Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-59914 Mon, 30 May 2016 15:15:27 GMT The mystery of weak US productivity (WHEREIN ED LUCE SUBTLY TOUTS UBI HELICOPTER-MONEY) Productivity is the ultimate test of our ability to create wealth. In the short term you can boost growth by working longer hours, for example, or importing more people. Or you could lift the retirement age. After a while these options lose steam... recent studies -- and common sense -- say our iPhones chain us to our employers even when we are at leisure. We may thus be exaggerating productivity growth by undercounting how much we work.

The latter certainly fits with the experience of most of the US labour force. It is no coincidence that since 2004 a majority of Americans began to tell pollsters they expected their children to be worse off -- the same year in which the internet-fuelled productivity leaps of the 1990s started to vanish. Most Americans have suffered from indifferent or declining wages in the past 15 years or so. A college graduate's starting salary today is in real terms well below where it was in 2000. For the first time the next generation of US workers will be less educated than the previous, according to the OECD, which means worse is probably yet to come. Last week's US productivity report bears that out.

... the US and most of the west are stuck with a deepening productivity crisis. The slowdown has one manifest effect and a seductive remedy. The first, an embittered backlash against business as usual, is already upon us. Witness Donald Trump's ascent...

Imagine the US takes much the same course in the next ten years as it has over the last. That would mean a further corrosion of US infrastructure, continued relative decline in the quality of public education, and atrophying middle workforce skills. It would also hasten the breakaway of urban America's most gilded enclaves, further enriching the educated elites. It could also, quite possibly, trigger a breakdown in democratic order. If you think Mr Trump's rise is ominous, picture America after another decade like the last.

Which brings me to the remedy: a universal basic income. UBI has several plus points. It draws support from all parts of the ideological spectrum: libertarian and socialist alike. It would replace today's messy overlap of benefits and do away with the humiliation of proving your eligibility to federal bureaucrats. Most important of all, however, it would buy a measure of social peace. Today's stagnation may be temporary or lasting. We have no way of telling. Common sense dictates we must act as though it is here to stay.

It is very interesting that the Brahmins of opinion keep hammering on "universal basic income" as the remedy for wage inequality and the misery of the 90-ish-percent. Why not basic housing and food vouchers (extending measures that are already in place) and eliminate the EIC and income tax filing entirely for people under a reasonable income level? Why, more importantly, not abolish the central banking and top-heavy monetary system that is driving the worsening inequality? Most likely because the Brahmins want to leave this system in place, yet combine it with "helicopter money". They haven't given up yet on trying to force inflation into the decrepit system to "save" it, allowing it to limp on a few more years while all the underlying structural economy malady remains...

iehi-feed-59913 Mon, 30 May 2016 15:01:32 GMT Iceland's Decoupling From Global Financial Capital Was The Right Move iehi-feed-59912 Mon, 30 May 2016 14:58:10 GMT Cameron Brexit Lies Prompt Conservative Party Rebellion; Calls For No-Confidence Vote (UK) Bridgen told the BBC's 5 Live that Cameron had been making "outrageous" claims in his bid to persuade voters to back remain and that, as a consequence, he had effectively lost his parliamentary majority.

"The party is fairly fractured, straight down the middle and I don't know which character could possibly pull it back together going forward for an effective government. I honestly think we probably need to go for a general election before Christmas and get a new mandate from the people," he said.

Bridgen said at least 50 Tory MPs -- the number needed to call a confidence vote -- felt the same way about Cameron and that a vote on the prime minister's future was "probably highly likely" after the referendum.

iehi-feed-59911 Mon, 30 May 2016 14:55:06 GMT We're Already In A Bear Market: Charles Gave iehi-feed-59910 Mon, 30 May 2016 02:54:19 GMT Silver Photovoltaic Needs Through 2020 Will Drive Shortage And Price Shock After 2020, increasing silver demand will mean increasing rationing of the metal, which can only be done by via extraordinarily high prices. Of the world's major countries, only China seems to get the message and to be preparing for this eventuality, with China's recent silver imports soaring to five-year highs. Meanwhile, U.S. imports have stagnated.

Barring a miracle, silver prices are going to the moon, leaving the U.S. in a very difficult position. It would not surprise us one bit if silver is confiscated much like gold was during the Depression. This means, as was the case with gold, the best investments are likely to be silver producers. Over the next decade almost all credible silver producers could see their prices multiply by anywhere from 10- to 100-fold.

iehi-feed-59909 Mon, 30 May 2016 02:43:54 GMT Bitcoin Skyrockets And Is Now Up More Than 100% This Jubilee Year In [the past year], it has been pronounced dead at least once and is now at a 20-month high. We gave these three main reasons in the last year for why we thought it would go much higher. Still to this day most other financial analysts either ignore bitcoin or, even stupider, deride it as being some sort of scam or ponzi scheme.

