Wednesday, March 22, 2017

America And The World Approaches The Brink Of Disaster

Let's get back to business here.

Whether or not anybody wishes to admit or observe it, America is in the midst of a crisis of almost unimaginable proportions.

We have a federal government teetering on complete disintegration over a variety of issues, including, but surely not limited to: the repeal/replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or ObamaCare); a runaway, subversive intelligence community; a Democrat party that is intent upon destroying the presidency of Donald Trump and thwarting him at every opportunity, with capable assistance from the fake media establishment in the guise of the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and especially CNN (Criminally Neurotic Network); a Treasury nearly $20 trillion in debt and congress not even close to any agreement on any kind of fiscal budget or even discussion of such as the debt ceiling is being superceded.

There's more with which to deal, like crime, illegal aliens, Trump's temporary immigration ban, terrorism and such, but the issues before our broken congress are the main drivers taking the nation to the brink of disaster and quite possibly over the edge.

Not wishing to sound too pessimistic concerning the current state of affairs in the former land of the free, individual freedoms are at the core of what ails this country. If anything can be accomplished by our elected representatives, it would be first to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or, at the very least, permanently remove the individual mandate that requires every taxpayer to purchase health care or face increasingly punitive fines for failing to comply.

As it stands, the IRS is reportedly not enforcing the "law", conforming to President Trump's first Executive Order, issued on the day of his inauguration, in which he instructed all federal agencies "to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden..."
The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
-- Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

So, we have lawlessness being visibly encouraged, though it is directed against a law, the ACA, that carries within it, in the form of the individual mandate, a certain unconstitutionality, codified by a corrupted federal judiciary, i.e., the Supreme Court. Incidentally, that same Supreme Court is hopeless, deadlocked with eight justices, until, perhaps, the Senate decides to confirm the President's nominee, Neil Gorsuch, to take the positioned vacated by the late Antonin Scalia.

While Washington continues to devolve and approach the gates of hell, apparently driving chariots of fire, like gawkers and bookmakers, Wall Street insiders drives the market up, down, sideways and to its breaking point. The entire retail sector - with Sears leading the charge - is collapsing. Radio Shack recently re-entered bankruptcy, hopefully for the final time, and Payless Shoes is on the block. Malls across America are fast becoming nothing more than exercise walking routes for seniors rather than the shopping "experiences" for which they were designed.

We are changing, but we are not growing. The bulk of any profit is eaten alive by taxes, regulations, corporate executives, hackers and other thieves. In the end, there's little left for the common man.

And that's a crying shame, because the common man (and woman) is the person who built the country, who made it great, who is watching it self-destruct and who has nothing to do with the great default that is upon us.

The government is the problem, and seeking solutions from that very same government, be it federal, state, or local, is not a winning strategy. We will only get more of the same, and the same will only sink the nation further into the morass of stupidity, overspending, and normalcy bias with which we are currently plagued.

Our current malaise is not a democrat or republican issue. It is not liberal nor conservative. It is purely greed, avarice and corruption at every level that has besieged our once-great nation and if ever the United States of America is going to become - as the current resident of the White House proposes - great again, we must begin to call out the corrupt, the purposefully vague, the unequivocally deceitful, rapacious legislators and governors and bureaucrats that have lain waste to our nation, and all those who either back them, encourage them, enable them or act as apologists for them.

We are as close to systemic breakdown in our culture, our politic, and our economy than at any time since World War II, and that is a frightening prospect. More frightening, however, is the idea, the very concept, that ordinary people expect positive results from the very people who promulgated the predicament in the first place.

If Mr. Trump, the preeminent deal-maker of this generation, is unable to come to grips and compromise with the congress and the judiciary, it's likely that all that America has stood for will have been for naught, for we will bear witness to the destruction of the world's greatest constitutional republic in history.

But, if the wise and courageous among us will act, the destruction may yet be avoided. We face the fight of our lives over the next few years, and we cannot afford to fail.

It's not just economy at stake, but liberty and life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Midday View: Stocks, Oil Being Crushed, Dow Down Over 200 Points; Silver, Gold Rallying

Sorry to be away so long, folks, but car issues, Spring storms and internet incapacity have had Money Daily on extended camp schedule.

Not to worry, however, as stocks are tumbling midday on Tuesday. The usual culprits are blamed (President Trump and banks), but oil is also down hard, continuing the recent trend, trading in the mid-$47 range.

On the bright side, gold and silver are surging, perhaps as a notification to the world's leaders that fiat currencies backed by empty promises cannot outlast tangible assets or real money.

A little pressed for time at the present, this will be followed up on Wednesday, all willing.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fed Raises Rates, Wall Street Doesn't Blink

As the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate to 0.75-1.00% on Wednesday, investors and traders barely took notice of the highly-anticipated move, sending stocks higher on the day and taking a basically taking the day off Thursday. Stocks were flat-lined at the close.

