June 20: Daily Contrarian Reads

Down The Yellow Brick Road—-Jim Grant’s Smackdown Of An Anti-Gold Standard  Tirade

It’s no work at all to make modern money. Since the start of the 2008 financial crisis, the world’s central bankers have materialized the equivalent of $12.25 trillion. Just tap, tap, tap on a computer keypad. “One Nation Under Gold” is a brief against the kind of money you have to dig out of the ground. And you do have to dig. The value of all the gold that’s ever been mined (and which mostly still exists in the form of baubles, coins and ingots), according to the World Gold Council, is a mere $7.4 trillion……

The Pin To Pop The Mother Of All Bubbles (MOAB)

Global macro economic data has been weak for many years, but there’s now a very real chance of a world-wide recession happening in 2017. Why? A dramatic and worsening shortfall in new credit creation. The world’s major central banks have, again, done the world an enormous disservice.  Instead of admitting that maybe/perhaps/possibly the practice of issuing debt at more than twice the rate of underlying economic growth was a very bad idea over the past several decades, they instead doubled down and created an even larger debt monster to be dealt with.

“Anthrax Bob” Mueller—A Careerist Plague On The Constitution

Rather than being “above the fray”, Mueller is an authoritarian and water-carrier for the status quo and the powers-that-be……Mueller presided over the incredibly flawed anthrax investigation……The head of the FBI’s anthrax investigation says the whole thing was a sham. He says that the FBI higher-ups “greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation”, that there were “politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters”. Moreover, the anthrax investigation head said that the FBI framed scientist Bruce Ivins.

Another Booming Sector Hitting The Wall—-Wide-Bodied Aircraft Production to Plummet

……But the chatter at the lavish dinners is likely to focus on a more worrisome topic: a recent slowdown in orders for the companies’ largest and most expensive jets. As one of the longest upswings in sales in aviation history falters, Boeing has been forced to cut production of its giant 777 and 747-8 jets. And questions are mounting about how much longer Airbus will be able to keep building its mammoth A380, a double-deck plane that carries more than 500 people and often includes bars and showers for the highest-paying customers. Analysts say several factors have come together to reduce interest in the planes, and some experts think the slide in orders could last several years.

Another Part of the Real Estate Market is Starting to Crumble—Rental Apartments

While the struggles of mall REITs are no secret given Amazon’s increased dominance of the retail sector, real estate investors may also contemplate putting apartment REITs on their warning lists. That’s because although apartment real estate investment trusts have done well this year — and since the end of the housing crisis, in general — rent growth is starting to slow…….The problem is for the past four or five quarters, the year-over-year rent increases have declined from the quarter before. Moreover, the first quarter showed that all the companies, except AvalonBay, raised rents over the first quarter of 2013 by less than 3%, the first time that’s happened for all of them since 2010. It’s likely that all the households squeezed out of owning during the crisis are back to renting, so apartment demand isn’t growing. Moreover, multifamily housing starts are up to their 55-year average, so supply is increasing.

Absent Without Leave

It ain’t bragging if it’s true. I’ve said repeatedly on this blog for years that the federal government would only become more impotent, more incompetent, and more ineffectual as The Long Emergency rolled out. And here we are now, at just such pass in history…….After nearly a year of investigating, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the DIA, DHS, et. al. haven’t been able to leak any substantial fact about “Russian collusion” with the Trump election campaign — and, considering the torrent of leaks about all manner of other collateral matters during this same period, it seems impossible to conclude that there is anything actually there besides utterly manufactured hysteria……..You’d think that with all the computer graphics available these days they could concoct a cineplex-quality feature film-length recording of Donald Trump making a “great deal” to swap Kansas for Lithuania, or Jared Kushner giving piggyback rides to Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.

The Illusion Of Declining Debt To Income Ratios

But here is why looking at the “median” of personal incomes is misleading as to what is happening within the economy. A recent study from the Chicago Booth Review revealed the underlying problem with income strata: “The data set reveals since 1980 a ‘sharp divergence in the growth experienced by the bottom 50 percent versus the rest of the economy,’ the researchers write. The average pretax income of the bottom 50 percent of US adults has stagnated since 1980, while the share of income of US adults in the bottom half of the distribution collapsed from 20 percent in 1980 to 12 percent in 2014. In a mirror-image move, the top 1 percent commanded 12 percent of income in 1980 but 20 percent in 2014. The top 1 percent of US adults now earns on average 81 times more than the bottom 50 percent of adults; in 1981, they earned 27 times what the lower half earned.”

James Comey: Deep State Apparatchik Assigned To Frame Trump For Being Soft On Russia

Let’s state the obvious: Comey wanted to maintain the cloud of suspicion that was hanging over Trump because it helped to feed the perception that Trump was a traitor who collaborated with Russia to win the election. By remaining silent, Comey helped to fuel the public hysteria and reinforce the belief that Trump was guilty of criminal wrongdoing. That is why Comey never spoke out before, it’s because his silence was already achieving the result he sought which was to inflict as much damage as possible on Trump and his administration.

Global Bond Market Unhinged: Argentina to Sell 100-Year Bond After Seven Defaults

Argentina, which has defaulted on its debt seven times, is now faced with the worst fiscal gap since 2000….Argentina is planning to sell its first 100-year bond a year after returning to global capital markets, as it grapples with a soaring budget deficit.

Central Bank Liquidity Is The IV Drip Keeping The Rally Alive

If it weren’t for liquidity right now, the stock market rally could be ripping apart, according to BMO Private Bank’s chief investment officer. “Any sense that this IV drip of liquidity coming into the market is slowing down at all is going to cause some issues,” Jack Ablin said on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” He emphasized that investors have been encouraged to take on risk due to the trillions of dollars being pumped into the financial system by central banks.