This kind of news would normally point to prosperity across the real economy and call for a celebration – but prices do not always reflect reality. Moreover, the combination of high and rising valuations, low volatility, and a weakening trend in real earnings growth is a proven recipe for poor long-term returns and market instability.
The question why China has been scrambling to internationalize the CNY has nothing to do with succumbing to Western demands at reflating its currency to appreciate it and thus to push its current account even lower in the country with the shallowest stock market and the most bank deposits (i.e., most prone to sudden, abrupt bursts of inflation), nearly double those of the US, and everything to do with preparing the world for the “final monetarism frontier”, which will take place when the BOJ’s reflation experiment fails, and last remaining source (at least before Africa, but that is the topic for another day) of credit formation – the PBOC – finally ramps up.
E Pluribus, Gen X (jdargis)
The Liberty Generation sparked wild rebellions and founded violent militias, like the Regulators in North Carolina, the Green Mountain Boys in Vermont, and the Sons of Liberty across the colonies, as the relationship with Mother England deteriorated, infusing the society with uncertainty and disorder.
The Pay Is Too Damn Low (jdargis)
The situation is the result of a tectonic shift in the American economy. In 1960, the country’s biggest employer, General Motors, was also its most profitable company and one of its best-paying. It had high profit margins and real pricing power, even as it was paying its workers union wages. And it was not alone: firms like Ford, Standard Oil, and Bethlehem Steel employed huge numbers of well-paid workers while earning big profits. Today, the country’s biggest employers are retailers and fast-food chains, almost all of which have built their businesses on low pay—they’ve striven to keep wages down and unions out—and low prices.
New York City expects its two most popular employee health plans to reach taxable Cadillac levels by 2018 or shortly after. This year, the city projects that it will pay a total of $7,128 for individuals and $18,249 for families in its most popular plan, including the costs the city pays into union welfare funds to cover prescription drug benefits. That is above the national average for employer-sponsored health care coverage, which last year was $5,615 for single coverage and $15,745 for family coverage, according to a 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
Outraged by their experience in Tenaha, Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson helped to launch a class-action lawsuit challenging the abuse of a legal doctrine known as civil-asset forfeiture. “Have you looked it up?” Boatright asked me when I met her this spring at Houston’s H&H Saloon, where she runs Steak Night every Monday. She was standing at a mattress-size grill outside. “It’ll blow your mind.”
BP, in its excellent annual statistical report on world energy, provides data that allows us to answer this question. The figure above shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. These sources include nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. The graph shows that from 1965 to 1999 the proportion of carbon-free energy in global consumption more than doubled to more than 13 percent, coincident with nuclear power increasing by a factor of 100 and hydropower by a factor of 6.
Nathan Takawit, 27, who lost power at his East Village apartment after Hurricane Sandy, said he thought he had outrun the storm’s reach after moving recently to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Now, he said, friends seem disinclined to follow him.
“For people who come to Brooklyn, they want to stay away from this area,” he said, waiting for an R train at 53rd Street in Brooklyn last week. “A friend of mine was moving, and she said, ‘Well, there’s no R train.’ ”
Gold & Silver
Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group
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