Saturday, May 14, 2016

Today's Links

The Fed's Balance Sheet is an off-balance sheet SIV

1--Everyone Is Still Selling: Biggest Monthly Outflow From Global Stocks Since US Downgrade

2-- Business Inventories Signal Recession Imminent

3--America's middle class is hollowing out in many cities---In 9 out of 10 cities, middle-income families are disappearing.

(MAKING SURVEYS WORK FOR THE RULING CLASS;  PEW's job is to convince people that middle class extinction is the result of "market forces" and not the deliberate policy manipulation that provides lavish subsidies to the investor class thru corporate welfare and Fed's easy money policies)

As detailed in a December, 2015, Pew report, the share of American adults in middle-income households shrank to 50 percent in 2015 from 61 percent in 1971. America has been losing about 3 to 4 percentage points every decade."Now it's right on the border of 50 percent, neither majority or minority," said Kochhar of Pew. "But we're on a trajectory that is pointed down."....

In cities across the country from Seattle to Boston, the middle class is shrinking as more Americans either climb up into higher income brackets or slip further into lower income groups, according to Pew Research Center data released this week. In nine out of 10 cities, there are fewer middle-class families since 2000.

"These trends in the middle class are reflective of rising income inequality," said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of research at the Pew Research Center. "This trend has been part and parcel of the national economy for the last 30 to 40 years."

From 2000 to 2014, the share of adults living in middle income households fell in 203 of 229 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to Pew's analysis of government data. ...

Being skilled is useful," Kochhar said. "High tech will always rule up the income ladder. And global changes matter," he said.....

Not all Americans have fully rebounded from the Great Recession. The median income of U.S. households in 2014 was 8 percent less than in 1999.

While the national jobless rate stands at 5 percent, millions of Americans have simply dropped out of the workforce and aren't being counted. In April alone, those counted as not in the labor force surged by 562,000 to more than 94 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which releases the monthly jobs report.

And as some Americans fall further through the cracks, others are accumulating more wealth.

The share of adults in upper-income households rose in 172 of the 229 metro areas. Plus, the share of adults in lower-income households rose in 160 metro areas from 2000 to 2014.

And to be clear, 108 metro areas saw growth in both lower- and upper-income groups.

Pew in 2014 defined middle class as a three-person household if its annual income fell between $42,000 and $125,000. ...

And as noted by Kochhar, also an economist, people in upper income areas are more likely to have college degrees than in the nation overall.

4---Helicopter Money?? WSJ

What it is: While the term conjures up images of central-bank officials showering cash on the populace, in practice it would be less colorful: The BOJ would buy bonds directly from the government, effectively providing free money. They could be “perpetual bonds” with a zero coupon, meaning the government would never have to pay back the principal or any interest.

Former Fed chief Mr. Bernanke suggested recently that helicopter money could work as a “last resort” when conventional policy have been exhausted.

Why it might work: The government could use the free money on kick-starting measures such as infrastructure spending or cash handouts.

5--Retail Troubles: It Isn’t Just About Amazon   --A strong retail-sales report reveals just how deep a funk traditional retailers are in

Retailers’ problems go deeper than shifts in where consumers are buying goods. One is that prices for many of the things they sell are rising more slowly than overall prices, or are even falling.

Apparel prices, for example, were down 0.6% from a year earlier in March, according to the Labor Department. So even if apparel retailers manage to sell more items, it is hard for them to generate sales gains. And with wages and other costs rising faster than prices, profit margins are coming under pressure.

the details of the report showed the uneven contours of where spending is growing. Sales at department stores, for example, rose by just 0.3%, putting them 1.7% below their year-earlier level. And while clothing- and accessory-store sales bounced 1%, they were only up 1.3% on the year. That compares with a 3.6% annual gain in control sales....

Further, Americans are directing an increasing share of their spending on services. Over the past decade, for example, total consumer spending on clothing and footwear has risen just 1% annually, unadjusted for inflation. Spending on cable and satellite television and radio services has increased at a 5.1% rate.

That partly reflects a change in attitudes that came about in the wake of the financial crisis. Not only are people being more careful about spending, they are being careful about where they spend. In many cases they are opting for experiences like going out to restaurants and taking vacations over accumulating more stuff.

Unless that changes—and there’s no sign that it’s about to—retailers’ woes will continue.

6--Reports document growing income inequality, declining manufacturing pay

7--Brazil’s impeachment and the fall of the Workers Party

The ouster of Rousseff is the outcome of an undemocratic conspiracy organized by decisive layers within the Brazilian ruling class and supported by international finance capital. It has been carried out with the aim of effecting a radical change in economic policy and class relations and poses an immense threat to the jobs, basic rights and living standards of masses of Brazilian workers

8--US Special Forces have been operating secretly in Libya for months

9--FBI holds 80,000 pages of secret documents on Saudi-9/11 links

(At the very least, this new info reveals that the gov version of events is BS)

10--Erdogan prepares to invade while terrorists wield chemical weapons

11--Putin: Russia will consider tackling NATO missile defense threat

12--Greenwald: Washington's 'Fingerprints' All Over Rousseff's Impeachment

13--Terrorists Commit War Crimes, U.S. State Department: "We continue to have dialogue with them."

14--"13,533,000 Reasons Trump and Sanders Are Doing Well" by Larry Johnson

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