December 13: Daily Contrarian Reads

The Fed’s Latest Fantasy—-Targeting The Neutral Rate Of Interest

The whole idea of the neutral interest rate is unrealistic. What the Fed is trying to establish is a level of interest rate that corresponds to the conditions of the free market. Note that in order to establish the neutral rate, the Fed continuously tampers with interest rates and the money supply. Obviously, this is in contradiction to the free market.

Killing Them Dead, Twice—Why The Trump Deregulation Initiative Doesn’t Amount To Much

Rather, the claim of victory in the war on regulation is instead based almost entirely on stopping proposed rules that haven’t yet made their way through the machinery of government. The White House says it has killed or stalled 860 pending regulations. It’s done this by withdrawing 469, listing another 109 as inactive and relegating 282 to “long term.”

Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up

I suspect that Congressman Jordan believes that the true reason why Strzok was sacked is that Strzok’s credibility had become so tied to the Trump Dossier that when its credibility collapsed over the course of the summer when the FBI finally realised that it could not be verified his credibility collapsed with it.  If so then I am sure that Congressman Jordan is right.

Time To Stop Minding Other People’s Business

…….”Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.” Tillerson’s principled rejection of the seizure of land by military force – “never accept” – came just one day after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledged to move our embassy there. How did Israel gain title to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights? Invasion, occupation, colonization, annexation.

Three Bubbles/Strikes and You’re Out

But there’s a case to be made that bubbles are like strikes, and you only get three. A recent article, Deutsche: “We Are Almost At The Point Beyond Which There Will Be No More Bubbles”, made a nuanced case for “3 bubbles and you’re out” based on volatility and other inputs.

Why BOJ’s $150 Billion ETF Binge Looks Likely to Slow Next Year

The central bank had spent $150 billion on Japanese ETFs as of Dec. 8. It owned 74 percent of the market at the end of October, up from 65 percent a year earlier, according to Investment Trusts Association figures, BOJ disclosures and data compiled by Bloomberg.

A Severe Jolt In JOLTS—Even Keynesian Schoolmarm Yellen Is Flummoxed

There was always no way a “manufacturing recession”, and a global one at that, along with severe liquidity issues in “dollars” was ever consistent with “so strong and broad-based” as well as this “blowout” labor market. It never happened.

How Fed Rate Hikes Will Impact US Debt Slaves

Interest rates on credit cards would follow in lockstep. These rate hikes to “neutral” would extract another $8 billion or so a year, on top of the additional $7.5 billion from the prior rate hikes. But that’s not all. Credit card balances continue to rise as our brave consumers are trying to prop up US consumer spending and thus the global economy by borrowing more and more.

Even The Sharks Are Trading Like Goldfish

Day after day, week after week, the punditry regales us with tales of “the future”, where “the future” is represented here in the present by “disruptors” like Amazon, Facebook, and of course Bitcoin. “Just buy the damn robots,” we’re told. “Get in on the (block)chain of fools while you still can,” crypto proponents implore.

The Non-Crime of “Lying to the FBI”

To defuse President Obama’s spiteful maneuver, Flynn spoke to Ambassador Kislyak, the upshot of which was that Russia “retaliated” by inviting US diplomats and their families to the Kremlin for a New Year’s bash. Was a crime committed by Flynn in this exchange and subsequent meeting? Not according to the FBI. Laying the cornerstone for the president-elect’s promised foreign policy —diplomacy with Russia — is not illegal.