The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 20

Later that Same Life

As someone who will turn 56 in just a few months, I can relate to some portions of this “future self” interview by novelist Peter “Stoney” Emshwiller spotted at Boing Boing, an interview that speaks volumes about how we humans change as we age.

One thing I remember vividly from when I was an 18-year old was that I wanted to retire by age 40 – that goal was missed by six years, though I would never have guessed the route that was taken to achieve it a bit late.

On a completely unrelated note (well, not completely unrelated as I went to college early enough to avoid today’s student loan catastrophe in the making), here’s a pretty stunning statistic about student loan debt via this story by Mohamed A. El-Erian at Project Syndicate:

Over the last ten years, the combination of higher tuition fees, more student enrollment, and greater reliance on loans has caused the stock of outstanding student debt nearly to triple. It now stands at well over $1.2 trillion, more than 60% of which is held by the bottom quartile of households (those with a net worth of less than $8,500).

That’s likely to have a big impact on a lot of future self videos started today.

Tuesday Morning Links

Moody’s warns of global shockwaves from China – City AM
Global Trade Is Now Falling to Recession Levels – Fiscal Times
Weak Chinese inflation opens door for more stimulus – Telegraph
Creditors Withhold 2 Billion Euro Bailout Payment From Greece – NY Times
The Republican debate problem, explained – Vox
GOP Voters’ Love of the Unserious – Real Clear Politics
Debate Questions for the GOP Candidates –
How Ben Carson and Marco Rubio Outfoxed the Media – The Atlantic
America’s Education Bubble – Project Syndicate
Budgetary sleight-of-hand – Bernanke’s Blog
What If Banks Didn’t Create Money? – Bloomberg
ObamaCare’s Failure Contagion – WSJ

World stocks drift lower amid gloomy forecasts – AP
Oil Prices Will Take 5 Years To Recover – IEA – Fortune
Chinese Stocks Slide Most in Week on Inflation Data – Bloomberg
There’s only a 4% chance we’re in a stock market bubble – MarketWatch
Market volatility ticks up ahead of coming rate hike – USA Today
It’s time for short-term investors to pare back stocks – MarketWatch
The 60/40 stock-and-bond portfolio mix is dead in 2016 – USA Today
Gold close to 3-month low on U.S. rate hike prospects – Reuters
What Is The Gold vs Debt Correlation Suggesting? – GoldSilverWorlds
COMEX Deliveries vs SGE Withdrawals – BullionStar

Retailers gear up for big holiday shopping season – CNN/Money
A 19th-century solution to the problems of the gig economy – Quartz
Learning from Japan: It’s Hard to End a Deflation – Money & Banking
Japan Officially Gets Leapfrogged by the Four Asian Tigers – Visual Capitalist
How the Unshackled Ruble Has Changed Russia’s Economy – Bloomberg
Two-Child Policy Will Boost China’s GDP Growth by 0.5% – WSJ
China’s Dirty Air Just Hit ‘Doomsday’ Levels – Vice News
The most expensive housing market is… – CNN/Money
The real reason the Fed is eager to raise interest rates – Quartz
Is US Monetary Policy Made in China? – Project Syndicate


Gas and Grass

Quite a few states have marijuana legalization ballot initiatives ready to go for next year (actually, here in Montana, we’re supposed to have two initiatives – one to legalize pot and one that would ban all forms of legal cannabis, including the medical variety), so, we’ll probably be seeing more places like this all across the country in the years ahead.

Grass buyers who are also gas buyers will get a discount of 15 cents a gallon on the latter, though the odds are pretty good they won’t be overly concerned about their fuel bill.

Monday Morning Links

‘Deep concern’ over trade slowdown – BBC
Global GDP Worse Than Official Forecasts – Bloomberg
Chinese Trade Disappoints, Clouding Economic Outlook – NY Times
China’s Trade Drop Means More Stimulus is Coming – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia will not stop pumping to boost oil prices – FT
Just one catch: Black gold under the Golan – Economist
Democrats look to ride Clinton wave to Senate control – Politico
Republican candidate Carson pushes back on veracity questions – Reuters
Why everyone is so high on Marco Rubio – despite his poll numbers – The Week
How Donald Trump Became America’s Insult Comic in Chief – Vanity Fair
Irreversibly Broken and Dysfunctional – CBB
Psychological Whiplash – Hussman Funds
The Uberization of Money – WSJ

World stocks slip on Fed rate hike prospects, China trade – AP
Maybe Financial Markets Have Been Wrong All Along – Bloomberg
Ask Matt: Should I bail on stocks if rates rise? – USA Today
Goldman’s BRIC Era Ends as Fund Folds After Years of Losses – Bloomberg
Investors are ignoring the strong dollar at their peril – MarketWatch
Chinese Buyers Seek Dollar Assets as Promise of Yuan Gains Fades – Bloomberg
Jim Grant Slams The Fed’s Utopian World Of “Economic Sleepwalking” -Zero Hedge
Gold rises, still near 3-month low on U.S. rate rise prospects – Reuters
Deception Rules Gold And Silver Markets, Not Fundamentals – GoldSilverWorlds
Precious metals sector due for bounce but… –

Despair, American Style – Krugman, NY Times
Reasons to be cheerful about global economics – Telegraph
Swiss Referendum on 100% Reserves – Marginal Revolution
Berlin Accomplices: The German Government’s Role in the VW Scandal – Spiegel
San Francisco’s Luxury Condo Bubble Turns into Condo Glut – Wolf Street
A tiny 180-square-foot shack for just under $2 million – Daily Mail
Fed Rate Hike ‘Makes Sense’, Says U.S. Central Banker – NY Times
Fed Proves Irrelevant in $2.6 Trillion Slice of U.S. Debt Market – Bloomberg
Not A Done Deal – Alhambra Partners


Much is being written about the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report on the dramatic rise in mortality rates among middle-age white American men, for example:

Cracks are showing in the American Dream – Telegraph
Middle-aged white Americans are dying at faster rates, and nobody knows why – Vox
Why poor white Americans are dying of despair – The Week

And most of them contain the same graphic(s) from the report which, if you study them closely, are quite disturbing. But, the chart below gets right at the heart of the matter:

Presumably, the “Intentional Self-Harm” category is when there’s a discharged gun and possibly a note left behind by the departed, so, there should be little misunderstanding about that group and it’s alarming rise amongst poor middle-aged white men.

But it’s the “Poisoning” category that is of great concern since, importantly, “poisoning”, here in 2015, is not the accidental ingestion of rat poison or some such, but, rather, the over-consumption of alcohol and/or drugs in general, doctor prescribed prescription drugs and/or illegally procured opiates in particular.

In short, we’re not Russia yet, but we’re moving in that direction.

© 2010-2011 The Mess That Greenspan Made