A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?
Now “trade agreements” are negotiated behind sealed doors, without public oversight, beyond the reach of Congress. The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is secret, but some sections were leaked. It deals with trade only on the margins. Corporate interests dominate. It mocks democracy, establishes kangaroo courts, and taxpayers are on the hook.
After five years of QE, and $3 trillion in new money floating around, we now have asset bubbles everywhere. Risk is no longer priced into anything. In fact, it has disappeared as a factor. And the Fed is publicly fretting about it.
There has been a symphony of calls for American investors to plow their money into European stocks. So, net inflows into European equity funds have set records, driven by euphoria about a presumed recovery. Equities soared. But turns out, reality has bad breath.
Today it was Hotel Okura Co., which operates landmark hotels across Japan. It confessed its restaurants had misrepresented 235 menu items. That followed confessions by leading department store chains, other high-end hotel chains, traditional ryokan hotels…. New revelations bubble up daily. And consumer confidence is taking a hit.
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert slam the politics of debt. “Economics of Suicide” they call it. And the NSA’s role in it. I’m in the second half, starting at 12 min. 50 sec. As always, high-octane, pungent, and funny! Warning: risk of whiplash.
In terms of announced mass layoffs, 2013 is shaping up to be the best year since 1997. Overall, employers aren’t shedding lots of jobs. But glitter in some sectors covers up aggressive, permanent job destruction in other sectors – where the sky used to be the limit.
“The JGB market is dead,” announced with finality Tetsuya Miura, chief bond strategist at Mizuho Securities, one of Japan’s 23 primary dealers that have to bid on government securities. It had been “sacrificed” by the Bank of Japan, said another industry heavyweight.
Sign of trouble: A wealth manager told me some of his elderly clients were now coming into his office, and they’d say, “My kids tell me that I can make 25% a year with stocks.” How much were they were willing to lose? “Nothing,” they’d say.
While the US government wants to get its hands on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and crucify him properly, the German government remains red-faced and tangled up in its own underwear. Yet among Germans, and their politicians, support for him is surging.