Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice as his budget director, is a fierce deficit hawk with a record of pushing deep spending cuts across the federal government to balance the budget.The 49-year-old from South Carolina, just re-elected to a fourth term, is a co-founder of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus that pushed former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, from power. As director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney would be responsible for Trump’s budget submissions to Congress. Those budgets are likely to address Trump’s campaign promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut taxes broadly and boost spending on public works and other projects.
The CPI for Rent of Primary Residences was up 4.2% again in November, matching for the third time in the past five months the highest inflation since 2008. Average weekly earnings (nominal), however, grew by just 0.4% year-over-year in November, another very low increase that pushes average weekly pay growth back down to just 2% again. That leaves the difference between rent inflation and average nominal wage growth back above 2%, a result usually found at the worst parts of recessions. This doesn’t suggest that recession is imminent, rather it shows why for many people it today feels like there is one right now and has been one for almost two years.
Chinese savers, eager to convert their yuan before the currency keeps depreciating, are snapping up U.S. dollar investment products that offer options for keeping money at home instead of sending it overseas. The latest wealth management products from China Merchants Bank Co. in Shanghai last week, paying 2.37 percent annual interest on U.S. dollars, sold out in 60 seconds flat.
Lest you wonder, not only did I not vote for Mr. Trump (or Hillary), but I relished heaping opprobrium on him during the election campaign. Just so you know, I’m not advocating for him, but I’m alarmed that the Deep State (the White House + the Intel Agency gang) now appears to be trying to hack the electoral college vote against him. The headline deployed everywhere last week, “Russia Hacks Election,” was designed by the Deep State players to deviously lead the broadly dim public to think that Russia somehow interfered with the balloting process, which was not possible since voting machines are not hooked up to the internet. And then it was repeated endlessly by the cable news networks and the newspapers, under the number one rule of propaganda: that if you repeat something often enough, the public will swallow it.
As investors, our job now is to be selling off our investments to those “greater fools” that are willing to overpay for an asset. Heading into the election, it was believed that if Donald Trump was elected it would be “a crisis” for the markets. Heading into election night, the market sold-off and was trading at 3-standard deviations below the moving average. Regardless of who won, the negativity of the market had set it up for a rally. Currently, at 3 standard deviations above the 60-day moving average, the “Donald Trump Is Great” rally is likely complete as opposite extremes have now been reached.
President Obama recommended charging companies a lower tax rate of 19% on repatriated profits, but President-Elect Trump has floated lower numbers – zero to 5%. He wants to tie taxes on corporate profits from overseas to infrastructure projects at home, providing some budget cover for his campaign promises. Both approaches try to accomplish the same goal: provide companies a way to bring home the idle funds sitting in foreign accounts so that they can put the money to use domestically. The problem is companies have already deployed a lot of that money. On top of that, they aren’t spending all the bucks they hold in the U.S., anyway.
But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has publicly denied that Russia was the source of the leaks and one of his associates, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, has suggested that the DNC leak came from a “disgruntled” Democrat upset with the DNC’s sandbagging of the Sanders campaign and that the Podesta leak came from the U.S. intelligence community….. As ex-Ambassador Murray has said, U.S. intelligence was almost surely keeping tabs on Podesta’s communications because of his ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments. So, the U.S. intelligence community represents another suspect in the case of who leaked those emails to WikiLeaks. It would be a smart play, reminiscent of the convoluted spy tales of John LeCarré, if U.S. intelligence officials sought to cover their own tracks by shifting suspicions onto the Russians. But just the suspicion of the CIA joining the FBI and possibly other U.S. intelligence agencies to intervene in the American people’s choice of a president would cause President Harry Truman, who launched the CIA with prohibitions against it engaging in domestic activities, and Sen. Frank Church, who investigated the CIA’s abuses, to spin in their graves.
Recently, Democrat Hawaii Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, went on CNN’s “The Lead” hosted by Jake Tapper, to talk about Donald Trump’s foreign policy, and more importantly, to discuss the disturbing reality of US taxpayer support for armed militants and terrorists in places like Syria. Instead of adulation for doing the honorable thing, she received a hostile reaction from one of CNN’s many highly paid onscreen propagandists.
A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else…..In what follows, we draw on decades of senior-level experience – with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and security – to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit – given our long labors in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it maysound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains, simply, to tell it like it is – without fear or favor.
The Bank of Italy’s Target 2 liabilities towards other Eurozone central banks — one of the most important indicators of banking stress — has risen by €129 billion in the last 12 months through November to €358.6 billion. That’s well above the €289 billion peak reached in August 2012 at the height of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Foreign and local investors are dumping Italian government bonds and withdrawing their funding to Italian banks. The bank at the heart of Italy’s financial crisis, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), has bled €6 billion of “commercial direct deposits” between September 30 and December 13, €2 billion of which since December 4, the date of Italy’s constitutional referendum.