October 19: Daily Contrarian Reads

The Cashless Society Is a Creepy Fantasy

Such is the utopia recently described by Nathan Heller in the New Yorker and by a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Kenneth Rogoff, in a new book, “The Curse of Cash.” But this universe is missing one of the fundamental aspects of human civilization. A world without cash is a world without money.

Industrial Contraction Continues—–Index Falls For 13th Straight Month

Industrial production fell another 1% in September year-over-year, the 13th consecutive contraction. With that, though the slope of the decline remains unusually shallow like almost every other economic account related to manufacturing and production, the contractions are now lapping. The index level for industrial production in September 2016 is 1.3% less than the level from September 2014; the relevant part isn’t the degree of the slump but the immense and immeasurable cost of time from when it started to where it is now still without sign of an end.

The Crazy World of Negative Rates: A Conversation With Jim Grant

Why all the fuss about interest rates? Here’s Grant’s unanswerable answer: “Interest rates are prices. They impart information. They tell a business person whether or not to undertake a certain capital investment. They measure financial risk. They translate the value of future cash flows into present-day dollars. Manipulate those prices — as central banks the world over compulsively do — and you distort information, therefore perception and judgment.”

Market Myth Shattered: Ned Davis Warns “There’s No More Cash On The Sidelines”

While the “cash on the sidelines” myth has infuriated many, it remains a staple excuse for why there’s always a buying opportunity in stocks when the market dips. However, as Ned Davis Research warns “we can’t find much cash on the sidelines… and when we do it seems mostly offset by debt/liabilities,” crushing yet another pillar of strength for stocks.

K-Street Goes All-In For Hillary: Registered Lobbyists Have Raised $20 Million For Clinton, Zero For Trump

Not a single registered lobbyist has raised a substantial amount of money for Republican nominee Donald Trump‘s campaign, according to campaign-finance disclosures filed over the weekend.  Democrat Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has drawn more than $20 million over the course of her race for her campaign and joint Democratic Party accounts through funds raised by registered lobbyists, according to her disclosures.

Banal Pabulum: Goldman Sachs Paid Hillary $675,000 For This?

But it turns out that Clinton was probably more concerned with the fact that that the transcripts would reveal how banal her remarks were. That would, in turn, raise questions about why Goldman Sachs was willing to part with so much money for three hours of mostly worthless clichés and bromides that bear little resemblance to the policies Clinton is pushing now.

It Starts: Shutdowns, Production Cuts, layoff at Auto Plants

It’s been years since we’ve heard about production cuts by automakers, but here they come…..After a record-breaking 2015, the hot air is audibly hissing out of the auto industry. September sales were down 0.5% from a year ago. Year-to-date sales were about flat. Some individual models got clobbered. Inventories are piling up on dealer lots. Automakers lavished incentives on the market. Nothing worked.

Goldman Says U.S. Bondholders Risk a $1.1 Trillion Hit if Rates Spike

First they came for the yield, then they came for the duration. A Goldman Sachs Group Inc analysis says investors could be mired in a world of pain if yields on long-dated assets snap higher. Just a modest backup in rates could inflict outsized losses on bond portfolios — a sobering prospect in light of the recent jump in longer-dated bond yields that’s already eating into bondholders’ capital returns.

The New York Times’ Absurd New Anti-Russian Propaganda

If the dangers weren’t so great – a possible nuclear war that could exterminate life on the planet – The New York Times over-the-top denunciation of all things Russian would be almost funny, like the recent front-page story finding something uniquely sinister about Russia using inflatable decoys of military weapons to confuse adversaries.

How Hillary’s Dirty Tricks Squad Disrupted The Disrupter

According to Foval Group founder Scott Foval, “The campaign (Hillary Clinton campaign) pays the DNC, DNC pays Democracy partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval group, Foval Group goes and executes the shit on the ground.”