The dollar and government "services" like Social Security are scams and ponzi schemes... but bitcoin clearly is not.  It is open source and so anyone who cares to look can see there is nothing nefarious about it.  Therefore, anyone who says it is a scam or ponzi scheme is just showing willful ignorance as they could very easily look at it themselves and see it is not.

Bitcoin was just declared "dead" again last week when Coinbase announced Ethereum support. Big whoop. We're not slamming Etherum (it is by all accounts great tech with wonderful potential) -- but that news was good for about a $20 "collapse"... on the 28th alone, bitcoin surged about $50. It is far from down for the count and may still be in the early innings.

iehi-feed-59908 Mon, 30 May 2016 01:48:30 GMT 200M drive over structurally deficient bridges daily this Memorial Day iehi-feed-59907 Sun, 29 May 2016 19:02:55 GMT Last Time this Happened, the Housing Market Collapsed According to the Times: "Many say the sudden surge in hyperprice homes -- often built and sold by speculative investors -- is the ultimate bubble signal." And when was the last time this sort of pile-up happened? In 2007 and 2008, just as the housing market was beginning to spiral down and as the Financial Crisis was beginning to mature. So now, the same signs are popping up once again.

While overall home prices were still soaring in the first quarter, at the top 5% of the housing market, the bubble has begun to deflate, with prices down 1.1%, according to Redfin. In some cities, the very top end is starting to take some hits, including in Manhattan where a luxury condo boom has turned into a glut, and where prices have begun to sag.

iehi-feed-59906 Sun, 29 May 2016 18:06:53 GMT Obama Admin's Trade Deals Going Nowhere Fast iehi-feed-59905 Sun, 29 May 2016 15:39:42 GMT Japan's Abe to delay sales tax hike until 2019: government source iehi-feed-59904 Sun, 29 May 2016 14:18:16 GMT Atlantic City Rescue Plan Approved by New Jersey Lawmakers The measures approved on Thursday would give Atlantic City five months to come up with a balanced budget for 2017 and a five-year plan that puts the city on a path toward financial recovery. The city would receive a loan from the state as well as payments from casinos in lieu of property taxes. The casino money would amount to $120 million in the first year and increase by at least 2 percent a year over the next nine years, lawmakers said.


The legislation requires the city to identify spending cuts, as well as ways to increase revenue and reduce debt. The city would be able to use early retirement programs to shrink its work force, lawmakers said. The city would also have to make required payments to the local school district and to Atlantic County.

If Atlantic City officials failed to come up with the plan called for in the legislation, or if the city did not meet its obligations, the state would have the authority to rein in the city's finances.

iehi-feed-59903 Sun, 29 May 2016 13:51:27 GMT "Miracle" in Athens as Greek tourism numbers keep growing "It's a miracle, what's been happening in Athens," Greece's tourism chief, Andreas Andreadis, told the Observer. "The tourist industry in Greece grew two to three times faster than in Spain, Portugal, Italy or France last year. This year we expect around 4.5 million visitors in Athens alone."

For an economy stuck in depression-era recession, dependent on emergency bails and seemingly locked in a perpetual fiscal vice, tourism is vital. A record 23.5 million holidaymakers visited Greece in 2015 -- generating €14.2bn in direct receipts, or 24% of gross domestic product. In 2010, at the start of the country's debt crisis -- which has seen it struggle to avert default and remain in the euro -- revenues from tourism were €10bn, or 15% of GDP.


Much of the upsurge is linked to Greece's safety record. Tourists are staying away from resort in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and elsewhere in the wake of high-profile attacks. Countries whose economies are also dependent on holidaymakers have suffered incalculable damage following a severe drop in arrivals. Travel advice from governments and fears of fresh violence are simply keeping tourists away.

... it could not come at a better time: tourism provides one in five jobs in Greece, at a time when unemployment in the effectively bankrupt nation has hovered stubbornly around 25%. Youth unemployment stands at an astonishing 67%.''

iehi-feed-59902 Sun, 29 May 2016 13:45:14 GMT Iceland Puts Freeze on Foreign Investors A law passed May 22 by Iceland's parliament offers the foreign holders of about $2.3 billion worth of krona-denominated government bonds a Hobson's choice: Sell out in June at a below-market exchange rate, or have the money they receive when their bonds mature impounded indefinitely in low-interest bank accounts...

