The issue of inflation is complex everywhere. Official rates are disputed. People can’t reconcile them with what they see at the store. There are different formulas, resulting in different rates, and everyone picks and chooses what suits their needs. But nowhere is the issue as “complex,” infested with lies, and shrouded in obscurity as in Argentina. But 34.9%?
Contributed by John Mauldin and Barry Ritholtz: Last month, Senators Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, and David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, introduced a resolution calling for the end of the implicit subsidies that TBTF banks enjoy and that put taxpayers at risk. The Senate voted 99-0 in support. Now they're turning their ideas into actual legislation.
The solar-panel industry, once fattened by taxpayer subsidies and false hopes, has been in a death spiral around the world. In the US, a slew of photovoltaic standouts like Solyndra went under, taking billions of subsidies and investor capital with them. In Germany, it has been just as brutal. Even large companies are licking their wounds.
Since I write so much about financial fiascos, debacles, nightmares, and entanglements, I’ve been asked by my readers about ways to protect assets in this environment. I had to disappoint them: I don’t give financial advice. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have all the answers. But I just finished reading an excellent book on precisely that topic, so I decided to review it.
It was announced Friday afternoon, when no one was supposed to pay attention: after years of controversy, heated rhetoric, intense lobbying, and stiff opposition from some unlikely bedfellows, the Obama Administration decided in favor of the US oil and gas industry. With major geopolitical impact.
In my interview with Voice of Russia, I talk about the ECB's fears for its own existence. I use Spain, which is stuck in an existential crisis, as an example of the greatest “achievement” of central banks: the separation of economic reality from stock markets. And I get a chance to lambaste the French finance minister who is once again barking up the wrong tree.
Contributed by Don Quijones: The eternal economic malaise affecting many European countries is sparking a resurgence of the long-dormant forces of nationalism. In the most perverse of ironies, the closer the old continent gets to fulfilling the Eurocrats’ vaunted dream of political union, the more divided and unruly its constituent parts become.
At first blush, the German economy appears to be ailing – at first blush because the stock market, in its omniscient manner, is predicting wondrous developments as it hop-scotches from one all-time high to the next. This relentless optimism has morphed into a breeding ground for projections into outright magnificence. But inconvenient data is getting in the way.
Contributed by Casey Research: The last time Vladimir Putin was president, he laid the foundation to pull Mother Russia from the wreck of economic chaos to a world power once again. This time, he's ready to extend that influence to counter the West. His tools: Russia's abundant resources of energy, including uranium.
American manufacturing renaissance? Maybe not. But China is losing the low-wage edge. With manufacturing already in the doldrums, dizzying wage increases, long a reality on the factory floor, have become government policy. Now there are consequences: offshoring and automation.
Contributed by Chriss Street: Now there is evidence that IRS agents may have “knowingly and willfully” retaliated against a conservative “Enemies List” during the 2010 Congressional election and continuing through the 2012 Presidential election.
Unlike Detroit, which will run out of cash next month, Japan prints its own money, so bankruptcy in the Detroit sense is not in the cards. But they do have two things in common: depopulation and a ballooning stock of abandoned houses. For Japan, it’s an issue that even the most prodigious money-printing binge cannot resolve.
Contributed by Valentin Mândrăşescu, Editor of Reality Check @ The Voice of Russia: The status of the US dollar as the world reserve currency gives the US tremendous advantages. Among them: it allows the Fed to export inflation, while the Federal Government can run a huge deficit with impunity. But now an angry Russia has had enough!
Contributed by Don Quijones: Europe’s experiment in political and economic centralization is radically changing the lives of half a billion Europeans. National sovereignty and democracy may be threatened. For example, up to 80% of all laws passed by national governments of EU states are mere rubber stamped edicts emanating from Brussels.
During their second term, Presidents become obsessed with “legacy.” One of the yardsticks to measure success is the stock market. Many people can relate to it. Retirement depends on it. It’s mentioned even on NPR several times a day. Outside of a few shorts, everyone wants it to go up. But President Obama must now be biting his fingernails down to the quick.
Aircraft maintenance was a highly paid blue-collar job that required education, training, manual skills, and brains. It was one of the perfect American middle-class jobs with generous healthcare, retirement, and vacation benefits; and free flights! They were working for icons like Delta, American Airlines, Continental, TWA, or Pan Am. Icons indeed!
Officially, the EU doesn’t have an intelligence service. It’s dependent on the national intelligence services of its members. Officially. In reality, it is building an intelligence apparatus of six services, populated already by 1,300 specialists, some operating overseas, with vast databases at their fingertips. Much of it beyond any kind of democratic control.
The last big thing was green tech – from wave-power generators to the smart grid. Hyped in the bipartisan stimulus bill, it promised gobs of jobs, billions in revenues, and untold riches. Private investors plowed in billions too. It ended up in a massive pileup of capital destruction. Fatalities were everywhere.
Contributed by Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com. Growing security risks in the Middle East and North Africa are giving oil companies the jitters. But with seven of the 12 OPEC members experiencing some form of upheaval, the cost of doing business suggests members may need more than a little bit of luck to return to glory.