The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 30

Obesity Rate Lowest in Montana

I’ve been meaning to hoist this up for a few days now and have just now finally gotten around to it, though, it’s really not news – they’re pretty fat in the south and relatively trim in the West, particularly here in Montana where the obesity rate is the lowest in the nation.

As indicated in the graphic below, the latest data from Gallup indicates that the obesity rate is almost double in Mississippi what it is in Montana (35.4 vs. 19.6 percent) and, unfortunately, that disparity could get much worse before it gets any better.

At 20.4  and 21.1 percent, respectively, Colorado and Nevada are not far behind the Treasure State and at the other end of the fat-spectrum, West Virginia and South Carolina are only marginally better than Mississippi at 34.4 and 34.3 percent.

The BBC documentary – The Men Who Made Us Fat – was on the other day and it is highly recommended for anyone interested in learning why obesity has become a health crisis in the U.S., one that we’ve been pretty successful in exporting to the rest of the world.

Me Again

Another interview with Cory over at the Korelin Economics Report is now available.

This is from last Friday, as gold was finishing out a pretty impressive week of gains due largely to geopolitical concerns about Ukraine and Russia. We talked mostly about the nascent threat of inflation here in the U.S. and how that could affect precious metals.

The .mp3 file is again available here at the blog – just click on the image to the right – or you can go directly to this page over at KER.

That inflation is a threat today is certainly the minority view. I’ve likened what has happened in recent years – since the Fed started printing money with abandon, only to see the government’s official measure of inflation decline – to “the boy who cried wolf” and the only question now is whether the wolf will ever show up.

The combination of demographics and Obamacare have raised the possibility that we may see some wage pressure in the labor market and, combined with what appears to be a resurgence in commodity prices, rising consumer prices could surprise a lot of people this year and precious metals would surely benefit.

[To access commentary that Tim only shares with subscribers, join Iacono Research.]

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Inflation Tame, Housing Starts Mixed

The Labor Department reported that U.S. consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in February for the second straight month and that the annual rate of inflation dropped from 1.6 percent in January to just 1.1 percent last month, one of the lowest rates since 2009.

Falling energy prices were the primary reason for the overall price decline as this index fell 0.5 percent after a gain of 0.6 percent the month before, but food prices rose in February, up 0.4 percent after gains of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent in prior months.

Also this morning, the Commerce Department reported(.pdf) that housing starts came in just below expectations, but permits for new construction (a key leading indicator for the home building industry) surged in what was a hopeful sign for the housing market this year.

Housing starts fell from an annual rate of 909,000 in January to 907,000 in February and permits jumped 7.7 percent to a rate of 1.018 million after dropping 4.6 percent in January.

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Tuesday Morning Links

MUST READS
France: Russia suspended from G-8 – AP
Defiant Putin says Crimea will become Russian – Reuters
Crimea nationalizes Ukrainian state property – Press TV
Former Advisor: Putin Has Already Declared War On Kiev – Forbes
Putin’s Motives Rooted in History Remain a Mystery Abroad – Bloomberg
Geopolitical uncertainty clouds view on Fed outlook: CNBC survey – CNBC
Fed Seen Adopting Qualitative Rate Guidance as Job Market Gains – Bloomberg
Why Congress Wants to Kill Moneymakers Fannie and Freddie – Fiscal Times
Tangible Versus Financial Assets: The Great Migration – Dollar Collapse
The Truman Show of Bubble Finance, 1987-2014, RIP – Contra Corner
High-Speed Trading Said to Face N.Y. Probe Into Fairness – Bloomberg
Raging Against Hacks With Muckraker Turned Magazine-Maker Matt Taibbi – NY Mag
The Coming Real Estate Bubble – Bloomberg

MARKETS/INVESTING
Asian stocks gain on US data, Russia sanctions – AP
Investors lunge at ‘buy-the-dip’ opportunity – USA Today
‘Summer of discontent’ brewing for market: Pro – CNBC
Will The Last Bear Please Turn Out The Lights – Testosterone Pit
Jeremy Grantham: Learning to Live With a Stock Bubble – Barron’s
Treasuries Rise on Support for Crimea Secession Decision – Bloomberg
U.S. gold down 1 pct; traders cautious ahead of Fed meet – Reuters
Gold Snaps 5-Session Win Streak, US Silver Eagles Top 11M – Coin News
Jeff Christian: Computerized Trading Manipulates All Markets – FSO
Gold pricing scrutiny widens – Financial Times
Gold Price vs Hedge Fund Activity – Trader Dan

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Has Food Stamp Enrollment Finally Peaked? – WSJ
Money in Hyping the Generational War Story – truthout
Government policies have widened Canada’s income gap – Globe & Mail
GDP of G20 slowed slightly to 2.8 pct in 2013: OECD – xinhuanet
Who’s to blame for UK’s ‘cost of living crisis’? Labour, of course – Telegraph
Economic War with Russia: A High Price for German Business – Spiegel
Rupee Gains of 35% Seen in Decisive Victory for Modi – Bloomberg
Default risks trigger fresh China property market fears – CNBC
Where Can a Teacher in the U.S. Afford to Buy a Home? – WSJ
Retirees return to reverse mortgages, big banks stay away – Reuters
BoE has ‘no confidence’ a failing big bank could be saved – Telegraph
Fed set to roll out new low-rate pledge – MarketWatch
Yellen and the Fed, a WSJ Briefing – WSJ

 
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