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Scenes From a (Suddenly) Nude Beach

by John Rubino on December 31, 2014 · 13 comments

Warren Buffett’s classic observation that “You only see who’s swimming naked when the tide goes out” is being tossed around more frequently these days, as the world gets yet another deflation scare. Zero Hedge just published a great piece on this topic, which should be read in its entirety. In the meantime here’s a summary […]

 

Twelve short months ago, the immediate future looked like a lock. Overvalued equities had to fall, ridiculously-low interest rates had to rise, and beaten-down precious metals had to resume their bull market. The evidence was overwhelming. Debt in the developed world had risen to $157 trillion, or 376% of GDP, by far the highest level […]

 

World in a Box

by John Rubino on December 7, 2014 · 18 comments

Of all the problems with fiat currency, the most basic is that it empowers the dark side of human nature. We’re potentially good but infinitely corruptible, and giving an unlimited monetary printing press to a government or group of banks is guaranteed to produce a dystopia of ever-greater debt and more centralized control, until the […]

 

Are Cars About to Crash?

by John Rubino on September 26, 2014 · 13 comments

New car sales have been one of the bright spots of the US recovery. And they’re still at it: September U.S. auto sales to rise 10 percent: JD Power, LMC(Reuters) – Strong demand drove U.S. new car and truck sales 10 percent higher in September, adding momentum to the industry’s best August in more than […]

 

They’re Lying To Us, Part 5: Fake Credit Scores

by John Rubino on August 10, 2014 · 6 comments

Like any other weak-willed entity, an over-indebted country eventually finds that formerly-easy things get harder to do. Today, for instance, banks are having trouble attracting customers with the kinds of credit scores that meet previously-set criteria for mortgages and car loans. As a result they’re writing fewer loans and the economy is seeing less debt-fueled […]

 

And That’s a GOOD Thing??

by John Rubino on July 28, 2014 · 18 comments

The past year has seen a long list of “XYZ is at its highest level since XXX” announcements. Some notable examples: NASDAQ tech stocks are back to 1999 levels The number of initial public offereings, including companies with no earnings, is back to 1999 levels Junk bond yields are even lower than in 2007 Junk […]

 

Happy Markets in an Unhappy World

by John Rubino on July 23, 2014 · 15 comments

The old Dickens quote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is pretty much always applicable to a world as big and complex as this one. But lately, as the disparity between financial markets (best of times) and geopolitics (worst) has grown to almost comical proportions, Dickens has been sounding […]

 

They’re Lying To Us, Part 4: Fake Pensions

by John Rubino on July 16, 2014 · 27 comments

Most people learn by the age of 10 or so that making promises is easier than keeping them. That’s why really big promises like corporate pensions and national retirement/health care programs are so easy to screw up. Offering someone a cushy retirement or a lifetime of healthcare feels great and generates massive goodwill from the […]

 

They’re Lying To Us, Part 1: Unemployment

by John Rubino on June 16, 2014 · 15 comments

One of the frustrating things about the monthly US jobs report is the way everyone focuses on the wrong number. The headline says “unemployment falls…” which sounds great, while the small print, which almost no one seems to read, explains that most of the improvement is due to people dropping out of the labor force. […]

 

We Are So Not Prepared For Another Oil Shock

by John Rubino on June 15, 2014 · 18 comments

In one sense, energy doesn’t matter all that much to what’s coming. Once debt reaches a certain level, oil can be $10 a barrel or $200, and either way we’re in trouble. But the cost of energy can still play a role in the timing and shape of the next financial crisis. The housing/derivatives bubble […]

 


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