So, that near 5% GDP growth backdrop being projected by Mr. Market right now looks to be more than just a tad dubious.Now, as for calling this a ‘depression’, it is an attempt at providing a realitycheck to Wall Street research forecasts of a robust recovery. Practically everyone thought the worst was over in 1930 but all we were in at that time was the classic phase 2 of the triple-waterfall — the “reflex rally” that comes on the heels of the “initial sharp down” to only then be followed by the long and drawn out decline to the fundamental low. The Great Depression didn’t even receive that label until 1934 and by then we were well over a year pastthe lows in both real GDP and the stock market. But it was a treacherous environment for the rest of the decade and despite seven years of huge stimulus — and resource-misallocation distortions from the FDR New Deal — the unemployment rate still finished off the 1930s at 15%; the CPI was still deflating at a 2% annual rate; nominal GDP had still yet to re-attain its 1929 peak; and the next secular bull market in equities did not commence for another 15 years. Income strategies worked best even after the S&P 500 hit bottom; and gold doubled in Sterling terms. Equity rallies came … and they went. Volatility reigned. What goes around comes around. Currently, we have a situation that is not consistent with a plain-vanilla recession but with a depression because depressions are associated with credit contraction and asset deflation. It is more than just about a mathematical contraction in GDP. In recessions, social change does not occur. In depressions, they do. Hence the fact that in Halloween, the reason why sales-related items were so tepid was because 30% of families made their own costumes.

Octavio RichettaNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I am down to 28% equities. Sold my TIE, VPU, XLU positions. The equities I did keep are all high dividend consumer good stocks/pharmaceuticals: NSRGY, JNJ, MRK, LLY, PFE, PG, T VZ, MO, PM. . My largest position is PG with about 7% of assets. The others are all less than 3% of assets.I should be about done with the selling for the rest of the year. i may rebuy some XLU/VPU when they get closer to ex-dividend date as these positions where in a retirement account.For more perspective on this move read my posts above. BTW, the Rosemberg post above is a good one. I am awaiting Shillings letter to see what he has to say.According to this Bloomberg piece, we the little guys are all a bunch of dummies while the hedge fund guys are the “smartys”. We’l see who ends up with more egg on his face:-)Hedge Funds Buying as Individuals Sell in Bull Signalhttp://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20603037&sid=aidQnqm1KPikI am waiting for papa bear’s letter (Shilling). See if he has something interesting to say this month…http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20603037&sid=aidQnqm1KPik

Octavio RichettaNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Goldman: This Is What A Sub-Par Recovery Looks Likehttp://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-settling-into-sub-par-recovery-2009-11#mediocre-growth-in-q3-1

wethepeepleNovember 30th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Lobbying each political party of Congress/Senate equally, (i.e. spending the same amount on each party), is not ‘politcal independence’ in monetary policy, as defined by the Federal Reserve and its’ member banks. It may be politically neutral, but it’s just good old fashioned back-slapping, palm-greasing, vote-buying, influence peddling. And it should be outlawed.

blindmanNovember 30th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJV-ExBT7DU“Big Brother”stevie wonder.Your name is big brotherYou say that you’re watching me on the tele,Seeing me go nowhere,Your name is big brother,You say that you’re tired of me protesting,Children dying everyday,My name is nobodyBut I can’t wait to see your face inside my doorYour name is big brotherYou say that you got me all in your notebook,Writing it down everyday,Your name is I’ll see ya,I’ll change if you vote me in as the pres,The President of your soulI live in the ghetto,You just come to visit me ’round election timeI live in the ghetto,Someday I will move on my feet to the other side,My name is secluded,we live in a house the size of a matchbox,Roaches live with us wall to wall,You’ve killed all our leaders,I don’t even have to do nothin’ to youYou’ll cause your own country to fall

