Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 3/23 - Bondholders Suffer Oil Price Hit, AC Gov't To Shut Down For 3 Weeks

Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 8:30 AM


City awaits help from Springfield, borrows $220 million for pension payments (Chicago)

The city is required to raise enough money through property taxes to make the police and fire pension contributions, which increased dramatically this year, to start closing a combined $12.2 billion shortfall in the two pension funds. If the city doesn't expect to raise enough from property taxes, it must deposit the anticipated shortfall by March 1.

Mayor: Atlantic City government will shut down for 3 weeks

Moody's Investors Service warned that the city could default on debt as early as next month without state action, and local officials have floated the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.

Alaska budget deficit just jumped $300M because of low oil prices, Walker administration says

The state’s unrestricted revenue forecast for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, dropped to $1.3 billion from an earlier projection of $1.6 billion, according to a new preliminary forecast by the revenue department released Monday morning.

Trudeau Will Push Canada Into the Red With `Unsexy' Debut Budget

The deficit is expected to be in the range of C$30 billion ($22.9 billion), up from C$2.3 billion in the fiscal year that ends March 31. That amount of red ink will test three decades of fiscal restraint in Canada and underscore the contrast between Trudeau and his predecessors

Brazil to rescue states, cities as debt costs soar, Barbosa says

Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa said at a news conference in Brasilia the plan could cost taxpayers about 37 billion reais ($10.2 billion) within three years, because it would stretch out debt maturities for some liabilities by as much as 20 years and concede grace period on some of them.

Bondholders suffer $150bn oil price hit

The 300 largest global oil and gas companies have also seen $2.3tn sliced from their stock market value over the same period, a 39 per cent slide since oil began its decline, an analysis by the Financial Times has found.

China considers Tobin tax to counter capital outflows - FX regulator

China is studying a Tobin tax as a new policy tool to curb capital outflows, an official at the country's foreign exchange regulator said on Tuesday.

Property Bubble Ghost Haunts Central Bankers Trying to Boost Prices

The U.S. is still feeling the consequences of a housing-market collapse that is widely blamed for triggering the Great Recession. The world’s largest economy stopped contracting in the second quarter of 2009, but house prices continued to fall over the next three years. While property costs since then have risen at a faster annual pace than an aggregate of 23 countries tracked by the Dallas Fed, prices are still 3.8 percent below their peak.

Central Banks Creep Toward Uncomfortable Role: Central Planners

The Bank of Japan’s conditions for companies to qualify for exchange-traded funds it would like to buy sound like they come from a well-meaning government minister, not a monetary authority concerned about overall growth and inflation. Companies could qualify by offering an “improving working environment, providing child-care support, or expanding employee-training programs.”

Japan Inc. May Soon Get Paid to Borrow in Commercial Paper Sales

Japan’s companies may soon get paid to borrow in the commercial paper market as brokers adjust to the Bank of Japan’s negative interest-rate policy. The Japan Securities Depository Center will start an interim system Tuesday that will help settle commercial paper with minus rates. The Tanshi Kyokai, an association of brokers, announced over the weekend that it plans to have the capacity to handle transactions with sub-zero yields from today.

Taiwan Seen Approaching Zero-Rate World With Mystery Benchmark

While the central bank is forecast by economists to cut its benchmark to 1.5 percent Thursday, what really matters is how it adjusts an overnight money-market rate policy makers don’t make public. The rate on one-day certificates of deposit, which the authority communicates confidentially to banks, is said to have been lowered 19 basis points to 0.2 percent since the current easing cycle began in August.

Hungary’s central bank cuts key interest rate to fresh low

The National Bank of Hungary cut its benchmark interest rate to 1.20% from 1.35%. All 12 economists in a poll by The Wall Street Journal expected the central bank to keep rates steady. The benchmark rate was 1.95% at the start of last year and 7.0% in August 2012, before the rate cuts began.

Americans just had $176 million in wages garnished by the government due to unpaid student loans

Still, the sheer size of the pot taken from borrower’s wages is “horrifying” said Chris Hicks, an independent researcher who focuses on student debt. “These are people who can’t afford to pay their student loans and they’ve garnished $176 million in three months from them,” said Hicks, who also works as a consultant for progressive organizations. “You have to wonder what conditions people are living in when they’re seeing that much of their wages garnished.”

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 3/22/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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."


