The tiny country of Belgium with a GDP of $484 billion, a country that became famous to the chagrin of some people because it did just fine for a couple of years without a national government – well, it’s growing an enormous mountain of US Treasuries.
Entries in Debtor Nation (97)
By Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential: There are two important facts about our rising national debt that don’t get a lot of mainstream attention (and I certainly don’t hear politicians talking about them).
By David Stockman: The Fed prints $4 trillion and the national debt jumps $9 trillion in six years. We’re now in month 57 of the expansion, beyond the average 53 months – already on borrowed time. Now comes Professor Krugman proposing to “do something.”
How long before the dollar surrenders its status as world reserve currency and number-one payment currency to the Chinese yuan and to that other currency everyone loathes?
Rising household debt would be a hopeful sign that consumers are again living beyond their means, finally spending money they don’t have in a heroic effort to stimulate Wall Street, corporate earnings, and the Fed’s self-esteem. So we jubilate. We’ve waited for it too long.
Since the introduction of QE 3, honest-looking Fed chairman Bernanke told the Wall-Street media circus after each FOMC meeting that the money-printing binge in the coming month would expand the Fed’s balance sheet by $85 billion. A fact cited worldwide. And a big lie.
Central banks rule! We’ve seen it in 2013. They’ve accomplished the impossible: separating stock markets from the economies they’re based on. But in 2014, the US and China are trying to unwind these crazy policies – without taking down the entire global economy.
Treasuries have been skidding, and the 10-year yield hit the psycho-sound barrier of 3%. What happened last time this phenomenon occurred? Well, yields bounced off and fell – because the mayhem they'd triggered gave the Fed conniptions and caused it to back off.
Municipal bond investors, a conservative bunch eager to avoid rollercoasters and cliffhangers, are getting frazzled. Bankruptcies and the Fed’s taper cacophony are a toxic mix. So they’re bailing out of muni bond funds at record rate. Losses are mounting. And so are the fears.
Individual investors have a unique opportunity now to buy sewer bonds – yup, that’s where they belong – issued by a bankrupt county to pay off holders of defaulted sewer bonds who’ll get a fashionable haircut as part of the deal – a deal made in bond-bubble heaven.
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert slam the politics of debt. “Economics of Suicide” they call it. I’m in the second half. As always, high-octane, pungent, and funny! Warning: risk of whiplash.
By Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential: Cities like Detroit tell their bondholders, “Sorry, we can’t pay you.” Budget deficits were out of control, they reached the breaking point, they filed for bankruptcy. Troubles of municipalities and cities are marching forward with full force.
By James Murray: Crows are considered the most intelligent birds. They can count to three. Anything over three is "many" to a crow. Humans are basically the same way. At some point, numbers get so big that they just become "many."
By Dennis Miller: In 2007, US Comptroller General David Walker pointed out on 60 Minutes that the US is suffering from a fiscal cancer. But politicians were unwilling to address it. Wall Street called him "Chicken Little." The national debt was $8.9 trillion. Now, it’s $17 trillion. And the cancer has metastasized to cities and states.
The US has abused its three phenomenal privileges – including the control of the only world currency – to put global financial stability at risk, “like a truck full of dynamite heading right toward us,” said the chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Universal Credit Rating Group. But a “new financial order” is forming. And there's a timeframe.
By David Stockman (Remarks at the Edmond Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University): “The Federal budget has become a doomsday machine because the processes of fiscal governance are paralyzed and broken,” Stockman writes. “Under these conditions what remains of our free enterprise economy will buckle under the weight of taxes and crisis.”
That's the question for Treasury Secretary Lew and Fed Chairman Bernanke during the debt-ceiling charade; it seems they’re boxed into a contradictory situation where one of them will have to break one of the laws, whether they want to or not, writes Vincent Reinhart, managing director at Morgan Stanley and former head of the Fed’s monetary division.
Wall Street Brushes Off Debt-Ceiling, Republicans Beg To Differ, But Default Would be “Catastrophic,” And Nothing Is Priced In
Wall Street is convinced the government shutdown won’t hurt unless it drags out too long. It’s even more convinced that Congress would never be crazy enough to refuse to raise the debt ceiling in time and send the mighty and sole superpower, biggest debtor of all times, into default. That risk hasn’t been priced in. But a majority of Republicans begs to differ.
“This sort of political brinkmanship is the dominant reason the rating is no longer ‘AAA,’” S&P ratings agency wrote in a research note. More ominously, it warned that if Congress failed to pass a debt-ceiling hike before the out-of-money date in mid-October, it would cut the U.S. to “selective default.” And then there would be the post-default era.
By Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential: I want to share a chart. It compares the S&P 500 to the number of Americans on food stamps since the “recovery” began. They are on the same skyrocketing trajectory! In fact, since late 2009, for every one-percent increase in food stamps usage, the S&P 500 increased two percent! This is very troublesome.