The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 5

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.

Friday Morning Links

U.S. employment seen raising December rate hike chances – Reuters
This Payrolls Report Matters Hugely for Data-Dependent Fed – Bloomberg
New York Fed Chief Calls for Improved Wall Street Culture -NY Times
IMF: Deflation Risks May Warrant Radical New Central-Bank Thinking – WSJ
Paul Ryan: New House Speaker, Same Old GOP Favors for Wall Street – Fiscal Times
Over half of Canada’s new cabinet skipped “So help me, God” in their oaths – Quartz
Obamacare makes open enrollment season even worse – U.S. News
ObamaCare leaves 250 cancer patients in peril – NY Post
Obamacare – The gift that keeps on taking – Burning Platform
A Republican Can Kill Obamacare. Will He? – Bloomberg
Jamie Dimon: Virtual Currency Will Be Stopped – Fortune
A Little Humility, Please, Mr. Summers – WSJ
Austerity’s Grim Legacy – Krugman, NY TImes

Global stock markets subdued ahead of US jobs report – AP
Dollar at three-month high as payrolls paralysis sets in – Reuters
Giant Sucking Sound of Capital Destruction in US Oil & Gas – Wolf Street
Gundlach says the S&P 500 can’t handle a December rate rise – MarketWatch
China’s Bonds Complete Worst Week Since May as PBOC Seen on Hold – Bloomberg
A December hike? More investors think that sounds about right – MarketWatch
How China Broke the World’s “Bubble Machine” – Bonner and Partners
Gold above 8-week low ahead of U.S. data, weekly drop looms – Reuters
Gold Market To Eye U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls For Next Clue On Fed Monetary Policy – Kitco
Intellectual Support For Gold-Based Money Is Now Leading To Political Support – Forbes

Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy – Washington Post
BOJ Survey Data Reveals Signs of Growing Inequality in Japan – Bloomberg
China’s Economy Likely Stabilized in October, But Growth Remained Subdued – WSJ
China, Germany Can Contribute to a New Cycle for Global Economy – Caixin Online
China October Auto Sales Up 11% After Tax Cut Boosts Demand – Bloomberg
First-time Buyers Continue to Retreat from U.S. Housing Market – WPM
It Costs More to Buy a Home This Week, Thanks to the Fed – Fiscal Times
There’s No ‘E’ So ‘Q’ Is Just Formal Imagination – Alhambra Partners
The real impact of a decade of low interest rates – MarketWatch


Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA, Surprise!) urged Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to postpone the central bank’s first rate hike until the middle of next year citing God’s plan for this sort of thing, a factor that has not likely been included in the Fed’s decision making model.

Sherman warned:

If you want to be good with the Almighty, you might want to delay until May.

Later in the day, Sherman commented on Twitter:

Don’t actually think God has an opinion on monetary policy, but if She did, She would agree that the FOMC shouldn’t increase rates in winter.

So, there’s that…

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