No debacle is allowed to interfere with Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to hang on to her job, and debacles get swept under the rug at least until after the elections on September 22. Every time uppity opposition voices stir up some controversy, it’s brushed off, denied, ridiculed, or minimized – and it has worked admirably well so far. But suddenly there’s Greece again.
These wildly optimistic estimates of earnings growth that analysts work on so studiously by copying and pasting what companies tell them, or by doing channel checks and poking around the industry, and that companies have to exceed at all costs “on an adjusted basis?” Well, they have been shrinking for 2013 – but only after reality forced them down.
They’re at it again! Originally created by Congress in 2007, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program provided low-cost government loans that were subsidized, and then in part eaten as we now know, by hapless and strung-out American taxpayers. In 2011, it was left behind as dead, but now the government wants to bring that zombie back.
The Fed’s taper “may not be smooth,” explained Bank of England deputy governor Charles Bean at the central-banker shindig in Jackson Hole. He was referring to the currencies, bonds, and stocks of emerging-market economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, and India that have gotten massacred.
I expected the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) to contact me in an icily polite manner and make me recant, and I almost expected some goons to show up with an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I half expected Microsoft to shut down my computers remotely and wipe out my data. But none of that happened. Instead, the BSI confirmed the key points.
He came out and said what no one in the power structure was allowed to say. It was blasphemy against Abenomics that rules governmental thinking. Abenomics wouldn’t solve Japan’s fiscal and economic problems, he said. And the government’s outlook was way too rosy. But “without realistic figures, a real debate on fiscal reform can’t begin.”
Refinancing mortgages is phenomenally profitable for banks – one of the few growth sectors actually spawned by the Fed’s herculean efforts to force down long-term interest rates through waves of quantitative easing. Banks went on a hiring binge to shuffle all this paper around and extract fees. But now, with rising rates, that business is getting decimated.
Experts at the German Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI) determined that Windows 8, the touch-screen enabled, super-duper, but sales-challenged operating system is dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a backdoor – with keys likely accessible to the NSA.
Printing money and forcing interest rates to near zero, that’s how the Fed and other central banks papered over the Financial Crisis, duct-taped the bursting credit bubble back together, inflated new asset bubbles, and propped up TBTF banks. It accomplished a huge feat: a worldwide tsunami of hot money. Which is now receding.
The new salvation religion being preached in Japan to a hardened and cynical bunch who’ve lived through one of the worst bubbles and busts in recent history is this: prodigious money-printing will devalue the yen, causing exports to skyrocket and imports to shrink. The resulting trade surplus will save Japan. But the opposite is happening. And fast!