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Helicopter Money Takes Flight as Latest Drastic Monetary Idea

Helicopter Money Takes Flight as Latest Drastic Monetary Idea

Bloomberg-10 hours ago
The way to get the world out of its disinflationary rut could lie in them directly financing government stimulus -- a strategy known as deploying “helicopter money” ...

HSBC Cuts Global Growth Forecast, Sees "Helicopter Money" From ...

Barron's (blog)-11 hours ago
HSBC lowered its global growth forecast once more, now seeing the world to grow by only 2.3% this year, down from 2.5% previously. In 2015, the world ...

It's the global debt, stupid

The Hill (blog)-4 hours ago
It also hardly a source of comfort that sovereign debt to GDP ratios in the European economic periphery, and in key European countries like Italy, remain at ...

Bank of Japan adds negative-interest backer to board

MarketWatch-12 hours ago
TOKYO — Japan officially selected Makoto Sakurai, a supporter of negative interest rates, as a new Bank of Japan board member Wednesday, a move likely to ...

Negative Rates Could Help Czechs Shed Koruna Cap, Lizal Says

Bloomberg-4 minutes ago
The Czech central bank may impose negative interest rates to fend off unwanted capital inflows around the time it scraps its cap on koruna gains, board member ...

Pimco Lowers Global Outlook Seeing Slower Growth in U.S., Europe

Bloomberg-23 minutes ago
Central banks in Europe and Japan appear to be harboring doubts about negative interest rates after “discovering their dark sides,” according to Pimco, as they ...

Half of World Stocks Embrace Bull Market on Fed-Fueled Rally

Bloomberg-11 hours ago
... Federal Reserve slowed the path of interest-rate increases, adding to signals ... lost ground in some markets, but they are still mostly negative on a net basis.

$1.5 Trillion of Debt Might Crash China's Plans

Fortune - ‎12 hours ago‎
Costs for the estimated 1.3 million coal-sector layoffs alone are as much as 195 billion yuan, and coal industry delegates attending parliament urged government to provide more support to deal with the mounting debts of hundreds of stricken “zombie” firms.

As ECB ramps up QE, its stake in government bond markets may ...

Reuters-1 hour ago
Commerzbank strategist Rainer Guntermann said the ECB currently spends about 44 billion euros a month on government and agency debt and that this will ...

Economist Krugman joins call for Japanese fiscal stimulus

Nikkei Asian Review-21 hours ago
The prime minister said he has been told his debt-laden country ought to take ... yen ($44.7 billion), enough to raise economic growth by 1 percentage point.

Trudeau Tackles Economy Head on With C$120 Billion Deficit (Canada)

Bloomberg-2 hours ago
The budget is chock-full of red. Trudeau will run deficits of C$29 billion over the next two years with no forecast to balance the books over the next five years.

Drivers' catastrophic care fund fee to go up $10 July 1

The Detroit News-10 hours ago
... major medical claims and chip away at an estimated $1.3 billion deficit in the fund. ... The $1.1 billion spent in 2015 on claims amounted to $155 per driver, ...

Citing pension woes, S&P just cut N.J's credit outlook to negative

NJ.com-15 hours ago
... fiscal year, and its market value fell below $71 billion at the end of December. ... That rating also recognizes the state's structural deficit and "above-average ...

New Jersey Offers Rare Debt as Yield Premiums Soar to Near Highs

Bloomberg-6 hours ago
... which oversees about $100 billion of municipal bonds and may buy some of the ... It has a lower rating from Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's ...

$3.7M spike in pension liability will strain Grand Rapids budget

MLive.com-4 hours ago
Grand Rapids will push unfunded pension liabilities farther into the future by adding several years to the amortization period for the public contributions that are ...

All Puerto Rico debt needs restructuring, says Treasury secretary

STLtoday.com - ‎19 hours ago‎
WASHINGTON • U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Tuesday that Puerto Rico was "for all practical purposes" in default and needed a full restructuring of all its debt, including general obligation bonds. "Restructuring is going to have to be ...

Parents borrowing to send kids to college skyrocketed over the last ...

MarketWatch-6 hours ago
Despite the impulse of many parents to shield their students from debt, experts ... 74 were in default, according to data from the Government Accountability Office.

Layoffs loom large as Connecticut lawmakers join in call for concessions

New Haven Register - ‎14 hours ago‎
Layoffs loom large as Connecticut lawmakers join in call for concessions. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy outside his Capitol office in Hartford last year following budget negotiations. Christine Stuart — CT News Junkie file photo. By Christine Stuart ...
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New Green Challenge: How to Grow More Food on Less Land

...achieving consensus about what sustainable intensification should mean — or whether it’s the right objective in the first place — has proved complicated and increasingly contentious.To critics, the engineering focus has tended to put intensification ahead of sustainability, making it just a re-boot of the original Green Revolution.

