Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Today's links

1---Elites rule, economists view

forthcoming article ... by ... Martin Gilens and ... Benjamin Page marks a notable step in that process. ... They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no?
Alas, no. In their primary statistical analysis, the collective preferences of ordinary citizens had only a negligible estimated effect on policy outcomes, while the collective preferences of “economic elites” ... were 15 times as important. ...

2--'Summers: Lack of Demand Creates Lack of Supply', economists view  video

3---Guest Post: 16 Signs That Most Americans Are Not Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse, zero hedge

4---Consumer Spending Stalls in March, No Year-to-Year Growth, gallup
The amount Americans reported spending each day in March averaged $87 for the month, identical to February. While spending remains relatively high, this is the first time since the recession that consumers' average daily March spending didn't increase at least slightly over February spending.
Self-Reported Daily Spending -- January 2008-March 2014
Consumers' March spending was also no higher than their spending a year ago, which averaged $89. By contrast, in line with the U.S. economic recovery, spending had increased each March between 2011 and 2013, rising from $64 in 2011 to $74 in 2012 and $89 in 2013.

5---Russia And China About To Sign "Holy Grail" Gas Deal, zero hedge

6---The Japanese Sales Tax Hike Verdict Is In: It's A Disaster As Sales Plunge 25%, zero hedge

7--Central banks' investment in yuan puts currency nearer reserve status
Investment by dozens of central banks comes despite currency not being fully convertible

8--Heartbleed Bug a Catastrophic Hole in Web Security; Webusers Told to Change Passwords, naked capitalism

9--Housing to cool in 2014, ds news

10--Mortgage originations lowest on record, Black Knight

11--Mortgage apps drop for 4th consecutive week, HW
Mortgage applications dropped 1.6% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s survey of mortgages for the week ending April 4, 2014.

12--Consumers Recognize Housing Market Rally is Dead, ds news

13---95% of the 2.5 million interest rate reduction modifications still face rate resets, ds news

14--Lawmakers call on oil and gas producers to ditch ‘dirty, bloody dollar’, RT

“Our national industrial giants will not suffer any losses if they choose to make contracts in rubles or other alternative currencies. Russia will benefit from that. We should act paradoxically when we deal with the West. We will sell rubles to consumers of our oil and gas, and later we will exchange rubles for gold. If they don’t like this – let them not do this and freeze to death. Before they adjust, and this will take them three of four years, we will collect tremendous quantities of gold. Russian companies will at last become nationally oriented and stop crediting the economy of the US that is openly hostile to Russia,” the MP said.

15--Moscow warns Kiev against using military, mercenaries in southeastern Ukraine, RT

16--The SEC Is  broken, NC

People under 40 find it hard to believe that the SEC was once a respected and feared agency. It’s now widely seen as the worst regulator in Washington DC and shows how quickly effective organizations can be ruined by self-serving leaders.

17---Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading, Reuters

18---Fed's hard line on funding to bring more pain to Wall Street, Reuters

The Fed and two other bank regulators on Tuesday set leverage requirements for the biggest bank holding companies to maintain top-tier capital, such as shareholder equity, equal to 5 percent of total assets. Insured subsidiaries must meet a 6 percent ratio....

Tarullo has made cracking down on short-term funding a pet project, mentioning it frequently.
On Tuesday, he said the finished leverage requirement "provides a little bit of reinforcement to ... the possibility of an additional capital charge addressed to the vulnerability of firms to runnable, wholesale, short-term funding."

19--Who Bears “Federal Reserve Risk”?, house of debt

20---IMF World Economic Outlook Released, econobrowser

21--4 key reasons for CAPEX accelerating , sober look

22---US threatens to “re-examine force posture” over Ukraine, wsws

Yesterday, Moscow accused the United States of supplying mercenaries to suppress by force the protesters demanding a referendum on becoming part of Russia in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk.

A statement by the Russian foreign ministry said that Ukraine intended to suppress the unrest with “tightened internal forces and National Guard units with participation of fighters from the illegal armed group Right Sector”, in cooperation with “150 American experts from the private military organisation ‘Greystone’” disguised as regular soldiers.
“We call for an immediate end to any military preparations, which threaten to trigger civil war,” the statement declared.

On Monday, Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksander Turchynov, and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk both also accused Russia of staging the protests as a precursor to an armed seizure of Ukrainian territory. Turchynov blamed “separatist groups coordinated by Russian special services” for actions he said proved that “enemies of Ukraine are trying to play out the Crimean scenario,” while Yatsenyuk said that Russia was trying to split Ukraine and turn part of it into “a territory of slavery under a Russian dictatorship.”
NATO’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking from Paris, warned Russia that if it were to “intervene further in Ukraine it would be a historic mistake”.

23--IMF report: No end to economic breakdown, wsws

24--The OECD’s “Society at A Glance” report: A portrait of a failed system, wsws

25---PressTV: China heading off cold war through economic diplomacy, William Engdahl

26--The Stunning Metamorphosis Of An "Obama Girl", zero hedge

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