Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 1/3 - James Howard Kunstler's Predictions For 2013, The Truth About the "Robber Barons"

Thursday, January 3, 2013, 10:40 AM


Forecast 2013: Contraction, Contagion, and Contradiction (jdargis)

If you understand the basic formula that ever-increasing cheap energy resources were the fundamental condition for industrial growth for two centuries, then you must realize that they are also behind the modern operations of capital, especially the mechanism that allows massive volumes of interest on debt to be repaid -- hence behind all of contemporary banking. And if you get that, it is easy to see how the end of cheap energy has screwed the pooch for modern finance.

Stories To Watch For In 2013 (jdargis)

12. Watching India try to overcome its power supply problems, its educational bottlenecks, and its low agricultural productivity.

House staves off fiscal cliff, but more squabbles lie ahead (jdargis)

Meanwhile, a new Congress takes office on Thursday, and lawmakers will soon be confronted by the need to raise the federal debt ceiling and what to do about the still-hanging sequester -- a legacy of the last battle over the debt ceiling, in 2011.

The Income Rich Take One For The Team. Thanks! (adam)

Everyone wants the rich to pay more in taxes. They’re thinking about Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett when they say “rich people.” But really rich people like that are totally protected. Their accumulated wealth can only be touched by inflation. And if they’re in the hedge fund game, most of their “income” is taxed at just 15 percent.

Which is why Warren Buffett can pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. And why, even after calling for tax increases for the rich, he’ll still be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Welfare Spending Reaches Nearly $1 Trillion a Year (Phil H.)

In 2011, the total cost of federal and state means-tested welfare programs was $927 billion, an all-time high. That includes over 80 federal programs but does not include spending on Social Security or Medicare. The amount is 16 times higher than it was in 1964 when the government began the “War on Poverty.”

Putting America's Tax Hike In Perspective (Phil H.)

Houston, we may have a spending problem.

Gold Price Forecast 2013, Buying Opportunity?, is Silver Cheaper? (adam)

Now, whilst it has been been a long time since I last analysed or traded Gold and Silver. However, if you have been reading my articles you will be aware of the prevailing exponential inflation mega-trend as a consequence of government debt and money printing that continues to exert upwards pressure on asset prices and even more so when leverage is taken into account, therefore following the recent sell off in gold to $1660, a good 14% below its 2011 peak, which is perking my interest in the safe haven precious metals that this analysis seeks to resolve the probable trend for 2013.

Used to Hardship, Latvia Accepts Austerity, and Its Pain Eases (jdargis)

Hardship has long been common here — and still is. But in just four years, the country has gone from the European Union’s worst economic disaster zone to a model of what the International Monetary Fund hails as the healing properties of deep budget cuts. Latvia’s economy, after shriveling by more than 20 percent from its peak, grew by about 5 percent last year, making it the best performer in the 27-nation European Union. Its budget deficit is down sharply and exports are soaring.

The Truth About the "Robber Barons" (adam)

It is a staple of history books to attach this derogatory phrase to such figures as John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the great nineteenth-century railroad operators — Grenville Dodge, Leland Stanford, Henry Villard, James J. Hill, and others. To most historians writing on this period, these entrepreneurs committed thinly veiled acts of larceny to enrich themselves at the expense of their customers. Once again we see the image of the greedy, exploitative capitalist, but in many cases this is a distortion of the truth.

Silvercorp hit with class-action suit over allegations of financial misconduct in China (westcoastjan)

Mr. Carnes made his initial allegations against Silvercorp in the fall of 2011, when he suggested that reported production and resource figures from the Ying mine were too good to be true. He pointed to alleged discrepancies between regulatory filings in China and North America related to the property.

New Chinese law requires children to visit elderly parents (westcoastjan)

According to the BBC, one-eighth of the Chinese population is over the age of 60, and most of them live alone. It is unclear how often visitations must be made under the new law.

