Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today's Links

1---Forget "deficit reduction". The country wants jobs, Huffington Post

Corporate taxes are at or near a sixty-year low, and your "reform" would fix those historical tax giveaways for mega-corporations as a permanent tax rate. Millionaires and billionaires, who paid 73 or 74 percent on most of their income at the start of the Reagan era, now have a top official tax rate of 39.6 percent -- and, thanks to plentiful loopholes, usually pay much less than that.

The cuts which have already been forced on us have cost the economy nearly 1,000,000 jobs, according to the most conservative estimate, while robbing our economy of tens of billions in growth.
Do you really think we want more of the same?...

Please stop putting people out of work with government cuts, and start putting them back to work with government investment.

The "Grand Bargain" is neither.
And for God's sake, conferees, whatever you do, don't keep drinking the deficit Kool-Aid. Don't cling to misconceptions which would lead you to make financial conditions even worse for the vast majority of Americans.

There's talk of a so-called "Grand Bargain" to cut Social Security and Medicare. That would cause suffering for the disabled, and for today's seniors - as well as tomorrow's, which includes even the youngest of today's Americans.
A "Grand Bargain" would also result in even higher unemployment. Most people on Social Security depend on it as their primary source of income, so cuts to benefits means they'll spend less - -and less spending means fewer jobs.

2---Americans Say Creating Jobs Is Key to Improving Economy, Gallup a time of declining economic confidence, the public believes that creating jobs is the key to a robust economy....
Job creation and hiring top Americans' list of what federal gov't, businesses can do

3---Americans Want Next President to Prioritize Jobs, Corruption, Gallup July, 2012
Importance of Priorities for Next President, by Presidential Preference, July 2012
Americans' to-do list for the president on Jan. 20, 2013 -- whether it be Obama or Romney -- includes creating good jobs, reducing government corruption, and reducing the federal budget deficit.

4--Stocks hit record high on crappy job's report, Huff post
5---Americans spend less now than in '73, report says, McClatchey

Even with the added cost of smartphones and other technology, American families spend less of their total income today than 40 years ago, according to new research.
But people aren't saving that extra money. The average person spends 81.2 percent of his or her post-tax income on food, housing and other expenses, according to ConvergEx Group, a New York brokerage. That's down from the 85 percent that Americans shelled out for mandatory and discretionary items in 1973.

The analysis doesn't fully explain how and where Americans spend their money. It's based on a consumer expenditure survey by the Labor Department that doesn't capture where every dollar goes.
The roughly 14 percent of unaccounted-for income today may go toward expenses such as debt, but it's impossible to be sure, said Sarah Millar, the author of the report.

Still, it's clear that Americans aren't socking away the extra money for the future.
"In short," the report says, "spending - and saving - among American consumers is changing, and not necessarily for the better."
The U.S. saving rate is a fraction of what it used to be: 4.6 percent today versus 13 percent four decades ago, according to the report. 6---You Can Thank Ben Bernanke for 100% of the Stock Market Gains Since 2009, Forbes  Here is the most important factual find about the stock market I’ve learned for some  many years: More than 100% of equity market gains since January 2009 have taken place during the weeks the Fed purchased Treasury bonds and mortgages.

And conversely, during the weeks when the Fed did NOT  buy Treasuries or mortgage backed bonds, the stock market declined.  Can you beat that?  Credit to Michael Cembalest, Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, for that extraordinary discovery....

I was disappointed that Wood, a believer in gold for over a decade, has proclaimed that “the end result of zero interest rate policy and quanto easing will be the end of the fiat paper monetary system as currently constituted, and quite possibly also the end with it of the US dollar’s reserve currency status

7---Ordinary Americans Priced Out Of Housing: Institutional Purchases Hit Record, Half Of All Deals Are "All-Cash", zero hedge

From Realtytrac:

The housing market continues to skew in favor of investors, particularly deep-pocketed institutional investors, and other buyers paying with cash,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “While the institutional investors are pulling back their purchases in many of the higher-priced markets — places like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle and Sacramento — they are continuing to ramp up purchases in markets where median prices are still below $200,000 — places like Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charlotte, St. Louis and Dallas. The availability of distressed inventory also makes a difference. For example, institutional investor purchases have rebounded in Las Vegas corresponding to a recent rebound in foreclosure activity there....

