2012 February 03 | timiacono.com

Wall Street ❤ Mitt Romney

According to this CNN/Money report, it would appear that Wall Street has a new favorite candidate in 2012 after candidate Barack Obama, back in 2008, raised more money from the financial services industry than any other candidate in history.

New boss, same as the old boss … and the ones before that.

Maybe we’ll get a good third party candidate this year…

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Gold as Money in Utah?

Some interesting developments in the efforts by some U.S. states to return to some form of sound money can be found in this CNN/Money story that brings readers up to date in the New Year after a flurry of activity in 2011. Most interesting is the Utah initiative that could be on its way to a real parallel currency to the U.S. dollar.

Utah became the first state to introduce its own alternative currency when Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law last March that recognized gold and silver coins issued by the U.S. Mint as an acceptable form of payment. Under the law, the coins — which include American Gold and Silver Eagles — are treated the same as U.S. dollars for tax purposes, eliminating capital gains taxes.

Since the face value of some U.S.-minted gold and silver coins — like the one-ounce, $50 American Gold Eagle coin — is so much less than the metal value (one ounce of gold is now worth more than $1,700), the new law allows the coins to be exchanged at their market value, based on weight and fineness.

“A Utah citizen, for example, could contract with another to sell his car for 10 one-ounce gold coins (approximately $17,000), or an independent contractor could arrange to be compensated in gold coins,” said Rich Danker, a project director at the American Principles Project, a conservative public policy group in Washington, D.C.

However, most people aren’t going to walk around with such valuable coins in their pockets, said Vieira. Plus, calculating the value of the coins — especially if they come from different parts of the globe and are of different sizes and shapes — will get tricky. It’s more likely that the states will create electronic depositories and accounts for the coins to make transactions easier, when and if the initial bills are passed, he said.

Utah Gold & Silver Depository is already developing a system where customers could use debit cards linked to their gold holdings. When customers swipe their debit cards to make transactions, physical gold and silver coins would be transferred between accounts in privately-owned depositories (or vaults) based on the market value of the metals.

Of course, the dismal set thinks this idea is nuts, Vanderbilt economics professor David Parsley noting that it’s a “terrible” idea and that proponents of sound money may actually want to “destroy the country”. Yes, economists remain largely out-of-touch with reality…

There is a widening gulf in thinking about money these days and that theme is also clear in Floyd Norris’ New York Times offering In a Focus on Gold, History Repeats Itself.

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Payrolls Up 243K, Jobless Rate Falls to 8.3%

The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 243,000 from December to January and the jobless rate fell from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent. Private sector job gains of 257,000 were broad based with professional and business services leading the way and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since February 2009.

This data release included benchmark revisions for prior data, the net result being an upward revision of more than 250,000 to nonfarm payrolls in recent years. Payrolls for 2011 alone were revised upward by 180,000, from a gain of 1.64 million to 1.82 million.


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Friday Morning Links

Greece Seeks Second Rescue, Fights for Euro – Bloomberg
Eurozone bail-out funds not enough, warns OECD – Telegraph
Wen Raises Prospect of China Aiding European Rescue – Bloomberg
S.E.C. Is Avoiding Tough Sanctions for Large Banks – NY Times
US moves to restrict Iran financing oil exports through banks – Guardian
Republicans Sharply Question Bernanke for Fed’s Focus on Job Market – NY Times
Bernanke: ‘The Elephant In The Room Is Really Health Care Costs’ – HuffPost
Obama administration to move forward with closing GSEs – Washington Post
Broke California: Give Us The Facebook Manna Now – Testosterone Pit
States seek currencies made of silver and gold – Bloomberg
In a Focus on Gold, History Repeats Itself – Norris, NY Times
Analysis: A sobering look at Facebook – Reuters

Oil hovers below $97 ahead of key US jobs report – AP
Gold holds near 11-week high ahead of U.S. data – Reuters
Dividend Stocks Lose Favor As Investors Seek More Risk – CNBC
Wary OPEC Highlights Dangers of Shale Revolution – WSJ
Peter Orszag Destroys The Peak Oil Myth – Decline of the Empire
Investors worry where to put cash as banks wobble – Reuters
Optimism rules among commodities traders – Globe & Mail
Global Gold Production: How Sustainable a Rebound? – Gregor
Gold capitalises on low interest rate environment – Mineweb
Gold’s rally will soon come to an end – MarketWatch

Employment gains aren’t attracting believers yet – McClatchy
Winter seasonality, employment report preview – FT Alphaville
Why Most U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Are Gone Forever – Fiscal Times
What Europe might look like without the Eurozone and EU – voxeu
Europe’s “Great Deleveraging” Has Only Just Begun – Zero Hedge
Swiss housing market inching towards bubble – Reuters
Vegas default notices down substantially after new law – Housing Wire
Analyst: Obama housing plans will not help – O.C. Register
Own Vs. Rent Riles Government Housing Policy – CNBC
Will the great interest rate gamble pay off? – Telegraph
Bernanke to Savers: We don’t owe you a living – A Dash of Insight
Fed still divided as Fisher sees no need for QE3 – Reuters

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