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 on: December 16, 2014, 12:58:07 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Michael Brown is a real common name.  How do we know this is the same guy?  I'm not familiar with the website.

 on: December 16, 2014, 12:07:00 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
I'm still hearing he got played by Dingy Harry and now a bunch of nominations have gone through thanks to his (Cruz's) move.

 on: December 15, 2014, 11:37:48 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Maybe I am missing something but it would appear the Stupid Party is at it again, letting Forked Tongue Warren stand alone against the economic fascism of the taxpayers guaranteeing Wall Street's gambling with derivatives again.   This should be our issue as well!!! angry

 on: December 15, 2014, 11:35:36 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Good post grin

 on: December 15, 2014, 09:45:41 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG

I have heard this story too, but the bias throughout this report is a bit hard to swallow.
"Cruz, who almost single-handedly caused the last government shutdown"
  - Who caused the 16 day, 17% shutdown??  The people who funded the government or the people who wouldn't?

  - Whose fault is it that the vote to defund the executive action over existing law failed?

Why are R's voting to fund a Democrat budget for one year after the Republicans take the Senate?
Why does it have to be a CRomnibus no one has read instead of funding the government, department by department, line by line, through to the start of the next congress?
Why is it Republicans fault if Democrats shut the government down, again?  Because Obama and MSNBC said so?  Who cares if Obama gets a radical Surgeon General at this point?  Will they order more new laws for Republicans to fund?  3 quotes are from Lindsey Graham who favors unilaterally surrendering the filibuster back to the Democrats, immediately, anyway.

When the leaders make a deal, should everyone fall in line, no matter your view or your conscience?
Maybe the vote he forced WILL matter in 2016.  Maybe he was right about that last time.  The midterms went pretty well.

 on: December 15, 2014, 09:31:32 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

Gentle giant update.

 on: December 15, 2014, 07:03:39 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
Crafty is trying to stir it up again...    wink

Stocks are up because corporate profits are up; P/E's are up also.  Corporate profits are up for reasons like being able to hire fewer workers to achieve the same output (improved productivity), while over-regulation is locking out competing startups and disruptive innovation, and more money is chasing fewer companies.  It's not like the US or world economic growth is on fire.

Wesbury was right about stocks - they went up during all this time of zero interest rates and unprecedented QE.  Good for him. (Said with a little Elizabeth Warren-style sarcasm.)

Now we have "tapering", which is even more QE (at a slower rate) on top of all previous QE.  It is not a reversal of QE.

Wesbury:  "Yes, the Federal Reserve has done a massive amount of QE. And, yes, interest rates have been low. But, correlation does not equal causation."

Proof of causation isn't the question or issue.  Correlation is enough. Low interest rates accompanied QE, and if we are done with QE, then we are done low interest rates. No Latin lecture on Post hoc, ergo proptor hoc is required.  If QE and low interest rates are coming and going hand in hand, what difference does proof of causation make?

Look at it more closely.  When the federal government was in deficit in amounts of a trillion a year for multiple years, it did not have to go out and find willing buyers for all those bonds.  If they did have to, they also would have had to raise the yield way up to do that, which is the interest rate.  QE was the government "buying" their own bonds with an accounting entry, without having to first secure the funds anywhere and without having to offer an attractive interest rate to a buyer.  That looks like causation of lower interest rates to me.  Oh well.

Here is Scott Grannis trying to explain how QE is not money creation:  "I suspect that a great number of market participants and observers do not fully understand how QE works. The myth that QE means the Fed is "printing money" persists. All the Fed can do is buy bonds from banks and "pay" for them by crediting the banks' reserve account at the Fed. This is equivalent to the banks selling bonds to the Fed and simultaneously lending the money to buy them. (Zero interest is lending?  Sounds more like crony graft.) It is also equivalent to the Fed acting like a massive hedge fund, borrowing money at a short-term interest rate (0.25%) that it sets in order to buy notes and bonds. It is also equivalent to the Fed "transmogrifying" notes and bonds into T-bill substitutes. (Gruber, is that you?) No money creation is involved in the QE process. Money is only created if banks use their reserves to back up an increase in lending. Banks have only recently started to do this in earnest."  (Quote is from the comments section.)

Reserves are created out of thin air (an accounting entry) but that isn't money creation unless someone, by chance, uses that money created as money, which they are now starting to do (as of last March).  So QE IS money creation?  