Greeks fight back against corruption (westcoastjan)

Horror stories abound on the website - 60% of the entries relate to corruption in the public health system, 15% to bribes paid to obtain driving licences, and 4% to the issuing of building permits. Entries are also broken down by region of Greece, and often individual institutions are named, so there are many clues for authorities to follow if they wish.

Paying with 'kisses' as Brazil’s social currencies spread (westcoastjan)

Sao Benedito residents also say life has improved in recent years thanks to the social policies of the governments of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his successor, Dilma Rousseff - and thanks to local projects like Banco Bem.

Currency Seizures At Canadian Border: Chinese Cash Accounts For 59% Of All Seizures, Report Says (westcoastjan)

Some of that cash is ending up in Canada’s real estate markets, particularly the Toronto and Vancouver condo markets, the WSJ reports. Real estate analysts in recent years have raised questions about the extent of foreign investment in Canadian real estate, and have suggested foreign cash may be driving up home prices and making housing less affordable for Canadians.

Highest Paid CEOs In Canada: CCPA Study Says Top Execs Taking Home Ever Greater Share Of The Pie (westcoastjan)

And the CCPA notes that the income gap between Canada's top CEOs and everyone else has skyrocketed over the past few decades. While in 1995 CEOs earned, on average, 85 times more than the average salary, by 2011, that ratio had grown to 235 times the average salary.

Check out the 15 highest-earning CEOs in Canada, according to the CCPA.

Fracking Activities Enter Urban Areas (James S.)

The number of wells is only set to increase in the future, with Berry Petroleum (NYSE:BRY), the main developer in the region, planning to drill an extra 300 wells, some as within 150ft of homes. Jeff Coyle, a spokesman for Berry said that, “Berry’s current plan is to drill approximately 140 wells on 40-acre spacing in and around the Gardendale area. Additionally, we are preparing to conduct a pilot study on 20-acre spacing and, if those test results are encouraging and economic conditions warrant, we may drill up to 160 additional wells.”

Why Japan's 'Fukushima 50' remain unknown (westcoastjan)

"I will never be able to grow rice again on this land," he says. "No vegetables, no fruit. We can't even eat the mushrooms that grow in the woods; they are too contaminated. But I will not kill my cows. They are a symbol of the nuclear disaster that happened here."

From Mr Yoshizawa's front porch, you can clearly see the tall white chimneys of the nuclear plant. Standing here, it's easy to understand the anger and hatred people like him feel towards the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (Tepco).

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


saxplayer00o1's picture
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important post on the new purpose of government debt

On the new purpose of government debt - FT Alphaville = Frances Coppola has whipped up an absolutely fabulous commentary on the BIS paper on safe assets, which cuts straight to the point. As she neatly expresses, in our new looking glass world… the purpose of government debt is not to fund government spending. It is to provide safe assets.”

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Boehner reelected

just now watched it..

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Billionaires dumping stocks



In the latest filing for Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson & Johnson, and reduced his overall stake in “consumer product stocks” by 21%. Berkshire Hathaway also sold its entire stake in California-based computer parts supplier Intel.


Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer-goods maker Sara Lee.

Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks, including shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Between the three banks, Soros sold more than a million shares.

edited to delete apparent commercial.


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Spain Drains Pension Fund in Borrowing Spree

"Spain has been quietly tapping the country's richest piggy bank, the Social Security Reserve Fund, as a buyer of last resort for Spanish government bonds, raising questions about the fund's role as guarantor of future pension payouts.

Now the scarcely noticed borrowing spree, carried out amid a prolonged economic crisis, is about to end, because there is little left to take. At least 90% of the €65 billion ($85.7 billion) fund has been invested in increasingly risky Spanish debt, according to official figures, and the government has begun withdrawing cash for emergency payments.

Although the trend has drawn little public attention or controversy, it has become a matter of concern for the relatively few independent financial analysts who study the fund, which is used to guarantee future payments of pensions. They say the government will soon have one less recourse to finance itself as it faces another year of recession and painful austerity measures to close a big budget deficit."

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