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February 08, 2012

The Daily DOOM


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VDH: ‘Breaking Free From the Constraints of the Founding Fathers’.

What we have here is an assault on traditional American notions of self-reliance, respect for the law, and a sense of American exceptionalism as embodied by the Constitution. It is weird, to say the least, to even hint of superior constitutional systems elsewhere, given the current chaos in South Africa, and the coming implosion of the European Union — not to mention the mess in the Middle East and Russia.

Break the buck!

[N]ote their use of the word "forced." That panic didn't force the federal government to do anything. The feds chose to intervene. But by using the word "forced," the reporters make it sound as if the regulators are trying to avoid ever being "forced" into something again.

Orange County Employee's Retirement System pension returns for 2011? A whopping 0.75%. [SARCASM: ON] Well short of their 7% goal. [SARCASM: OFF]

Detroit may be going into receivership shortly. Maybe the mayors of Providence and Detroit can get together and share their tales of woe.

I hope you weren't planning on taking a driving-tour in May -- gas prices to spike by 60 cents or more according to some analysts. Fears of an Iran conflict and continuing unrest in Syria and elsewhere are probably driving the concerns. That's going to put a hell of a crimp in the "ALL IS WELL!" chorus in the MSM.

Job-creation numbers under Bush Jr and Obama. Generally speaking, Presidents rarely deserve the credit or the blame for the economy at any given time -- but Carter and Obama deserve all the blame they're getting, and then some, for they relentlessly pushed for the very policies and regulations that keep the economy in the doldrums.

Dangerous things happen when interest rates approach the “zero bound”.

Endlessly flaying bankers on a pyre of public disgust achieves nothing more useful than picking at an open wound. It completely ignores the underlying disease. Media hype is just a painful and distracting sideshow. Since President Nixon took the US dollar off gold in 1971, we have had four decades of unbacked, state money, globally. Governments have reacted to this new-found monetary freedom precisely as you would expect. Like Warren Buffett’s teenage boy encouraged by his father to have a normal sex life, it is not exactly a push that they needed. We have had limitless money creation, limitless bank credit creation, limitless deficit spending … Until now.
Something that can't go on forever...won't.

Shocker: The interests of unions and taxpayers do not converge.

If you are a prudent sort, a saver, a careful and budget-minded caretaker of your family's finances...this government has absolutely no use for you and wishes that you'd just disappear.

The Federal Reserve's explicit goal is to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years. They must find some way to pay off the enormous debt we've run up -- not to mention the massive entitlement obligations we've promised -- and they've chosen the path of currency-debasement, as so many have done before them. People are starting to notice: all roads lead to inflation.

Dividend stocks, new darlings of investors, are not bonds. Don't treat them like bonds. (A good piece of advice is to avoid jumping on trendy bandwagons in the hopes of getting more yield unless you really know what you're doing.)

Government healthcare spending in the coming decade will eat up nearly 10% of our entire national economic output...and that's probably an optimistic estimate. It'll be worse if ObamaCare remains the law of the land, but until we get serious about abolishing Medicare/Medicaid and replacing these programs with something more sustainable, we are simply going to lurch from disaster to disaster until the whole rotten edifice tumbles down.

MF Global's final PowerPoint slide: OMFG WE'RE DOOMED.

The difference in central-banking systems between the EU and USA. It's not that our debt problems are so much better or worse than in Europe; they're just of a different character. We're all boned, just in different ways.

HHS audit: $10 billion in "discrepancies". But it doesn't matter because they're the government!

It's a given that the job market is undergoing a fundamental change right now, but some aspects of success in business are eternal: if you're attractive and smart, you'll be okay. If not...well, you might want to pick your spot under the train-trestle early before the other hobos beat you to it.

The rise of high-frequency trading (HFT) in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. The rise of the machines. Skynet is here.

The first imperative of a bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself. All other considerations are secondary.

The old investment advice for retirees was never to draw down your retirement capital by more than 4% each year, or you ran the risk of outliving your savings. Given the developments of the past few years, some analysts are revising that number down to 1.8%.

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posted by Monty at 08:31 AM

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