They say the technological fixes also distract from more challenging social reforms like slowing the rate of population growth, shifting away from crops like corn ethanol that don’t put food on the table, or ending subsidies for livestock production, which currently eats up an appalling 75 percent of the world’s agricultural land.


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New Mission For Guantanamo Bay

The land that the Guantanamo Bay detention center currently occupies is actually land that has been rented to the United States by the Cuban government for more than a century,... If the detention center is closed, some parties, like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, have called for the land to be returned to Cuba.

...since the United States has already said that it will not return the land to Cuba, the two countries should pursue a third option. (They) argue that a marine research facility, jointly operated by both the United States and Cuba, // would “unite Cuba and the United States in joint management, rather than serve as a wedge between them, while helping meet the challenges of climate change, mass extinction, and declining coral reefs,” ...


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Guantanamo has served as a training base for Navy vessels for a long time.  As far as I know, it still is.  I'm sure it also served some intelligence purposes.  Perhaps with the opening of Cuba there will be less need for such a facility.

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Digging deeper....into debt

About that recovery....


In One Year The US Mining Industry Lost More Money Than It Made In The Prior Eight

For anyone still looking for context to the biggest ever collapse in commodity prices in history, one far sharper and now longer than that in the deflationary aftermath of the Lehman failure, look no further than the chart below: as the WSJ notes, the U.S. mining industry, a sector which includes oil drillers, lost more money last year than it made in the previous eight.

Mining corporations with assets of $50 million or more recorded a collective $227 billion after-tax loss last year, according to Commerce Department data released Monday. That one year loss wipes out all the profits the industry had made since 2007, or almost a full decade worth of profits, gone in 12 months.

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European terrorism, personality types, and resource depletion

Thinking of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and Sand_Puppy's references to "memes" (personality types), I came across this.  It addresses terrorism, personality types and RESOURCE DEPLETION.  Interesting.  Especially look at the right sidebar which describes the differences between the "r" and "K" types.


  • What are r and K?

    r and K come from evolutionary ecology, where they describe two fundamental psychologies seen in nature, designed to adapt an organism to either a glut or a shortage. 

    Rabbits are r-strategists, designed to exploit free resources, like fields of grass. The five psychological traits inherent to the r-strategy are docility/conflict-avoidance, promiscuity/non-monogamy, single-mom'ing, early sexualization of young, and no loyalty to a competitive in-group. All help this glut-exploiting psychology to out-reproduce everyone else.

    Wolves are K-strategists, designed for when resources are too limited for everyone to survive. The five traits of a K-strategist are competitiveness/ aggressiveness/protectiveness, competitive mate monopolization/ monogamy, high-investment two-parent rearing, only mating when mature, and high loyalty to one's competitive in-group. All these traits either help you win, or produce fitter offspring, so they will win.

    Our political battle is one between a glut-exploiting reproductive strategy of rabbits and a shortage-surviving reproductive strategy of wolves. The swings between conservatism and liberalism at the societal level are not the result of logical argument or reasoned debate. They are the result of psychological shifts produced by perceptions of K-stimuli in the environment such as conflict, danger, and shortage, or r-stimuli, such as safety, pleasure, and abundance. These perceptions trigger ancient mechanisms in the brain that adapt psychology to environment. All of politics and much of history are r vs K.

    Read the article and compare the two types of cartoons, one an America K cartoon after 9/11, and a European cartoon that just came out after the Brussels attacks.


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What Cuba Can Teach America About Organic Farming

With Cuba in the news recently because of the President's visit, it seemed serendipitous when I stumbled on an article about the huge success of organic gardening (and urban gardening and community gardening) in Cuba.  It's a really interesting story that I hadn't been familiar with.  Check it out at: http://Organic Farming and Urban Garden Revolution in Cuba.  Here's an excerpt:

Cuba's organic food movement developed in response to a crisis. Before the
revolution that threw out dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, and to some extent
during the years of Soviet support for Cuba, the island followed a typical pattern
of colonial food production: It produced luxury export crops while importing
food for its own people. In 1990 over 50% of Cuba's food came from imports.
"In the Caribbean, food insecurity is a direct result of centuries of colonialism that
prioritized the production of sugar and other cash crops for export, neglecting
food crops for domestic consumption," the report says. In spite of efforts by the
revolutionary government to correct this situation, Cuba continued in this mold
until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989.

