Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jay Taylor: Turning Hard Times Into Good Times

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50% of consumers cut vital spending

Almost half of people in Northern Ireland face cutting their food or household bill budgets to pay for Christmas debt, a survey has claimed.

With 15% of men having no repayment plan whatsoever spending on holidays is also expected to be reduced, the study for the Post Office said.

Almost 400,000 people had to increase their debts to cover Christmas. (more)

S&P 500 MACD Chart

Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent?

The government wants Americans to believe the greatest economic collapse in history was the result of ineptness and mistakes yet still have confidence in their financial institutions.

Should American bankers be let off the hook because they self-declare, before an investigational panel, that the failure of their newly invented risk swaps and other highly leveraged investment schemes was simply due to "mistakes"? Not malfeasance – just every-day mistakes? Bankers just fell asleep at the helm at a critical juncture in American history. Is that what we are being led to believe?

Oh well, it’s just 18 million American homes that now lay empty in the wake of unprecedented foreclosures, and the bankers have collected obscene bonuses for reckless lending of their depositors’ money. It’s like the captain and crew of a ship saying, not to worry, twenty-percent of the passengers were lost overboard, but this was due to unavoidable mistakes, and then being rewarded with bonuses when they reach port. (more)

More and More States on Budget Brink

California is hurtling into the budgetary abyss — and it’s not alone.

Across the nation, state tax collections in the first three quarters of 2009 posted their steepest decline in at least 46 years, according to a report this month from the public policy research arm of the State University of New York.

At least 30 states raised taxes in their most recently completed fiscal year — which ended in most cases in mid-2009. Even more cut services. All told, states raised $117 billion to fill last year’s budget gaps, the Pew Center on the States estimates.

Yet despite all those new taxes and deep cutbacks, pressure on state finances continues to build. Economists warn that without a new round of federal stimulus spending, states could face another round of layoffs that could kneecap an already shaky economic recovery. (more)

Forecast: Debt to dwarf GDP

A blue-ribbon panel that includes three former heads of the Congressional Budget Office is telling President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress that the federal deficit must be cut now or the national debt within about two generations will be 600 percent of the gross domestic product.

"The debt level of the United States is unsustainable, something has to give," said Rudolph Penner, former head of the CBO and co-chairman of a report issued last week by the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration. (more)

Jim Rogers- Except for Gold Commodities Still Depressed - CNBC 01/18/2010

Credit Card Companies Pulling Back Credit Offers to American Households: Those Zero Percent Offers have now Turned into 30% Offers with Annual Fees

Credit cards are ubiquitous like air in the American economy. Virtually every American that can qualify for a credit card has one (or many) in their wallet. Credit card companies have flooded the market with millions of plastic rectangles that have now come back to bite many American consumers. If we rewind back to the early days of this crisis, (so much has happened since that time) we will remember that the banking bailout involved some necessity of keeping credit alive. At least this is how it was presented to the American public. No bailout equaled no access to credit. Yet since that time we have seen consumer credit simply collapse on a record pace. Part of this is due to the extinguishing of debt via bankruptcy but also the fact that credit card companies (aka big banks) are not making loans accessible to the public. (more)

CFTC: the Common Fraud Training Committee

If you ever write to someone, like me, to say that you disagree with them, you should at least be able to say why. I do, and I will. Here's an example: I think futures contracts are a form of fraud because there are more paper contracts than real silver, and I think "regulating" fraud is simply fraud on top of fraud.

So far, nobody has demonstrated any capacity to explain how new position limits on metals, even applied to short sellers, would end the endless short selling. Nobody has explained how the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) would be able to detect, and/or catch, and/or prevent an entity like JP Morgan from setting up many dummy shell corporations to short all the silver contracts that they wanted to avoid and get around any new regulation.

Therefore, my view is that new position limits contemplated by the CFTC would be irrelevant. CFTC regulation of short positions is impossible and a waste of time. What the CFTC has been capable of doing so far is to criminalize and outlaw "excessive" long positions, as if it's somehow criminal to spend your money on what you want. (more)