January 18: Daily Contrarian Reads

Donald Trump’s $20 Trillion Problem—-He’s Inheriting A Ticking Financial Bomb

Only a few days after Trump’s inauguration ceremony, the U.S. National Debt will creep across the important psychological barrier of $20 trillion. It’s a problem that’s been passed down to him, but it certainly puts the incoming administration in a difficult place. The debt is burdensome by pretty much any metric, and the rate of borrowing has exceeded economic growth pretty much since the late 1970s. How Trump deals with this escalating constraint will be a deciding factor in whether his administration crashes and burns – or ends up re-positioning America for greatness.

Origins of the Trump Witch-Hunt—–Establishment Fear And Loathing of Outsiders

Though his wealth and New York base suggests Insider to many, Trump is a classic outsider–someone the Establishment fears and loathes because he might diminish their power, their skims and their scams. The Establishment’s skims and scams are rentier skims and scams–wealth and income that is skimmed from the productive elements of the economy by virtue of the Establishment’s power to impose the gatekeeper’s toll on virtually every aspect of American life……..The Establishment’s fear and loathing is laughably obvious. Why else drum up the hysterical, absurd narrative that Russia is responsible for Trump’s election? The entire media blitz was a transparent attempt to discredit the results of American democracy because the Insider unexpectedly lost. Now the Establishment–from academia to the C.I.A.–is in full-blown panic, because all their precious skims and scams are for the first time in decades, at risk of being throttled or reduced.

Welcome To One of The Most Pivotal Weeks In Modern American History

 Many are anticipating that a wonderful new era of peace and prosperity is just a few days away, but others are using terms such as “civil unrest” and “civil war” for what they believe is about to happen in America.  Without a doubt, Donald Trump is one of the most electrifying politicians in modern American history, but he is also one of the most polarizing.  So will the next four years bring us together as a nation, or will anger, frustration, strife and discord tear us much farther apart?  It is being projected that extremely large crowds of supporters will attend Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, but the mainstream media is also reporting that “hundreds of thousands of protesters” are on their way to Washington.  Many on the far left are hoping to turn Trump’s inauguration into one of the biggest riots in U.S. history, but thousands of law enforcement personnel are going to do their very best to prevent that from happening. There are sites on the Internet that are literally counting down the hours until Barack Obama leaves office.  Knowing that his time is short, Obama seems determined to squeeze as much “change” out of his final hours as he possibly can.  Just check out what the Washington Post says that he was able to accomplish on just one day last week…

Big Foreign Policy Shift Pending—-Why The Neocon Interventionists Are Terrified By Trump’s  Remarkable Interview On Europe And Brexit

Over the weekend, President-elect Trump received two journalists from mainstream European print media — The Times of London and the German magazine Bild — for a joint interview in New York City’s Trump Tower. The event was videotaped and we are seeing some remarkable sound bites, particularly those of interest to the British and German publics……But it was in another area, Trump’s remarks on Russia and the terms he named for possibly lifting sanctions, that we find convincing proof that the President-elect’s approach to foreign affairs is not just the sum of isolated tactical considerations but a complete reinvention of the guiding principles of U.S. foreign policy. What we are witnessing is a shift to a new strategic, geopolitical paradigm.

Pathetic “Little Marco” Rubio Embarrasses Himself—–Again

During the Republican primary, I was perplexed by how many conservatives held Marco Rubio (aka “Little Marco”) in such high esteem. My take on Little Marco from day one was that he was a snake in the grass and that his clumsy attempt to collude with Ted Cruz to derail the Trump Train pretty much confirmed that….Which brings me to his little back-and-forth with uber-impressive Rex Tillerson. Even I was surprised to watch Little Marco come at Tillerson in a style the Dirty Dems must have loved. It was a surreal scene — this 20-year-old-looking kid talking in an admonishing tone to one of the world’s most successful businessmen…..At one point, he asked Tillerson if he believed Vladimir Putin was a “war criminal.” What a dumb-ass question. I kept having the feeling that Tillerson was going to get up, turn Little Marco over his knee, and spank him.

New York Real Estate Prices Plunge In 4Q As Listing Days and Discounts Soar

Alas, with the release of Elliman’s 4Q 2016 report, it has become apparent that that miracle never materialized for New York’s hedgies and i-bankers.  In fact, the data from Manhattan real estate sales was almost universally bad with median pricing down 8.7% YoY, volume down 3.7%, listing days up 14.6% and discounts  up to 5.5%.

Trump’s Enemies See An Opening

Clearly, Trump hopes to work out with Putin the kind of detente that President Nixon achieved with Leonid Brezhnev. This should not be impossible. For, unlike the 1970s, there is no Soviet Empire stretching from Havana to Hanoi, no Warsaw Pact dominating Central Europe, no Communist ideology steering Moscow into constant Cold War conflict with the West. Russia is a great power with great power interests. But she does not seek to restore a global empire or remake the world in her image. U.S.-Russian relations are thus ripe for change. But any such hope is now suddenly impaired.

Terminal Phase Mania Has Arrived

Global markets are unstable, economies are unstable, societies are unstable, democracies are unstable and the geopolitical backdrop is unstable. Yet for going on nine years (incredible or what?) instabilities have been harnessed by the powerful triad of low borrowing costs, central bank electronic printing presses and literally Trillions of “money” with apparently no other purpose than to inflate securities and asset prices. Moreover, monetary disorder on such an unprecedented global scale has been around for so long that it passes as normal. And with so much uncertainty in the world the only thing certain is that global central banks will soldier on with QE and near zero rates. That’s been enough for the markets, trumping myriad uncertainties and fragilities.

OPEC ‘s Math Doesn’t Add-Up

The basic laws of supply and demand can easily cause the OPEC production cuts to not work, but there are other factors to also consider. These factors include U.S. shale production, political stability returning to Libya and Nigeria, the amount of oil sitting in storage and rising role of renewable

Half of Americans don’t have $500 for an emergency

If you suddenly faced an emergency that cost you at least $500 would you have enough funds in your bank account (or under your mattress) to pay for that unforeseen expense? Well, more than half of the country wouldn’t be able to afford it According to a new study by Bankrate.com, more than half (59 percent) of Americans do not have a minimum of $500 in their savings account as part of their rainy day fund.