mm caNovember 30th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

more greenshootsBlack Friday Points to a Grim Holiday Season for Retailers30 Nov 2009 01:02 pmIf you were counting on what Glenn Reynolds calls “the retail support brigade” to come riding over the hills, you might want to rethink. After last year turned in one of the worst holiday shopping seasons in decades, people were hoping that things might perk up this year, but Black Friday’s results don’t look too good for retailers. Sales were up a paltry 0.5% from last year, and that only because a lot more people came out bargain-hunting.Sales on the day after Thanksgiving rose just 0.5% to $10.66 billion, according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a research firm that monitors sales at more than 50,000 stores. That compared with a 3% year-over-year Black Friday increase in 2008 and an 8.3% surge in 2007.”It’s a positive sign that we had an increase in sales, but the numbers certainly don’t indicate that those will be sustained,” said Britt Beemer, chairman of consumer behavior firm America’s Research Group.Nationwide, 195 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four-day weekend, up from 172 million last year, the National Retail Federation said Sunday.It’s too early to be certain, of course, but to me this points to a brutal trend: everyone is looking for bargains, and refusing to buy anything else. That means that profit margins are likely to be thin, and even with aggressive discounting, retailers may not be able to drive much volume.What’s bad for retailers may be good for us, of course. The amount of consumer credit outstanding has fallen pretty dramatically, but because of the buying binge we were on, it’s still kinda high, as is the ratio of debt service payments to income. On the other hand, many of us are retailers, or work for them, or for companies that sell all the things that Americans aren’t buying. The contraction is probably necessary. But it is not going to be pleasant.

blindmanNovember 30th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/7/2009/1790Harvey WassermanWhat’s the carbon/health footprint of another senseless war?November 30, 2009The Afghan War may now doom our ability both to cope with the global climate crisis and to fairly deliver health care in this country.If Barack Obama announces an escalation, Copenhagen and the Climate Bill will become meaningless. And the prospects for a single-payer health care system or even a token public option will disappear……http://www.zerohedge.com/article/climate-we-can-all-agree-two-things.Climate: We Can ALL Agree On Two ThingsGeorge Washington’s pictureSubmitted by George Washington on 11/30/2009 12:43 -0500…”The continuance of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars completely and thoroughly undermines the government’s claims that there is a global warming emergency and that reducing carbon output through cap and trade is needed to save the planet.I can’t take anything the government says about carbon footprints seriously until the government ends the unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”…

LaboradoreDecember 1st, 2009 at 4:54 am

Adam Smith said that once a small elite had monopolized ownership of land and materials, they would drive wages down to the level of subsistence. It is the “appropriation of land and stock” — Smith’s terminology — that creates the “market force” that reduces the market value of labor.Now, that doesn’t mean that certain derivative functions — management, distribution, and even investment — don’t exist, and that labor cannot contract for the delivery of those derivative functions. If you are the labor producing automobiles, or any other good or service, a sales force selling those goods and services is probably necessary. Likewise, certain organizational functions — we call it “management” — might be useful. Even “investment” has a place, since the goods and services needed to build and equip a shop must be paid for.But notice that those derivative functions serve the labor that produces the value. It is distribution, management and investment that are “costs of doing business.” Productive labor is the business that has these costs. Our contemporary business model has stood this on its head. The “cost” is productive labor in an arrangement where “ownership” trumps “production,” and where the owner of materials and facilities is seen as the central player. Owners have a “natural right” to reduce their “costs” and maximize their profits. Productive labor is not perceived as having any such right.I say that productive labor has the same, and indeed a superior right to maximize its profit, and that the laws and government have an entirely legitimate function in protecting these fundamental rights of labor — fundamental rights that have not hitherto been recognized.As a final observation, notice that recognition and protection of the fundamental rights of labor is entirely consistent with a “market economy,” where “market forces” are understood to be shaped by certain legal and governmental constructs. The government has an absolute right, if not an obligation, to shape the fundamental rules of the market in such as way as to guarantee labor its fundamental rights.

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