A growing number of fund managers are now buying Icelandic government bonds, including those that were marooned on the island when it applied capital controls. The country is now one of the few offering a combination of high interest rates and strong economic growth prospects.

Eaton Vance and another holder of the legacy debt, also called "offshore" debt, hedge fund Autonomy Capital LP, have been courting the government for months to allow them to keep their cash on the island, even offering to swap their holdings into long-term bonds that they would pledge to hold on to.

But the country isn't interested. Instead, officials behind the law say they aim to keep the $16.7 billion economy of the island with a population of 327,386 from being swamped anew by the ebb and flow of offshore funds.

"We don't need the money," said Mar Gudmundsson, governor of Iceland's central bank. "These are remnants from the last boom and bust, and we are not going to repeat that mistake."


Some investors consider the terms to be coercive and tantamount to default. But Kristin Lindow, a sovereign bond ratings analyst at Moody's Investors Service, calls the offer purely voluntary and says most bonds will mature years from now, when capital controls will likely be long gone.

... The economy is thriving again, thanks largely to a tourism boom. But the populace wants the controls fully lifted. "Capital controls should have been lifted a long time ago," said Arnar Sigurdsson, an importer of French wines in Reykjavik who invests his personal wealth in bonds and currencies.

iehi-feed-59901 Sun, 29 May 2016 13:16:33 GMT Billionaire Gross: Jubilee Debt Relief as Prelude to New Global Economic Order iehi-feed-59900 Sat, 28 May 2016 14:26:29 GMT Pro-Trump, anti-Trump groups clash in San Diego Police clad in riot gear and wielding batons began dispersing a crowd of Donald Trump supporters and protesters here Friday night after the presumptive GOP nominee held a rally.

After issuing orders to the crowd of roughly 1,000 to disperse, police began forcefully and aggressively pushing protesters, checking them with their batons. At least 35 people were arrested, police said.

Smells like 1968.

iehi-feed-59898 Sat, 28 May 2016 14:18:15 GMT Russian President Vladimir Putin Aims to Renew Ties During Visit to Greece Talks focused on trade and investment, in particular in energy and transport, and the Russian president openly expressed his country's interest in taking part in the potential privatization of Greek rail assets and the port of Thessaloniki, a major gateway into the Balkans.

Greece and Russia have flirted with the idea of Athens participating in a pipeline project that would bring Russian gas into Europe via Greece, though little progress was immediately expected.


Greece has kept close relations with Moscow even after the EU imposed economic sanctions in the summer of 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied Western charges that it supplied and directed the rebels.

"Greece has repeatedly said that the vicious circle of sanctions is not productive," the Greek Prime Minister said, but added Greece will stick to the commitments it has as a member of the European Union.

iehi-feed-59897 Sat, 28 May 2016 14:13:46 GMT The Shift to a Cashless Society is Snowballing iehi-feed-59896 Sat, 28 May 2016 13:59:48 GMT The Next Systemic Lehman Event iehi-feed-59895 Sat, 28 May 2016 00:30:46 GMT The Great Race: USA, Germany, Japan All Have Negative Real 10 Year Sovereign Yields iehi-feed-59894 Fri, 27 May 2016 15:40:36 GMT Essence of BofA "Hustle" Ruling: Sign A Contract And LATER Decide To Commit Fraud, and It's Not Fraud The judges based their ruling on the contracts that Countrywide had reached with Fannie and Freddie, pledging to provide those government-sponsored firms with "investment quality" mortgages. There was no evidence, the appellate judges found, that the executives who signed those contracts intended at the time to stuff the pipeline with toxic junk. It just turned out that way. Because there was no intent to defraud when the contracts were signed, the judges ruled, this whole affair is merely a case of breach of contract, not fraud...

There are a few problems with this analysis. One was pointed out presciently by Judge Rakoff. In a 2013 ruling in the case, he observed that under the federal mail fraud statute, that limitation [of fraud needing to occur at the moment of contract signing] doesn't apply. In any event, the bank's misrepresentations were continuous and ongoing: every time it sold Fannie or Freddie a substandard loan, it was arguably lying... Judge Rakoff anticipated and rejected [the Appeals Court's] argument, and even pointed out that Congress closed the loophole by amending the mail fraud statute -- in 1909. It's also likely that the government will appeal the latest ruling to the full 2nd circuit court, and thence, if necessary, to the Supreme Court.

Yes, this will likely get reversed again. The ruling simply seems to be in error, aside from leading to nonsensical conclusions (i.e., that anyone can now defraud the government with abandon as long as they don't show any evidence of intent to defraud at the time they sign a contract or make covenants).