By Dennis Miller, of Miller's Money: One of the challenges facing retirees is how to bridge the gap between rising expenses and virtually stagnant Social Security checks and other sources of income. Hence, the idea of reverse mortgages. I can safely say that for the vast majority of our readers they are a poor investment, but not necessarily a bad idea.
By Michael Lombardi for Profit Confidential: Homebuilder stocks are heading into dangerous territory; investors need to take note, even if they don’t own these stocks. The move to the downside for this barometer of activity in the U.S. housing market is significant.
“According to intelligence officials,” who remained unnamed, the NSA is not just looking at meta-data when Americans send emails and texts overseas, as the government had proclaimed when the scandal first broke, but is actually searching the content, however steamy it might be.
By James Stafford of Oilprice.com: The 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill and the 2013 Exxon leak in Arkansas are the most glaring incidents: big leaks that are found and reported right away. But smaller leaks can persist for months or even years. If they’re reported at all, it’s because people have generally stumbled upon them by accident.
By Chriss Street: Just as the bombshell of the NSA’s handing information to the DEA through a secret program called Parallel Construction was about to break, the Obama Administration diverted attention by talking up the NSA’s intercepts of “chatter” about terrorist plots. But convictions in the US of some of the worst drug lords might now unravel.
Private Equity firms have seen this coming for months. They’re positioning themselves for it. In April, Leon Black, CEO of Apollo Global Management, explained it this way to an incredulous world: “We’re selling everything that’s not nailed down.” Now they’re setting records – but someone will end up holding the bag.
By Lacy H. Hunt, Ph.D., Economist: In its final forecast for 2011, made in late 2010, the Fed forecast that real GDP would rise 4% in 2011. Just prior to that projection, it expected even stronger growth. For 2012, the Fed projected 3.3% growth, with previous assessments even higher. In both years, their forecasts were more than double the actual result.
By Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential: Detroit had no other options than to file for bankruptcy. Cities in California or Jefferson County, Alabama, have done the same for similar reasons: a budget deficit year-after-year as revenues declined and costs rose – especially pension costs. Bondholders got crushed. Now more cities are headed that way, including some BIG ones.
The cloud is a growth industry. And a religion in Silicon Valley: you’re better off with all your data and software stored in a data center somewhere on the planet. It’s a beacon of growth that revenue-challenged global tech giants like Oracle and IBM wave in the faces of antsy investors. But now, they’re going to pay a steep price for their cooperation with the NSA.
John Paulson’s hedge funds that broke the sub-prime mortgage market “demonstrate the manner in which momentum-chasing hot money had come to dominate the Wall Street casino,” writes David Stockman as he mercilessly dissects the hedge fund industry. “But then the hot hands went stone cold.”
An awful turn of events in France, just when everyone was hailing signs of a recovery, of which evidence has been trickling in, albeit mixed at best. If you held your tongue just right, you could see vague glimmers of hope. Then came the results from France’s fourth largest industry, hotels and restaurants (along with the idea that you can always raise taxes).
By Lee Adler, of The Wall Street Examiner: By now it’s clear to everybody, even the Fed, that QE does absolutely nothing to stimulate economic growth while fomenting bubbles in housing and stock prices. The Fed will disingenuously use steady job growth as an excuse to begin cutting back on QE soon. But its real reason lies elsewhere.
By Scott Belinski, of OilPrice.com: Twenty-two years after breaking free from the USSR, Ukraine is now attempting to do the unthinkable and permanently shake Russia’s hold on the country. The plan? Looking westward to the European Union and building an energy hub that might just revolutionize the region’s geopolitical status quo.
When Bear Stearns blew up in 2008, the New York Fed handed it to JP Morgan Chase – the beginning of a vast bailout corruption fest. Turns out, five years later, the execs who caused it to blow up have jobs on Wall Street that are more lucrative than ever. To honor these sordid details, Nick Stuart wrote a hilarious, cynical parody about the last days of Bear.
“It’s about exposure,” he says. But it’s tough out there when you’re trying to make a living in the digital jungle where everyone scrambles on top of everyone else to get that exposure, and where giants dominate with such absurd magnitude that the little guy can only survive by slipping into the gaps between their toes when they step on him.
By Don Quijones, Spain: Since last year’s unprecedented protests to mark Catalonia’s national day of independence on September 11th, relations between Rajoy’s administration and Catalonia’s coalition government have soured to the point of curdling. Catalonia’s leader called it a “war of cultures” between the two “countries.”
China’s property and infrastructure bubbles, nurtured by limitless borrowed money, are still swelling up beautifully. Service industries are also growing. But hot air has been hissing out of manufacturing. Now Zhang Ruimin, CEO of China’s largest appliance maker Haier Group, put his finger on the problem. And it doesn’t look good for manufacturing in China.
By Chriss Street: Unburdened by the constitutional requirement to get a search warrant, the NSA has teamed with Apple, Google, and Microsoft to capture your party pictures, intimate letters, and financial activities in order to build a “permanent file” to be used against you later. That’s Edward Snowden's revelation as he accepted political asylum in Russia.
By Casey Research: The economy is manipulated and controlled by out-of-control central bankers and politicians determined to save their powerful positions. The distortions will destroy countless portfolios. But those with the courage to invest against the crowd can make historic gains. See the upcoming Casey Research Summit with former Congressman Ron Paul, James Rickards (author of Currency Wars), Doug Casey, and others.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe skillfully used his miraculous economic salvation plan, a religion lovingly dubbed Abenomics, as a platform to catapult his party, the LDP, into power. With the LDP controlling both houses of parliament, real changes, after years of dickering, might now finally be possible.