Wesbury quoting Janet Yellen (December 2008):  “As Japan found during its quantitative easing program, increasing the size of the monetary base above levels needed to provide ample liquidity to the banking system had no discernible economic effects aside from those associated with communicating the Bank of Japan’s commitment to the zero interest rate policy.”  [Japan has been having nothing but economic trouble before and since Dec. 2008.  Zero interest rates screws up nearly everything and so does a lot of other unforced errors they are committing.]

(Back to Wesbury) "In other words, by ending QE, the Fed is implicitly ending its commitment to low rates. As a result, the 2-year Treasury yield has jumped from 0.31% in mid-October to 0.64%. Not because of tapering, but because rate hikes are now expected.  There is no mystery here. QE signals a low interest rate policy."

Splitting hairs to me, that sounds like causation.  

"[QE is ending,] ... interest rates will rise. That’s happening in the U.S. right now."  - Wesbury again.

On a better note, here is Wesbury caught reading the forum:
Wesbury: "What’s missing from just about every conversation about central banks is their inability to offset the damage done by excessive taxes, government spending, or regulation.

Doug, preciously: [That is] "applying the wrong solution to the wrong problem", "like putting more gas in the tank when the tires are flat".

Wesbury closes: [QE is over] That means higher interest rates are on their way.

  - Right.

 on: December 15, 2014, 06:41:26 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog 

 on: December 15, 2014, 06:35:01 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog 

 on: December 15, 2014, 04:38:44 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Oil Price: Looks Reasonable To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 12/15/2014

A former economic colleague, and mentor, used to say: “In the Bible, it says an ounce of gold will buy a fine suit of clothing.” We have read the Bible, and we haven’t found this, although there could be some high-powered math, using talents, cubits, frankincense and myrrh that make it true.

Nonetheless, the point stands – over long periods of time, relative value remains somewhat constant. Gold is trading at $1,210/oz. today and that’s about the cost of a fine suit.
There are suits that cost more, and less, but, well, you get the point.

The reason we bring this up, is that the same “relative price relationship” should hold true for other commodities over time. The gold-oil ratio (using West Texas Intermediate crude prices) has averaged 15.8 over the past 30 years – meaning one ounce of gold would buy 15.8 barrels of oil.

In 2005, the ratio reached a low of 6.7; in 1986, it hit a high of 30.1. From 1990-1999 oil prices averaged $19.70/bbl and gold prices averaged $351/oz – a ratio of 17.8. Today, oil is $57/bbl and gold is $1,210/oz., meaning an ounce of gold will buy 21.2 barrels of oil.

In other words, relative to history, either oil is cheap or gold is expensive. Looking at other commodity price relationships, like silver, shows the same thing. One interesting fact is that in the past 30 years, the CPI is up 126%, while oil is up 116%, showing that, right now, with oil prices down almost $50 from their recent peak, oil has risen about the same as a broad basket of consumer goods.

This doesn’t mean that oil prices can’t fall further. After all, markets do what markets do. What it does mean is that the recent collapse in oil prices is not a sign of broad deflation. It is result of a shift in the “oil supply curve” to the right, due to new technologies in energy – horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Remember, the supply curve slopes upward from the lower left to the upper right. When a new technology increases supply at any price, like the invention of the tractor did with crops, the entire supply curve shifts. When this happens, output rises and prices fall, unless there is a shift in demand.

These days, two things are happening to keep a lid on demand. First, developing economies, like China and Russia are experiencing slower growth. Second, new technologies – like LED lighting, more efficient computer chips and less waste in office buildings, homes and manufacturing – are reducing energy consumption. For example, an iPad uses $1.36 of electricity every year, while a desktop computer uses $30 of electricity per year.

So, a right-ward shift in the supply curve is occurring at the same time demand is falling short of what was previously expected. In other words, the decline in oil prices is due to macro-economic forces, and those forces are mostly good, not bad. As a result, the drop in oil prices is a good sign, not one that indicates economic problems. The drop in stock prices last week, if it was based on the idea that falling oil prices are a negative thing, is temporary.

More importantly, most relative price indicators suggest the oil price decline has gone too far. Using the current price of gold, a barrel of oil is fairly valued near $77. Alternatively, comparing oil to multiple different prices, including a fine suit of clothing, oil is fairly valued somewhere between $55 and $70/bbl.

Bottom line: stocks and oil have fallen too much. Stocks should rebound soon and, barring a collapse in gold, we look for stability and then rising prices for oil in the years ahead.

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