All-cash purchases nationwide represented 49 percent of all residential sales in September, up from a revised 40 percent in August and up from 30 percent in September 2012.

8---The Man Who Won a Nobel Prize for Helping Create a Global Financial Crisis, triple cross

 Eugene Fama just received a Nobel Prize for his contributions to the theory of “efficient financial markets,” the dominant theory in financial economics that asserts that markets work ideally if not constrained by government regulation. The fact that economic “science” teaches that unregulated financial markets work effectively helped financial institutions and the rich accomplish their goal of radical financial market deregulation in the 1980s and 1990s. Deregulation, in turn, not only contributed to the rising inequality of the era, it helped cause the global financial market crisis that began in 2007 and the deep recession and austerity fiscal policies that accompanied it. - ....

The objective of the ideological project of the economics profession in the current era is to provide a theoretical foundation for unregulated financial markets and unregulated capitalism. The fact that the project has succeeded in the face of logic and history is admittedly a fantastic conjurers’ trick, but it is ridiculous to award Nobel Prizes to the conjurers. We should not give prizes to people for the creation and propagation of an ideologically-based theory that strengthened the drive for the radical financial deregulation and thus helped create a global depression -

9----The Biggest Economy Killer: Our Government, NYT

Most substantively, the sharp decline in the budget deficit, from $1.4 trillion in 2009 to $642 billion in the 2013 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, has braked the economy at a time when it was already improving only slowly, as Tuesday’s jobs report demonstrated. ....

According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the pullback in spending by Washington — it declined in 2013 for an extraordinary second year in a row — together with higher taxes will cause the economy to grow by 1.5 percentage points less this year than it would have if the deficit had remained constant.
Using economists’ rough metrics, that’s the equivalent of 1.5 million fewer jobs. ...
As for business, investment spending — everything from computer equipment to research and development to warehouses — has been flat over the past year and has not grown materially from pre-recession levels, according to Mark M. Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.
Hiring has also been affected. One-half of the chief executives in the latest Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook survey “indicated that the ongoing disagreement in Washington over the 2014 budget and debt ceiling is having a negative impact on their plans for hiring additional employees over the next six months.”
All told, Macroeconomic Advisers recently estimated that since the end of 2009, the uncertainty created by the series of crises has shaved 0.3 percentage points per year off economic growth and raised the unemployment rate in 2013 by 0.6 percentage points, the equivalent of 900,000 lost jobs....
Without Congressional action, the forced sequester cuts will have an even greater effect as they are fully implemented in this fiscal year. It’s time that policy makers recognize the damage they are doing to the economy with their short-term thinking and imprudent fiscal decisions.  
We are undoubtedly seeing these central bankers go wild,” said Richard Gilhooly, an interest-rate strategist at TD Securities Inc. in New York. They “are just pumping liquidity hand over fist and promising to keep rates down. It’s not normal.”......
Whatever their official mandates, central bankers are supposed to safeguard a nation’s real income,” Karen Ward, senior global economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in London, said in an Oct. 21 report. Labor markets from the U.S. to U.K. suggest “we shouldn’t fear a rapid withdrawal of global liquidity any time soon.”
11---The "QE Trap", Washington's blog
.....quantitative easing is meant to benefit the wealthy. After all, it can contribute to GDP only by making those with assets feel wealthier and encouraging them to consume more.
Indeed, QE is one of the main causes of runaway inequality. And see this and this.

Postscript: Of course, the Fed’s other major policy approaches have failed as well.
For example, bailouts of the bank. Specifically, a study of 124 banking crises by the International Monetary Fund found that propping banks which are only pretending to be solvent hurts the economy in the long-run:
Existing empirical research has shown that providing assistance to banks and their borrowers can be counterproductive, resulting in increased losses to banks, which often abuse forbearance to take unproductive risks at government expense. The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred in the absence of forbearance.
Cross-country analysis to date also shows that accommodative policy measures (such as substantial liquidity support, explicit government guarantee on financial institutions’ liabilities and forbearance from prudential regulations) tend to be fiscally costly and that these particular policies do not necessarily accelerate the speed of economic recovery.

12---Federal Reserve willfully ignorant to real cause of MLS listing shortage, oc housing

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