Walmart is at the sharp point of the failing US consumers, who are un- or under- employed with stagnant wages and shrinking benefits, pinned by rising rents and healthcare costs, possessing little discretionary income, almost no savings, and living virtually paycheck to paycheck.
In the new retail models, like Walmart and Amazon, the vast bulk of the income goes directly to the top, to a fortunate few like the Walmart family and Jeff Bezos, with a little to shareholders, and crumbs to the employees who are driven harder to be ‘competitive.’
Hillary Clinton’s Take on Banks Won’t Hold Up (Michael W.)
“Just for viewers at home who may not be reading up on this, Glass-Steagall is the Depression-era banking law repealed in 1999 that prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking and insurance activities. Secretary Clinton, he raises a fundamental difference on this stage. Sen. Sanders wants to break up the big Wall Street banks. You don’t. You say charge the banks more, continue to monitor them. Why is your plan better?”
This rhetoric seriously prevents us from observing a simple fact: there was debt under a gold standard and every gold standard throughout history has collapsed. Not a single gold standard ever survived. You just do not understand history. It is the politicians who blow it up, regardless of what you call money.
Good News For Gold (Taki T.)
But the long multi-decade cycles of supply and demand, boom and bust, remain. And though few outside the industry are talking about it yet, the seeds for the next boom are already in the wind.
The reason has to do with global production.
The American energy boom of the past decade was fueled by a wave of cheap credit from big banks. But now cracks have begun to emerge in that boom because oil prices have plunged from around $100 last year to below $50 today.
Wells Fargo (WFC) on Wednesday said it was forced to set aside more cash to cushion against potential commercial defaults due to the “deterioration in the energy sector.”
As The Wall Street Journal reported in August, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. stated they were cutting stock-buyback programs, while Linn Energy LLC announced it would stop paying dividends to its shareholders. Meanwhile, several small U.S. oil and gas producers have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year. Companies with persistently negative free cash flow fall into the trap of borrowing, as they have to incur more debt to repay what they have already borrowed before. This makes such companies vulnerable to default and bankruptcy.
Q & A with the “Mosul Eye” Historian (jdargis)
The real danger is not in blogging itself, but in getting access to accurate information while maintaining your safety and not revealing your identity. I have used dozens of personalities and styles so as to stay safe. I have penetrated ISIS at its most fortified gates without their notice. I admit that this can be exhilarating in a way that helps relieve my fears of being killed at the hands of ISIS.
As we roll down US Highway 41 in Terre Haute, Indiana , my guide insists I give him my iPhone. Then he tosses me a satin blindfold. The terms of our trip were clear—I wasn’t to know where we were going or how we got there. That’s because we’re on our way to the undisclosed location of an underground bunker designed to survive the end of the world, whatever form that apocalypse takes.
Gold & Silver
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