The withdrawal of Soviet aid meant that 1,300,000 tons of chemical fertilizers,
17,000 tons of herbicides, and 10,000 tons of pesticides, could no longer be
imported, according to the report.

One of Cuba's responses to the shock was to develop "urban agriculture,"
intensifying the previously established National Food Program, which aimed
at taking thousands of poorly utilized areas, mainly around Havana, and turning
them into intensive vegetable gardens. Planting in the city instead of only in the
countryside reduced the need for transportation, refrigeration, and other scarce

The plan succeeded beyond anyone's dreams. By 1998 there were over 8000
urban farms and community gardens run by over 30,000 people in and around

And here's a good, more recent PBS Video on the topic that I found at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/cuba-can-teach-america-farming/

We may all be walking in the same shoes as the Cubans down the line. I'd love to believe we would deal as successfully with the situation as they did.


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What is coming?

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The Power of Community (response to Pinecarr-#7)

Thanks, Pinecarr, for drawing our attention to Cuba's experience.  We in OECD countries have much to learn from the Cuban experience as they turned to urban gardening after the collapse of the USSR when Soviet support for Cuban monocropping came to a standstill.

In addition to the resources you suggested, PP readers will also enjoy the DVD titled "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" produced by Community Service, Inc. (2006).  It is a fascinating exploration of Cubans' resilience as they explored the power of small gardens in urban areas.  They became more innovative and self-reliant in the process.  Its still available from Amazon (and perhaps other distributors, as well).

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I was in the county extension office a few months back and an old timer row crop farmer was lamenting that getting his tractor repaired in the field was now $200/hr plus parts. Not sustainable. Simple will rule the day going forward.

Country Joe ;)

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Thanks for the pointer to the DVD, drbost

I'll have to check out on Amazon.   It's incredible what Cuba did when faced with a life-changing situation that threatened their food supply. (PS Just checked it out, and the comments make me want to get it even more!)

And Robie, that's one fine tractor, but it will never look as sweet as your mares:). (pardon if they're gents!)

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a divide

exists...those who buy tech. they can not maintain.. and those who maintain tech they know. apply it to all walks of life.

a Luddite

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The tech divide

I really agree, Robie.

I have a chain saw to harvest fallen trees for my post-collapse home heating fuel supply.  However, I cannot repair it, build spare parts or make gasoline for it.  This is not really a long term solution.  Even "basic tech" depends on an intact global supply and manufacturing system. 

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Manual backups

 Even "basic tech" depends on an intact global supply

To set your mind at ease, stock some spare parts for the chain saw, but also stock your preps with some tools more basic than that. Get at least one good splitting axe, perhaps a maul, and some manual saws in various sizes up to a two-person bow saw.

Also get sharpening stones and make sure you know how to use them. Cutting tools of every sort are both more effective and safer to use when they're well sharpened.

Make sure you have the tools and the skills to keep the chain saw sharp, too.

With those in your preps, use your chain saw whenever it makes sense, for as long as it lasts. Que sera, sera.

Also, look for ways to beef up your home's insulation so you need less firewood in the first place.

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Buy two...

No really.. I bought two of the same chain saw.  As well, although I have never used it, and it sits still strapped in it's box.. a bench top chain sharpener.  For critical components in your solar installation, buy two.  

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a point worth remembering

during the long emergency people will have time for a properly ordered life. saw maintenance, provenance for lives responsible, water, wood, aid...can art evolve outa the mundane? I do not know but it is very satisfying farming lo tech.

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Spare parts

 I bought two of the same chain saw

That's good, but keep in mind that mechanical items often have similar points of failure. It's not inevitable, but there's a chance worth thinking about that Saw 1 and Saw 2 might have the same parts that wear out first. The widget that holds the doodad in place always breaks eventually, or something like that. So know your equipment, know the most common ways it might fail, and keep suitable spare parts on hand so you can extend the useful life of both saws. Be sure to store the manual so you can find it when needed! (Don't ask how I learned that lesson ...)

Related: I once knew an antique tractor enthusiast who would bid high if a certain model came up in a farm auction, no matter what shape it was in. His idea was to cherry-pick parts from several old tractors to make one good one. Eventually he decided he needed a different plan because too often the same parts he needed were worn out in every machine.

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