All in seems to be the order of the day, so long as the Fed isn't too interested in raising rates again too soon.

More on this and other important topics in the Money Daily weekend recap, Friday afternoon and Saturday.

For now, we're just happy to have survived the great blizzard of 2017. Lots of snow, lots of wind, not much fun, but, happily, it's over.

At the close, 3.16.17:
Dow: 20,934.55 -15.55 (-0.07%)
NASDAQ: 5,900.76, 0.71 (0.01%)
S&P 500: 2,381.38, -3.88 (-0.16%)
NYSE Composite: 11,600.24, 9.93 (0.09%)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Despite Near-Surety Of Fed Rate Hike, Stocks Gain To Close Out Week

Editor's Note: This weekend edition may be the last Money Daily posting until Thursday of this week as incredibly bad weather has persisted in our neck of the woods, a recent windstorm knocking out power to over a quarter million of our neighbors immediately to the West. Bone-chilling temperatures and a major snowstorm are predicted for the early part of this coming week. Money Daily will return to a regular daily posting once weather conditions permit.

Investors took Friday's non-farm payroll (NFP) report of 235,000 net new jobs added to the US economy in February as genuine good news, despite the nearly foregone conclusion that the robust figure would make the case for a federal funds rate increase by the FOMC of the Federal Reserve a fait acommpli. The gains snapped a recent string of losing sessions on the major indices.

In reality, the idea of a rate increase of 25 basis points shouldn't be worrying to anybody, especially with the federal funds overnight rate remaining at or below zero for 14 of the past 17 years and the last eight straight.

A 0.25% increase would move the rate to 0.75-1.00, a number that the Fed has been apprehensive of since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. Since then, they and their fellow travelers in central banking have added trillions in liquidity to the fractured system, saving it from complete collapse.

In the process, however, they have managed to dilute the currencies of most nations, notably those of Japan and the European Union. While rate increases by the US may be a panacea, they could impact other nationas and the global economy in a variety of ways. As the last crisis was liquidity-driven, expect any future crises to be based upon sovereign solvency or faith in national currencies, all of which are backed by nothing more than the faith and (ahem) credit of the issuing country.

The globe is one giant Ponzi scheme, in which everybody buys each others currencies, hoping beyond hope that nobody defaults in a messy manner. Thus far, central banking institutions have managed to avoid large-scale default, but there's no guarantee that such benign conditions will avail themselves indefinitely.

On the other hand, with the ability to conjure dollars, euros and yen out of thin air at their whim, the central bankers are holding all the cards, even though they're bluffing into their sleeves. The system may fail at some point, but it's more likely that gradualism will prevail, making the case that the most important aspect of one's finances may not be generation of income or growth, but preservation of what one already owns.

At The Close, Friday, March 9, 2017:
Dow: 20,902.98, +44.79 (0.21%)
NASDAQ: 5,861.73, +22.92 (0.39%)
S&P 500: 2,372.60, +7.73 (0.33%)
NYSE Composite: 11,500.76, +43.12 (0.38%)

For the Week:
Dow: -102.73 (-0.49%)
NASDAQ: -9.03 (-0.15%)
S&P 500: -10.52 (-0.44%)
NYSE Composite: -97.61 (-0.84%)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is Good News, Good News? February NFP 255,000; Fed Sure To Hike Rates Next Week

As was expected, the February non-farm payroll number was massive, with the US labor force expanding by 235,000 jobs according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, the excellent report supplying plenty of cover for the Federal Reserve to increase the federal funds rate when the FOMC meets next Tuesday and Wednesday.

While the jobs report has Americans ecstatic over the prospects for jobs as the first year of the Trump administration ensues, raising interest rates is not such a universally-loved subject as low rates have largely fueled the eight-year rally which continues on Wall Street.

If the Fed decides to hike rates when they meet next week, it will be the second such advance in three months. In December, the Fed increased the federal funds rate to a range of 0.50-.0.75%. The stock market shrugged it off, advancing sharply since, though the past week has seen the major averages pull back from all-time highs.

An increase to 0.75-1.00% next week would hardly be earth-shattering or even noticeable to most. Some mortgage and credit card debt is tied to the rate, though more are gauged to the prime rate, which hasn't seen much movement throughout the economic expansion.

So, perhaps the good news from the jobs report will translate into genuine good news for the economy. It will, if it slows down the pace of stock buybacks which have fueled the rally, and doesn't crimp the Main Street economy, which is beginning to show positive signs.

At The Close, 4.9.17:
Dow: 20,858.19 +2.46 (0.01%)
NASDAQ: 5,838.81, +1.25 (0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,364.87, +1.89 (0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,457.64, +9.43 (0.08%)